Workshop Descriptions & Audio Recordings

Friday I  |  Friday II  |  Friday III

Saturday I  | Saturday II  | Saturday III


Certified Crop Advisors:  See CEUs available


2019 Conference Workshops

Scroll through workshops below to see if a PDF of the slide presentation is available for viewing.


Friday Session I

Ecological Management of Tomato Diseases
Erin Silva, Tina Wu, Amanda Gevens, & Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

Diseases are a regular problem when growing organic tomatoes, but many strategies can lessen their occurrence and impact. Variety selection, crop rotation, protected growing environments, row spacing, trellising, and the judicious use of inputs all can help. Come ready to share your own best management strategies.

Employment Law for Farmers
Rachel Armstrong, Farm Commons
Ariel Pressman, Seed to Seed Farm
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

Get practical tips and clear explanations of the law from an attorney and an experienced farm owner/manager. We’ll cover wage and hour rules, independent contractor and intern classifications, workers’ compensation, discrimination, “migrant” and H2A programs, plus other issues. Learn how to get work done while complying with farm labor laws..

Ginger & Turmeric in the North
Melissa Driscoll, Seven Songs Organic Farm
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

Learn how to grow these tropical plants in the Upper Midwest with or without a hoop house. Take a step-by-step approach to production from seed sourcing and preparation, through planting, fertilizing, hilling, harvesting and cleaning, topped off with ideas for marketing these crops. Also, you’ll hear results of a recent on-farm study about critical ginger growing temperatures.

Holistic Animal Health
Richard Holliday, DVM
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

Animals have an innate nutritional wisdom. Learn to “read” what your animals are telling you they need. We’ll explore the relationship between soil fertility, mineral supplementation, and animal health and provide common sense guidelines you can use to improve the health of your livestock.

Homemade for Sale (View PDF)
Lisa Kivirist, MOSES
John Ivanko, Inn Serendipity
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

Diversify farm income with value-added products under your state’s “cottage food” legislation—laws that allow specific, non-hazardous foods to be made in home kitchens and sold to the public—from salsa with your extra tomatoes to offering a bread share to CSA members.

Hybrid Rye (View PDF)
Claus Nymand, KWS Cereals USA
Tom Frantzen, Frantzen Farm
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

Hybrid rye is a cost-effective crop with high-yield potential and improved nutrient efficiency that also provides good weed and disease suppression. Learn how to manage hybrid rye in different crop rotations and incorporate it in livestock feeding as whole plant silage or grain.

Intro to Soil Fertility (View PDF)
Jamie Patton, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

Nutrient-rich soil yields nutrient-rich food. Gain an understanding of the biological, chemical, and physical aspects of the soil ecosystem so you can capitalize on the soils’ natural ability to provide plant-available nutrients. Explore the fundamental aspects of soil science, soil testing, and nutrient cycling, as well as cropping strategies and inputs to optimize soil fertility and crop productivity on your farm.

LGBT+ Farming for Land Justice
Hannah Breckbill, Humble Hands Harvest
Jaclyn Wypler, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

The LGBT+ community offers a perspective that can help sustainable farms further alternative practices and promote justice. We’ll highlight collaborative economic models and contributions Midwestern queer farmers are making in local food systems. Together, we’ll imagine coalitions that can achieve greater inclusion, justice, and sustainability in farming. Regardless of your sexual orientation and gender identity, join us as we think outside the box about farming.

Navigate Organic Certification
Mariann Holm, Independent Organic Inspector
Kristen Adams, MOSA
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

The rapidly growing organic market offers a great opportunity for farmers, food processors, and handlers, but navigating the USDA National Organic Program certification process can seem daunting. We’ll steer you through the whole process, explain the records you’ll need to keep, and give you insights on working with a certification agency.

Silvopasture in Practice
Steve Gabriel, Wellspring Forest Farm & School
Friday I | 8:30 a.m.

This holistic approach to livestock farming, where trees, shrubs, grasses, and forbs are combined to benefit animals and the planet, is rated among the best for carbon sequestration by Project Drawdown. Silvopasture offers producers resiliency in the extreme conditions of a changing climate. Learn the basics to get started on your farm or homestead.


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Friday Session II

Add Native Plants to Your Farm (View PDF)
Kaitlyn O’Connor, Prairie Moon Nursery
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

From soil health to pollinator habitat, native plants are an important part of any holistic farm system. Learn about the ecological benefits native plants provide, and explore seed mix design, site preparation, seeding, maintenance, and more so you can successfully establish plantings on your farm.

Behind the Labels
Rhys Williams, The Good Acre
Melissa Hughes, Organic Valley
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

USDA Organic, Non-GMO Verified, Animal Welfare Approved, Regenerative, Certified Naturally Grown. We’ll uncover what these labels mean and help you decide which works best for your farm products. Confused consumers also will find insights in this workshop.

Beneficial Insects for Vegetables
Zsofia Szendrei, Michigan State University
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

Beneficial insects such as pollinators and natural enemies are crucial in organic production. They provide free ecosystem services such as pollination and pest control. Learn about key beneficials that occur in vegetable fields and best practices to assure their success.

Cut Flowers for the Market Farm (View PDF)
Jeanie McKewan, Brightflower Farm
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

Wondering how to provide your customers with a beautiful array of cut flowers without adding a lot of extra work to your market farm? Several cut flower varieties can be easily incorporated into vegetable planting schedules. Learn about all facets of producing these great-selling flowers, from sourcing seed, planting schemes, to harvesting, storage, and marketing.

Knock Down Barriers to Organic Transition
Danielle Kusner, The Andersons
Matt Moser, The Andersons
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

The transition to organic means an investment and risks for conventional row crop farmers. If you’re interested in organic, but have been concerned about unknown financials, nutrient sources, and weed control, this is the workshop for you. We’ll discuss the agronomics and financial implications of transition, suggest rotations, and share what has and hasn’t worked for others in your shoes.

Livestock & Cover Crops for Resilience
Brad Heins, University of Minnesota’s West Central Research Center
Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

See the results of an organic research project conducted at 3 locations in Minnesota, Iowa, and Pennsylvania where cattle grazed rye and wheat cover crops. We’ll talk about forage quality, livestock gains, improved soil fertility, and the economics of incorporating livestock and cover crops in an organic production system.

Organic Inputs Demystified
James Schroepfer, Ag Resource Consulting
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

Confused by all the crop inputs available? Learn how to identify what your soil needs and match that with the best input to achieve optimum crop production and quality. Get insights to help you understand soil tests and recommendations so you can build a crop fertility program that is both productive and cost-effective.

Passing the Torch:  Family Farm Transfer
Ted Matthews, Rural Minnesota Mental Health Support
Stephanie Zetah, New Story Farm
Madeline Schultz, Mil-R-Mor Farm
Melissa O’Rourke, Iowa State University Extension
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

The generational divide can be a challenge to cross when you’re trying to plan your farm’s succession. We’ll discuss ways to communicate and resolve conflict, plus share strategies that have worked to create legal security that suits everyone involved.

Regenerative Poultry System
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Regenerative Agriculture Alliance
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

In this innovative Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture System, egg layers and meat birds graze paddocks seeded with grains beneath a cover canopy of perennial nut and fruit bushes and economically valuable forest species. Explore the thinking behind this system and learn how the Tree-Range™ brand is helping farmers aggregate their production. Discover this national opportunity to build a regenerative poultry industry.

Successful Local Food Systems (View PDF)
Ken Meter, Crossroads Resource Center
Megan Phillips Goldenberg, New Growth Associates
Friday II | 10:30 a.m.

Local food systems should build health, wealth, connection, and capacity in rural and urban communities. However, “local” food efforts often don’t achieve these ends. We’ve traveled the country and will share economic structures and communities that are succeeding in these areas, and show you how their approaches could strengthen your organic food marketing.


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Friday Session III

Elderberry as a Cash Crop
Terry Durham, River Hills Harvest
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

Known for centuries as a medicinal plant, elderberry only recently was domesticated. This two-crop perennial (flowers and berries) is much sought after in the health and specialty food markets. Get tips on variety selection, successful establishment, management of perennial stands, plus harvest and storage techniques. Take home your own elderberry cutting.

Farm Bill & Future of Organic
Nichelle Harriott, NSAC
Steve Etka, NOC
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

Hear the latest on the Farm Bill as well as the policy needs identified at Organic 2051, the forum on the future of farming held just prior to MOSES 2019. Learn about changes and implementation of programs related to conservation, research, organic transition, and other areas that impact your farm. Discuss ideas to advance federal policy that supports a healthy and competitive organic and sustainable production system.

Grow Vegetables for Wholesale
Ariel Pressman, Seed to Seed Farm
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

Growing wholesale vegetables, once the domain of only large-scale farms, has increasingly become a market that small- to mid-scale farms are pursuing. Learn about all aspects of growing for wholesale markets, including equipment, labor, and marketing, to see if this market is right for your farm.

Healthy Farm Business Partnerships
Bridget Holcomb, WFAN
Linda Halley, Gwenyn Hill Farm LLC
Angie Sullivan, Wisconsin DATCP
Rachel Armstrong, Farm Commons
Margaret Smith, Ash Grove Farm
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

A healthy farm partnership should include an exit strategy in case that partnership ends. This is especially true for women, who may have to leave the farm and the work and finances that go with it. Get advice to help you develop a strong partnership plan that protects you, your family, and your farm.

International Trade
Melody Meyer, OTA
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

The global organic marketplace is constantly shifting, making your farm products more or less desirable. Gain an understanding of the global marketplace and learn how to interpret its forecast so you can make better decisions about what to grow and market.

New Technologies for Farm & Field
Whilden Hughes, Hughes Farms
Isaac Greeson, New Buckeye Farm
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

Farmers who are natural innovators and open to unconventional approaches to farm management will enjoy this discussion of the benefits and potential hazards of new and adapted technologies. We’ll share approaches to technology that fit various budgets, and surprise you with at least a couple of concepts you might not have considered.

Overwinter Bees Successfully
Kristy Allen, The Beez Kneez
Yuuki Metreaud, Boreal Apiaries
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

Beekeepers have struggled in recent years to keep their hives alive through winter. By focusing on factors you can control, you can set up your bees for wintering success. We’ll cover organic management techniques to control mites, queen stock selection, integrated pest management, and the equipment you’ll need.

Reduce Tillage & Cultivation for Soil Health
Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

Improving soil health is a foundational goal of organic systems. However, the tillage and cultivation in organic management can have a negative impact. Learn how you can integrate reduced tillage and cultivation techniques across your rotation through equipment selection, use of cover crops, crop rotations, interseeding, roller-crimping, and direct seeding

Soil’s Underground Economy (View PDF)
Sandy Syburg, Purple Cow Organics
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

Farmers and scientists continue to gain greater understanding of the relationship between soil biology and plant mineral availability. Tap into ancient wisdom mixed with modern technology to improve your understanding of this underground economy. Learn how to use this understanding to improve your farm’s soil health, crop health, and ultimately, livestock and human health.

State of the Dairy Industry
Patty Edelburg, National Farmers Union
Darin Von Ruden, Wisconsin Farmers Union
Friday III | 3:30 p.m.

The dairy industry is broken. Wisconsin lost over 600 farms in 2018. Dairy production has changed tremendously in the last 50 years with larger farms, corporate ownership, and reduced demand that’s creating markets flush with product on both the conventional and organic side. We’ll cover the issues and share ways we can pull together to advocate for change.


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Saturday Session I

Cover Crops for the Diverse Vegetable Farm (View PDF)
Mike Noltnerwyss, Crossroads Community Farm
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

If you’re tilling to control weeds, you should be cover cropping before and after vegetables to rebuild your soil. Hear how Crossroads Community Farm reaps the benefits and overcomes the challenge of managing cover crops during a busy vegetable growing season—even finding a window to grow legumes as a nitrogen source.

Farming in a Changing Climate
Dennis Todey, South Dakota State University
Ron Rosmann, Rosmann Family Farms
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

Climate change is causing extreme weather events and impacting where and how we can grow various crops. We’ll look at the affects on diseases, insects, and soil, and explore what farmers are doing to adapt.

Grazing Without a Recipe
Kevin Mahalko, Mahalko Dairy
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

Flexibility is key to managed grazing. Learn how to monitor your system so you can adapt when conditions aren’t following the prescribed recipe. Learn strategies to build organic matter in your soil while realizing the rewards of a daily harvest, an abundance of biodiversity, and livestock raised in a healthy environment..

Historia de un agricultor orgánico (History of an Organic Farmer)
Javier Zamora, JSM Organics
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

JSM Organics specializes in strawberries. Learn how the farm is revitalizing a sense of community while providing a high quality product and a higher quality farmer-to-customer experience through charitable food donations and hands-on education.

Tradd Cotter, Mushroom Mountain
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

Many species of edible fungi produce powerful enzymes that can break down pesticides, hydrocarbons, and chlorinated compounds. Native mushrooms can filter or destroy pathogenic bacteria in failing septic systems and manure ponds. Learn how mushrooms perform these miraculous tasks and how to develop a living barrier or filtration system customized to your farm’s needs.

Organic Check-Off (View PDF)
Jim Riddle, Blue Fruit Farm
Melody Meyer, OTA
Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

Since the USDA halted a mandatory organic check-off to fund research and promotion of organic, members of the organic sector are looking at a voluntary check-off program called GRO Organic. Learn about this option and hear different perspectives on the need for organic research, promotion, and consumer education. Weigh in with your own “big idea” to advance organic.

Protect Your Farm Business (View PDF)
Michael Stein, OFRF
Harriet Behar, Sweet Springs Farm
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

Flood, hail, drought, early frost, crashing market prices—these can be disastrous to a farm. Discover how a small investment in insurance can provide a safety net for your farm business. We’ll explain the options for coverage and the farm documentation you’ll need, offer advice on working with a crop insurance agent and processing a claim, and give you a crop insurance guidebook.

Time- & Money-Saving Designs & Techniques
Shawn Jadrnicek, Wild Hope Farm
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

Learn techniques and equipment hacks to make farming easier! Drawing on the concepts in The Bio-Integrated Farm, we’ll explore creative ideas and designs to improve efficiency on your small- to mid-scale farm. Get ideas for no-till systems, automated CSA delivery, greenhouse heating, produce washing, and pastured poultry.

Tried & True Field Day Tips
Kirsten Jurcek, Glacierland RC&D
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

Field days provide a great way to share your production methods and innovative ideas. Learn how to pick effective partners, create and maintain a network following, and engage your attendees. Leave confident you can plan, promote, and host a successful field day.

Your Body:  Your Farm’s Most Valuable Tool
Laura Gosewisch, Grounded Vitality
Saturday I | 8:30 a.m.

Just like the tools you rely on to perform your chores, your body needs attention to function well. Learn the basics of healthy body movement, how to prevent injury or compensate for a current injury. Harness the same creativity and persistence you use to keep the farm going to keep yourself going for years to come!


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Saturday Session II

Beyond Till vs. No-Till
Amber Sciligo, The Organic Center
Saturday II | 10:30 a.m.

Intensive agriculture practices have depleted our soils and accelerated climate change, but the good news is practices employed by organic farmers can rebuild soil. Learn about cutting-edge research on organic’s soil-building potential and strategies you can use on your farm to help mitigate climate change.

Farming While Black
Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm
Saturday II | 10:30 a.m.

Some cherished facets of sustainable farming, including farm cooperatives and CSA, have roots in African wisdom. Yet, the number of black farmers has dropped to less than 2% today, while black communities often lack access to fresh food. Explore these issues and the movement to build a food system based on justice, dignity, and abundance for all.

Finances in a Tough Farm Economy
Paul Dietmann, Compeer
Saturday II| 10:30 a.m.

Managing farm finances can be a challenge even in the best of times. When the farm economy takes a tumble, a farm’s survival may depend on careful analysis of records and skillful financial decision-making. Learn how to create and analyze fundamental financial statements, focusing on key numbers to monitor. Plus, get tips to help you persevere until better days return.

How to Deal with Drift
Dela Ends, Scotch Hill Farm
Charlie Johnson, Johnson Farms
Saturday II | 10:30 a.m.

For an organic farmer, pesticide drift can be devastating. We’ll share how we dealt with drift incidents and what we learned in the process—especially the need for quick action and documentation to prove the drift occurred. We’ll discuss possible ways to protect your farm and your crops, and explore what we all can do to protect organic farms from drift.

Industrial Hemp: Wisconsin’s 2018 Season
Bryan Parr, Legacy Hemp
Saturday II | 10:30 a.m.

Hear about the successes and challenges from the 2018 season of industrial hemp production—the first year of the state’s research pilot program. Get tips and trade secrets to help future growers of industrial hemp. See photos of the season’s progress, from planting through harvest, and learn about the pests Wisconsin farmers faced.

Explore the Organic Seed Industry (View PDF)
Kitt Healy, Organic Seed Alliance
Adrienne Shelton, Vitalis
Saturday II | 10:30 a.m.

Seeds are foundational to a successful farm. Learn how the organic seed industry works, and discover practical ways you can participate in variety development to influence which crops and traits get improved. Farmer Kat Becker, UW researcher Julie Dawson, and Pete Zuck of Johnny’s Selected Seeds also will share their insights on variety trials and participatory breeding projects.

Pastured Hog Management
Shelby Dukes, Rodale Institute
Saturday II | 10:30 a.m.

Take the fear out of going “whole hog” into pastured pork by learning startup basics. This workshop covers breeds, housing, watering systems, feeding systems, fencing strategies, and pasture management. Plus, see data collected over the past two years about weight gain, pasture composition, paddock size, and frequency of rotation from Rodale Institute’s pastured hog operation

Small Grains for Brewing & Milling
Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota
Saturday II | 10:30 a.m.

While small grains are often touted for their benefits in organic rotations, growing wheat, barley, oats, or rye successfully in the Upper Midwest can be a challenge. Explore the opportunities—and limitations—of small grain production marketed to brewers, distillers, or millers.

Stress Management for Stressful Times
Ted Matthews, Rural Minnesota Mental Health Support
Saturday II | 10:30 a.m.

Many factors impact your farm’s success and can cause stress in your life. Learn how to reduce your stress level by focusing on the things you can change, not those outside of your control. Explore how you deal with stress so you can communicate better with your partner and family to help each other through stressful times.

Tools to Understand Soil Health
Vicki Morrone, Michigan State University
Sieg Snapp, Michigan State University
Rebecca Titus, Titus Farms
Saturday II | 10:30 a.m.

Soil health is a function of soil biology, chemistry, and physical properties. Explore tools, including a free phone app and low-cost test kits, and what they can tell you about your soil. Learn how to use soil health information to improve your farm management.


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Saturday Session III

Apples as a New Enterprise on your Farm (View PDF)
Rachel Henderson, Mary Dirty Face Farm
Chris McGuire, Two Onion Farm
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

Organic apples offer unique opportunities as a new or secondary enterprise to diversify your farm. Learn about labor requirements throughout the season, start-up and operational costs, and marketing. We will present an overview of the benefits and things to consider with organic apples, with an emphasis on decisions to be made and their impact on your farm and quality of life.

Farmers as Leaders
Kriss Marion, Circle M Market Farm & Bed-n-Breakfast
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

Whether you start with a visit to the Capitol or run for an assembly seat, as a farmer you bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the table. You can build the future you want to see, one relationship at a time. Learn from a farmer who recently ran for State Senate about possible paths and opportunities to lead in your community.

Herbs for Health
Linda Conroy, Moonwise Herbs LLC
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

Herbs provide a variety of health benefits. Learn how to identify wild herbs, prepare them for optimal nutrition, and put them up for later use. We’ll take a virtual herb walk while drinking a nourishing herbal infusion. You’ll leave with practical information so you can enjoy the benefits of incorporating herbs into your daily life.

Marketing & Branding 101
Diahann Lohr, Adunate Word and Design
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

To sell a product, you need to market it. Learn how to build your farm brand so it’s easier to market your products. Then explore ways to leverage that brand through cost-effective and accessible social media marketing.

NRCS Practices to Regenerate Your Farm
Brian Pillsbury, NRCS
Justin Morris, NRCS
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

A solid foundation of regenerative practices on the land is key to building healthy soil in an organic system. Learn about soil health-promoting practices that can help you improve the soil’s ability to internally provide the nutrients your crop needs without a lot of purchased inputs.

Organic Grain Marketing
Carmen Fernholz, OFARM
Jessie Bovay, Mercaris
CJ Eisler, Pipeline Foods
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

This experienced panel of grain marketing specialists will cover the different marketing streams available to organic producers, and offer insights on finding reliable buyers, trustworthy representation in the marketplace, and tools for robust price discovery. They’ll also look at market trends, offering informed perspectives to help you plan.

Perennials for Market Farms (View PDF)
Clare Hintz, Elsewhere Farm
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

Perennials can add to your farm’s income, but you must understand the plants and follow good design to integrate them profitably into your system. Hear how Elsewhere Farm combines market gardens, tree and shrub fruits, and livestock for fertility and pest control. Learn about current research on perennial establishment, marketing unusual fruits, and the ecological benefits of perennial production.

Soil Health for High Yields (View PDF-A)
(View PDF-B)
Gary Zimmer, Midwestern Bio Ag
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

Successful organic farming requires mineral-rich, balanced, healthy soils to grow high-yielding, healthy crops. Explore successful soil-building strategies and evaluation methods so you can develop a plan tailored to your situation.

Trees for Livestock Food & Medicine
Steve Gabriel, Wellspring Forest Farm & School
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

Several tree species including willow, poplar, and black locust have been extensively researched and found to offer exciting opportunities in silvopasture systems. Learn about the medicinal and feed values these trees can offer ruminant livestock, and methods for managing them on your landscape.

Write Your Best Organic System Plan (View PDF)
Linda Halley, Gwenyn Hill Farm
Saturday III | 3:30 p.m.

Your farm’s Organic System Plan is the cornerstone of your application for certification. Whether you have been certified for years or are just beginning the process, glean tips to help you create a clear, complete, and concise plan to submit to your certifying agency.


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