Averill to oversee MSU animal research and centers

Michigan State University AgBioResearch has announced Dr. James Averill as its new assistant director.

“I am looking forward to re-engaging with Michigan agriculture and moving the needle forward in advancing our scientific understanding of agriculture and trying to find short-term and long-term goals for the various needs,” he says.

In the new position, he will be tasked with overseeing the university’s research and extension centers including the South Campus Animal Farms and 15 centers across the state.

Averill most recently was a director of outcome assessment and continuous quality improvement at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine.  He tells Brownfield supplying the industry with large livestock veterinarians remains a struggle.

“It’s very attractive to a lot of students coming out of veterinary school to go into small animal companion medicine because of the salaries they can make there to help offset their high debt load that they have as a veterinary student,” he shares.  “That hurts us a little bit in the countryside, in the rural communities.”

Averill will also manage the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture grant program with a focus on animal diseases and sustainability.

The M-AAA is a partnership among Michigan animal agriculture industries, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, MSU AgBioResearch, and MSU Extension.

Averill previously worked for more than a decade at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, including as the state veterinarian and deputy director before joining MSU full-time in 2020.

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