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Research Projects

The Center has a 40 year history of cooperation on research projects with the University of Minnesota. In addition, projects in cooperation with North Dakota State University, US Department of Agriculture, and the industry partners have been ongoing in recent years.

The Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) grant titled: Evaluation of Switchgrass as a Biofuel Crops and the Minnesota Next Generation Energy Program (NextGen) grant titled: Advancing Rural Fuel Production with Innovative Processing Systems and Crops are current research efforts.

Improving Water Quality of the Central Sands (LCCMR)
This is a project funded by a grant from the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).
The primary goal of this research was to study ways to reduce nitrate and phosphorus losses to groundwater and surface waters of sandy eco-regions. This was to be accomplished through the development, promotion, and adoption of new farming and land management practices and techniques.

LCCMR Final Report (pdf)

Dedicated Energy Crop Production (Next Gen)
This is a Minnesota Next Generation Energy Program (NextGen) grant supported effort investigating energy crops for marginal and droughty soils.

High Tunnel – University of Minnesota
The High Tunnel project is a joint effort of Central Lakes College and the University of Minnesota. High tunnels are intended to extend the growing season and increase the amount and quality of produce in this northern latitude.
Slicing cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and garlic are grown in the Ag Center’s high tunnel and marketed in the local area.
Research is being conducted on plant varieties, fertility, irrigation, disease and pest control.

Sunflowers – USDA
USDA-ARS sunflower research is being conducted to investigate white mold and head rot disease. The Ag Center site has the soil type and irrigation required to make this possible. This work involves propagating disease resistant wild varieties and exploring the possibility of transferring these genetics to domestic varieties.

Hazelnuts – This is a continuing project of U of M grad student Lois Braun investigating this crop for small business potential, marginal land use and renewable energy production.

Sweet Sorghum – This crop is being investigated as an alternative ethanol feedstock. Varieties have been tested and sugar content evaluated to determine total gallons per acre of ethanol production. The Ag Center has a 100,000 gal/yr research ethanol plant to conduct fermentation trials and yield.

Keith Olander, Ed.M.
Director of AgCentric, MNSCU Center of Excellence in Agriculture
Dean of Agricultural Studies
Director of CLC Ag & Energy Center
Central Lakes College
1830 Airport Road
Staples, MN 56479
O- 218-894-5163
M – 763-257-2881
F – 218-894-5165