There’s big opportunity for organic agriculture in the Midwest, so we’re putting boots on the ground.
The Rodale Institute Midwest Organic Center at Eztel Sugar Grove Farm provides research, education, and assistance to farmers looking to implement organic practices on their farms. It’s also an educational center for the public, and the site of collaboration between Rodale Institute researchers and local partners.
The Midwest Organic Center is located in Marion, Iowa near Cedar Rapids.
In 2016, the USDA reported that Iowa—long considered the epicenter of agriculture—is fifth in the nation for number of certified organic farms. That makes the state representative of a growing movement. Yet the region lacks truly progressive, widespread access to research and training in regenerative organic practices.
The Midwest Organic Center, supported by Frontier Co-op, will provide support for Iowa’s organic farmers. Our goal is to enhance the growth of organic farms throughout the entire region.
Goals for the Center
To research innovative, regenerative, organic farming methods and provide farmers with the education and resources to implement those methods on their own farms.
To gather data on the differences between conventional and organic farming methods in Iowa’s unique climate and soil.
To create progressive opportunities in agriculture.
About Etzel Sugar Grove Farm
Etzel Sugar Grove Farm is a 190-acre farm located in Marion, Iowa that represents the future of agriculture in Iowa. The farm implements and educates the public on regenerative agriculture practices that restore the health of Iowa’s farms, watersheds and environment.
Eztel Sugar Grove Farm is part of Indian Creek Nature Center, Iowa’s first and only privately owned and operated non-profit nature center.
Midwest Organic Center Staff
Dr. Carl Rosier
Dr. Carl Rosier has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and microbiology from the University of Montana. Dr. Carl Rosier uses his expertise in ecology and soil resource management to inform farmers and others about our soil environment and the effect farming practices have on this critical resource.
Dr. Kristine Lang
Dr. Kristine Lang provides on-farm consultations for Midwest farmers and landowners who want to transition any portion of their operations to certified organic systems. She is developing partnerships with local and regional organizations to extend Rodale Institute’s outreach in the Midwest. Kristine has a Ph.D. in Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University, and she will also oversee specialty crop research at the RI MOC.
Midwest Organic Center Steering Committee
Craig Chase, Iowa State University
Program Manager of Farm, Food, and Enterprise Development Ames, IA
Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University
Professor of Horticulture and Agronomy Ames, IA
Ravin Donald, Ph.D., Frontier Co-op
Vice President of Technical Services Norway, IA
Andy Dunham, Grinnell Heritage Farm
Owner/Operator Grinnell, IA
Wendy Johnson, Joia Food Farm
Owner/Operator Charles City, IA
Dan Pickar, Hills Bank
Commercial Banking Officer Hills, IA
Martin St. Clair, Coe College
Professor of Chemistry Cedar Rapids, IA
Loran Steinage, FLOLOfarms
Owner/Operator West Union, IA
Live Weather Updates from the Farm
The Midwest Organic Center’s Hobo Weather Station continually collects data to inform future research trials on the farm. Our onsite staff use this data to connect weather patterns with soil moisture and temperature responses under different crop management practices. Check out the live data for updates anytime!
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Midwest Organic Center
3706 St. Peters Rd.
Marion, IA 52302