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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // September 23, 2021 // 3(19)
Feature Stories
New Director Joins the Fisher Delta Research, Extension and Education Center (click to read)
New Director Joins the Fisher Delta Research, Extension and Education Center »

Aaron Brandt joins the Center from Bayer Crop Science in South Dakota

An Innovative Approach to Networking (click to read)
An Innovative Approach to Networking »

Rebecca Mott and Amy Leman created an innovative teaching approach to enhance their students' experience

CAFNR Welcomes 2021 Cohort of Visiting Faculty, Students from University of the Western Cape  

Since 1986, the University of Missouri South African Education Program (UMSAEP) has partnered with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town, South Africa, to advance mutual understanding between the institutions’ faculties and foster cooperative teaching, research and service projects. In recent years, several CAFNR faculty have developed relationships with UWC researchers in the Department of Biotechnology. Current collaborations include:

  • Walter Gassmann, director of the Bond Life Sciences Center, is hosting Ashwil Klein and his PhD student, Mihlali Badiwe. Klein is principal investigator of the Plant Omics Laboratory in the Department of Biotechnology at UWC. He investigates the impact of combined biotic and abiotic stresses on economically important crop species.
  • Abe Koo, associate professor of biochemistry at MU, is hosting Takalani Mulaudzi-Masuku, who is a UWC senior lecturer and researcher in molecular biology and tissue culture.Andrew Clarke, professor of food science at MU, will be starting a new collaboration with Arina Hitzeroth, a food microbiologist with the Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics at UWC.
  • Ndomelele (Ndiko) Ludidi is head of UWC’s Department of Biotechnology, with research focusing on genetic control of plant responses to salinity and drought stress. He will be returning to MU this fall to complete a Fulbright Program with Scott Peck, professor of Biochemistry, and Robert Sharp, director of the MU Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG). He will be joined by his student, Ali Elnaeim Elbasheir Ali.

DASS Team Receives $1.425 Million to Form a Policy Research Center Focused on Agricultural and Rural Finance 

Through a cooperative agreement funded by USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist, a new policy research center at MU will develop models for projecting agricultural finance conditions at the state or regional level, explore and communicate how farm policies will impact regional agricultural and rural economies, and serve as a national resource on agricultural and rural finance topics. Faculty leading the center’s establishment and work will include Sarah Low principal investigator, and John Kruse co-principal investigator. The new center will align with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institution (FAPRI). Watch for more information about then center’s launch in the months ahead.

DeLine Holdings, CAFNR Partner to Unveil Community Research Site 

DeLine Holdings and the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources celebrated the grand opening of the DeLine Community Research Site Thursday, Sept. 16, at the site northwest of Columbia. The site is a new collaboration developing outdoor research and educational opportunities to facilitate a better understanding of natural systems and processes.


Agricultural Research Centers
Hundley-Whaley Research Center Field Day (click to read)
Hundley-Whaley Research Center Field Day »

The Hundley-Whaley Research Center held their field day on Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Center in Albany, Mo. Attendees enjoyed a classic tractor exhibit, a self-guided tour of the farm and several different workshops.

Celebrating Fall Harvest Season with Roasted Chestnuts (click to read)
Celebrating Fall Harvest Season with Roasted Chestnuts »

The Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC) will hold the 15th Annual Missouri Chestnut Roast Festival Oct. 2

Science Night at Jefferson Farm and Garden (click to read)
Science Night at Jefferson Farm and Garden

Science Night at Jefferson Farm and Garden: Decoding Tree Rings was held on Thursday, Sept. 16. The event featured tree rings scientists including Mike Stambaugh, 13,000- year-old tree wood samples and the Tree Troll!

The CAFNR Grants Team is Expanding!
 (click to read)

Patience Okiring joined CAFNR Sept. 21 to help with the growing number of proposals coming through the CAFNR grants office. The average yearly total of proposals submitted in CAFNR from FY 2015-19 was about $97 million. In FY2020, the total was $106.7 million and in FY2021 it was $136.5 million. The CAFNR faculty have been working hard to get research funding and we want to continue to provide excellent assistance to get fundable proposals submitted.

Okiring has been a grant writer for the Bond Life Sciences Center (LSC) for three and a half years, so she is familiar with the types of proposals she will encounter in CAFNR. Okiring has been with MU since 2014. Prior to her work in the LSC she served as the Inclusivity Center Coordinator for the College of Engineering and as Executive Assistant in Family and Community Medicine. She received a BA in Creative Arts from Moi University in Kenya, an MA in Theatre from the University of Central Missouri, and an MA in Communication from the University of Central Missouri.

As part of the CAFNR Grants Team, she will assist with proposal development, including finding funding opportunities, guideline review, proposal document advice and review, interpretation of sponsors’ expectations, and submission to OSPA. She will be joining the current team of Liz Bent, grant proposal administrator, Sheryl Koenig, grant proposal manager, and Joseph Fischer, grants coordinator.

Research Roars

Ben Knapp Named Buddy Temple Visiting Scholar 

Ben Knapp, associate professor in the School of Natural Resources, was named the first Buddy Temple Visiting Scholar through the T.L.L. Temple Foundation. The Temple Foundation first purchased a parcel of land in 1902, which is now part of the Boggy Slough Conservation Area (BSCA) in Lufkin, Texas.

To honor Buddy Temple, who acquired BSCA in 2013, the foundation named three programmatic elements of BSCA after him: The Buddy Temple Visiting Scholar, The Buddy Temple Graduate Fellow (graduate student), and the Buddy Temple Symposium.

Knapp was named as the first Buddy Temple Scholar. Through this opportunity, Knapp will partner with BSCA and conduct research that promotes natural regeneration of desired tree species while managing with prescribed fire. The visiting scholar program will occur over a two-year period. Knapp will make periodic trips to Texas to collect field research and work with managers at BSCA.

Justine Mucinski Receives Highly Competitive Dissertation Fellowship 

Justine Mucinski, a PhD student in Food, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, received a highly competitive dissertation fellowship through the MU Graduate School for the 2021-2022 academic year. Mucinski is a senior graduate student in Elizabeth Parks’ lab. Mucinski will be completing experiments for her dissertation, “Quantifying Ceremide Synthesis in Vivo, Impact on Liver Health and Mitochondrial Function.”

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

Kerry Clark, Strengthening Food Safety Systems Africa, Foreign Ag SVC, 9/7/2021- 9/6/2023, $299,998.60

John Lory, Testing Protocols for NRCS Field Offices to Rapidly Identify Erosion Features and Estimate Surface Residue Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Dept of Ag, 9/15/2021- 9/30/2023, $47,318

Azlin Mustapha, CFNES Food Science Research Assistantships (Mao), Lincoln University, 8/1/2021- 5/31/2023, $18,026

Azlin Mustapha, CFNES Food Science Research Assistantships (Chenggeer), Lincoln University, 8/1/2021-5/31/2023, $18,026

Robert Myers, Establishment of Center of Regenerative Agriculture, Mo Dept of Conservation, 7/1/2021-6/30/2022, $50,000

Michelle Segovia, AI Institute for Resilient Agriculture, Iowa State University, 9/1/2021- 8/31/2022, $71,164

Jordon Wade, Linking Cover Crop Termination Effects on Soil Health and Crop Water Availability to Cash Crop Productivity, Dept of Ag, 9/29/2021- 10/15/2024, $129,9326

Jordon Wade, Beta-Glucosidase, POxC, Core Bulk Density and wet aggregate stability analysis for the soil samples submitted by NRCS Analysis of the Dynamic Soil Properties project soil samples for the National Soil Survey Laboratory, Dept of Ag, 9/9/2021- 9/24/2024, $244,630

Jianfeng Zhou, Adapting Deep Learning for Three-Dimensional Mapping of Soil Carbon, Agricultural Research SVC, 9/1/2021- 8/31/2022, $30,500

In The News

Some Sequoias Saved, but University of Missouri Professor Advocates for Long-Term Solution to California Wildfires 

Columbia Daily Tribune 

Building a More Resilient Beef Supply Chain

NIFA Update 

Stocker Cattle Could Add Value to Your Operation Without Breaking the Bank

Feedlot Magazine 

Jefferson Farm and Garden hosted the last Science Night of the season on Thursday, Sept. 16. The header photo features Mike Stambaugh, associate professor in the School of Natural Resources. Stambaugh spoke to guests about tree-rings and showcased samples of 13,000-year-old tree wood samples!