Bruce McPheron is the incoming dean of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and vice president for agricultural administration. He recently visited Ohio Farm Bureau’s offices for a recording of Town Hall Ohio. McPheron is a Hardin County native, an entomologist and served as dean of Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
Here are highlights from the program.
An early start to his career: “As a young lad exhibiting rabbits at the Union County fair in Marysville, I discovered bugs. A friend and I were taking a trip through one of the 4-H buildings and we saw an insect collection and we agreed we could do that. The next year we became entomologists.”
The value of 4-H: “You hear a lot these days about STEM education – science, technology, engineering and math – and frankly 4-H is one of the nation’s premier providers of that kind of education training.”
His choice to return to Ohio State: “My thinking has been I want to have an impact on a major university that has global respect and to be able to do that with your feet firmly planted in the subject matter that you love the most. And who could not love agriculture – people shake hands with us three times a day.”
The role of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: “The citizens of Ohio can expect us to do work that actually has benefit for them, answers problems, gets those answers back out through cooperative Extension in a very effective way and actually helps to create jobs within the state.”
The future of Extension in light of funding challenges: “We’ve always in Extension said that what we’re proud of is the boots on the ground, having those folks out there in the counties. I would argue it’s never been about the boots themselves. It’s been about the brains that the boots carry…We can’t continue to do more with less. We have to do smarter with less. We have to use technology to compliment the boots and the brains we have out there.”