Food

Commitment to
supporting Missouri agriculture and good nutrition for healthy lives

Photo of a teen sampling food at a park event

MU Extension's Eat Smart in the Parks program works with parks and recreation staffs to provide food-sampling events and healthy meal choices to people visiting parks.

Agriculture lies at the heart of Missouri’s food systems, and is important to the state’s economy. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that agriculture as an industry remains a vital part of communities across the state.

Regional grazing schools teach management-intensive grazing

  • Increases carrying capacity of farms by 30 percent
  • Reduces pollution and fertilizer requirements
  • Value of additional stock rates brings $83.6 million more to the state economy each year
Photo of a woman with a goat

Pearls of Production, in its second year, provides innovative leadership and hands-on training for women livestock producers in Missouri.

More than 55 women practiced hands-on real world situations under the supervision of female experts like Charlotte Clifford-Rathert, small-ruminant specialist at Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and Research.

Missouri Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program

  • 18th year
  • Goal: improve reproductive efficiency of beef herd and increase farm income
  • To date: 822 farms enrolled
  • 122,970 heifers
  • 243 veterinarians
  • 141 sales

With an aging population of farmers set to retire in the coming years, the next generation must have the tools and knowledge to ensure a smooth transition of farm ownership and production. That’s why we developed Your Farm, Your Business, Your Future — a curriculum to help farmers learn how to transfer property safely and effectively to the next generation of Missouri farmers.

The team behind the curriculum has hosted seminars and educational sessions — and even a play in the case of the MU Extension center in Livingston County — to illustrate the process of estate succession and retirement planning for farmers across Missouri. This new curriculum helps farmers create a plan for passing on their land and farm to the next generation.

"Whether reaching out to youth through classroom education or adults in community settings, the goal of the FNEP is to help participants to make behavior changes to achieve lifelong health and fitness.”

But there’s more to Missouri’s food system than safeguarding agriculture’s future. That’s why MU Extension runs Family Nutrition Education Programs (FNEP) in nearly every county of the state to educate audiences of all ages on the importance of nutrition and a healthy diet. In addition to the educational and outreach activities, MU Extension also partners with local and state organizations, as part of the Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition (MOCAN) coalition, to expand the reach and influence of our programs.

By reaching out to people where they live in community centers and schools across Missouri, specialists with FNEP work to bring about meaningful, lasting improvements in how Missourians of all ages approach food and nutrition. Many have stories ready when you ask them about what they’ve been working on, such as this one from Terressa Caine Clary, a nutrition program associate in St. Louis County with the Eating Smart Being Active (ESBA) program.

"Kids in the Kitchen teaches important life skills: how to make healthy food choices, food preparation, cooking and food safety.”

—Sue Robinson, nutrition program associate, Nodaway County

“It was on the last day of class when a participant came up to me and said that she was a diabetic, but since taking the ESBA class her numbers were much better. She said she understood so much more about the food she was eating, portion sizes and label reading.”

FNEP specialists also conduct programs in schools to emphasize the importance of healthy food choices and teach cooking skills to help children prepare nutritious meals. In Nodaway County, Sue Robinson has had considerable success teaching children about the benefits of healthy eating through the Kids in the Kitchen classes.