The Forever Green Initiative is developing and improving winter-hardy annual and perennial crops that protect soil and water while driving new economic opportunities for growers, industry, and communities across Minnesota.

By combining these novel crops with traditional annual crops, farmers can keep the soil covered all year round. This approach to farming with “continuous living cover” can greatly enhance the efficiency and sustainability of Minnesota agriculture.

Uniquely, the Forever Green Initiative combines basic research with crop commercialization efforts, so that it can be profitable for farmers to produce these crops across rural Minnesota. This comprehensive approach moves new crops out of the lab and onto the landscape, where they can make a difference for farmers, the environment, industry, and society. 

In short, Forever Green crops can help farmers build soil health, profitably. They advance all the key principles of soil health and regenerative agriculture by protecting the soil with plant cover, keeping living roots in the ground, reducing tillage, and diversifying crop rotations.

The Forever Green Initiative’s portfolio includes over 15 crops, each supported by a multidisciplinary team that may include expertise in the areas of genomics, breeding, agronomics, natural resource sciences, food science, sociology, economics, and commercialization.

The Forever Green Initiative is a research platform in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) at the University of Minnesota. Leadership is housed in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics.