The town of Novelty in Knox County is akin to numerous small, unsung rural communities across the country. It only boasts 139 residents — most of which probably know each other — but is a rich, tight-knit northeast Missouri town. And now one of its former residents is happy to call Novelty home again.
On June 9, Dana Harder began work as the new superintendent of the Greenley Research Center, one of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Agricultural Research Centers. Harder grew up on his family farm, which is adjacent to the center along Highway 156 on the east side of Novelty.
“Growing up here, everyone knew about Greenley,” Dana said. “There’s a sentimental value of coming back here, more than just a job. I am excited to see the development of this research center and the work that is done being cascaded out to the local community.”
Dana brings a strong background of knowledge of the latest in agriculture technologies in corn and soybeans after working for eight years with Syngenta, a global agribusiness company that markets seeds and chemicals. He worked as an agronomist, scientist and recently was in charge of the Parent Characterization Department that had research centers across five states in the Midwest.
“I worked with anything related to agronomics, seed quality, physiology and seed care,” added Dana. “We were screening thousands of inbreds all over the Midwest and even in Chile and Argentina to find the best lines to optimize seed production.”
Dana is a graduate of the University of Missouri and received a Master’s degree from Michigan State University. While studying at MU, he worked for two summers at Greenley alongside current Research Professor Kelly Nelson.
“It’s great to share with people what research projects we have going on up here,” Dana said. “I want people to understand the value of what we are doing here in their own backyards. This is world-class stuff.”
Located in the claypan soil region of northeast Missouri, Greenley evaluates efficient and profitable crop production while emphasizing soil conservation, water quality and energy efficiency. Researchers there are developing a systems approach for irrigation and drainage using drain tile and studying paired watersheds to evaluate the impact of agroforestry practices on water quality. Ongoing performance testing of corn, soybean, sunflowers, biomass and winter wheat yields results to aid Missouri producers.
For more information about Greenley Research Center, visit the center’s new website at http://greenley.cafnr.org.