Thursday, February 18, 2016

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Idaho’s Agricultural Interests Bolstered by Appointment of Former UI Dean

MOSCOW — Idaho’s agriculture initiatives are receiving additional attention this spring as former College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Term Dean John C. Foltz moves into a new position as assistant to the president for agricultural initiatives.

 Newly appointed CALS Dean Michael Parella, former chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology and associate dean of Agricultural Sciences at the University of California, Davis, started at UI on Feb. 1.

In his new position, Foltz is working in collaboration with Parella and Jack McIver, vice president for Research and Economic Development to lead statewide initiatives, including the Western Initiative for the Dairy Environment (WIDE), a large-scale research center focused on Idaho’s beef and dairy industry. The university has explored such a center in the Magic Valley of south-central Idaho for more than a decade.

“Being able to maintain the momentum for Idaho agriculture is vitally important to the industry, our citizens and our students,” Foltz said. UI agricultural economists projected cash receipts generated by beef and dairy producers totaled more than $4.5 billion in 2015. Agriculture, including both crop and livestock, accounts for about 25 percent of the state’s economy.

Other areas Foltz will work on include increasing collaboration and university research at the Rock Creek Ranch, a 10,400-acre spread owned by The Nature Conservancy and Wood River Land Trust near Hailey.

“Our leadership in agricultural issues is fundamental to our land-grant mission,” UI President Chuck Staben said. “John brings a wealth of expertise and insight that will help UI stay at the forefront of groundbreaking initiatives. It is an exciting time for agriculture in our state, and one of our critical missions as an institution is the help this industry thrive.” Foltz came to UI in 1991 and taught agribusiness and agricultural economics courses before moving into college leadership roles. He served as interim and then term dean for CALS since 2012.

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