Monday, December 30, 2013

A little chilly-

So far, we're having a "normal Minnesota" winter here.  Which includes this:

Yep, that says "21 below" - F, not C.  Oh, and 41 - inside, overnight.  Chances are, in lower elevations on the farm, it was colder than that last night.

Our "test winters" are typically at 40 below F; it's been over 10 years since it got that cold.  But this is the second time we've hit 20 below in December, which is a bit unusual; and the coldest part of winter is yet to come.  We'll see.  At the moment, the jet stream is "stuck" with an abnormally deep loop- bringing us air from west central Canada; the "Alberta Clipper."  I'll be surprised if we don't see 30 below; and not surprised if we see 40 below this winter.

This does mean we're a bit "hunkered down" here- it takes more firewood, cutting, hauling, stoking - to keep the computers from freezing up.  Slows things down a bit.

Meanwhile- best of everything for the New Year; from everyone here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The future markets for nut crops

This is old news for those of us in the nut business; but nuts are HEALTHY- and that message is being very solidly delivered to the public by study after study.

The most recent one comes from two of the most highly respected long term health tracking studies in the world, the "Nurses Health Study" and the "Health Professionals Follow-up Study" - which together track ~119,000 men and women, over some 30 years.  It's in the NEJM and is also reported on here in plain English, in The New York Times.  And Carl Albers recently emailed me this article, which refers to the same NEJM study (thanks, Carl!)  And we covered the previous "big new!" article on this topic, from March 2012, right here.

Cutting to the chase- the more nuts people eat; the better for them; in every way they can measure; including such things as death from cancer and heart disease.

The scientists and doctors are mostly bickering about which causal factors are most important at this  point; not whether the data reflect reality; the benefits are solidly accepted.

So- one more factor indicating an increasing market for nut products.

It's worth noting that chestnuts are not included in any of the tests so far.  So far as I know, no researchers have stated their reasons for excluding chestnuts from the studies; but I expect it is due to two factors; 1) chestnuts are very low fat, unlike all the other nuts in the studies, and 2) chestnuts have not been available for easy "snacking" throughout the year as all the other nuts are.

My own opinion is that #2 is due to lack of snack-consumer friendly chestnut products, and also a pure lack of chestnut crop availability.  We can hope to change both of those factors.  Our new "chestnut polenta" provides a highly adaptable starting point for "snacks"; the chestnut ginger snaps and polenta crackers we've made were raved over by our test subjects; and the polenta will be very easy to commercialize.

Health researchers need to be alerted - to the possibility that although chestnut is low fat, if may nonetheless have health benefits similar to other nuts.  The evidence for that speculation comes from the pork industry; multiple sources report this same, very intriguing, fact: swine fed on chestnuts - and/or acorns - produce lard that is considerably less saturated than the lard from those fattened on maize; to the point the rendered product may be liquid at room temperature.  While far from absolute; most health professionals expect that less saturated fats are better for health and highly saturated fats.

Perhaps if eating chestnuts makes for polyunsaturated pigs- it might also make for polyunsaturated people.  It really needs to be investigated; if any readers are in contact with researchers who might be interested, please have them get in touch with us- we have chestnut product available for testing, and we've got plenty of experimental designs to suggest; this  has been on our radar for a very long time.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

In case you were wondering what happened to this effort; a couple things happened.  We won the vote in the Forestry and Agriculture section of this MIT competition; so we're going to be traveling to MIT Nov. 6-8 for their big Conference; we'll be featured on Thursday as one of the "winners".

Here is the short (just over 3 min) video they require of winners:

Planning trips and stops at this point.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This just in from Brandon; currently in the Illinois hazel field:

Hello folks,

Weather is excellent so we are husking/cleaning today and will be able to direct hand picking at the Illinois farm near Elizabeth today and tomorrow morning. Give me (Brandon) a ring at 507-226-7207 if you're interested!


What we're offering for the first time this year is a chance for folks interested in the hazel crop to pick hazels from, specifically, the bushes that the machine refused to pick.  Nuts still retained on the bushes at this point are an excellent bet for good bushes specifically for hand-picking situations; which will be the case for many folks forever.

Come (call the phone #) we'll teach you how to pick; how to recognize a "good bush" - and you will leave with- half the nuts you picked.  Eat them; sell them or plant them- your choice.  And we'll use them to start splitting the genetics for hand-picked hazels and machine-picked hazels; we'll maintain both.

Updates are faster these days on  Facebook:

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Very quick post here, we're into urgent hand harvest TODAY; still some days before machine harvest will be sensible.  (See UPDATE below, also)

Besides the hazel plants we sell, if you grow hazelnuts you got from Arbor Day, or "Wisconsin" - chances are over 90% you're actually growing Badgersett genetics; and there's something you need to know- today.

Some Badgersett hazels - DO NOT TURN BROWN WHEN RIPE.  In particular, the G-029-N tissue culture clones will ripen when entirely white- then vanish as animals eat them while you wait.  We've found some seedlings in all breeding lines that share this characteristic, some of which obviously took their pollen from a G-029-N somewhere.

These nuts are FULLY RIPE:

Above is life size.  NOTE_ the husk are entirely green- the nuts are white (actually a very pale but genuine green color).

Quarter for scale- NOTE - all the nuts easily come cleanly out of their husks, "abcision" is complete, the nuts are no longer taking resources from the plant.

And yes; these nuts are completely "filled", big enough for any commercial market, and with near zero pellicle fiber.

At the recent meeting of the New York Nut Growers, the Zarnowski's G-029-N clones were possibly the best looking plants there.  Our own have looked pretty ratty all year, but that has not prevented them from bearing a very good crop.

CHECK YOUR PLANTS FOR RIPENESS DAILY starting NOW.  They are ripening extremely rapidly this year, the fastest I've ever seen them do it.  Hot days make it faster yet.

PICK QUICKLY- before the mice and birds catch on that they're ripe.  At the moment- the bluejays have not discovered that the fields have lots of ripe nuts YET - this is the pattern every year.  There is a "lull" in pest pressure at the beginning- but pest theft accelerates as the season progresses.

One of your best deterrents for bluejays and crows is simply human presence in the field.  They'll avoid you.   We tend to split our picking teams up for this very reason; it slows the thieves down.

Off to the field to pick, fast.  We have around 50 of these tissue culture clones in production; and hundreds of seedlings from this breeding direction.  Many of the seedlings are not ripe- yet.  But it will happen fast- keep your eyes peeled.

UPDATE: at noon: Paranoia Is Good For You!

We have this particular clone planted in 5 different micro-climates here on Badgersett- specifically so we can measure differences.  Checking one of the more remote this morning- we were struck by how much smaller the crop was...  until it occurred to me to check for missing nuts.

You can SEE where nuts- and nut clusters - were, if you're trained, and you look.  In the current case- after counting the "empty stubs" - I'm guessing at least 50% of this outer planting - HAS ALREADY BEEN STOLEN.  They're gone- particularly the clusters, most nuts remaining are singletons.  This is a pattern we associate with CROWS.  Who are crazy smart- in case you haven't been keeping up with current research; it's now accepted by peer reviewed science that: crows are as smart as great apes; they remember YOUR face, from year to year, live for decades, and teach their young how to avoid you, and how to find food.  Give it a google.

IF Blogger is cooperating, this photo can show you 3 places where hazels, or hazel clusters, grew very recently- and were picked before I got there.  They typically leave a blunt clean scar at the tip of a twig- look, and you'll learn.  Pick a few, and look at what's left.  Then look before you pick...

Theft is already ahead of us- and it accelerates with the season.  I still don't see or hear jays- but the crows have learned to avoid us entirely, and steal as fast as they can.  Be aware!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Badgersett hazels at Oberlin College

Managed to stop in on my way back from the New York Nut Growers summer meeting; and was truly delighted to find the substantial research and demonstration planting of Badgersett hazel germplasm just outside the Oberlin Lewis Center for Environmental Studies - more than thriving.  Please note- these plants were installed only 2.5 years ago; all as standard tubelings, with about 8 clonal divisions for reference plants, including the G-029-N tissue culture clone.

To my additional delight, they're running a chicken tractor in the hazels, with about 15 Lace Wyandottes providing a little nitrogen and soil service.  The folks here, left to right, are Griff Radulsksi, Sean Hayes (Lewis Center Manager), and John Bergen.

These plants were tubelings- just 2 and a half years ago.  The tallest stems here have put on about 4 feet of new growth- so far- this year; Sean is 6 feet tall +.  Many of the tubelings are putting on catkins for next year, now; usually an indication that there will be substantial nut bearing next year.  There are even a few nuts this year on the clones.

How did they grow these so fast??  This is, in fact, as fast as we've ever seen these hazels grow; probably the fastest, period (terrific job, Oberlin!).  This plot is used as a teaching research plot, and has been managed as a randomized fertilization demonstration/experiment; with 3 levels of fertility.  Oberlin students will be measuring and doing statistics on them in the coming school year.  A really big part of "how" - is very simple.  They followed instructions, without adding random sorts of unapproved "improvements".  :-)

This is one line of the Oberlin hazel tubelings; July 14, 2011.

Another reason for you to come to Badgersett this Saturday for the Field Day- we just planted about 3 acres of hazel tubelings- 3 weeks ago.  They look awfully small- but they're on their way.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hazel genetics in the pipeline-

We have a whole lot of directions we work on with the hazels; including "big nuts", "really thin shells" and "great flavor" - oh, and "a crop, that ripens no matter what".  Here, for example is one of our research plants - fully ripe now, although so many hazels are ripening very late this year:

It doesn't look that impressive- until you crack it- and it's pretty nearly all kernel...

Don't forget!  This Saturday is Field Day.  Tons to see, although most hazels are not ripe.  And; be aware, starting this year, we're having TWO Field Days; 3rd Sat in August for hazels, and now last Sat in Sept, for chestnuts and hickory/pecans.  Come to both is you can!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Vote for the Badgersett Climate CoLab Proposal!

In mid June, Jonah Adels talked us into putting in a proposal for this year's MIT Climate CoLab competition. We're now semi-finalists, and need your votes to make it to the final presentation round at MIT this November, where the grand prize is $10,000. The judges like our proposal, which focuses on one of the many next steps for getting Woody Ag launched as an industry, and for getting even better plants into your fields.
Just making it to the next stage would be a huge help for getting the word out, and gaining support for Woody Ag and Badgersett. We also feel that if we make it to the final round there's a good chance we'll win the grand prize, which would go a long way towards speeding up the expansion of our production demonstration and clonal propagation work!

To make it past this stage, we need your help! Please do the following, at least up to step 3:

  1. If you need convincing, go to and read the proposal.
  2. Register on the Climate CoLab system so that you can vote. You can click here to get to the registration page right away. NOTE: each voter must register with both a unique screen name and a unique valid e-mail address. They are trying to make sure nobody cheats, which does make the process a little more work.
  3. Go back to the Woody Agriculture proposal page here, and click on the Vote for Proposal button.
  4. Share this blog post with your friends, and encourage them to vote and share! Click on the e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Blogger or Google+ sharing buttons below.
  5. Comment with your support and suggestions here and on the Climate CoLab proposal page.
  6. Look at other Climate CoLab contests if you like, and register your vote in the 14 other contests that have entries at this stage in the game.
UPDATE: Aug. 29:

  Folks we're doing pretty ok; but we can do better, and your help REALLY HELPS.  I actually just "registered" and voted on this myself for the first time- and DID have some exasperated moments; I'm not really a Luddite, but sometimes- computers seem to hate me.  I persevered- and triumphed- when the registration form once more REFUSED to register me- but this time- "because a person with this screen name and password already exists."  Me.  I was signed it- it just didn't admit it.  But it let me vote.

PLEASE NOTE - when you're registered, and vote- you can ALSO click on the "Comments" tab- and leave a more detailed comment there.  THIS HELPS TOO!  Please- give it a few minutes.

Thanks- and we'll keep you updated.

2013 Field Day: Saturday, August 17

Come join us on Saturday, August 17; there is much to see, as always. We've got three acres of hazel tubelings we just put in on the back hill in July, right next door to the field of hickory-pecans that's starting to come into actual production, currently being mowed by the sheep. Our hazels have another very serious crop set this year; it's running late from the cold and wet, but it's still on its way. Some of the highlights:
  • The spring was very late, and continuing lack of heat in the summer is giving rise to a substantially later than usual ripeness profile for most of the hazels. You'll get to see nearly the whole crop on the bushes this time around!
  • Big crop this year, even after last year's drought.
  • The cool, wet year has also shifted which pests are most prominent.
  • We've got a new field of tubelings just planted at the end of July. Come see what a freshly machine-planted field of hazels should look like!
  • A focus on pre-harvest pest and field management.
As usual, we've got both introductory and advanced tours on Woody Agriculture, focusing on Hazels. The advanced tours are still TBD; provide feedback in the comments on what you'd most like to see.

Suggested possible advanced tours:

  • Establishment and Nuts on the North Hill, including our field of Hickory-Pecans just now coming into production, and blight on pure American Chestnut
  • Biomass and Mature Field Management. Things to do with all the wood, and long-term weeds.
  • Pest Management and Hazelnut Harvest

Also as usual, special Field-Day discounts on plant order handling, and no minimum order. Special Very Early Bird discount for the 2013 Woody Ag Short Course!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"New Catalog" clarification.

Apparently either our email provider or our stand-in file server accidentally re-sent at least some of last year's "new catalog" announcement last night. While we figure out why that happened, we should clarify that:
1) This year's field day is August 17.
2) We are now taking orders for 2014; it's a good time to place those.
3) The catalog on is still current.
4) We still have some chestnuts, hickories, and hazels available for this season, though orders placed now may not ship until mid-late August. We are out of Tree-type chestnuts, and most hazels except for machine-picked and "plain".  New orders for "just plain" hazels and chestnuts could ship in the next two weeks.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New mowing machinery-

The horses here are now an established part of the operation.  They do tremendous - skilled - mowing, pruning, and brush clearing for us; in both the hazels and chestnuts.  They're almost the only reason we CAN harvest chestnuts these days; if we had to mow and clear by machine and hand, we'd never get it done.  Seriously; we've tried.  Yes, you have to manage moveable fence; get them water, and manage them off season- but the work is considerably less than the money and time needed to use machines.

Plus; horses reproduce; tractors don't.  That was one of the original arguments back when tractors were replacing horses as primary tillage technology- but it was pushed off by- cheap fossil fuels, subsidizing manufacture and the entire system.  Yes, yes, fracking has solved our peak oil problems- until, of course, it doesn't.  Meantime- there is a human and natural benefit to the horses.  Tractors, with very few exceptions, do not totter up to you and nuzzle your hands, as they find their way into the world.

We're having a naming contest for this little pinto filly- running it over on the Badgersett Hazel Maze Facebook page.  Prize is a Badgersett T-shirt, and an hour with Meg and the filly, for getting acquainted.  More photos there.  Sasha, the mare, had just refused to take a couple anise flavored "horse treats" from my hand; she was totally uninterested in them.  That was a first for her!  She'll normally chase me the length of the paddock if she thinks there's any chance of cadging one or two.  Seems to have been an easy birth for her- didn't seem tired; but the only thing she was interested in was- the filly. As you can tell in the photos, she let all the humans come right up, handle her, and handle the foal.  But- Anastasia, our pony mule- was a different story- Sasha laid ears back and chased her off instantly, if she approached at all.

The horses have also been used very successfully in the hazels.  They do NOT "browse" the hazels; they won't touch the leaves or the nuts or twigs...  under any normal circumstances.   This winter- we did prove that when a paddock is completely depleted of all other food- they will eat hazel twigs.  But they've got to be really, really hungry before they do.  The reason we learned that?  Climate change- the extraordinarily late spring meant- we ran out of grass.  It's growing like mad now, making up for lost time; and the horses, and sheep, are getting fat quickly.

Incidentally - we're offering our pony mule Anastasia for sale now.  She was originally acquired as a guard animal for the sheep; but that hasn't worked out. Ana just refuses to stay with the sheep, and will come out of the electro-mesh sheep paddock within a day or so of setting up a new paddock.  She doesn't run away- she just wants to be with horses; not sheep.

You can see her size here- and her great friendliness.  She's really a wonderful animal- we're only offering to sell her because she deserves more time and attention than we can give her.  She's 4 years old (I think; maybe 5?) extremely smart, and very, very willing to please you.  She's also a mule; not a horse- and needs proper training to become either a riding animal for children or a working pack animal.  We'd love to use her for nut harvest hauling- but just don't have the time to train her.  Mules come with a variety of inborn dispositions- hers is simply - sweet and willing.  Downright cuddly, in fact- as soon as she knows that, this time, I'm not going to grab her halter and ask her to do something confusing - like go back to the sheep - she behaves like a puppy starved for affection.  She likes to pick my back pocket, if she can get away with- I'm sure she's laughing about it.

She's about halfway through shedding her winter coat- in midwinter, she looks like a fat teddy bear; in summer the fur is gone.

Send us an email if you're interested- .  We're asking $400.00.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Plant Shipping Delayed...

With all the cold, cloudy weather this spring (feel free to do a search on "record May snowfall in Minnesota"), the plant growth in our solar-heated greenhouses was very slow during April, and part of March and May.  The little tubelings are picking up the pace now, but we probably won't start shipping tubelings until the week of May 29; about two weeks late. They're just not quite ready for the hardening process we put them through to get them tough and ready for your field planting.
This is one of the results of our commitment to sustainable production– we do depend on current sunlight for our heat and power, and sometimes that does slow things down. Thank you for being a part of this nature-connected enterprise!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring. Finally.

And the mud that goes with it.  Just a quick post here, something nice to share:

We're still very much in the experimental stage with sheep; but so far; I'm really liking the Icelandics.  This is Flora, and the first two lambs of the year, one girl, one boy.  And yes- this is all the cover they had; all winter; and all the cover they have for lambing.  Icelandics actually do poorly inside.  I did tie a tarp up into the pines yesterday, to shed rain, in case they cared- so far; they've sniffed it, stuck their heads under; but nobody is interested in getting out of the rain.  The lambs were - just there, up and dry and walking (wobbly) on Friday morning; they're about 36 hours old in these photos.  One of the things telling me they're healthy- they're bedded in the shade, even though there's sun available.

All this tangly wood is Scotch Pine; selections from the day when we grew Christmas trees here.  We've been thinning them all winter- and the sheep eat needles and top bark avidly.  The won't touch the bark from the bottom 3 feet of the tree.  Really.

The ewe lamb is smaller than the ram; and she has floppy ears.  Not sure what to make of that.  According to the info on the web, freemartins in sheep are very rare.

"I've got my eye on you."

This is Baldr, our ram.  We've never had any serious problems with "ram" behavior from our Icelandics- but, the old farm wisdom holds- "never turn your back on a ram."  We try not to.  Baldr will eat corn out of my hand; very carefully; no threat to fingers.  If he's in the right mood, he'll let you scratch his ears; though they're very hard to get at these days.  I was struck by the exceptional symmetry of his face here.  No question, he's focused on me.  I've seen them give the same "focus" to our farm dogs, as a flock - with the result that the dogs' tails went between their legs, and they took off.  I'm hoping they have the same effect on coyotes.  The mule is not working out; she refuses to stay with the sheep.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Plant and Nut Availability Update

Executive Summary:

Standard tubelings still available for all categories (Hazel, Chestnut and Hickory-Pecan) except MP-BFL-Haz. We expect most orders taken now to ship around mid-June, some categories still available earlier.

Bare-root dormant tubelings SOLD OUT for 2013.

A few hazels and hickories still available from the 2012 harvest. Chestnuts from 2012 sold out.

Details to come, but right now we're preparing for the Short Course that starts tomorrow!

Friday, March 1, 2013

"Eat all the nuts you want." "Really!??" "Really."

  The past few days saw the publication of a major piece of diet / medical research, in the New England Journal Of Medicine.  The NEJM is one of the top peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, highly respected.

  The study, basically, measured the effects of a traditional "Mediterranean diet" - in a large group of people (over 7,000) over a long period of time (median of 4.8 years); in Spain (where access to the correct foods is good.)

  In the world of medical research, this is an extraordinary achievement; it's incredibly hard to follow so many people, for such a long period; but they did it.

  The major reason this hit the news now- the study was shut down.  By the "medical ethics" watchdogs.  Because the results were so very clear, that to continue would be causing unnecessary deaths and illness- in the control group.  They knew it.

  Most of the world media picked this up as another "yes indeed, olive oil is good for you!" story; but that is grossly inaccurate.   Quoting from the NEJM:

   "In a multicenter trial in Spain, we randomly assigned participants who were at high cardiovascular risk, but with no cardiovascular disease at enrollment, to one of three diets: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a control diet (advice to reduce dietary fat). "

   In plain English; they compared 3 diets; high olive oil; high nuts (instead of olive oil); or common "low-fat" diet.

   The outcome- either the olive or - OR the high nuts diet - reduced death and illness by 30%, over the low-fat diet.  That's essentially the same impact statins have; the miracle drug of the past decades.

   The difference between the high olive oil diet and the high nuts diet (specifically a mixture of "English" walnuts, almonds - and hazelnuts!!) was a matter of a couple percent- not statistically significant.

  Nuts - are good for you.  We - here - knew that.  Now the medical world agrees, fully.

   MORE THAN THAT - there were two aspects to the study that are very hard to sift out of either the technical paper or the popular press versions; but which the NYT writer Gina Kolata hits in her video interview; available at the top of this article.

  Speaking to the researchers; she was amazed to hear them recommend that "people should eat all the nuts they want."  She had trouble believing that- as did her interviewer- so it gets repeated.  Yep; that's what the doctors were saying- with this addendum: "Except at meals."  What?  Because- they fill you up so effectively- you might not eat the fish, fruit, and tomato sauce that are also part of the diet...

   They kind of gloss over the "why" - but it's actually enormously significant.  Nuts satisfy your hunger- to the extent that you stop being hungry.

   In a world plagued with increasing obesity, and obsession with losing weight- can we "sell" that?

   Oh, yes we can.  And for once- getting people to eat more of our food product - will be good for them.

  Notice; our other 2 nut crops weren't included in the study; chestnuts and hickory/pecans- so we shouldn't assume.  But there is abundant evidence they are also, literally, "good" for you; and we're working on the data for that.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Season Begins!!

In spite of the snow outside the greenhouse, the nuts are starting to wake up from their winter dormancy. I'm sharing a close-up profile of a chestnut germling below.

We've planted over 4000 hazelnuts and 900 chestnuts to date.  We wait until they have germinated so that all seeds in a flat are nearly the same developmentally.  By doing so we can ensure watering and other treatments can be provided at near optimal timing for the entire population of plants in a flat.

We use subirrigation via flood-able tables to ensure even water availability to the tublings.  If you are familiar with the leaf size of hazelnuts (or chestnuts) you can readily see how water from an overhead source could be deflected from reaching the surface (and interior) of individual tubes (white containers above and below).  In order to ensure good capillary action we presoak the flats after planting.  Included in this presoak is a combination of beneficial soil organisms in a product called Actinovate.  These organisms become established in the soilless planting medium and help ensure pathogens causing rootrot do not take over.  This is critical for the continued health of the crop as the irrigation water is drained from the tables and reused.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Badgersett Short Courses: Mar 23-24 AND April 13-14. Two Locations; Details:

Email just sent out to our mailing lists:

According to demand, we are expanding the annual Short Course to TWO dates this year for the first time; at two different venues.

March 23-24 (with some events 22 and 25) at the traditional location near Badgersett in SE Minnesota, at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center.

April 13-14 (with some events 12) at The Dept. of Sustainable Living, Maharishi Univ., Fairfield Iowa.

The two events will be somewhat different, again in response to demand; the March Short Course will focus on theory and Hybrid Hazelnut crop specifics; the April, Iowa, Short Course will teach theory with a focus on Hybrid Chestnut crop specifics.

Both will provide a good grounding in Woody Agriculture crop basics, including pests, genetics, harvest, marketing, and establishment; but detailed examples and discussions will be specialized for the first time.  Persons who want to attend both will likely not be disappointed.

Some additional details for housing and registration pricing for the Minnesota course on March 23-25 are available at last year's short course page at . Updates for both events will be posted on the blog as they become available.

Brandon Rutter

Dr. Brandon L. Rutter
COO and Acting Vice President,
Badgersett Research Corporation
888 557 4211

Time is short, REGISTER NOW:

Minnesota Woody Ag Short Course: March 22-25
->> Early bird registration at $279 until March 8, $309 after <<<
Woody Agriculture theory, with a concentration on HAZELNUT practices. Field class on Monday.
Register at: (it's okay to use last year's forms until we get them up for 2013; just note that the dates are different)

Iowa Woody Ag Short Course: April 12-14
Hosted by the Department of Sustainable Living of the Maharishi University of Management
Presenters: Philip A. Rutter, founding president of the American Chestnut Foundation, and Dr. Susan Wiegrefe
Woody Agriculture theory, with a concentration on CHESTNUT practices.
Registration pricing and lodging options TBA, we will announce them on our blog. Registration will be through the Department of Sustainable Living.

Held nearly every April since 2006, the two-day short course is an in-depth event covering details of both the theory behind and practice of Woody Agriculture crop production. Attendance is highly recommended for current and potential serious producers. The most up-to-date and advanced material is covered, some of which is only available here or through our consulting services.

For those of you who have attended before, there are some bigger changes this year in addition to the overall updating of information we always do:

1 -> Chestnut-focused course in Fairfield! This course will still have Woody Ag basics, but focus primarily on the practical details of growing chestnuts. The one you've been waiting for! More details to come on the blog:

2 -> Rotating Presenters. This means most talks will be given by a different member of our science staff from usual, adding perspective and information from different viewpoints. Most likely there'll be something presented more clearly than before, from your own point of view!

For the course in Minnesota– stay for the field tour of Badgersett Farm on Monday if you can; potential field class/demonstrations include coppice, in-field cloning, gopher control and others.

We consider the Short Course to be one of the cornerstones for people building experience and expertise in Woody Agriculture. We think it's an excellent event, but you don't have to take our word for it– see what previous attendees have to say!

"I know that you probably wanted a shorter, one-paragraph testimonial, but there was so much to brag about, that I had to include everything…"
-Matt Nowak, KS Grower. Natural Resources Specialist for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, US Army.

"As for the presentations:   They were just awesome."
-Erlyn Madsen, UT Grower.

For more detailed testimonials, see

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ALSO: As usual, there is some flexibility in this year's exact course content. If you have a particular topic you would like to have covered; please comment here with your suggestions, by March 15.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Education Is Never Free."

But this is ridiculous:

  This is Meg's Leg; very soon after the major reconstruction surgery.  It actually looks quite a lot better these days; but it's worth remembering where we started.  I'm hoping we'll eventually have the xrays we can show you- boy, they're impressive.  We could start our own scrap metal business.

  The red spot to the left of the top stitches is the hole left by the screw for the immobilizer rig.  I still don't understand why these wounds (4; penetrating skin and muscle and leaving screw holes in the bones) don't result in gangrene and death.  But they don't.  Sterile technique and intravenous antibiotics notwithstanding- I would think you couldn't keep them clean enough.  They're all closed tight now.

  Meg is still mostly in bed, until the end of February.  She is on track to start putting weight on the reconstructed knee then.  Stitches out weeks ago.  She did have to have another operating room procedure, to break scar tissue that was restricting movement, under general anesthesia.  That turned into a 4 day stay in the hospital; but she now has 120° of flex in the knee; and a good chance she'll recover more.  Also recovering torsion of the knee; she can't quite cross her legs and sit- but almost.

  Progress.  And, I've now managed to abbreviate the response when we get asked; "Ohmigosh; what did you DO??"  to: "Draft horse miscalculation."  That seems to communicate clearly.