MADISON, Wis. — With organic soybean prices reaching $30 per bushel, organic production continues to provide a strong opportunity for farmers of all scales to capture the higher prices associated with organic products and build financial resiliency along with expanded sales. A conference offered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Organic Grain Resources and Information Network (OGRAIN) will provide farmers with the knowledge and networks necessary to succeed in growing and marketing organic grains in the Upper Midwest.
The 2022 OGRAIN Organic Grain Winter Conference will be held Jan. 28-29 on the UW–Madison campus. Participants will benefit from two full days of organic expert presentations, engaging panels, productive discussions, and opportunities to meet other farmers interested in organic grain production in the Upper Midwest.
The conference will cover all aspects of organic grain production, including weed, fertility and disease management; state-of-the-art equipment for organic farmers; marketing and financial planning; organic certification; variety selection; and cover crops, rotations, and soil health. The workshop will include engaging presentations, panels, and discussions led by experienced organic farmers, researchers, agency personnel and industry representatives. Organic farmer Rick Clark, recipient of the 2022 No-Till Innovator award, will discuss his experiences with organic production in a presentation titled “Organic with No-Tillage.”
“The workshops over the two days will span production and marketing issues that transitioning, beginning, and experienced organic grain farmers of all sizes wrestle with,” says OGRAIN program leader Erin Silva, associate professor and extension organic agriculture specialist in the UW–Madison Department of Plant Pathology. “Organic grain still offers a strong domestic market for farmers with prices that allow farms of all scales to make a living.”
The event will provide valuable information for many individuals, including conventional producers interested in exploring the transition to organic grain production, livestock farmers interested in growing their own feed, produce growers curious about adding grain to their system, and anyone considering or currently growing organic grain.
Ahead of the conference, there will be a Thursday evening roundtable event to facilitate farmer-to-farmer dialogue on experiences with organic no-till production. This special session requires an additional registration and fee. Exhibitors will be available throughout the event to highlight products and resources available to organic producers.
“A strong demand for domestically produced organic wheat, barley, oats, specialty grains, corn, beans and forage provides a wide variety of opportunities for the aspiring organic grower and those who are looking to diversify their operations, says Silva. “Transitioning to organic, as well as improving organic farming systems, is a key focus of this conference, which will provide valuable tips and techniques for any type of farmer who wants to have less reliance on chemical inputs, improve soil health and their bottom line.”
For more information and to register, visit https://ograin.cals.wisc.edu/events/2022-ograin-winter-conference/. Registration costs $60/day for a single day (Friday or Saturday) or $100 for the full conference, with registration closing on January 20. Masking will be required throughout the event, per local guidelines. The event will move to a virtual format in the case of changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Questions? Email to email@example.com.
— UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences