Mark Kastel is co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group based in Wisconsin and acts as its Senior Farm Policy Analyst and Executive Director. He directs its Organic Integrity Project.
For almost 20 years prior to Cornucopia’s launch, he was president of M. A. Kastel and Associates, Inc. His professional practice included political consulting, lobbying on behalf of family farm groups, and business development work benefiting family-scale farmers. Mr. Kastel has played a key role in a number of cooperative ventures designed to empower farmers in the marketplace. His development work has focused on creating sustainable farmer-owned businesses with an emphasis on dairy production and marketing.
Kastel played a key role in the farm community’s response to the introduction of rBGH. His watershed research, published while doing policy work for the Farmers Union, brought great media scrutiny when he revealed the fact that cows were dying and whole herds were suffering from serious illnesses soon after they were injected. He has been intimately involved at numerous stages during the development of the bill to regulate organic farming in Congress, as part of the 1990 farm bill, and the subsequent rulemaking process at the USDA. He continues to be closely involved in monitoring the seriously flawed management of the National Organic Program at the USDA.
Kastel, who worked for agribusiness giants International Harvester, J.I. Case and FMC before making the paradigm shift to sustainable farming, lives on a 160-acre organic farm in the rugged hills of southwestern Wisconsin, near the tiny burg of Rockton.