Q&A with Mary Sobba

Sobba is a field specialist in agricultural business.

A headshot of Mary Sobba smiling into the camera.

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

I am a field specialist in agricultural business based in Audrain County. There are many things to do every day, but the most important things are building and maintaining relationships with clients and co-workers. It is very important to help clients by answering questions and providing information that leads to better decisions and increased profits. My role is working with farmers, agribusinesses, stakeholders, councils and co-workers. My work is focused on a variety of farm management and ag business topics. Recently, the emphasis has been on farm leases and farm tax-related issues.

How long have you worked in this position?

My Extension career began in 1993.

What is your favorite part about the work you do?

The people! Extension is about helping people help themselves. It is gratifying to see the “light bulb” moments when understanding strikes working with individuals or in classroom settings. It is also very rewarding to receive feedback years later about how ideas and information were successful. Extension is also about our co-workers. Some of the most interesting and fun times have been working with teams of co-workers through projects, classes and even national meetings. I also enjoy the variety of work. For example, working individually with farmers on projects, teaching classes, serving on national boards and working and learning with co-workers.

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

Focusing on profits is key when working with farmers individually and in groups. There are two ways to increase profit, first through increased revenue and the second is reduced expenses. So, keeping the focus on farm business profit will contribute to individuals making good decisions. Another way is through our tax schools making sure the tax preparers have the information and resources necessary to help their clients.

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

I used to be a certified EMT and volunteered on an ambulance team in rural Texas.

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

I now live in Mexico, MO. I graduated high school in Garnett, KS. I have a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Kansas State University and a master’s in business administration with a concentration in agribusiness also from Kansas State University.