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 2016

The MOSES Organic Farming Conference (#MOSES2016) 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 to get a sticker for your name tag to let others know you’re a New Organic Steward, too. Pick up free resources and enter our drawing! We’re the first booth when you enter the concourse from the main lobby.

Orientation for First-Time Conference-Goers
North Hall, Thursday 6 p.m.

See how to get the most out of MOSES 2016!

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!

New Farmer Mixer
Friday 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Get to know other beginning farmers. Hosted with Renewing the Countryside and the National Young Farmers Coalition.


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 65 workshops over six sessions. Click here to see the full list of workshops.

Hack Your Farm Tools
Presenter: Grant Schulz, Versaland
Friday 1-a – 8:15 a.m. has pioneered the creation and sharing of hundreds of farmer-designed and built tools. Together, let’s view real-world examples of robust, low-cost, and locally-sourced DIY tools that can improve your farm. From ergonomic hand tools to texting greenhouse robots, see how to apply inexpensive technology to your farm business.

Quality Produce from Field to Table
Presenters: Laura Frierichs, Loon Organics and Joan Olson, Prairie Drifter Farm
Friday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

High quality produce is essential to your farm’s economic success. This workshop will help you get produce from the field to the point of sale at peak quality, attending to good handling practices along the way. We’ll share examples from three small- to mid-size operations to show how infrastructure, land, management and budget impact produce quality.

Promoting Organic by Finding Common Ground
Presenter: Carolyn Olson, Olson Organics of Cottonwood
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

The best conversations happen when we find something in common with others. How can we find common ground with people who have different philosophies and styles than we do? It’s all in the words we use. Learn about conversation starters and enders, and the art of promoting organic agriculture in conversations over the dinner plate, in the grocery aisle, or on social media.

Use Your Good Financial Records
Presenters: Paul Dietmann and Kay Wiemer, Badgerland Financial
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Learn how to prepare good records and how to use them to manage your business effectively.  We’ll cover available methods—software, record books, and professional services. We’ll show you how to use good records to develop sound financial statements and make informed business decisions.

Increase Farm Income via Diversification
Presenters: Lisa Kivirist, Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B and Paul and Chris Burkhouse, Foxtail Farm
Friday 2-b – 11 a.m.

As the organic and “know your farmer” market grows, opportunity abounds for farms to creatively diversify to bring in extra income. Get ideas on hot-growth categories such as pizza night, farm stays, processing under cottage food law, commercial kitchen set-up and winter CSAs. We’ll share start-up stories and experienced advice on costs and barriers.

Financing and Creative Land Options
Presenters: Sheri Houtakker, USDA FSA and Holly Rippon-Butler, National Young Farmers Coalition
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Farmers across the country are exploring a variety of ways to access land–working with a land trust, partnering with a farmland investor, or securing a long-term ground lease. We will discuss creative strategies as well as financing options through the Farm Service Agency. Learn about the process, including potential obstacles, from application to approval.

Introduction to Holistic Management
Presenters: Cree Bradley, Chelsea Morning Farm
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Learn about Holistic Farm Management, a whole-farm planning framework that incorporates individual principles into realistic management and financial decisions according to quality of life, profitability and stewardship goals.

Taking the Mystery out of Organic Certification
Presenters: Ben Caldwell, MOSA and Harriet Behar, MOSES
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

Organic certification can be intimidating at first, but with knowledge comes power. By watching this “virtual farm inspection” with experienced organic inspectors, you will learn how to complete your farm’s organic system plan, determine which products are allowed or prohibited, prepare your compliance documentation, and prepare for your own organic inspection with confidence.

Organic Row Crop Farming 101
Presenter: Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute
Saturday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.

Opportunities to grow and market organic grains have increased in tandem with the rising demand for organic animal products.  Take advantage of these opportunities by learning what it takes to grow organic row crops. Explore production strategies that make sense for your farm, from cover crops to compost and weed management to organic no-till. Discover how complex biological tools will go to work for you, virtually for free!

Origins & Evolution of the Organic Farming Movement
Presenters: Roger Blobaum, Organic History Project and Jim Riddle, Organic Independents
Saturday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.

Get to know the history of organic certification, state organic programs, the Organic Foods Production Act, the National Organic Standards Board, and recent attempts to mobilize public support for organic research, market expansion, certification cost sharing, and organic integrity.

Integrating Family Safely on the Farm
Presenters: Joan and Nick Olson, Prairie Drifter Farm and Marsha Salzwedel, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety
Saturday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

Whether you are a parent returning to the family farm or someone who hosts young children at your functioning farm, learn about the challenges and delights of farming with young children and research-based tips on keeping children safe and happy at your farm.

Time & Productivity Management
Presenter: Chris Blanchard, Purple Pitchfork
Saturday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.

There’s always something to do on the farm, and nobody knows it better than the farmer. Uncover ways to overcome the overload of information, tasks, and projects on your farm while you keep things from falling through the cracks with time and information techniques that will improve your business and your quality of life.

Creating Healthy Soil
Presenters: Ray Archuletta, USDA NRCS and Gabe Brown, Brown’s Ranch
Saturday 2-b – 11 a.m.

By thinking biologically rather than chemically, farmers and ranchers can build more resilience into their soils. A farming system that mimics nature will produce healthy, living soils and in turn, more money in your pocket. Learn about feeding the soil and incorporating diversity in cropping systems to better understand the living soil, its water-holding capacity, fertility and production potential.

Formal Apprenticeship for Beginning Dairy Farmers
Presenter: Joe Tomandl III, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship
Saturday 2-b – 11 a.m.

Farming is a profession—it’s time for professional training. The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is an innovative program combining on-farm training with related coursework. DGA provides post-graduation support services and has developed models of equity earning, milk-share partnership, farm start-up, and farm transfer. DGA could open the doors to a new generation of sustainable producers.

Rotationally Grazing Sheep
Presenter: Bonnie Wideman, Pine Knob Organic Farm
Saturday 3 – 3:30 p.m.

There is more than one way to rotationally graze sheep. You might strive for an ideal grazing system, but you’re limited by available resources. Learn about all the practical aspects of rotationally grazing sheep so you can maximize the resources on your farm. Topics include fencing, watering, paddock size, improving pasture, predator control, when to rotate and winter management.


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.  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:
  • Internships | Job Opportunities


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