2017 Organic Field Days

2017 WIU Allison Farm Field Day: Capturing the Benefits of Biodiversity in Agriculture

MACOMB, IL — The Western Illinois University 2017 Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Field Day is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 11 at the farm north of the WIU-Macomb campus. This year’s theme is
“Capturing the Benefits of Biodiversity in Agriculture.”

According to WIU School of Agriculture Associate Professor Joel Gruver, the daylong event will feature presentations in the morning and field tours and equipment demonstrations in the afternoon. The presentations will begin at 9 a.m. in the Dakin Farm shop, approximately 0.7 miles south of the Allison/WIU Organic Research Farm in southwest Warren County (directions below). A complimentary lunch, featuring local farm products, will be served at noon.

Mark Doudlah, a fourth generation farmer from Wisconsin, will deliver the keynote presentation at 11 a.m. Gruver explained that Doudlah Farms, LLC is pioneering the use of no-till, narrow rows and precision ag technologies to produce a high diversity of organic crops – corn, corn seed, dry beans (dark red kidneys, pintos and black beans), ancient grains, canning crops and cover crop seed (Aroostook rye, Purple Bounty hairy vetch and Manitoba 4010 forage peas). Doudlah Farms also produces pastured livestock (beef, pork and poultry, including eggs) and is conducting collaborative research with the USDA and state universities on peas, oats and pollinator strips.

Other presenters include Mark Mueller of Botanic Innovations, who will discuss alternative crops for specialty oils and nutritional by-products, and Matt O’Neal from the Iowa State University Department of Entomology, who will focus on the impact of biodiversity in farm landscapes on pollinators and biocontrol. Gruver will also share recent research results and lead discussions about the presentations.

A walking tour of the Allison Farm’s research and demonstration plots, which feature corn, soybeans, sunflowers, small plots of alternative crops and diverse cover crops, managed with contrasting tillage systems, fertility programs, seed treatments, interseeding and cultivation practices, will begin at 1:30 p.m. There will also be equipment demonstrations, weather permitting.

Registration is required. To register or for more information about the Field Day, contact Andy Clayton, WIU Organic Program research technician and farm manager, at AW-Clayton@wiu.edu or (217) 322-2639 or the WIU School of Agriculture at (309) 298-1080.

Onsite registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. Dedicated time for meeting with vendors and networking with attendees is scheduled before and between presentations.

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

If arriving from the north, travel on U.S. Rt. 67 five miles south of the U.S. Rt. 67 and IL Rt. 116 intersection in Roseville to County Rd. 20th Ave. N, then turn west and travel four miles on 20th Ave. to the southeast 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 located on the west side of the road.

If arriving from the south, travel on U.S. Rt. 67 seven miles north of the U.S. Rt. 67 and IL 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 southeast 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 located on the west side of the road.



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 Contact: Anders Gurda, agurda@wisc.edu, (612) 868-1208

 Organic agriculture continues to move from the fringe towards the mainstream. Many large-scale grain farms throughout the country are transitioning some or all of their acres to organic production, increasing the diversity of their cropping systems as well as the markets that they sell into. With prices often two to three times conventional commodity prices, farmers stand to gain after navigating the sometimes-challenging transition process.

Wallendal farms in Grand Marsh, Wis. is one farm making the transition and finding that it’s worth the investment. Slowly converting up to one-third of their 3,200 irrigated acres over a 10-year period has proven both challenging and rewarding, and “helped to make us better farmers on all of our acres,” says Megan Wallendal, the farm’s research specialist.

“The Wallendals are continually innovating and breaking new ground,” explains Anders Gurda, manager of the Organic Grain Resources and Information Network (OGRAIN) at UW-Madison. “And that’s why we’re excited to be working with the whole family to host a field day on their farm.”

The “Adding Organic to Large-Scale Farms” field day will be on August 24th from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wallendal Farms, OGRAIN, and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) will host the event. “Anyone and everyone is welcome,” says Gurda.

“No matter what crop or at what scale you’re currently farming, attendees are going to come away with helpful information and new ideas,” says Harriet Behar, senior organic specialist with MOSES.

The field day will cover the Wallendal’s experiences with organic transition, on-farm research, innovative crop rotations, successful farm transfer to the next generation, and running a parallel (organic and conventional) operation. The farm tour will show on-farm grain storage, conservation tillage, and the machines and implements the Wallendals use for specific applications. Participants will also join a field tour that includes bean breeding plots with Ken Kmiecik, an independent bean breeder.

A free lunch is included with registration. Register online for this event at mosesorganic.org/aug-24 or call MOSES at 715-778-5775. Wallendal Farms is located at 2401 5th Avenue, Grand Marsh, Wis.

Sponsors include Allied Cooperative, Family Farms Group, Midwest Organic Services Association, the DeLong Co., and Purple Cow Organics


OGRAIN (The Organic Grain Resources and Information Network) is a collaborative effort of the University of Wisconsin-Extension and MOSES. For more information about OGRAIN and its programs, contact Anders Gurda, agurda@wisc.edu, (612) 868-1208.

MOSES Summer Field Days