Photo Credit: Kim Cassida

Who we are

We are a dedicated collaboration of researchers, educators, outreach specialists, farmers, and stakeholders from more than 20 universities, farmer organizations, industry, and government agencies from across the US. We are exploring the many ways perennial forages and crop diversification can improve agricultural resilience and increase ecological benefits of farming.

Our project has six main objectives with a coordinating committee overseeing the project.  Each objective has a team compiled of experts to complete each objective. Learn more about our teams below.

Our goal is to work as a transdisciplinary unit. Transdisciplinary refers to an approach that involves collaboration and integration of knowledge and skills from different disciplines or fields of study to address complex problems. In a transdisciplinary approach, experts from diverse fields work together to integrate their knowledge and skills, to develop a shared understanding of the problem they are trying to solve. This approach recognizes that many problems faced by society today are complex and interconnected and cannot be solved by a single discipline or perspective. Therefore, it is necessary to bring together experts from different fields to work collaboratively to address these problems. A transdisciplinary approach often leads to innovative solutions that are more effective than those developed by a single discipline alone. Learn more about transdisciplinary approach here.

Coordinating Committeeexpand_more

  • Valentin Picasso Risso, Project Director 
    • Associate Professor – University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Carol Williams, Project Coordinator
    • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Kim Cassida
    • Assistant Professor/Extension Specialist, Forages and Cover Crops – Michigan State University
  • Marisol Berti 
    • Professor – North Dakota State University
  • David Hannaway 
    • Professor – Oregon State University
  • William Lamp
    • Professor – University of Maryland
  • Ann Finan
    • Professor – St. Cloud State University
  • Andrew Stevens
    • Assistant Professor – University of Wisconsin – Madison

Diverse Perennial Forages

Identify current dominant and appropriate diverse perennial forage systems in major agroecoregions, and characterize forages, crops, and livestock practices, markets, and farmer demographics, motivations, and barriers for adoption.

Agronomy & Agroecology

Assess resilience and quantify provisioning, regulating, and supporting ecosystem services of current and diverse perennial forage systems by modeling and exploring alternative future scenarios.


Assess the economic and social value of ecosystem services and risk management for society; identify potential market failures and missing markets that would otherwise support adoption of diverse perennial forage systems.


Identify policy measures including crop insurance, lending, and subsidies to incentivize diverse perennial forage systems at state and federal levels.

Extension & Outreach

Conceive a new narrative, develop actionable tools, and communicate concepts to farmers, consumers, lenders, and policy makers about the benefits of diverse perennial forage systems.

Educational Tools

Develop and incorporate instructional content for K-12, undergraduate, and graduate courses on design, and assessment of diverse perennial forage systems, resilience, ecosystem services, and economic value.