Iroquois Valley Farmers Grow Organic Corn

Organic corn helps diversify the crop.

An organic grain field day in Iroquois County drew a big crowd at Janies Farm despite the rain. This site will soon house a new organic milling operation to support the growth of specialty grains.

It's not often that a farm can host an organic grain field day and simultaneously hit the presses with a feature article in Orion Magazine about family farming and land access. But what Janies Farm and the Wilken Family have accomplished in a few years is worthy of such attention. About 150 farmers, millers, buyers, bankers, investors and educators fought a steady rain to attend the presentation sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension, Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), and The Land Connection.

Field days usually don't have keynote speakers but in this case the crowd was honored to listen to Herman Brockman, a retired professor of genetics  and visionary organic farmer that is the thought leader behind local efforts to farm more healthy and responsibly. It was Herman who first provided Harold Wilken with the opportunity to try organic farming, by asking him to transition his centennial Brockman farm near Danforth, IL. It was also Herman who connected Iroquois Valley Farm's Co-Founder and CEO David Miller to Harold to transition Miller's farm and therefore plant the first seed for Iroquois Valley Farms. Professor Brockman likes to use the phrase "Corn Desert" to refer to the local farming landscape. It is in fact this monoculture that has energized Iroquois Valley Farm to support the new generation of farmers defining sustainable agriculture.

Read more in the 2015 issue of Orion Magazine in the article entitled, "Buying the Farm", that highlights the company's unique role in supporting farm families like the Wilkens.