"I look forward to working with MSU researchers, the staff at Chatham and stakeholders throughout the U.P. to developing meaningful education, outreach and integrated research programs that will enrich the lives of those engaged in agriculture and local food systems," she says.
Baker said three long-term objectives were identified by the review committee:
•Improvement of soil quality in a way that emphasizes health linkages between soil, crops, livestock and people.
•Development of a close collaboration between UPREC and the MSU Lake City Research Center (LCRC) in Lake City to foster complementary research between integrated crop livestock systems at UPREC and grass-based livestock production at LCRC.
•Development of regional food systems that builds community sustainability while linking to objectives 1 and 2.
Additionally, three MSU faculty coordinators, have also been named and will work with McFarland to oversee both research and extension activities at the center:
•Jason Rowntree, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science, will provide expertise on livestock systems
•Kim Cassida, forage extension specialist in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, will work with plant systems
•Matt Raven, professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies, will work with the food systems
As part of an effort to harmonize cattle genetics with LCRC and improve research opportunities, a portion of the herd at Chatham were sold in March and replaced by cattle relocated from LCRC.
A 15% cut in state funding FY 2011-2012 prompted MSU AgBioResearch and Extension to take a close look at all of its facilities and operations.
"It's been a challenging couple of years, but I'm confident the agriculture industry in the U.P. is going to see the benefits from these changes at UPREC," says Baker. "It is my hope that we will soon start to see some of the findings applied directly to nearby farms."
For more information on UPREC, visit online