MU research farms, outreach centers to adjust research

The University of Missouri is gearing up to restructure the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station which includes MU’s outreach centers and research farms.

Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins tells Brownfield the changes will allow the research partner to better serve farmers across the state.

“This plan puts in place four hub research centers and four extension centers around existing facilities,” he said. “So, basically we’re reorganizing [and] realigning but ultimately to provide better outcomes.”

The four research hubs divide the state into the southwest, delta, Mid-Missouri and northern region and are made up of the the Southwest Research, Extension and Education Center, T.E. “Jake” Fisher Delta Research, Extension and Education Center, Mid-Missouri Research, Extension and Education Center, and the Northern Research, Extension and Education Center. The four education-only centers will be split into their own northwest and central regions.

Hawkins said university budget cuts the last several years have lessened its ability to update equipment and keep needed staff numbers causing diminishing research.

Hawkins said fewer than 12 of the current 67 staff positions will be cut as the system is restructured and MU says they will save more than $800,000 dollars in total.

He said MU’s restructured system will lead to more cutting-edge agricultural research.

“We have to be even more involved in the space of precision agriculture, climate, livestock genetics, weed control… there are so many issues out there that are both exciting as well as challenging for farm and ranch families and this is the role the university can play,” Hawkins said.

MU is also establishing an Agriculture Experiment Station advisory committee which Hawkins says will help the station be more strategic with its funding. MU is slated to realign its research and outlook properties within the next nine months.

Garrett Hawkins Interview

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