Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) has named Wendy Powers, Ph.D., director of its new Institute for Enhancing Michigan’s First Green Industry: Agriculture and Agribusiness. Powers is a professor in the departments of Animal Science and Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at MSU and is MSU’s director of environmental stewardship for animal agriculture.
The new institute is one of four that have emerged from MSUE’s statewide restructuring. Julie Chapin was named director of the youth institute (Preparing Michigan’s Children and Youth for the Future), and Dawn Contreras was tapped as director of the health and nutrition institute (Improving the Health and Nutrition of Michigan’s Residents) in early February. The search for the director of Greening Michigan: Leveraging Natural and Human Assets for Prosperity continues. Powers’ position is effective July 1. In the meantime, however, she will assist with the transition of MSUE’s programs and institutes during the restructuring process. In her new role, Powers will be responsible for directing education efforts across all agriculture and agribusiness issues. She will lead a team of MSU Extension educators spread across all 83 Michigan counties and work closely with MSU faculty members to help define the hot-button issues for agriculture throughout the state.
“Since Dr. Powers joined MSU in 2006, she has been a leader in issues that affect animal agriculture and the environment,” said Tom Coon, MSU Extension director. “Her focus and broad understanding of multiple disciplines makes her a good fit for an institute charged with leading Michigan agriculture into the future.”
The Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) is partnering with MSU Extension in support of Powers’ role as director.
“Strong research creates the basis for strong outreach,” said Steve Pueppke, director of the MAES. “We are pleased to be a part of this new model for education delivery. Dr. Powers is well suited to provide leadership on the integration of research with Extension because that has been the model of her scholarship throughout her career.”
Powers will remain director of environmental stewardship for animal agriculture and will continue to develop collaborative multidisciplinary research and Extension programming to enhance environmental stewardship in animal agriculture.
“I’m looking forward to working with the many capable educators and researchers to help keep agriculture a thriving industry in Michigan,” Powers said. “I have a lot of respect for the farmers and agribusiness people in this state and I know that we, as a team, will do our best to serve them well.”
Powers joined Michigan State University in 2006. She has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree and doctorate degree from the University of Florida. Prior to joining MSU, she was an associate professor with Iowa State University (ISU) where she received the ISU College of Agriculture Team Award, was named an American Dairy Science Association Production Foundation Scholar and was inducted into the Iowa Academy of Science as the youngest inductee. In 2006, the American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers honored her with their Standards Developer Award and the Presidential Citation for Service.