New market opportunities. Sustainable agriculture. Habitat for wildlife. Improved water quality. Diversified farming. Entrepreneurship.

In a nutshell--agroforestry.

From riparian buffer systems to top-notch walnut and pecan production, the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry is offering a hands-on look at how these frequently discussed concepts are practiced during a tour of Midwestern agroforestry practices in Missouri and Iowa.

The guided motor coach tour, June 23 through 25, offers an up-close look at the five practices of agroforestry, and the researchers and landowners who use them successfully.

"The tour is a locally based showcase of agroforestry practices in use across the Midwest to optimize the use of land resources and sustain agricultural incomes," said Michael Gold, associate director of the agroforestry center. "This event is for anyone interested in making the best use, both short and long term, of their diverse forest and farm landscapes."

The tour, which includes stops at 10 agroforestry research sites and demonstration farms in Missouri and Iowa, precedes the 1st World Congress of Agroforestry, June 27 through July 2 in Orlando, Fla. Tour guests will depart from and return to Columbia, Mo., following an itinerary of research and on-farm applications of temperate agroforestry practices including a pine straw species trial, direct-to-market black walnut alley-cropping, silvopasture demonstrations and ground-breaking gourmet mushroom field trials.

Tour highlights of research farms include the nationally known riparian buffer Bear Creek Restoration Project demonstration area near Story City, Iowa; the University of Missouri Greenley Farm near Novelty, Mo., featuring state-of-the-art research on non-point source pollution; and the 700-acre University of Missouri Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center near New Franklin, Mo.

Landowners practicing value-added and alternative marketing of agricultural products will also be featured, with a visit to Ben's Black Walnut Orchards and processing facility of Centerville, Iowa, and Shepherd Farms of Clifton, Mo., which includes a 250-acre pecan tree orchard alley-cropping demonstration and the farm's buffalo herd.

"Agroforestry represents new ways of generating income while protecting the land resources for future generations," Gold said. "As demonstrated on the upcoming tour, Missouri and Iowa are in an excellent position to reap the benefits of agroforestry practices."

Cost for the tour is $300 per person with semi-private hotel accommodations or $350 per person with private hotel accommodations. The fee includes motor coach transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, refreshments, a set of MU agroforestry videos and an agroforestry training manual.

The registration deadline is June 1. To register, or for more information, contact Julie Rhoads, UMCA tour coordinator, at 573-882-3234 or rhoadsj@missouri.edu, or visit http://www.centerforagroforestry.org and select "Upcoming Events."

The tour is sponsored by the MU center, the USDA National Agroforestry Center, and the Iowa State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management.

Attendance at the 1st World Congress of Agroforestry in Orlando is not required to participate in the pre-congress tour of Midwestern agroforestry practices.

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