Institutes & Centers
Agricultural Marketing Policy Center (AMPC)
AMPC was created in early 2001 by the Board of Regents. The purpose of the Agricultural Marketing Policy Center, an integral part of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, is to provide applied research and education, including extension education, on agricultural marketing and related policy issues for informed decision-making by farm and ranch managers, public decision makers in rural communities and in local and state agencies, state legislators, and congressional delegations in Montana and the Northern Plains and Rocky Mountain Region. The Center's programs are organized around two major areas: research and education on markets for agricultural products and agricultural policy research and education.
Center for Invasive Plant Management (CIPM)
CIPM works in partnership with county, state, and federal agencies, tribes, nongovernmental organizations, private industry, commodity groups, and academic institutions in the region. A 12-member Steering Committee advises the Center, as outlined in the CIPM Bylaws, and a Science Advisory Council provides direction to science initiatives and research program. To meet the mission of promoting ecologically sound management of invasive plants by facilitating collaboration and partnerships among scientists, land managers, educators, and policy makers CIPM is building and supporting a network of well-informed invasive plant professionals who have the contacts, information, and resources necessary to accomplish their goals. Primarily objectives are: to facilitate collaboration and communication among scientists, land managers, and policymakers; to serve as a respected, science-based information clearinghouse for ecological management of invasive plants; to provide professional development opportunities for land managers and educators; and to serve as a resource center for Cooperative Weed Management Areas and other community-led invasive species management groups.
Spatial Sciences Center (SSC)
SSC’s mission is to (1) promote and support basic and applied research incorporating geographic information science, remote sensing, global positioning system, and spatial analysis, (2) support and facilitate undergraduate and graduate courses in spatial sciences offered through departments within the MSU, and (3) promote the application of spatial sciences throughout MSU through outreach to faculty and staff. SSC is involved in several collaborative projects with other institutions for both research and outreach. An advisory committee meets once each semester to review the progress of the Center and provide guidance to the Director.
Thermal Biology Institute
The Thermal Biology Institute conducts and promotes research and education focused on the biology and interrelated physical and chemical processes of geothermal environments in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
The goal of this Center for Zoonotic and Emerging Infectious Diseases is to support new investigators and provide the resources needed to advance our understanding of infectious disease pathogenesis and facilitate development of novel therapeutic treatments.
In response to concerns about the geographic concentration of federal support for academic research and development, in 1979 the United States Congress mandated that the National Science Foundation (NSF) respond to this matter. The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) was created.
The Montana Council on Economic Education (MCEE) was founded over three decades ago by a group of business leaders who felt it was important that teachers and their students have a solid grasp of our free enterprise system and the overall economic environment in which we live. The MCEE is committed to offering programs that are fair and balanced and address a wide variety of economic issues. This includes economic development, employment, the environment, taxation, education, government, personal economics and a wide variety of other related topics.
Plant Growth Center
A teaching and research facility, the 60,000 sq. ft. Plant Growth Center (PGC), constructed in 1987 has 29 glasshouse rooms with 8,300 square feet of bench space that are light and temperature controlled. It is the only bio-containment facility west of the Mississippi River for quarantining and testing insects and plant pathogens. The PGC contains 13 walk in growth rooms where all environment variables are computer controlled in addition to numerous growth chambers which are used for precise control of environmental variables. The insect quarantine facilities are housed in separate glasshouses and growth chambers and the plant pathogen isolation facilities have 4 glasshouse rooms of 320 sq. ft.
Montana Potato Improvement Lab
The mission of the MSU Seed Potato Certification Program is to certify Montana grown seed potatoes and conduct research to improve potato quality and testing methods. Housed in the PGC, the Montana Potato Improvement Lab is responsible for providing disease free seed stock to Montana potato producers.
Cereal Quality Lab
The Cereal Quality Laboratory (CQL) researches the end-use properties of cereal grains. Emphasis is on flour milling and bread-baking traits of hard red and hard white wheats. In addition, the growing interest in the use of hard white wheat for the Asian noodle market has necessitated noodle quality evaluation. Effects of various environmental and genetic factors are determined. The CQL cooperates with wheat breeders, field technicians, research center scientists, and others to ensure that high quality wheats are released and recommended by MAES. Additionally, the CQL is valuable in assisting with the development of new markets for Montana wheats and other small grains.
Schutter Diagnostic Lab
The Schutter Diagnostic Lab provides plant pest identification, including the identification of insects, plants, plant diseases and mushrooms. The lab utilizes a wide range of techniques for diagnosis including visual identification, pathogen culture, microscopic identification, and biochemical detection. The scientists in the lab aid growers in identifying insect/plant problems and their solution; provide information on environmental and cultural conditions that cause problems; recommend cultural and management techniques to control and prevent future pest outbreaks; predict and monitor outbreaks based on samples from different areas in the state; and alert county agents and citizens to these outbreaks.
Montana State Seed Lab
The Montana State Seed Lab tests seed samples for farmers, seedsmen, Montana Seed Growers Association, Montana Department of Agriculture and other agencies. Seed testing provides the needed information for determining the value of the seed. These tests determine percentages of pure seed, other crop seed, weed seed, inert matter and germination in seeds used for planting. Testing seed gives the individual a broad understanding of the germination potential and possible weed contamination of a seed lot. By knowing the results of the tests, individuals can evaluate the potential of a seed lot before planting to ensure adequate stand and maximum yield. The lab is staffed with a Registered Seed Technologist, Certified Seed Analysts, and part time assistants as funded by sample fees and MAES.
Three individuals are involved with the operation of the Montana State University (MSU) Herbarium: Matt Lavin, Curator of the vascular plants, Cathy Cripps, Curator of the fungi, and Catherine Seibert, Collections Manager. All are involved in assisting and scheduling herbarium users, processing loan or data requests, accessioning and databasing herbarium specimens. The MSU Herbarium is particularly heavily used by graduate students at MSU.
Montana Entomology Collection
The Montana Entomology Collection, the largest and most diverse natural history museum in Montana, houses the largest collections of insects from Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and contains insects from every continent except Antarctica. The collection also includes specimens from the Virgin Islands Beetle Fauna Project. The Systematic Entomology Laboratory houses researchers and collections involved in documenting and understanding the evolution and biodiversity of the insects and related taxa.
Johnson Family Livestock Facility (ABSL-2)
The state-of-the-art ABSL-2 large animal research facility is approximately 7,400 sq. ft. and has two animal quarantine rooms capable of holding approximately 4-5 calves each, four procedure rooms that hold 4 calves each, and two surgical suites, all under stringent climate control and ventilation for safety. The facility has the capacity to handle over 24 calves at any one time. The facility has shower-in/shower-out capability for safety of the investigators, and the flow of traffic and air in the facility is designed to avoid infection of investigators and animal caretakers. Containment is also designed to prevent cross-contamination of pathogens between rooms, yet provide easy movement of large animals in and out of the rooms. The facility will allow the growth and expansion of education and research programs that better meet current and future needs of agriculture and the livestock industry, especially in the area of animal infectious diseases. The overall goal of our large animal research program is to better understand mechanisms of infection, determine how the animal defends against infection, and ultimately show how we can enhance resistance to infection to control the associated damage and prevent further spread of the infectious organism.
Jutila Research Laboratory (BSL-3)
The BSL-3 facility consists of about 2400 sq. ft. of BSL-3 containment that includes 4 laboratory rooms, an animal containment room designed for small laboratory animals, an animal procedure room and an additional 1200 sq. ft. of support space. The facility is state-of-the-art and built to the specifications of the Center for Disease Control (CDC). All of the air handling, heating and cooling equipment in the building is redundant and the full electrical load of the building is backed up by an automatically operated generator. The building has an extensive security system and access to the building is limited to a few approved individuals who undergo extensive training and participate in a comprehensive occupational health and surveillance program. The investigators working in the facility are approved to work with the select agents Coxiella burnetii (causative agent of Q fever), Brucella abortus, and Brucella melitensis (both causative agents for brucellosis). Future work is also planned with Yersinia pestis (causative agent of plague). All of these agents are zoonotic in that they can be transmitted from livestock to humans and are concerns for biodefense. Although the work in the BSL-3 utilizes mice as an experimental animal, the intent is that results of our experiments can eventually be translated to therapeutic and prophylactic treatments for infectious diseases of humans and/or livestock.
Meat and Meat Processing Center
The MSU Meat and Meat Processing Center is a state-inspected facility with the capability for processing meat animals. It has much of the equipment necessary for sausage and ham manufacturing. In addition, there is a chemistry laboratory for analysis of a wide range of physical and chemical properties of meat. The mission of the Processing Center is to conduct basic and applied research as well as supplying expertise for new product development. Applied research efforts involve development and adaptation of new processing technology, with emphasis on product quality, shelf-life and safety. In addition, basic research involves evaluation of factors affecting tenderness, color and other carcass characteristics. One important role of the center is to assist the industry in understanding the needs of customers, both in domestic and export markets. Further outreach programs include short courses and seminars about meat and meat products.
One of only three research wool labs in the United States, the Montana Wool Lab was established by the sheep producers of Montana to serve the sheep industry. The Montana Legislature approved funding for a building and equipment in 1945, and construction of the Wool Lab was completed in 1947. The laboratory's primary functions include research, service and education. The Montana Wool Lab houses the most advanced technological equipment for measuring fiber diameter, has been instrumental in improving Montana's wool quality and continues to educate students and growers on the economical and environmental benefits of sheep.
Oscar Thomas Nutrition Center
The Oscar Thomas Nutrition Center was built in 1967-68. Along with the laboratory facility there is an environmentally controlled metabolism room for small and large animals. There is also an attached barn with four individual pens. It is located off-campus on the MSU Agricultural Experiment Station, Livestock, Research and Teaching Center. The headquarters for the beef cattle and horse operations are also located here. The Livestock Research and Teaching Center has a research feedlot, Calan gate facility, feedmill, and artificial insemination building. Surrounding pastures and hayfields help support the animals housed there.
The Bob Miller Pavilion provides indoor and outdoor equestrian facilities for MSU's Equine program. The Pavilion is also home to the MSU Youth Horsemanship School each summer.
Montana State University Farrier School offers an eleven-week program designed specifically for those who wish to pursue careers as farriers. This professional course provides students with the opportunity to obtain a solid background in the field of farrier science through the application of sound principles in a practical hands-on setting.
AES Analytical Lab
The AES Analytical Laboratory provides reliable, efficient analytical services to the Montana State University Agriculture Experiment Station, the public, farmers, ranchers, researchers and agri-businesses on nutritional and toxic substances in forage, animal feed, fertilizer, soil and water. Operating under an agreement between the Montana Department of Agriculture and MAES enables the Analytical Laboratory to reduce operating costs by sharing the facility, personnel, equipment and operations. The laboratory offers comprehensive quality control and quality assurance for all laboratory procedures; state-of-the-art instrumentation and sound, validated methods; use of official AOAC, EPA and FDA methods; long-term contracts at stable, reduced charges; and consultation to ensure the client’s data provides the information sought at minimum cost. The types of analyses conducted annually include analyzing for pesticide residue in groundwater and surface water, animal feeds for nutritional components or prohibited materials, and fertilizers for nutritional components or non-nutritive metals.