Submit Accolades

CAFNR Faculty Selected to Participate in LEAD21 Program

David Braun, director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG) and professor, plant science & technology and biological sciences; and Deborah Finke, professor and director of undergraduate studies, plant science and technology; were selected as participants in the 19th class of the LEAD21 program, a leadership program aimed at developing leaders in land-grant institutions and their strategic partners who link research, academics and extension for leadership roles at colleges and universities across the nation.

LEAD21 provides an immersive professional development program for academic leaders from the land-grant system. Working in regular small groups meetings combined with three week-long immersive sessions, the participants will learn effective leadership skills for increasingly complex higher education environments as well as strategies for influencing institutional transformation in their current and future leadership positions.

The LEAD21 program is targeted at faculty specialists, program and team leaders, research station and center directors, district and regional directors, department heads and chairs, and others in land-grant universities’ colleges of agricultural, environmental, and human sciences and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The 90 participating faculty and administrators selected for the 19th class of the LEAD21 program can be found on the program website:

Learn more about the LEAD21 program on the LEAD21 Website.

Book Edited By CAFNR Faculty Member Published

A new book entitled Soil Hydrology in a Changing Climate has been published by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). The book is edited by Stephen H. Anderson, Albrecht Distinguished Professor of Soil and Environmental Sciences in the MU School of Natural Resources, along with two CAFNR alumni — Humberto Blanco, Professor of Soil Management and Applied Soil Physics at the University of Nebraska (MS, 1995; PhD, 2003), and Sandeep Kumar, Professor of Soil Biophysics and Hydrology at South Dakota State University (PhD 2009).

The book explores the impact of changing climate on soil hydrology and soil water dynamics. As the world experiences changing climate, challenges occur for soil and water management. Future fluctuating climate requires that land management practices be redesigned. How soil management practices impact soil hydrologic characteristics and how scientists can improve our understanding of soil and water management under changing conditions are explored in Soil Hydrology in a Changing Climate. Soil hydrology includes water infiltration and soil water storage, critical for agricultural plant and animal production. Future climate is predicted to include warmer and drier conditions with increases in evapotranspiration as well as more intense storms. Improved soil management and soil hydrology are critical to ensuring agriculture production can meet future needs.

Land managers, soil conservations and others will find this comprehensive book a valuable resource to understand how different management practices affect soil and water dynamics and how these practices can be adjusted to enhance agricultural sustainability and environmental quality.

Two CAFNR Faculty Named 2022 Highly Cited Researchers

Two faculty in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources have been named 2022 Highly Cited Researchers by Clarivate. Ron Mittler, Curators’ Distinguished Professor in plant science and technology, along with Bing Yang, professor of plant science and technology, were awarded this prestigious distinction — marking them as among the most influential researchers in the world.

To earn this honor, a researcher must have multiple highly-cited papers ranking in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science. According to Clarivate, fewer than 7,000 or about 0.1% of researchers worldwide earned this distinction in 2022.

CAFNR Hosts North Central Region/National Learner-Centered Teaching Conference

In early October, CAFNR hosted the 2022 North Central Region/National Learner-Centered Teaching Conference. This is the fourth consecutive year of the collaborative conference, which features partnerships of 1890 land-grant universities, 1862 land-grant universities, and public and private universities that are focused on developing people in and through agriculture, food, natural resources and human sciences. The three-day conference included multiple round-table discussions, live presentations, poster sessions and engagement opportunities.

Andres Mesa Selected for 2022 Dissertation Research Award

Andres Mesa, graduate student in rural sociology, was selected for the 2022 Dissertation Research Award at the 84th Rural Sociological Society (RSS) annual meeting in August. His proposal was titled “Forming supply chains framed within agroecological principles: Possibilities for the Andean blueberry in Antioquia, Colombia.”

Mesa is using agroecology as an approach to explore the possibilities to form supply chains by smallholders for the Andean blueberry case in Colombia to understand how they can be empowered to act and participate in the formation of this chain, and how it can help to balance power relations in agri-food systems.

The RSS Dissertation Award seeks to promote and enhance research leading to a degree by students working in substantive areas relevant to rural sociology. The awards are designed to stimulate research with national or international impact that will help develop the careers of future rural sociologists and support the broader mission of the Rural Sociological Society.

Bill McKelvey Receives David E. Baker Distinguished Extension Programmatic Leadership Award

Bill McKelvey, senior program coordinator in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, received the 2022 David E. Baker Distinguished Extension Programmatic Leadership Award as part of this year’s Extension and Engagement Week. The award recognizes an MU Extension faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in the development and delivery of strategic educational efforts to address emerging agriculture or natural resource issues.

Watch this short video to learn more about his programs addressing food insecurity in Missouri, earning him this recognition.

Mauro Palmero Accepted Into 2022-23 MU Thrive Faculty Learning Community

Mauro Palmero, associate teaching professor, has been accepted to the 2022-23 MU Thrive Faculty Learning Community. Faculty who are part of the professional learning community learn about inclusive teaching practices and have opportunities to connect with peers, experienced mentors and student leaders.

Palmero teaches in the Division of Applied Social Sciences’ hospitality management program. His courses are guest service management, hospitality facilities management, management and promotion of live events, sport venue operations and hospitality internship.

DASS Faculty Win Distinguished Manuscript Award

Ashley Mueller, (PhD ’21 Agricultural Education), program leader at USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Jon Simonsen, associate professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences; and Rebecca Mott, assistant teaching professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, were recognized with a distinguished manuscript award for “Exploring how relational motivations of extension educators influence mentoring relationships” at the American Association for Agricultural Education annual conference, held this year in Oklahoma City.

Center for Regenerative Agriculture Recognized by Missouri Department of Conservation

The CAFNR Center for Regenerative Agriculture (CRA) was recognized with the 2022 External Partner Award by the Missouri Department of Conservation Community and Private Lands Division at its annual banquet in St. Joseph on Oct. 4. Rob Myers, CRA director and adjunct associate professor in plant science and technology, and Kelly Wilson, assistant director, represented the Center for Regenerative Agriculture to receive the award. The pair were presented with a framed photo of cattle grazing on a Missouri pasture with the award notation engraved on the frame by Jason Jensen and Bill White from MDC.

CAFNR Research Symposium Poster Winners Announced

More than 90 posters were showcased at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ first in-person Research Symposium Oct. 12-13. The symposium was held in Memorial Union, and had more than 300 attendees. Winners in three poster categories — undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral — were announced during the closing session on Thursday. The winners are as follows:

Undergraduate Student Poster Award Winners

  • 3rd Place – Kristen Barwick (Biochemistry)
  • 2nd Place – Anna Gonsalves (Food, Nutrition & Exercise Science)
  • 1st Place – Aubrey Pipkins (Food, Nutrition & Exercise Science)

Graduate Student Poster Award Winners

  • 3rd Place – Alexis Jones (Animal Sciences)
  • 2nd Place – Alani Antoine-Mitchell (Biochemistry)
  • 1st Place – Ajay Gupta (Plant Science & Technology)

Postdoctoral Poster Award Winners

  • 3rd Place – Mohammed Abouelezz (Animal Sciences)
  • 2nd Place – Jamshid Ansari (School of Natural Resources)
  • 1st Place – Nga Nguyen (Biochemistry)