SOWING GOOD SEEDS Lincoln University College of Agriculture, Environmental and Human Sciences - Jefferson City, Missouri

“No person shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, genetics, or disability in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by Lincoln University Cooperative Extension.”

In Celebration of Women's History Month

The Legacy of Sheryl L. Maxwell

A Symbol of True Community Outreach

Sheryl L. Maxwell, known throughout Missouri as simply “Ms. Sherry,” is a longtime community servant with a demonstrated passion for empowering and meeting the needs of Missourians in the Bootheel and beyond.

Since beginning her career in early childhood education, she has focused her life’s work on finding solutions to address the needs of the state’s at-risk children and their families. Her most notable program, Kid’s Beat, at one time had an enrollment of more than 1,500 members and more than 30 clubs in all counties of the Missouri Bootheel. Currently, she works for the Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Charleston Outreach Center in Charleston, Missouri, providing leadership through program development and outreach.

In over forty years of servant leadership, Maxwell has been appointed by Governors Mel Carnahan, Bob Holden, Matt Blunt and Eric Greitens to serve on several committees and boards, including the Martin Luther King Jr. State Celebration Commission, on which she continues to serve.

Please follow Ms. Maxwell's story in the March 2021 edition of the Extension Today newsletter published by the Association of Extension Administrators for 1890 Land-Grant Universities. This issue has been dedicated to women who have valiantly served in the field of community outreach and extension.

Sharing Updates on Missouri Hemp Industry

LU Industrial Hemp Institute Team Speak at ShowMe Hemp Conference

Lincoln University Hemp Institute Team participated at the ShowMe Hemp Conference on March 1, 2021 in Jefferson City. Industrial Hemp Team Member, Mr. David Middleton; Dr. Babu Valliyodan; and Dr. Eleazar Gonzalez presented updates on upcoming field days, current hemp research, and trends in the Missouri hemp industry.

The goal of the one-day conference was to bring industry leaders together to help growers find buyers for their products. This collaborative effort was the springboard to organize their first annual conference for growers.

In general, the United States “hemp acres planted” declined significantly during the one-year period between 2019 between 2020. (See statistical data below).

5-Year chart depicts the number of acres used for hemp crops

The conference included many experts from different sectors of the hemp industry. All presenters provided critical information on best practices for new and established hemp growers.

List of Other Conference Speakers



















Providing Limited Resource Farmers with Tools for Success

LU Addresses Supply and Demand Needs for Goat Meat Market

Interest in raising meat goats continues to grow, as does the unmet demand. On March 13, 2021, the Innovative Small Farmers' Outreach Program (ISFOP) partnered with the LUCE Small Ruminant Program to offer an in-person goat workshop hosted by Mr. Chris Olliges, Ms. Molly Dupree, and Ms. Shelia Donnely of Red Fox Farm in Spanish Lake, Missouri.

Field experts Ms. Susan Jaster (LU Farm Outreach Worker ISFOP and Regenerative Agriculture Sheep Rancher) and Dr. Christopher Baughman (Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine and LU State Extension Specialist – Small Ruminants) and the event’s organizer, Ms. Miranda Duschack (LU Regional Small Farm Specialist ISFOP) comprised the team of topic experts.

The training workshop focused on: beginning goat meat production, animal health and parasite management, breeding, nutrition, pasture management and home dairy production. To assist with marketing plans for the sale of goat meat specifically, the workshop covered all aspects of legal marketing, including live sales for custom processing.

The group of 24 attendees, which exceeded the LU team's expectation, remained enthusiastic throughout while adhering to COVID-19 compliance protocols.

The well-attended workshop also included Ms. Rhonda Davault, who serves as Franklin County Lead Resource Conservationist for NRCS (USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service) and Dr. Clement Akotsen-Mensah (LU Director of ISFOP and State Integrated Pest Management Specialist).

The diversity of the workshop participants consisted of African Americans (11), refugee farmers from the International Institute Global Farms Program (3), and Iranian farmers (2). Within the total number of participants, two identified as US Military Veterans and two identified as women sole proprietors.

After attending the event, Chef Robert Rusan of R.U.F.F.S. Kitchen in St. Louis, Missouri remarked:

“My cousin and I had a fantastic experience! Really covered good information in that (short) amount of time…. I can’t wait for the next one!”

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts to Turn the Tide

Wary Seniors Now Choose Vaccination

As previously reported in the February 2021 Monthly Highlights publication, the Paula J. Carter Center on Minority Health and Aging (PJCCMHA) presented a workshop for seniors titled “COVID-19: Should I Get the Vaccine?”

Speakers presented the latest medical, health, and safety guidelines related to COVID-19. Sandra Hentges, Bureau Chief for Cancer and Chronic Disease Control - Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and Mr. Steve Calloway, Pharmacist, spoke at the event on February 24, 2021. Workshops were offered to participants via Zoom and/or conference call. Participants indicated they were extremely impressed with the subject and content material. They asked PJCCMHA staff to invite both speakers back to the second workshop scheduled for March 3, 2021.

The March “Lunch and Learn” workshop included a presentation by Dr. Jessica Epple-Farmer, LU Reproductive Physiologist. She gave a remarkably thorough presentation on the COVID-19 virus itself, its variants and trends, and the new mRNA vaccines now available to combat the virus. Ms. Hentges presented additional tips for staying safe and healthy throughout the pandemic. Mr. Calloway emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and social distancing.

Lastly, Anon Anderson, LU Cooperative Extension Area Educator, presented audience members with information on the proper use and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) and instructions for proper handwashing. Mr. Anderson's step-by-step demonstrations aligned with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention‛s (CDC) published guidelines.

The PJCCMHA was able to reach more than 100 seniors during this two-day event. At the conclusion of the “Lunch and Learn” workshop, many members in attendance had a complete change of mind regarding the vaccine. Dozens voiced that they would now take the vaccine after receiving the information at the event. The Center staff will work with area Cooperative Extension Offices to assist seniors in locating vaccine sites in their area.

Masks, face shields, gloves, hand sanitizer, and all the information covered during this two-day event was sent to workshop participants to ensure our seniors are staying protected and healthy. The Paula J. Carter Center on Minority Health and Aging provides education, training, and reinforces life-skills that seniors will use to rise above past, present, and future injustices. The Center takes pride in engaging with the senior community partners to move forward together for positive change.

LU Cooperative Extension Presents at MidAmerica Organic Conference

Instilling Best Practices When Growing Organic

Dr. Nadia Navarrete-Tindall (LU Specialty Crops Specialist) and Ms. Susan Jaster (LU ISFOP Farm Outreach Worker) were two of the dynamic guest speakers for the 13th Annual Mid-America Organic Conference two-day event on March 2 and March 3 in Jefferson City.

The purpose of the event, hosted by the Missouri Organic Association, was to introduce educational and networking opportunities for farmers statewide.

Dr. Nadia Navarrete-Tindall, who is a member of the Missouri Organic Association, offered listeners information on specialty crops and highlighted those grown and studied at Lincoln University farms and other off-campus locations.

Ms. Susan Jaster’s presentation, “What is Regenerative Agriculture and why should I try it?” spoke on how regenerative agricultural practices can help farmers and ranchers become climate resilient in a world of flooding, drought and other weather events that are attributed to climate change.

Ranchers will use adaptive grazing techniques to maintain a minimum height of eight inches of forage to support the large root base of each plant, so soil can remain at a constant temperature to accommodate diverse soil biology.

Farmers inter-seeding cover crops into a standing cash crop will prevent soil erosion and keep a living root in the ground year around to supply a food source for the mycorrhizae and help keep a balance between bacteria and fungi.

Regenerative practices lower the cost of synthetic inputs because the active biodiversity of soil keeps itself healthy.

Presenting and Learning the Latest in Laboratory Science

Dr. Abua Ikem (Professor and Department Head for LU Department of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences) and two of his students, Ms. Gabrielle Caldwell and Ms. Pauline Onema, participated in the 2021 Pittcon Conference and Expo.

Pittcon is a transnational exposition and comprehensive technical conference which seeks to examine and showcase the latest advances in research and scientific instrumentation. Dr. Ikem presented two collaborative works:

Presentation 1

A. Ikem,, K. Knott, P. Onema, J. Garth. Mercury and other trace elements in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) from Missouri lakes. Poster Presentation, Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (PITTCON), Virtual Event, March 8 - 12, 2021.

Collaborators on this work were Dr. Katrina Knott (Resource Scientist/Ecotoxicology - Missouri Department of Conservation), Ms. Pauline Onema (LU Graduate School Student) and Mr. Jimmie Garth (Research Technician II - LU Cooperative Research Water Quality Group).

Presentation 2

A. Ikem, G. Caldwell, J. Garth. Assessment of carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks via consumption of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) from aquaculture. Poster Presentation, Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (PITTCON), Virtual Event, March 8 - 12, 2021.

Collaborators on this work were Ms. Gabrielle Caldwell (LU Graduate School Student) and Mr. Jimmie Garth (Research Technician II - LU Cooperative Research Water Quality Group).

Professional Development and Networking Helps Lead Students to Successful Agricultural Careers

LU Graduate Student Nikita Bhusal Chosen to Participate in 2021 Consumer Food Safety Conference

Lincoln University Graduate Student Nikita Bhusal

United States-based graduate and undergraduate students studying food science, food safety, food microbiology, public health or environmental health were recently offered an opportunity to receive a CFSEC (Consumer Food Safety Education Conference) scholarship. Lincoln University student, Ms. Nikita Bhusal was chosen as a recipient of the scholarship.

Having graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology from Purbanchal University in Nepal, Ms. Bhusal is now seeking her Masters degree in Sustainable Agriculture at Lincoln University and will graduate in December 2021. Her research addresses food safety issues in fresh romaine lettuce. She is also developing a novel biocontrol method using endophytic microorganism to act as an antagonist against internalized human pathogen E. coli 0157:H7 in romaine lettuce.

Student Nikita Bhusal spends many hours in LU labs

As a scholarship recipient, Ms. Bhusal received:

  • Waived registration fee to attend the live 2021 conference held on March 10-12.
  • A valuable 25-minute introduction and a one-on-one virtual mentoring session with a senior food safety scientific or communications expert from government, industry, or non-profit sectors.
  • A post-conference invitation to be part of a student BAC Fighter ambassador group through the Partnership for Food Safety Education.

The CFSEC is the leading US-based conference that focuses on food safety behavior change and hand hygiene. The 2021 CFSEC Conference was supported by the USDA NIFA.

Ms. Bhusal is also one of the team members involved the Lincoln University Department of Agriculture participating in the Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design competition for American colleges and universities, offered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

After graduating from LU, she plans to pursue a PhD program in the field of food safety or food microbiology field. Her long-term goal is to work in these industries and establish herself as an entrepreneur.

To Learn more about Nikita Bhusal’s journey to Lincoln University, please visit the Bayer Shaping Agriculture blog post:


The First of Its Kind

Missouri High Schoolers Participate Virtually in Lincoln University 39th Annual FFA Contest

Anticipation for Missouri’s Annual FFA (Future Farmers of America) Contest, hosted by Lincoln University for the 39th year, was at its height when it was announced that “the show would go on” despite the year-long safety concerns of COVID-19 spread.

The contest is one of the FFA’s yearly Career Development Events. The purpose of Career Development Events is to provide incentives for students to further develop needed skills and abilities that are taught in secondary programs of agriculture. Competitions are designed to assess the level of proficiency each student has achieved. There four objectives of the program:

  1. To motivate students to acquire additional knowledge
  2. To encourage students to develop skills and abilities in agriculture
  3. To encourage students to develop problem-solving and communication skills
  4. To stimulate student interest in furthering their education at an agriculture institution

This standard indoor and outdoor, highly attended event by students statewide, would normally include tours of LU farms to view crops and livestock, and an opportunity to meet with faculty and staff to learn more about the LU College of Agriculture. Because of COVID-19 health restrictions, a virtual adaptation of such a large-scale event would be was new for LU faculty and staff as well as participating school teachers and their students. With these factors in mind, innovative and exciting ways were created to maintain the contest’s competitiveness while keeping everyone safe.

In short time, Ms. Amy Bax (LU Cooperative Extension Associate - Small Ruminant Program - FFA Coordinator) and members of LU staff and faculty of LU Cooperative Extension and Research were able to take the entire event virtual. Efforts were made to make the experience as close to normal as possible. The planning team also had to ensure compliance with newly implemented requirements from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The logistics for planning and organizing this event involved using a variety of usable technology and graphic skills to enable students to complete the contest assignments.

Every question and every photograph for identification and practical diagnostic evaluations were written on individual slides and built into a separate google slide presentation for each skill area. Videos had to be filmed and edited for all live animal evaluations to show movement for evaluative purposes. Supplemental materials such as maps and species lists had to be created and published so schools could access them.

At the end, the number of registered students was 1,157. The 76.8% overall proficiency score was also quite high, which is evidence that the testing materials used were clear and understandable for the students involved.

Student Participation Doubled this Year!

A total of 87 Missouri high schools participated, reporting a significant increase from the typical 40 to 45 schools from prior years.

Limitations Spurs Creativity

Technology Tools for Teaching and Learning

Felecia Anderson, Regional Educator for Lincoln University Cooperative Extension - Sikeston, Missouri collaborated with two leadership students, Amyari Blissett and Kelsie Anderson to create a YouTube channel titled LU Fun Time with Mari & Kel.

This virtual program was created during the statewide COVID-19 shutdown to help maintain a connection with the program’s youth participants. The assigned leadership students really aimed at doing something innovative and fun for the other program participants.

The online virtual program encouraged youth to keep their focus on academics during the frequent school closures. Research and creativity played a major role in deciding what “fun” activities could be woven into the school curriculum relating to science, a subject prevalent in the current news cycle.

Arts & Crafts projects were offered, which have risen in popularity for those confined to home for various reasons. Lastly, sports activities, which have limited group participation were also offered as a fun activity.

The subject-matter videos included dancing and singing segments for the purpose of maintaining good health, both physically and emotionally.

As student leaders, Amyari and Kelsie bring fresh ideas and timely information to steer participants in a positive direction. The two creators spent countless hours recording and editing each video segment of Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. Scriptwriting and videotaping were done using editing software such as I Movie, Videoleap, Intro Maker, and PicsArt Photo.

These accomplishments further strengthened their leadership skills in areas of organization, innovation and communication.

Students and parents seemed to really enjoy the videos, as evidenced in the online comments. LU Fun Time with Mari & Kel has received over 2,000 views.

The team wanted to do something great for youth …mission accomplished.

Grow Tall With Us

The College of Agriculture, Environmental and Human Sciences

Lincoln University of Missouri

“No person shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, genetics, or disability in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by Lincoln University Cooperative Extension.”


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