What’s New

What’s New

Visit Cowsmo at Organic Farming Conference February 22-24, 2024

Save the date for the 35th Organic Farming Conference on February 22nd-24th at the La Crosse Center in downtown La Crosse, WI. Find us at Booth 703 where we will be giving out samples for you to take home.

About The Marbelseed Organic Farming Conference

“The Marbleseed (formerly MOSES) Organic Farming Conference is widely known as the largest organic farming conference in the United States. Every year regenerative and organic farmers from a wide range of farm sizes, experiences, and backgrounds gather to learn the latest in organic farming methods, build community, and shape the future of the organic farming movement.

Whether you’re certified organic, using organic practices on your regenerative farm, or considering the switch to organic, you’ll find the people, partners, and skill-building opportunities to help your farm business thrive.”

Read More at marbleseed.org

February 2nd, 2024|

Cowsmo is Headed to Minneapolis Home & Garden Show February 21-25, 2024

Coswmo Compost will be at the Minneapolis Home + Garden Show on February 21st – 25th at the Minneapolis Convention Center! You can find us at Booth 846. Whether you have questions about our products, where to buy, or just want to talk, we look forward to meeting you.

About The Minneapolis Home + Garden Show

“The Minneapolis Home + Garden Show is a vibrant marketplace where you can shop for home-related products and services, experience stunning displays to help inspire your next home project, connect with industry experts, and enjoy informative presentations from renowned local and international home professionals.

Whether you’re joining us at the Minneapolis Convention Center with a specific project in mind or just looking for some inspiration, our local home professionals have you covered. With 600+ booths to explore and several unique feature displays to enjoy, this is a valuable event for all Minneapolis homeowners.”

Read More at homeandgardenshow.com

January 31st, 2024|

Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers

Milked, authored by Ruth Conniff, explores the relationships between Wisconsin dairy farmers and Mexican workers. This book focuses on the challenges farmers and workers face as they navigate the current agricultural system.

An excerpt from Worlds Together, an article in The Progressive Magazine, summarizes Milked as a book about the people. The article explains that “Conniff presents what she calls ‘a collection of interlocking life stories of people from opposite sides of the border.’ We meet Mexican workers in Wisconsin who are trying to make enough money to send back home and build houses to which they hope to return. They stay in touch with their families by phone and video chats. We also meet their families back in Mexico who miss them. For most of these workers, the goal is not American citizenship, but to provide for their families through whatever means are most feasible, including doing work that just happens to be essential to the U.S. economy.”

John Rosenow’s advocacy for immigrant workers and work with Puentes/Bridges is highlighted in Conniff’s book. Worlds Together identifies John as a “prominent advocate for the rights of undocumented workers” and “a main player in the book.”

John has been active in Puentes/Bridges for several decades and accompanied a local interpreter to Veracruz, Mexico, in 2001. A passage from Milked recalls a moment during this trip when John met the family of one of his workers, including a daughter the worker hadn’t yet met himself.

“John reached down with his hands the size of milk buckets to shake hands with this tiny girl with tears in his eyes,” recalls Duvall. “They took back pictures of the meeting and plastered them all over the break room at the Rosenow farm.”

For a full review of Milked, read Worlds Together: Ruth Conniff’s Milked explores the bonds between Midwest dairy farmers and their Mexican workers by Bill Lueders on The Progressive Magazine.

January 22nd, 2024|

2024 Cowsmo Updates

As we look forward to 2024, here are a few things to know. Cowsmo has a good supply of well-composted compost on hand that was made in 2023. We piled our last three windrows on the finished pile in early January. We will begin composting again in February, when it is warm enough, to prepare for 2025.

The supply chain issues we faced in previous years, including trucking delays and many pandemic-caused problems, seem to be behind us. However, we have begun reluctantly to assess the issue of interest on accounts unpaid after 30 days. As always seems to happen, some people abuse the credit we extend and have used us as a bank. Moving forward, the rate will be 18% on balances past 30 days.

Last year was quite dry here and our compost has been piled a bit drier than most years. We store everything outside. This means if we get a lot of snow, it will melt into the compost, which will add moisture.

Potting soil has also been working well over the last year, and we continue sourcing our ingredients from trusted suppliers. In addition, the compost we use is about a year old. Over the past fall, we experienced issues with our compost turner, which we use to blend our potting soils. We found an alternative solution by using a mixer behind a tractor until it was fixed. We anticipate fewer problems with our redesigned turner.

New retail bags are here! We must buy in 12,000 bag quantities with a 4-5 months lead time. This year, we have adjusted the weight and volume of the bags to better reflect the actual amount in them. They now read 1.5 cubic feet and 45 pounds.

The trucking companies also seem to have more time to service our needs, so delivery may happen a day or so faster than in the last few years. Speedee still does not offer liftgate service in St Paul or Minneapolis.

Over the years, the way our customers have ordered Coswmo has evolved. What used to be 100% phone orders has changed to predominately text and email communications. I will try to send your invoices by email or text when you order.

Finally, I will be at the Marbleseed Conference in February and the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show around the same time. Stop by for a visit as we will be giving out samples for you to take home!

January 5th, 2024|

Under-Told Stories: Farming while Black

We are excited to share Under-Told’s news story, “The Midwest: Farming While Black.” The video highlights several farmers’ stories including Angela Dawson, a hemp farmer near Duluth, MN. Angela Dawson is one of the many farmers in the midwest and Oklahoma that use our Blue Mix compost to grow healthy plants for the booming medicinal hemp market.

Listen to her story starting at the 5:56 timestamp.

Farming While Black
Racism in U.S. agriculture
Under-Told Stories
Decemeber 7th, 2021

December 15th, 2021|

Cowsmo in the News: Compost and Conservation

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation
Rachel Gerbitz
October 6th, 2021

John - Owner of Cowsmo CompostCowsmo Inc. is a compost business associated with Rosenholm Dairy near Waumandee in Buffalo County. John Rosenow is the fifth– generation on his family’s 600-cow dairy farm. John and his wife, Nettie, manage the dairy while selling and distributing organic compost and potting soils in 20 states and four foreign countries. Demand for their compost grew dramatically during the pandemic.

An interest in conserving natural resources and using them wisely drove the Rosenows to compost their cow manure. By composting the separated cow manure solids and transforming them into a quality byproduct that has value for their customers, the Rosenows are utilizing a valuable resource while preventing harm to the natural resources around them.

The Rosenows make a conscious effort to reduce their environmental impact and operate sustainably.

Their cows are bedded with sawdust, a byproduct of Ashley Furniture Industries located within twenty minutes of the farm. This waste product of furniture production would otherwise be sold or burned but is instead used for bedding the cows. Once used, the sawdust becomes part of the manure stream. The sawdust is incorporated in the compost, which is then purchased by employees of Ashley Furniture.

Testing Compost TemperatureJohn Rosenow believes in the product he sells. “I’m not a very good salesman, but I have a good product,” he said.

It takes about three months to create a consumer ready compost product. Using cow manure for fertilizer on their farm and transforming manure into compost has reduced the Rosenows reliance on commercial fertilizers.

They also utilize a barn flushing system, unique to the Midwest, which helps achieve proper moisture consistency for composting while also reducing fossil fuel consumption because they do not have to use machinery to clean out the barns for most of the year. The alleys are filled with recycled water, which carries the manure out of the barns and into the manure pit. The water used to flush the barns is recycled from the manure separator and wastewater from the parlor.

The flush system helps to aerate the manure pit which lessens the odor from the manure.

“It took some trial and error to learn the best moisture to make the best compost,” John said.

The Compost Making ProcessRosenholm Dairy has been enrolled in the NRCS Conservation Stewardship program for five years. Their acreage is entirely no-till and have improved streambank protection with buffer strips. The farm is in the driftless region.

“We farm both sides of the acre,” John said.

No-till practices and cover crops help to ensure soil stays in place. John doesn’t worry about the soil running off during heavy rains and storms.

Cowsmo Compost meets organic standards. The pile must get to 131 degrees in 15 days and must be turned five times. Cowsmo’s product is turned roughly 20 times over three months to ensure the highest quality product for their customer.

When the compost is turned, heat is released and oxygen is reintroduced into the pile.

Composting helps the Rosenows be sustainable by exporting nutrients off the farm. Half of the nutrients generated on the farm are sold to landscapers, gardeners and organic vegetable growers. The cows produce more nutrients than John needs to support growing crops. Transforming manure into compost offers a creative solution for manure management and addresses the nutrient needs of garden enthusiasts across the Midwest.

“Sustainability means you are able to farm continue to farm for many years,” John said. “We are on our 50th year.”

October 14th, 2021|

Important Updates for Cowsmo Compost Customers

The horticultural industry has seen some changes in the last two years. The normal supply chains have been affected. Peat has seen strong sales that eliminated the normal reserve supply. This year the harvest was affected by fires, employee shortages and weather which made the supply even tighter. We have purchased and received a full year’s supply here at Cowsmo already. Normally we buy it as we need it; however, now we do not have to scramble should availability be low in Spring.

Perlite is another ingredient that is being rationed. We use 2-3 semi-loads per year and just unloaded one in early September. Their issue is two-fold. They are having problems getting the raw material from Sri Lanka because of shipping issues and delays at ports. The other issue is a lack of employees at their plant in Appleton, Wi. The owner of Midwest Perlite told us that he has never seen a raw product that was of such low quality. That problem may change for the better soon. Perlite is volcanic rock that is processed using heat that makes it expand. An alternative to perlite is rice hulls that are steamed to kill any rice or weed seeds. The cost of treated rice hulls is greater than perlite.

What does this mean to our customers?

  • Cowsmo potting soils will be readily available for the next year

  • Other potting soils may struggle with availability if they have not stockpiled by now.

  • Perlite may be a limiting ingredient in potting soils. We have 1/3 of our supply here and have another 1/3 due here in January. The last 3rd we hope to get in Spring.

These small notes are an attempt by Cowsmo to help our customers better understand the dynamics of our industry. There will be more.

September 13th, 2021|

Potting Soil Comparison for Vegetable Seedling Quality

Research funded by Ceres Trust
Practical Farmers of Iowa
March 31, 2021

Tomato Seedlings Grown in Cowsmo Soil

In a Nutshell:

  • Hannah Breckbill, Emily Fagan and Jon Yagla wanted to see which potting soil produced the best transplants in each of their farms’ production systems, in order to determine how they should order potting soil in the future.
  • Cooperators expected Vermont Compost, the most expensive choice, to perform better than Cowsmo and Beautiful Land Products.

Key Findings:

  • At Breckbill and Fagan’s farm, the media did not statistically differ from one another. At Yagla’s, the Beautiful Land Products and Cowsmo soil outperformed Vermont Compost Company in stem diameter and number of leaves, but not in ease of work.
  • Fagan will continue to bulk-order Cowsmo soil based on these findings, and all farmers have a better idea of what qualities they desire in potting soil.


When growing vegetables that are seeded in a greenhouse and later transplanted into a field, the seed-starting media used is important to the initial resilience of these crops. Three brands of potting soil that are commonly used for these starter media in Iowa: Beautiful Land Products, Cowsmo and Vermont Compost Company. Beautiful Land Products is a local soil company out of West Branch, Cowsmo is a Wisconsin-based company that many farmers use (and is best for bulk orders), and Vermont Compost is an organic, high-quality potting soil and the most expensive of the three. Knowing the potting soil that each farmer prefers most will allow them to determine whether they should bulk order soil, purchase it from their local shop, or invest in a brand that is not local, but produces higher quality transplants….

Credit: Breckbill and Fagan’s Farm & praticalfarms.org

March 31st, 2021|

Alert: Cowsmo Compost precautions for our employees and customers.

The coronavirus pandemic and its implications for transmission has caused Cowsmo to adopt precautions for our employees and customers. Effective immediately, please call ahead when coming to the farm to pick up products. If that is not possible call when you get here using the phone numbers that are on the office door. If you do not have a cell phone, use the phone right inside the door. We will get you what you need and load it for you while you remain in the vehicle. If you need to leave the vehicle, remain 6 feet away from us. Payment by check or credit card is preferred. We can do credit card in advance if you know what you want and we will have an invoice ready when you get here. If we are outside that should be extra safe. We believe in personal customer service and this need to keep away from others will be hard for us.

March 23rd, 2020|