Monday, March 19, 2012

Expansion Plans

So the NCRS has a new research agronomist today. His name is Tim Duckert. Oddly enough, we put out a nation-wide search for this position, and Tim lives right here in St. Johns. So no moving expenses, and he showed up ready to get to work. Tim is a well qualified researcher having spent the last 12 years working for the USDA/ARS Sugarbeet and Dry Bean Research Unit out of East Lansing. He has been running field plots in these crops for years and will fit right in at the NCRS. Tim has his Bachelor's degree in Crop and Soil Sciences from MSU. After graduation he worked as an assistant manager for a 5000 acre grain farm in Illinois for five years. He still keeps in contact with that family, often returning to help with harvest so he can have a change from small plots. Well hopefully our plots are big enough to ward off some of those feelings, but it's nice to have that type of farming experience. He also worked for two years at the Kellogg Biological Station in Michigan in cover crop research. Additionally he has worked for a custom application business and even spen a year in Australia working on a wheat and sheep farm. So Tim brings a wealth of experience and we are fortunate to have him. So the plan is for Tim and Stephanie to manage the field crop research at the NCRS. They didn't exactly have to drag me away kicking and screaming, but I have moved to an office at the company headquarters in St. Johns. So last Friday really was my last official day at the NCRS. Of course I will still be involved with the plot work at the NCRS, at least at the start till Tim learns his way around the 11 farms. But I will be better able to manage the overall company research efforts if I am not so involved from a hands-on basis at the NCRS. This will give me time to be more involved with the Specialty Crop research as well (I wonder if Dr. Brian knows this?). Most importantly, ACLF conducts quite a bit of research off-farm in other states. Sadly, some of it I don't get an opportunity to visit since I was so busy at the NCRS. And it is expensive and needs better monitoring. So this will free me up to check on that more closely and spend time with the sales staff in those areas as well. So this is a necessary move due to the continued growth of ACLF, and it will all be for the good of everyone. (Does Stephanie really have to look so happy I am gone?)

Now Tim says he is neat, but surely his desk will be a little more busy in the months to come. Below we see Tracy the Network Manager getting Tim's computer out of the box and put together.

On another note, fear not, this is not the end of this blog. I will still be reporting regularly on research activities at the farm, plus with additional coverage of our research projects around the country. So please stay tuned.