Ag research at forefront of UMN President’s Breakfast

Pair of northern extension positions close to being filled

The agricultural community joined University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler Wednesday for the President’s Breakfast, and one theme seemed to carry the conversation: growing ag research at UMN.

“President Kaler emphasized that the University of Minnesota is a research institution, which ties into the land-grant system,” said Keith Schrader, chair of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC). “He’d like to see bigger and better research for private industry, for farmers and for those who work closely with farmers.”

Schrader said the breakfast served as a good update as to where the university is at in terms of ag research, ag programs and ag funding.

“He talked about the Agricultural Research, Education, Extension and Technology Transfer Program (AGREETT) and the emphasis the university is putting on expanding services to all ag campuses in the state,” Schrader said. “The big thing is that he announced the university is upgrading the wet lab facility in the research building on the St. Paul campus.”

Schrader said Kaler asked the farmer leaders in the room to keep the pressure on legislators to make sure they continue to fund AGREETT. Kaler also indicated that the lack of a bonding bill in the 2016 session puts the university in a position where it needs bonding money in a non-bonding year to continue projects above and beyond those created from AGREETT.

Kaler also said that the university is closing in on filling a pair of extension positions, one in Crookston and one in Morris.

“One thing that was very clear is that Kaler understands agriculture has a robust job market,” Schrader said. “He seems to understand it is important to continue to grow enrollment and expand opportunities for ag careers.”

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