New Organic Stewards


Our country is counting on a new crop of farmers to grow our food, revitalize the countryside, and protect our natural resources. New Organic Stewards connects these new farmers, provides educational opportunities, and inspires them to grow using sustainable, organic practices.

MOSES partners with Renewing the Countryside to offer services to beginning farmers (farming 10 years or less) through the New Organic Stewards project.

Where to Begin? 


Connect at MOSES 2015

The MOSES Organic Farming Conference (#MOSES2015) is a great event for expanding your farming know-how and making meaningful connections. We have a full slate of activities and workshops lined up to help you do just that.

First stop: Come to the New Organic Stewards booth on the Concourse just off the main lobby and get a Farmer Ninja sticker for your name badge—you can find other New Organic Stewards by looking for that ninja.

Orientation for First-Time Conference-Goers:
North Hall, Thursday 6 p.m.
Learn how you can get the most out of your experience at MOSES 2015. Come away armed with knowledge and prizes!

Conference KickOff & Concert:
North Hall, Thursday 7 p.m.
Who will be crowned 2015 MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year? Find out at the KickOff and stay to hear farm-raised musician Susan Werner.

Open Mic Night:
Root Note Organic Cafe, 115 4th St. S., downtown, late Thursday
Meet up at the Root Note Organic Cafe. Wear your Farmer Ninja sticker for $1 off drinks. Show La Crosse the farmers are in town!

New Farmer Lounge:
All day Friday & Saturday
Hang out in our lounge beside the New Organic Stewards’ booth on the Concourse just off the main lobby. Connect with other beginning farmers and share the conference experience. This is where we’ll be giving away books about farming!

New Farmer Mixer:
Friday 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Get to know other beginning farmers. Hosted with the National Young Farmers Coalition in the New Farmer Lounge on the Concourse by the New Organic Stewards booth.

Contra Dance & Social:
Friday 8 p.m.
Nothing square about this caller-led dance.  Join the fun!


Workshops for Beginning Farmers:
Our Organic Specialists have hand-picked the best workshops at the conference for folks who are in their beginning years of farming. You aren’t limited to these, though. The conference offers 67 workshops over six sessions. Click here to see the full list of workshops by farming category.

Walking Tractors for Small Market Growers
Presenter: David Abazs, Round River Farm
Friday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

For small acreage, walking tractors may be the best way to keep costs down while growing more food. What brand, model and horse-power should you get? How much will it cost to purchase and maintain? How much time and body does it take to use a walking tractor? We’ll weigh the pros and cons of walking tractors and explore other small-farm techniques to grow more food and make more money.

Too Many Rutabagas: Time and Productivity Management for Farmers
Presenter: Chris Blanchard, Flying Rutabaga Works
Friday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

There’s always something to do on the farm, and it can be overwhelming. We’ll look at ways to overcome the overload of information, tasks, and projects. This workshop combines simple yet elegant principles of time and information management with practical examples of their application to life on the modern farm.  You’ll come away with tools to get on top of your game, improve your business, and maximize your quality of life.

Basics of Organic Certification
Presenter: Michelle Menken, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association
Friday 2-b – 11 a.m.

Get an overview of the National Organic Program and regulations covering organic production, and then practice the certification process. We’ll use a made-up farm to discuss scope, land eligibility, buffers, seeds and planting stock, livestock, and recordkeeping. We will complete an Organic System Plan (OSP) for our mock farm, using producer, livestock, and wild harvest forms. If time allows, we’ll also do a simple processing OSP for an on-farm product.

Organic Row Crops for Beginners
Presenter: Carmen Fernholz, A-Frame Farm
Friday 2-b – 11 a.m.

Discover all the details you need to consider when transitioning to organic row crops. We will cover everything from rotations to adequate fertility. Learn about fertility sources, organic weed management, and how to let go when it comes to marketing these crops. Bring your questions and leave with answers. 

Vegetable Crop Planning – Keep Planting!
Presenter: Claire Strader, Dane County Extension and FairShare CSA Coalition
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Having a tightly organized, easy-to-follow crop plan is key to a bountiful vegetable harvest. We’ll cover the mechanics of crop planning from specific harvest goals to creating a planting calendar for a whole season that includes crop spacing, succession planting, field mapping, and cover cropping. You’ll get a complete planting calendar for a 4-acre diversified vegetable farm serving CSA, farmers’ market, and wholesale accounts to guide your own crop planning.

When Weeds Talk
Presenter: Jay McCaman, McCaman Farm
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Weeds are a product of the soil environment. When the environment changes, weed species also change. Most of our weed problems are really due to soil imbalances. Learn how to “read” what weed problems are telling you about your soils, and how to control them with correct fertility.

Basic Soil Microbiology and Soil Structure
Presenter: Allen Philo, Midwestern Bio Ag
Saturday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

Improve your understanding of the soil that nurtures your crops by examining the relationship between soil structure, soil health, and soil microbiology. We’ll pay special attention to how plants and microbes interact with one another, how microbes can change the soil environment, and how they acquire energy for these processes.

Productive Packing House
Presenter: Chris Blanchard, Flying Rutabaga Works
Saturday 2-b – 11 a.m.

On a vegetable farm, the magic happens in the packing house. And the best magic happens when your packing house works smoothly and provides a food-safe environment. We’ll look at the principles and practices that you can use to make the most of your current packing facility, as well as what to consider if you have the opportunity to start from scratch. Covered topics include workflow, ergonomics, storage considerations, and food safety.

Navigating Finance Options for Success
Presenter: Jan Joannides, Renewing the Countryside
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Finding the resources to start or expand your farm or food venture can be like bouncing around a pinball machine with lots of shiny possibilities (loans, grants, kickstarter campaigns). We’ll look at the options and ways to position your business to get the right financing when you need it. Topics covered include sources of capital, stakeholders in the financing process, and case studies of financing options.

Need help paying for the conference? Apply for a scholarship


Go to main MOSES Conference page.



Where to begin?

Guidebook for Organic Certification
This 32-page guidebook will answer your questions about organic certification! From general production questions, to a discussion on approved materials, this guidebook is an indispensable resource.



  • Funding:
    • Learn about grants and other funding opportunities to help you get started in organic and sustainable farming. See our Funds for Farmers page.
    • Badgerland Financial is currently offering beginning farmers within the lower 32 counties of Wisconsin grants up to $1,500  – for customers and non-customers alike.  Learn more.
    • Beginning farmers in Minnesota can get half scholarships for the Farm Business Management program offered through Minnesota State Colleges and Universities or the Southwest Farm Business Management Association.
  • Find land:
  • Internship | Job Opportunities


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