The University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative

Winter-hardy perennial crops, under development through the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative, are green and growing even when other farm fields are barren. Credit: University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative. 

We know that getting to clean water in Minnesota means adding more perennial and cover crops. These crops are great for water quality and soil health, and can also benefit wildlife and our climate (by sequestering more carbon).

But we also know that farm operations won't make that switch unless these crops are profitable.

That’s where Forever Green comes in.

Forever Green: The next generation of crops

The University of Minnesota's Forever Green Initiative is a perennial and cover crop development program. Through it, Minnesota is accelerating the development of economically viable winter annual and perennial crop options.

These crops can reduce runoff pollution and habitat loss currently associated with our dominant annual cropping systems (corn and soybeans) while maintaining or enhancing farm prosperity — a key goal of FMR’s water program.

While modest funding has been secured for Forever Green in recent legislative years, it’s time to ramp up our efforts to bring these next-generation “clean-water crops” online quickly.

Our 2019 legislation

Through our 2019 Minnesota Water Act, FMR and our allies will request $7.5 million in state general fund support for Forever Green. This support, along with the $2.5 recommended by the Clean Water Council from the state’s Clean Water Fund, will result in a $10 million overall investment in Forever Green this biennium.

These funds will accelerate development of Forever Green crops, and pairs well with our ongoing efforts to pilot these new crop markets in Minnesota through the Working Lands Drinking Water Protection Program.

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