CIAS has studied the profitability of many farming systems including grass-based dairies, Community Supported Agriculture, and integrated cropping systems.
Values-Based Food Supply Chain Case Study: Home Grown Wisconsin Co-op
Home Grown Wisconsin was a cooperative, multi-farm wholesale and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) food business founded in 1996 in south central Wisconsin. They successfully sold fresh produce to upscale restaurants and CSA customers in the Chicago area for more than 10 years. [...more]
Values-Based Food Suppy Chain Case Study: Red Tomato
Red Tomato is a non-profit organization that carries out marketing and distribution functions for 40 fruit and vegetable farmers, mostly in the northeastern U.S. [...more]
Values-Based Food Suppy Chain Case Study: Country Natural Beef
Country Natural Beef started with 14 ranching families marketing 200 head of natural beef cattle in 1987. In recent years, the cooperative has nearly 100 member ranches in multiple states that raise more than 100,000 brood cows, manage more than 6 million acres of land and sell almost $50 million of products. [...more]
Growing Wisconsin’s Grazing Future: Results of the Blue Sky Greener Pastures Consultation Process
For a wide variety of economic, environmental and social reasons, it makes good sense to regard the practice of managed grazing as an effective system for strengthening dairy and livestock farming in Wisconsin. The UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) partnered with GrassWorks, Inc. to develop a statewide, participatory discussion about managed grazing that they called “Blue Sky Greener Pastures” (BSGP). [...more]
Finding a cost effective, persistent legume for Wisconsin pastures (Research Brief #85)
Is there a legume that establishes and yields well, persists and is cost effective? Through on-farm research, Wisconsin beef grazier Jim Munsch set out to answer this important question on his Deer Run Farm. [...more]
Perceptions of Raw Milk’s Risks and Benefits (Research Brief #83)
Raw milk for human consumption that has not been pasteurized is a controversial product. Unpasteurized milk may contain pathogens that can lead to serious illness. Nonetheless, a study led by researchers Özlem Altıok and Michael Bell of the UW-Madison Department of Community and Environmental Sociology found that customers cite improving their health among the top reasons for drinking raw milk. A growing number of consumers feel that pasteurization robs milk of some of its nutritional and health benefits. [...more]
Organic Agriculture in Wisconsin: 2009 Status Report
While growth in the organic industry has slowed, U.S. consumers are not giving up on organic food. Organic sales, which expanded at a rate of 20 percent per year from the early 1990s through 2007, likely experienced negative growth in 2009. But 31 percent of U.S. families bought more organic food in 2009 than in 2008. [...more]
Custom Raising Dairy Heifers: Expectations and Perspectives of Wisconsin Dairy Producers
This survey explored the views, opinions and perceptions of Wisconsin dairy producers about custom grazing heifers. Findings included:
All types of Wisconsin dairy producers perceive that grazing has positive implications for the health and productivity of dairy heifers.
In order to appeal to Wisconsin dairy producers, potential custom grazing heifer operations must be cost competitive.
Confinement operations are [...] [...more]
Grower to Grower: Creating a Livelihood on a Fresh Market Vegetable Farm
For most fresh market vegetable growers, earning a reasonable living from their farms is a bigger challenge than growing produce. While growers often share production information freely, they may be reluctant to share financial information. Many growers are looking for ways to collect this information and share it with others without divulging confidential business details.
From [...] [...more]
Pastures of plenty: Financial performance of Wisconsin grazing dairy farms
Farms using managed grazing typically produce less milk per cow than confinement farms. However, a series of economic studies in Wisconsin and elsewhere show that, for many dairy farmers, the savings they realize using managed grazing more than offsets the loss in milk revenues due to lower production. These studies show that grazing farms are [...] [...more]