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Soil Doctors' Team honored at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

Madison, Wis. – Sick plants are a frequent concern of crop growers especially if profitability is reduced and the cause is unknown. Soil scientists, 'Soil Doctors', have a tremendous expertise in determining if the cause is related to nutrient deficiency. Visitors to the Soil Doctor exhibit at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days viewed sick plants experiencing nutrient deficiencies or brought sick plants to the scientists for recommendations to solve sick plants' problems.

The team of Soil Doctors consisted of Carrie Laboski, University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor of soil fertility/nutrition; Chris Baxter, UW-Plattevile Associate Professor of nutrient management; Francisco Arriga, UW-Madison Assistant Professor of applied soil physics; John Peters, UW-Madison, Director Soil Testing Laboratory; Matt Ruark, UW-Madison Assistant Professor of soil fertility and nutrient management; and Doug Soldat, UW-Madison Associate Professor, of turfgrass and urban nutrient management. Each scientist brings their own special knowledge to this exhibit.

These experts provide information on nutrient management for famers, homeowners and others growing crops, lawns or other plants. These recommendations address plant nutrient needs while insuring sound environment practices are maintained. This exhibit illustrates the importance of nutrient management to crop management.

For the high level of engagement and high quality of their exhibit, Laboski, Baxter, Arrigo, Peters, Ruark and Soldat received the 2012 Donald R. Peterson Technology Transfer Award for their Soil Doctors’ exhibit at the 2012 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. The award was presented at the annual Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Board of Directors meeting on April 3, 2013 in Madison. John Peters accepted the award for the team. In addition to the award recognition, the team will receive $1,000.

The Donald R. Peterson Wisconsin Farm Technology (Progress) Days Technology Transfer Award was established in honor of Don Peterson, UW-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) emeritus Professor and Associate Dean. Peterson was long-time General Manager of Wisconsin Farm Progress Days.

The award recognizes outstanding educational effectiveness and impact via an interactive exhibit and activities at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. To win this award, groups or individuals must successfully engage audiences around topics such as: effectively using new management tools, processes, or concepts; incorporating new technologies into a modern farm operation; or issues that challenge contemporary agriculture and our natural resource base.

The Award memorializes Peterson's diligent efforts to encourage University of Wisconsin faculty and staff to convey the fruits of College research and knowledge to the public through Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.

The award was presented to the Soil Doctor team at the Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Board of Directors on April 3 in Madison.