Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator Ashley McFarland has been elected as the new representative to the National Barley Improvement Committee (NBIC) for the North Central Region. Extension educator J. Robert Sirrine and MSU research assistant Chris Kapp nominated Ashley for the election to the position. She is the only representative from Michigan.
The NBIC is part of the American Malting Barley Association, Inc. The committee serves as a national forum for discussion of matters important to barley research, production and utilization. It also serves in an informational distribution capacity to all persons interested in barley, helps identify national and regional priorities and encourage their adoption and proper funding, and serves in an advisory capacity to national or regional groups.
The NBIC consists of members from various regions and at-large categories. Barley workers from each region elect their representatives to three-year terms.
Ashley is the coordinator of the MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham, Michigan. One of the main research interests of the center is supporting the rebirth of malting barley production in Michigan to support the craft beer industry through research, education and outreach. She provides leadership for research trials throughout the state and co-organizes the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference. She provides critical facilitation support in connecting farmers, maltsters and brewers. Ashley also works to promote inclusion of traditional field crops into local food systems.
Ashley said, “I am honored and very excited to be serving on the National Barley Improvement Committee, representing Michigan and the North Central Region. I hope my involvement will bring additional resources to our state to help support the growing malting barley industry. I look forward to meeting my colleagues throughout the U.S., which will hopefully lay the groundwork for collaborative opportunities in the future!”