Citizens Advisory Council


MOSES Organic Farming Conference

Date: Feb. 23-25, 2017
Location: La Crossse, WI

Midwest School for Beginning Apple Growers

Date: March 10-12, 2017
Location: UW-Madison campus

Food Sovereignty Symposium and Festival

Date: March 10-12, 2017
Location: UW-Madison

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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


UW-Madison Highlights Partnership with Stoney Acres Farm

Kat Becker and Tony Schultz, who own and operate Stoney Acres Farm in Marathon County, are featured in a UW-Madison campaign to show how partnerships with citizens and businesses are furthering the Wisconsin Idea in each of the state's 72 counties. 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.

Holman, Chris

Chris and his partner, Maria Davis, own and operate Nami Moon Farms outside of Stevens Point. The 41-acre farm focuses on pasture-raised poultry and hogs, chicken and duck eggs, and annual vegetables. Recent sustainability efforts on the farm include planting more perennial fruits and vegetables, and working toward the long-term goal of producing most of the feed for the farm’s animals. The farm also dabbles in bees, mushrooms and silviculture. Chris and Maria are lifetime members of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. As a veteran, Chris has worked closely with the Farmer Veteran Coalition. He has also consulted for Farm Credit, been appointed to programs and committees run by National Farmers Union, and served on USDA’s Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. Chris has a M.A. in Geography from the University of Oregon, and he taught Arabic and Middle Eastern Geography for 15 years before quitting to farm full-time.

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.

Kuehnhold, Joel

Joel Kuehnhold owns Lonely Oak Farm near Milladore, WI. His highly diversified farm is in the process of becoming certified organic. Over 100 head of sheep and a small herd of beef animals are rotationally grazed on 80 acres. His operation includes feeder pigs, 300 laying hens and two acres of vegetables. The farm’s unique location within a wildlife area encourages management techniques that work in harmony with nature. Joel has built an on-farm certified kitchen where produce from the vegetable fields is processed and sold under the farm’s label. Joel is also the agricultural education instructor at Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, where he emphasizes the importance of practicing sustainability in agriculture. His classes have been nationally recognized for their involvement in farm to school initiatives.

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”.

Smith, Daniel

Daniel Smith serves as Administrator of the Division of Agriculture Development at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Smith guides the marketing of the state’s agricultural products locally, regionally and internationally. He also directs the farm and business development services available through the division. Smith is a graduate of UW-Madison. He operated his own dairy farm in northwestern Illinois for thirty years. His farm incorporated sustainable practices including rotational grazing, crop rotations, cover crops, soil and animal nutrition programs and wildlife habitat preservation. Smith next worked as CEO of Midwestern BioAg in Blue Mounds before being appointed by DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel in October 2013. Under Smith’s direction, the division has placed added emphasis on organic agriculture, livestock grazing, cover crops, specialty crops and diversified farming systems. Smith has reached across agriculture to emphasize the importance of sustainable agriculture systems and markets for the betterment of Wisconsin’s citizens and environment.

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