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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // October 7, 2021 // 3(20)
Agricultural Research Centers
Wurdack Research Center to Host Field Day (click to read)
Wurdack Research Center to Host Field Day »

The Wurdack Research Center is set to host an in-person field day on Friday, Oct. 8.

HARC Hosts Annual Missouri Chestnut Roast (click to read)
HARC Hosts Annual Missouri Chestnut Roast »

The Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center hosted their annual Missouri Chestnut Roast on Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Center. Attendees enjoyed various presentations, samples of roasted chestnuts and Missouri specialty products. All presentations can be found the on the HARC website!

A New Soy Based Product to Help Settle Dust (click to read)
A New Soy Based Product to Help Settle Dust »

Demonstrations of this product in use can be found at our Fisher Delta Research, Extension and Education Center in Portageville, as well as our Bradford Research Center east of Columbia, via collaboration with Missouri Soybean and Bioblend.

Graduate Student Spotlight
Damilola Giwa-Daramola, Agricultural and Applied Economics (click to read)
Damilola Giwa-Daramola, Agricultural and Applied Economics

What is your research focus?

My research interests include pro-poor economic growth, social safety nets, poverty, and agriculture especially in developing countries.

Why does this field interest you? 

I chose this field because I am passionate about economics and the factors that influence economic growth and development such as agriculture, poverty, gender inequality, technological innovations, etc. Hence, my desire to pursue my career to an ultimate height to acquire the knowledge necessary to impact economic decision making, formulate economic models and policies for quantifiable growth and sustainable economic development in developing economies. This I believe will create and promote a more prosperous world and lessen the burden of support and interventional practices of the developed economies in the less developed ones; by enhancing the world being of nations and their individual people globally.

Why did you decide to come to Mizzou? 

The Agricultural and Applied Economics program at Mizzou aligns well with my academic goals. I strongly believe my academic experience at Mizzou will be invaluable in helping me achieve my career objectives as it provides a good opportunity for me to grow professionally and to work under great mentorship from my professors.

What are your future career plans? 

I hope to work in an international organization where I can use economic theory to make predictions and develop hypotheses for quantifiable pro-poor growth and development.

Who is your advisor? 

Dr. Harvey James

Grant Spotlight

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced awardees of its AFRI Sustainable Agriculture Systems Program. Two CAFNR researchers were part of the 2021 awards.

Keri Jacobs, associate professor of agricultural and applied economics, and Morgan Davis, assistant professor in soil and environmental sciences, received funding for a study led by researchers at Iowa State University titled “Regenerating America’s Working Landscapes to Enhance Natural Resources and Public Goods through Perennial Groundcover (PGC).” The University of Missouri (MU) is among seven universities and stakeholder organizations leading this five-year, $10-million grant. MU received $660,000 for their portion of the project.

Iowa State researchers are developing new approaches to cover crops that incorporate perennial groundcovers, a development that could break down barriers keeping farmers from adopting cover crops.

“I have worked with Dr. Raman at Iowa State and many of the researchers on this team and am honored to be invited to help tackle big challenges in the agriculture industry,” said Jacobs.

Annual cover crops require farmers to plant and harvest them every year, a labor intensive and costly process. This project is reimaging cover crops for farmers. Researchers are asking the question of, what if farmers plant a perennial grass that grows in the spaces between rows but won’t compete with cash crop for nutrients and won’t affect yield? What if this hypothetical perennial groundcover required little effort to manage?

Davis will lead the team to examine the environmental impacts of PGC implementation. The Davis team will serve as experts on nutrient and carbon losses. The team will collect a comprehensive data set, including a suite of soil health properties and greenhouse gas emissions. This data will be used to inform models to assess the overall sustainability of PGC systems.

“The group Iowa State has assembled is top notch,” said Davis. “My piece of the project will focus on how these systems change the soil and their impact on the environment. The systems approach to this project really gets at the heart of the interdisciplinary work my group is striving for to improve ecosystem sustainability.”

Jacobs is the CO-PD and Objective Leader for the “Socioeconomic Impacts and Policy” area. Jacobs’ group will explore the role of input-supply agribusinesses and cooperatives in Missouri in a PGC supply chain to help understand the opportunities. This objective area evaluates the conditions and policies under which the proposed Perennial Groundcover practices are economically sustainable for farmers and input suppliers and to enhance farmer and consumer well-being.

“For me, this project is an opportunity to jointly advance two professional and personal passions; to help producers as they pursue agri-enviro sustainability on their farms and to be a catalyst for improving farmers’ market power and success through producer ownership in their markets,” said Jacobs.

Introducing the Office of Sponsored Programs!

Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA) Pre-Award staff reviews all proposals and compares them to the sponsor guidelines and University policies. They work closely with the Department Research Administrators (Liz, Sheryl, Joseph, and Patience) to make sure they are submitting the best possible proposals.

Anagha Bock
Anagha Bock

Anagha Bock joined the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA) Pre-Award Team in May 2021 as Senior Grants and Contract Administrator. She works with Principal Investigators (PIs) and Department Research Administrators (DRAs) on proposal review and submission, award negotiation and set up, and serves as a resource on various research administration topics. She holds a master’s degree in Biology, completed an Executive MBA from Mizzou, and previously worked as a Senior Research Specialist in the Veterinary Pathobiology department at Mizzou. In her personal time, she enjoys Indian classical dance, playing with her two kids and long walks in the parks.

Jeri Lou Zimmerman
Jeri Lou Zimmerman

Jeri Lou Zimmerman is a Senior Grants and Contracts Administrator (SGCA) with OSP. She started with the University in December 2009 in the College of Arts and Science. In her first eight months with the University, she moved to three different portfolios and landed as one of two SGCAs that handle Pre-Award activities for CAFNR. Zimmerman also covers Ag Extension. Before coming to MU, she worked for 22 years for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education starting out as a secretary and ending as the Assistant Director of Finance for the then-Division of Instruction.

Research Roars

Robin Rotman Publishes Article Titled “Realigning the Clean Water Act: Comprehensive Treatment of Nonpoint Source Pollution”

Robin Rotman, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources, recently published an article titled “Realigning the Clean Water Act: Comprehensive Treatment of Nonpoint Source Pollution,” in Ecology Law Quarterly. The publication offers an extensive history and analysis of water quality regulation in the United States, as well as a proposed holistic framework for controlling nonpoint source pollution under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Co-authors on the publication are Kate Trauth, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Ashley Hollis, who graduated from MU with a BS in Environmental Science in 2019.

CAFNR Researchers Contribute to NRGene’s Soy Genotyping Solution

NRGene will host Simple Genotyping with Soy SNPro webinar with Pengyin Chen and Caio Canella Vieira on Wednesday, Nov. 3. Join Chen and Vieira to learn more about the new technology. Registration for the even can be found online.

Jared Decker’s Research Paper Cover of PLOS Genetics Website 

A paper by Jared Decker, associate professor in the Division of Animal Sciences, Powerful Detection of Polygenic Selection and Evidence of Environmental Adaptation in US Beef Cattle is currently the lead banner article on the PLOS Genetics website.

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

Felix Fritschi, Utilizing Genes from the Soybean Germplasm Collection to Mitigate Drought Stress, University of Arkansas, 10/1/2021-9/30/2022, $173,573

Henry Nguyen, Next Generation Soybeans with Durable Resistance to Multiple Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN) Races Through Genome Engineering of Rhg4, Smith Bucklin and Assoc, 10/1/2021-9/30/2022, $165,000


In The News

Drought Continues to Impact Cattle Numbers

Brownfield Ag News 

Some Sequoias Saved, University of Missouri Professor Advocated for Long-term Solution to California Wildfire

Columbia Daily Tribune 


The Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center held their annual Chestnut Roast on Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Center. The header photo features chestnuts being roasted for attendees to sample.