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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // September 10, 2020 // 2(17)
Grant Spotlight
NIFA Grant Recipients: Mary Hendrickson & Kerry Clark (click to read)
NIFA Grant Recipients: Mary Hendrickson & Kerry Clark

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently invested $23 million to help boost organic farming and ranching. NIFA awarded 12 Organic Transitions Program (ORG) grants totaling $5.6 million to support research, education and extension efforts to help existing and transitioning organic livestock and crop producers adopt organic practices and improve their market competitiveness.

Mary Hendrickson (above left), associate professor of rural sociology in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), and Kerry Clark (above right), director of CAFNR International Programs and assistant research professor of rural sociology in CAFNR, were the recipients of one of the ORG grants, for more than $420,000. Their project is titled “Understanding and Overcoming Barriers to Adoption of Organic Agriculture in the Mid-South.”

“The goal of this research is to identify adoption challenges specific to the Mid-South, and to offer insights about specific policy supports, agricultural research, organic processing infrastructure development and market development needed in the region,” Hendrickson said. “By identifying and better understanding these challenges, extension, university and governmental agencies will be better equipped to serve producers in the region.”

The specific objectives of this project include identifying region-specific economic, social and biophysical barriers to USDA Certified Organic adoption in the Mid-South, a region including parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee. Hendrickson and Clark will also work to identify region-specific opportunities and farmer-led innovations that could increase USDA Certified Organic farm numbers and acreage, as well as identify public policy measures that have impacted organic adoption in other regions and explore their feasibility for the Mid-South. Extension objectives include developing and implementing an outreach program for farmers and educators addressing specific challenges and opportunities identified by this research, and supporting new, and strengthening emerging, networks of producers that can support peer-to-peer learning, develop collective methods to secure inputs and pursue marketing opportunities.

Hendrickson and Clark will be working with the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, located in Oklahoma, on the project.

Graduate Student Spotlight
Sarah Brown, Natural Resources - Human Dimensions (click to read)
Sarah Brown, Natural Resources - Human Dimensions

What is your research focus?
I am an M.S. student pursuing my degree in natural resources. My emphasis area is human dimensions. My research focus is on understanding Missouri landowner perceptions of conservation easements. The main goal of my research is to gain insights into what motivates a landowner to make the decision to place their property under a conservation easement, but I am also examining other concepts, such as how conservation easements alter the land-use behaviors of landowners and how landowners with conservation easements on their property learned about the tool.

Why does this field interest you?
I think that so many challenges faced today with natural resources are human-related, so I find the application of social science research methods to the context of natural resource conservation to be very important and fascinating.

Why did you decide to come to Mizzou?
I have always lived in the Midwest, so I felt it was great to have the opportunity to study in the region. Also, I felt that the faculty here were very communicative and just as excited to work with me as I was to work with them.

What are your future career plans?
I would like to continue conducting social science research that has the ability to inform natural resource policy and improve human experience with conservation by pursuing a career in human dimensions of natural resources.

Research Roars
Henry Nguyen Named Editor of The Plant Genome (click to read)
Henry Nguyen Named Editor of The Plant Genome »

The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) recently announced three appointments/reappointments of journal editors. Henry Nguyen, professor in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) Division of Plant Sciences, was named the editor of The Plant Genome.

Agricultural Research Centers
FSRC Virtual Field Day - Sept. 15 (click to read)
FSRC Virtual Field Day - Sept. 15 »

Forage Systems Research Center opens its doors to the public to share research findings and information related to agriculture and natural resources during its field day, which will be virtual this year.

They will offer a handful of online, prerecorded presentations that will be available via the Center’s website and Facebook page.

Thompson Virtual Field Day - Sept. 24 (click to read)
Thompson Virtual Field Day - Sept. 24 »

The educational field day for Thompson Research Center will be virtual this year. Check their website for the schedule of prerecorded presentations on a variety of topics.

Visit the links below to check out the first six Agricultural Research Center Virtual Field Days.

Your Response Requested

The Office of Research and Economic Development, along with faculty across campus, is working to develop a new Materials Fabrication and Characterization Facility (MFCF), which will be a state-of-the-art core facility dedicated to providing Mizzou and UM System community researchers and industry partners with access to high-end instrumentation, collaborative space and technical expertise to solve complex materials problems.

The MFCF will act as a research, service, education and training facility with the ability to perform the most advanced materials research, sample processing and proof-of-concept research. MFCF creates the opportunity for the exchange of novel ideas and science for the next generation materials design and innovation, fostering an atmosphere of collaborative interdisciplinary research and industrial partnership opportunities.

To better serve you and other researchers, Mizzou would like to know more about your materials and fabrication needs and skills. Please consider taking a brief survey that will allow Mizzou to better serve you while informing their efforts to outfit the facility. Your feedback is appreciated!

In the News

MU Extension Phelps County launches practical topics series during social distancing
The Rolla Daily News

Sudden death syndrome found in Missouri soybean fields
The Farmer

Nature’s soundtrack returns after centurylong absence

Rice and cotton crops thrive with sunshine
Citizen Tribune

Project uses wastewater samples to track coronavirus spread

Did you know? Missouri is ranked fourth for rice production in the nation. At our Fisher Delta Research Center in the Bootheel, we conduct research to help Missouri farmers grow rice efficiently and productively. September is National Rice Month. Learn more about the Fisher Delta Research Center at