Clare Gietzel, 2017/2018 IPSA Scholar

Congratulations to undergrad Clare Gietzel, 2017/18 Independent Professional Seed Association scholar!

Clare has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship, one of five granted annually. Clare is getting her BS in Agronomy with certificates in Global health and Environmental Studies, and is planning on a career in plant breeding. Clare is a longtime member of the Badger Crops Club and its newly elected president.

The IPSA is an independent association, formed in 1989, representing the interests of independent seed companies. To date IPSA has funded over $1,500,000 in private and public research projects.

UW Crops Team competes in Chicago Collegiate Crops Judging Contest

On November 19, the UW Crops Team placed 8th out of 10 teams in the Chicago Collegiate Crops Judging Contest. The contest was held at the Loyola University downtown Chicago, IL campus and is sponsored by the CME Group, GROWMARK, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Society of Commercial Seed Technologists.

crops-teamThe Crops Team consists of undergraduates Katelyn Van Treeck, Rachel Perry, Clare Gietzel, and Jacqui Hilliard. The team was advised and coached by volunteers Dan Smith and Nate Drewitz.

The contest consisted of weed, disease, and crop identification, grain grading, and seed analysis. In the identification portion of the contestant they were given plant and seed samples and had to identify common crops, wheat varieties, common diseases of corn, soybean and small grains, and weeds. In the grain grading portion of the contest they were required to grade barley, corn, oats, rye, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat according to USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service standards. In the seed analysis portion they were required to identify seeds of common crops, weeds, restricted and noxious weeds.

The Crops Team is part of Badger Crops Club and travel to the contest was made possible through a generous grant from the Wisconsin Certified Crop Advisors.

Congratulations, Crop Team!

(story by Dan Smith)

Marian Lund selected for 2016 United Soybean Board Fellowship

PhD candidate Marian Lund has been selected for a 2016 United Soybean Board fellowship.

Marian works on a bacterial biological control agent for soybean cyst nematode called Pasteuria nishizawae, an obligate parasite on SCN. Marian is designing a molecular detection method to monitor the movement and overall ecology of the bacterium in the soil over the growing season. The ultimate goal of this project is to assess this method of SCN control and determine which management practices best foster P. nishizawae in the soil.

The United Soybean Board (USB) Fellowship promotes graduate education in the area of Plant Sciences, emphasizing the development of improved soybean varieties, understanding soybean genetics, and developing improved ways to grow and use soybeans. Funds for the fellowship are made available by gifts from the United Soybean Board to the American Society of Agronomy. Two fellowships will be awarded, providing a $25,000 annual stipend to each student for up to four years provided that satisfactory progress occurs toward degree completion. The recipients also receive a membership to the American Society of Agronomy and a subscription to the ACSESS Digital Library for the duration of the fellowship.

Dan Undersander to Receive Three Crop Society Awards

Congratulations to Agronomy faculty member Dan Undersander, who has been selected to receive three awards at the ASA/CSSA Annual meeting in November: the ASA Agronomic Extension Education Award, ASA Agronomic Service Award, and CSSA Crop Science Extension Award.

The Agronomic Extension Education Award recognizes educational contributions of extension agronomists, industrial agronomists, or others whose primary contributions are in teaching or education outside the university classroom.

The Agronomic Service Award recognizes development of agronomic service programs, practices, and products for acceptance by the public. The focus will be on agronomic service with associated educational, public relations, and administrative contributions of industrial agronomists, governmental, industrial, or university administrators and others.

The Crop Science Extension Award is presented in recognition of excellence in extension teaching activities in the area of crop science.

The awards come with recognition at a ceremony at the Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ and award funds.

Adam Gaspar recipient of 2016 Mott Scholarship

UW Agronomy PhD candidiate Adam Gaspar has been awarded the 2016 Gerald O. Mott Scholarship for Meritorious Graduate Students in Crop Science.

The Gerald O. Mott Scholarship is provided to a meritorious graduate student in crop science. The scholarship is supported by gifts from the Gerald O. Mott family to the Agronomic Science Foundation and administered by the Crop Science Society of America.

Adam will be presented with the award at the annual CSSA meeting in November.

Ag News for 12/15

USDA announces funding available for Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Programs – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack  announces the availability of $17.6 million in funding to support research and outreach activities that will help growers, producers, and processors find innovative ways to improve organic agriculture.

New Faculty Profile: Valentin Picasso

Cover crop research opportunity: Open call for presentation for annual Production Agriculture Symposium entitled “Cover Crops: Economic and Environmental Management” (March 22-26, St. Paul).

New FISC seminar covers organic grain production and marketing.

2016 Wisconsin Crop Management Conference – Jan 12-14, 2016.

UW Students Take Prizes at Tri-Society Meeting

At the annual national meeting of the ASA/CSSA/SSSA Societies last week in Minneapolis, MN, two UW students took home top prizes in competition:

  • Mallika Nocco was awarded first place in the Student Oral Lightning and Poster Competition, in the soil physics/hydrology section, comprised of 3-minute talks plus 2 minutes of questions  linked with the Student Poster Competition. The award carried a cash prize.
  • Adam Gaspar was awarded second place in the Applied Soybean Community PhD talk on his DuPont Pioneer research and second place in the poster competition on the same research. The award carried a cash prize.


Congratulations to Mallika and Adam!

UW Weeds Team Wins Big at National Weed Olympics


On July 21st the UW-Madison Agronomy Weeds Team competed in the National Weed Olympics hosted by The Ohio State University. This event was a joint activity among the Northeastern, North Central, Southern, and Western Weed Science Societies. Teams from more than 20 universities participated. Competition events consisted of a sprayer calibration math test, herbicide mode of action identification, weed identification, crop production problem solving, and team sprayer calibration. For sprayer calibration, students were required to calculate sprayer application rates and herbicide quantities, and determine appropriate nozzle tips, application height, and application speed. For herbicide mode of action identification, students had to identify 10 different herbicide modes of action based on crop and weed symptomology. For weed identification, students were responsible for identifying 30 species selected from more than 130 species possible. For the problem solving event, students were required to evaluate a crop production problem in weed management of general horticultural or agronomic situations and recommend an effective solution to that problem.

UW team awards:

Undergrad team #1 (Katelyn Van Treeck, Dani Edelburg, and Nick Maurer) received 1st place overall among undergraduate teams in the North Central division. They also received 1st place for team sprayer calibration.

Undergrad team #2 (Anne Radtke, Matt Richmond, and Maddie Fischer) received 3rd place overall in the North Central division.

UW individual awards:

Katlyn Van Treeck received 1st place overall among undergraduate students in the North Central division, placing 1st in each event: written sprayer calibration, herbicide mode of action identification, and weed identification.   Katelyn’s outstanding performance placed her 1st nationally among all undergraduate students.   Her 1st place national award comes with a travel scholarship to attend the Weed Science Society of American annual meeting in Puerto Rico during February 2016.

Nick Maurer received 2nd place overall among undergraduate students in the North Central division.

-Dan Smith

Agronomy News for 7/24

CALS hosts workshop for NASA – focusing on remote sensing and agriculture to map 3.7 billion acres of cropland.

What is an agronomist? – Adam Gaspar talks about his daily life in the fields and using tech.

Madison undergraduate weeds teams take first and third at the 2015 Weed Olympics at The Ohio State:

$2 million grant establishes Chair in Plant Breeding for Organic Agriculture

Clif Bar & Company and Organic Valley today named the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) as the recipient of the nation’s first endowed chair focused on plant breeding for organic crops. The endowment, to be funded in perpetuity with a $1 million gift from the companies and matched by a $1 million gift from UW graduates John and Tashia Morgridge, will fund research to develop crop varieties adapted to organic systems.

The UW-Madison Clif Bar and Organic Valley Chair in Plant Breeding for Organic Agriculture is the first of five organic research chairs to be led by Clif Bar. The company is now working with other organizations to raise an estimated total of $10 million by 2020 to fund chairs dedicated to organic plant breeding.

“Today’s first endowed chair is an investment in our national organic legacy and serves as an assurance that organic agriculture will play a critical role in feeding a healthy America into the future,” said Kit Crawford, owner and co-visionary officer for Clif Bar. “We’re grateful for Organic Valley and the University of Wisconsin’s partnership in this first-of-its-kind commitment, and look forward to working with other organizations to make more organic research a reality.”

Of the public tax dollars spent on agricultural research, organic receives less than one percent of funding1. However, public demand for organic products has never been higher with 84 percent of American consumers purchasing organic food in 2014 alone2. As such, public funding for organic crop research has not kept up with consumer demand, and has hindered organic agricultural innovation, slowing the growth of organic production in the United States.

Clif Bar & Company and Organic Valley selected UW-Madison due to its history as a land-grant public university committed to serving rural communities and the public good. In addition, UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has been a leader in organic agricultural innovation – supporting Wisconsin’s organic farms and researching organic systems including dairy, vegetable production and forage. Recent discoveries include a new sweet corn variety adapted to organic farming systems. UW-Madison is also home to the nation’s largest plant breeding research program. With today’s endowment, UW-Madison students will have faculty leadership to help them develop new solutions for organic agricultural systems for generations.

“Our college has a long history of supporting the diverse spectrum of agricultural production. 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,” says CALS Senior Associate Dean Richard Straub. “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.”

An endowed chair provides permanent research support to a faculty member from the interest income that is earned from an endowed investment fund specifically designated for that purpose. The chair position will be awarded to a distinguished faculty member at UW-Madison with an established record of crop development under organic conditions. In addition to conducting research, the faculty member will also mentor students in the discipline of organic agricultural systems.


Badger Crops Club wins Sustainability Prize

IMG_2242 (2)

At the 2015 Bucky’s Awards the Badger Crops Club was awarded the runner-up prize for Conservation and Sustainability. The Bucky’s Award Ceremony is an esteemed banquet held during the spring semester that recognizes and celebrates both outstanding student leaders and student organizations at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

The Conservation and Sustainability award recognizes an organization or an individual that has gone above and beyond to better their community in terms of sustainability and conservation.  This student or organization demonstrates that they have had an impact on the Madison campus and community in helping to move toward a more sustainable environment.

Ken Albrecht named CSSA Fellow and ASA Fellow

Professor Ken Albrecht has been named a Crop Science Society of America fellow. Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by the CSSA. Dr. Albrecht has also been named an American Society of Agronomy fellow. Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by the ASA. Members of the Societies nominate worthy colleagues based on their professional achievements and meritorious service.

Dr. Albrecht specializes in forage management and utilization.