Research Projects and Programs

Our original research programs, from the lab bench to our certified research stations

UW-Madison’s organic research program is one of the oldest and largest in the country. Faculty, staff, and students from every corner of campus engage organics, answering some of the most pressing questions in agriculture today.

To see the publications and resources that result from our research, visit our resource database

Organic broad acre crops (corn, soybeans, small grains, forages) are an integral part of Wisconsin agriculture – Our regional dairy and livestock industries depend on them as do an increasing number of local millers, distillers, and chefs.

UW-Madison has become a national leader in organic plant breeding, developing varieties for performance under organic management and working with breeders, chefs, and farmers to bring flavor and beauty back to the food that we eat.

Wisconsin has the second most organic farms of an state in the US, behind California, and many of those farms are diversified vegetable farms, from wholesale to CSA. Research happening at UW helps those farmers optimize their systems and keep our markets and pantries filled with delicious produce.

60 acres and 30+ years of data

WICST looks at the productivity, profitability, and environmental impact of organic and conventional agricultural practices in the Upper Midwest. At its core WICST is an embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea, engaging farmers, citizens, and scientists to work together in addressing the challenges facing agriculture in Wisconsin and beyond. With systems spanning conventional, organic, cash grain, dairy forage, perennial bioenergy, and livestock grazing enterprises, WICST is one of the most diverse long-term cropping systems experiments in the world and includes some of the longest running organic research in the U.S.

Learn more…

Organic agriculture, like all production strategies, is best looked at through a systems lens. A perfect variety or a silver bullet tool are only impactful if they make financial sense for growers, if there’s a market to motivate adoption, and if there’s social receptivity across the supply chain. The ‘culture’ in ‘agriculture’ means that people will always be just as important as agronomics to a functioning, resilient Agroecosystem.

Wisconsin is America’s organic dairyland, home to over 400 organic dairy farms and the birth place of Organic Valley, the nation’s largest cooperative of organic farmers. UW honors the state’s dairy heritage and engages in organic research with and for the organic dairy industry in Wisconsin.

Field research at UW happens throughout the state, at one of our many Agriculture Research Stations, 4 of which have certified organic acreage or host organic trials. Explore the map below to see where some of our 145 certified acres are throughout the state.

We host regular events and field days at research stations – check out our events page for more information

Spooner Agricultural Research Station

Hancock Agricultural Research Station

Arlington Agricultural Research Station

West Madison Ag Research Station

We Want to Work with You!

Katie Peterman

Program Manager

Whether you’re a farmer interested in engaging UW researchers, a student looking for academic opportunities, or a fellow researcher excited about collaborating, get in touch: