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Marketing Sericea Lespedeza

Fort Valley State University will soon open the door for small-scale growers to gain skills that could help them establish a sustainable market for sericea lespedeza products.

Sericea lespedeza is a high-tannin forage that has been shown to reduce internal parasite loads in sheep and goats. It is a perennial warm season legume that can tolerate infertile, acidic soils and grow well on sloping land with minimal lime and fertilizer inputs.

Dr. Tom Terrill, a forage specialist who began researching sericea lespedeza in 2004, recently received a SARE grant called, “Expanding Marketing Opportunities for Dried Nutraceutical Sericea Lespedeza Products for Small-Scale Farmers.” The $295,000 award will primarily assist small farmers in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

For this grant, Terrill is collaborating with FVSU colleague Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, associate professor of agricultural economics, to develop a survey and gather information from lespedeza growers and small farmers who may be interested in planting the seed. Dr. Niki Whitley, a FVSU animal science Extension specialist, will also assist by reaching out to small farmers.

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