From Serving to Feeding America

CAFNR student serves in US Army Reserves

Dixie Litchard found Mizzou and CAFNR in a non-traditional way.

While on deployment in Iraq as an active member of the military, a friend told her about MU. After comparing the school and costs to her current school, Michigan State University, she decided to transfer to MU to major in plant sciences after deployment.

Growing up in Three Rivers, Michigan, Dixie didn’t come from an agricultural background.

“Ever since I was little I grew up wishing I were Amish so I could do farming stuff,” says Dixie. “I think there’s a lot of self-satisfaction when you get to see something that you grow and then actually eat it.”

It was this interest in agriculture and love for growing plants that drew her to plant sciences.

“I like growing things and I really like the idea of being able to provide for people that I care about, or just people in general. Starvation in the world is a really big issue and we need to learn how to produce better food more efficiently.”

Dixie says one of her dreams is to become a homesteader and grow and can her own foods.

CAFNR helped Dixie make the transition from deployment to college so she can one day achieve her goal of homesteading and helping feed the world.

“It’s kind of cool because CAFNR connects people who have similar interests, so you’re kind of forced to repeatedly see people that are interested in the same things as you,” says Dixie. “CAFNR has a small town feel, which is nice.”

The Mizzou Veterans Association also helped Dixie make the transition.

“Luckily, Mizzou has a really good veterans program,” says Dixie. “They really helped me.”

Dixie was attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College for about a year when she decided to enlist.

“I felt that maybe by joining the military I would have an epiphany. On TV they make it seem like you go through such hard times and challenging moments that you kind of find yourself. I thought that would be one of those instances. It wasn’t really, but I’ve learned a lot.”

Dixie recently re-enlisted for another six years. She is currently part of the Army Reserves Military Police.

Dixie says the military has impacted all parts of her life.

“The military is kind of like a built-in family,” says Dixie. “They are a little dysfunctional, but at the end of the day, they are some of my best friends and are like brothers and sisters to me. I’ve learned you always have friends.”

Dixie has advice for showing appreciation to veterans, too.

“I’ve noticed that transferring in [to college] and being older and a veteran has made it harder to connect with people that are younger and make more friends here,” says Dixie.

“For me, at least, I think being more friendly and kind of befriending people that might have been in the military helps. Most of us are pretty proud of being in the military, so we’ll talk about it and it would be nice to communicate about it with other people.”

CAFNR helps transfer students by evaluating transfer credits and their time to degree completion. Learn more about transferring credits to CAFNR.

Find out more about the Mizzou Student Veterans Association.