2019 Organic Vegetable Production Conference

February 1 & 2, 2019  Ι  Alliant Energy Center, Madison, WI

Thanks to everyone for an excellent event!

Save the date for next year:  January 31 & February 1, 2020!

This producer-initiated conference is built around farmer to farmer skill sharing and attracts growers from Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and beyond.


Hu rau Cheu Vang ntawm 414-238-7777 rau kev pab rau npe ua lus Hmoob.

Llame a Claudia Wiederholt al 608-224-3704 para obtener asistencia con la traducción en español.



“I am amazed by the wealth of information at this conference, and by the knowledge and honesty of the grower presenters.” – Rachel Cross, Spirit of Walloon Market Garden


“This is hands down the most informative conference I attend every year!” – Liz Graznak, Happy Hollow Farm


“Experienced growers sharing with other growers and really getting into the nitty gritty of organic vegetable production.  I can’t wait to go back!”  – Bethanee Wright, Winterfell Acres


“I love that this is a no civilian event, really geared towards professional growers.  It’s a safe place to talk about what works and what doesn’t with peers who are facing similar successes or struggles.” – Paul Betz, High Mowing Seed


“The intimacy of the group as a whole, and the farmer round table, allowed for more cross talk between growers. It was very easy to connect with more growers.” – Allison Stawara, MSU North Farm


This is my favorite farming conference! I love the grower to grower expertise and crop specific sessions.” – Annali Smucker-Bryan, Troy Farm


“I love this conference because it fills the ‘pro-level’ niche.”   – Katie Bishop, PrairiErth Farm


Full Topic Descriptions Below the Schedule


Habrá interpretación simultánea en miao y español para quienes lo necesiten.
Muaj kev txhais lus tib lub sij hawm ua lus Hmoob thiab lus Mev, yog xav tau.
Simultaneous interpretation in Hmong and Spanish will be available, as needed.

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Topics and Speakers

Farm Profiles – Digging Deep on Unique Aspects of Three FarmsFarms are more than the soils and sales that make them up. Farmers are also influenced by their own life events and the cultural context that exists in the field and beyond. In this session three different farms will dig deep on a specific experience, value, or line of thought and how that has helped to shape their farm practices in unique ways. This conference is a testament to how much farmers have to learn from each other. This session is an opportunity explore not just the technicalities of farming but also the way what we do is influenced by life on and beyond the farm.Ray Tyler, Rosecreek FarmsJason Montgomery-Riess, Steady Hand FarmMike Bollinger, River Root FarmJohn Hendrickson, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (facilitator)


  • Heidi Accola, Roots & Shoots
  • Kat Becker, Cattail Organics
  • Dan Fillius, Featherstone Farm
One-cut Salad Heads

  • Joe Schwen, Heartbeet Farm
  • Liz Graznak, Happy Hollow Farm
  • RayTyler, Rosecreek Farms
Onions, including overwintering

  • Jimmy Bauman , Farm Farm
  • Liz Graznak, Happy Hollow Farm
  • Nate Parks, Silverthorn

  • Cindy Hollenbeck, Keene Garlic
  • Jason Thimmesh, The Thimmesch Farm
  • Collin Thompson, Willowsford Farm

These sessions will provide detailed production information from variety selection to post-harvest handling enhanced by photos from the field and specific to a variety of scales. Participants will receive handouts detailing the systems of each of the presenters, including everything from germination techniques to crop spacing, equipment used, disease and pest control, and more.

Attracting, Compensating, and Retaining Farm Labor

The difficulty of finding and training skilled labor for the farm ebbs and flows from year to year. At a time when it is particularly difficult, this session will address some creative ways of meeting the challenge. From a new Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship that helps farmers attract and train skilled workers, to the J-1 and H-2A Visa programs that can bring foreign workers to your farm, to revamping your employee compensation package, this session will take a broad look at farm labor options. The results of a pre-conference survey on farm employee compensation will also be discussed at this session.

Elizabeth Minich, Steadfast Acres

Cassie Noltnerwyss, Crossroads Community Farm

Julie Dawson, UW Madison Horticulture (facilitator)

Making Data Driven Decisions on Your Farm

Every good business relies on data to make decisions, and farms are no exception.  This session will explore how farmers can gather data, record it, and use it to their benefit.  The farmer presenters will talk through real life examples of how they have used data to make decisions and what happened next.

Robyn Calvey, Park Ridge Organics

Tricia Bross, Luna Circle Farm

John Hendrickson, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (facilitator)

Vegetable Variety Round Tables

Excellent varieties are central to successful organic vegetable production, which is what makes this session so popular every year.  This year participants will be able to submit their favorite varieties through a pre-conference survey. That information will be compiled and distributed to all participants at the event and will form the base of a deeper discussion on the pros and cons of a wide range of varieties and crops.

Julie Dawson, UW Madison Horticulture (facilitator)

Chris Blanchard Memorial

Chris Blanchard of Purple Pitchfork and the Farmer to Farmer Podcast passed away on October 28, 2018.  He was known and loved by many of the farmers at this conference.  This is our time to remember him and celebrate the legacy he has left on farms around the world.  Jennifer Whitman of Vermont Compost will facilitate this session of stories and memories of Chris.  Everyone is welcome to speak.

Greenhouse Management

Like the vegetable specific topics, this session will focus on the details of greenhouse management from three different scales and styles. From soil block seedling production for on-farm use to large scale wholesale seedling sales, from a passive solar greenhouse to the more common gas heated hoop, this session will cover a wide variety of greenhouse systems and options.

Mike Bollinger, River Root Farm
Harriet Behar, Sweet Springs Farm
Chris McGuire, Two Onion Farm

Exploring Reduced Tillage in Organic Vegetables
The most common criticism of organic agriculture is that it relies too heavily on tillage. We use it to prep our beds, incorporate residues, kill weeds and more.  While tillage has its place, there are many reasons to reduce it and thus reduce and the damage it can do to our soils. These farmers and researchers are exploring reduced-tillage techniques in their fields and hoophouses and will share their successes and frustrations about this cutting edge of organic vegetable production.
Chris McGuire, Two Onion Farm
Kat Becker, Cattail Organics
Claire Strader, Dane County UW Extension & FairShare


  • Clarion Suites – Attached to Alliant Energy Center, 608-284-1234. Identify yourself as part of the “Organic Vegetable Conference Group” for a discounted rate of $109 plus taxes, or reserve your room online through January 7th. Rate includes hot breakfast in the morning and complementary social hour in the evening.
  • Home Stay – Connect with others offering or requesting a homestay in the Madison area on our Facebook Event page.
  • Sheraton – 706 John Nolen Drive – Across from the Alliant Energy Center, 800-325-3535
  • Holiday Inn Express – 601 John Nolen Drive – Next to Sheraton, across from the Alliant Energy Center, 608-709-5050


Register Here!

Regular by January 25
  • Full Conference = $150
  • 1 Day = $90

Lunches and Snack Breaks are included with registration

Scholarships / Becas / Nyiaj Pab

Hay becas de inscripción disponibles para productores inmigrantes y de comunidades cuyas raza y etnia tienen poca representación. La asignación de becas es por orden de llegada. La beca para la conferencia completa es de $110. La beca para un solo día es de $60.Con una beca, la tarifa de inscripción para los productores es:
  • Conferencia completa = $40
  • Un día = $30

También hay becas de alojamiento disponibles para los productores que viajan más de 80.5 km (50 millas) desde las afueras de Madison.

¡Inscríbase para obtener una beca!

Register > Enter Promo Code > 19Scholarship

Thov rau npe tsis pub dhau Lub Ib Hlis Ntuj Tim 13.

Muaj Nyiaj Pab Them Nqi Rau Npe rau cov neeg cog zaub uas khiav teb chaws thiab cov neeg cog zaub uas los hauv ib pawg uas txawv haiv thiab haiv neeg tsawg uas tsis muaj neeg sawv cev txaus uas raws qhov leej twg xub tuaj, leej twg xub tau.Nyiaj pab rau tag nrho ob hnub sib tham yog $110. Nyiaj pab rau ib hnub xwb yog $60.

Nrog qhov nyiaj pab, tus nqi rau npe rau cov neeg cog zaub yog:

  • Tag Nrho Ob Hnub Sib Tham = $40
  • 1 Hnub = $30

Muaj Nyiaj Pab Rau Chaw So rau cov neeg cog zaub uas tuaj deb tshaj 50 mais tawm sab nraum Madison tuaj.

Rau npe thov nyiaj pab ntawm no!

Register > Enter Promo Code > 19Scholarship

Registration Scholarships are available for immigrant growers and growers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities (Native American, Black, Latino, Hmong, etc.) on a first come, first serve basis. Full conference scholarship is $110. One day scholarship is $60.

With a scholarship, the registration fee for growers is:

  • Full Conference = $40
  • 1 Day = $30

Lodging Scholarships are also available for growers traveling from over 50 miles outside of Madison

Register Here

Register > Enter Promo Code > 19Scholarship

Language Access / Acceso a Idiomas / Kev Siv Lus

  • Llame a Javier Neira al 608-224-3712 para obtener asistencia con la traducción en español.
  • Llame a Cheu Vang al 414-238-7777 para obtener asistencia con la traducción en miao.
  • Habrá interpretación simultánea en miao y español para quienes lo necesiten.
  • Nuestro compromiso es promover la agricultura orgánica entre las minorías y las familias de inmigrantes. Puede inscribir a un invitado adicional de la familia para que asista a la conferencia de manera gratuita.

La University of Wisconsin-Extension proporciona acción afirmativa e igualdad de oportunidades en educación, programas y empleo para todas las personas calificadas, sin tener en cuenta la raza, color, género, credo, discapacidad, religión, origen nacional, ascendencia, edad, orientación sexual, gravidez, estado civil o de paternidad, historial de detención o condena, o estado de veterano de guerra.

  • Hu rau Cheu Vang ntawm 414-238-7777 rau kev pab rau npe ua lus Hmoob.
  • Hu rau Javier Neira ntawm 608-224-3717 rau kev pab rau npe ua lus Mev.
  • Muaj kev txhais lus tib lub sij hawm ua lus Hmoob thiab lus Mev, yog xav tau.
  • Peb muaj kev ruaj siab los txhawb kev cog zaub uas tsis siv chiv ntawm cov neeg tsawg thiab cov neeg khiav teb chaws. Koj rau npe tau rau ib tug neeg hauv tsev neeg ntxiv tuaj koom lub rooj sib tham dawb.

Lub Tsev Kawm Ntawv Qib Siab (University of Wisconsin-Extension) pab rau tsoom fwv kev pom zoo thiab ncaj ncees nyob rau kev kawm ntaub ntawv, kev pab cuam thiab kev ua hauj lwm rau tag nrho cov neeg tsim nyog ua tau tsis tas hais yog haiv neeg twg, xim tawv nqaij twg, poj niam txiv neej, kev ntseeg, cov neeg puas cev xws li tes taw, kev ntseeg ntuj, kev tuaj txawv teb chaws tuaj, kev poj koob yawm txwv, hnub nyoog, kev xaiv ntawm kev daj dee, kev xeeb tub, kev muaj txij nkawm los yog ua niam txiv, kev rau txhom los yog muaj txim raug kaw los yog ua qub tub rog

The University of Wisconsin-Extension provides affirmative action and equal opportunity in education, programming and employment for all qualified persons regardless of race, color, gender, creed, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital or parental, arrest or conviction record or veteran status.


Fairshare CSA Coalition

click on logos to learn more about our sponsors






















Contact Strader.Claire@countyofdane.com for Exhibitor/Sponsorship Information
or Register as an Exhibitor/Sponsor