MSU College of Ag to host formal inauguration as newest host of Western SARE program on Feb. 19 | TSLN.com

MSU College of Ag to host formal inauguration as newest host of Western SARE program on Feb. 19

BOZEMAN – To celebrate being named the newest Western region host institution of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education organization, Montana State University's College of Agriculture will hold a formal inauguration on Feb. 19 in the Procrastinator Theater. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., begins at 6 p.m. and the event is free and open to the public.

Last year MSU was selected to host what is widely regarded as the country's foremost, producer-led research and education grant program for sustainable agriculture. MSU's appointment, which runs from 2019 to 2024, was based on a competitive process in which universities presented proposals to host for a five-year period.

"To be the host institution of Western SARE for the next five years is evidence of MSU's commitment to sustainable agriculture," Western SARE regional coordinator Fabian Menalled said. Menalled is a professor of weed ecology and integrated pest management at MSU.

Soil layers of the Palouse region of eastern Washington are revealed in a deep road cut. More than 10 layers of buried paleosoils are visible to soil scientist John Reganold of Washington State University. Photo courtesy of Jim Richardson.

The event will welcome the Western SARE administrative council, the program's governing board of 15 members that is composed of farmers and ranchers as well as representatives from universities, government, agribusinesses and nonprofits. Members from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture will also attend. Menalled will give a brief introduction, followed by a short speech by MSU Present Waded Cruzado

A major highlight of the event will be a presentation on feeding humanity by National Geographic Magazine photojournalist Jim Richardson.

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The lecture "Who Will Feed Planet Earth?" will address the challenge of feeding the planet as the human population rapidly grows, as well as possible solutions. Richardson draws from more than 20 years of covering agriculture subjects and examines 10,000 years of human beings' relationship with food. His conclusion is that growing the food to feed humanity is the largest endeavor on the planet.

Richardson has photographed more than 50 stories for National Geographic in a career that has spanned 30 years. Richardson had his first story published for National Geographic in 1984 and has become one of the magazine's most productive contemporary contributing photographers, according to the magazine's website.

Following the inauguration, the administrative council will hold a meeting in Bozeman for the first time and select research and education projects to receive economic support from Western SARE. According to Menalled, this year the council expects to support approximately 50 projects across the Western region for roughly $5.5 million.

"At Western SARE, we work to advance agricultural innovations that promote environmental stewardship, quality of life and improve profitability," Menalled said. "We can do this by investing in groundbreaking agricultural research and education, and these projects can help us do just that."

SARE is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that functions through competitive grants conducted by farmers, ranchers, researchers and agriculture professionals. The program helps advance farm and ranch systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities. The western region encompasses 13 U.S. western states as well as American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Micronesia and Guam.

MSU's College of Agriculture has approximately 1,268 students with 11 bachelor's degree programs, nine master's degree programs and four doctoral degree programs from five departments and one division.

–MSU Extension