Organic corn field day – September 18th, East Troy

Breeding Corn for Organic Farmers with Organic Farmers.
Field day, Friday, September 18th, 10 AM to 3:30 PM, East Troy/Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

The Mandaamin Institute is breeding corn : 1) for high nutritional value (protein, methionine, lysine, and carotene) and taste; 2) that does not allow itself to be pollinated by GMO corn; 3) that is nitrogen efficient; 4) that combines these characteristics with good yields and dry-down. This research is funded by USDA-NRI-OREI, the Ceres Trust, and Organic Valley.

The field day will show how we are developing corn hybrids and varieties. And because this work can only succeed in conjunction with organic farmers and others, we will also highlight the work of our most local associates.

We will rendezvous at an organic café (2894 On Main) on the town square of East Troy, Wisconsin at 10 AM to see a unique partnership between market gardening and restaurant, run by the Rohrer family.

The first stop will be at the Rohrer farm. There we will view the Mandaamin Institute’s yield test plots and discuss how we are breeding for cross incompatibility with GMO corn. We will also view cover crop plantings in the corn and summer seeding berseem clover before heritage wheat. Organic farmer John Pounder will discuss his work growing and marketing open pollinated and hybrid corn varieties from our project and our cooperative work with heritage wheat varieties.

The second stop will be at the Goldstein’s organic farm (W2331 Kniep Road, Elkhorn, WI) to view the first yield trials of our N efficient hybrids. A lunch will be available there for $10 for those who register for the meal in advance. We will highlight corn bread made from our first released open pollinated variety, and eggs raised with our corn that have ultra-bright yellow-orange yolks. During lunch, cooperating corn breeder Kevin Montgomery (Montgomery Consulting, Maroa, Illinois) will speak about how to breed hardy, disease resistant corn for organic farmers.

Third stop will visit yield trials taking place on the historic Zinniker farm, which is a 75 year old biodynamic farm. There we will discuss relationships between farm management, yield trials, soil and grain quality, and weed control. John Bashaw of Pendragon specialties will show a hydraulic weeder suited for weed control in row crops, vegetables, and test plots.

Finally, those who wish to meet and talk further can meet back at the café for free tea or coffee.

Topics will include:
 Breeding corn for organic farming
 Grain quality, nutritional value, egg quality
 Breeding N efficient corn that works with N fixing bacteria
 Cross incompatible corn that avoids GMO contamination
 Cover crops, and organic and biodynamic soil management
 Weeds and weed control equipment
 Heritage wheats
 An organic café

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Biodynamic Association of North America, Pounder Bros Farm, Rohrer Enterprises, and Pendragon Specialties.

Cooperative Board Leadership Roundtable

Join us in Madison on August 4th
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As the business world grows increasingly more complex, an effective board is critical to cooperative’s success. How do board leaders balance responding to changing conditions while remaining focused on the long-term goals and needs of the cooperative? How might your board improve performance to better meet the needs of its members?Join other cooperative board leaders on August 4th in Madison, WI, to share challenges and solutions that your cooperative board is facing. The Cooperative Board Leadership Roundtable is a flexible and interactive forum that will focus on the following topics:

  • Role of the board chair and other leadership positions
  • Facilitating effective meetings
  • Strategies for good decision making processes and developing a more efficient board
  • CEO review and succession planning
  • Best practices in board leadership.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to network with your cooperative board peers!

Cooperative Board Leadership Roundtable
Fluno Center, Madison, WI
August 4, 2015
Register Now
Logistics and other Information
9:00AM – Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:30AM – Roundtable begins
2:00PM – Roundtable adjournsContact Information:
Anne Reynolds, Executive Director
UW Center for Cooperatives
(608) 263-4775
Registration and Cost: $100 per participant includes light breakfast, lunch and onsite parking at the Fluno CenterRegister two or more individuals from the same cooperative and receive a 10% discount!There is a limited number of financial hardship registrations available. If you need assistance, please contact us.
Thank you to Cooperative Network for cosponsoring this event!
This program is presented by:
The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives and UW Extension
Copyright © 2015 University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, All rights reserved.unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

Time to register: Northern Nut Growers conference

The 106th Northern Nut Growers Conference will be held this July in LaCrosse! Register by July 1 and save. Register now at the NNGA website at  or go directly to the meeting registration website at:

July 27-28, speakers from across North America will share their experience with a variety of nuts – chestnuts, hazelnuts, oaks, butternuts, hickory nuts, walnuts, even cashews. Sessions will cover breeding, crop management, marketing and business development.

We expect to draw 200 nut growers, sellers, and allied supply chain partners. Don’t miss this networking opportunity!

The program will feature sessions on running a nut business, given by business leaders in the field. Beth Barham will be traveling up from Missouri to talk about her work on geographic indication – that is, Taste of Place. See her academic article at

The tour organized for July 28th includes a hike through a native chestnut grove, a tour of Mark Shepard’s polyculture farm, and a look at the American Hazelnut Company’s processing facility. The tour ends with dinner at the Rooted Spoon.


Continental Nut Grower conference July 26-29 in LaCrosse

The 106th Northern Nut Growers Conference will be held this July in LaCrosse!

July 27-28, speakers from across North America will share their experience with a variety of nuts – chestnuts, hazelnuts, oaks, butternuts, hickory nuts, walnuts, even cashews. Sessions will cover breeding, crop management, marketing and business development.

The tour organized for July 28th includes a hike through a native chestnut grove, a tour of Mark Shepard’s polyculture farm, and a look at the American Hazelnut Company’s processing facility. The tour ends with dinner at the Rooted Spoon.

Register by July 1 and save. Register now at the NNGA website at  or go directly to the meeting registration website at:

SW Badger RC&D needs a new ED!

Could it be you??

Southwest Badger RC&D is seeking a new Executive Director. Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development Council is looking for an energetic and organized individual to serve as Executive Director. The Executive Director works with a regional Council to carry out the mission of the organization and oversees all aspects of day to day operations including administration, personnel, project management, fundraising, and public relations activities. Application materials can be found on the web:

Deadline is Monday, May 4, 2015.

Food Chains showing on campus March 12

Havens Center on the UW-Madison campus will screen Food Chains,  a film by Sanjay Rawal at the Union South Marquee Cinema, Wednesday March 12, 7 pm.

Jose Oliva of the Food Chain Workers Alliance and Gerardo Reyes of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers will lead a discussion following the film.

Union South is located at 1308 W. Dayton Street.  This event is free and open to the public.

Remember that National Farmworkers Awareness Week is March 23-29.


Midwest School for Beginning Grape Growers

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, March 29-31, 2015

You bring your interest and hopes for your own vineyard business. We expose you to what you need to know and plan for as you plant grapes and grow.  This intensive, three-day course gives you a realistic picture of what it takes to start and operate a successful vineyard business—including capital, management, labor and other resources. Topics covered include market assessment and profitability, site selection and soil preparation, variety selection, pest management, economics, equipment and labor needs.

What do we offer?

  • A unique program that combines knowledge from experienced growers and regional experts.
  • Learn essential concepts in vineyard management and what it takes to succeed in the business.
  • Spend extended time with experienced growers and gather invaluable tips and practical know-how.
  • Network and learn from fellow growers and entrepreneurs.

Program highlights
This class affords the opportunity to immerse yourself into the realities of grape growing with a team of instructors who share your enthusiasm. We do more than scratch the surface on topics such as variety selection and pest management; rather, we take a deeper dive to expose you to the information and tools required to launch a successful vineyard business. Our goal is to start you on a path toward a sustainable and profitable business. Over the three days we will discuss the joys and challenges of operating a farm business in addition to growing grapes in the Midwest.

Is this workshop right for you?
This course is intended for people who are serious about starting an orchard business in the Midwest. To learn more about this school, contact John Hendrickson at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, UW-Madison, (608) 265-3704 or

WHEN: March 29, 30 and 31, 2015
TIMES: 10–4:30 Sunday; 8–4:30 Monday; 8–2:30 Tuesday
LOCATION: Madison, WI (details provided after you enroll)
COST: $375

For more information and application materials contact:

John Hendrickson
Phone: (608) 265-3704

Grant writing workshops in March

The UW-Extension Community Food Systems Team (Carrie Edgar, Erin Peot, & Andrew Bernhardt) is partnering with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and will be leading three Grant Writing Workshops for the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Foods Promotion Program (LFPP) at three locations around the state –

  • March 3:   Eau Claire County UW-Extension, 227 1st Street West, Altoona, WI 54720
  • March 4:   Brown County UW-Extension, 1150 Bellevue Street, Green Bay, WI 54302
  • March 6:   Dane County UW-Extension, 5201 Fen Oak Dr. Madison, WI 53718

Each workshop will run from 10am – 3pm and all workshops are free (including free lunch) but you must register.

Register at:

Please register at least a week prior to the event so that we can get accurate counts for lunch.

This is a great opportunity to refine your own project idea and learn about these great grant programs!

Learn more about this event at:

Aronia meeting March 19-21

The Midwest Aronia Association will be holding their 2015 conference, open to both members and non-members, in Moline, IL, March 19-21.  MAA focuses on education and communication.

The conference and other benefits of membership is not limited to those who have a common business interest in growing aronia.  Anyone who has an interest in learning about and promoting aronia as a socially and environmentally sustainable alternative can enjoy membership benefits for $25 annually.  Academic non-voting membership includes students, teachers, instructors, institutions and members of the general public at large.

To learn more about the mission of MAA, how to become a member, and details about the annual conference, please visit   With the conference location nearby, and the wide range of speaker topics, this would be a good time to consider participation in the MAA annual conference.

Organic Agriculture Research Symposium February 25-26th

We are busy working on all the details that go into making a conference a success. Below is the agenda for the Symposium. We hope you can join us!

To register, go to

If you can’t join us in person, eOrganic is live streaming events in the Radisson Ballroom and will be posting the other events. To register, go to

Organic Agriculture Research Symposium

The Radisson, La-Crosse, WI

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

12:00-1:00pm Registration
1:00-1:30pm Welcome and introduction (Radisson Ballroom)Bill Tracy, University of Wisconsin; Jim Riddle, Ceres Trust; Brian Baker, independent consultant
1:30-3:00pm Concurrent workshop session 1

  • Farming Systems: Seeing the Big Picture (Radisson Ballroom)
    • Stephane Bellon, French National Institute for Agricultural Research;Organics in 3D: diversity, dynamics and design of organic agriculture
    • Mathieu Ngouajio, USDA-National Institute for Food and Agriculture; Enhancing functional diversity in organic agriculture: The contribution of NIFA’s organic program
    • Aurelie Cardona, French National Institute for Agricultural Research; Collaboration between farmers, extension agents, wholesalers and consumers to design suitable sustainable and organic systems.
    • Michelle Miller, University of Wisconsin, moderator.
  • Organic Seeds: What is at Stake? (Minnesota)
    • Alexandra Lyon, University of Wisconsin; Seed Needs and Challenges: Interviews with Wisconsin Organic Vegetable Growers
    • Lisa Schlessinger; University of Illinois; Pollen Drift: Reframing the Biotechnology Liability Debate
    • Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance; State of Organic Seed: Results of a Survey
    • Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance, moderator, Certification Requirements and Quality Standards.
3:00-3:30pm Break and poster viewing (coffee, tea and refreshments provided)

Concurrent workshop session 2

Organic Research: An International Perspective (Radisson Ballroom)

  • Brian Baker, independent consultant; A Comparison of European and North American organic agriculture research policies
  • Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University; Lessons from Italy: Policies and Provisions to Facilitate the Transition to Organic Farming
  • Marc Tchamitchian, French National Institute for Agricultural Research; Research and development integration to foster Organic Farming in France.
  • Jim Riddle, Ceres Trust, moderator.
  • Plant Breeding for Organic Farmers 1: Back to the Future (Iowa)
  • Walter Goldstein, Mandaamin Institute; Breeding high nutritional value corn for organic farmers. 
  • Adrienne Shelton, University of Wisconsin; Collaborative Release of an Organic Open-Pollinated Sweet Corn (Zea mays L.) Variety
  • Lisa Kissing Kucek, Cornell University; Participatory Breeding of Wheat, Spelt, Emmer, and Einkorn for Organic Farming.
  • Bill Tracy, University of Wisconsin, moderator.
  • Biological Control: Working With Nature (Illinois)
  • David Lowenstein, University of Illinois at Chicago; Natural enemies and biological control of lepidopteran brassica pests in urban agriculture.
  • Alex Stone, Oregon State University; Contans as a tool for organic white mold management
  • Ken Johnson, Oregon State University; Biocontrol of fire blight: why a yeast represents a new paradigm is disease suppression
  • Eric Carr, Rodale Institute; Deploying microbes as a seed treatment for protection against soil-borne plant pathogens.
  • Alisha Bower, IPM Institute of North America, moderator.
5:00-6:00pm Reception, light meal and poster presentation in the lobby by the Radisson Ballroom
6:00-7:00pm Chuck Benbrook, Washington State University
The Benefits of Organic Agriculture: Evidence Based Results
Keynote in the Radisson Ballroom



Thursday, February 26, 2015

8:00-8:30am Registration and networking
8:30-10:00am Concurrent workshop session 3

  • Holistic Livestock Care and Feeding (Minnesota)
  • David Bane, DVM, Sydney, IL; Measurement of biomarkers in food animals to assess animal inflammation and wellness
  • Annie Donoghue, USDA-ARS, Fayetteville, Arkansas; Organic Poultry: Developing Natural Solutions for Reducing Pathogens and Improving Production
  • Jennifer MacAdam, Utah State; Enhanced forage intake and milk production on birdsfoot trefoil pastures in the western US
  • Jim Riddle, Ceres Trust, moderator.
  • Soil Health: Back to Basics (Radisson Ballroom)
  • Anna Cates, University of Wisconsin; Long-term Tillage, Rotation, and Perennialization Effects on Particulate and Aggregate Organic Matter
  • Robert J. Kremer, USDA-ARS, Columbia, Missouri; Soil Health Improvement in an Organic Orchard Production System in Northwest Missouri
  • Stuart Grandy, University of New Hampshire; Increased microbial efficiency and growth drive soil organic matter increases in organic cropping systems.
  • Alex Stone, Oregon State University, moderator.
  • Organic Markets: Quality and the Consumer Connection (Illinois)
  • Kathryn Boys, Virginia Tech; Export opportunities and import competition: Improving understanding of international markets for US organic farm and processed products.
  • Bradley Heins, University of Minnesota; Effect of Growth, Meat Quality, Profitability, and Consumer Acceptability of Organically Raised Dairy-Beef Steers.
  • Kitt Healy, University of Wisconsin; Variety trials for direct market quality and flavor.
  • Brian Baker, independent consultant, moderator.
10:00-10:30am Break and poster viewing (refreshments provided in Radisson Ballroom lobby)
10:30-noon Concurrent workshop session 4

  • Farming Systems: Putting it all Together (Radisson Ballroom)
  • Erin Hill, Michigan State University; Quantifying the impacts of cover crops on organic dry beans
  • Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin; Implementing cover crop-based reduced tillage in small scale organic vegetable production.
  • Rachel Weil, University of Wisconsin; Comparison of Labor Needs for Field Production, Harvest, and Packing on Organic Diversified Vegetable Farms in the Upper Midwest.
  • Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Foundation, moderator.
  • Plant Breeding for Organic Farmers 2: Creative Partnerships and Emerging Varieties (Iowa)
  • Ruth Genger, University of Wisconsin; Building a healthy organic seed system for potatoes through farmer-researcher partnerships.
  • Sara Turner, Texas A&M University; Evaluation of carrot (Daucus carota, L.) for traits related to early seedling establishment and canopy growth at different planting densities in organic systems
  • Phillip Simon, University of Wisconsin; The CIOA (Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture) Project: Location and Genetic Background Influence Carrot Field Performance and Flavor
  • Bill Tracy, University of Wisconsin, moderator.
  • Economics of Organic: The Bottom Line (Minnesota)
  • Timothy Delbridge, University of Minnesota; The Barriers to Organic Transition: Impacts and Policy Solutions
  • Tom Kriegl, University of Wisconsin; Comparing Feed Costs of Different Dairy Systems (Mainly Wisconsin) From 1995 to 2010
  • Carolyn Dimitri, New York University; The Organic-Conventional Yield Gap.
  • Brian Baker, independent consultant, moderator.
12:00-1:00pm Lunch – Radisson Ballroom
1:00-3:00pm Listening session 1: Identifying Research Needs and Gaps (Radisson Ballroom)Facilitators: Brian Baker, independent consultant; Jessica Shade, The Organic Center; Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance; Jim Riddle, Ceres Trust; and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Center.
3:00-3:30pm Break (refreshments provided)
3:30-5:00pm Listening session 2: Strategic Planning and Bridge to MOSES Organic Farming Conference (Radisson Ballroom). Facilitators: Brian Baker, independent consultant; Jessica Shade, The Organic Center; Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance; Jim Riddle, Ceres Trust; and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Center.


Friday, February 27, 2015

6:00-8:00pm Listening session 3: Presentation from OARS Planners and Further Input (LaCrosse Center Room C). Facilitators: Brian Baker, independent consultant; Jessica Shade, The Organic Center; Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance; Jim Riddle, Ceres Trust; and Diana Jerkins, Organic Farming Research Center.



Posters in the lobby of the Radisson Ballroom:

  • Tessa Peters, UW; New methods for participatory development of sugary enhanced sweet corn varieties.
  • Tom Kriegl, UW; The Financial Performance Of Dairy Systems Across the U.S.A.
  • Abbe Hamilton, Penn State; How organic farmers maximize the ecosystem service provisioning potential of cover crops in the Mid-Atlantic.
  • Keefe Keeley, UW; Woodland grazing management and hardwood silvopasture in the upper Midwest.
  • Virginia Moore, UW; Cover Crop Adoption on Organic Vegetable Farms in Wisconsin.
  • Jessica Davis, Colorado State; Evaluation of an On-Farm Bio-Fertilizer Production System Using Cyanobacteria.
  • Timothy Delbridge, University of MN; An Analysis of Crop Insurance Alternatives for Organic Crop Producing Farms.
  • Andy Petran, University of MN, Extending the Season for Organic Strawberry Production in the Midwest