Q&A with Denice Ferguson

Agricultural business field specialist Denice Ferguson supports programming across four counties.

Denice is an agricultural business specialist serving the Northwest region.
Denice is an agricultural business specialist serving the Northwest region.

What do you do in your current role with the University of Missouri?

I am a field specialist in agricultural business serving Andrew, Buchanan, Gentry and Daviess counties in the Northwest region. As a member of the ag business group, I bring programs like Ag Lenders and Farm Lease to the communities I serve, and I support other agricultural programming, such as Safety Acres and Grazing Schools. I’m also the county engagement specialist for Buchanan County and continue to be involved with many business and community projects, such as the Excite II Vaccination grant working with local pork processing plants and the immigrant workforce. I have also been working with the Digitally Connected Communities course to lead five Northwest Missouri counties (Atchison, Holt, Nodaway, Gentry and Worth) as they develop an actionable plan to expand broadband access.

How long have you worked in this position?

I began my career with Extension in March of 2019 and had a whirlwind first year as I learned about all the resources the University of Missouri Extension had to share with our state. Just as I began to settle into my role, the pandemic changed things up. Agriculture is resilient, and I feel like we haven’t lost any momentum. Many of the agricultural businesses showed resilience by becoming increasingly entrepreneurial and actively sought new ways to market and sell their products. The pandemic also created a ready audience of virtual learners which makes virtual programming more accessible and increases our reach.

What is your favorite part about the work you do?

The best part of representing Extension in the field is being a trusted and unbiased source of information that the public reaches out to when they have a question or problem.  It gives me a sense of pride to continue the work of Extension and follow in the footsteps of so many field specialists like Robert Kelly and Elbert Turner, who served Northwest Missouri before me for many years.

Denice and her two sons, Henry and Maxwell

How are you helping MU A&E Extension reach our #2xAg2030 goal?

As a member of the ag business program, I have served as a business counselor in the Missouri SBDC for Agriculture, Food & Forestry to support entrepreneurs in agricultural business to access resources in capital funding, direct marketing and accounting systems, to list a few. I have also worked one-on-one with clients and as a field specialist in agricultural business. I believe this was a new and much needed access point for clients in this industry to address business needs and feel comfortable working with friendly faces.

What is something your CAFNR and MU Extension teammates may not know about you?

I was raised on a multi-generational corn and soybean operation just outside St. Joseph, MO, and I’m blessed to raise my twin sons, Henry and Maxwell (age 11), on the same farm.

Travel is my passion, and I always have my passport and suitcases ready to go, but most of my time is spent with family. I played college volleyball, and during the summer when it works out, I still like to play in tournaments around the KC area.

What is your hometown, place of high school graduation and degrees/universities?

My hometown is St. Joseph, MO where I graduated from Central High School. My B.S. in business administration and M.S. in information management with an emphasis on enterprise resource planning are from Missouri Western State University. I have also completed the SAP TERP10 certification.

The Agriculture and Environment Program is a partnership between MU Extension and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.