CIAS held the inaugural Midwest School for Beginning Apple Growers on February 5-7, 2010 in Madison. Over 40 students learned how to minimize risk in establishing and managing a commercial apple orchard. The class covered IPM and organic growing practices, marketing strategies, labor management, and business evaluation and planning. It also addressed some of the personal and family issues associated with running a family farm. There were hands-on activities and show and tell tables. Ten different instructors were involved in teaching and organizing the course, including featured presenters Bob Barthel and Nino Ridgeway from Barthel Fruit Farm, Harry and Jackie Hoch from Hoch Orchard and Gardens, and Matt Stasiak from the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station. The program was launched with funding from the North Central Risk Management Education Center. CIAS plans to make this an annual event alongside its other long-running schools for beginning farmers.
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
University of Wisconsin-Madison