Learn About Organic Production in DATCP Workshop

Are you curious about how to transition your dairy farm to organic? Are you wondering about organic market opportunities or if “going organic” is right for your facility or food product?

These questions are directed at individuals who may have an interest in attending the upcoming “Thinking of Transitioning to Organic?” workshop series presented by the WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and Dane County Extension.

The series, Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, consists of two workshops: one for dairy farmers and one for food processors. Both workshops will be held at the DATCP Building, 702 Agricultural Drive, Madison.

Feb. 4 – Dairy Farmers – 8:30 am-4:30 pm: Dairy farmers and/or technical assistance providers are invited to listen to speakers directly involved in the organic dairy industry, as well as farmers who have successfully made the transition to organic.

Topics include: Organic Certification Requirements Overview & NRCS Programs for Farmers; Financing/Crop Insurance and Risk Management; Livestock Health and Management; Soils/Cover Crops & Pasture Management; and Markets and Pricing.

The list of speakers (more to be announced) includes: Allen Philo, Midwestern BioAg; Harriet Behar, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); and Dr. Guy Jodarski, Organic Valley.

Feb. 5 – Food Processors – 10 am-3 pm: Food processors wondering about organic market opportunities and whether organic is right for them can address questions to experts from two certifying agencies.

Topics are: Is Organic Appropriate for Your Facility or Product?; Standards, Requirements, and Regulations; Market Opportunities; Organic System Plans; Ingredients/Processing Aids, Cleaning Agents, and more.

Speakers at the Feb. 5 event include Michelle Menken, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association; and Joe Pedretti, Midwest Organic Services Association.

Event organizers Angie Sullivan, an agriculture program specialist with DATCP, and Theresa Feiner, a DATCP business development specialist, said they organized the workshop series after hearing from increasing numbers of dairy farmers and food processors expressing interest in organics.

“Not everybody is definitely interested in making the transition – they’re just wondering what it takes and whether it’s right for them,” said Sullivan. “We want to give farmers who are considering transitioning to organic as much information as we can, so they can make an informed decision and decide if organic is right for them. “We’re doing that in a forum that allows them to ask all their questions.”

“With Wisconsin having the second highest number of organic farms in the nation, organic processors have the opportunity to access organic product from Wisconsin farmers,” said Feiner. “The experts we’ve gathered for these workshops will be able to answer questions about what it means to be an organic processor.”

For more information about the Feb. 4 workshop, contact Angie Sullivan at 608.224.5095 or [email protected]. For more information about the Feb. 5 workshop (food processors), contact Theresa Feiner at 608.224.5140 or [email protected].The cost to attend is $20/day or $30/both days. Lunch is included. To register, visit:

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