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Kim Barnes

Kim Barnes works with a pig.


I have a small collaborative project going on right now with Hampshire County high schools. We’re looking at some niche marketing of pork products. So we’re feeding pigs acorns which alters the flavor and some of the other sensory characteristics of the pork. It tends to make it more desirable.

If you weren’t working at WVU, what’s the most likely alternative?

Probably still doing something related to agriculture and hopefully with students. In college I really got where I enjoyed research enough that it led me to go to graduate school; and in graduate school I realized that while I really liked research I also really, really liked interacting with students. 

Moment you knew what you wanted to study:

I don’t know that there really was an aha moment. It was sort of a progression of things that happened over time. So I always tell students that they need to be open to different ideas and things not necessarily working out the way you think they’re going to.

Moment you knew what college you wanted to go to:

That one there was an “aha moment.” That was the second I stepped on campus at Michigan State. I knew I wanted to go to a strong ag program … I didn’t know a ton else about Michigan State. We decided to go out and visit, and I absolutely fell in love with the campus as soon as I stepped on it. I think it was just a feeling of that was where I belonged. Campus felt comfortable; it felt like home. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I grew up in upstate New York, but all of my training was obviously in the Midwest. I’d probably try to move somewhere back toward the Midwest - for the landscape, the agriculture, the people. There are some similarities to Appalachian culture like friendliness, and helping each other out and those sorts of things. Agriculture is seen very differently. It’s much more important to the overall state economies in the Midwest.

Favorite part of social distancing:

My favorite part has probably been the fact that I don’t have to wear work clothes everyday. I’m thoroughly being able to stay home in leggings most of the time. 

Least favorite part of social distancing: I still can’t get a haircut. My hair is out of control - short and thick hair is not a good combination in this situation.

Just for Fun

Favorite book: The Outlander Series

Favorite movie/TV show: Sweet Home Alabama

Favorite Spotify playlist/band/song: The Swon Brothers

Favorite local restaurant: Black Bear

Favorite local activity: Local fairs (My kids show a lot of stock!)