Wisconsin is a national leader in both local food systems and organic food production. Studies show that consumer demand for these products is growing, and consumers in mainstream markets are demanding these products at an unprecedented rate.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is taking a proactive approach to meet this demand. DATCP has developed two new staff positions to support Wisconsin's grazing, organic and specialty-crop sectors and to help Wisconsin farmers and food businesses reach their potentials in these markets.
New to DATCP are Theresa Feiner and Angie Sullivan. They will work as a team to identify opportunities, address market-access barriers and connect farms and food businesses to resources.
"Our role of growing Wisconsin agriculture involves growing all sectors of the industry," said Daniel Smith, director of DATCP's Division of Agricultural Development. "These new positions will help connect food businesses to new markets; help farmers improve or start organic, grazing or specialty-crop operations and help families transition farms from one generation to the next."
Feiner is a market development specialist and will work directly with agribusinesses along the agricultural supply chain, including retail manufacturers, processors, aggregators and distributors. Feiner will focus on developing markets for organic food products and those products made with Wisconsin-grown specialty crops. She started working with DATCP's Wisconsin Agriculture and Food Center in October.
Sullivan is an agricultural program specialist and will work directly with Wisconsin farmers and farm families. She will focus on organic, grazing and specialty-crop operations. She started working at DATCP's Wisconsin Farm Center earlier this month.
Feiner most recently worked at REAP Food Group as the Farm to Business program director. Previously, she worked as a local foods specialist at DATCP, managed the Janesville Farmers Market, and interned at the Institutional Food Marketing Coalition. Feiner also has worked on several farms, both conventional and organic.
Sullivan most recently worked for 13 years at Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service first as a contractor for the MOSES conference, then as staff as an Organic Specialist. Prior to that, Sullivan owned and operated a three-acre vegetable and flower CSA and had a small livestock enterprise, which included dairy goats, sheep, poultry and honey bees. She also managed the St. Croix Falls Farmers Market.
To learn more about these programs, call Sullivan at 608-224-5095 and Feiner at 608-224-5140.