New state funding will boost agricultural productivity research, teaching and Extension

A nearly $5 million state investment in agricultural productivity at the University of Minnesota will be used this year to hire scientists and improve infrastructure across seven areas of collaboration across CFANS and its partner colleges.

The plan covers the first years of a multi-year investment known as the Agricultural Research, Education, Extension and Technology Transfer Program (AGREETT). The program was established by the state legislature in its 2015 session and funding was established with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to support the program.

Under the plan, new faculty, technicians and graduate students will be hired to work in these seven key areas: crop and livestock productivity; microbial science; advancing soil fertility and water quality; agricultural technology and decision-making; nutrient recycling and management; agro-ecological innovation; and technologies aimed at managing pest resistance and climate change.

In each area, hires will be complementary; for example, a new CFANS research and teaching faculty member specializing in manure management and water quality will collaborate with a new Extension Educator in those areas.

“AGREETT allows us to efficiently achieve long-term agricultural productivity increases,” said Brian Buhr, CFANS dean. “This investment by the state will help producers and the food and ag industries across every platform take advantage of the technological changes that are transforming agriculture. And at the same time, it helps us train the workforce of the future, which is a crucial need for the industry.”