Field Day and Seafood Lunch: Can Conservation Pay?

Date: October 24, 2018, 9:45am
Location: Dolan Farms, Dodgeville, WI

First Annual Wisconsin Chili Lunch

Date: November 15, 2018
Location: Statewide

6th Annual Perennial Farm Gathering

Date: December 7-8, 2018
Location: Lussier Family Heritage Center, Madison

more events


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

Diversified Organic Grain Rotations Field Day

Date: July 21, 2017, 9am-2:30pm

Location: Bickford Organics, Ridgeway, WI

Posted June 2017

One challenge of organic grain production is marketing the entire crop rotation, including small grains. OGRAIN, MOSES, the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and the Iowa County Farmer Led Watershed Initiative will address this issue, and more, at a field day on diversified organic grain rotations.

Farmers Paul Bickford and John Wepking explain their organic systems, which protect not only local watersheds, but also Gulf Coast fisheries at the other end of the country. They will also talk about designing a crop rotation, large-scale small grain production, processing, marketing your whole rotation, on-farm storage, growing organic seed corn, and mentorship models and farm transfer.

Click here to register for this free field day.


Enjoy a free lunch provided by the Iowa County farmer-led watershed initiative! We’ll be eating shrimp caught by fishermen and women in the Gulf of Mexico –
new friends whose livelihoods depend on Midwestern farmers keeping our
waterways clean. Shrimp not your thing? We’ll have brats, too.


• Large-scale, food-grade small grain production, processing, and marketing
• On-farm grain storage
• Farming for water quality
• Planning a diverse crop rotation
• Growing organic seed corn
• Small grain variety recommendations


Paul Bickford, Bickford Organics
Paul Bickford was one of the first farmers in Wisconsin to convert to rotational grazing in 1992 after years of conventional dairying. As a second-generation farmer, this kind of innovation came easy to Paul. So after decades as a dairyman, he was ready for another challenge. In 2011, Bickford sold his herd and decided to transition all of his 900 acres to organic grain production. Three years ago his new venture got a healthy shot of enthusiasm and skill with the addition of John Wepking and his wife Halee, both trained chefs and hopeful farmers. By incorporating milling-quality small grains into their forage, feed, and seed rotations, Bickford and Wepking have been able to access new markets and add diversity, ecologically and financially, to their operation.

John Wepking, Meadowlark Farm
John Wepking has been farming with Bickford Organics, a 900-acre organic farm in Ridgeway, Wis., since 2015. He and his wife grow malting barley, hard red winter and spring wheats, open-pollinated flint corn and spelt, along with traditional feed crops, and raise organic grass-fed beef.

Lynn Clarkson, president, Clarkson Grain
Jeffrey Block, GroAlliance
Julie Dawson and Lucia Gutierrez, UW-Madison plant breeders