BFRDP Projects

Organic Grain Resources And Information Network (OGRAIN): Supporting beginning organic grain growers in the Upper Midwest
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $187,379
Grant Program: 2015 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Erin Silva
Organization: University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

The Organic Grain Resources And Information Network (OGRAIN) increased the number of organic grain farmers in the Upper Midwest by developing an educational resource base and building a network of engaged
farmers, educators, and stakeholders. Beginning farmers interested in growing organic grain, for feed or for food, are entering a steadily growing industry with premiums capable of supporting an aspiring grower. However, agronomic challenges, a difficult transition process, and a lack of knowledge or skills in organic management have kept beginning farmers from accessing this desirable market.
OGRAIN's mission is to remove these barriers and ensure operational success through farmer-focused curriculum, effective mentoring, marketing assistance, and easily accessible resources. Through collaborating with partners who have proven track records implementing successful beginning farmer-focused programs, OGRAIN has 1.) Delivered a three-week intensive course hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course, co-taught by farmers and University faculty, and available streaming online
2.) Provided full-day workshops at the annual Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Organic Farming Conference, 3.) Invested in farmer networks by participating in MOSES’ Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program, pairing beginning farmers with experienced growers, 4.) Increased farmer-to-farmer
interaction and exchange through hosting multiple educational “field walks”, 5.) Produced a series of training videos focusing on priority topics for beginning organic grain farmers throughout the country, and 6.) Built a regularly updated online learning library.
In our programming we've engaged over 1,500 participants, effectively creating the largest and most effective resource and education network focused on beginning organic grain production in the nation. OGRAIN is ever-evolving, learning from challenges, and moving forward with, and for, beginning farmers throughout the Upper Midwest.

Number of Participants: 1092


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success