30 Years of Service to Sustainable Agriculture in Wisconsin
EAST TROY, Wis. – This month the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute will mark 30 years of service to organic and sustainable agriculture.
Jim Stute, the Institute’s research director, says the past three decades have seen huge growth and the future is bright because of consumer demand.
"Organic farming is growing dramatically in the United States and it's a market-driven growth, and Wisconsin in particular is number two in the number of organic farms," he explains.
The Institute has fostered a legacy of responsible farming and conservation, and Stute says the coming years will be challenging.
"We need to transition more land into organic production,” he stresses. “We need to find better ways for people to produce organically, to deal with the myriad of production problems that are out there, in transitioning conventional into organic, but also the problems that develop in mature organic systems."
The Institute will observe 30 years of service to agriculture with a field day on cover crops followed by a celebration at the Institute in East Troy, on Sept. 30.
Complete information can be found at michaelfields.org.
In looking ahead at the upcoming challenges for sustainable agriculture, Stute says soil health will be a big one.
"We realize that soil health is critical for sustainability of agriculture and not only growing healthy crops but also as a way to mitigate climate change, storing water and dealing with more frequency and higher intensity of rainfall," he stresses.
According to Stute, cover cropping, of which the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute has been a strong proponent, will play a huge role in dealing with climate change.
"That's definitely expanded, and looking at the conservation benefits but also the role of cover crops in capturing carbon and taking it out of play as a way to mitigate the impact of carbon dioxide on climate change," he says.