The Upper Midwest Hazelnut Development Initiative (UMHDI) was launched in 2007 to support the growth and commercialization of the hazelnut industry in the Upper Midwest through grower support, targeted research, and technology development. There are more than 130 hazelnut growers in the region, managing 67,000+bushes on 140 acres. To bring this endeavor to scale, the collaborating farmers and researchers are invested in a series of short and long‐term projects. With funding from many diverse sources, the researchers have made significant progress, and are developing a plan of work through 2023.
The Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of WI-Madison is sponsoring workshops in the Driftless region from 2012-2016 for growers and others in the food supply chain to share their experiences in bringing this product to market.
- 2012: Specialty Pork: Growing Flavor, Growing Markets 8/2012
- 2013: Marketing the Native Understory 6/2013
- 2013: related workshop – Growing Woody Perennials 9/2013
- 2015: Conference co-host: 106th annual Northern Nut Growers Association conference, LaCrosse, WI July 26-29.
- 2016: TBD
The UPHDI also sponsors regular winter meetings and summer field days. Go to the project web site for more information on events and research, including information on how to do on-farm research on hazelnuts.
For a quick overview of the project, check out this video:
UW-CIAS researched five case studies on nut grower-built businesses, as part of its work with the Initative. The cases are available for download and a report will be printed for distribution at the NNGA 2015 conference. Brady Williams, a graduate student with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Agroecology Program, researched and wrote these cases and discusses lessons learned in a powerpoint: Brady – Value-Added Lessons (MHG Conference 3.2.13)
- Executive Summary: Sprouting New Tree Nut Businesses in the Midwest: Five Case Studies includes sections on building a supply chain; production challenges; processing options; marketing and pricing unique products; lessons learned.
- Hammons Products – Missouri black walnuts
- Missouri Northern Pecan Growers, LLC
- Heartland Nuts ‘N More – a Nebraska cooperative for growers in the adjoining states
- Chestnut Growers, Inc. – Michigan hybrid chestnuts
- Prairie Grove Nut Growers – informal brokerage for IA, MO and IL growers
- Mark Shepard, farmer, New Forest Enterprises, Viola, WI
- Jason Fischbach, UW‐Extension-Bayfield County: American hazelnut screening, Wisconsin Germplasm and Demonstration trials, outreach and education
- Mike Demchik, Professor of Forestry, UW‐Steven’s Point: American hazelnut breeding, propagation, genetic diversity analysis
- Brent McCown, Professor of Horticulture Emeritus, UW‐Madison: Propagation, American hazelnut breeding
- Eric Zeldin, Research Scientist, UW‐Madison: Propagation
- Jim Lane, Professor of Chemistry, UW‐Superior: Hazelnut oil
- Michael Bell, Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology, UW-Madison: Community development
- Michelle Miller, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, UW-Madison; Human organization
- Norm Erickson, farmer, Rochester, MN
- Don Wyse, Professor of Agronomy, UMN: Hybrid hazelnut breeding, agronomics, industry development
- Lois Braun, Post‐Doctoral Research Associate, UMN: Hybrid hazelnut breeding, propagation, agronomics
- Jeff Jensen, farmer, Fenton, IA
- Anthony Kern, Professor of Biology and Chemistry, Morningside College: Genetic diversity analysis, EFB screening