Iowa State University Names Administrative Leader of BioCentury Research Farm

Darr portrait
Matt Darr

AMES, Iowa — Matt Darr, a professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, has been named administrative leader of Iowa State University’s BioCentury Research Farm and Precision Agriculture and Industry Partnership Fellow in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Darr, who also serves as the Kinze Manufacturing Fellow in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, began his duties on July 1. He succeeds Kevin Keener, who has served as the farm’s director since 2015, returns to the food science and human nutrition department faculty to focus on research, teaching and industry training initiatives.

“Dr. Darr excels in every phase of his research, outreach, industry engagement and teaching duties. He will make an excellent leader for the BioCentury Research Farm (BCRF),” said Joe Colletti, interim endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Since joining Iowa State in 2008, Darr has received more than 135 research grants, worth more than $25 million, and has licensed more than 30 technologies to private industry. He also has served as the major professor for 45 graduate students.

Darr has been a faculty affiliate of the BCRF since the facility opened in 2009.

“The BioCentury Research Farm has played a vital role in supporting biobased innovations and ag technology in Iowa for the past decade. The facility has a bright future in encouraging public-private partnerships and translating scientific accomplishments into commercial solutions,” Darr said.  

As administrative leader, he manages a team of 35 university scientists and graduate students who conduct research on a range of agricultural technology topics including cellulosic biomass logistics, precision agriculture, machinery automation and aerial imagery systems. He teaches courses in engineering and technology curriculum focused on precision agriculture and agricultural machinery control systems. 

Darr earned a bachelor’s degree in food, agriculture and biological engineering from Ohio State University in 2002; a master’s degree in biosystems and agricultural engineering in 2004 from the University of Kentucky; and a doctorate degree in food, agriculture and biological engineering from Ohio State University in 2007.

The BCRF, established in 2009, provides a first-in-the-nation integration of research and demonstration of biomass (vegetative material and grain) production and processing. It accelerates innovation and production capacity associated with first- and second-generation biobased fuels, bio-chemicals and bio-products; and draws 36 faculty from seven departments and two colleges as well as a wide range of industry partners.