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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // October 10, 2019 // 1(17)
Agricultural Research Centers
Field Days (click to read)
Field Days

To showcase the vast research taking place at the Agricultural Research Centers throughout the state, there were numerous Field Days during the past few months. Below are photo slideshows from some of the most recent Field Days:

Funding Agency News
CAFNR Early Career Faculty Grants Orientation

If you’re new to the grants process at MU or need a refresher, we’d like to invite you to attend our Early Career Faculty Grants Orientation. Please join us from 10-11:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, 2-43 Agriculture Building. Snacks will be available!

The agenda includes:

  • Welcome from Shibu Jose, Associate Dean of Research
  • Introduction to the CAFNR Research Services Team
  • Grant path for researchers
  • Funding opportunities
  • Grant submission process and resources on campus
  • An overview of your responsibilities when you receive an award
  • Talking with the media about your research
  • Questions and answers

If you’re interested in attending, please send an email to Sheryl Koenig,, or Liz Bent, so we can be sure to have enough chairs. Let us know if you have any questions!

NSF Grants Tip

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has funding opportunities that are different than the usual core funding opportunities. You might consider these if they fit your situation.

  • EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) – supporting exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches (bold, ‘outside the box’ ideas). They are not intended to support the routine collection of preliminary data for a new project or grant. EAGER proposals can be submitted by any type of institution. Investigators must contact the NSF program officer(s) whose expertise is most germane to the proposal topic prior to submission of an EAGER proposal to determine the appropriateness of the work for consideration under the EAGER mechanism.
  • Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) – supporting research with severe urgency in regard to the availability of, or access to, data, facilities, including quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters.
  • Meeting/symposia/conference proposals – bringing together experts to discuss current research, expose other researchers or students to new methods and discuss future directions.
  • Supplements to active NSF grants (please click here for a listing of the most requested supplement types).
NIH: Letters of Support

Letters of support are a valuable part of your grant application. They provide an opportunity for you to document the commitment and support of your institution and collaborators, the availability of required resources, and more. Listen to a podcast or read the transcript to learn more.

An excerpt: “People can get into a lot of trouble by including the wrong thing because remember a letter of support is all about the collaboration. And so one of the things you shouldn’t be doing is putting in what is equivalent to a letter of reference. We call these “cheerleading letters”; they’re generally submitted by people who are not participating in the project and they’re talking about how important the field is, how important the work is to the field, or what a great PI the PI is, so this obviously has the potential to bias the review and it should not be in there.”

For more info on the difference between reference letters and letters of support, read NIH: Reference Letters vs. Letters of Support.

Research Roars
Caio Canella Vieira receives two awards from the NAPB (click to read)
Caio Canella Vieira receives two awards from the NAPB

Congratulations to doctoral candidate Caio Canella Vieira, who received two awards from the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) last month at their annual meeting! In addition to the Borlaug Scholar award, announced earlier, Vieira won first place in the research competition as well, beating out 150 posters from universities in the U.S. and internationally.

Anadil Iftekhar Places Second at 2019 Rural Sociological Society Annual Meeting

At the 2019 Rural Sociological Society annual meeting, rural sociology PhD student Anadil Iftekhar placed second with her poster titled “Sacred Food Culture.” Anadil’s poster presented findings from her research, which assesses how Muslims living in the U.S. and Canada consume, grow and share food and how their religious and cultural beliefs affect their food attitudes and behaviors. Learn more about Anadil’s research.

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

Alba Argerich, Lakes of Missouri Volunteer Program, 4/1/2019-3/31/2020, $15,048, Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Michael Byrne, Quantifying and Reducing Post-Release Mortality of Shortfin Mako Sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) Captured as Bycatch in Pelagic Long-line Fisheries, 8/1/2019-7/31/2020, $195,000, NOAA

David Diamond, Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS)-State, 9/1/2019-8/31/2021, $50,000, Texas A&M University

Patrick Guinan, Earth Networks Agreement, Third Modification, 9/17/2019-4/6/2020, $44,863, Earth Networks Inc.

Hong He, Post Black Dragon Fire Forest Carbon Dynamics of Greater Xing’an Mountains of Northeast China—A Comparative Study with the 1988 Yellowstone Fires, 3/1/2017-2/28/2021, $22,173, USGS

Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, International BRIC Course, 10/1/2018-9/30/2022, $50,000, Foreign Agricultural Service

Benjamin O. Knapp, Evaluating the Extent and Severity of Black Cherry Regeneration Failures in Eastern Forests and Exploring Potential Causes, 9/30/2019-9/30/2022, $37,547, U.S. Forest Service

Patrick S. Market, CESUGRRI–Leadership, Coordination, and Administrative Oversight for the Great Rivers Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, 9/15/2015-9/30/2020, $10,000, U.S. Department of Interior

Blake Meyers, Graduate Student Support/Pallavi Gupta, 7/15/2019-7/14/2022, $95,883, Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center

Rebecca North, Statewide Lakes Assessment Project, 4/1/2019-3/31/2020, $15,048, Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Rebecca North, The Unappreciated Link Between Forests and Water, 9/1/2019-12/31/2019, $9,676, Quebec government

Patricia Quackenbush, 2020 National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) Workshop, 9/30/2019-3/31/2021, $15,000, Department of Agriculture

Kevin Rice, Quantifying Invasive Insect Movement Within and Across Landscapes Using Laser Detection Technology and Unmanned Aerial Systems, 6/1/2020-6/1/2022, $7,140, Agricultural Research Service

Timothy J. Safranski, Collaborative Research: Experimental Assessment of Dental Microwear Formation, $122,472, Rutgers

Amanda Jo Marie Talbot, The Establishment of Native Plant Species for Livestock Forage and Wildlife Habitat in Silvopasture Systems, 9/2/2019-12/31/2021, $14,943, University of Minnesota

Steven R. Van Doren, Quantifying Cardiac Motion Abnormalities on MR Exams Using Principle Component Analysis, 7/1/2019-6/30/2021, $200,000, American Heart Association

Lisa Webb, Marshbird Habitat Requirements Across the Annual Cycle: Meta-Analysis and Synthesis, 9/15/2019-9/14/2021, $84,794, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

William J. Wiebold, MSMC Project #2 Soybean Extension, 9/1/2019-8/31/2020, $28,650, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council

Jeffrey Wood, Missouri Ozark AmeriFlux (MOFLUX) Project Phase Four, 10/3/2016-9/30/2021, $85,000, Oak Ridge National Lab

Provided by the MU Office of Research

CAFNR Programs of Distinction: Request for Proposals

CAFNR has existing research, teaching and Extension programs that are nationally recognized. To highlight the recognized strength of existing or future programs, CAFNR has established criteria for Programs of Distinction to recognize select programs that exemplify CAFNR’s Drive To Distinction.

CAFNR’s Programs of Distinction, together with our academic programs, define our impact on Missouri’s agriculture and natural resource economies while providing a roadmap for how CAFNR addresses grand societal challenges.

Learn more about the current Programs of Distinction.

To be identified as a CAFNR Program of Distinction, a program must demonstrate excellence in several of the following criteria:

PROGRAM HISTORY AND IDENTITY: The program will have,

  • a clearly defined goal/mission,
  • a named director or leader willing to advance the program’s goals and serve as the program’s champion,
  • a minimum of five years of programmatic activity,
  • a multidisciplinary faculty with a demonstrated commitment to the program,
  • a record of accomplishment in addressing college, campus or national challenges.

IMPACT: The program will have,

  • a well-documented record of significant impact to the state, region or nation,
  • a record of enhancing economic development (e.g., job creation), community assistance programs or providing value to a CAFNR-related industry.

RECOGNITION: The program will be,

  • an outstanding resource for addressing the specified scope of work,
  • a nationally or internationally recognized brand,
  • valued by external partners who can address the importance of the program.

Additionally, the program should align with CAFNR’s Strategic Plan and the theme of “Cultivating Health.” See the CAFNR Strategic Plan online.

Programs of Distinction will receive consideration from CAFNR leadership for the following:

  • Identification among elite programs contributing to CAFNR’s identity/image
  • Preferred consideration for future investments and resources, e.g., personnel needs, major equipment purchases, etc.
  • Priority status for CAFNR advancement fundraising efforts
  • Enhanced access to college marketing and communication services
  • Priority status for CAFNR grant management and statistical consulting support
  • Support for the development of programmatic leadership

On an annual basis, CAFNR deans and division directors will solicit and review proposals for inclusion in this program based upon the criteria stated above:

  • A call for proposals will be issued on October 1
  • Submission deadline will be December 15
  • Proposal review to be completed by February 15
  • New Programs of Distinction become effective on April 1

The Program of Distinction director will submit an annual executive summary (two-page maximum) by December 31 detailing program impacts and achievements to be reviewed by the CAFNR deans and division directors. During the first year, recognized PoDs will be scheduled to provide an overview of their programs at a CAFNR-wide event.

 All Programs of Distinction will be reviewed for continued identity as a PoD by the CAFNR deans and division directors on a five-year basis.

Academic programs are not eligible for identification as a CAFNR Program of Distinction. All CAFNR academic programs strive for excellence and undergo continuing review for improvement, relevance and importance to the stakeholders we serve.

CAFNR Programs of Distinction

Proposal Submission Form

For consideration as a CAFNR Program of Distinction please provide information for each of the items below. The proposal is not to exceed three pages in length.

A pdf version of the proposal must be submitted by the appropriate division director to the CAFNR Office of Research ( by December 15.


  • Name of the program.
  • What is the goal/mission of the program?
  • Name of program director/leader.
  • Names of other associated faculty (up to 10 key individuals).
  • When was the program initiated?
  • Document the multidisciplinary nature of the program.
  • Document the scholarly accomplishments that support the core mission.


  • Document the historical funding success of the program.
  • Describe the programmatic impact to the state, region or nation.
  • Has the program contributed to economic development of the region or state?
  • How does the program align with CAFNR’s Strategic Plan and the theme of Cultivating Health?


  • Is the program the outstanding one of its kind in the state, region or
  • Is the program a nationally or internationally recognized brand?
  • Identify external partners who can address the importance of the program and briefly describe the program’s importance to that entity.
  • Provide a link to the program web page and/or social media site.

This proposal was submitted by:

Division Director Name:


The photo featured in the header showcases chestnuts from this year’s Missouri Chestnut Roast, held at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin. The event also celebrated the 200th anniversary of the historic Hickman House. For more information about the event, read: A Celebration of Chestnuts.