The hills and hollers around Lake of the Ozarks wouldn't generally inspire thoughts of agriculture for most people, but a research farm near Laurie could show you differently.

The hills and hollers around Lake of the Ozarks wouldn’t generally inspire thoughts of agriculture for most people, but a research farm near Laurie could show you differently.

The 560-acre Allen Project Site, donated by Doug Allen, is operated by the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Center for Agroforestry. In Missouri, agroforestry is a relatively hot, new topic in agriculture.

The Allen farm runs experiments on the best ways for Missouri farmers to cultivate this type of land for maximum profitability, health and conservation, then extend this knowledge to landowners for possible implementation. The Allen Project Site is hosting a workshop from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 7 (with a lunch served) to feature hands-on demonstrations and educational presentations of agroforestry concepts that landowners in the region can take home and put to work.

“In keeping with Doug Allen’s vision, this farm will highlight ways that smaller Ozark farms can generate income,” said Dusty Walter, director of resource management for the MU Agricultural Experiment Station. “Set among the hills adjacent to the Lake of the Ozarks, this farm has a unique Ozark feel and contains landscape features that contribute to a unique field day opportunity. And, while a day is not enough time to see all this farm has to offer, we will highlight some features that make it a special place for learning, demonstration and education. We hope that by partnering with Doug and his vision for this property, that it becomes a valued regional source of information about land stewardship and profitable small-scale farming.”

The workshop will include presentations on entrepreneurship with native plants, specialty crops and non-timber forest products, with a focus on growing and marketing those plants, crops and products. There will be discussions and demonstrations by growers, herbalists, a chef and a brewer. Attendees will also learn permaculture and agroforestry for sustainable land use. A farm tour will be offered, weather permitting.

“Growing medicinal plants and edible mushrooms can be an economically viable option for small landowners in the Ozark region and can fit in well with an overall forest management plan,” said Gregory Ormsby Mori, outreach coordinator with the MU Center for Agroforestry.

The cost of the workshop is $10. Registration is due by Thursday, April 5.

The Allen Research and Education project site is located east of on “Old Eight,” which runs between Highways O and P. The official address is 30118 Old Eight Road, Gravois Mills, MO 65037. The project site is in a valley east of this address.

The registration form, along with a check, which can be made out to the University of Missouri, can be sent to Center for Agroforestry, 203 ABNR, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

For more information, call (573) 882-9866 or email ormsbyg@missouri.edu. I believe you need to register in advance.