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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Central > Restoration Agriculture & Keyline Design

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Restoration Agriculture & Keyline Design


The project will demonstrate options of capturing and infiltrating rainwater using keyline design concepts. Keyline design, developed by P.A.Yeomans*, is a method of capturing water from areas of concentrated flow and, with the use of swales and/or soil ripping, moving it slowly across the landscape to drier ridges or pocket ponds. There are several established keyline systems on working farms in the upper midwest that report good success with improved soil condition and hydrology. We are looking for University support in development of keyline systems and communicating this concept to the public.



  1. Establish two keyline systems in the Central MN region using the berm and swale design method to facilitate future research needs.
  2. Host two field days to highlight the project, showcase the results, and raise awareness of keyline systems.
  3. Increase statewide awareness and knowledge of keyline design systems and associated agroforestry practices.


  1. Established keyline / agroforestry demonstration sites in central Minnesota that can be used to highlight scalable agricultural models that are ecologically restorative and economically resilient.
  2. Established keyline / agroforestry sites in central Minnesota that can serve as future research sites to document possible ecological and economic impacts of these models.
  3. Producers will learn possible conservation practices that they can implement into their operations to improve plant / livestock health, and farm profitability.
  4. Increased awareness by consumers of agro ecological practices and the possibilities of productive conservation.
  5. Improved wildlife habitat and landscape hydrology.
  6. Increase of producers implementing these practices.
  7. Ultimate outcome would be statewide practice standards established by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service/ MN Board or Water and Soil Resources and practice cost share through state and federal programs.



Leverage resources

Sustainable Farming Association in-kind - $400; Happy Dancing Turtle in-kind - $500; Island Lake Farm/Bakers' Acres in-kind - $1500

Project start date: 07/2015
Project end date: 12/2018

Last updated 12-23-2015
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