American Family partners with UW-Madison on innovative land management project using goats
American Family Insurance, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is part of a multi-year innovative study that involves using goats to remove invasive species at its Madison Wisconsin national headquarters corporate campus. The study is led by UW-Madison Ph.D. student, Stefania Cartoni-Casamitjana, and UW Madison professor, Dr. Mark Renz.
American Family Insurance, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is part of an innovative study that involves using goats, among other methods, to remove invasive species at its Madison Wisconsin national headquarters corporate campus. The study compares the relative effectiveness and safety of each method.
The partnership is a part of American Family’s commitment to sustainability and climate action, which includes partnering with experts to identify best practices such as prescribed burns, innovative invasive species control and forestry mowing in all environmental initiatives to help restore landscapes to their full potential. Invasive species are non-native plant species that cause, or have the potential to cause, environmental or economic harm to human health. The presence of invasive species also threatens the health of environments and their native plant counterparts.
The study is led by UW-Madison Ph.D. student, Stefania Cartoni-Casamitjana, and UW Madison professor, Dr. Mark Renz.
Cartoni-Casamitjana, a second-year Agronomy Ph.D. student at UW-Madison, is creating her thesis on this topic. After earning a degree in Agronomy in Chile, she shifted her focus to understanding the different methods of controlling invasive species in Wisconsin woodlands. “We’ve done so much to degrade our ecosystems around us that it’s important that we find ways to restore them closest to their original state,” she said. “Restoring these lands will help them be more resilient to climate change and help inform other researchers and projects.”
Cartoni-Casamitjana and Renz were most interested in conducting their research on the American Family Insurance headquarters property because the oak woodlands, a plant community dominated by oak trees, was the most degraded by invasive species. “We are ultimately interested in the long-term effects of these methods,” said Renz. “We plan to come back in 3 to 4 years to see if there are changes in the vegetation.”
The study includes other control methods and test sites for removing the invasive species, which will help them understand the economic and environmental impacts of each of the control methods. The NHQ site features goat grazing, which has been used in the past as a control method for invasive species. The goats offer a natural alternative to plant removal.
About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 251 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.