Success with On-Farm Variety Trials


MP3 download of workshop audio from MOSES 2018.

Friday Session III

Planting the right variety can make or break a crop’s success. Trialing seeds on your farm can help optimize production, address production challenges, and manage risk of adopting new varieties. Learn how to: conduct on-farm trials, juggle trials on a working farm, use new online resources to get the most out of your trial efforts, and document your work as part of your Organic System Plan.

Julie Dawson is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on organic and on-farm variety trials of vegetables and small grains. She leads the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative with plant breeders, farmers, and chefs.

Jared Zystro is the assistant director of research and education for the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), where he conducts participatory breeding projects and variety trials. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s plant breeding and genetics program.

Cathleen McCluskey is the communications and outreach associate at Organic Seed Alliance. Cathleen supports OSA communications, leads the organization’s design work, and is the chair of the biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference.

Kitt Healy is the Midwest research and education associate for Organic Seed Alliance. She holds a master’s in agroecology and organic horticulture from University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she launched the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative with Dr. Julie Dawson.

Kat Becker owns Cattail Organics, a certified organic vegetable, flower, herb, and maple syrup operation in Athens, Wis. Cattail Organics offers a three-season CSA, wholesale produce, and does free weekly deliveries to area food pantries. Until last year Kat co-owned and managed Stoney Acres Farm, a 150 acre diversified organic farm.