Posted: July 24, 2007

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Richard Joerger, an associate professor of agricultural education at the University of Minnesota, has been appointed system director for agriculture and small business management education programs with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Joerger, who holds a joint appointment in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, will join the system full time on Oct. 1.

"Dr. Joerger brings a passionate interest in teaching, teacher education, agriculture and research to this important position," said Chancellor James H. McCormick. "His leadership will be critically important given the economic pressures and global competition facing the state's farmers and small business owners," McCormick said.

The system director's position recently was expanded to include system leadership and coordination of all agriculture and small business programs from high school to college and university programs, said Linda Baer, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. During the next few years, Joerger will focus on making it easier for high school students to move into postsecondary programs and then into careers, and he will also work to strengthen the system's outreach to agriculture and business, she said.

"We are excited to have Dr. Joerger join our system," Baer added. "His extensive experience in agricultural education, including high school teaching, college teaching, administration, and educational research supports the system's direction."

As an agricultural educator, Joerger has worked closely with the system's farm business management education faculty and high school agricultural education teachers. He has developed the nationally recognized Teacher Induction Program that assists entry-level teachers and co-developed the Professional Excellence Program for farm business management instructors.

"All levels of higher education are becoming increasingly more important for Minnesotans who want to succeed in farming or running a business in the 21st century," Joerger said. "Besides being knowledgeable about agriculture, farmers and small business leaders must be informed and educated about business, economics, legal matters, politics and technology.

"Often imitated, always envied, but never equaled, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities programs in farm business management, small business management and postsecondary agriculture have made strong contributions to the success of many students as well as the Minnesota economy for over 40 years. I look forward to joining them," he added.

Before his tenure at the University of Minnesota, Joerger held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Utah State University. He also has worked as a management consultant, sales representative and co-owner of Northland Harvestore Co., Inc. He currently is engaged as an educational consultant for domestic and international projects.

More than 3,500 students are enrolled in the system's agriculture and farm business management programs, a nine percent increase since 2005.