Agricenter International has named Jeff Ellis as the farm's research director, replacing John Bradley. Ellis began work at the research farm and educational facility on Dec. 31, 2007.

Ellis, a native of Greenville, Miss., formerly worked for Bayer CropScience as a Mid-South bioscience research and development specialist, responsible for regulated cotton trait development research. He was based in Cleveland, Miss.

At Agricenter, Ellis will solicit, plan and complete on-farm research trials with Southern field crops and be a spokesman for the facility. He will also organize the AgTechnology Field Day held every other year. The next event is scheduled for July 2009.

Agricenter's location in east Memphis makes it a central hub for many agricultural crop protection companies. Ellis says his primary goal at Agricenter “is to grow the research program and make it attractive to ag chemical companies and companies doing research in biofuel.

“I plan on doing a lot more hands-on research that Agricenter can sell as a turn key operation. A company can send us a protocol and we can get all the data and do a summary in a timely fashion. This also involves getting the word out that we're here, we can do quality research and we're in a convenient location and have ample space to do research.”

Agricenter also poses some unique challenges for Ellis. “With the city slowly encroaching on it, you always have to be aware of the impression you make on those around you. It's important that we show people that we are doing things right.”

Ellis says his job will include reaching out to surrounding schools, especially the inner city kids.