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Beyond Production: Growing the Organic Grain Industry

Pre-registration is now closed. Walk-in registrations are welcome, but lunch is not guaranteed!

Meet the Experts | Improve Your Soil | Fund Your Farm | Grow the Industry

What: Explore tools to strengthen the organic grains industry
When: Thursday, February 16 – 9am-4pm
Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 1501 S. Neil St., Champaign, IL
How much: $25, includes lunch and morning refreshments
Agenda: Click Here.

Regional experts and stakeholders will discuss the current state of the organic grain farming industry. They will explore upcoming opportunities for new and seasoned organic growers to work together to grow the industry in Illinois.

This seminar is the final installment in the Risk Management in Organic Grain Farming series.


Organic no-till pioneer and innovator, Jeff Moyer, Executive Director of the Rodale Institute will deliver a keynote address highlighting the benefits of collaboration in the organic grain industry, with a good dose of practical production advice from one of the nation’s leading organic no-till experts.

Organic ag lending evangelist Richard Ritter, of Flanagan State Bank, will introduce the current financial state of the organic grain industry.

Bill Davison, known for in work in heritage and specialty grains, and University of Illinois Extension Educator, will highlight the importance of protecting the local grain economy from large commercial interests and offer practical solutions for independent farmers.

Illinois’ leading organic consultant and farm manager, Gary McDonald, will explore the farm manager’s perspective on growing the organic grain economy in Illinois.

Farmers have an enormous amount of knowledge and information accumulated over a lifetime of growing. USDA researcher, Adam Davis, will discuss the benefits to farmers and researchers of setting up a farmer-led research network in Illinois.

Jonathan Manuel, of the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District, will highlight the many programs available to assist farmers in transitioning to organic production. From certification cost share to installation of windbreaks and buffer zones, there are many creative ways to gain financial assistance in your transition.

Building the soil is the goal of every good farmer. University of Illinois Soil Scientist, Michelle Wander, will discuss how farmers can measure their progress and leverage that progress for future growth.

A panel of local farmers and experts will explore ways organic farmers can improve their marketing and production outcomes by collaborating with each other. The panel will be moderated by long-time organic farmer Jack Erisman of Goldmine Farms in Pana, IL. He will be joined by local farmer and crop consultant Will Glazik, organic farmer Angie Coxworth, and presenters Jeff Moyer, Gary McDonald, and Bill Davison.


9:00 AMSize and breadth of the organic grains market Rich Ritter, Flanagan State Bank
9:30 AMBrand the farm not the food - how to mitigate the risk of big processors taking organics over Bill Davison, University of Illinois Extension
10:15 AMOrganics - A Farm Manager's Perspective Gary McDonald, Organic Farming Consultant
10:45 AMBreak
11:00 AMFarmer Networks - How to Leverage Years of Experience and Practical Knowledge Adam Davis, USDA
11:30 AMAssistance for Transition - Using Government Programs to Your Benefit Jonathan Manuel, Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District
12:00 PMAssessing and Accessing Progress in the Soil Michelle Wander, Professor of Soil Science, University of Illinois
12:30 PMLunch/Trade-show
1:30 PMKeynote Jeff Moyer, Executive Director, Rodale Institute
3:00 PMBreak
3:15 PMPanel - Strength Through Collaboration Moderator: Jack Erisman Panelists: Jeff Moyer, Bill Davison, Will Glazik, Angie Coxworth, Gary McDonald
4:15 PMTrade Show/Networking
5:00 PMEnd

Keynote Speaker:

Jeff Moyer, Executive Director, Rodale Institute


The Land Connection is proud to host Jeff Moyer, the Executive Director of the Rodale Institute, as the keynote speaker for the culminating conference in our Risk Management in Organic Grain Farming series. Jeff Moyer is a world renowned authority in organic agriculture. His expertise includes organic crop production systems with a focus on weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. Jeff is perhaps most well-known for conceptualizing and popularizing the No Till Roller Crimper for use in organic agriculture. In 2011, he wrote Organic No-Till Farming, a publication that has become a resource for farmers throughout the world.

Jeff brings a farmer’s perspective and approach to issues in organic agriculture. He is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board, a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, the Chairman of the Board of Director of The Seed Farm, part of the Green America Non-GMO Working Group, a Project Member of The Noble Foundation’s Soil Renaissance project, and a Board Member of PA Farm Link.

In September 2015, Jeff was appointed as Executive Director of Rodale Institute after spending the last four decades at the Institute, helping countless farmers make the transition from conventional, chemical-based farming to organic methods.

Thanks to our sponsor!

Register by Monday 2/13 to guarantee your lunch. Walk-ins welcome, but lunch is not guaranteed and is on first come, first served basis.