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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // April 8, 2021 // 3(7)
Feature Stories
Bruce Barrett Appointed Assistant Dean in CAFNR Office of Research (click to read)
Bruce Barrett Appointed Assistant Dean in CAFNR Office of Research »

To aid in the continuing efforts to build CAFNR’s innovative research profile, the College is appointing Bruce Barrett as assistant dean in its Office of Research.

CAFNR Researchers use UAV Imagery, Artificial Intelligence to Improve Soybean Breeding (click to read)
CAFNR Researchers use UAV Imagery, Artificial Intelligence to Improve Soybean Breeding »

The Precision and Automated Agriculture Lab (PAAL) in the CAFNR Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering recently teamed up with researchers in the CAFNR Division of Plant Sciences to study yield estimation of soybean breeding lines under drought stress using unmanned aerial vehicle-based imagery and convolutional neural network.

CAFNR Announces Dissertation Research Improvement Grantees (click to read)
CAFNR Announces Dissertation Research Improvement Grantees »

The University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) Office of Research recently announced its inaugural award winners of the CAFNR Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (C-DRIG). Each grant is worth up to $2,000 to support or partially support dissertation research projects proposed by doctoral students in the College. Proposals were evaluated by the CAFNR Research Council, an advisory body that advises the CAFNR Office of Research and is made up of representatives from each division in the College.

CAFNR Research Day

Save the date for the inaugural CAFNR Research Day! The event will take place Friday, May 7, via Zoom. There will be programming for faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, including resource and funding opportunities at CAFNR, MU and national levels, with keynote speaker Daniel Marenda, NSF Program Director-BIO PRFB Program. More details to come. The CAFNR Research Day is presented by the CAFNR Research Council.

Agricultural Research Centers
Agricultural Research Center Field Day Video Playlists (click to read)
Agricultural Research Center Field Day Video Playlists »

The COVID-19 pandemic led the Agricultural Research Centers to shift from in-person field day events to virtual offerings last fall. Prerecorded videos were posted to each center’s Facebook page and website. The videos were also available via the YouTube page. Those videos were recently divided into playlists by division, highlighting our excellent faculty and staff, just in time for spring!

New Research Targets Late-Calving Dairy Cows (click to read)
New Research Targets Late-Calving Dairy Cows »

Intensive targeted synchronization improves the fertility of late-calving dairy cows in seasonal pasture-based systems, according to a paper in the Journal of Dairy Science Communications.

University of Missouri dairy specialist Stacey Hamilton, dairy veterinarian Scott Poock and animal science professor Matt Lucy published the paper in February 2021 with researchers from the Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Ireland, Tuskegee University in Alabama and the University of Costa Rica.

Grant Spotlight
 (click to read)

Ray Massey, Extension professor of agricultural and applied economics in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, recently received a grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The grant is for $498,833 and is titled, “Nudging Landowners and Tenants Toward Environmental and Social Stewardship.”

The grant was part of a recent $11.5-million USDA research investment to help ensure America’s small and medium-sized farms become more profitable and improve the quality of life in American farm communities.

“The ultimate goal of our project is to promote societal goals by fostering new leasing communication practices and contract clauses that incorporate landowners’ social ethics,” Massey said. “Landowners have expressed interest in helping young farmers and to preserve the environmental and soil quality of their farmland assets. We believe behavioral economic concepts will foster the communication necessary to incorporate social ethics. Landowners, in a manner similar to socially conscious investing, can be exposed to novel ways of using their land to meet their ethical values. Nudges can be developed that assist young and environmentally conscious farmers manage land to meet the landowners’ desires.”

Massey added that objectives of the project will be to determine which sustainable values of landowners can be more efficiently met using their land asset and development tools to foster those values in leasing arrangements.

The project will be spread out through three years. The first year will focus on implementing focus groups with landowners from Missouri and another state to gather information on the behavioral factors that might influence landowners’ motivation to adopt leasing contracts with environmental and social components. During the second year, Massey and his team will design and implement nationwide self-administered surveys with rural landowners, which will allow them to elicit potential motivators and barriers for adopting new leases with environmental components and respondents’ perceptions on the benefits and costs of having beginning or young farmers as tenants.

Two behavioral interventions (and a control group) will be designed and implemented late in Year 2 and into Year 3 through participatory workshops and economic experiments. One intervention will include an educational (non-financial) component, while the other intervention will be focused on financial incentives (tax reduction or subsidies for conservation practices). A total of 225 landowners will be invited to participate in the workshops and economic experiments that will take place during existing Extension, farm management association and commodity meetings.

Community Outreach
Bold Goal, Bold Future: Doubling the Value of Missouri Agriculture by 2030 (click to read)
Bold Goal, Bold Future: Doubling the Value of Missouri Agriculture by 2030 »

Research completed by faculty within the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources provides a foundation for MU Extension’s bold goal for a bold future. Doubling the value of Missouri agriculture by 2030 while sustaining natural resources is front of mind for specialists as they continue to build on research, partnerships and programming. Learn how MU Extension specialists are taking research and education to the next level through their new video campaign.

In the News

MU researchers get NIH grant to support further study of COVID-19 in wastewater

Columbia Missourian

Scientists receive NIH grant to monitor COVID-19 in wastewater

The Medical News

Harmful Landfill Toxins Ranked To Help Safety Planning

Technology Networks

The header photo showcases one of several CAFNR stops that Truman recently made. Truman visited the Mizzou Meat Market, Tiger Garden and is pictured here at Buck’s Ice Cream with Andrew Clarke, associate professor of food science.