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