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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // July 14, 2022 // 4(14)
Feature Story
CAFNR Ag-celerator for Agricultural Technologies (CAAT) Winners Announced (click to read)
CAFNR Ag-celerator for Agricultural Technologies (CAAT) Winners Announced »

Two CAFNR faculty and their teams were recently awarded the inaugural CAAT grants. CAAT is designed to accelerate the translation of agriculture, food and natural resources innovations into products and processes that improve the lives of people in Missouri and beyond. Read more about Peter Sutovsky and Jianfeng Zhou and their award-winning translational research projects.

Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station
Moving the MOAES Forward (click to read)
Moving the MOAES Forward »

Restructured experiment station centers focused on sharing agricultural advances with Missouri farmers and ranchers.

Research Highlights
CAFNR 'Firestarters' (click to read)
CAFNR 'Firestarters' »

Mizzou features alumni (including one from Biochemistry) and faculty (including CAFNR researchers Randy Prather and Mark Morgan) who, each in their own way, start things, make things, shake things up

CAFNR Partners with Lincoln University for Summer STEM Institute (click to read)
CAFNR Partners with Lincoln University for Summer STEM Institute

CAFNR research and academic opportunities are being showcased to high school students as part of a summer STEM institute hosted by Lincoln University. The institute, which runs July 10-23, is part of competitive funding from NASA to showcase the impact of climate change on agriculture and ecosystems.

Students are visiting laboratories of CAFNR faculty including Noel Aloysius, assistant professor, natural resources and bioengineering; Jianfeng Zhou, assistant professor, plant science and technology; and Morgan Davis, assistant professor, soil and environmental sciences. Other Mizzou faculty participating include Jaya Ghosh, program director, MU Coulter Biomedical Accelerator, and adjunct professor, Trulaske College of Business; and Sounak Chakraborty, associate professor of statistics. Participants also heard a presentation by the CAFNR student recruitment team while on campus, showcasing our college’s academic and extracurricular opportunities, while eating lunch provided by CAFNR.

The institute aims to promote STEM education and prepare the future workforce among minority and underrepresented students. A total of 20 high-school students from Missouri (and one from California) are attending. Topics covered include GIS and remote sensing, artificial intelligence, big data, greenhouse gas emissions, hydrology, soil health and microbiology.

This is the first year for the institute; students include high-school freshmen and sophomores. They will also get to participate in trips to St. Louis and the Lake of the Ozarks, in addition to time spent on Lincoln and Mizzou’s campuses.

The institute is organized by Sougata Bardhan, assistant professor of natural resource management at Lincoln University. Bardhan is also an adjunct assistant professor in SNR, and served as an assistant research professor in soil, environmental and atmospheric sciences from 2015-2021.

(Photo above: Assistant Professor Morgan Davis shows students soil monoliths to help understand the different soil types and characteristics.)

Graduate Student Spotlight
Colby Redifer, Animal Sciences (click to read)
Colby Redifer, Animal Sciences

What is your research focus?

My research is focused on developmental programming in beef cattle or the concept that the maternal environment during pregnancy and the early postnatal environment can affect the growth and development of the offspring and have long-lasting consequences. The overall research objective is to determine the impacts late gestational maternal nutrient restriction has on nutrient utilization by the calf, both pre- and postnatally. Specifically, I am interested in how maternal nutrition may impact blood flow to the pregnant uterus and what consequences this may have on placental and fetal growth and development.

Why does this field interest you?

I was fortunate to grow up on a farm where my family raised cattle, sheep, and goats. Each spring I remember waiting with great anticipation for the pregnant dams to have offspring and then watch that next generation grow and mature into breeding animals themselves. It was that childhood fascination with pregnant dams and their offspring that laid the foundation for my scientific interests in developmental programming of livestock species. I hope that by gaining a better understanding of how the maternal environment during pregnancy affects the offspring it will allow for more efficient livestock production by farmers and ranchers across the country.

Why did you decide to come to Mizzou?

My advisor, Dr. Meyer and I had very similar research interests and wanted to answer a lot of the same scientific questions. It worked out that she had this funded research project that would make up the core of my PhD program and allow me to study in an area I’m passionate about but still challenge my critical thinking and broaden my toolbox of skills. It didn’t hurt that I’d get to be a part of a very respected animal science research division and that the state of Missouri ranks 3rd nationally for beef cow inventory.

What are your future career plans?

I am still undecided on which direction I want to go for a career but am certain that I want to remain involved in research and pursue the scientific curiosities that still remain. That may come in a partial research appointment position at a university, a research scientist for the United States Department of Agriculture or work in R&D or technical sales for a livestock nutrition company.

Who is your advisor?

Dr. Allison Meyer, an associate professor of nutritional physiology/ruminant nutrition in the Division of Animal Sciences.

Research Roars

Rob Myers Wins the 2022 Agronomic Education and Extension Award 

Rob Myers, adjunct professor of plant science and technology and director of the MU Center for Regenerative Agriculture, was awarded the Agronomic Education and Extension Award from the American Society of Agronomy. The Agronomic Education and Extension Award recognizes career excellence in education and/or extension.

Alan Spell and Sarah Low Receive Community, Economic and Workforce Research Award 

Alan Spell, assistant extension professor, agricultural and applied economics, and Sarah Low, associate professor, regional economics, received a Community, Economic and Workforce Research Award from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), which was presented in June at the C2ER Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio. The award recognizes their “Economic Benefits of Expanding Broadband in Select Missouri Counties” report published by Exceed – Regional Economic and Entrepreneurial Development and University of Missouri Extension.

CAFNR faculty members have received the following recent grants (listed by Principal Investigator):

Michael Byrne, Factors influencing wild turkey nest success and poult survival in Northern Missouri, Missouri Department of Conservation, 7/1/2021-6/30/2022, $234,527

Gurbir Singh, Soil water chemistry impacts following application of anhydrous ammonia with CENTURO nitrogen stabilizer in corn, Koch Agronomic Services, 5/4/2022-3/31/2023, $25,270

In the News

Zinc regulator of sperm functions during capacitation process

Controlled drainage gains interest with extremes
Missouri Farmer Today

Bugging out: MU professor travels world to study insects
Columbia Missourian

Dryness intensifies in Missouri
Jefferson City News-Tribune

Westhoff: What goes up: Grain prices since the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Columbia Daily Tribune

Drop in gas prices could spur demand, support cattle prices
Wisconsin State Farmer

Missouri extends to D2 drought amid hot spell
Farm Progress