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New Endowment to Boost CALS Organic Education Efforts
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/25/2015

Several very large financial gifts has led to the establishment of a $2 million endowed chair for organic agriculture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The school announced that the Wisconsin-based Organic Valley Cooperative and Clif Bar & Company, based in California, each donated $500,000 toward the cause, with matching funds coming from a private donation by John & Tashia Morgridge, who are both alumni members of the school.

The effort will help pay the salary for a new professor in the area of organic studies along with the necessary tools to develop curriculum.

A press release noted that of the public tax dollars spent on agricultural research, organic crop research receives less than one percent. New research at the school will focus on developing crop varieties adapted to organic systems and improve the nutrition and flavor of organic food products.

"Our college has a long history of supporting the diverse spectrum of agricultural production," said CALS Senior Associate Dean Richard Straub. "Wisconsin ranks number two nationally in organic agricultural production, and many of our students and faculty are actively researching issues related to organic farming systems. We are grateful for this generous endowment that recognizes our contributions in this area and will help us continue to contribute to a diverse agricultural future."

CALS Dean Kate VandenBosch will work with other staff to award the position to a CALS faculty member. The recipient will hold the chair for seven years after which a new chair will be selected.

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