An Evening of Excellence

CAFNR honors faculty, staff, alumni, students and friends at annual awards ceremony

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources honored outstanding faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of CAFNR at its annual Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony Thursday, April 5.

Awards were given for teaching, research, advising, extension and volunteering and to outstanding staff, students, student organizations and alumni.

The evening culminated with the presentation of the Frederick B. Mumford Awards – CAFNR’s highest honor – given to an outstanding faculty member, staff member and for outstanding service to the College by an alumni or friend. Mumford was the fifth dean of the College and served in the position for 27 years.

Awards presented at the event included:

Abby Bertz

Abigail Bertz was named Outstanding Freshman. She is majoring in agribusiness management and has been extremely active during her first year as a Mizzou student, including being part of the Agribusiness Club, Mizzou Collegiate Farm Bureau and the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She is also the Missouri FFA president, and, as president, has devoted the past year to working with and serving agriculture education students. She has presented at more than 35 workshops during that time.

“As president of the State FFA Association, Abby has developed leadership skills superior to many others her age,” said Dustin Schnieders, director of government relations, UM System. “A freshman in college, she spends her time teaching Missouri’s youth about personal development, teamwork and hard work. Growing up on a farm has taught Abby the value of teamwork, hard work ethic and relationships and Abby effectively uses those values on a daily basis.”

Katie St. Pierre

Katie St. Pierre was honored as Outstanding Sophomore. She is majoring in agribusiness management and has served as an alumni relations intern with the CAFNR Alumni Association, assisting in the coordination, management and promotion of a variety of activities, including large fundraising events. She is treasurer of Sigma Alpha professional sorority, co-director of the CAFNR Ambassadors, part of the CAFNR Steering Week Committee, and alumni relations chair for CAFNR True Tigers. She has studied abroad at the University of Bologna, at a program examining food insecurity, and was a site leader for Mizzou Alternative Breaks in fall 2017.

“Through her efforts as an intern, Katie has demonstrated a keen work ethic,” said Dana Brown Haynes, CAFNR’s former director of alumni relations. “She understands that any job worth doing is worth doing right and has demonstrated that philosophy on all of the projects I have worked with her on. I have been fortunate to work with a variety of students over my last 29 years with the University of Missouri, and I have to say that Katie is one of the best that I have had the opportunity to work with over the years.”

MiKayla Engemann

MiKayla Engemann was named Outstanding Junior. She is majoring in plant sciences and prides herself in being an active part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. She is a member of Mizzou Collegiate Cattlewomen, the Mizzou Agronomy Club and is part of the CAFNR Week Steering Committee. She has helped those clubs in various ways, including serving as a reporter, social media chair and treasurer, as well as helping with philanthropy. As part of the Mizzou Collegiate Cattlewoman’s club, Engemann has helped with the planning and execution of the annual Meet Your Meat event, where the club shares information about the beef industry.

“MiKayla’s career objective is to use the knowledge and skills she has gained in her plant sciences degree to make an impact on agriculture, Missouri’s No. 1 industry,” said Bryan Garton, associate dean and director of academic programs. “She was an academically talented student in high school and this has carried over to her academic accomplishments at the University of Missouri. Her cumulative GPA places her in the top 30 percent of all students in our college, while completing a challenging, science-based curriculum. In addition, she is pursuing two emphasis areas within the plant sciences degree: crop management and breeding, biology and biotechnology.”

Jaime Luke

Jaime Luke was honored as Outstanding Senior. She is an agricultural economics major and has interned for the Missouri Pork Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) in Washington, D.C., and the Missouri Corn Growers Association. During her time with AFBF, her economic research was published in Sugar Producer, Market Intel and Agri-Pulse newsletter. She has worked as a career services intern and Summer Welcome peer counselor in CAFNR, and as a teaching assistant in the Division of Plant Sciences. Luke has served as the philanthropy chair and secretary for Sigma Alpha professional sorority, is a CAFNR Ambassador, and is on the National Student Advisory Team for Agriculture Future of America, through which she helped plan a national conference. Luke has received the Sigma Alpha Pillar Award for her service.

“Jaime seems to excel at everything that she sets her mind to achieving and has served as a role model for so many of our other undergraduates,” said Matt Arri, coordinator of CAFNR Career Services. “She has demonstrated a curiosity for other cultures by studying abroad, has been involved in several leadership positions as an undergraduate, and has been an active volunteer throughout her time here at Mizzou. In addition, Jaime is very adept at developing and maintaining strong relationships with faculty, staff, and her fellow students here within CAFNR. Last November, I had the pleasure of listening to her present at the national AFA Conference in Kansas City in front of hundreds of her peers and she did so with tremendous poise and self-confidence.”

Collegiate Farm Bureau

Mizzou Collegiate Farm Bureau was recognized as Outstanding Student Club. The group aims to unite students in educating campus and the community about agricultural issues and their political implications. The organization is celebrating 31 years on campus and is the oldest chapter in the country. To develop awareness, CFB hosted several events throughout the year, including the Farm Forum event, “Broadband: Urban to Rural”; and “Growing Missouri: Ag Policy in the Show-Me State,” a forum co-hosted with other organizations. The Farm Forum featured panelists speaking on broadband accessibility. The event was broadcast on Facebook Live and had more than 200 views, in addition to those in attendance. The Ag Policy event included leading influencers in the agricultural sector. 

“A strong officer team has worked hard to turn the organization into one that provides benefits to as many CAFNR students as possible,” said Scott Brown, advisor and assistant extension professor. “CFB remains passionate about all issues related to agriculture and CAFNR students with that passion quickly fine a comfortable home in CFB. The normal monthly meetings had additional content to ensure a strong attendee base.” 

JD Manning

JD Manning, Clinton, Mo., was honored as the CAFNR Alumni Association Past President. Manning graduated from CAFNR in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences. He is an Edward Jones financial advisor. He previously served as regional manager for Ziegler Caterpillar in Missouri, general manager of the ag division of Dean Machinery, and location vice president of Heritage Tractor, Inc. He has served as president of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce and as a board member with the Clinton Rotary Club.

“JD is a no-nonsense guy and always stands up for what he believes in,” said Emily Kueker, president of the CAFNR Alumni Association. “Luckily for us, he has a high belief in CAFNR, its students, faculty and alumni. As President of the CAFNR Alumni Association, JD guided our organization as we continue to be the “Gold Standard” for Mizzou Alumni chapters. JD’s financial background kept our organization focused on making the biggest impact on students, while being mindful of our resources. Under his leadership, our organization went from awarding 25 to 30 student scholarships and distributed over $25,000 in grants to CAFNR student groups and student services. JD led with passion, conviction and authenticity. We are thankful for his service and contribution to the CAFNR Alumni Association.” 

Al Kertz

Alois (Al) F. Kertz, St. Louis, Mo., was honored with the CAFNR Alumni Association Citation of Merit award. He received his bachelor’s degree in dairy husbandry from Mizzou in 1967 and earned his master’s in dairy cattle nutrition in 1968. Kertz’s career has included work in nutrition, feeding and management of dairy cattle, and taken him to several companies, including the Ralston Purina Company, Purina Mills, and Agribrands International. Kertz founded his consulting business, ANDHIL LLC, in 2001. He advises private companies, agencies, research institutions and dairy organizations in nutrition, feeding and management of dairy cattle.

“In addition to being both humble and personable, Al is known far and wide as a true scientist, who values sound research and the importance of communicating the resulting information to the industry,” said Steven Larson, managing editor, Hoard’s Dairyman magazine. “People like Dr. Kertz enabled various segments of the commercial feed industry to stay focused on industry service based on scientific inquiry and tested and proven products and programs.”

Dana Brown Haynes

Dana Brown Haynes, Wentzville, Mo., was named the CAFNR Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year. Brown Haynes received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from CAFNR in 1985. In 1988, she joined the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources as director of alumni and career services. She retired as director of alumni relations in December 2017. Over the years, she provided career and scholastic counseling services to more than 2,000 CAFNR students; served as advisor to a variety of CAFNR and University student organizations; chaperoned leadership programs such as the John Brown Scholars and Dickinson Scholars; and assisted with homecoming steering committee activities. Although there is no such official title, Brown Haynes served as the executive director of the CAFNR Alumni Association, organizing the efforts of the 33-member volunteer board of directors and coordinating and managing alumni functions such as the Tiger Ag Classic Golf Tournament and Steak Fry, the Ag Unlimited Banquet and Auctions and the Ag 100 Endowment. 

“The crown jewel of Dana’s legacy of leadership and service has been the CAFNR Alumni Association. For the almost three decades I have worked in CAFNR and at Mizzou, it is largely recognized by everyone associated with MU that the CAFNR Alumni Association is unrivaled,” said Jim Spain, interim provost and vice provost for undergraduate studies and eLearning. “The level of involvement and support across the generations of alumni is truly unique.”

Chris Chinn

Chris Chinn, Clarence Mo., Missouri Director of Agriculture, was named an Honorary Member of the CAFNR Alumni Association. A fifth-generation farmer from northeast Missouri, Chinn has always had a passion for agriculture – and deep ties to the University of Missouri, including serving on her county Extension Council, joining search committees, participating in panel discussions and working closely with faculty, staff and administrators. She was named Missouri Director of Agriculture in January 2017 after holding numerous leadership positions at local, state and national levels. She has built an incredible social media platform, through her blog and Twitter account, which allows her to connect with and be an advocate for farmers, ranchers and rural communities.  

“All too often, elected and appointed leaders lose sight of where they came from or whom they represent. Constituents are left to ponder the transformation. Fortunately, this is not the case with Chris Chinn,” said Blake Hurst, President, Missouri Farm Bureau. “Her love for agriculture, dedication to farmers and desire to make a difference remain steadfast. She remains proud of her roots and works extremely hard to represent agriculture in the best possible manner. While not afraid to make difficult decisions, Chris takes the time to understand the issues at hand incorporating both science and common sense.”

Ernie Verslues

Ernie Verslues, Rocheport, Mo., President and CEO of MFA, Inc., also was given Honorary Membership into the CAFNR Alumni Association. Verslues has dedicated himself to supporting Missouri farmers during his 30-year career with MFA, Inc. He has made partnering with CAFNR a priority. Verslues has been instrumental in sustaining the MFA Ag Experience, a successful internship program that has supported many CAFNR undergraduates. He is a graduate of CAFNR’s Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL) and now serves on its board of trustees, has visited CAFNR as Professor-for-a-Day, and serves on the board of trustees of the CAFNR Foundation. In 2016, Verslues, along with MFA Oil CEO and President Mark Fenner, announced an MFA Foundation gift to MU, creating the MFA Agribusiness Professorship.

“Ernie gives generously of his time to meet with students, to host ag business classes at MFA, to match students with appropriate MFA staff for research opportunities, to participate in panels during executive education programs and also personally attends a wide range of CAFNR seminars,” said Mike Cook and Kristi Livingston, Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership. “Wherever CAFNR is educating the agricultural community, MFA is also participating.”

Leroy Van Dyke

Leroy Van Dyke, Smithton, Mo., received the True Tiger Volunteer Award. An internationally known country music star, Van Dyke earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Missouri, focusing on animal husbandry and journalism, with a minor in speech. Van Dyke was a member of the junior and senior livestock judging teams during his time at Mizzou. He served as a special agent in the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps in Korea before working as a journalist upon his return. His jump into the world of show business came with his self-penned song “Auctioneer,” which combined his singing ability with his auctioneering skills. Van Dyke has recorded more than 500 songs and continues to perform throughout the United States. A member of country music and auctioneering halls of fame, Van Dyke continues to entertain his fans across the nation.

“His love and devotion to UMC and CAFNR is evident through his participation in the Ag Unlimited Banquet each of the last 23 years,” said Gary D. Slater, Iowa State Fair Manager, CEO. “Many times over the years, Leroy has filled his duties (selling the live auction items) in amongst his busy schedule of performing. More than once he raced to the Florida State Fair after the event was over; driving through the night to perform at the Fair. The Ag Unlimited Banquet has been overwhelming successful. Having a celebrity alumni as an active part of it over the years has certainly been part of its success.”

Randy Miles

Randy Miles was given the Dana Brown Haynes Distinguished Service Award from the CAFNR Alumni Association. Miles is an associate professor emeritus of soil science in CAFNR; he joined the college in 1983 and finished his career at MU as director of the Soil Health Assessment Center. He taught Introduction to Soil Science and Genesis of Soil Landscapes and Pedology, and was the coach for the Mizzou Soil Judging Team for 32 years, as well as faculty advisor to the Agronomy Club and the School of Natural Resources Student Council. He served as director of historical Sanborn Field, the third-oldest continuous research field in the world, and as curator of the historical Duley-Miller soil erosion plots. 

“As a professional soil scientist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, I have worked in five states, mapping soils, updating soil surveys, and conducting training and on-site investigations for special projects,” said Meredith Albers, USDA-ARS Resource Soil Scientist and former student. “The coaching and experience provided by Dr. Miles and collegiate soil judging was the best education and professional preparation any student, myself included, can ever receive. When I provide training to users of soil survey information, this is where I begin. Not only did I learn about soils from Dr. Miles, I learned how to teach others about soils.” 

Steve Stamate

Steve Stamate, Farm Manager, Southwest Research Center, received the Outstanding Staff Award. Stamate brings a positive, hard-working attitude to the Southwest Research Center, located in Mt. Vernon, Mo., each day. As the farm manager at the Research Center, Stamate works with a variety of individuals who visit the Center. The Southwest Research Center features a wide variety of research, applicable to producers across the southern portion of Missouri. He shares his experience and knowledge with researchers, veterinarians, employees and visitors at the Center. Stamate goes above and beyond at the Southwest Research Center, staying after hours if need be, to finish projects and help those who need it.

“Steve is my right arm here at the Center and is a valuable cog in the Southwest Center machine,” said David Cope, Southwest Research Center superintendent. “The Southwest Research Center absolutely would not have made the improvement it has in the last three years without the significant impact of Steve Stamate in his role as farm manager. His judgment and experience through his owning of farms and working in different businesses, combined with his outstanding work ethic, allows him to be extremely successful in his role as farm manager of the MU Southwest Research Center.”

Ben Knapp

Ben Knapp was honored with the Outstanding Teacher, Early Career award. Knapp has served as an assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources since 2012 and was named the superintendent of the Baskett Wildlife Research and Education Center, in Ashland, in 2015. He has published 21 peer-reviewed journal articles and received $1.3 million in grant funding. Knapp also serves as the faculty advisor for the MU Forestry Club. Knapp’s courses focus on several natural resource topics, including silviculture, forest fire control and use, and forestry. He integrates his teaching and research efforts in numerous ways, including hands-on activities at Baskett, such as a prescribed fire program and maple syrup production. Knapp creates a classroom environment where students can grow personally and intellectually. He encourages his students to develop independent critical thinking skills, as well as the confidence and experience to apply that knowledge to situations. 

“In the classroom, Dr. Knapp is simply one of our best instructors,” said Keith Goyne, associate professor and associate director, School of Natural Resources. “Student evaluations of his teaching are consistently at or near the top of the list for all instructors within the School of Natural Resources. Dr. Knapp is well-respected by his peers and undergraduate students for his outstanding academic advising. In the past two surveys that assessed academic advising in CAFNR, Dr. Knapp was rated very highly by undergraduate students in the three broad categories of Knowledge, Availability and Autonomy Support. His scores in these categories are consistently above the CAFNR mean, often times as much as one full point.”

Harvey James

Harvey S. James, Jr., was named Outstanding Teacher, Senior. James, who joined CAFNR in 2001, teaches courses in microeconomics and agricultural ethics for undergraduates, and research methodology for graduate students. James’ research focuses on applied ethics and the economic foundations of trust and ethical behavior. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Agriculture and Human Values and a member of the editorial board at Business Ethics Quarterly. He also received the CAFNR Golden Apple Award this spring for going above and beyond in teaching and advising.

“His Applied Microeconomics course is often the first time the students who sit in his class have been exposed to economics,” said Joe Parcell, director, Division of Applied Social Sciences. “Dr. James has a wonderful way of incorporating “cool” and fun ways to teach the sometimes hard-to-grasp economic principles. Despite the large size of his lectures, he works hard to serve each of his many students well. In his writing intensive Ethical Issues class, Dr. James focuses on pushing students, asking them to give “reasons for their reasons” and giving them the ability to question their own ideas and opinions.”

John Tummons

John Tummons, assistant teaching professor and director of undergraduate studies, agricultural education and leadership, was named Outstanding Advisor for Undergraduate Advising. Tummons has all three of his degrees in agricultural education from CAFNR, and officially joined Mizzou in 2008 as a professional development specialist, Missouri Agricultural Education, in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He also was previously a high school agriculture teacher. Tummons has advised the Ag Ed Society, Collegiate FFA and CAFNR Week. He chairs the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee in CAFNR. He advises 35 undergraduate students in the agricultural education and leadership program – nearly half of the program’s undergrad students and nearly all of the teaching certification emphasis area students. Tummons consistently receives higher marks from his advisees than the department and college averages. 

“When I started as an assistant professor in August 2016, I had never before advised undergraduates. Being across the hall from Dr. Tummons has been a godsend. His open-door policy extends even to me,” said Adam Cletzer, assistant professor. “His mentorship extends to me, as well. He often reminds me of the steep learning curve in advising and is endlessly patient with my questions.”

Laura McCann

Laura McCann, professor, agricultural and applied economics, was honored as the Outstanding Advisor for Graduate Advising. McCann has been a faculty member at the University of Missouri since 2001. During her time at Mizzou, she has advised five M.S. students and four Ph.D. students, as well as one M.S. non-thesis student. She is currently working with two Ph.D. students. McCann has served on 24 M.S. and Ph.D. committees.

“Dr. McCann takes a purposeful approach to graduate advising. Her mentoring-style approach is to have the student build a publication pipeline that promotes the student, program and CAFNR,” said Joe Parcell, director, Division of Applied Social Sciences. “Every one of her graduate students has successfully published in a peer-reviewed output as a result of thesis and dissertation research. Social scientists publish at a lower rate than basic scientists, and many social sciences journals have relatively low acceptance rates. Accomplishing a 100 percent publication rate, as Dr. McCann’s graduate students have done, is very rare.”

Jared Decker

Jared Decker received the J.W. Burch State Specialist, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Award. Decker has been an assistant professor in the Division of Animal Sciences and a state beef genetics MU Extension specialist since 2013, after earning his Ph.D. in genetics from MU. Decker has been able to link his extension and research programs to advance the science of beef cattle genetics, as well as take the results of his research and apply it in the field. Decker has published nearly 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and has secured more than $4 million in grants and contracts as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator. His blog, “A Steak in Genomics,” allows him to connect and interact with farmers, ranchers and communities.

“The goal of his extension programming is to aid and encourage beef producers to understand and adopt scientifically sound practices and new technologies, especially those related to genetics and genomics,” said David Patterson, professor of animal sciences and state beef extension specialist. “Jared made the use of free online media a primary delivery method for his extension communications, and developed an online component to his extension program to help beef producers receive timely information and increase awareness of best practices. These efforts have educated beef producers, increased adoption of genomic technologies, and improved selection decisions, all of which have supported his internationally recognized extension program.”

Hua Qin

Hua Qin, assistant professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences, received the Early Investigator Research Award. Qin joined CAFNR in 2014; since that time he has had 19 refereed scholarly articles published or accepted for publication, published three book chapters, presented at a significant number of professional meetings and secured more than $60,000 in internal grants from bodies as diverse as the Mizzou Alumni Association, the Office of Research, Graduate Studies and Economic Development, and the Population, Education and Health Center. His research specializes in environmental/natural resource sociology and demography. In 2017, Qin was awarded a $431,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. He serves on the editorial boards of Society and Natural Resources, and the International Journal of Population Studies. In 2015, he was named to the World Social Science Fellows program led by the International Social Science Council.

“A very successful agricultural social scientist can be expected to have a career Google Scholar score of over 2,500 citations. Since 2013 alone, Dr. Qin’s Google Scholar score is approaching 500 citations, putting him on a career trajectory to be deemed highly successful,” said Joe Parcell, director of the Division of Applied Social Sciences. 

Tom Spencer

Thomas Spencer, professor of animal sciences, was honored with the Distinguished Researcher Award. Spencer joined the University of Missouri in 2015 as a signature hire. Spencer’s research uses a variety of animal models, including sheep, cattle, pigs and mice, to study the fundamental aspects of development and function of the uterus and placenta. The goal of the research is to understand the fundamental biology and genetic processes that are important for pregnancy establishment and success. He has received $19 million in grant support as a principal investigator and co-principal investigator, as his research contributes to not only agriculture, but biological and medical sciences as well.

“He is ambitious and a leader. In my view, he is probably the major rising figure in the field of large animal reproductive biology,” said R. Michael Roberts, Curators Distinguished Professor, animal sciences/biochemistry. “He is fearless about tackling new, difficult problems, widely read, and able to energize others. I would be very surprised if this relatively young man does not become the top figure in his field within the next decade and receive the highest scientific honors.”

Bob Sharp

Robert Sharp received the Roger L. Mitchell Fellow award. Robert E. Sharp has been with the University of Missouri since 1986, first serving as an assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture. He has been a professor of agronomy in the Division of Plant Sciences since 1997. Sharp has led Mizzou’s Interdisciplinary Plant Group as its director since 2011. IPG includes faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows and professionals, among others, and encourages interdisciplinary and collaborative research and education through seminars, workshops, symposiums, training programs and partnerships. Sharp has earned numerous awards and honors and has been highly involved during his time at Mizzou, including presenting at professional meetings across the world. He has earned nearly $18 million in grant support, through research, conference support and training grants. He has a long history of advising M.S. and Ph.D. students as well.

“Dr. Sharp’s research is known and has impact throughout the world. For some individuals this may sound hyperbolic, but with Dr. Sharp it is an understatement,” said William Wiebold, professor of plant sciences. “He has chosen to study a topic, drought, that plagues nearly every country on earth and affects the health and wellbeing of several billion people. His work starts at, literally, the root of the problem. Dr. Sharp has focused like a laser on root biology and using that knowledge to ameliorate the effects of drought stress on plant growth and productivity.”

Teng Lim

Teng Lim was honored with the Brady J. Deaton Fellow in International Agriculture award. Lim has been a professor at the University of Missouri since 2009, first serving as an assistant professor, before being named an associate professor of Food Systems and Bioengineering in 2014. Lim has published more than 30 journal articles, and has been part of several peer-reviewed proceedings, extension guides, and symposium or conference proceedings. Lim works with regional livestock specialists, producers and the livestock industry to develop practical management for livestock and poultry manure, as well as environmental quality control. Lim’s focus is on developing and improving manure management and treatment through emission evaluation and modeling, odor control technologies and odor setback distances.

“Dr. Lim strives to utilize available chances to enhance the University of Missouri name at the international level,” said Robert Broz, extension assistant professor, extension agricultural engineering. “He serves on the College of Agriculture International Program (CIP) committee and works closely with many colleagues who have global collaboration, including University of Missouri’s Asian Affairs Center. He is a recipient of the CIP Incentive Fund, and has traveled with colleagues to Costa Rica to enhance the knowledge exchange platform between MU and UCR Guanacaste campus.”  

David Emerich

David Emerich, professor, associate chair and director of undergraduate studies, biochemistry, was awarded the Frederick B. Mumford Outstanding Faculty Award. Emerich earned his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He joined CAFNR in 1981 as a Herman Frasch Foundation Research Fellow, and from there launched a career of excellence. Emerich has received a Kemper Award, Mizzou’s highest teaching honor, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He challenges his classes with questions that require critical thinking and reasoning skills, while tirelessly modernizing the curriculum.

Supporter after supporter emphasized that Emerich truly cares about his students and about integrity in teaching; he does not delegate away responsibility in the classroom. His mentorship methods have helped teaching assistants to better understand how to defuse angst in both students and the TAs themselves. His support of his peers in Biochemistry is both well-known and appreciated by the division as a whole.

Vicki Bryan

Vicki Bryan, coordinator in the Interdisciplinary Plant Group, received the Frederick B. Mumford Outstanding Staff Award. Bryan has been part of CAFNR for six years, and coordinates conferences and symposiums, has helped create a graduate student exchange program in Brazil, and collaborates with offices of governors and foreign dignitaries to ensure projects go off without a hitch. She has served as chair of the CAFNR Staff Advisory Council.

Bryan has done all of these things and far more with a confidence and competency that make it all look easy.  And while doing all of this, while putting in endless evenings and weekends to ensure that everything runs as a well-oiled machine, she unfailingly shows concern and compassion for all around her; this jet-setting staffer, while juggling a dozen priorities, always manages to find the time to stop and to genuinely ask how you are doing.

Jerry Caulder

Jerry Caulder was honored with the Frederick B. Mumford Award for Distinguished Service. Caulder has held leadership positions in a number of successful and highly profiled life science companies. He is often referred to as the “father of agricultural biotechnology.” Caulder earned his B.S. in Biology and Zoology from Southeast Missouri State in 1964, and his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology, Biochemistry and Agronomy from MU in 1969. In the time since, he has been at the forefront of agricultural entrepreneurship and has simultaneously been an active counselor to CAFNR leadership and faculty as an expert in agricultural biotechnology. His support and encouragement has played a significant role in the prominent standing CAFNR now holds among the biotechnology leaders in the U.S.  

He has founded or co-founded of at least three companies and sits on numerous corporate boards, all with an aim of improving and advancing agricultural biotechnology. His many honors include the prestigious William Henry Hatch Memorial Award, the highest honor given by the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant College, and the only time this honor has been bestowed to someone outside of academe.

Learn more about the awards, past honorees and more at