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Welcome to the Plains Area Director’s Office. The Plains Area (PA) is one of 5 administrative areas of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the in-house research arm for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ARS researchers, including those in the PA, are charged with conducting research on agricultural problems of high national priority to:
PA scientists at our 22 research locations in 10 states are addressing all of these goals through the 85 to 100 agricultural and nutritional research programs typically underway in the PA at any one time. The Area Director’s Office supports these many vital research efforts by providing administrative, technical and budgetary assistance to our locations. Our goal is to provide superior service to all our customers and employees to further the ARS research mission and the multi-disciplinary research efforts underway in the PA. We sum it up this way:
Research Excellence: Meeting Customer Expectations!
Meet the Directors
Dr. Laurence (Larry) Chandler - Area Director
Dr. Chandler received his Ph.D. in entomology from Texas A&M University. He joined USDA-Agricultural Research Service in 1982 and has served in several positions including Research Entomologist in Weslaco, TX (1982-1989), Research Entomologist in Tifton, GA (1989-1994), Research Leader of the Northern Grain Insects Research Laboratory in Brookings, SD (1994-1999), Director of the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center in Fargo, ND (1999-2004), Associate Director of the Northern Plains Area in Fort Collins, CO (2004-2008), Director of the Midwest Area in Peoria, IL (2008-2012). He transferred back to Fort Collins, CO in 2012 and currently serves as the Director for the Plains Area. During his active research career he conducted research on IPM of horticultural and field crop insect pests. He has previously served as the ARS Technical Coordinator for the Corn Rootworm Areawide Pest Management Program and the ARS Coordinator for the National Sclerotinia Initiative, and currently co-chairs the ARS Information Technology Steering Committee. He received an ARS Technology Transfer Award in 1999 and the USDA Secretary’s Award for Superior Service in 2002.
Dr. John McMurty - Associate Area Director
Dr. John P. McMurtry graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.S. degree in Animal Science in 1968. Prior to obtaining his B.S. degree, Dr. McMurtry served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa from 1965-1967. He completed an M.S. degree in Dairy Husbandry in 1970 at the University of Missouri. He continued his graduate training at Purdue University, and was awarded a Ph.D. in Animal Science in 1974. Dr. McMurtry continued post-graduate training in endocrinology at the University of Hawaii Medical School (1974-1976), after which he joined the May Institute for Medical Research in Cincinnati, OH as a research scientist (1976-1979). In 1979 Dr. McMurtry joined the Nonruminant Animal Nutrition Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), in Beltsville, Maryland. From 1997 to 1999 he served as acting Research Leader of the Growth Biology Laboratory (renamed the Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory), and was appointed permanent Research Leader in 2000 serving in this capacity until February 2008 at which time he began serving as Acting Director, Animal and Natural Resources (ANRI) at BARC. In October 2009 Dr. McMurtry was appointed Director of the Animal and Natural Resources Institute. In 2011 he was appointed acting Associate Area Director and Associate Area Director, Southern Plains Area in College Station, TX in 2012. In 2014 Dr. McMurtry transferred to the Plains Area in Ft. Collins, CO as Associate Area Director.
Bryan Kaphammer received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Notre Dame in 1988 and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan from 1987 to 1990 studying the regulation of genes in Pseudomands involved in toxic waste degradation. In 1990, he joined Union Camp Corporation in Princeton, NJ as a Research Scientist where he developed butter flavor components for microwave popcorn and tissue culture methods for genetically engineering forest trees. Dr. Kaphammer became the Intellectual Property Manager at Arborgen for a short time before joining ARS in 2001 where he currently serves as Associate Area Director for the Plains Area of ARS.
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