MTSU did not have to look far to find the new farm laboratory director in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience.
Alumnus Matthew Wade, manager of the Tennessee Livestock Center on campus, will oversee all the farm lab units, agriculture department director Warren Gill said.
Wade, 44, replaces Tim Redd, who retired in the spring but will remain part of the faculty. Wade’s first day on the job will be July 29, but he’s already been involved in many meetings related to the position.
The farm lab units include the dairy, crops, dairy processing and beef and swine. MTSU’s Experiential Learning and Research Center on Guy James Road in Lascassas, Tenn., consists of 438 acres. Including property just off Manson Pike near Interstate 24 and the beef and swine units, MTSU students and staff farm approximately 900 agricultural acres.
“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the agriculture program,” Wade said. “It’s a forward-thinking department. Dr. (Cliff) Ricketts has his experimental (alternative) fuels, and there are a lot of things going on in the classroom. I’ve always worked closely with the ag department. Now I am able to be a part of it.”
Wade said the university has “some very capable and knowledgeable people running these farm laboratories.” They include Jason Tanner and Ralph Smith at the dairy; Liz Troup with the on-campus dairy processing facility; Danny Troup with crops; and Daniel Boyer with beef and swine.
“I plan on spending a lot of time with each unit to see all they do and get reacquainted with the day-to-day operation,” he said. “My job is to support their efforts.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Matthew,” Gill said. “A number of the ag faculty and I have worked with Matthew in his current position. We’re excited about the skill level he brings to the job and his ability to work with people. But it’s also his fresh ideas and his clear devotion to students that led us to select him to lead the farm laboratory program. ”
While saying this, Gill acknowledged that replacing Tim Redd, Wade’s predecessor who spent more than 30 years on the job, will not be easy.
“We’ve been very lucky to have had a longtime manager of Tim Redd’s caliber,” Gill said. “The transition to Matthew Wade will allow us to continue our success without missing a beat.”
College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer said Wade “brings a wealth of experience from his 18 years of working and managing the Tennessee Livestock Center to the farm laboratories director position. His unique background in agriculture, business administration and farm management will allow him to make an immediate positive impact on farm operations and develop long-term plans for farm sustainability.”
The School of Agribusiness and Agriscience is one of 10 departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.
Wade has served as Tennessee Livestock Center manager since 2002. His MTSU employment began in September 1995 as livestock center assistant manager.
He earned an agribusiness degree from MTSU with a minor in marketing in 1993. In 2007, he earned his master’s in business administration from the university.
“I wouldn’t mind getting my doctorate, but I think I’ll have my hands full for awhile,” Wade said with a laugh.
A Dickson County native originally from Tennessee City, Wade and his family live near Bell Buckle. Wade and his wife, Krista, have two sons, Jacob, 13, and Joshua, 11.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)