Since its inception 20 years ago, the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan has focused on the future to advance its mission of improving the state's corn industry forward through education and research. With that in mind, the CMPM announced Dec. 3, that it is adding ag specialist Natalie Rector to its team as CMPM's Research Coordinator.
Jim Zook, Executive Director of the CMPM, says Rector's background, experience and lifelong dedication to farmers and Michigan's agriculture industry made her a perfect choice for Michigan Corn.
"We are thrilled to have Natalie join the Michigan Corn Office where we can utilize her vast experience and passion to support and expand Michigan's corn industry," Zook says. "She brings a wealth of knowledge and is well known across the state for her work ethic and ability to get things done."
As a former MSU Extension educator, Rector was involved with the formation of the Innovative Farmers of South Central Michigan, a farmer-organized group that sought grant funds, conducted on-farm demonstration projects and shared data with area farmers through field tours and plot reports. Rector says localizing field practices to the soil and cropping systems was an integral part of that work, which she hopes to bring to Michigan Corn.
"I have been on both sides of grant funds and field-research projects, and I am hoping to bring relevant research to the table and be sure all corn producers in the state can, and do, benefit from the findings," Rector says.
Rector, who grew up on a corn, beef and hog farm in Cass County, started her career as a summer field scout for the Michigan Crop Improvement Association. She began her MSU Extension career as an Ag Agent in Lapeer County, followed by a Crops Agent in Branch, Calhoun, Jackson and Hillsdale counties. Since 2002, Rector has been a statewide manure nutrient management educator.
Last week, Rector received the 2012 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from Michigan Farm Bureau at the group's annual meeting. Rector has been an active member of the Calhoun County Farm Bureau for the past 20 years and currently serves on its board of directors.
Zook says research is a critical part of the CMPM. State farmer dollars invested in corn research have already resulted in the development of corn-based products such as carpeting, fabrics, fuels and plastics that replace petroleum-based products. Additional products can also be made from ethanol processing because of past corn-research investments. For more information, visit www.micorn.org, or call 1-888-323-6601.