SDSU College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences Announces New Leadership

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Brookings, SD — The College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences at South Dakota State University (CAFES) recently announced its new Dean, Joseph Cassady, on June 21. As Head of the Department of Animal Science at SDSU since 2013 and most recently the Acting Head of the Department of Dairy and Food Science since June 2020, Cassady brings a wealth of experience to his new leadership role.

Alongside Cassady, he is newly appointed Associate Dean of Academic Programs for CAFES Vikram Mistry. Mistry came to SDSU in 1986 and has led the Department of Dairy and Food Sciences as Department Head and David A. Thompson Endowed Professor since 2002. Most recently, he served as Acting Associate Dean of Academic Programs for CAFES since June 2020.

Alongside Cassady and Mistry are also SDSU alumni William Gibbons, Karla Trautman, Lora Berg and Kristi Cammack.



Gibbons began his career at SDSU in 1987 shortly after completing his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. degrees. He has served as Acting Director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and Associate Dean for Research since 2017 and most recently held those positions on a permanent basis in January 2020.

Trautman came to SDSU in 1988 after earning her undergraduate degree in 1987 and became acting director of SDSU Extension in 2016 before being named director in June 2019.



Berg, a 1988 alumnus, began her career at SDSU as director of marketing and communications for the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences in 2015 a few years before it was renamed and restructured to become the College of agricultural, food and environmental sciences in 2018. .

Cammack, a 1999 alumnus, began her career at SDSU in 2016 when she was hired as associate professor and director of the West River Ag Center, now known as West River Research and Extension. In 2020, she became a professor and took on two additional director roles for the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies and the Wizipan Leadership and Sustainability Program.

The college management team is complemented by Eric Exner, who recently began his employment with SDSU as the new Director of the Agriculture Shared Services Center in July 2022. In this new role, Exner will be responsible for managing of the Center’s operational function to oversee responsibility and resources related to the CAFES University Programs, South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, and SDSU Extension.

“The CAFES management team has experienced great stability over the past 5 years,” Cassady said. “I am grateful to the talented individuals who have volunteered to fill critical leadership positions. We are also fortunate to have service-minded leaders to fill interim positions, as several college departments are in leadership transition.

Following Cassady’s reappointment as Dean, Robert Thaler, Professor Emeritus, and Sanjeev Anand, Professor, moved into interim roles to lead departments previously headed by Cassady. Thaler is now Acting Head of the Department of Animal Science and Anand is currently Acting Head of the Department of Dairy and Food Science.

Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan, professor emeritus, was also recently appointed to Cassady’s management team.

The CAFES leadership team is complemented by faculty members David Wright, Professor and Head of the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Sciences, Michele Dudash, Professor and Head of the Department of Natural Resource Management, and Angela Pillatzki, Professor, Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine. and biomedical sciences and director of the South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostics Laboratory.

“I am very happy to have such a talented management team at the helm of CAFES,” Cassady said. “This is an exciting time in teaching, research and outreach.”

–SDSU extension

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