Hear the Conversation 14:44 – 20.2 mb mp3
Don Ricks first stepped on the campus of Michigan State University as a no-preference major in 1954. He quickly became an agriculture economics major. “I grew up on a fruit farm so I wanted to become a fruit farmer, but I wanted to be an educated fruit farmer. But when I got here, I realized I liked the economics and marketing aspects very well, so I became an ag economics major.”
Don’s career had him working on both sides of the proverbial fruit fence. “I was in both Extension and applied research, working with the Michigan and U.S. fruit industries. In Michigan, the top fruit industries are tart cherries and apples. I worked with the industry organizations on their priority of marketing and economic issues.”
Over the length of Ricks’ professional career in Michigan, tart cherries have really grown.
“When I started, tart cherries in Michigan were about 60 percent of the national industry. Now, they’re about 80 percent, which is an indication of success.”
As for Don’s ehmpression of MSU: “The land grant system is a great system of universities across the country. And land grant universities are different than the Harvards of the country—in that one of our objectives is to work on real-world problems and issues with real-world people. And it seems to me Michigan State is one of the best land grant universities in the country.”
Ehmpressions of MSU is a podcast devoted to all things Michigan State University produced by Kraig Ehm.