MOSES Organic Farming Podcast

The MOSES Organic Farming Podcast dives into the most relevant topics of sustainable and organic farming. The show draws on interviews with farmers and ag professionals, as well as audio from conference workshops and field days.






Organic Specialist Chuck Anderas hosts this podcast. Chuck has been an organic inspector and a certification agent. He has also worked on small-scale fruit, vegetable, and livestock farms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Florida. He has a degree in agricultural education.

Special thanks to musician Riley Hartnett for use of “Summerfields.”

Listen here or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.





Episode 33: Introducing Bootless: the new season of In Her Boots with Tiffany LaShae

This is the trailer to the new season of the In Her Boots podcast. This season is the first with new host Tiffany LaShae. Tiffany—a Black woman farmer, researcher, educator, and activist—interviews women of color in agriculture from around the Midwest about their experiences. Make sure to search for “In Her Boots” in your podcast app and hit subscribe. Stay tuned!

Watershed Impact Trial

Stroud Water Research Center

Farming Systems Trial

Episode 31: Rodale Farming Systems Trial—No-Till Vegetables

Farmer Kat Becker of Cattail Organics in Athens, WI, and Sam Malriat, the Director of the Organic Consulting Program at the Rodale Institute, talk with Chuck about the strategies they have tried, studied, and seen work on farms throughout the country. As Sam puts it, “In organic systems, models are state by state, county by county… There’s not one [model], there’s 150.” Listen in on a conversation full of nuanced ideas about no-till, tillage, soil health, and a holistic view of farm management.

Episode 30: Rodale Farming Systems Trial—Carbon Sequestration

Listen in on the conversation with Dr. Andrew Smith, the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Scientist of the Rodale Institute, and Dr. Francesca Cotrufo, Professor and Associate Head of the Department of Soil & Crop Sciences and Senior Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University. We go in-depth on the practices and the science of soil carbon sequestration based on 40 years of data from Rodale and the expertise of Dr. Cotrufo.


Dr. Cotrufo:

Recent publications:

Episode 29: Food-Grade Grain—On-Farm Milling with Artisan Grain Collaborative

In the last of our Food-Grade Grain series with Artisan Grain Collaborative, Amy Halloran talks to two Illinois farmers: Andy Hazzard and Jeff Hake. Andy shares her experience milling the grain she grows, as well as milling for other farmers; Jeff Hake explains some of the challenges of trying to find the right equipment.

Hazzard Free Farm

Funks Grove Heritage Fruits and Grains 

Artisan Grain Collaborative

Amy Halloran

Episode 28:
Food-Grade Grain—Diversifying Crop Rotations with Artisan Grain Collaborative

Grain advocate, educator, and author Amy Halloran is back to guest host the second of our series in partnership with the Artisan Grain Collaborative. Amy talks with Jason Federer & Michael O’Donnell about how they are navigating their farm’s simultaneous transitions to organic production as well as food-grade marketing.

Artisan Grain Collaborative

Amy Halloran 

Episode 27: Food-Grade Grain—Behind the Seeds

This is the first episode in our series with Artisan Grain Collaborative on food-grade grains. The collaborative includes farmers, millers, distillers, bakers, and other people across the value chain who are creating opportunities to grow grains for people, not livestock or fuel.

Today, grain advocate, educator, and author Amy Halloran explores seed research and breeding with Julie Dawson from UW-Madison and Lisa Kissing Kucek from the USDA-ARS. Upcoming episodes will cover diversified crop rotations and on-farm milling.

Artisan Grain Collaborative

Amy Halloran

Julie Dawson

Lisa Kissing Kucek

Episode 26: Inside a Worker-Owned Cooperative Farm with Hannah Breckbill of Humble Hands Harvest

Continuing our partnership with the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, Kelly Maynard and Chuck talk with Hannah Breckbill of Humble Hands Harvest in Decorah, Iowa. We talk through all the aspects of how and why someone would want to transition their farm from a sole proprietorship to a worker-owned cooperative, and some of the benefits and challenges of farming cooperatively.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Kelly Maynard:

Episode 25: Growing Wellness on Mindfulness
Mary O’Herin is an acupuncturist and massage therapist with experience on small-scale organic vegetable and fruit farms. She has a good understanding of the hard work, dedication, and solitude that goes into being a farmer. Mary shares some movement and body-care techniques with us, as well as tips for how to facilitate lasting change. One of the aspects of her practice is guiding and inspiring others to take rock-solid baby steps toward beneficial habits.

This episode is a recap of a Growing Wellness monthly meeting. These meetings include a brief presentation followed by a discussion. If you want to contribute to the community, go to Subscribe to the listserv by sending an email to


Episode 24: 40 Acre Co-op, Part 2
In partnership with Kelly Maynard from the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, we explore the seven principles of cooperatives with Angela Dawson and Kheph Rakhu from 40 Acre Cooperative. This is part 2 of 2, where we explore principles 5-7: education and training, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for community.

Contact Better Family Life MN by email:

Episode 23: 40 Acre Co-op, Part 1
In partnership with Kelly Maynard from the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, we explore the seven principles of cooperatives with Angela Dawson and Kheph Rakhu from 40 Acre Cooperative. This is part 1 of 2 episodes where we explore principles 1-4: open and voluntary membership, democratic member control, members’ economic participation, and autonomy and independence.

Links in this episode:
What is 40 Acre Cooperative All About?
Video: Join Forty Acre Co-op
Better Family Life MN, email:
UW Center for Cooperatives

Episode 22: Pollinator Habitat Farmer Chat

After our three-part series on pollinator habitat on organic farms, we had a meeting with the guests to dive a bit deeper into the ins and outs. Listen in on the conversation between Sarah Foltz Jordan and Karen Jokela from the Xerces Society, Joan Olson from Prairie Drifter Farm, Kaitlyn O’Connor from Prairie Moon Nursery, and hear their answers to farmers’ questions. Here are the edited highlights from that chat.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Growing Stronger: Collaborative Conference on Organic and Sustainable Farming
Farmer-Share Speed Presentations
Native Plant-Insect Interactions Guide
Insectopia Prairie Seed Mix
Protecting habitat from drift
Habitat Assessment Guides
Pollinator and Beneficial Insect Conservation Plans
Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects
Guidance to Protect Habitat from Pesticide Contamination
Protecting Conservation Planting from Pesticides
Beetle Bank Article in the MOSES Broadcaster

Guest contact information:
Karin Jokela:, 763-213-4341
Sarah Foltz Jordan:
Joan Olson:
Kaitlyn O’Connor:, 507-452-1362


Episode 21: Practical On-Farm Pollinator Habitat
On-farm pollinator habitat has many benefits, but deciding how and where to add that habitat can be daunting. Recorded at the 2020 MOSES Conference, Sarah Foltz Jordan of the Xerces Society and Joan Olson of Prairie Drifter Farm help you determine which habitat projects—insectary strips, pollinator-friendly cover crops, native wildflower meadows, hedgerows—make the most sense for your goals, resource concerns, space, capacity, equipment, weed pressure, and other factors. Learn about planting methods, design, and weed control options, including several effective organic site preparation methods.

This is the final episode in a three-part series on pollinator habitat on organic farms. Join us for the Post-Podcast Farmer Chat on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, 10:30 a.m. CT with the guests from this series. Click this link to register: Post-Podcast Farmer Chat: Pollinator Habitat





Episode 20: Growing Wellness—Responding to Someone with Thoughts of Suicide
Chris Frakes discusses steps to take if you encounter someone who is struggling with thoughts of suicide. It is important to note that this is not a full suicide awareness and intervention training. Chris provides the basic steps for effective listening, providing support, and connecting someone in crisis to other appropriate resources so they can receive needed support.

Chris Frakes is the Project Coordinator for the Farmer Well-Being and Suicide Prevention Program with Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program. Get in touch with Chris: or 608-553-0033.

Immediate assistance: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK), contact your local crisis hotline, or dial 911.

Growing Wellness Group meets monthly for a brief presentation followed by discussion. The group also has a listserv, which you can join by sending an email to:

Growing Wellness: Suicide Awareness and Prevention on YouTube



Episode 19: Seed Selection for Pollinator Habitat

Kaitlyn O’Connor of Prairie Moon Nursery walks us through the principles of selecting seed mixes for native plantings for pollinator habitat and ecological restoration, then goes over some specific recommendations. This is part 2 of a 3-part series on pollinator habitat on organic farms.
Following this series, join us for a Post-Podcast Farmer Chat with all the guests.
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, 10:30 AM CST on Zoom
Register: Post-Podcast Farmer Chat: Pollinator Habitat

Links mentioned in this episode:
Prairie Moon Nursery
Growing Stronger: Collaborative Conference on Organic and Sustainable Farming


Episode 18: Establishing Pollinator Habitat on Organic Farms
Karin Jokela, Xerces Society Wildlife Biologist, talks about pollinator conservation and how these practices mesh with organic standards. Get some tools for assessing habitat, and learn about some of the NRCS programs that offer both financial and technical assistance to help you get started. This is part 1 of a 3-part series on pollinator habitat on organic farms.

Resources mentioned in the presentation:
Farming for Pollinators
Habitat Assessment Guides
Using 2014 Farm Bill Programs for Pollinator Conservation

Xerces Society

Growing Stronger: Collaborative Conference on Organic and Sustainable Farming

Episode 17: Growing Wellness—How to Care for Your Mental Health
This is the audio from the monthly meeting of the farmer-led mental health group, Growing Wellness. This month’s guest is Monica Kramer McConkey, a licensed professional counselor, Rural Mental Health Specialist, and consultant with Eyes on the Horizon Consulting.

In this session, Monica discusses building personal resilience in 4 areas (Social, Biophysical, Psychological, and Spiritual) to increase your capacity to deal with stress and uncertainty.  Personal resilience is defined as the ability to withstand or recover from difficult situations, and I would add… the ability to grow through that process.  The goal for this session is to learn about yourself and set goals to build your resilience!

Growing Wellness Group meets monthly for a brief presentation followed by discussion. The group also has a listserv. Click to learn more and join in this community.

Check out the Grower Group page and get connected with other farmers.

Get in touch with Monica:

Watch Monica’s presentation on YouTube.



Episode 16: Fighting Food Apartheid with a Farmers Market & More
April Jones and her community were shocked when their two neighborhood grocery stores suddenly closed without warning. She recalled hearing Leah Penniman say, “If you’re looking for someone to save you, I’m here to tell you they’re not coming, and you’re going to have to save yourself.” So, April and a farmer friend founded the Pinehurst Farmers Market in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, to bring healthy food to their community.

April offered to help others start similar ventures in their communities. You can reach her at or find the Pinehurst Farmers Market on Instagram and Facebook @pinehurstfarmersmarket and on Twitter @PinehurstMarket.


Episode 15: Growing Wellness presentation on Empowered Decision-Making
In our first Growing Wellness farmer-led mental health support group, guest speaker Lori Cox offers advice to help farmers create plans for resilience, set goals, and make difficult decisions. This season has been a turbulent one for many producers, and farmers will have to continue to work with uncertainty due to climate change and COVID into the future.

Lori is owner/operator of Roots Return Heritage Farm in Carver, Minnesota. The farm produces u-pick fruits, and plants continual rotation cover crops using no-till. CRP, native pollinator strips, and hedgerows round out the property’s 16 acres of holistic habitat. Lori serves as an advisory board member for MN Ag Water Quality Certification program, and Carver County Water Management Org. She also serves as executive board member of MN Ag in the Classroom Foundation, and MN Institute for Sustainable Ag. Prior to farming, Lori worked as a project manager and consultant for financial and technology companies.

Growing Wellness will have monthly meetings with a short presentation followed by a discussion. Join the group to participate in the private discussions.

Growing Wellness Group
Growing Wellness: Empowered Decision Making on YouTube
SMART Goal Setting Video


Episode: 14: Free the People, Free the Land

Naima Penniman, Program Director at Soul Fire Farm, talks with Chuck about the Black and Indigenous roots of regenerative agriculture, how Soul Fire provides fresh produce to low-income communities of color, the importance of land, the need for reparations, and agricultural policies that could start to right the injustices faced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) folks.


Soul Fire Farm
Sowing the Seeds of Food Justice Manual
Food & Land Sovereignty Resource List for COVID-19
Hundreds of resources to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) Farmers in navigating the pandemic

Calls to action:
Reparations map
Fortifying our Foundation
Action steps



Episode 13: Local Food Is Essential & Update on COVID Farm Safety

Ariel Pressman with the Real Organic Project explains the Local Food Is Essential campaign. This is a collaborative marketing campaign to promote local foods. Ariel shares the goals of the campaign and how farmers can use it to help their businesses. Then Annalisa Hultberg of the University of Minnesota Extension is back to give us an update on COVID-19 safety on the farm. Let’s get to it.


Local Food Is Essential
UMN COVID-19 Response Plan Template
UMN YouTube COVID-19 Series in English, Hmong, and Spanish
MOSES Virtual Field Days YouTube Playlist

Register for Medicinal Herb Production Virtual Field Day


Episode 12: Organic Grain Transition

Paul Dietmann from Compeer Financial and Jon Jovaag, a farmer near Austin, MN, help us do the numbers on transitioning to organic grain production. We talk through how to think through cash flow versus profitability during the transition years, what crops to use in your rotation, and why you’d want to do it in the first place.



Episode 11: Do the Numbers, Part 2: Dairy Graziers on the Economics of Dairy Grazing

Organic dairy graziers Thelma Heidel-Baker and Ricky Baker join Chuck to talk about what they’ve done to have a financially viable 60-cow dairy. This episode builds on Episode 10 with Dr. Jon Winsten. We’ll also have a virtual field day June 24th with Thelma, Ricky, and Jon where we’ll talk about the economics of grazing as well as production, conservation, and more. Register now to be on that Zoom event.

Listen to Thelma’s conservation conversation on the In Her Boots podcast.


Episode 10: Do the Numbers–The Economics of Dairy Grazing
You can’t control the price of milk, but you can control how much it costs you to produce it. Dr. Jon Winsten outlines three key metrics to look at when considering a dairy farm’s financial viability: feed efficiency, labor efficiency, and capital efficiency.

This is part 1 of 3 grazing training installments this month. In two weeks, part 2 will be a podcast episode with organic dairy graziers Thelma Heidel-Baker and Ricky Baker. Part 3 will be a virtual field day on June 24th with Thelma, Ricky, and Jon where we’ll talk about the economics of grazing as well as the production and conservation aspects.


Episode 9: Starting a Cooperative, Part 2
This is part 2 on cooperatives with Kelly Maynard from the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. Today, we get into the role of feasibility studies, grants and loans to get started, what kinds of businesses are best suited for coops, and more on the principles that cooperative businesses can teach us.


Episode 8: Starting a Cooperative, Part 1
Kelly Maynard is a Cooperative Development Specialist at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. Kelly spoke at the 2020 MOSES Organic Farming Conference about how to start a cooperative. We share clips from her workshop presentation and connect with Kelly to dig a little deeper into the world of cooperatives. Look for Part 2 next week.


Episode 7: Rebuilding a Just Food System after COVID-19
COVID-19 is stressing the food system in unprecedented ways. Farmers and local food advocates have a unique opportunity to build new and more just food systems. Today’s guest is Dan Cornelius. Dan is a farmer, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, and is the Intertribal Agriculture Council’s Technical Assistance Specialist for the Great Lakes Region. Dan shares his thoughts on food systems, the role seeds play in resilience and food sovereignty, cooperatives, and some examples from work different Tribes have been doing that pre-date the pandemic.


Episode 6: Social Media for Your Farm Business
Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack are flower farmers in St. Louis. Most of their 10,000 followers on Instagram are local customers. (Look for @urbanbuds.) They’ve invested a lot in learning how to do social media well. Their insights are even more important now that in-person connections at farmers markets and on our farms have been put on pause. Plus, they are funny people!



Episode 5: Beef & #DairyTogether during the Pandemic
Why are conventional dairy farmers dumping milk? How are the closures of the meat processing plants impacting livestock farmers?  For answers, Chuck checks in with Bobbi Wilson from Wisconsin Farmers Union and organic dairy farmer Kevin Mahalko to talk about the issues and how to build more resilient dairy and livestock farms.


Episode 4: Produce Safety and COVID-19
How does the coronavirus impact produce safety? How much do you have to worry about surfaces? How do you keep yourself, your workers, and your customers safe?

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a lot of questions for market farmers. Produce safety expert Annalisa Hultberg from the University of Minnesota Extension has science-based answers to help you understand best practices for flattening the curve and feeding your community at the same time. MOSES Organic Specialist and organic fruit farmer Rachel Henderson provides a farmer’s take.

As promised in this episode, here’s a link to the Farm Commons webinar on Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Farmers/Ranchers Affected by COVID-19.


Episode 3: Farmer Mental Health in this Crisis
With the incredible uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are experiencing mental health problems for the first time, and the added stress is worsening many peoples’ underlying mental health conditions. The American Psychiatric Association recently found that over a third of Americans think the coronavirus pandemic is seriously affecting their psychological health.

For this episode, Chuck has candid conversations with Emily Krekelberg, head of Minnesota Extension’s Rural Stress Task Force, and farmer and farm advocate Rick Adamski of Seymour, Wisconsin. They have personal experience with mental health issues and draw from those experiences to help others. These conversations can help you recognize mental health issues in yourself or others and give you suggestions on how to address them.

For immediate help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Farm Aid Crisis Hotline: 1-800-FARM-AID
Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline: 833-600-2670 x 1


Episode 2: Organic Grain & the Coronavirus
How is the coronavirus affecting organic grain farmers? What effect might the pandemic have on commodity prices? What should organic farmers be considering as they think about this year? Listen in on conversations with economist Ryan Koory of Mercaris and organic farmers Carmen Fernholz and Luke Peterson. Turns out, the solutions are the tried-and-true principles of organic and sustainable farming—diversify your crops and markets and join forces with other farmers.


Episode 1: Market Farming in a Pandemic
COVID-19 has forced us all to make big changes fast. This is especially true for market farmers. In our first episode, we talk to vegetable growers Katie Bishop and Rebecca Henderson on how they’ve adjusted so far, as well as online marketing expert Janelle Maiocco on how to quickly get started in online sales.

Listen to the Post-Podcast Farmer Chat:

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