Purdue’s College of Agriculture has had a major shakeup at the top in recent weeks. Dr. Karen Plaut was promoted and became the university’s new Executive Vice President for Research. Ken Foster, a longtime ag economics professor at Purdue, was named the interim dean earlier this month.
Foster told Hoosier Ag Today that the opportunity to lead the one of the top-ranked ag colleges in the country and the world is humbling.
“I grew up on a small farm in Indiana and came to Purdue as an undergraduate student. Fortunately, there were some professors there who showed me that there is a career in academia and here I find myself. But it’s an exciting job too. There are just so many things going on in all the different disciplines… They’re attacking the grand challenges of humanity: food insecurity, sustainability, adapting to climate change, improving the livelihoods of people, and serving our youth around the state.”
One task facing Foster and the college is the Indiana legislative session already underway. A priority for this session is to secure more funding to refresh the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on campus.
Also on Foster’s agenda is more money for Purdue Extension employees around the state.
“Purdue Extension is present in every county in Indiana, and the people who are serving in those roles have not had additional funding toward their salaries from the state for some time. And so, one of the things that we’re hoping that we can do is improve the salaries, continue to attract great people to those jobs because they’re out there in the community helping to solve the community’s problems. They’re out there in the community, working with the young people in those communities, helping them find brighter futures, and they’re just a vitally important part of what we do in Purdue agriculture and a vitally important part of our state’s livelihood.”
Next weekend, the Purdue Ag Alumni Association will welcome Boilermakers back to Tippecanoe County for their annual Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry. The event moved this year from the Indiana State Fairgrounds to the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds.
“I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, connecting with new people, and just having a good time enjoying some good food. And I’m looking forward to hearing what President Mung Chiang has to say about agriculture.”
Parking is free and tickets are $30 each. You can purchase your tickets here.