After a national search, Montana State University has selected Sreekala Bajwa to become its next vice president of agriculture.
Bajwa has been serving as chair of North Dakota State University’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and professor of agricultural engineering since 2012. She will begin at MSU on Jan. 14.
As the vice president of agriculture, Bajwa will oversee a teaching, education and research network that stretches across Montana with seven agricultural research centers, five academic departments and five Bozeman-based campus farms and ranches. The College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station collectively conduct research to address production challenges to benefit the agricultural industry in Montana.
“The College of Agriculture and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station are cornerstones of our land-grant mission,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “Our search produced many strong candidates, but in Dr. Bajwa, we have found someone extremely qualified to lead agriculture at Montana State into its future through her pioneering vision for new applications in agriculture and natural resources.”
Bajwa said she is honored to be chosen as the next vice president of agriculture.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity to join a thriving university with a deep commitment to excellence and innovation,” she said. “I intend to continue supporting the university’s diverse agroscience research while promoting MSU’s students, faculty and programs in line with its land-grant missions. I very much look forward to getting to know the Big Sky state and working with our stakeholders and partners.”
Bajwa has an extensive background in agricultural engineering and developing technology for smart agriculture. She is a highly regarded researcher of precision agriculture and has provided international leadership into research and education for applying remote sensing and unmanned aerial systems to agricultural systems.
Under her leadership, NDSU was ranked 18th in the world for precision agriculture by Precision Agriculture Professionals, and she led the development of that university’s academic major and minor in precision agriculture. She has worked collaboratively with NDSU Extension, the agricultural experiment station, USDA-ARS, and many industries including Fortune 500 technology companies on a multi-million dollar initiative to improve smart farming.
Her technological accomplishments include four inventions in digital agriculture and bio-based materials, and she has been lead investigator or co-investigator on 45 grant-funded projects worth more than $19 million. She is the author of five book chapters and more than 68 journal articles.
Bajwa received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Kerala Agricultural University in India, her master’s degree in agricultural engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in India and her doctorate of agricultural engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Bajwa was chosen after a national search conducted by a six-person committee, chaired by Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Bob Mokwa. She replaces outgoing Vice President of Agriculture Charles Boyer, who will retire in December.
The College of Agriculture comprises five academic departments: Agricultural Economics and Economics, Animal and Range Sciences, Microbiology and Immunology, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, and the Department of Research Centers; as well as the Division of Agricultural Education, and includes the Washington, Idaho, Montana and Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine.