On Nov. 3, the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources appointed Patrick Cudney as the college’s new director of government and stakeholder relations for the college itself, as well as the MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension programs.
The role is a promotion from Cudney’s current role as associate director of MSU Extension.
According to a press release, Cudney’s primary role will be to act as a liaison between the MSU’s agricultural programs and the state and federal legislature. Nationwide government entities have a stake in MSU’s role in food production, agriculture and natural resources across the country, and Cudney will maintain and grow the relationships with these stakeholders.
Cudney will assume his new role on Jan. 1, and will begin tackling issues on the docket soon after. He cites the expansion of MSU’s greenhouses and integrating a dairy education facility as the first things on his agenda.
“Our dairy facilities are quite antiquated. They were constructed in the 1960’s,” Cudney said. “So we're going to be working with our elected officials to invest in a new dairy research teaching and outreach facility.”
As for broader goals, Cudney wants to promote the programs’ obligation to provide research and evidence-based education across Michigan.
For example, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is often advised by the college to provide the best nutritional benefits to families enrolled in it. Cudney wants to focus on such relationships to continue the educational benefits the College of Agriculture provides.
“It’s using our position as the leading college in the country, the leading agricultural school in the country, and our unique responsibility of working with Michigan’s commodity areas, communities, farmers, families, businesses, on the research that they need to ultimately make informed decisions and be successful,” Cudney said.
On the natural resources side, Cudney said addressing climate change is a core goal.
“Global climate change is real, and it’s impacting Michigan,” Cudney said. “We need to lean into that as an institution. We need to use our vast resources to help provide research and evidence based content to help inform decisions.”
Cudney is using his experience in previous roles to influence his new one. He has been with MSU Extension for 25 years, starting as a 4-H agent.
Cudney said his current role, associate director of MSU Extension, is going to make the biggest impact on how he approaches his new job.
“I’m very, very excited to have the opportunity to use my experience, my relationships, my knowledge of the integrated nature of research and Extension, and seeing that work play itself out in communities across the state,” Cudney said.
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