By ANN ALLEN
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jim Mintert, appointed interim associate dean of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and interim director of extension, assumed his new role Sep. 27 and will continue in that position until a permanent replacement is hired.
Assistant director of agriculture and natural resources at Purdue since 2009, he fills the post vacated by Chuck Hibberd, who accepted a similar position at the University of Nebraska. Mintert expects a permanent replacement for Hibberd will be on board within six months, thanks to national recruitment initiated by a search committee appointed by Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture.
Mintert’s most recent work has included coordinating extension’s response to the drought of 2012, recognized as the worst in 50 years. Speaking to that, he said the drought had a huge negative impact on farm operations that did not have crop insurance.
“That’s going to be felt for several years,” he predicted.
Similarly, he is concerned for livestock producers whose forage supply was dealt a death-blow by the drought. “Many of them are selling their herds for lack of hay,” he said. “Likewise, shoppers will find less pork because of increased corn prices.”
Mintert said August rains helped pastures bounce back and had some positive impact on forages. “But they were too late to keep up with the need for hay,” he added.
About challenges extension currently faces, he turned that word into “opportunities.” “We’re developing a high-quality program,” he said. “We have a strong network off-campus to deliver high-quality programs in each county.”
Heading this list is the development of focus groups to concentrate on increasing expertise, team basis farming and the establishment of farm succession plans. “We’re really optimistic about all this,” Mintert said.
Before joining Purdue, Mintert spent 23 years at Kansas State University as professor and extension state leader for agricultural economics. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue and a doctorate from the University of Missouri.
In addition to writing more than 200 publications on the economics of the livestock industry, he has won numerous honors, including the Premier Forecaster Award for his livestock production and price forecasts.