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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


Announcing the 2019 Market Farm Madness Champion!

Hoophouse is your 2019 Market Farm Madness champion! They withstood high winds, late snow storms and controversy over cost share payments to win the tournament. more

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CIAS 2019-20 Annual Report

Posted August 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, we immediately began to hear from our farmer collaborators about disruptions in the agricultural and food system. Some of the dairy farmers that we work with saw dramatic decreases in the price they receive for their milk due to supply chain issues as consumers stopped eating at restaurants and schools, and instead purchased food for home use. The craft cider makers shared that they had to close down their tap rooms, losing critical income for their operations. At the same time, the CSA farmers we work with said that they sold out of pre-sales for the season faster than ever.

We began to see the outlines of a massive shock to the current system—one of unprecedented challenges for some and unique opportunities for others. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical weaknesses and inequities in the food system. The pandemic’s financial repercussions for farms and other food businesses—as well as the State of Wisconsin and the entire University of Wisconsin System—are uncertain.

Over the past 31 years, CIAS has been fully engaged in bringing together farmers, researchers and others to study and provide outreach for resiliency and viability in Wisconsin agriculture and food systems. CIAS seeks to be a key organizer and facilitator in the transformation needed to address critical ecological, economic and social issues in Wisconsin and beyond.

Your support of CIAS is needed now more than ever to keep our work relevant and responsive. With your help, we can build a more resilient, diverse and vibrant food system.

Read the full report (PDF)