In this Edition

  • A Message from the Dean
  • Upcoming and Recent Events
  • Awards and Recognitions
  • New Grants
  • COA/MAES in the News
  • Announcements
  • Funding Opportunities 
  • Recent Publications

A Message from Dr. Bajwa

Dear Colleagues,

Early this month, we celebrated the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Agriculture College of the State of Montana, which later became Montana State University. The growth and impact MSU had and continues to have on our state and beyond in the last 130 years is simply inspiring. It is the hard work and contributions of our faculty, staff and students that got us where we are today. My sincere gratitude to all of you who make MSU an amazing place to work, and a special congratulations to the faculty and students who received awards and were recognized on Founders Day.

Aside from all the excitement on campus, the legislative session is ongoing and our MAES asks to the legislature are foremost in my mind. Our MAES Advisory Council played a crucial role telling our story and making a powerful case for MAES budgetary needs to the legislative committees. Our general budget request is part of HB 2. Aside from our base budget with an inflationary adjustment, MAES and MSU Extension asked for new funds to support the new precision agriculture program.

Our Advisory Council presented four items to the legislative committee in support of MAES:

  1. support for our new precision agriculture program,
  2. base fund support for our Seed Lab and Wool Lab,
  3. a higher inflationary adjustment to support MAES operations and
  4. additional budget to support variety testing at research centers.

So far, the HB 2 Section E committee approved a $300K raise in our MAES budget and moving the Seed Lab and Wool Lab to base funding. Additionally, there is a present law adjustment of 6% and a pay plan of 4% raise each year of the biennium and a one-time-only bonus.

Our capital project requests are part of HB 5. We asked for a soil, seed and plant processing lab along with restrooms and sanitation lines to the Horticulture building as the first priority for MAES. That project is moving forward. Two of our maintenance project requests ($450K for demolition of feed mill and hay shed at BART farm and $2 million for renovation of lambing barn) are moving forward but with less money than we originally requested: $400K and $200K respectively. Our request for inflationary adjustment for Research Center labs approved in 2021 is moving forward with a $1.6M allocation instead of the $9.3M we requested, while our Wool Lab inflationary adjustment is moving forward at the requested amount.

These bills have a long way to go before they are finalized, and we will be watching. The only bill that has gone through all the processes and is ready for the Governor’s signature is the academic brewing license for our researchers that was moved forward by external partners.

I am pleased to announce that Reagan Colyer is back with us as our communications lead, and we are able to resume our monthly newsletter. Welcome back, Reagan.

We were Aggies before we became Bobcats. Happy 130th Birthday Aggies and Bobcats!

Sreekala Bajwa

Upcoming and Recent Events

  • The inaugural COA Three-Minute Thesis Competition is coming up on March 30. Contact Tracy Dougher for more information.

Awards and Recognitions

  • ​​​​​​​Professor Ed Schmidt of the MCB Department has been awarded a Distinguished Guest Fellowship from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences for his upcoming sabbatical at the Laboratory of Redox Biology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest. He will be integrating the genetically and surgically engineered mouse models he and his team have developed at MSU into advanced studies on gene regulation and metabolism. Dr. Schmidt has also been awarded research grants from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Hungarian Eötvös Loránd Research Network to support the continuation of this work through 2027.
  • DAEE master's graduate Neil Silveus recently accepted an assistant professor position at Hope College. He is currently finishing his PhD in economics at the University of Pittsburgh and will begin his new position in the fall.
  • DAEE professor Mark Anderson recently accepted a position on the editorial board of the American Journal of Health Economics.
  • Recent graduate and former Ag Ambassador Erin Brush was featured by the University of Montana School of Law, where she is now studying. Read UM's story about Erin here!
  • Graduate students and faculty in the LRES department shared their research with members of the Montana Weed Control Association at the organization’s annual meeting in Helena on February 8. Dr. Lisa Rew and graduate students Lilly Sencenbaugh, Zach Fighter, Erin Teichroew and Colter Mumford presented their research in a session on invasive annual grasses, which was organized and moderated by Drs. Jane Mangold and Lisa Rew. Noelle Orloff and Jane Mangold presented in a session on revegetation of invasive and noxious weed-infested areas, and this session was organized around a recent publication co-produced by MSU Extension and NRCS. Over 240 people attended the MWCA conference.

New Grants

  • 34 new grants were awarded to COA/MAES faculty and staff in January, totaling nearly $2.3 million. 

COA/MAES in the news


  • The dean's office is hiring to fill an Admin Associate IV position. Applicant screening begins March 13, and you can find the job posting here. Feel free to share if you know someone who might be interested!
  • The Montana Agricultural Business Association's Pam Langley Memorial Scholarship is open for student applications until May 13. Three $2000 scholarships will be awarded to students in pursuit of post-secondary education. You can learn more and find the application here.

Funding Opportunities

A Note from the Communication Director: It's so wonderful to be back with the College of Ag and MAES! Thank you for the kind messages and for your patience as I've (re)adjusted to my position. As always, please submit newsletter items and/or story ideas to The newsletter will aim to go out the last Monday of each month, so keep that in mind. 

Recent Publications