Erin Silva appointed director of the Center for Integrated Farming Systems for a three-year term – CALS News

Erin Silva at the UW-Madison Agricultural Research Station in Arlington in June 2015. Photo by Anders Gurda.

Earlier this week, Kate VandenBosch, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, announced the appointment of Erin Silva as director of the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) for a three-term term. year. Silva, the Clif Bar Endowed Chair in Organic Agriculture and Outreach, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and an organic agriculture extension specialist.

As Director, Silva will oversee center operations and work closely with the center’s governance committee to prioritize research and outreach activities and attract external funding. Silva will also work closely with the center’s Citizen Advisory Council and manage other partnerships with stakeholders, donors and funding agencies.

CIAS began in 1989 to set up sustainable agricultural research programs responding to the needs of farmers and citizens. The center’s projects include testing Wisconsin’s three-decade-old integrated cropping systems and a federally funded effort to study soil health done in collaboration with USDA’s Dairy Forage Research Center and Michael Fields. Agricultural Institute. In addition, the center will also serve as a hub for research and awareness of organic agriculture in the future.

“Erin is in a good position to run the center right now,” VandenBosch said. “His success in building partnerships with farmers, food companies, researchers and other stakeholders demonstrates his ability to build strong networks capable of working together on issues important to agriculture. I know that under his leadership, the center will focus on transdisciplinary research and identify new opportunities for extramural support.

Silva’s research and outreach efforts focus on improving organic and sustainable cropping systems, with a particular focus on no-till organic production and cover crops. She directs the university’s Organic Grain Information and Resource Network (OGRAIN), a comprehensive program aimed at providing educational support to new, transitioning, and experienced organic grain farmers. She also led the creation of the UW Organic Collaborative and the UW-Madison Undergraduate Certificate in Organic Agriculture.

“More than ever, the work historically undertaken by CIAS is vital to the continued strength of Wisconsin’s agricultural and food systems,” Silva said. “The COVID pandemic, along with the current climate uncertainty, brings to the fore the imminent need to create resilient agricultural systems. CIAS’s work in cover crops, perennial crops, grazing, organic agriculture, and supply chains, among other topics, is critical to building strong and resilient systems for farms of all sizes and approaches. agricultural. I am delighted to be part of advancing this work, building on existing and new partnerships.

Building on a review of the center in 2021 and subsequent strategic planning completed in 2022, Silva will implement a governance structure with input from external advisors, faculty, and affiliated staff.

Silva replaces Michel Wattiaux as center manager. Wattiaux, professor of dairy sciences, was appointed acting director of CIAS in 2019.

VandenBosch praised Wattiaux for his service. “Michel took on this leadership position at a pivotal time in the ICSW review,” she says. “The vision of the future developed during this period will launch the center from a solid foundation in the coming decades.”

Silva will assume the director position on August 4, 2022.

Lana T. Arthur