Organic Pasture & Soil


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Organic pasture management and soil health training

Teaching organic dairy farmers how to manage their pasture acreage can enhance their success and profitability. In 2018, CIAS developed and field tested training in organic pasture management and soil health for agency personnel who support conventional, transitioning and new organic dairy farmers.

In fall 2018, CIAS hosted two “train the trainer” events on organic, pasture-based dairy farms in Lancaster and Edgar, Wisconsin. The 54 participants hailed from agencies including the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), county Land and Water Conservation Departments (LCDs), UW-Extension and organic certifiers. Surveys following these events showed a significant increase in participant knowledge of organic pasture management, managed grazing, soil health, organic inspection, dry matter calculation and extending the grazing season.

This work was supported by Organic Valley Farmers Advocating For Organics.

CIAS plans to hold two additional trainings in fall 2019. Check back for details. Training resources and videos from the 2018 trainings are linked below.

Upcoming trainings


  • Jackson, RD, Isidore, B, and Cates, RL. “Are plant-soil dynamics different in pastures under organic management? A review.” Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 279 (2019) 53-57.

Training resources:

October 4 training at Peter Arnold’s Farm, Edgar, WI

Milk characteristics, pastures and soils

Observing pastures and soils

Overview of soil health on organic dairy farms

Pasture establishment and renovation on the Arnold farm

Pasture establishment and renovation, part 1

Pasture establishment and renovation, part 2

September 6 training at Kevin Jahnke’s Farm, Lancaster, WI

Panel: Maximizing dry matter intake from pasture, part 1

Panel: Maximizing dry matter intake from pasture, part 2

The organic pasture rule

Calculating pasture dry matter

NIRS forage testing