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                BELOW IS THE 2015 CROP CYCLE INFORMATION-- Stay tuned for 2016 information! The Illinois Organic Growers Association will be hosting a bike-to-farm tour event[...]

Illinois Local Grains and Local Markets- Workshop & Field Day

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Grain save the date (6)



September 9, 2016

Monsanto Room, ACES Library

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Friday, September 9, 2016
8: 00 am to 12:00 pm.

Presentations and discussions in this workshop are designed to raise awareness of the potential for regionally adapted grain to serve growing local and regional markets.

The program will begin at 8:00 a.m. with presentations starting at 8:30 a.m. Speakers include Bill Davison from Illinois Extension, Allison Krill-Brown from the Department of Crop Sciences-University of Illinois, Frank Kutka from the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, and Julie Dawson (Keynote address) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Frank Kutka is a plant breeder and the co-coordinator of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Farm Breeding Club. He grew up in southeastern Wisconsin, studied ecology, and then studied sustainable agriculture and plant breeding. He worked as a Scientist for the University of Minnesota, and as the State Coordinator for the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program in the Dakotas. In his current work, he has been developing of a yellow dent corn that has the ability to prevent cross-pollination with GMO corn. That work builds up on approximately 20 years of experience with corn breeding for the organic farming sector.

Julie Dawson will present a keynote address. Julie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   Her background is in organic wheat breeding and participatory research. Before arriving at UW Madison, she was a postdoctoral researcher on a project about value-added grains for regional food systems at Cornell University.  This included variety trials in organic systems and quality testing for artisanal breads.  Prior to that she worked as a postdoctoral researcher in France, where she contributed to the creation of a participatory wheat breeding program with an association of organic farmer-bakers.  She received her PhD from Washington State University, working with Dr. Stephen Jones on organic and participatory wheat breeding.

For more information about the workshop, contact Carmen Ugarte at cugarte@illinois.edu or Bill Davison at wdavison@illinois.edu


Illinois Local Grains and Local Markets Field Day

 9:00 a.m.   Registration at the Shop  Janie’s Farm 854E 2300N, Danforth IL 60930


10:00 a.m.  Presentations in the shop by Harold and Ross Wilken on their experience on on-farm selection and milling at Janie’s Farm,  Fred Kolb and Allison Krill-Brown on the U of I efforts to develop wheat varieties suitable for Illinois, and a discussion on participatory crop breeding led by Frank Kutka, founder and co-coordinator of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Farm Breeding Club.

12:00 p.m.  Lunch ($12/person pre-ordered, with a limited number of on-site at $15/person) will include foods made from locally sourced grains prepared by local chefs!

1:003.00 p.m.  Field tours will include the mill and ongoing corn and bean variety trials.

WHEN:  Saturday, September 10, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 PM (CDT)

WHERE: Janie’s Farm – 854E 2300N, Danforth, Illinois 60930

These events are co-sponsored by the Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Program at the University of Illinois, Illinois Extension, and the Illinois Organic Growers Association.



USDA Organic Farming 2014 Survey and Results


USDA Organic Survey

NASS is excited to announce the upcoming release of the 2014 Organic Survey results on August 31 at Noon ET. This report will provide the latest data for all known U.S. organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification, and transitioning to organic production.

In addition, NASS will conduct an organic survey in fiscal year 2016, which runs from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. The 2015 Organic Survey will focus on providing data in support of the USDA’s Risk Management Agency programs, such as providing price elections for organic crops certified by the USDA organic regulations.


Frequently Asked Questions about the Survey

1. What is the Organic Survey?

The 2014 Organic Survey is a complete inventory of all known organic producers that are certified, exempt from certification in the Unites States (those grossing less than $5,000 annually from organic sales), and those producers transitioning to organic production. This study serves as a census of all organic operations, as directed under the FY2014 Farm Appropriations Bill.

2. Why should I respond to the Organic Survey?

Your responses will provide important, detailed, unbiased information to help determine the economic impact of organic production at the national and state levels. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, total organic product sales by farms in the U.S. have continued to show substantial growth over the last few years, increasing by 83 percent since 2007. Additionally, the sales from 14,326 farms with certified or exempt organic production totaled over $3.1 billion in 2012. Data published from the 2014 Organic Survey will help provide the industry with a reliable source of timely information to use in justifying research projects and fund requests to benefit producers.

3. Who will use the data published from the Organic Survey?

The agriculture industry and all levels of government use the information to prepare a wide variety of organic agriculture-related programs, economic models, legislative initiatives, and market analysis and feasibility studies. These programs directly affect the life and communities of growers and help to improve agriculture production technologies and practices. Specific examples of benefits to producers include

  • Agencies such as USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) use the data to evaluate and establish crop insurance programs for organic producers
  • Farm organizations use the information to lobby Congress or state legislatures for funding and support of organic production programs
  • Government, extension, and university scientists use the information to determine research needs
  • The information could be used to calculate disaster payments for producers
  • Suppliers to the organic industry use the data to plan production and marketing of new products

4. How will the survey be conducted?

Survey forms will be mailed in early January to approximately 17,000 producers nationwide. Responses are due by mail by February 13, 2015 or online by April 3, 2015. To ensure the most complete and accurate accounting of organic agriculture in the United States, the 2014 Organic Survey is a census of all known U.S. certified and exempt organic operations that are currently on NASS’s list frame from the 2011 Certified Organic Survey and the 2012 Census of Agriculture, as well as new certified organic entities obtained from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

5. Can I respond online?

Yes. Survey participants are encouraged to use the secure, convenient online response system. Take the Survey Here: www.agcensus.usda.gov. This not only saves you time, but it saves the government money on return postage and data entry. You will need the ID number printed on the mailing label of your survey form.

6. What types of questions will be asked?

The survey will look at organic farming and ranching activities during 2014, including:

  • Production of field crops, vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, berries, livestock and poultry;
  • Production practices such as pest management, cover crops, crop rotation, rotational grazing, conservation tillage, water management and buffer zones;
  • Production expenses;
  • Marketing practices, including wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer sales; and
  • Value-added production and processing.

7. In order for me to participate in the survey, does my operation have to be certified organic?

No. The survey includes USDA certified organic producers, organic producers exempt from certification (those grossing less than $5,000 annually from organic sales), and producers transitioning to organic production.

8. Must I respond to the survey?

Yes. United States law (Title 7, U.S. Code) requires all those who receive a survey to respond.

9. Will my information be kept confidential?

Absolutely. Respondents are guaranteed by law (Title 7, U.S. Code) that their individual information will be kept confidential. NASS uses the information only for statistical purposes and publishes data only in tabulated totals. The report cannot be used for purposes of taxation, investigation, or regulation. The privacy of individual records is also protected from disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act.

10. When will results of the survey be released?

Survey results will be published in August 2015 and will be available online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

11. What if I want more information or need help completing my form?

Call the toll-free number listed on your survey form – 888.424.7828, or visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

WIU Allison Research Farm Organic Field Day

The 2015 Allison Organic Research Farm field day will take place on Thursday, August 13th at the Dakin and Allison Farms in southwest Warren County, Illinois. Presentations related to this year’s theme, New Opportunities in Organic Farming, will begin at the Dakin Farm at 9 am. The keynote presentation First Generation Organics on a Multi-Generation Farm will begin at 11 am and will be delivered by Andy Ambriole, an innovative young farmer – 1500 acres of mixed organic and conventional production in Huntington County, IN. This presentation will be of interest to any farmer interested in enterprise diversification for higher profits, healthier soil and successful generational transition.

In addition, Doug Kremer (http://terramax.co) will discuss the present and future of biological seed treatments (including N fixation by non-legumes), Ken Musselman (http://agrienergy.net/) will discuss biological nutrient management and Dr. Joel Gruver, Director of the Organic Research Program at Western Illinois University will share recent research results and lead a discussion of the presentations.
Dedicated time for attendees to meet with presenters and vendors will be provided from 8:30-9 am, 10:45-11 and 1-1:30 pm.

A free lunch featuring local farm products will be served at noon. After lunch, a walking tour of the Allison Farm’s research and demonstration plots (corn, soybeans,  pumpkins and cover crops with different tillage systems, fertility programs, seed treatments and cultivation practices) will begin at 1:30 pm and include an equipment demonstration if weather permits.

Following the field day, all attendees are invited to attend the Illinois Organic Growers Association’s summer festival at the Allison Farm. The festival will include dinner, live music, and dance to celebrate the season and grow farmer relationships.

Registration for the field day and IOGA festival before the end of the business day on Monday 8/10 is strongly recommended but not required. To register or obtain more information about the field day, contact Andy Clayton at AW-Clayton@wiu.edu  or (217) 322-2639 or the WIU School of Agriculture Main Office (309) 298-1080. To register or obtain more information about the IOGA festival, contact Marnie Record at illinoisorganicgrowers@gmail.com or 864-704-5783.

Directions to the Dakin Farm shop – 130 20th St., Roseville, IL 61473

If arriving from the north, travel on Rt. 67 five miles south of the Rt. 67 and Rt. 116 intersection in Roseville to County Rd. 20th Ave. N, then turn west and travel four miles on 20th Ave. to the south-east corner of the Allison Farm (intersection of 20th Ave. and 20th St.). Turn left and proceed south 0.7 miles on 20th St. to the Dakin Farm shop.

If arriving from the south, travel on Rt. 67 seven miles north of the Rt. 67 and Rt. 9 intersection in Good Hope to County Rd. 20th Ave. N (2 miles north of the McDonough/Warren County line), then turn west and travel four miles on 20th Ave. to the south-east corner of the Allison Farm (intersection of 20th Ave. and 20th St.). Turn left and proceed south 0.7 miles on 20th St. to the Dakin Farm shop.

Organic Fest

You’re Invited! Organic Fest 2015 on Aug. 13

Register Here


You’re invited to Organic Fest 2015, hosted by Illinois Organic Growers Association. Join us to celebrate the season with food, fun, and festivities. All are welcome!

When:  Thursday, August, 13th  immediately following the WIU Allison Organic Farm Field Day.

Where: Allison Organic Farm in Warren County

Time: Networking begins at 4:00 p.m., Dinner served at 5:00 p.m., Music and Dancing 5:30 – 7:30pm

Cost: FREE. $10 donations are suggested.

Registration: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/organicfest

More information?:  Contact Marnie Record at illinoisorganicgrowers@gmail.com or 864-704-5783.

Directions to Allison Farm

If arriving from the north, travel on Rt. 67 five miles south of the Rt. 67 and Rt. 116 intersection in Roseville to County Rd. 20th Ave. N, then turn west and travel four miles on 20th Ave. to the south-east corner of the Allison Farm (intersection of 20th Ave. and 20th St.)
If arriving from the south, travel on Rt. 67 seven miles north of the Rt. 67 and Rt. 9 intersection in Good Hope to County Rd. 20th Ave. N (2 miles north of the McDonough/Warren County line), then turn west and travel four miles on 20th Ave. to the south-east corner of the Allison Farm (intersection of 20th Ave. and 20th St.)

Farm Commons Webinars

Many farmers rely on interns and apprentices for farm labor. Did you know specific and complex employment laws affect interns, apprentices and volunteers? Listen to the Farm Commons recorded webinar on the subject  to make sure your farm is building a strong, stable intern program. Also check out the 2014-15 Farm Law Basics Series with fourteen webinars available for viewing any time. Beginner through advanced topics are covered on a variety of subjects, including CSA law, financing farmland purchases, business entities, value-added products, and much more. Browse through all of them here.farm common logo

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) Kicks Off 2015 National Survey of Organic Farmers

OFRF’s 2015 National Survey of Organic Farmers will begin landing in e-mail boxes across the U.S. on July 9th, asking all certified organic farmers in the U.S. to share their experiences, and let the science community know what areas of research are most needed to advance organic farming.

Organic farmers rely on cutting-edge science to outsmart pests, improve fertility and produce bountiful harvests, without the use of toxic chemicals. Organic researchers across the U.S. are hard at work seeking solutions to organic farming challenges – but they need feedback from farmers in the field.

Survey results will be used to update OFRF’s National Organic Research Agenda, an influential roadmap for the USDA and other research institutions, identifying the issues most critical to the success of organic farmers.

The 2015 National Survey of Organic Farmers will be emailed to every certified organic farmer with a listed email address on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) certification database, which lists a total of 13,352 certified organic farmers. Farmers without a listed email address will receive a mailed postcard asking them to access the survey via OFRF’s website at www.ofrf.org. Organic certification organizations nationwide have also agreed to help distribute the survey to their members.

OFRF SurveyThe confidential survey asks for data on farm size, production and location, as well as collecting detailed information about organic farming challenges and farmers’ most pressing information needs, such as pest control, soil health, water conservation strategies, pesticide drift and GMO contamination of organic crops.

Organic Farming Research Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan, pro-farmer, all-organic research foundation, and a leadingchampion of American organic family farmers. Our mission is to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. Since 1990, OFRF has funded 315 organic research projects, and our National Organic Research Agenda report has greatly influenced the USDA’s growing investment in organic farming research.

For more information on OFRF and our 2015 National Survey, please call our office at (831) 426-6606 or visit our website at www.ofrf.org. In addition to the link on our website, the survey can also be accessed at http://opinion.wsu.edu/agresearch/.