Steiner named director of Pioneer Farm

June 26, 2013

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Dr. Charles Steiner

PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — Dr. Charles Steiner has been named the director of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneer Farm. He has been serving as interim director since 2011.

Steiner earned his Bachelor of Science in agricultural business and his Master of Science in agricultural industries from UW-Platteville, and his Ph.D. in agricultural education from Iowa State University. He joined the UW-Platteville faculty in 2007 as an assistant professor in agribusiness. In 2011, he was awarded the Distinguished Young Educator Award by the American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable Resources. He was named a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow by the UW System in 2011 and received the Outstanding Advisor Award from the UW-Platteville School of Agriculture in 2012.

“We are all incredibly pleased to have Dr. Steiner taking over in the role of permanent director of Pioneer Farm,” said Dr. Wayne Weber, dean of the UW-Platteville College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture. “He brings an extensive background in agribusiness to the position along with previous farm management experience. For the last two years, in the interim position, Dr. Steiner has been an outstanding addition, already making significant strides in a relatively short period of time. He works competently and professionally with all faculty, staff, alums, and students, along with our friends in the community and industry. In short, he personifies the consummate professional and we are proud to have him as the leader of Pioneer Farm.”

As director of Pioneer Farm, Steiner will be responsible for financial planning, overseeing farm personnel, coordinating new building projects and programs, and acting as a liaison between faculty and staff interested in utilizing the farm.

“The farm is truly a laboratory for the university,” said Steiner. “We are always looking at ways to utilize the farm, whether that is engaging faculty and staff with coordinating student projects, hiring students so they get hands on experience at the farm, or connecting with programs across the colleges.”

Initiatives Steiner focused on during his time as interim director included planning for the new Beef Center as well as coordinating with the new Sustainable and Renewable Energy Systems program to start discussions on how renewable energy can play a role on the farm.

As he steps into the role of director, Steiner plans to continue evaluating the farm’s current offerings to identify areas for expansion. “I want to focus on our mission, which has three arms – education, research and outreach – and evaluate the farm and where it is now, and identify areas to expand and further utilize the farm,” he said.

Steiner explained that the farm is an important asset to the university, as its close proximity to campus and recently renovated facilities make it an optimal environment for learning – both for the UW-Platteville community as well as for private companies or government agencies that also utilize the facilities. 

“We have a unique situation where we have classroom and conference space here on the farm,” he said. “You can be learning about something in a conference or classroom and then walk out the door and relate what that means to livestock, crops, facilities and the environment.”

Steiner explained that what he enjoys most in his role is helping to foster students’ understanding of agriculture. “We’re seeing an increasing number of students that are far removed from agriculture and where our crops and livestock come from,” said Steiner. He recounted a recent visit from high school students from the Milwaukee, Wis., area who had the chance to see dairy and beef cows up close, hold a baby pig and sit in a tractor – many for the first time. “I enjoy the connection to agriculture that the farm can provide, seeing students’ appreciation and giving them a little better understanding of what agriculture is about,” Steiner said.

Dr. Michael Compton, director of the UW-Platteville School of Agriculture commented on Steiner’s qualifications. "With his experience in agribusiness and agricultural education, Dr. Steiner has a great set of tools to provide leadership and vision for Pioneer Farm's mission in teaching, research and outreach to our students and agriculture community,” he said.

Contact: Dr. Charles Steiner, director, Pioneer Farm, (608) 342-6067, steinerc@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Alison Parkins, content manager, (608) 342-1526, parkinsal@uwplatt.edu

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