Badgersett Research Farm

Contact: Philip A. Rutter
Rt. 1 Box 141
Canton, MN 55922


The work of Badgersett Research Farm is in the domestication and development of woody perennial plants for simultaneous production of food and biomass fuel; developing sustainable "woody agriculture" systems for both Third World and First World settings. The primary research species are hazelnuts and chestnuts (Corylus and Castanea). There are also plantings of hickories, pecans, apples, and Christmas trees. National and international interest in the work of Badgersett is growing: as of 1989, Badgersett has a cooperative research agreement with the Hubei Academy of Agricultural Science in China, and similar discussions are underway with researchers in India and South America. We have presented several invited papers on using woody plants for large scale food production at international symposia on Global Warming. For more insight into Badgersett's work, see the Feb. 1990 National Geographic's article on Chestnuts, and search on "woody agriculture" on the web.

Interns work primarily taking data on tree performance, making controlled pollinations, and caring for the research plantings, including planting, planting crew management, mapping, weeding, and mowing. Some data processing on a Macintosh computer may also be needed. Interns will be trained in the judgments and techniques necessary for data taking, pollination, and the other projects. We will also make time for extensive discussions of the theoretical aspects of the projects, and make a real effort to see that the intern learns as much as he or she cares to about our work. Some interns, especially Junior or Senior level students, have received college credit for their work here. Individual research projects, with the goal of publishing papers or generating a thesis, are also possible.

Living arrangements are tents, either individual or group depending on preferences. Board is provided via an intern run dining co-op. Arrangements are primitive but flexible! The interns live as part of our extended family, and will sometimes be expected to pitch in with non- research related farm chores, such as gardening, cooking, firewood cutting, Christmas tree shearing and construction. Interns need to be strong and healthy. Badgersett is located in rural SE Minnesota. The landscape is hilly with mixed hardwood forest and farms. The soil is among the best agricultural soils in the world. Mosquitoes are rarely a problem, but grass pollen is abundant.