In Memoriam: Dave Engel — Organic Farming Pioneer

March 20th, 2017

Cornucopia staff mourns the loss of organic farming pioneer Dave Engel. Dave helped found CROPP/Organic Valley and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). Please consider making a donation to MOSES in memory of this long-time organic dairy leader (please see below).


David James Engel, age 65, died on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at the Bland Bekkedal Center for Hospice Care in Viroqua.

David Engel

Dave Engel is survived by his wife, Marta W. Engel (Nee Weinfeld) of Soldiers Grove; his mother, Mary Roessel Engel, of Bismarck, N.D.; his children, Joshua (Teresa) Engel, Soldiers Grove; Noah (Ximena) Engel, Viroqua; Tobiah Engel, Baltimore, Md. and Lilly Engel; Minneapolis, Minn.; and grandsons, Otto, Yasmani and Rafael.

He is preceded in death by his father, Austin George Engel Jr. of Bismarck, N.D.

Dave Engel was born on August 9, 1951 in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated from Bismarck High School and attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Dave was a dairy farmer for 30 years and will be remembered for his work as a pioneer and champion of organic and family farmers. Dave was a founding farmer for Organic Valley where he sold milk for 23 years. Dave helped found and was the executive director of MOSA (Midwest Organic Services Association). He also founded Nature’s International Certification Services.

Dave’s sons, Josh and Noah, currently run Driftless Organics, an organic vegetable operation, on the home farm.

Dave Engel was well known for his independent spirit and his generosity.

A memorial is scheduled for Dave Engel, on Saturday, April 8, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Sugar Creek Bible Camp, located at 13141 Sugar Creek Bible Camp Road in rural Ferryville. The camp is located off County Highway C, about three miles west of State Highway 27. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Dave’s life. The family would like to thank all of the generous community members for their support during this difficult time.

Note from Cornucopia’s codirector Mark Kastel: Please consider a donation to MOSES in Dave’s memory. Dave was instrumental in helping form the organization and launch the largest organic farming conference in the country. In the note field, please stipulate that you would like your donation to fund scholarships to the conference in Dave’s name: https://mosesorganic.org/donate/

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