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  February 2016
$500,000 grant will fund work with potato and vegetable growers and processors to find new value in residual materials
Peels, stems and other parts of potatoes and vegetables left from harvesting and processing operations could provide a source for valuable chemicals and extra income for the agriculture industry in Wisconsin. 

These residual materials are the target of a new project by WIST in coordination with Wisconsin growers and processors. The work is being funded by a grant to WIST of $499,965 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration under its Regional Innovation Strategies program. In addition to the grant funding, WIST and other participants will make in-kind contributions of staff time and other resources, bringing the total project value to $1,016,811. 

The goal of the three-year project is to identify specific chemicals with commercialization potential and to build an entrepreneurial network of growers, processors, researchers and economic development professionals to identify and pursue opportunities. 

Project participants include Del Monte Foods, which has three vegetable processing plants in the region; Heartland Farms, a central Wisconsin-based vegetable grower; Pavelski Legacy Partners, which manages and invests in a diverse portfolio of companies; Midwest Food Processors Association; and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and WiSys Technology Foundation, a nonprofit supporting UW technology transfer, will provide advice on commercialization strategies. 

Economic Development Incentive Grant programs
reach successful finish; reports issued
Making a print
A UW-Stevens Point design student makes a print on RiverPoint art paper.
Projects supported and strengthened Wisconsin's paper industry

Automation of the WIST Compostability Testing Laboratory and earning ISO 17025 certification for the lab, installation of a coating and lamination pilot line, creation of a Cellulose Pilot and Processing Laboratory, development of new grades of fine art paper and trademarking the RiverPoint® name - these are just some of the results achieved under a pair of Economic Development Incentive Grants managed by WIST and project partners. 

The EDI grants were awarded to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in November 2013 by UW System and were among 12 grants awarded to System universities.  These project activities built capacity to improve Wisconsin's economy and to preserve and add jobs. 

The two grant projects WIST led were: 
Economic Development through Innovation in Specialty Papers, Packaging, and Converting ($1,445,336) 
Collaborative Research Facility for Development and Commercialization of Biorefinery Technologies: Cellulose Pilot & Processing Lab ($2,837,596) 

For more details: View summaries of the project and the grant final reports online at this UW System site. The site contains reports from all 12 of the grant-funded projects around the state.

Okray Family Farms wins stewardship award
The National Potato Council has recognized Okray Family Farms with its 2016 Environmental Stewardship Award. The Plover, Wisconsin-based operation grows potatoes on about 1,800 acres, primarily for the fresh market. With about 8,000 acres total under cultivation, they rotate potatoes with other vegetable crops. Okray Family Farms is a member of the Healthy Grown Potatoes Program of the University of Wisconsin.
In a venture related to the family's interest in sustainable practices, Okray Family Farms is partnering with WIST on a research project to determine the viability of sourcing the health supplement resveratrol from cold-climate grapes. On a two-acre test plot west of Plover, nearly 20 grape varieties are currently under cultivation. The project will determine which varieties grow best in Wisconsin's climate and produce the largest amount of resveratrol.

View the video describing Okray Family Farms and the Environmental Stewardship Award.
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