Jun 22, 2022
Clif Bar commits $1 million to University of Wisconsin organic research

Organic and sustainable crop research at the University of Wisconsin is getting a $1 million endowment from Clif Bar & Company.

As the largest funder of private organic research in the U.S., according to a press release, this investment is part of Clif Bar’s commitment to create endowed chairs at land-grant universities. It is the second to be awarded to University of Wisconsin.

Since 2003, Clif Bar has purchased more than 1 billion pounds of organic ingredients. More than 80% of all ingredients in Clif Bar products are organic or certified sustainable.

The endowment leverages a “Morgridge Match” opportunity at the university, doubling the gift to $2 million. In fall 2014, UW alumni John and Tashia Morgridge promised $100 million to match new gifts toward endowed professorships at the university.

Erin Silva, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

The new endowment will support the work of Erin Silva, Ph.D., an expert in organic agriculture at the university’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Silva’s research and outreach efforts focus on improving organic and sustainable cropping systems, with a special emphasis on organic no-till production and cover crops. She also directs the university’s Organic Grain Resource and Information Network (OGRAIN), which provides educational support to new, transitioning and experienced organic grain farmers. This investment will allow for the creation and long-term support of a multi-state network of researchers to guide organic farmers in becoming successful suppliers of quality food-grade organic small grains and seeds, and leaders of thriving rural communities.

“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,” said UW-Madison CALS Dean Kate VandenBosch. “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.”

In 2015, Clif Bar awarded the first endowment to University of Wisconsin focused on organic corn breeding. Since then, the company has awarded endowments to support organic grain breeding research at Washington State University (2018) and helped establish the University of California Organic Agriculture Institute (2019).


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