MSU AgBioResearch is a major research arm of Michigan State University. Administered by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU AgBioResearch spans the entire University, supporting over 300 scientists in seven colleges. Research topics include food safety, environmental stewardship, childhood obesity, community development, alternative energy generation and sustainable agricultural production.
Beyond a plethora of campus-based programs, MSU AgBioResearch supports scientists at 13 off-campus sites across Michigan. One of those is the Lake City Research and Extension Center (LCREC). Established in 1928, the Lake City facility includes over 800 acres of managed land and 180 beef cattle in an area suitable for forage-based livestock enterprises, potato production and bioenergy crop production.
The Center recently hosted the 2nd annual MSU Agriculture Innovation Day, and we were on site to learn more about the important work at LCREC and why the research and education programs are so important to Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources industries.
We first talked to Dr. George Smith, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Associate Director of MSU AgBioResearch, who provided an overview of the mission, history and organizational structure of MSU AgBioResearch. Smith emphasized the importance of the long-standing partnership between MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch in developing and communicating research that directly benefits Michigan citizens and communities.
LCREC Manager Douglas Carmichael discussed the history of the Center, areas of research emphasis and provided an overview of the nine educational sessions featured on the MSU Agriculture Innovation Day agenda. The general focus of the Ag Innovation Day was on forage crops, in general, and on such specific topics as precision dairy cattle monitoring, grass-fed beef production and double cropping.
We also interviewed to two prominent researchers on the Ag Innovation Day agenda, both of whom are supported by MSU AgBioResearch. Dr. Jason Rowntree, an animal science associate professor, is interested in the development of regional food systems that build community sustainability. A key part of any food system is how livestock producers manage their operations to ensure pasture land health. He discussed his land regeneration studies and the Savory Institute’s innovative “Land-to-Market” program. Dr. Lisa Tiemann, an assistant professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences, takes an “agroecology” approach to her research which focuses on how microorganisms contribute to healthy, fertile soils. Her studies are conducted in a variety of agroecosystems in the U.S. and Africa and explore how factors like farm management practices and climate change alter microbial dynamics which, in turn, affect soil fertility and health.
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