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MU Southwest Research Center will host FFA field day, Sept. 8


Mike Burden
Senior Information Specialist
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, University of Missouri
Phone: 573-882-5919

Published: Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011

MT. VERNON, Mo. – More than 2,000 FFA students will travel to the University of Missouri Southwest Research Center for its annual Agricultural Education Day, Sept. 8. Agriculture experts from dozens of disciplines will present at the Center, one of 20 around the state at which the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources conducts impactful research benefitting Missourians.

Students will take walking tours where they can hear presentations on a variety of agricultural and conservation topics, from marketing fruits and vegetables to establishing a pasture-based dairy. They can watch a sawmill demonstration, and check out a tornado safe room, as well as learn about the many careers in agriculture.

Tony Rickard, MU dairy specialist, will have a fistulated cow for students to see and feel. “For students it’s a wow factor. From the science aspect it’s a tremendous tool that we need before we go into the field,” Rickard said. Research using cows with windows in their flanks allows scientists to observe the digestive process in action, yielding data that informs forage and nutritional strategies for dairy and beef cows.

Rickard said it’s important for students to see the diversity of career opportunities in agriculture as well. With a field of experts who work in agricultural media, viticulture, dairy production, energy savings, agricultural engineering and many other areas, the Field Day offers FFA students myriad options to consider. It also provides an opportunity to achieve all of the missions of the University—discover, disseminate, preserve and apply knowledge.

Tours start at 9 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Southwest Research Center at or 417-466-2148, or visit the website:

Located four miles southwest of Mt. Vernon, Southwest Research Center was established in 1959. Today researchers address the main agricultural concerns of the area, including dairy, beef, forage and horticultural crop production. Faculty, staff and students collaborate in ongoing research on pasture-based dairy, beef genetics, nutrition and management systems.

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources is at the center of ensuring sustainability for future generations by infusing innovative research, creative collaboration and the most advanced science-based technology with confidence, creative thinking, conscience, and commitment to excellence.