Have any crops from Clearview Farm emerged?
So far, oats, red clover, canola and alfalfa have emerged, according to Jim Goss, vice president of farms for The Atkins Group.
“Those were all planted the weekend around Easter,” he said. “They’re all up and doing good.
The wheat and triticale that were planted in the fall are also doing well, he said.
“It looks like everything did well through the cold weather,” Goss said. “I was a bit worried about the weather, but it didn’t get quite cold enough.”
He said many of the crops can handle the cold weather.
“That’s sort of their thing,” he said. “Everything looks like it’s off to a pretty solid start.”
The Atkins Group is growing 18 different crops on 140 acres of land tucked northeast of where interstates 57 and 74 intersect.
They’re hoping to showcase regenerative agriculture and include educational signs about the different crops.
Clearview Farm will also be where The Atkins Group plants a field of sunflowers, much like the popular field planted last year at the Stone Creek subdivision in southeast Urbana.
Goss said the sunflowers and a few other crops won’t be planted until May.
“They’re way too sensitive to cold weather,” he said. “That’s hard stuff to come by, so we can’t take a chance and have a frost.”
In particular, he said quinoa has been hard to buy.
“We’re going to have the only quinoa in the Midwest in a commercial setting, so we bought all they had,” Goss said. “The stuff at Clearview is not stuff I can go to Illini FS or Nutrien and pick up an extra bag. Some is, but a lot of it isn’t.”
Overall, he said the project is going well so far in its first year.
“You’re learning on the fly. That’s always a challenge, but that’s the excitement,” Goss said. “In a month, I’ll feel a lot better when everything is planted and up. Maybe in a month we’ll have flax that’s in bloom. That’s the exciting part about it.”