Jeff Bader, director of Montana State University Extension, has announced his retirement after serving in the role since 2014.
Bader is one of MSU’s most well-known administrators off of the university’s campus as MSU Extension has offices serving all 56 counties of the state.
“It’s been great to meet so many Montanans during my travels around the state over the years,” Bader said. “Over the thousands of miles I’ve traveled, I’ve always been welcomed warmly. It’s been a privilege to visit so many people in their home communities. I have very fond memories of Montana’s land and its people.”
Bader will serve until the end of August. MSU President Waded Cruzado has named Cody Stone, current associate director, to serve as interim Extension director.
“Jeff has been a star at Extension, moving the organization forward in solid and substantive ways. Montana is better off thanks to his efforts,” Cruzado said. “We will miss him and wish him all the best in his retirement.”
“I’ve been grateful to President Cruzado for this opportunity,” Bader said. “Words can’t express my gratitude to all the Extension agents and staff who have helped me these past years. MSU Extension is a great team of people. Montana is lucky to have them, and I’m lucky to have worked with them.”
During his time at MSU, Bader solidified funding for MSU Extension’s Local Government Center, which provides training and knowledge to newly elected city and county officials, as well as other local government staff, across the state. A portion of the center’s funding had relied on one-time-only appropriations from the Montana Legislature, but in 2015 Bader and center director Dan Clark worked with the Montana League of Cities and Towns, the Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority, and the Montana Association of Counties to expand their financial participation as well as secure ongoing state funding.
Recently, Bader led MSU Extension to use its statewide reach to help lessen the incidence of suicide by partnering with MSU’s Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery. The Extension Mental Health Initiative is training Extension agents to help communities, agencies and individuals find and coordinate mental health resources across the state including using three proven mental health educational programs:
- Youth Aware of Mental Health, a mental health resiliency program, which has provided the best evidence for preventing suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts in youth when tested in Europe. The program provides basic information about mental health, coping skills, training emotional intelligence, problem-solving and positive peer relations. The program will be offered in schools, taught by trained Extension agents in 17 locations across the state including the Rocky Boy, Crow and Flathead reservations.
- Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to respond in a mental health crisis as well as mental health literacy. MSU Extension has four Extension agents who are certified to teach the program, which will be offered in rural areas around the state.
- THRIVE is designed to help those experiencing depression. MSU Extension hosted focus groups around the state to assess the potential use of a Web-based cognitive behavioral therapy program. The project is in conjunction with the CMHRR and Mark Schure, MSU assistant professor in Community Health.
Bader also oversaw the successful implementation of the MSU Extension Climate Science Team that became a model for USDA’s Northern Plains Climate Hub and resulted in the first regional Extension Climate Science Conference in 2015.
MSU Extension hosted one regional and three national Extension conferences during his tenure. Bader also took on regional and national Extension leadership roles including: chair of the Western Extension Directors Association and chair of the National 4-H Congress board of directors.
Bader’s other achievements during his tenure included an overhaul of the Montana Private Pesticide Applicator Program, and he worked with stakeholder groups to provide permanent funding to Extension through law changes and increased fees.
During a period of unpredictable state and federal funding, Bader will have managed to leave MSU Extension will more resources than when he took over the organization in 2014.
Before coming to MSU, Bader served as the Northern District department head of the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service, a post he held since 2009. Prior to being department head, Bader was director of the Bernalillo County Extension Program from 2003 to 2009. From 1991 to 2003, he was the director and agricultural agent for the Quay County Extension Program; from 1987 to 1991 he was the Extension 4-H agent for Santa Fe County; and from 1984 to 1987 he was the director of equine technology at El Reno Junior College in El Reno, Oklahoma.
Bader earned a doctorate from New Mexico State University, where he also earned a master’s of science in animal science with an emphasis in livestock nutrition. His bachelor’s degree in animal science is also from NMSU.
Before coming to MSU, Bader served as the Northern District department head of the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service, a post he held since 2009.
Contact: Jeff Bader, MSU Extension director, (406)-994-2205; email@example.com