Greetings from the Director of Operations

Albert Sims

Dr. Albert Sims, Director of Operations

By the time you read this newsletter, we will have gone through the holiday season. I hope you had a joyful holiday and the new year brings happiness and prosperity.

I am Albert Sims, the Director of Operations at SWROC since January 2015. My background is in soil science and my research and outreach career focused on nutrient and fertilizer management in small grains and sugarbeets. I split my time between SWROC and NWROC (in Crookston), where I also serve as director. SWROC is a great place and together we can keep it that way.

2016 was a busy year at Southwest Research and Outreach Center. We hosted 88 distinct research projects on a variety of topics, 23 of which were led by the researchers based here at SWROC. The remaining 65 projects were led by 19 researchers and graduate students from the CFANS campus in St. Paul, other ROCs, and a few other organizations with a vested interest in the wellbeing and sustainability of agriculture production. The results of these research trials will advance the science of agriculture here in southwest Minnesota as well as on a much larger scale.


Jeff Strock explains agricultural water management research to ITQ participants.

This year was the final year of the Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) program at SWROC. In this 10-day program, elementary and high school teachers learn about science education and how to implement that education into the curriculum of their own classrooms. We had 23 teachers become students again in 2016. This was our final ITQ program (as the ‘No Child Left Behind’ initiative winds down so does our funding), but the impact of the program will continue to be felt when the students taught by participating teachers become the leaders of our communities and industries.

Of course, key to the success of SWROC is our personnel, both faculty and staff. Located at our center are 4 CFANS and Extension faculty and 17 full- and part-time support staff. Without hesitation, I can say these people are absolutely vital to our operations. Their dedication to our mission never ceases to amaze me, as many employees achieved notable milestones this year. As the administrator of SWROC, I and CFANS are very fortunate to have such people carrying out the mission we have before us.

At SWROC, our goal is to advance the agricultural wellbeing of southwest Minnesota. To do so, we need your ideas, collaborations, and support, both moral and financial. If you would like to contribute financially to our mission, there are many options available to do so that will meet your needs. Please give us a call, email, or just stop in and visit us at the SWROC. We will make sure you are connected to the right people. Otherwise, you can contribute directly through our website here.

I wish all of you a safe, productive and prosperous new year. Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you have questions or want to share your comments. We hope to you see at our upcoming winter meetings and field events this summer.

Albert Sims

Director of Operations