Introduction

Alfalfa (lucerne or Medicago sativa) provides healthy food for millions of people and contributes mightily to the environment by providing healthy soils, clean water, clean air and wildlife habitat. It is one of the world’s oldest domesticated crops grown on six continents and is fourth most important economic crop in the United States. The World Alfalfa Congress pulls together experienced alfalfa scientists, farmers, students and businesses from around the world to learn from each other about production technology, economics, genetics, and environmental interactions of this important crop. Come join us for this important world get-together!

Objective

To provide an opportunity for scientific interaction, grower-relevant outreach, top-level knowledge sharing, and an opportunity for commercial interaction from participants from many parts of the world about alfalfa production, utilization, and alfalfa improvement.

Vision 

The world is facing unprecedented challenges within food systems. Human populations are increasing beyond 9 billion souls to people with a changing climate, limits to water, limits to land, challenges to on-farm profitability, and demands from the public for environmental health. Alfalfa is a perennial legume with tremendous potential contributions to soil health, environmental health, and human nutrition. There are challenges and opportunities with alfalfa and alfalfa-based production systems for addressing some of the key challenges to the future of agriculture and the environment. The value of alfalfa as an N2-fixing legume with significant soil and wildlife habitat advantages is often not well understood, nor widely appreciated. New horizons are offered to research such as microbiome, chemical ecology, genome editing, and cropping systems offer new research frontiers and possible innovations. With the growing resources in digitalization, precision agriculture has high potential for producing alfalfa and linking with animal food production as well as non-animal foods. At this conference, we ask attendees to examine a wide range of current research on this crop and to envision the future role for this crop to sustain agriculture for future generations.

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