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Integrated Pest Management

Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture Goes to ISU Professor

Jerry DeWitt, entomology professor at Iowa State University (ISU), received the Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture on November 14, 2005, at the 2005 Iowa Organic Conference in Ames, IA. The Spencer Award, administered by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, is awarded annually and recognizes farmers, researchers, and educators who have made a significant contribution toward the stability of mainstream family farms in Iowa. Dewitt is the fourth recipient of the award and the first non-farmer to be honored.

An entomologist by training, DeWitt has been employed by ISU Extension for 33 years, about half that time as an administrator. In 1995, at the request of a group of organic farmers, he organized a meeting with ISU College of Agriculture administrators that led to the hiring of two ISU faculty dedicated to research in organic agriculture, the first at a land-grant university. He also has worked with ISU Extension's Integrated Pest Management program and helped develop their Integrated Crop Management program that includes all aspects of cropping systems, not just pests. He has been interim national program leader for sustainable agriculture at NIFA three times in the last 10 years, and he has worked on special outreach projects for the agency. He now coordinates ISU Extension's sustainable agriculture activities. In addition, DeWitt was a member of the Leopold Center's advisory board from the Center's founding in 1987 through 1997.

DeWitt is an accomplished photographer and his picture-taking travels have led him to Iowa farms as well as farms nationally and internationally. His photographs have been published in two books: People Sustaining the Land (Vagnetti and DeWitt, 2002) and Renewing the Countryside-Iowa, a 2003 project supported by the Leopold Center.

The Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture has been presented since 2002. The award is named for Norman A. and Margaretha Spencer who farmed near Sioux City for 40 years and includes $1,000 from the Spencer family. The Leopold Center's advisory board and past recipients select each year's honoree from submitted nominations.


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