David Baker, assistant dean of agriculture and natural resources extension at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, University of Missouri, was elected to the Illinois State University College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Hall of Fame.
Induction into the Hall of Fame is bestowed on graduates and friends of the college. The Hall of Fame profiles the achievements of prominent graduates and friends to inspire students, alumni, faculty and staff of the College and the academic community of Illinois State University.
Baker joined Mizzou in 1975 as assistant professor of agricultural engineering and state safety and occupational health specialist. Today as assistant dean, Baker is responsible for day-to-day leadership including development, implementation, coordination and evaluation of the campus and statewide agriculture and natural resources extension programs for Missouri.
At the national level, Baker is known for his working relationships with congressional offices, key government leaders, and agricultural constituent groups. He served as chair of the North Central Agricultural and Natural Resources Program Leaders, president and executive director of the National Institute for Farm Safety, and chair of the Agricultural Division of the National Safety Council. Baker co-founded the national Extension Disaster Education Network and served on its Homeland Security Committee of EDEN.
Work Beneficial to Society
Nominations to CAST are based on outstanding performance in one’s profession, demonstrated leadership in one’s profession, honors from associations or employers, outstanding service to the institution and proof that one’s work has proven beneficial to society.
Baker earned two degrees from Illinois State University: in 1970, a B.S. in Agricultural Education, followed by an M.S. in Industrial Technology, with an emphasis in Occupational Safety and Health, in 1974.
He started his career with Extension Service in Illinois, serving as a County Agent in both Logan and McLean Counties. By 1975, Baker became a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), specializing in agricultural safety and health. He moved to the University of Missouri to accept a tenure-track faculty appointment in CAFNR with the title of State Agricultural Engineering Specialist in Rural Safety. Over the course of 20 years, Baker developed one of the leading agricultural safety programs in the U.S. and authored journal articles, book chapters, conference papers and more than 30 technical reports and safety guides.
Baker’s strategic investment in an innovative pasture-based dairy program and a model heifer replacement program resulted in $75-$121 million dollar economic impact for the state and added more than 1,000 jobs.
Baker is the recipient of Missouri Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Service to Agriculture award, CAFNR’s Frederick Blackmar Mumford Outstanding Faculty Award and the Award for Superior Service from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.