Published Mar 20, 2017

Challenges and Opportunities with Hazelnuts

By Practical Farmers of Iowa


Hazelnuts are an excellent perennial crop option for various agroforestry practices. Not only do they provide multiple landscape benefits, they produce tasty and nutritious nuts. Opportunities are growing for farmers to establish hazelnuts on their farms – but there are challenges as well. Join Iowa Nut Growers Association president and hazelnut grower Jeff Jensen, and Minnesota Hazelnut Foundation member and grower Norm Erickson, to learn more about the challenges and opportunities in hazelnut production.

Jeff Jensen works with Trees Forever as program manager for its Working Watersheds: Buffers and Beyond program in Iowa, and as the field coordinator for northwestern Iowa. He has a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and has worked in the field of sustainable agriculture for several years. Jeff is also active with the Iowa Nut Growers Association, Minnesota Hazelnut Foundation and Upper Midwest Hazelnut Development Initiative. He grows and markets hazelnuts from his family farm near Fenton, Iowa, in northern Kossuth County.

Norm Erickson, in partnership with his wife Mary, have been growing hazelnuts for more than a decade. A self-described “tinkerer,” Norm has designed and developed various pieces of hazelnut processing equipment and continually makes improvements to increase efficiency and reduce labor. Norm and Mary produce and market a line of high-end cosmetic hazelnut oil. They live and grow in Lake City, Minnesota, and are founding members of the Minnesota Hazelnut Foundation.