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OGRAIN field day focuses on emerging organic grain markets

Market opportunities for organic farmers continue to expand. While staple crops of corn and soybeans continue to remain strong – with organic soybean prices at all-time highs – demand for less traditional crops is also increasing.

To help farmers learn about these emerging opportunities, the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Organic Grain Resources and Information Network (OGRAIN) is hosting a field day on July 27, 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., at Hughes Farms in Janesville, Wis. The event, hosted in partnership with Marbleseed, will highlight how organic grain farmers can diversify their rotations, benefiting farm profitability through unique market niches and improved organic management.

“The organic market offers a lot of potential beyond the typical corn-soybean-wheat rotation,” says OGRAIN program leader Erin Silva, associate professor and extension organic agriculture specialist in the UW–Madison Department of Plant Pathology. “More diversified rotations that include more unique crops  – like those grown at Hughes Farm – can help expand market resilience, as well as production resilience.”

Field day attendees will learn about several “outside the box” organic crops grown at Hughes Farms, including processing vegetables, KernzaⓇ, barley, and industrial hemp. The event will also showcase the farm’s management tools, such as tine weeders, electric weed zappers, and organic-approved inputs including biologicals.

The event will provide plenty of new tips and strategies for current organic grain farmers. It is also designed to be informative and welcoming for conventional producers interested in exploring the transition to organic grain production.

“Due to strong demand, there is a wide variety of opportunities for domestically-produced organic wheat, barley, oats, specialty grains, corn, beans and forage,” says Silva, who was recently named the Clif Bar Endowed Chair in Organic Agriculture and Outreach at UW–Madison. “At this event, we will explore these options and provide valuable tips and techniques for any type of farmer who wants to have less reliance on chemical inputs, improve soil health, and increase their bottom line.”

For more information and to register, visit https://ograin.cals.wisc.edu/ograin-events/2022-ograin-field-days/. The field day will include lunch. Questions can be directed by email to emsilva@wisc.edu.

INFORMATION FOR MEDIA
Contact: Erin Silva, emsilva@wisc.edu, (608) 890-1503