Two men standing together in the middle of a wheat field, both looking down at the laptop computer in the hands of the man on the right

University of Wisconsin-Madison Organic Grain Resource and Information Network

Generating Soil Health Solutions

Program Contact

Dr. LaKisha Odom

Year Awarded   2022

Total award amount   $100,000

Location   Madison, WI

Matching Funders   The Organic Center

To Advance Organic Agriculture, Training and Technical Support is Needed

The $350,000 Organic Training for Agricultural Professionals Prize recognizes extraordinary contributions to training farmers, agriculture professionals and community organizations in organic production. In selecting the 2022 prize winners, The Organic Center and FFAR prioritized farmer-led projects with the potential for expansion and multi-regional impact. Organizations were also selected based on their project’s ability to increase diversity, equity and inclusion among participants and on the extent to which they included measurable, in-person and online knowledge exchange between farmers and organic agriculture professionals. Applicants were required to match the award amounts.

Why this research is important

Organic farming is poised to be part of the climate change solution; organic farmers do not rely on fossil-fuel intensive synthetic inputs to manage pests or increase soil fertility and use farming techniques that sequester carbon in the soil. However, more work is needed to understand specific strategies organic growers can adopt to mitigate climate change, while managing the negative effects climate change is having on their farms through drought, flooding, invasive pests and extreme weather events.

Transitioning to organic farming can be confusing, costly and labor-intensive. This partnership with The Organic Center provides a much-needed opportunity for agriculture professionals to educate more farmers about organic farming best practices so we can sustainably meet consumers’ growing demand for organic products and support thriving farms. LaKisha Odom, Ph.D.
Scientific Program Director Soil Health

Details About this Research

Advancing Organic Grain Production

The Organic Grain Resource and Information Network (OGRAIN) and Cooperative Extension bring together strong university and on-farm research with peer-to-peer learning to advance organic farming among grain producers. This prize advances OGRAIN programming by building additional state-wide and cross-state relationships through Cooperative Extension, supporting work with Tribal Nations and developing additional resources for new agriculture professionals and farmers transitioning to organic.


  • Outcome 1: Develop a community of practice for WI-based Extension and ag professionals and expand virtual and in-person training events
  • Outcome 2: Develop a community of practice for Midwestern Extension personnel (expanding collaborations with additional states (IL, OH, and IN), and expand regionally-based virtual and in-person training events
  • Outcome 3: Strengthen our programming with Tribal Nations

How This Research Contributes to Our Mission

This research develops and deploys the latest technology and knowledge to help farmers build and maintain healthy, productive soil and to protect farmers’ livelihoods and the environment, while increasing productivity.

Matching Funders

The Organic Center's mission is to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental impacts of organic food and farming and to communicate the findings to the public. The Center is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) research and education organization operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association.

Connect: @OrganicCenter

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