Mike Peters named director of UW-Madison Ag Research Station network

Mike Peters has been named director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Agricultural Research Station (ARS) network, the university’s system of 11 research stations located throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Mike Peters leading a tour at the Emmons Blaine Dairy Cattle Research Center at UW-Madison’s Arlington Agricultural Research Center in 2014, when he was dairy herd administrator for the UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science. Photo by Bryce Richter/UW-Madison.

In his new role, Peters, currently the assistant director of the Research Animal Resources Center (RARC) at UW-Madison, will be responsible for the overall management and direction of campus’ research station network. The network provides facilities and support for the research, extension and educational programs of the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).

Peters comes to the position with established connections to the college’s researchers and research stations. Before joining the RARC, he served as the dairy herd administrator for the UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science for eight years. In that role, he managed the dairy herd on the UW-Madison campus and the herd at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station, splitting his time between the two sites. Before that, he was an ARS employee, serving as assistant dairy herd manager at the USDA Dairy Forage Research Center where he helped manage the herd and coordinate research projects for USDA and UW-Madison dairy scientists.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike back to CALS. He’s a talented and experienced administrator, as well as a natural problem solver, qualities that will serve him well in this position,” says Bill Barker, CALS associate dean for research.

Peters majored in dairy science at UW-Madison. As an undergraduate, he was the student manager of the UW-Madison Dairy Cattle Center, residing in the barn’s second-floor living quarters for three years. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1995 and worked as a herdsman for a number of years before returning to school to earn a master’s degree in reproductive physiology/agriculture management from Michigan State University in 2000.

Peters gained invaluable experience in the regulatory compliance area in his administrative role at RARC, in particular dealing with policies and procedures related to animal care. He also brings a strong background in budgets, personnel and management, all major components of the ARS director position.

Peters replaces Dwight Mueller, who retires this fall. Peters begins the position on July 17, allowing some time for overlap with Mueller.

The first Agricultural Research Station of the ARS network was established in Spooner, Wisconsin in 1909. The network now includes 11 research stations around the state, as well as the Walnut Street Greenhouses on the UW-Madison campus. Combined, the 11 stations have more than 8,000 acres and conduct around 800 research projects each year. Another 250 to 400 projects take place at the Walnut Street Greenhouses. Altogether, the network has around 125 permanent employees and an operating budget of about $9 million.