Conservation Programs to Support Organic Farms

February 27, 2020  |  10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.  |  La Crosse, Wis.



Brian Pillsbury, USDA-NRCS
Karin Jokela, Xerces Society
Mark Doudlah, Doudlah Farms
Kevin Mahalko, Mahalko Organic Dairy
Chuck Anderas, MOSES



  • Programs to support organic transition and conservation practices for farms
  • How to access these programs
  • Application of conservation practices in farm production
  • Create a personalized plan for your own land or farm



Organic standards emphasize protecting and improving the natural resources of agricultural land. Fortunately, there are many conservation programs farmers can tap for either technical assistance, financial support, or both to achieve their goals. These programs can support a wide variety of conservation efforts, such as creating wildlife and pollinator habitat or addressing erosion and water quality issues. There is even a program that repays farmers for the services of a planner who can help write a farm’s organic transition plan and guide the farmer through the process. Unfortunately, many farmers aren’t aware of the help that’s available. This class aims to change that.

You’ll hear from Brian Pillsbury, who has worked with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for 22 years; Karin Jokela, an organic farmer and a pollinator conservation planner with the Xerces Society; Chuck Anderas, a MOSES organic specialist who has been working with NRCS agents to explain organic production and farmers’ support needs; and, Mark Doudlah and Kevin Mahalko, organic farmers who used several conservation programs on their organic farms.

Whether you are transitioning to organic, wanting to improve your existing organic farm, or working with farmers to implement conservation practices, you’ll find this class provides the details you need to pair these valuable programs with the work you’re doing on the land.


About the Presenters:

Brian Pillsbury
Brian has been the State Grazing Lands Specialist for USDA-NRCS in Wisconsin for 22 years. He was raised on a dairy farm in Shelburne, Vermont. He is active in GrassWorks, American Forage and Grassland Council, the Society for Range Management (SRM), and many organizations in his community.


Karin Jokela
Karin Jokela is a Xerces Society pollinator conservation planner and partner biologist based in southeast Minnesota. She collaborates with NRCS staff in Minnesota and Wisconsin to help farmers with habitat restoration and pollinator-friendly farm management practices. She and her husband are also organic vegetable farmers in Cannon Falls, Minnesota.

Mark Doudlah
Mark is a 4th generation farmer who transitioned his family farm to organic after his father died of cancer in 2011. Doudlah Farms Organics now is a biological organic farm with more than 1,750 acres. He served more than a decade as president of Agrecol Corporation, one of the largest producers of native eco-type species in the Midwest.

Kevin Mahalko
Kevin Mahalko has an organic dairy herd in Gilman, Wisconsin, producing milk for the Organic Valley Grassmilk program. Kevin is president of Grassworks, a grazing educator for River Country RC&D, and an educator for the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program. He is on the MOSES team of organic specialists.


Chuck Anderas
Chuck joined MOSES in 2019 as an organic specialist. He has been an organic inspector, a certification agent, and has worked on small-scale fruit, vegetable, and livestock farms.



Generously supported by NCR-SARE grant funds. Thank you!





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