2023 Perennial Report Cover

Together we're making an impact for the climate and our communities.

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Cultivating climate resilience in Midwest agriculture

Inspired by the oak savannas native to the region, the Savanna Institute supports the growth of more diverse, perennial farming in the Upper Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds. We work to create opportunities for farmers integrating trees with crops and pastures to diversify their incomes and landscapes, raise healthy food, and make their local communities more resilient.
Map of the Midwest USA
Cow in a silvopasture looking at the viewer.

Why Trees on Farms?

When people integrate trees and shrubs with crops and livestock on farms, they create habitat for wildlife, improve water and soil quality, produce healthier crops and animals, and help restore natural balance to the climate.

What We Offer

A one-stop shop for research, education, outreach, technical service, demonstration farms, and commercialization efforts, the Savanna Institute is working to scale up agroforestry so farmers can draw down carbon for generations to come. 

Do you have a question?

Ask an Agroforester

Where can I buy plants?

Our partners at Canopy Farm Management, based in Illinois and Wisconsin, have perennial plant material available through its bare-root nursery. When you purchase through Canopy, a portion of the sales help to support Savanna Institute’s nonprofit mission. For more nurseries in your area, check out this National Nursery and Seed Directory.

What trees or shrubs should I plant?

The plants you choose will depend on the natural resources on your land and your farm goals. Timber trees require low investment and minimal ongoing maintenance over a longer period of time ranging 20 to 50 years depending on species. Fruit and nut trees require higher initial investment and establishment maintenance, but can provide annual returns once established (approximately 5 to 10 years depending on species). Additional shrubs and crops can be planted within the tree rows between tree species. Learn more about perennial crops.

Where are your demonstartion farms?

The Savanna Institute runs demonstration farms in Central Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. We also have partners in Michigan and Minnesota who share their farms for educational events. Our demonstration at Silverwood Park in Wisconsin is open to the public, and the rest are open during events and by appointment only. Learn more about our demonstration farms.

Staffer slides protective plastic tube around hazelnut sapling as part of agroforestry research at Savanna Institute's Valley Farm, Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Thank You Partners

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