In This Issue

  • A Message from the Dean
  • News from the College of Ag
  • Announcements
  • Upcoming Events
  • Publications and Funding Opportunities
  • Contact Us

A Message from the Dean

Dear COA family and friends,

Welcome to the new academic year, 2023-24. I hope you had a relaxing and productive summer. We are excited to welcome our many new and returning Bobcat students to our programs this fall.

For this new academic year, our college is focusing on improving student persistence and graduation (SPG) as well as Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DIE) as our major goals. All of our departments have created their own plans and have helped develop our college’s overall plans. We will measure the successes of the SPG plan through metrics such as Spring to Fall retention, Fall to Fall retention and 6-year graduation.

Also crucial to these goals are student participation in activities focused on creating and strengthening college and department identity, opportunities to create and belong to their community and knowledge of where to receive the help they need to succeed. Our college and departments are also establishing efforts to ensure that we provide a diverse and inclusive learning environment where all our students can succeed. We need your help and support in welcoming our students, engaging with them and making yourself available to mentor them. As our Convocation speaker, Stephanie Land, reminded us, please take time to explain to our students what office hours are, and please make yourself available to the students during office hours. Many students are in a new environment for the first time - let's make it as accessible and welcoming as we can.

Successfully educating our students to be contributing members of their community, state and nation is a core part of MSU’s mission as a Land Grant University. Let us all work together to achieve this great mission.

Sreekala Bajwa

News from the College of Ag

  • Professor Bill Inskeep of the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences and associate professor Mensur Dlakic of the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology collaborated with Yellowstone National Park on two new educational displays in Norris Geyser Basin. You can read more about the research behind the collaboration here
  • Frank Stewart and Zoe Pratte of the Department of Microbiology & Cell Biology will use new funding to continue research into the microbiomes of sea anemones and clownfish, examining how the symbiotic relationship between the two species results in mutual benefits. Read more about the project here.
  • Maria Fernandes-Martins, a doctoral candidate in the MCB department, traveled to Hawaii's Big Island in May to take part in an analog Mars mission. Read more about her experience here.
  • Ellie Jackson, a 2022 MSU graduate in cell biology and neuroscience, has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from the nation’s oldest collegiate honor society, Phi Kappa Phi. Read more about Ellie and her plans to pursue medical school here. 
  • Joanna-Lynn Borgonga, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Animal and Range Science, received a highly competitive MOSAIC research award from the National Institutes of Health that will help her to establish her own laboratory. Learn more about Dr. Borgonga's work here.
  • Assistant professor Andrew Felton in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences recently received funding to examine how forage plants use environmental water at different parts of the year and their response to drought. Read more about that project here.
  • Rachel Frost, head of MSU's Dan Scott Ranch Management Program, recently published an article titled "Why Do I Need a College Degree to be a Rancher?" You can read it here.

Announcements and Awards

Administrative Updates

Congratulations are in order for two members of our faculty who have accepted new positions within our college!

  • Darrin Boss has begun as Associate Director of MAES and Associate Dean of Research for the College of Agriculture. Dr. Boss has served MAES and the College of Agriculture at the Northern Agricultural Research Center for 28 years, most recently as Superintendent of NARC and since 2017 as the Department Head of the Research Centers.
  • Jennifer Thomson will now serve as Associate Dean for Academic Programs for the College of Agriculture. Dr. Thomson has been a faculty member in Animal and Range Sciences since 2012, has served as the chair of the Faculty Senate, and was a member of the Research Council and Graduate Council at MSU. She has actively engaged in high-impact teaching practices and has a documented history of engaging with students both inside and outside the classroom.

Further Announcements

  • We want to hear from YOU: The College of Agriculture and MAES are seeking your opinion on research needs in the state, and we want your feedback! Please take the time to fill out this short survey and share it with producers and constituents so we can do the best possible job of shaping future investments according to the needs of our stakeholders.
  • Nominations for the College of Agriculture's annual Outstanding Agricultural Leader award will close August 30. The award will be presented during Celebrate Agriculture Weekend in November. Submit your nominations today!
  • Congratulations to professor emeritus Dave Ward! Dr. Ward was recognized by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's eighth annual Prime Awards, 24 Over 64. The Prime Awards honor individuals ages 65 and over for their personal and professional accomplishments, talents and contributions to our community.
  • The Ravalli Republic did an excellent write-up on our last field day of the summer in Corvallis. You can read all about it here!

Upcoming Events

  • The first meeting of MSU's brand-new student chapter of the American Society for Microbiology will take place August 30 at 5:30 pm in Lewis Hall 306. Be sure to let interested students know!
  • Join us for an MSU Debut Treasure Hunt! This amazing welcome back event is hosted by academic units across campus, and we need volunteers! The treasure hunt is scheduled for Thursday, August 31 from 6pm-7:30pm. If you’re interested in volunteering, please email Liz –
  • The College of Agriculture fall semester ice cream social will be held September 6 from 3-5pm in the Leigh Lounge in the Strand Union Building.
  • The Department of Animal and Range Sciences will host a Welcome Back Party for students on Thursday, September 7.
  • Join the College of Agriculture over Homecoming Weekend to celebrate 130 years of MSU and the College of Agriculture! Meet us at the Rockin' R Bar on Saturday, September 30 starting at 9:30 am to watch the MSU Homecoming Parade, enjoy a beverage and reunite with your fellow aggies!
  • The Department of Animal and Range Sciences faculty met for their annual retreat Aug. 15-17 to review their curricula and program outcomes and plan for AY 24. Some extracurricular highlights from the retreat included a presentation from AnRS graduate, geneticist and former Utah State University president Noelle Cockett, and a visit to the Bair Ranch and Museum with trustees of the Bair Ranch Foundation.

Publications and Funding Opportunities

  • You can find a full list of recent publications from MSU's Library and Office of Sponsored Programs here. Recent publications include:
    • Book Chapter: B Webber, R Cousens, Daniel Atwater. Assumptions: respecting the known unknowns. In: Effective Ecology: Seeking Success in a Hard Science. pg 97 - 126. Roger D. Cousens (Ed). 
    • Vergara-Hernandez FB, Nielsen BD, Kottwitz JJ, Panek CL, Robison CI, Paris BL, Welsh TH, Bradbery, AN, Leatherwood, JL, & Colbath AC. 2023. Pharmacokinetics and plasma protein binding of a single dose of clodronate disodium are similar for juvenile sheep and horses, American Journal of Veterinary Research In press.
    • Martinez RE, Leatherwood JL, Bradbery AN, Silvers BL, Hammer CJ, Kelley D, Baker FW, Wu G. 2023. Evaluation of Dietary Arginine Supplementation to Increase Placental Nutrient Transporters in Aged Mares, Translational Animal Science, 2023 txad058,
  • For current and upcoming funding opportunities, check out the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development database here.
  • The USDA and NIH have open applications for grant reviewers. You can find more information here for the USDA and here for the NIH.
  • Western SARE has issued calls for proposals for several programs:
    • Information for professional and producer grants can be found here and will close on October 31.
    • Graduate student funding opportunities will open September 10, and more information can be found here.
  • Recent grants include:
    • Sam Wyffels, Timothy DelCurto, Jed Eberly, Hayes Goosey, Paul Nugent. 2023. Sustainability of beef production systems: The effects of alternative Spring forage and delayed turnout on rangeland soil moisture, temperature, microbial community dynamics and vegetation production. National Cattleman’s Beef Association $149,280 
    • Amanda Bradbery. Evaluation of dietary Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation product (SCFP) on digestive function, and markers of stress, joint inflammation and metabolism in young exercising horses. CAN Technologies Inc. $71,953.20 
    • Jeff Mosley, Jared Beaver, Lance McNew, Robert Walker. Jake Creek Road Project: Will ending a public land road closure increase or decrease elk use of private grazing lands? Montana Grazing Land Conservation Initiative. $37,840 
    • Rodrigo Marques. Forage intake, digestibility, and ruminal fermentation characteristics of beef cows supple-mented with a Bacillus-based probiotic. Car Hansen. $27,500