MSU Extension welcomes new field crops educator in southern Michigan
Combining tried and true conservation with new technology, Madelyn Celovsky hopes to make a splash in south central Michigan.
In June 2023, Madelyn Celovsky joined the Michigan State University Extension field crops team as a conservation agronomist educator working out of the Jackson County Extension office. Celovsky will be covering Eaton, Ingham and Jackson counties. She will also be working on regionwide cover crops education.
While working at a family-owned retail greenhouse and landscape company in Pontiac, Michigan, Celovsky was able to start making the connection between healthy soil and healthy landscapes. Curious to learn about managing soil at a larger scale, she pursued her master’s degree in crop and soil sciences at Michigan State University (MSU). There she investigated ways to improve and evaluate soil health in Michigan potato cropping systems with the support of Kurt Steinke, soil fertility Extension specialist and assistant professor, and Lisa Tiemann, professor of soil biology.
When Celovsky reflects on her time at MSU, she says, “It was a great opportunity to meet and work with some of the researchers at MSU and beyond that are working hard to find answers for Michigan farmers’ burning questions.”
Celovsky has also held positions with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Peace Corps, assisting farmers in reaching their conservation and production goals. In Minnesota, she helped connect small- to large-sized grain producers with technical and financial assistance to implement cover crops, reduced tillage and efficient nutrient management, along with other practices promoted by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. This work was part of the statewide Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification, a program similar to Michigan’s Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. In Panama, she worked one-on-one with small-scale subsistence farmers and alongside local technicians to increase crop diversity and compost production.
On working in these diverse cropping systems, Celovsky notes, “Though many of the management practices were similar, it helped me understand the importance of culturally informed and locally driven solutions.” Celovsky is excited to be able to continue this work with farmers in her home state of Michigan as a field crops educator. “There is an incredible amount of information available to farmers about conservation practices coming from all kinds of sources, I hope I can be a resource to help sift through what is most relevant to their operation, especially because implementation of these practices varies by cropping system and by field,” she said.
With support from the Midwest Cover Crop Council and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, Celovsky will also help coordinate training for conservation planners and agriculture professionals focused on conversation agriculture practices including cover crops and conservation plantings across Michigan and the Midwest. When asked about the role of agriculture professionals in conservation, Celovsky states, “There is a long history of conservation on the farm. Though these practices aren’t new, the landscape of conservation agriculture is changing quickly as new technology develops, new research comes out and new funding opportunities open up. It’s important that the people farmers go to for information are well equipped with the technical and communication tools needed to support their clients”.
To contact Madelyn Celovsky, reach out by email at email@example.com.