Students see diverse career opportunities in agriculture at MU Bradford Research Center

Mary Hendrickson, extension associate professor of rural sociology at MU, discusses rotational grazing practices with students from Hermann, Mo. at Bradford Research Center's FFA Day.

COLUMBIA, Mo.– Whether they had their hands inside a cow’s stomach or identified potential water-quality issues on the farm, students learned about their potential futures through hands-on experiences and demonstrations Sept. 13 at Bradford Research and Extension Center’s annual FFA Day.

More than 2,000 students from 54 area schools came by the busload to tour the research center, one of 20 around the state at which the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources conducts impactful research benefitting Missourians.
The range of topics was diverse, from innovative plans to grow bioenergy crops and saltwater prawns to learning about the blossoming field of food science. That range was exactly what Clopton High School vocational agriculture teacher Mike McCrory appreciated.
“There’s something for everyone. It’s so diverse it opens everyone’s eyes to the opportunities out there related to agriculture—from dog training to food science,” McCrory said.
Experts from around the state presented information on more than three dozen topics, including the drought shelter, constructed to simulate water deficiency in crops, and the viability of different biofuel options for Missouri farmers.
Another free educational event, the fifth annual South Farm Showcase, will take place 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the MU South Farm, a quarter-mile east of Highway 63 in Columbia on New Haven Road/Route AC.
This year’s showcase, “Fun on the Farm,” will feature a sawmill demonstration, dog training, a tornado simulator, wagon rides, lawn and garden information, agricultural engineering demonstrations, a corn maze and a petting zoo. Attendees can taste tomatoes, sample wine, take home a free pumpkin (while supplies last) and, for a small fee, take a tethered balloon ride for a bird’s-eye view of the 1,400-acre research center.
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CAFNR is changing the core components of society that impact what we eat, where we live and how we’ll face tomorrow. As the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, we are at the forefront of research and education, working toward global sustainability.