Dale Mutch awarded Sustainable Agriculture Hero Award

posted on July 2, 2014 1:19pm

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Dale Mutch has been selected by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) to be a 2014 NCR-SARE Hero. This recognition honors the leadership, vision, contributions and impact made in the field of sustainable agriculture by those who have made lasting impacts to sustainability in the North Central Region and beyond.

Recently retired, Mutch was an MSU Extension senior educator and adjunct professor in the Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Department. He was also a member of the MSU Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program where he served as a field crops specialist with emphasis on the benefits of cover crops. As a founding member of the Midwest Cover Crops Council, he championed the promotion and demonstration of cover crops to improve soil health and create more sustainable agricultural practices throughout the region and nationally.

Mutch built his career around research and extension aimed to help farmers adopt sustainable agricultural practices and systems. With a background in IPM, when most of his colleagues continued to promote chemical methods, Dale had the foresight early in his career to recognize the future of and need for low-input and organic pest management approaches. At a time when many universities were accused of ignoring the needs of a quickly expanding organic farming community, Dale and his team not only sought out organic growers, but encouraged them to become active in university-based research and Extension activities, including producing posters and leading farmer-to-farmer educational programs. He established one of the first 1862 Land-Grant University certified organic research sites at the Michigan State University W.K. Kellogg Biological Station in 1997.

Dale was a prolific grant writer and actively sought funding to support his activities in sustainable and organic agriculture. From 1992-2013, he was the lead- or co-project investigator on over 56 grants from a vast and varied group of organizations. They include USDA, EPA, Great Lakes Regional Water Program, Michigan commodity groups (corn, soybean, wheat and sugarbeet), Michigan Department of Agriculture, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Rodale Institute, the Ceres Trust, SARE, and Project GREEEN. He was a subcontractor on grants with many collaborating universities (Wisconsin, Purdue, Cornell, Iowa State, Nebraska, Minnesota). His projects almost always were based on sustainable or organic agriculture and he directly involved farmers in his projects.

Learn more about Mutch and this award on the NCR-SARE website.