Ag dean candidate no stranger to Iowa

Anna Conover

Gary Minish, one of six candidates for dean of the College of Agriculture, spoke to students and held an ICN presentation Monday in 105 Curtiss Hall.

Minish, a native Iowan, said if he becomes dean of agriculture at Iowa State, his first priority would be to be reacquaint himself with the people of Iowa and ISU’s students, faculty and alumni.

“Iowa State needs someone who is visible,” Minish said. “I’d need to catch up and get acquainted with Iowa agriculture and those working with agriculture.”

Robert Martin, head of the Department of Agricultural Education Studies, attended the ICN presentation and said Minish addressed the key points that college officials care about.

“Getting a handle of the issues of the stakeholders is critical,” Martin said. “The next candidate will have to get out and know people because their input is critical.”

Minish has served as head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University since 1994. He joined the faculty there in 1970, and he proceeded to serve as the assistant dean and assistant director of resident instruction from 1984 to 1986.

Minish was the associate dean and director of development and agricultural technology from 1986 to 1988. He received his degree in animal science from ISU in 1962 and a doctorate in animal nutrition from Michigan State University in 1966.

During his presentation, Minish outlined issues he said are important at a land-grant university. First on his list was farm profitability.

“The economic situation has to be a major criteria,” Minish said. “The college needs to address the problem and be part of the solution.”

He also said maintaining family farms is crucial. “I have a compassion for family farms,” he said. “A lot of our top students come from that background because of their work ethic from the farm.”

Other issues he touched on included the production of self-nutritious food, waste management and international globalization.

A former 4-H member, Minish said the university needs to build on the strength of the program. “Our best resources are our young people,” he said.

He also wants to maintain research, teaching and extension programs.

Minish will be speaking today at 11 a.m. in a diversity forum in Room 8 of Curtiss Hall. He will also engage in an open forum at 3 p.m. in Room 1204 of Kildee Hall.