With organic grain prices as much as three times higher than conventional prices and demand for organic grain far outstripping supply, opportunities abound in this industry. A new seminar offered by the Organic Grain Resources and Information Network (OGRAIN) and the Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) at UW-Madison will help farmers take advantage of the rapidly growing market for organic grain.
The organic grain production and marketing seminar will be held January 11-29, 2016. Classes will meet daily from 2:25-3:15pm on the UW-Madison campus, and will also be available remotely through a live, interactive streaming service.
“Whether you’re a conventional producer interested in exploring the transition to organic grain production, a livestock or produce farmer curious about adding grain to your system, or a new farmer wanting to start with organic grain, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this seminar,” says Anders Gurda, associate researcher in the Organic and Sustainable Cropping Systems lab at UW-Madison and program coordinator for OGRAIN.
The seminar will cover agronomic aspects of organic corn, soybean, and small grain production as well as fertility and pest management. Participants will also learn about marketing and contracts, food-grade grain production, and organic transition and certification. The course will be taught by experienced organic farmers, researchers, agency personnel and industry representatives.
“Farmers can not only make more money by growing and selling organic grain, but they can do it in a way that is both environmentally and economically sustainable,” says Gurda.
Although organic grain prices are strong, significant barriers prevent many producers from making the leap to organic grain production. “Farmers are concerned about yields in organic systems, the organic transition process, and the skills and knowledge necessary for managing a successful organic grain operation,” Gurda explains.
The course is available to anyone with an interest in learning more about organic grain production. However, the seminar emphasizes the needs of beginning farmers who have been farming for fewer than 10 years.
The organic grain production and marketing seminar is available for no extra charge to students enrolled in the Farm and Industry Short Course. The cost for non-FISC participants is $50, which covers either the campus or online class. Need-based scholarships are available. If remote participants need assistance accessing high speed internet, course organizers can help identify locations capable of streaming the class.
This seminar is made possible by a grant from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. OGRAIN is a collaborative effort of the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS), Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC), Organic and Sustainable Cropping Systems lab, and Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).
To register, call or send an email with your name, phone number and address to Anders Gurda, email@example.com, 612-868-1208. When registering, please indicate whether you will join the class in person or online, and if you need scholarship support. You will receive payment instructions when you register. Registrations will be accepted until the class is full.