Jason has worked extensively with the Bayfield fruit growers to help them implement the Bayfield Fruit Growers Initiative. He has helped the fruit growers adopt integrated pest management, resulting in a 58% reduction in the toxicity of their pest management programs. In 2010, he helped establish the Bayfield Agricultural Enterprise Area to assist in efforts to protect orchard lands. In addition, Jason has established a series of fruit trials to help the growers diversify. He has established and is managing trials on red and white currants, sweet cherries, wine grapes, and black raspberries. In 2010, Jason created the Bayfield Regional Food Producers Cooperative, which currently consists of thirteen Producer Members. Jason helped the Coop develop marketing programs to assist the Members in selling their products. Current programs include the Bayfield Shores Harvest Trail, Lake Superior CSA , and South Shore Meats.
To improve the profitability of the region’s dairy farms, Jason created the South Shore Nutrient Management Farmer Education Program that has resulted in 21 farmers writing and implementing their own nutrient management plans. The farmers use their plans to improve crop yields, maximize use of manure and fertilizer, and protect area watersheds from non-point source pollution. The program has brought more than $200,000 of cost-share dollars to the region to assist with implementation of the plans.
In anticipation of increased utilization of biomass for heat and power, Jason established the Lake Superior Woody Biomass Trials, which will provide crucial yield and management information on the production of short rotation woody biomass crops such as willow, poplar, and larch.
Since 2006, Jason has coordinated the Upper Midwest Hazelnut Development Initiative, which is a multi-state collaborative to develop a viable hazelnut industry in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest utilizing American hazelnut (Corylus americana), which is native to Bayfield County. Through plant breeding, grower outreach education, and agronomic trials, Jason is working to develop a viable perennial crop with use in fresh-eating and processed food markets, biodiesel, and advanced cellulosic fuels. Growers and researchers throughout the region can stay updated on this exciting new crop at the Upper Midwest Hazelnut Development Initiative Website.
With varied interests and diverse agricultural clientele, Jason has generated a series of Research Bulletins that are available at the Bayfield County UW-Extension website.