James and Rebecca Goodman Papers, 1993-2018


James P. Goodman was born in 1954 in Wonewoc, Wisconsin. The Goodman family has held land in Wisconsin since 1848, when Goodman's great-grandfather Thomas, an Irish immigrant, purchased land from a veteran of the War of 1812. Around 1898 the family purchased the land on which the present farm stands. James Goodman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1976 with a B.S. in Animal Science, and earned a M.S. in Reproductive Physiology from South Dakota State University in 1979. He and his wife Rebecca and his brother Francis began farming on his family's 430-acre dairy, beef, and crop farm in 1979. Goodman was a director of the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association from 1987 to 1997, and has been a director of the Vernon Electric Cooperative, Westby, Wisconsin, since 1984. Rebecca Goodman graduated from Abbott-Northwestern School of Nursing, and in addition to her work on the farm feeding cattle, managing paddocks, and direct marketing farm products, also works off the farm in nursing.

Increasingly concerned about the herbicides and chemical fertilizers that were part of conventional agriculture, the Goodmans made a commitment to using organic farming practices in 1993 (Northwood Farm was certified organic in 1999). Jim Goodman subsequently participated in numerous activities and meetings of the sustainable agriculture community, including the National Dialogue on Sustainable Agriculture (1994) and the National Farm Energy meeting (1996) among others. He has taught classes and presented workshops at the Organic Farming Conference and its Organic University, both sponsored by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group; the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair; University of Wisconsin-Baraboo; and Western Wisconsin Technical College in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Goodman served as a campaign consultant on farm issues to candidates for the Wisconsin governor's office, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. He has also served on a number of committees for the USDA's North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program (1999-2001), was Wisconsin representative to the Administrative Council (1998- 2002 and 2011-2015) and chair (2013-2015), and a member of the USDA National Research, Education and Economics Advisory Board (two terms, 2013-2017). He has served on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Food Safety (CFS, Jim and Rebecca Goodman, 1999-present), Organic Consumers Association (OCA, Jim and Rebecca Goodman, 2005-present), and the Board of Directors of the Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA, 2004-2008), Family Farm Defenders (FFD, Jim and Rebecca Goodman, 2009-present), and Midwest Environmental Advocates (Jim and Rebecca Goodman, 2009-present).

Deeply concerned about the movement toward genetically modified seeds as part of the globalization of agriculture, Jim Goodman has written and spoken about the threats both represent to the livelihoods of small farmers in this country and abroad. In 2000 and 2002, he and two other farmers (John Kinsman and Corky Jones) visited the United Kingdom to speak about the experience of American small farmers and the drawbacks of genetically modified crops. As part of his commitment to social justice for farmworkers, he participated in protests around the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting and the Via Campesina farmers march in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003. In 2004, he traveled to Ireland and Italy, where he was a delegate to the 2004 Terra Madre meeting of Slow Food International in Turin, Italy. He has submitted testimonies to federal, state, and local regulatory agencies related to agricultural and environmental issues and participated in sessions held by the American Farmland Trust related to the 2007 Farm Bill. He has written articles and columns for local and national publications, and was selected as a 2008-2009 Food and Society Policy Fellow, a two-year, part-time fellowship sponsored by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Jefferson Institute to enable recipients to promote sustainable agriculture through mass media. He also participated in the Occupy Wall Street Farmers March in New York City on December 4, 2011.