OGRAIN Field Day Series Focuses on Resilience

The University of Wisconsin­­–Madison’s Organic Grain Resource and Information Network (OGRAIN) Organic Agriculture Field Day Series will focus on improving soil health. Incorporating resilience in organic systems will also be a key topic.

“While requiring different approaches to management as compared to conventional production, organic grain offers a profitable opportunity for Wisconsin’s farmers at both smaller and larger scales with the goal of creating a more resilient agricultural model,” says Kelly Debbink, outreach specialist with the OGRAIN program in the UW–Madison Department of Plant Pathology.

Field days across southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois will showcase innovative practices at organic farms and research stations. Attendees will view novel crops, marketing strategies, equipment, and other tools crucial for successful organic management.

Organic Grain Equipment Showcase, July 10

The kick-off to the summer field day series will be July 11 at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station. The event will highlight mechanical weed management demonstrations, including representatives and equipment from several companies to demo and discuss equipment. The event will take place from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Cover Crop Conversations at Hoffman Organic Farm, Aug. 20

The second field day of the season will be August 20 at the Hoffman Organic Farm in Earlville, Illinois. The IDEA Farm Network and The Land Connection co-host a field day. It includes field walks of organic crops, vegetables, and grass-fed lamb and beef. Discussions focus on cover crops like frost-seeded red clover, buckwheat, pearl millet, and sunn hemp. Field walks will include the use of wide-row corn interseeded with winter squash. The program will also highlight mentorship opportunities for new and transitioning organic farmers. The event will take place from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

UW Organic Research Field Day, Aug. 26

The final field event, the UW Organic Research and Climate-Smart Commodities Field Day, will be at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station on August 26. This field day, co-hosted by Marbleseed, will include tours of the latest research in organic grains and forages, including roller crimping, strip tillage, and alternative crops. Discussions will also include opportunities for funding related to climate-smart production. The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

“We continue to see farmers use innovative crops and practices on their farms to be successful in managing pests and weeds using organically-allowed methods,” says OGRAIN program leader Erin Silva. “It’s exciting to be able to hear directly from farmers what they have learned to be successful organic grain producers, as well as highlight the technology and science that can bring organic production to the next level.”

All field days are free to attend. You can find registration and more details about the times and locations of the events at https://ograin.cals.wisc.edu/ograin-events/2024-ograin-field-days/.