University of Missouri plans to restructure ag experiment stations

fisher delta research centerUniversity of Missouri officials announced July 14 that over the next nine months, the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and its collection of farms and centers will undergo a restructuring to make MOAES more efficient, effective and relevant. This restructuring will better align the statewide network of agricultural research centers with the strategic priorities of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and MU Extension.

The plan includes the Fisher Delta Research Center in Portageville, Missouri, where rice research is conducted. Five locations spanning 12 counties make up the Delta Center.

Following a yearlong process that included internal and external reviews, a task force examined that work and met with additional stakeholders before making final recommendations to UM President Mun Choi, who reviewed and approved the recommendations.

Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor of Extension and engagement and chief engagement officer of the UM System, co-chaired the Moving AES Forward task force with Leslie Holloway, senior director, regulatory affairs, Missouri Farm Bureau.

Missouri Farm Bureau and the University of Missouri have been partners in agricultural research for more than 100 years. Under the restructuring plan, resources will be targeted to research and outreach priorities.

In addition to the task force, CAFNR administrators requested two internal reports from a team of research center superintendents and agricultural economists, examined a review from an external committee, and gathered feedback from faculty, staff and stakeholders.

MOAES restructuring will begin with the following recommendations:

• Restructure and realign the centers and farms into four research hubs operated by CAFNR and four Extension and Education centers operated by MU Extension.

• Create a statewide AES Strategic Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from each center’s advisory committee, CAFNR faculty and external partners from other land-grant universities, agencies, commodity and/or partner organizations.

• Consolidate fiscal, human resources, field operations and other administrative functions.

• Develop a comprehensive communications plan to reach younger farmers and ranchers who are starting their careers in agriculture.

“We are one statewide experiment station,” said Shibu Jose, associate dean for research and director of the MOAES. “The new structures will allow us to function cohesively as an experiment station with MU Extension and will maintain the relevancy for Missouri agriculture far into the 21st century.”

The University of Missouri contributed this article.

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