A review of the Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center (UPREC) in Chatham in the spring of 2012 has been the basis for a new direction and long-term vision for the center.
After being identified as one of the most costly of the 13 MSU AgBioResearch research facilities to operate, the center is undergoing some changes, including its new name in January to acknowledge the significant contributions made by MSU Extension to facility operations. In line with the name change, the center will focus on collaboration and integration across three programmatic systems: livestock, plants and local food systems.
To help facilitate the changes, Ashley McFarland has been named center coordinator, which is a new position created as the research and Extension facility begins to take shape.
MSU AgBioResearch Associate Director John Baker says, "We're very pleased to have Ashley joining the team and helping with the re-direction of UPREC. She will be an integral part of a strategic effort to bring forth more valuable research to benefit the agriculture industry in the U.P. and across the state."
McFarland hails from Iowa and has earned degrees from Central College in Pella (B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Studies) and Iowa State University (M.S. in Environmental Science/Water Resources). She has spent the last five years with the University of Idaho Extension as a county Extension education and area natural resource educator.
Steve Lovejoy, associate director of MSU Extension, says McFarland will also focus on working with key stakeholders and keeping the industry informed on issues relative to UPREC.
"Ashley brings a great deal of experience in Extension and outreach that will be very valuable as we move forward and implement our plan for the future of the UPREC," Lovejoy says.
As the new center coordinator at Chatham, McFarland will provide an important link between campus-based faculty coordinators and the implementation of programs and oversight of operations at the center and throughout the U.P. She will also work to increase visibility of the center and build relationships with stakeholders.
McFarland, scheduled to start the position on May 20, says she is excited about the new opportunities.