Proud to support Missouri ag

The University of Missouri System has deep roots in agriculture

Missouri takes great pride in being an agriculture state. From the statue of the Roman agricultural goddess, Ceres, atop the Capitol dome to the choice of the Missouri mule for the state’s official animal, agriculture has long had a leading role in the state’s culture.

It also has a leading role in the state’s economy, and the University of Missouri System is a proud champion of the state’s agricultural industry.

“Agriculture is the largest industry in the state, and as the state’s land-grant institution, the University of Missouri has an obligation to provide educational resources and outreach support for that industry,” says Marc Linit, associate dean for research and extension for the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). […]

At CAFNR, it’s business-as-usual to move research out of the university setting and into the public domain. In fact, many faculty members […] have dual responsibilities to conduct research and then to deliver the findings through extension.

“This is a unique feature of a land-grant university college of agriculture,” says Linit. “Individuals have responsibilities to do original research — in this case it’s usually applied research, practical research — and they also have responsibilities for developing programs where they deliver the information developed in that research to stakeholders. These can be agricultural producers or a subset of the agricultural industry — food safety, for example.”

photo: Cover of Spectrum magazine

Reprinted with permission. Originally published in Spectrum, a University of Missouri System publication. Read the entire article at http://issuu.com/cpreul/docs/spectrum.

MU Extension offers dozens of Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension programs, most of which are delivered to the public in group settings. The effect these programs have on Missouri’s agriculture and natural resources is enormous:

  • The MO PORK program has helped pork producers reformulate their swine’s diets to save more than $36 million in feed.
  • The beef nutrition program educated producers on strategies to reduce their hay needs by 10 to 30 percent and cut supplementation cost by 25 percent.
  • MU Extension faculty provided certification and recertification training for more than 3,000 private and commercial pesticide applicators in 2013.
  • Educating producers about better irrigation management resulted in increased production valued at about $40 million in 2013.
  • Master Gardeners contributed 145,273 volunteer hours in 2013 with an estimated financial benefit to communities of nearly $2.86 million.
  • Participants in the Missouri Woodland Steward Program implemented forest management plans and estimated that they increased the value of their forests by $750 per acre.

Taking all of it together, David Baker, assistant dean and program director for Agriculture and Natural Resource Extension, points out that the impact the university is making through its work in agriculture, food and natural resources goes beyond even the crucial economic boost of supporting the state’s largest industry.

“You look at how we’re addressing environmental issues, such as water quality and water quantity, and it’s extremely important that we as an agricultural institution are doing research and educational programming to help local communities deal with those challenges,” he says.

“And, then you look at the long-term impact: If we’re going to feed 9 billion people by 2050, we’ve got to grow this industry and grow it dramatically. We need to make more advances than we’ve made in the last 100 years as far as production. At the same time, we need to balance those impacts upon the environment and improve the quality of life in rural areas. The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources will help Missourians and the world meet these goals.”