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Our People

Katie Russell
SWCRC Manager and Research Scientist
(970) 562-4255

Katie Russell serves as the manager and research scientist for the Southwestern Colorado Research Center.  She earned her B.S. in natural resource conservation and management, M.S. in entomology, and Ph.D. in integrated plant and soil sciences all from the University of Kentucky. She comes to Colorado with a background in wheat breeding and genetics and a love for skiing. Katie is learning about the high desert climate and enjoys researching all things agriculture has to offer in the area.  She focuses on improving the sustainability of commodity cropping in the region and increasing the profitability of agriculture under difficult climate scenarios.

Emily Lockard
Research Associate
(970) 562-4255

Emily Lockard serves as a research associate at the Southwestern Colorado Research Center. She earned her B.S. in animal science with a minor in psychology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and M.S. in range science from Utah State University. Before coming to SWCRC in 2018 Emily worked as an agriculture extension agent in Pueblo, Colorado and Bozeman, Montana. Her interest in agriculture started at her grandparent’s farm in Viola, Idaho and has grown as she has worked with a diversity of agriculture operations during her career. She is a native plant enthusiast and is enjoying learning more about the unique environment of the Colorado Plateau.

Jerry Mahaffey
Farm technician
(970) 562-4255

Jerry Mahaffey has worked at the Southwestern Colorado Research Center since 1999. He oversees the maintenance and repairs of equipment and can farm anything.  He grew up in Montezuma County on a cattle ranch and a farm with pinto beans, wheat and alfalfa. He raises cattle with his wife Neeta and enjoys fishing in the summer.

Neeta Mahaffey
Administrative Assistant
(970) 562-4255

Neeta Mahaffey is a lifelong resident of Montezuma County and has worked at Southwest Colorado Research Center since 2011. She assists with office management and also helps in the field as needed. She grew up dryland farming pinto beans, wheat and alfalfa. In her spare time she raises cattle with her husband Jerry.

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