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A former professor of rural sociology at Iowa State University, Dr. Lois Wright Morton spent much of her career investigating why and how farmers make decisions. Now, she’s in the field as a 7th generation farmer in NE Ohio making those decisions for herself. A member of NACSAA, Morton grows mainly specialty crops like blueberries, asparagus, and red raspberries on 50 acres. She has her own weather station and soil sensors, and her blueberries sit under half an acre of netting, allowing her to avoid insecticide use. While the netting keeps out the main assailant, Spotted Wing Drosophila, she is repairing damage caused by larger creatures almost daily.
As a smaller grower, Morton can afford to use the net, but would like to see the technology improved to increase its scalability. “It’s not enough for industry to partner with us, we’ve got to listen to farmers and what their real experiences are so that we’ve got an effective feedback loop,” she urges.