Behind the Scenes

From Field Days to day-to-day operations, John Poehlmann helps keep CAFNR's 14,000 acres of research running smoothly

John Poehlmann at the annual South Farm ShowcaseJohn Poehlmann at the annual South Farm Showcase

From coordinating the construction of a new building, fielding a call about an escaped cow or transporting one across the state for an agricultural education event — it’s all in a day, and night’s work for John Poehlmann, assistant director of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station.

Poehlmann has been in his position for more than 10 years and helps to ensure CAFNR’s network of more 14,000 acres of research across Missouri is running smoothly. He quickly points out that it’s a team effort.

“We have a great group of superintendents. Most are very seasoned in what they do; they’re the people who really deserve the credit for making things work,” Poehlmann said. “I’ve been impressed with the culture of sharing with one another – whether it’s hay, equipment or knowledge.”

Dave Davis, superintendent at Forage Systems Research Center near Linneus, said Poehlmann’s experience is an asset in helping him understand the diverse needs of CAFNR’s research network.

“He’s been a superintendent and knows the ins and outs of the job,” Davis said. Poehlmann was at the helm of Bradford Research Center when Davis was a graduate student at MU. Poehlmann served as the superintendent there from 1978 to 2000.

“After I graduated from college I really wanted to farm,” Poehlmann said. “I really love farming, but after a few years I realized I really missed people.” He put his agricultural education degree to use teaching for five years, but then missed farming.

Working as a superintendent at Bradford Research Center provided an opportunity to combine both of his passions. “One of the final questions on the interview was can you plant a straight furrow and I said ‘I think you have the wrong person,’” Poehlmann joked.

John Poehlmann and Randall Smoot, superintendent of Greenley Memorial Research Center, discuss Field Day tours. John Poehlmann and Randall Smoot, superintendent of Greenley Memorial Research Center, discuss Field Day tours.

In his more than 30 years at MU, Poehlmann said he enjoys that each day comes with new challenges and learning opportunities — there are no typical days.

“Working with students and learning about the things people research that are so intriguing and inspiring make this job incredibly rewarding,” Poehlmann said. In his decision-making processes, Poehlmann always gets back to the question: “what’s best for the people of Missouri because we’re the stewards of their property.”

Though the techniques have evolved and new problems have surfaced, one of the integral functions of the research center network is the same as it was when the College was founded.

“People come to us for evaluate claims — what’s the difference between these two products because they both claim to be the best; generating unbiased, science-based research is still a critical part of what we do,” Poehlmann said.

In addition to exciting developments in plant and animal genetics, and precision artificial insemination and enhancement in soil conservation practices, Poehlmann said he’s proud of the improvements made in many of the infrastructure components that are integral components of CAFNR’s research centers, including a cattle handling facility at Thompson Research Center that is safer and improves the validity of research there, a new crop building at Greenley Memorial Research Center and a new headquarters that will open this fall at Forage Systems Research Center.

“One of the beauties is that the new headquarters will allow for the MU Extension faculty from Linn County extension faculty to be housed there,” It’s another example of the seamless interaction between extension and research centers. I certainly credit Tom Payne, (MU Vice Chancellor and Dean of CAFNR) for his leadership in those areas.”

Like many of the research center headquarters, the new edition will serve as a community resource as well. Wedding receptions, GED classes, in-service trainings, and Cattlemen’s Association meetings are just a few of the events that take place at Centers across Missouri.

To connect with the latest agricultural advancements, and catch up with John, attend CAFNR’s 2013 Field Days:

June 2013

20 Bradford Research Center Bobwhite Quail Management Field Day Columbia

August 2013

6 Greenley Research Center Field Day Novelty

27 Graves Chapple Research Center Field Day Rock Port

28 Hundley Whaley Research Center Field Day Albany

29 Delta Research Center Field Day Portageville

September 2013

5 Bradford Research Center Tomato Field Day Columbia

10 Bradford Research Center Ag Education Day Columbia

12 Southwest Research Center Ag Education Day Mt. Vernon

13 Southwest Research Center Field Day Mt. Vernon

17 Thompson Research Center Field Day Spickard

21 South Farm Research Center Showcase Columbia

25 Forage Systems Research Center Field Day Linneus

26 Hundley Whaley Research Center Ag Education Day Albany

27 Graves Chapple Research Center Ag Education Day Rock Port

October 2013

3 Wurdack Research Center Ag Education Day Cook Station

4 Wurdack Research Center Field Day Cook Station

5 Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center Field Day New Franklin