Address: Etzel Sugar Grove Farm, 3706 St Peters Road, Marion, IA 52302
Dr. Contina is the Director of the Rodale Institute Midwest Organic Center. The Center is Rodale Institute’s flagship and first Regional Resource Center in the U.S. and was established in 2019 in Marion, Iowa. The Center at Eztel Sugar Grove Farm operates as an experimental organic research station on a 30-acre of farmland and provides research, education, and assistance to farmers looking to implement organic practices on their farms. It’s also an educational center for the public, and the site of collaboration between Rodale Institute researchers, local and regional partners.
The Center’s research program is focused on optimizing the benefits of cover cropping and no-till practices on soil health, weed control, nutrient management, and crop yield. Furthermore, the Center is working to diversify the Midwest cropping system with food grade crops and livestock integration, and to bring about fundamental changes to production of row-crop agriculture while improving the agroecosystem productivity, increasing farm economic returns and diversifying farmer’s portfolio.
Dr. Contina holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Escuela Agrícola Panamericana, Zamorano (Honduras), a M.S. in Soil Science and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from University of Idaho. Prior joining Rodale Institute, he worked as a Farm Manager in the Dominican Republic and as a Postdoctoral Scholar at Oregon State University. Dr. Contina is an inductee of the Honor Society of Agriculture – Gamma Sigma Delta and he currently sits on the advisory board of the Illinois Farming and Regenerative Management (I-FARM) at the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.