OGRAIN Organic Grain Farm Financial Toolbox for Agriculture Service Providers

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $121,146.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2025
Grant Recipient: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Erin Silva
University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • Agronomic: barley, buckwheat, canola, corn, hay, hemp, medics/alfalfa, oats, other, peas (field, cowpeas), soybeans, sunflower, triticale, wheat


  • Crop Production: cropping systems
  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension, farmer to farmer, study circle, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, budgets/cost and returns, business planning, marketing management, whole farm planning
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, transitioning to organic

    Proposal abstract:

    With the OGRAIN Organic Grain Market and Financial Toolbox for Agriculture Service Providers project, we will educate agricultural professionals and technical service providers with respect to sustainable market and economic models, improving their ability to provide technical assistance to transitioning and established certified organic clients. Through our proposed project, ag professionals will develop a deeper proficiency and understanding of the economics of organic production practices and markets, positioning them to lead clients for financial success.

    As a result of this project, agricultural advisors’ knowledge on sustainable approaches to financially viable organic grain operations will increase, including knowledge of the economic impacts of various production practices and marketing approaches. Advisors’ ability to assist clients interested in organic practices will increase, and the number of advisors able to help organic clients will rise.

    Through this project we will create a series of videos and case studies and continue to support an online and phone-based learning community. Videos and case studies will showcase specific elements of organic production and markets and how these decisions impact farm financial sustainability, highlighting on-farm practices and strategies on successful organic operations. We will also host a series of case studies, workshops, and peer-learning groups related to the OGRAIN Compass financial management tool. A listserv will develop a peer learning community supported by bi-monthly virtual meetings to address participant’s specific concerns and questions.

    As a direct result of this project over 600 ag advisors will gain knowledge that increases their ability to serve clients interested in organic practices.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • 10 written case studies and 10, 10-15 minute videos focused on organic farm financial strategies, with an emphasis on highlighting what success looks like and options for achieving it. These case studies will also demonstrate how the OGRAIN Compass organic farm financial tool can be used to project and verify the impact of different management choices.
    • Online learning community consisting of listserv and bimonthly conference calls
    • 4 OGRAIN Compass Workshops
    • Videos will be linked to University of Wisconsin OGRAIN webpage (https://ograin.cals.wisc.edu)
    • A publicity campaign will reach members of the American Agronomy Society Certified Crop Advisors, Extension and NRCS personnel as well as others who advise farmers.
    • An anticipated 300 participants will view each video within the grant project period an overall audience of 4,800 views. We expect to directly impact over 600 individuals, who will then pass the knowledge on to their clients.
    • An anticipated 75 individuals will participate in the virtual learning community
    • Reports submitted to SARE will be available for public viewing via the SARE website, guiding learning for other project designers on our lessons learned, project outputs and outcomes.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.