What do you do in your current role with the University of Missouri?
I strive to connect people, support teams, and elevate Extension programming within the broad area of rural development: farms, agribusinesses and communities. I am currently working on funded projects with the Missouri SBDC, the Kansas City Food Hub, and the Oregon Farmers Market Association.
How long have you worked in this position?
I celebrated two years at MU in July.
What is your favorite part about the work you do?
I get really energized when I can help people and organizations learn more about their value proposition – what’s working, what’s not working and how to adapt. This could mean I help individuals collect survey data, analyze trends, and connect to peers. One of Extension’s roles is providing unbiased fact-based information – it’s rewarding to see people act on the information we provide.
How are you helping MU A&E Extension reach our #2xAg2030 goal?
I support value-added agriculture producers by providing access to data, technical assistance and applied research. Our state has a lot of potential to increase farm profitability. This can be done by expanding the number of farms that are producing specialty crops, increasing processing and selling branded products to consumers.
Environmental stewardship is important in this conversation and it can also become part of the value producers are bringing to consumers.
What is something your CAFNR and MU Extension teammates may not know about you?
My great-grandfather was one of the first producers in our part of west central Illinois to import Angus cattle from Scotland.
I followed our family’s tradition of showing cattle from ages 7 to 19. The very first place I exhibited was right here in Boone County at the Missouri Beef Expo. My cousin and I made up a little song during that show, “Boone County is the place to be…”
Thirty years later, it is still true – I love working with so many fantastic dedicated colleagues.