Faced with expanding challenges from extreme weather, low prices, and new pests and diseases, Wisconsin’s farmers’ have an ever-increasing need for new production methods and markets to improve the resilience of their systems and maintain the strength of the state’s agricultural economy. With growing consumer demand and consistent price premiums, organic production offers an opportunity for farmers to diversify and add value to their systems while reaping additional sustainability benefits. And while organic acres have expanded both in Wisconsin and across the US, there is far more work to be done to build organic systems, and food systems more broadly, that are socially just, environmentally sound, and support farmers’ well-being and livelihoods. Director and senior scientist for the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ricardo Salvador, will share his vision for how organic agriculture can contribute to this transformation at his talk: An Agricultural Testament for 2040.
The event is open to the public and will be held on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Institute for Discovery located at 330 N. Orchard Street. Salvador’s address will begin at 6:00 p.m., and will be followed by a reception and idea exchange. This event, which is free and open to the public, is being held in conjunction with the university’s Harvest of Ideas Forum.
Prior to joining the Union for Concerned Scientists, Salvador was a program officer for Food, Health and Wellbeing at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and worked as an associate professor of agronomy at Iowa State University. There he collaborated with other faculty members to develop the first sustainable agriculture graduate program in the U.S., which he chaired, and worked with students to help establish a student-operated organic farm. Originally from southern Mexico, Salvador earned his undergraduate degree in agricultural science from New Mexico State University and holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in crop production and physiology from Iowa State University.
In 2016, the USDA reported 5 million acres, represented by over 14,000 farms, are certified organic across the country. Wisconsin alone reported over 219,000 acres of certified organic land, ranking it fifth in the U.S. Join University of Wisconsin-Madison for this important gathering to envision how the state’s diverse agricultural landscape and resources can strengthen rural communities and economies, and connect organic agriculture from producer to plate.