Story and photo courtesy of the UW Organic Collaborative Summer Newsletter

Dr. Erin Silva, associate professor and extension specialist in the UW–Madison Department of Plant Pathology, has been selected as the first recipient of the Clif Bar Endowed Chair in Organic Agriculture and Outreach!

The new chair, established through a $1 million endowment from Clif Bar & Company, was created to support the advancement of organic agriculture through dedicated research and outreach programs. The endowment leverages a “Morgridge Match” opportunity at the university, doubling the gift to $2 million.

Silva’s selection as chair recognizes her leading-edge work in organic agriculture. Her research and outreach efforts focus on improving organic and sustainable cropping systems, with a special emphasis on organic no-till production and cover crops. Silva co-founded and directs the university’s Organic Grain Resource and Information Network (OGRAIN), a comprehensive program to provide educational support to new, transitioning and experienced organic grain farmers. She also led the establishment of the UW Organic Collaborative and campus’ Certificate in Organic Agriculture for undergraduates.

“Public/private collaborations are critical to drive innovation in agriculture. Funding from Clif Bar provides the flexibility for a talented, creative professor like Dr. Silva to extend her work to larger audiences,” says Kate VandenBosch, dean of the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “This generous gift will allow Erin to increase the number of farmers she works with and grow the number of current students who can learn more deeply about organic agriculture.”

A HUGE congratulations to Erin!