Michigan State University Board of Trustees should consider adding a farming representative to its next presidential search, say ag groups and legislators.
Earlier this month, MSU announced the 29 names who would help nominate the school’s next president, none of whom included agricultural-production voices.
Now Michigan Farm Bureau urges members to send a prewritten or personalized message to the MSU Board of Trustees about not having a representative by visiting https://bit.ly/MSUaction or texting ‘MIMSU’ to 52886.
“An agriculture representative not being part of the Presidential Search Committee for the nation’s pioneering land-grant institution is disappointing and a disservice to the needs of all Michiganders,” said MFB President and Tuscola County farmer Carl Bednarski.
“The ag community and MSU have a shared history and vested mutual interest that extends back to the university’s founding mission. In fact, just last year, ag groups stepped up to the plate for MSU and helped secure $53 million in state funding for needed upgrades to its Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center and the university’s Research Greenhouse Complex.”
Similarly, the Michigan Senate introduced a resolution that MSU include an ag representative on the Presidential Search Committee, calling it a “grievous oversight” for not including them in the first place.
“The selection of Michigan State University’s next president will have profound implications on the future of Michigan’s agricultural sector, yet there is no direct representation of Michigan’s agricultural community on the university’s Presidential Search Committee,” the resolution states.
Michigan’s agriculture sector generates more than $100 billion annually and makes up the second largest industry at 17% of the labor force. Thirty-two legislators also signed a letter highlighting the need for ag representation, noting MSU Extension and AgBioResearch are critical drivers of success for Michigan’s crop and animal industries.
“The research and scientific work on plant and animal health have helped our farms address current and future challenges to their operations and adopt environmentally sustainable best practices,” the legislators wrote. “Michigan State University is essential to the continued growth and prosperity of Michigan’s agriculture industry at every level.”
According to the letter, future successes for Michigan ag and MSU are intertwined.
“We strongly encourage you to welcome a representative of Michigan’s agriculture industry to the Presidential Search Committee,” the legislators concluded.