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Rick Worthington Small Grains next in Farm-to-Table
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: June 20, 2019

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Small Grains next in Farm-to-Table

An event at the end of June is highlighting the important role small grains play.

From Grain to Plate Field Day will take place June 30 on Meadowlark Farm in southwest Wisconsin.

The aim is to bring growers, processors and consumers together to explore why grains such as wheat, barley, oats and rye matter.

Halee Wepking of Meadowlark Farm said these crops can help farms stay economically viable and improve growers' conservation efforts. She hopes small grains can become a bigger part of the local food movement.

"The farm-to-table movement has really focused on produce and eggs and meat production," Wepking said. "But there's also staple crops that are a part of that - so, obviously, grains and beans."

John Wepking, Halee's husband and manager of Meadowlark Farm, said small-grain production helps extend their conventional corn and soybean rotation and, he added, they are an environmentally friendly way to control weeds. Small grains also reduce soil erosion, pull up nutrients to increase soil health and reduce nutrient runoff, protecting local water quality.

Wepking said most farmers in the region have the ability to grow these crops.

"They have drills; their combines can harvest oats. Everyone has all of the tools, for the most part, in their shed to grow these crops," he said. "But the challenge is having reliable and profitable markets for them."


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