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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // November 4, 2021 // 3(22)
Message from the Associate Dean
 (click to read)

Colleagues – I’m excited to announce a new funding program, CAFNR Ag-celerator for Agricultural Technologies (CAAT), to promote translational research in CAFNR. This program 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. CAFNR Strategic Plan has a stated goal of doubling the intellectual property outputs and outcomes over the next five years. CAAT bridges the gap between academic research and industry by providing funding to CAFNR faculty-led teams to perform experiments to generate data that will ultimately lead to commercialization of new technologies. The program will fund two types of proposals, “full” proposals up to $50,000 and “seed” proposals up to $15,000.The first step in the application process is a Letter of Intent (LOI), which is due by December 15, 2021.The first link above provides additional details.

Shibu Jose
CAFNR Associate Dean for Research

Feature Story
A Big Plan for a Small Berry (click to read)
A Big Plan for a Small Berry »

Andrew Thomas, research assistant professor in the Division of Plant Science and Technology, has received a Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grant.

Research Highlights
Groundbreaking Work (click to read)
Groundbreaking Work »

Randy Prather, Curators' Distinguished Professor in Animal Sciences, speaks about the latest pig kidney breakthrough.

Beef Reproduction Workshop at MU Southwest Center

The Southwest Research Center will hold a Whole System Management of Beef Cattle Reproduction Workshop on Friday, Nov. 12, at 9 a.m. Topics include managing for an ultra-short calving season, managing cow body condition economically, heifer selection and more. Registration for the workshop can be found here. 

Grant Spotlight

University of Missouri and University of Georgia receive NSF-NIFA award to help fight the soybean cyst nematode

The National Science Foundation (NSF) – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Plant-Biotic Interactions Program has jointly funded an award to researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) and the University of Georgia (UGA) to help combat a devastating soybean pathogen, soybean cyst nematode (SCN).

University of Missouri’s (MU) Lesa Beamer, professor in biochemistry, and University of Georgia (UGA), researcher Melissa Mitchum, professor of plant nematology at UGA, will co-direct the 4-year award, which totals $1.2 million.

“I think the funding agencies really liked the collaborative nature of this project,” said Beamer. “It’s been very exciting for me to do research that addresses a real-world problem.”

Beamer and Mitchum started collaborating on the project several years ago, to try to understand biochemical basis of soybean resistance to SCN. The use of resistant soybean cultivars is the most effective way to manage SCN infestations in the field. In an interdisciplinary effort, researchers from MU Biochemistry, including Beamer who specializes in structural biology, were able to show how the variants identified by Mitchum, who has done studies identifying amino acid variants that were associated with the resistance to SCN in the past, affect function of the soybean enzyme.

“SCN adaptation on the major source of resistance found in more than 95% of commercial soybeans has become a widespread problem,” said Mitchum. “I’m excited by the interdisciplinary nature of this project and the opportunity we have to translate a discovery into a solution to help growers fight back.”

The current award will follow up on these initial results and aims to further explore the biochemistry and 3D structure of the soybean enzyme and genetic variants. In parallel, Mitchum will study the metabolic basis of resistance and effects on plant growth. Together, these researchers hope to identify novel ways to combat SCN infestations in soybeans.



Research Roars

Adam Cletzer Recognized as the 2021 Distinguished Agricultural Leadership Educator 

Adam Cletzer, assistant professor in agricultural education and leadership and director of student services, received the 2021 Distinguished Agricultural Leadership Educator Award for the North Central Region. The award was presented at the 2021 American Association for Agricultural Educators North Central Region conference.

Agricultural and Applied Economics Doctoral Students Took Top Honors at Mizzou’s Three Minute Thesis Competition

Lucy McGowan and Barituka Bekee, both doctoral candidates in agricultural and applied economics, took top honors at Mizzou’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. McGowan placed first, and Bekee tied for second and won the People’s Choice award. 3MT competitions challenge students to explain their research in a three-minute presentation that uses only one slide.

McGowan titled her presentation “Using Simulations to Better Understand Entrepreneurial Decision Making.” She advances to represent Mizzou at the Midwest 3MT competition, which the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools will host at its annual meeting in April. Randall Westgren serves as McGowan’s advisor.

Bekee presented “Livelihood Resilience of Rural Households.” Corinne Valdivia serves as his advisor.

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

Kaitlyn Bissonnette, SCN Coalition: Reinforcing and Maintaining Local Efforts and Sustainable Yields, University of Kentucky Research Foundation, 10/1/2021-9/30/2022, $14,000

Kevin Bradley, Weed Seed Depletion: Investigating an Overlooked Benefit of Cover Crops, Kansas State University, 10/1/2021-9/30/2022, $6,006

Kevin Bradley, Take Action — Multi State Herbicide Resistant Crops and Weeds Educational Program, Purdue University, 10/1/2021-9/30/2022, $15,000

Pengyin Chen, Towards the Development of High-Yielding Cultivars & Germplasm with Optimum Oil and Protein Content and Innovative Oil Attributes for the Current Market, Ohio State University, 10/1/2021-9/30/2022, $66,826

Hannah Hemmelgarn, Putting Maple on the Map in the Lower Midwest, Ag Marketing SVC, 9/30/2021-9/29/2024, $473,481

Patrick Market, GRRI CESU- Leadership, Coordination, and Administrative Oversight for the Great Rivers Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, National Park SVC, 9/1/2021-8/31/2026, $26,200

Robert Myers, Cover Crop Training Renewal, Walton Family Foundation, 11/1/2021-2/29/2024, $250,000

Harley Naumann, Establishing a Forage Nutrition Laboratory to Strengthen Forage-Animal Science Curriculum and Expand Research and Outreach in Livestock Communities, University of Tennessee, 9/1/2021-8/31/2024, $106,737

Kevin Rice, Research and Extension on Emerging Soybean Pests in the North Central Region, Ohio State University, 10/1/2021-9/30/2022, $49,480

In The News

Meet the Soil Whisper Still Uncovering Secrets of The Soil at World’s Third Oldest Continuous Research Farm

Farm Journal Ag Web

In a First, Surgeons Attached a Pig Kidney to a Human, and it Worked

The New York Times 

Know Your SCN Numbers

Missouri Ruralist

Cutting Into The Center of Meat Processors’ Labor Pains, This State Is Rolling Out a Hot Dog Factory on Wheels


Soy-based Roof Restoration Product Applied at A.L. Gustin Gold Course 

Missouri Soybeans

These Crops Crops You See Missouri Farmers Planting Won’t Be Harvested. That’s a Good Thing

The Kansas City Star

A couple of weeks ago the Southwest Research, Extension and Education Center drilled rye and clover into their field. This initiates a three-year organic plot research grant.