On a summer day last year, Horticulture Specialist Shon Bishop walked into the high tunnel greenhouse at Southwest Research Center. The center in Mt. Vernon, owned by the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, recently installed the hoop house for a variety of studies on vegetables and other growing opportunities.
“I am doing a variety trial with tomatoes and some other vegetables,” said Bishop. “These high tunnels are great because they are cost effective and help extend the growing season by a couple of weeks.”
But Bishop is not one of MU’s many specialists. He is from Lincoln University, another land-grant university in Jefferson City that often doesn’t get the acclaim of the flag-ship Mizzou campus in Columbia.
The two institutions, along with other campuses across the state and nation, are working together for the greater good, providing the best research for our country’s producers.
The Southwest Research Center is one of 20 out-state centers owned by CAFNR. Since its inception in 1959, the center has teamed up with numerous organizations and institutions.
“I have worked a lot in the past with Missouri State University and their Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station in Mountain Grove,” said Horticulturist Andrew Thomas. “It’s been great to have a second site where I can test fruit crops such as pawpaw and persimmon. They have been great to work with over the years.”
Thomas also has several elderberry test plots at Southwest Research Center, but appreciates the opportunity for a second test plot at Lincoln University’s Carver Farm in Jefferson City.
Bradford Research Center in Columbia also benefits from work done with Lincoln University.
“We have worked for years with native plant demonstrations and educational events with Dr. Nadia Navarette-Tindall from Lincoln University Cooperative Extension,” said Tim Reinbott, superintendent at Bradford Research Center. “Lately we have had a lot of success with our annual Tomato Festival thanks to help from Lincoln University. Dr. Jamie Pinero, assistant professor and State IPM Specialist; Steven Kirk, commercial vegetable program field supervisor; and Research Technician Grato Ndunguru. All have been wonderful to work with.”
Just up the Missouri River in New Franklin is the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC), which several universities turn to for aid in research studies.
Several nut crop studies that involve walnuts, red oaks and butternut hickories include a collaboration of testing sites with Clemson University, University of Tennessee, University of Notre Dame, Penn State University, Michigan Tech University and University of West Alabama.
“To help stop the spread of Thousand Cankers Disease in black walnuts, Research Assistant Professor Mark Coggeshall has been working with the University of Tennessee, Notre Dame, Southern Illinois University, Virginia Tech University and University of California-Davis,” said Ray Glendening, superintendent of HARC. “Recently, we are working with Michigan State University on a new chestnut harvester that could really help the nut crop industry.”
Down in Missouri’s Bootheel region, the Fisher Delta Research Center has worked on several projects with some of MU’s fellow Southeastern Conference brethren. A project funded by The Rice Foundation involves teaming up with Louisiana State University and University of Arkansas. Another rice study involves Mississippi State and Texas A&M University.
“In times where budgets are shorter, this cooperation really is important,” said Shon Bishop. “Everyone here at MU has been great to work with to make everything run seamless. Thanks to pooling resources we can offer the best outreach to our farmers and those out there producing food for us.”