MADISON — There is a growing demand for organic grains, but there’s also a learning curve that farmers have to navigate before accessing the market. Organic and conventional growers alike can learn about growing organic small grains on a large scale and diversifying their crop rotations at a free field day next week.
The Diversified Organic Grain Rotations field day will be held on July 21 from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Bickford Organics in Ridgeway, Wis. The day is hosted by the University of Wisconsin’s Organic Grain Resources and Information Network (OGRAIN) and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).
“We have a great line-up of presenters,” says Anders Gurda, associate researcher in the Organic and Sustainable Cropping Systems lab at UW-Madison. “Experts will discuss on-farm grain storage, farming for water quality, growing organic seed corn and on-farm record keeping.”
The field day will begin with a presentation by host farmers Paul Bickford and John Wepking and a short tour of the farm. UW-Madison plant breeders Julie Dawson and Lucia Gutierrez will close out the day with a discussion about recommended varieties and breeding priorities.
All participants are invited to enjoy a free lunch provided by the Iowa County farmer-led watershed initiative. The shared meal will include shrimp caught by fishermen and women in the Gulf of Mexico, project collaborators whose livelihoods depend on Midwestern farmers keeping our waterways clean. Options other than shrimp will also be available.
— Anders Gurda, UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
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