By Mac Ehrhardt
Co-Owner and President

When I think of people who have worked tirelessly to improve sustainable and organic agriculture during my time in the industry, Dr. Erin Silva is one of the first people who comes to mind.

Dr. Silva is an Assistant Professor with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Plant Pathology, and she has earned enormous respect throughout the organic and sustainable agricultural community.

The University of Wisconsin’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences selected Dr. Silva for the 2020 Louse Hemstead Leadership Award based on her: passion for advancing agriculture through innovation and cooperation; stewardship for natural resources and communities; getting things done through service leadership; and tenacity to overcome odds.

Many of our customers already will be familiar with Dr. Silva from her work organizing the annual OGRAIN Conference in Madison. She also moderates the OGRAIN listserv, which is a wealth of information for organic and regenerative farmers.

Additionally, she and her team produce rigorous scientific research on farming methods that have real-world applications, such as her work in organic no-till farming, which is closely watched by organic farmers throughout the Midwest. She goes above and beyond to share her research findings at conferences, field days, and open houses—including as a presenter at our very own Albert Lea Seed Annual Conference.

Albert Lea Seed relies on solid research, such as that which Dr. Silva routinely develops and disseminates, to help inform our business and meet farmers’ changing needs. Dr. Silva should be proud of her accomplishments so far, and we are excited to follow her work, and the work of the students she is training, into the future.

Congratulations, Dr. Silva!

About the Louise Hemstead Leadership Award

Organic Valley endowed the Louise Hemstead Leadership Award in honor of Louise Hemstead. Louise served as the Chief Operating Officer for Organic Valley for nearly 25 years. During her three decades in the dairy industry, Louise was a tireless advocate for her farmer-members and for the dairy industry as a whole. She was considered a pioneer in dairy science and dairy business.

View Louise Hemstead’s obituary here.