Workshops by Category

2015 Audio Recordings


Field Crops | Healthy Soils & Farming Systems | Livestock
Market Farming and Specialty Crops | Business, Marketing & Certification
Education, Environment and Emerging Issues


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New Organic Stewards

Research Forum


Field Crops


New Cultivation Tools and Technology
Presenters: Clyde Morter, Guy Machinery, Martin Wagner, Einbock Company, and Klaas Martens, Lakeview Organic Grain
Saturday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

New cultivation tools and computer-assisted technology allow farmers to control weeds better than ever. Timing and weather play a critical role, but so does the choice of equipment. We’ll cover pre-planting weed control, blind cultivation, weed control in small grains, weed control in the row, and precision cultivation between rows.

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. 

Pest Management in Organic Grain Crops
Presenter: Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University
Saturday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

The majority of organic grain crops require little beyond native bio-control agents to keep pests in check. This workshop will focus on all the biological, cultural and organic-compliant treatments available to organic farmers. We’ll also look at research results and farmer experience to judge how effective these treatments are for maintaining a pest-suppressive organic grain system.

Protecting Organic Corn
Presenter: Frank Kutka, Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Corn, which is wind pollinated, is especially susceptible to crossing with transgenic varieties not allowed in organic agriculture. Rather than give up this profitable crop, organic farmers may prevent unwanted outcrossing by using naturally occurring traits to reduce fertilization from undesirable pollen. Learn about the genetic sources of these “gametophytic incompatibility” traits and current breeding projects focused on protecting the integrity of organic corn seed and grain.

Quality Hay Production
Presenter: Karl Dallefeld, Prairie Creek Seed
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Quality hay is important to the ruminant diet. Producing quality forages improves all facets of meat and milk production. The decisions you make during the life of a forage stand impact animal health, production and economic sustainability. This workshop will help you make practical choices that will improve the forages you harvest for your own hay or to sell to others.

Small Grains in an Organic Cropping System
Presenter: Klaas Martens, Lakeview Organic Grain
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Integrating small grains into your crop rotation can make your farm more profitable. Learn about production and marketing of wheat, barley, spelt, emmer, einkorn, rye, oats, and triticale. Discover the differences between traditional common rye and modern European synthetic and hybrid rye varieties. Also, review recent research results on using rolled small grains in an organic no-till system.


Healthy Soils & Farming Systems


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.

Building Resilient Organic Seed Systems
Presenter: Theresa Podoll, Prairie Road Organic Farm and Seed
Saturday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Resilient seed systems provide for the creative and ongoing adaptation of plants to meet changing needs and changing environments. Learn strategies to build your relationship with the crops and varieties you produce and rebuild resilience back into our food and agriculture systems. We will discuss variety trials, goal setting, trait selection, genetic diversity, varietal maintenance, and stockseed programs.

Climate and Agriculture: Our Evolving Understanding
Presenter: Bill Bland, UW-Madison
Saturday 2-b – 11 a.m.

Some aspects of climate change might be advantageous to some agricultural endeavors, while other changes will only make the work of farmers more difficult. We’ll review the current understanding of our changing climate, the timeframes expected, and how it may impact agriculture in our region. We have embarked on a long, slow transformation of Earth’s climate, with both practical and ethical implications for all of us.

Conservation Cropping System to Regenerate Soils
Presenter: Barry Fisher, USDA NRCS
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Examine the key principals of soil health and the benefits of a “Conservation Cropping System” that integrates significantly less soil disturbance, cover crops, crop rotations and innovative management of weeds and pests. Cover crops can play multiple roles—weed control, nitrogen scavenging, improved infiltration and water-holding capacity—which are critical for achieving maximum production in conservation cropping systems. Learn about key factors to optimize this resilient system.

Dealing with Pesticide Drift and Misapplication
Presenters: Paul Dietmann, Badgerland Financial, and Lex Horan, Pesticide Action Network
Saturday 2-b – 11 a.m.

New crops resistant to more volatile herbicides such as 2,4-D are likely to make pesticide drift and off-target application worse than ever. We’ll discuss how to recognize pesticide drift, document its effects on your farm and your family’s health, report drift incidents, and work with insurance companies to be compensated for crop damage. We’ll also discuss ways to reduce the risk of misapplication or drift and lessen the likelihood of conflicts with neighbors.

Farm Conservation to Stand the Test of Time
Presenter: Eric Lee-Mäder, The Xerces Society
Friday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

Like the Roman-era hedgerows that survive in Europe today and the 1,000-year-old Japanese Satoyama communities that seamlessly integrate nature with agriculture, farm conservation systems should be built to last. Learn how diverse conservation systems can help ensure ecological resilience and maintain productive crops and livestock in the face of drought, war, climate shifts, loss of biodiversity, and more.

Foliar Feeding Plant Nutrients
Presenter: Reginald Destree, Organic Marketing Inc.
Friday 2-b – 11 a.m.

The value and economics of foliar feeding of organic crops have been evolving since the 80s. Learn about the relationship of plant nutrient levels to soil fertility, and how foliar nutrients work as a catalyst to enhance the uptake of soil nutrients. Using data from research and field trials relating to plant uptake, plant nutrient corrections and yield results, we’ll explore prospective foliar fertility programs.

Increase Your Compost’s Power
Presenter: John Jeavons, Ecology Action
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Yields, cold composting, carbon-to-nitrogen ratios, using more structural and less metabolic carbon, and correct maintenance of compost piles are key to the production of more compost and humus. We’ll look at ways workshop participants currently make compost, building on these approaches to create systems that yield more compost and humus and to lead to more soil fertility and water retention.

Keyline Design: Managing Water on Your Farm
Presenters: Grant Schultz, Versaland Farm, and Mark Krawczyk, Keyline Vermont LLC
Friday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

Take an action-packed tour of Keyline design—a methodology for harvesting water in soil. Learn how to improve crop yields, develop watershed resiliency, and irrigate using gravity. We’ll explore varied methods for surveying, designing, and installing Keyline landscapes, using basic hand tools to advanced GPS systems and everything in between. We’ll cover Keyline techniques to optimize plant-available moisture, design and build ponds and basins, and explore micro-hydro electricity generation.

Restoration Agriculture: Can I Make any Money at This?
Presenter: Mark Shepard, New Forest Farm
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

A three-dimensional, perennial landscape with fruit and nut trees, shrubs and vines may sound like a good idea, but how do I make money while these crops mature? Once they mature, how and where do I sell these sometimes uncommon crops? We’ll discuss the economics of the agroforestry practice of alley cropping, then explore various marketing strategies. Learn about the newly formed perennial products company, Restoration Agriculture International, and its plans for the future.

Rethinking your Farm with Cover Crops
Presenter: Christine Mason, Standard Process
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Cover crops can help a farm maximize soil quality as well as crop yields. We’ll discuss the added benefits of pollinator habitat and soil conservation as well as the possibility of utilizing cover for control of specific weeds. We’ll focus on annual clovers, vetches, buckwheat, and grasses along with a few others. Learn appropriate seeding rates, planting systems, and incorporation tools, plus where to source cover crop seed.

Use Less Water per Pound of Food
Presenter: John Jeavons, Ecology Action
Saturday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

Compost, shade, and nutrients are key to using less water in farming. We’ll explore what workshop participants are doing in their current farming systems and build on that to design alternative approaches for higher yields using less water and nutrient inputs. We’ll also show how these approaches reduce insect and disease challenges.

Vermicomposting for the Cold Climate Farm
Presenter: John Biernbaum, Michigan State University
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Vermicompost can be a reliable, affordable source of organic matter containing both soluble and stable nutrients for production of high-value transplant and hoophouse crops. It can be made from on farm or local resources that help close the food cycle loop. We will investigate vermicomposting variables for vigorous, vibrant vegetables, based on four years of hoophouse vermicomposting experience and research at Michigan State University.

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.



A Little Doe, and a Few Bucks: Are Goats a Good Choice for your Farm?
Presenter: Dela Ends, Scotch Hill Farm
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

If you are considering goats on your farm, it is important to have the right conditions to raise healthy happy animals, to select the right animals, to define your purpose for having goats and consider the economics and time requirements of maintaining a herd. This workshop will help you determine if dairy goats can contribute to your farming enterprise by looking at goat care, production, expenses, and income potential.

Animal Welfare in Context
Presenter: Jennifer Burton, D.V.M.
Friday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

What constitutes food animal well-being? Which practices benefit welfare, and which indicators are most suitable for gauging animal welfare on your farm? We’ll consider recommendations in the context of on-farm realities such as labor and cost, plus explore key consumer concerns and a few of the issues most frequently encountered by livestock producers when pursuing welfare certification. Learn to identify synergies among food animal welfare, health, and productivity for flexible, sustainable advancement of welfare in your organic management system.

Beginning Beekeeping
Presenter: Aaron Brin, Sweet Springs Farm
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Honeybees, which provide honey, wax and pollination services, are a valuable livestock species to add to  your farm. We’ll cover basic bee biology, choosing an apiary location, forage availability, and various tools and equipment including hive and frame types. Starting with purchasing bees in the spring, we’ll look at each season’s activities to encourage healthy colonies. We’ll also cover common pest and disease treatment options, harvesting and marketing products from the hive.

Presenter: Hue Karreman, D.V.M., Rodale Institute
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Cows are talking to us all the time—learn how to interpret what they’re telling us. We’ll go over the six major factors that create health and improve milk production, and look at photographs of cows in barns and pasture to see how they tell us which factors are present or missing. We’ll explore sub-sections of UdderSignals® and HoofSignals® too. This interactive workshop is suitable for farmers with 10 cows, 100 cows, or 1000 cows.

Does It Pay to Irrigate Pasture Here?
Presenters: Tom Kriegl, UW Center for Dairy Profitability and Paul Onan, Onan Dairy Farm
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Many dairy and livestock operations use management intensive rotational grazing for controlling feed costs. Yet many believe the cost of irrigation can’t be justified for pasture. Considering that many pastures are dominated by grasses that are not drought tolerant, and we’ve seen a substantial increase in agricultural commodity and input prices since 2006, it’s worth looking at the economic feasibility of irrigating pasture in the Upper Midwest.

Ergonomic, Affordable Milking Parlors
Building an Inexpensive and Excellent Milking system for Humans Milking Cows
Presenter: Vance Haugen, UWEX Ag Agent
Saturday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

Regardless if you milk four or 400 cows, you should have a safe, sane, affordable place for you and your family to harvest milk. A new or retrofit pit parlor will save your hips, knees and back—and you can build one without spending a fortune. See how to retrofit an ergonomically functional pit parlor affordably into an existing barn, and explore case studies of low-cost milking systems.

Fencing: Getting it Right
Presenter: Randy Cutler, Cutler Fence, LLC
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Discover the ins and outs of fencing for livestock: the planning, placement, and practicality of making fence. You’ll learn about fence types, mental and physical barriers, resources, costs, and preparation. You’ll also get to see how to use various fencing materials.

Lessons Learned Raising Organic Pastured Poultry
Presenters: Vince and Julie Maro, Coon Creek Family Farm
Friday 2-b – 11 a.m.

Since becoming certified organic in 2005, our farm’s annual poultry production has gone from hundreds of birds to a high of 2,000 and back again. We’ll share the many lessons learned along the way. Topics include raising chickens and turkeys from brooder set up, chick care, pen design, portable electric fencing, daily chores, processing, record-keeping through marketing.

New Developments in Dairy Genetics
Presenters: Paul Dettloff, D.V.M., and Jennifer Burton, D.V.M.
Saturday 2-b – 11 a.m.

A2/A2 dairy genetics has caused great excitement in the dairy industry—a single mutation in the gene responsible for the production of the casein protein has huge implications for nutritional quality. We will review the emergence of A2/A2 milk in New Zealand with the publication of the book The Devil in Milk, and the latest research findings and marketing opportunities. We’ll also discuss the latest developments in polled genetics.

Organic Grass-fed Beef Success
Presenters: Rod Ofte. Willow Creek Ranch, and Allen Williams, LMC, LLC
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

A condensed version of the Organic University course, this workshop explores soil health, plant diversity, forage and grazing management, cattle genetics, grass finishing solutions, cattle enterprise economics, and processing solutions, costs, and returns. We’ll cover the steps for organic certification and approved management tools. Learn how to produce a consistently high quality product while earning a reasonable return on your investment, and get resource tools to help you make sound management and financial decisions.

Organic Pasture Management for Dairy Production
Presenters: Mark Renz and Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Saturday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Pastures—critical to organic dairy production—vary widely among farms in their composition and management. These factors, plus soil fertility practices, greatly influence pasture productivity and quality, impacting milk production. We’ll draw from a recently completed research project on 40 organic dairy pastures to show you how to prioritize management practices to improve pasture productivity and quality in the Upper Midwest.

Practical Approaches and Research Studies with Swine
Presenter: Tom Frantzen, Frantzen Family Farms
Saturday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

This workshop combines decades of experience with the latest research results to give you practical information to improve your hog operation. Learn about the goals and personal values that guide Frantzen Farms, collaborated on-farm research, and other relevant research information with a focus on forages and grow finish diets.

Where’s the Beef in Animal Product Quality?
Presenter: Chuck Benbrook, Washington State University
Saturday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

How animals are fed and managed has profound effect on milk, meat, fish, and egg quality—which likely accounts for most of the differences in the nutritional value of organic versus conventionally raised animals. We’ll examine recent meta-analyses that link animal, fish, and human nutrition with health outcomes. You’ll find there’s a surprisingly deep body of evidence pointing to adverse nutritional impacts from conventional livestock and aquaculture systems.


Market Farming and Specialty Crops


Are You Making Any Money in Your High Tunnel?
Presenter: Adam Montri, Michigan State University
Saturday 2-b – 11 a.m.

Most crops grow bigger and faster when you cover them with season-extending technologies, but are those beautiful early, late, and out-of-season products making you any money? We’ll look at simple techniques farmers are using to track profitability by crop, plus what else you can do with those numbers, such as planning planting amounts, sales efficiencies, when to hire and how much you can afford to pay for labor.

Art and Science of Vegetable Fermentation
Presenter: Angelica Hollstadt, Angelica’s Garden
Saturday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Vegetable fermentation—once our great grandmother’s pantry staple—now is the hippest trend in food preservation. Science is exploring the complexity of the human microbiome and the role that raw cultured vegetables play in maintaining a healthy microbiome. We’ll look at the science behind the natural process of culturing vegetables and delve into the art of fermentation, exploring the fascinating microbial world that turns a crisp head of cabbage into succulent sauerkraut and much more.

Homemade for Sale: Increase Farm Income with Value-added Products
Presenters: Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko, Inn Serendipity Farm
Saturday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

From making salsa with your extra tomatoes to offering a bread share to CSA members, “cottage food” legislation lets you earn extra income with value-added products made in your home kitchen. We’ll cover navigating state legislation, identifying your product niche, setting up your business, kitchen organization, and packaging and other marketing considerations. We’ll also look at scaling up into incubator kitchens, co-packers or an on-farm commercial kitchen.

Identifying and Controlling Vegetable Diseases Organically
Presenters: Erin Silva, Amanda Gevens, UW-Madison, and Beth Kazmar, Tipi Produce
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Managing diseases on an organic vegetable farm requires planning and a proactive approach. We’ll provide an overview of the tools an organic farmer can use to proactively manage disease—such as variety selection, crop rotation, row spacing, and irrigation—and allowed products that can be used if conditions are conducive to disease development. We’ll also address specific crop/disease combinations.

Innovations from the E.U. in Organic Vegetable Production
Presenter: Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Explore innovations in organic vegetable systems in Italy, which has over 48,000 organic farms and an extensive support system (government, research, and private certification associations) to assist organic farmers in the transition and beyond. We’ll also discuss details on new roller-crimpers, vegetable varieties, and climate mitigation studies.

Introduction to Vegetable Seed Saving
Presenter: Kathleen Plunkett-Black, Plum Creek Seeds
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Growing your own seeds offers both advantages and challenges. We’ll discuss basic seed-saving principles, and methods for growing, collecting, cleaning, and storing seed. We will cover specific techniques for saving seeds of many commonly-grown garden vegetables, and discuss pollination biology, which plants will and won’t cross, population sizes, and ways to isolate plantings to keep varieties pure.

Managing Fire Blight without Antibiotics
Presenters: David Granatstein, Washington State University, Ken Johnson, Oregon State University, and Jessica Shade, Organic Center
Friday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

Learn strategies and practices to control fire blight in apple and pear orchards without the use of antibiotics. Several new control materials are available for use by organic growers, but none appears as a stand-alone replacement for antibiotics. See how organic orchardists in Washington State have used a systems approach successfully to maintain compliance for export to the EU. We’ll cover sanitation, vigor control, sequence and timing of control materials, spray coverage, and varietal susceptibility.

Medicinal Herbs- Use them, Grow them
Presenter: Jane Hawley Stevens, Four Elements Organic Herbals
Saturday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

Herb sales have been rising steadily, with a 19% increase in 2013. This increased demand for medicinal herbs creates opportunities for more growers. Learn which herbs are the hottest sellers in the marketplace and how to cultivate them. We will discuss propagation, cultivation and some processing, including drying methods. We will also discuss herbs with future potential.

Opportunities for Organic Flower Farming
Presenters: Doug and Robin Trott, Prairie Garden Farm
Friday 2-b – 11 a.m.

Learn about the floral industry, market trends, and how local and organic flowers fit in. We’ll discuss operational issues and decisions, including equipment and facilities, and cultural information specific to growing flowers. We’ll share which flowers are most successful for us, and discuss alternatives. We’ll also touch on the administrative efforts required to make a flower business sustainable.

Organic Potatoes: From Starts to Storage
Presenters: Ruth Genger and Doug Rouse, University of Wisconsin
Saturday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

Potatoes can be challenging to produce, but knowledge about crop needs and management options can help you achieve a bountiful harvest—and keep it longer in storage. We’ll cover sourcing and handling seed, fertility needs, managing pests and diseases, small-and large-scale equipment options, harvesting and storage. We’ll also discuss standard and specialty variety choices, continuing on-farm potato variety trialing projects in the Midwest, and possibilities for on-farm seed potato production.

Paradise Gardening with Under-Used Fruits
Presenter: mIEKAL aND, Beyond Vineyard
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Take a whimsical and information-packed tour through 20+ years of experimenting with growing under-utilized fruits in the Upper Midwest. These include pawpaw, hardy kiwi, mulberries, cornelian cherries, aronia, seaberry, seedling peaches, heirloom rhubarb, elderberries as well as container culture with figs, citrus, eugenia (aka Surinam cherries) and bananas. Learn about cold-hardy cultivars, propagation, and sources for plants.

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.

Tools for CSA Planning and Recordkeeping
Presenters: Kat Becker and Tony Schultz, Stoney Acres Farm
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Learn tips and tricks for recordkeeping based on our experience operating a CSA over nine years. We’ll look at examples from the early years—calculating seeds and estimating bed feet of veggies per CSA member—and more current multipurpose tools that combine member information, financials, feedback and member retention information, and much more. We will touch on high- and low-tech options, and how to build recordkeeping into activities you already do.

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.

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.

Would Stone Fruits be a Good Addition to my Farm?
Presenters: Jackie and Harry Hoch, Hoch Orchards and Gardens
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Stone fruits are challenging in the Upper Midwest. Winter injury, spring frost, pests and fungus can all cause crop failure. While production of organic stone fruits may not be economically feasible here, offering unusual fruits at your farm market has benefits—and some types of stone fruit are surviving in southeastern Minnesota. Learn about the true costs of production so you can make an informed decision before planting stone fruits on your farm.


Business, Marketing & Certification


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.

Build a Strong Farm Business with the Law on your Side
Presenters: Rachel Armstrong, Farm Commons, and Chris Duke, Great Oak Farm
Friday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

Completing legal paperwork and complying with regulations isn’t just drudgery, it’s also an opportunity. This workshop offers expert and practical perspectives on farm law matters. Learn how to create strong sales contracts or farmland leases, understand how forming an LLC can and cannot protect your farm, and get a primer on farm employment law to avoid the fines and reputation damage that come with an employment enforcement action.

Generate More Income through Diversification
Presenters: Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko, Inn Serendipity Farm
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Looking to start farming but not sure how to make it financially viable? Tired of driving to an off-farm job to fund your farm dream? Get ideas for generating greater income on your farm by creating multiple farm-based small enterprises. B&Bs, farm-to-table dinners, teaching workshops, freelance writing—these untapped income sources can work synergistically with your passion for farming. We’ll explore ideas, business planning, expenses, creative frugality and eliminating debt, family/relationship balance and seasonal income diversification.

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.

Scaling Up to Meet the Demand for Local Food
Presenters: Anne Pfeiffer and Lindsey Day Farnsworth, UW-Madison
Saturday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

A viable local/regional food system provides farmers with an opportunity for a sustainable livelihood and has the potential to reinvigorate rural communities, preserve working farmland and supply consumers with healthy food. “Scaling up” local food is a hot topic, but what’s really happening to move things forward? This workshop will highlight the most relevant current research and on-the-ground work related to making successful local food systems a reality. Discussion will include practical models from around the country.

Time and Productivity Management for Farmers
Presenter: Chris Blanchard, Purple Pitchfork
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.

What Matters Most: Leaving the Paycheck Behind
Presenters: Sandy and Lonny Dietz, Whitewater Gardens Farm
Friday 2-b – 11 a.m.

To make ends meet, many farmers have to take second jobs .We’ll share what we’re doing to move toward full-time farm employment without plunging into debt. We each have a different approach to self-sustainability and unique transitional business models, but we both are committed to strategies that will cut the outside paycheck and build a strong foundation for future growth.

Whole Farm Revenue Protection: a Primer for Midwestern Organic Producers
Presenter: Jeff Schahczenski, NCAT
Saturday 2-b – 11 a.m.

Do you want to protect the revenue of your farm from the impacts of weather, pests and price volatility risks you face yearly? Learn about Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP), a new crop insurance product especially tailored to diversified, specialty crop and organic crop producers. WFRP provides higher levels of coverage and lower premium costs than previous whole farm crop insurance products. Learn if this unique approach to risk management is right for your farm.

Why Your Financial Numbers Matter
Presenter: Craig Chase, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Friday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

Whether you are a new or experienced farmer, your ability to manage your farm finances is critical to your success as a farmer. Learn what an income statement and balance sheet says about your farm and how to create enterprise budgets. Your numbers can tell you a great deal about how you price your products, the production methods you choose, and the number and diversity of the products you sell.


Education, Environment and Emerging Issues


Benefits of Organic Food and Farming On and Beyond Our Plates
Presenter: Melinda Hemmelgarn, Food Sleuth Radio
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

The World Health Organization says “unhealthy diets” are a major risk factor in chronic disease. We’ll explore a holistic definition of “good food,” which extends far beyond calories and nutrient, see the latest research on the nutritional benefits of organic food, navigate the sea of confusion in the marketplace and media landscape, and learn strategies for “eating ecologically.”

Farmer Land Rights and Energy Infrastructure Conflicts
Presenters: Martin and Atina Diffley, Organic Farming Works
Saturday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

Construction and maintenance of pipelines and power lines can impair production in organic systems. Fuels, herbicides, and chemicals can result in decertification; electromagnetic fields and stray voltage can impact livestock, bees, etc. Presenters Atina and Martin Diffley intervened in the MinnCan crude oil pipeline routing, developing an Organic Mitigation Appendix and rerouting the pipeline. Learn the keys to their success, and what you can do to protect your farm before it is threatened by an energy infrastructure.

GMO – What Do We Know?
Presenter: Warren Porter, UW-Madison, and Chuck Benbrook, Washington State University
Friday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

This workshop covers multiple sources of recent evidence of subtle biological effects of pesticides with special emphasis on GMO products that are impacting neurological, endocrine, immune, developmental and epigenetic phenomena in animals and people. We’ll address solutions and processes that can ameliorate these impacts.

Origins and Evolution of the Organic Farming Movement
Presenter: Roger Blobaum, Organic History Project
Friday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

Learn how pioneer organic farmers built the organic farming movement without government or agricultural establishment help by sharing information about organic principles and values, adopting practices that assured plant and animal health, focusing on soil life and fertility, and responding to consumer concerns. Get to know the history of organic certification, state organic programs, the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act, and recent attempts to mobilize public support for organic research, market expansion, certification cost sharing, and organic integrity.

Postcards from the Edge – Iran and Dominica
Presenter: Jim Riddle, Blue Fruit Farm
Saturday 3 – 3 p.m.

Take an engaging tour of organic ag in other parts of the world. We’ll “travel” to Iran where Jim spoke at an organic farming conference in May 2014. He’ll share scenes and insights about this ancient culture–the birthplace of wheat, goats and ice cream. We’ll also “visit” Dominica, the Caribbean’s Nature Island. While this session won’t likely change the way you farm, it may change how you see the world!

Say What? A Guide to Evangelize Organics
Presenters: Emily and Tim Zweber, Zweber Family Farms
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Media interviews, farmers’ market interactions, websites, and social media give us ample opportunity to evangelize organic farms and food. But what do you know what to say? How do you evangelize versus demonize to promote your product and farming style? Veteran organic communicators and farmers will teach you how to craft your message for both traditional and new media. You will learn simple steps, key phrases, and best practices for sharing your organic story.

Solar Options for Farmers
Presenters: Eric Udelhofen, Taproot Farm/H&H Solar, and Juli and Chris McGuire, Two Onion Farm
Saturday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

Farmers around the country are installing solar electric systems at record pace. Learn from a solar contractor and fellow organic farmer how to decide if solar is right for your operation. We’ll discuss installation, including siting, ground-mount vs. roof mount, choosing system size based on consumption and utility policy, and applying for available grants. We will also look at payback period and investment return for solar installations.

The Food Safety Modernization Act – Past, Present, and the Road Ahead
Presenter: Sophia Kruszewski. Policy Specialist, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

It has been over five years since Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FDA will finalize FSMA rules that set standards for produce farms and food processing facilities later in 2015. How will the FSMA rules impact sustainable and organic farmers and food businesses? Join this conversation with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to learn how we got here, where things stand, and what to expect as the FSMA rules are finalized.

USDA Organic Update
Presenter: Betsy Rakola, USDA National Organic Program
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Hear about the USDA’s current work on organic agriculture from two of USDA’s organic leaders. We’ll discuss proposed livestock regulations, sound and sensible certification, National List updates, crop insurance for organic producers, the 2015 organic producer survey, and research programs. We’ll also discuss USDA’s stakeholder engagement, education, and outreach strategies as well as the role of the National Organic Standards Board in providing advice and recommendations to USDA. Questions are welcome.





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