US (MI): MSU hires new farm manager for Plant Pathology and Entomology Research Centers

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A new farm manager has been named to supervise the Michigan State University Plant Pathology and Entomology Research Centers.

Jared Andrews will direct operations and lead administrative duties at the two MSU AgBioResearch on-campus research centers, both located on the south side of campus.

The Plant Pathology Research Center is home to the university’s cutting-edge research into plant diseases, such as fire blight in apples and downy mildew in cucumbers and other cucurbits.

The Entomology Research Center houses novel projects focused on insect physiology, integrated pest management and pollination. Researchers study ways to protect crops from pests like spotted wing drosophila, a small invasive fly that harms soft-fleshed fruits, and ways to support beneficial insects like honeybees.

Jared Andrews, farm manager of the MSU Plant Pathology and Entomology Research Centers.

“The fruit, vegetable, ornamental and field crop research that’s being done at MSU is important in maintaining its status as the nation’s pioneer land-grant university,” Andrews said. “I’m really excited to be able to continue helping these different departments with their research as a facilitator and as a resource.”

Andrews started in his new role on April 1. Before beginning at the two centers, he served as assistant farm manager at the MSU Horticulture Teaching and Research Center. He helped prepare and maintain field plots for research, facilitate structural repairs to the center and train student employees, among other organizational responsibilities.

Overall, Andrews has worked full-time at MSU for 13 years after graduating from the university in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in crop and soil sciences, with a specialization in sustainable agriculture and food systems.

In addition to holding the assistant farm manager position — as well as equipment and facility coordinator earlier in his career — at the Horticulture Teaching and Research Center, Andrews also worked in the MSU Office of Environmental Health and Safety as an industrial hygienist. In these roles, Andrews managed equipment and assisted with facility repairs at the center, and he conducted safety inspections at laboratories and research stations across campus.

“I’m a third-generation Spartan,” Andrews said. “My grandmother went here. My father works here, and now I’m here. I’m excited to continue my work here and to remain a resource to everyone who’s using these facilities.”

James Averill, the assistant director of MSU AgBioResearch who oversees its on- and off-campus research centers, said the vast experience Andrews has collected throughout his career at MSU will ensure that both centers are cared for and the important research and education done there can continue.

“The MSU Plant Pathology and Entomology Research Centers will greatly benefit from Jared’s background in helping run the MSU Horticulture Teaching and Research Center, along with the insight he gained in safety management from the MSU Office of Environmental Health and Safety,” Averill said. “We’re excited to have him and look forward to his contributions toward the impactful research and education happening at the centers.”

Andrews said one of his first priorities as farm manager will be to collaborate with other on-campus farm managers to share information and equipment. In the future, he said he’d like to help build out a cloud-based farm management system that research centers can use to engage faculty, staff and administrators.

“In the past, all of these centers were departmental facilities, and now having them under MSU AgBioResearch is helping us streamline our services,” Andrews said. “Each center used to have their own pieces of equipment for everything, which wasn’t great in terms of finances, maintenance and storage.

“One of the goals on-campus farm managers are working on is to centralize our equipment to reduce that duplicity. If we do that, we can combine our financial power to get newer and more modern equipment for researchers to have available and for us to share across the board.”


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