New field crops educator hired in southeast Michigan

Based in Lenawee County, Ricardo Costa will begin working with field crop producers across southeastern Michigan.

Ricardo Costa has begun with MSU Extension as the new field crops educator.
Ricardo Costa has begun with MSU Extension as the new field crops educator.

Michigan State University Extension is pleased to announce that Ricardo Costa recently began as an Extension educator to serve field crops producers throughout southeastern Michigan. Costa is eager to settle into his new role, saying, “I am excited to get to know the farmers in this area [southeastern Michigan] and to learn more about the agricultural industry in Michigan. Right now, my main goal is visit farmers and learn what their needs are in order to be profitable and sustainable within their farming operations. I want to make sure that Michigan State University Extension is present and accessible to farmers in this area by providing programming and educational resources based on what they need.”

He will be based out of the Lenawee Michigan State University Extension office in Adrian, Michigan. Costa will be covering Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe, Wayne, Washtenaw and Jackson counties.

A native of Brazil, Costa’s passion for working with farmers through a cooperative in Brazil (where he worked with farmers on herbicide applications in pasture-based systems) led to an interest in teaching and Extension. Which then carried forward as he earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy science from Federal University of Mato Grosso (Brazil) in 2015. During his undergraduate career, Costa participated in an Exchange Program at Kansas State University within the Department of Agronomy looking at pest management programs in soybean systems. Through an internship program, he has also worked with farmers within a cooperative in Nebraska. Costa’s dedication and interest in Extension programming led him to pursue a master’s degree in plant, insect and microbial sciences with an emphasis in weed science at University of Missouri Division of Plant Sciences, which he completed in 2017.

Costa’s research efforts have centered on mechanical and thermal weed control in organic crops. The overall goal of this project is to improve the competitiveness of organic crop producers in Missouri through research in organic management systems that will provide methods to prevent weeds and to treat post-plant weed emergence. This study examined the effects of crop rotation, tillage practices, and allelopathic and weed smothering cover crop mixes. Costa and his advisor, Reid Smeda (an alumnus of Michigan State University) and Kerry Clark (Soybean Innovation Lab), addressed the need for research-based information on identification of alternative practices for weed control that will eliminate or reduce soil tillage in organic grain crop systems. He has presented his work on Mechanical and Thermal Weed Control in Organic Tilled and No-Till Production at the 2017 American Society of Agronomy’s Annual Meeting “Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future” in Tampa, Florida.      


Costa spraying hot water for weed control in organic crops as part of his master’s thesis at University of Missouri | Photo by Andy Luke, University of Missouris

Due to the nature of his research and outreach efforts, Costa discovered a passion for helping farmers be successful in their operations. Within Michigan State University Extension, he looks forward to working with farmers and partners to address phosphorus issues (nutrient management) within the Western Lake Erie Basin, be available to farmers to address their crop production needs and bring those resource needs back to faculty at Michigan State University for potential areas of research.   

We look forward to Costa joining MSU Extension as a field crops educator to work with farmers, agencies and industry organizations to promote agriculture, field crop production and environmental sustainability. He can be reached at the Lenawee County MSU Extension office at 517-264-5300 ext. 5310, cell 573-639-8971 or email  

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