Citizens Advisory Council


Midwest CSA Conference

Date: December 3-4, 2015
Location: The Plaza, Eau Claire, WI

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The Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers: Keeping the Dream of Farming Alive

As older farmers retire, fewer young farmers are stepping in to take their place. The number of beginning farmers dropped 20 percent in the last five-year census period, and the average US farmer now tops 58 years of age. more

CIAS Mini-Grants Support Graduate Student Research in Sustainable Agriculture

CIAS supports innovative graduate student research addressing the challenges faced by small- and medium-sized farms and food businesses. Awarded annually, our competitive mini-grants aid students as they initiate their research in sustainable agriculture and food systems. more


Northern Nut Growers Conference Features Wisconsin Hazelnut Production

The Northern Nut Growers Association (NNGA), in partnership with CIAS and UW-Extension, held the 106th NNGA conference in La Crosse, July 27-29. About 150 participants from across the country gathered for three days to talk about the business of nut production, processing and marketing in the context of agroforestry and perennialization. more

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Adamski, Rick

Citizens Advisory Council Chair
Rick farms with his wife, Valerie Dantoin, on a 160-acre organic dairy in Shawano County. The farm has been owned and operated by the Adamski family since about 1900. Managed grazing has been the foundation of this farm since 1987. Conservation, efficiency and renewable resources, including a 35 kW wind turbine, are the guiding principles for this farm. Rick has served on several committees with Organic Valley. He is a member of Wisconsin Farmers Union. Determined to help the next generation of grass-based dairy farmers, Rick and Valerie have hosted several interns from the School for Beginning Dairy Farmers, including a current milk share agreement with one of the school’s graduates.

Andrews, David

David Andrews is the Executive Director of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. He previously served as Global Programs Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Story County Extension Education Director. He has extensive international agriculture experience managing farming operations in Romania, the Philippines, Africa and the Middle East. David has owned and operated Green Vale Farms in Melbourne, Iowa, for 25 years. The farm has been part of the family since 1869.

Becker, Kat and Tony Schultz

Tony and Kat own Stoney Acres Farm, a third-generation, 120-acre, highly diversified USDA certified organic operation located in Marathon County. They run a 160 member CSA operation and market garden, produce maple syrup, and rotationally graze and direct market beef, pasture raised pork and pastured chicken. They are board members of Family Farm Defenders and work on legislative change through the Wisconsin Farmers Union. They are involved with educational opportunities for beginning farmers through a partnership with UW-Stevens Point, and Kat teaches a course on organic agriculture at UW-Marathon County. Kat holds a M.S. in Rural Sociology and Tony a B.S. in Education from UW-Madison. Kat and Tony believe the family farm has been a central form of economic democracy in our country, and they hope to reinforce this tradition to support a healthy and socially just world.;

Diercks, Andy

Andy is a fourth generation potato grower in Coloma, located 60 miles north of Madison. With his father, Steve they operate Coloma Farms, Inc., a 2,700 acre potato and grain farm. Both are very active within the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and serve on several committees related to marketing, research, and government relations. Coloma Farms and the WPVGA work pro-actively with researchers and leadership within the UW system to address issues in the vegetable industry. Andy received a BS from UW-Madison in Agricultural Engineering and currently serves on the DATCP board.

Eslinger, Mark

Mark Eslinger owns and operates an organic dairy farm near Stanley, Wisconsin. An advocate for managed grazing, Mark uses “What would nature do?” as the guiding principle for operating¬ his farm. He has served on several committees with Organic Valley and is interested in dairy farmer training.

Ferguson, Tom

Tom Ferguson and his family have been farming apples and pumpkins for ten years in the beautiful Coulee region of Western Wisconsin. Tom fully incorporates Integrated Pest Management practices on his farm. The Fergusons own 235 acres, with 130 acres planted to apples and about 10 acres of pumpkins. Tom is a member of the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, where he was a director for eight years and held the offices of vice president (2009) and president (2010-11). He is also a member of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association and the Chambers of Commerce in Eau Claire, WI and Lake City, MN. He previously worked as a manufacturing manager with 3M and Imation.,

Gehl, Andy

Andy is a 4th generation food manufacturer. Established in 1896, Gehl Guernsey Farms (Gehl Foods) evolved from a regional dairy to a national aseptic manufacturer and co-packer with $250 million in annual sales. Andy gave up the position of president in 2011 to focus on healthier opportunities. Andy’s new company, Contract Comestibles, is focused on small batch manufacturing of sauces and dressings. Contract Comestibles is certified FDA, USDA and organic and regularly works with farmers and entrepreneurs looking to expand into the retail trade. Andy remains on the board of Gehl Foods in addition to holding a seat on the Leadership Council for Food and Beverage Wisconsin.

Hintz, Clare

Clare farms in northern Wisconsin, near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. She runs a winter CSA featuring fresh greens and storage crops, plus treats like apple butter and apple cider. She specializes in perennial fruits and nuts as well, and she has a small market garden featuring heirloom vegetable varieties. She also raises laying hens. She manages her farm following permaculture principles and organic standards.

Kiehnau, Kevin

Kevin started dairy farming in 1979, doubled the size of the farm in 1985, made the switch to rotational grazing in 1992, certified organic in 1994 and started shipping organic milk in 1995. In 2005 he sold the dairy herd and started to raise organic beef, cash crop and work for CROPP Co-op (Organic Valley) part time. Kevin took a full time position with CROPP in 2008 and sold the farm in 2012 after becoming a division manager for the co-op. Kevin has served on the Board of Directors for Equity Livestock and the Dairy Executive Committee for Organic Valley, and has served on many other committees with in those organizations. Kevin is currently on the advisory committee for the organic program at NWTC Green Bay. He believes that helping organic farmers become better managers and helping young people become farmers are two ways we can protect the rural infrastructure and the environment, and put people back on the land.

Lloyd, Sarah

Sarah Lloyd and her husband, Nels Nelson, farm with Nels’s family at their dairy just outside the Wisconsin Dells. Sarah manages the Wisconsin Dells Farmers’ Market and is the board treasurer of the Wormfarm Institute, a Reedsburg-based non-profit working at the intersections of art and agriculture. Sarah works off-farm and is the Special Projects and Regional Membership Coordinator for the Wisconsin Farmers’ Union. In this position, she organizes the biennial Midwest CSA Conference and has assisted with the launch of the farmer-led Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative. Sarah has a PhD in Community and Environmental Sociology from UW-Madison and teaches the Rural Social and Economic Issues course in the UW Farm and Industry Short Course.

Lutsey, Tom

Tom Lutsey grew up in Green Bay and spent 30 years of his life in the family business: Gold Bond Ice Cream. The business went from two plants and sales of $3 million in 1973 to 6 plants and sales of $250 million in 1990. Tom became the company’s president in 1980. He has served on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards, and he currently sits on the Green Bay Packers, Graybow Communications and Wisconsin Specialty Proteins Boards. In the ‘80s, he started the Thomas H. Lutsey Scholarship Foundation in his father’s name to help rural kids earn agriculture-related college degrees. The Lutseys have a small office in Green Bay which manages several enterprises including Waseda Farms, a soon-to-be organic beef farm with 120 head of registered Angus and Hereford cattle.

Olson, Mark

As a teenager, Mark sat on the Growers Council—the precursor to the Dane County Farmers’ Market board. He was the first office manager for the Wisconsin Rural Development Center. He helped create standards for the certified organic dairy industry. In the mid 1980’s he started Renaissance Farm, which grows and processes fresh herbs. Renaissance Farm is setting up a national distribution network and has six product lines. Mark helped form Driftless Development in the spring of 2010. Its mission is to replicate the construction of locally-owned processing parks by organizing and training local management, farmers and plant workers to process raw agricultural products.;

Paine, Laura

Laura Paine and her husband raise grass-fed beef on their farm near Columbus, Wisconsin. Laura currently works as program director with the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program, and formerly served as Grazing & Organic Agriculture Specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. She has been a guest speaker at the Wisconsin Grazing Conference and the Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference, and authored a chapter on pasture management in “Organic Dairy Farming: A Resource for Farmers”.

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