BFRDP Projects

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

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

 

  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

The Organic Grain Resources And Information Network (OGRAIN)
works to increase 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 keep 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 is 1.) Delivering 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.) Providing full-day workshops at the annual Midwest Organic and Sustainable
Education Service (MOSES) Organic Farming Conference, 3.) Investing in farmer
networks by participating in MOSES’ Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring Program, pairing
beginning farmers with experienced growers, 4.) Increasing farmer-to-farmer
interaction and exchange through hosting multiple educational “field walks”,
5.) Producing a series of training videos focusing on priority topics for
beginning organic grain farmers throughout the country, and 6.) Building a
regularly updated online learning library. In our first year of programming we've engaged over 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: 549

Results

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