Largest private funder of organic agriculture research in the US awards fourth endowment
EMERYVILLE, Calif. – June 16, 2022 – Today, Clif Bar & Company announced University of Wisconsin-Madison as the recipient of a $1 million endowment to support the advancement of organic agriculture through dedicated research and outreach programs. As the largest funder of private organic research in the US, this investment is part of Clif Bar’s commitment to create endowed chairs at land-grant universities and is the second to be awarded to University of Wisconsin. Since 2003, Clif Bar has purchased more than 1 billion pounds of organic ingredients. Today, more than 80% of all ingredients in Clif Bar products are organic or certified sustainable.
“Clif Bar has been committed to investing in organic for nearly 20 years because we recognize the benefits for people, communities and the planet,” said Sarah Beaubien, Senior Director of Sustainability Impact at Clif Bar & Company. “With agricultural research receiving less than one percent of public funding, this endowment program is intended to fund the best and brightest minds to help drive the organics industry forward and meet the growing consumer demand for organic food.”
The endowment leverages a “Morgridge Match” opportunity at the university, doubling the gift to $2 million. In fall 2014, UW-Madison alumni John and Tashia Morgridge promised $100 million to match new gifts toward endowed professorships at the university.
The new endowment will support the leading-edge work of Dr. Erin Silva, a renowned expert in organic agriculture at the university’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Dr. 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), a comprehensive program to provide 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-Madison 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).
About Clif Bar & Company
For nearly 30 years, Clif Bar & Company has crafted nutritious and organic food for CLIF®, CLIF Kid®, and LUNA® brands. Family- and employee-owned, Clif Bar is committed to sustaining its people, community, planet, brands, and business. For more information, please visit www.clifbar.com, check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.