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Sowing Good Seeds LINCOLN UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, ENVIRONMENTAL AND HUMAN SCIENCES MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS FOR JULY 2021

“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.”

Fruits of Our Labor

Lincoln University Restores Hope in Farming and Community Resilience

New Health Discoveries in Blueberry Research

Blueberry Harvesting at LU's Carver Research Farm

Dr. Jonathan Egilla, Horticulture (Crop Physiology) and Soilless & Hydroponic Crop Production Specialist by 'Legacy' with abundant fruit. ‘Legacy’ is the most vigorous blueberry variety at the Carver Farm site.

With blueberries, it is important that varieties recommended for commercial or home production be tested for a long enough period of time to evaluate their performances locally. This means that varieties grown in central Missouri need to be selected based upon plant vigor, fruit yield, fruit quality, cold tenderness, pathogen susceptibility in the local cropping environment.

The Principal Investigator Dr. Jonathan Egilla (Horticulture - Crop Physiology, Soilless and Hydroponic Crop Production Specialist) established the current pilot blueberry variety trial orchard at the Lincoln University Carver Farm in 2007. His purpose was to collect data for a future research project, and to maintain stock plants for ongoing hydroponic research. Meanwhile, the project has been providing farmers in Missouri and neighboring states (e.g., Arkansas) with valuable information on blueberry production methods in this region of the country, while highlighting the valuable contribution LU can make to the agriculture community.

The 'Blueberry Variety Trial' site at Carver Research Farm

The blueberry variety trial has two main objectives. Firstly, assess the performance (growth and fruit yield) of selected blueberry varieties under the climate of Central Missouri; and secondly, to provide a source of information about production methods. The project also serves as a year-round display orchard of selected varieties that allow access to prospective growers and home gardeners in Central Missouri.

Fruit ripening on the 'Bluecrop' variety at Carver Farm by June 28, 2021

The field plot is comprised of four northern highbush blueberry varieties (Bluecrop, Duke, Legacy and Elliot) and a patented release from New Zealand (Reka) obtained from Fall Creek Farms and Nursery, headquartered in the state of Oregon.

Ms. Isabelle Nyirakabibi, Mr. Jimmie Garth (foreground) and Dr. Uvirkaa Akumaga (rear) harvesting blueberry fruit samples for size and nutrient content measurement

Most cultivars of highbush blueberries produce ripe fruit for four to five weeks, with the highest yields occurring in weeks two and three. Approximate dates of berry ripening for the five varieties being tested at LU’s Carver Farm are:

1) Early season cultivars– early to mid-June

2) Midseason cultivars– mid- to late June

3) Late season cultivars (Elliott)– early to late-July

Health Benefits of Blueberries

About two-thirds of the blueberry fruit produced worldwide is marketed as fresh fruit, and the consumption of berries continue to increase yearly. This ever-increasing blueberry fruit consumption is partly due to the scientific discovery in the 1990’s. The study showed that the blueberry is one of the fruits that contain the highest antioxidant content. Among 41 fruits and vegetables tested for their antioxidant capacity, blueberries had the highest value.

Antioxidants are compounds that are effective in protecting the human body against oxidative stress, other conditions involved in the development of various diseases and the aging process. The highest health benefits of the blueberry are obtained by the consumption of the fresh fruit.

Lincoln University reaps additional benefits from the permanent establishment of the Carver Farm Blueberry Orchard. It also serves as an instructional resource for intermediate agricultural coursework (AGR 202: Introduction to Plant Science - Horticulture) and for all plant science students at Lincoln University of Missouri.

Youth Sprouting with New Talents and Skills

Horsing Around at Youth Summer Camp

Youth Pair Well with Horses!

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Sikeston held its annual Youth/4H Agriculture Camp in July. Forty students were selected from Sikeston and Caruthersville to participate.

Each day focused on a different topic which included fishing, conservation, STEM, and horses. The students learned how to bait and cast a fishing pole, which resulted in some successfully catching fish. The group then ventured to Baker’s Horse Ranch in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. This ranch is run by University of Missouri Extension.

The visit to the horse camp was by far the most exciting. The interaction with the horses was the vehicle for reinforcing the values of leadership, citizenship, and social interaction for Bootheel area youth.

“4-H-ers” clarified values and practiced skills while rotating through designated stations for equine grooming, roping, riding, and checking of vital signs for health diagnoses.

Youth member ensures a clean and healthy environment for the horses

Each rotation helped participants understand that there’s more to horses besides riding them.

Students check horse's abdomen and listen for heartbeat

The event demonstrated tasks which involved the overall care and maintenance to ensure the horses' health and well-being. Participants also learned best practices on how to bond and communicate with the horses.

Participant is instructed on how to take a horse's temperature

To end their day at the ranch, participants jumped aboard a wagon to relax and enjoy a scenic hayride.

Students and staff pose after wagon ride
LU Southeast Office Coordinator Brenda Robinson-Echols also grabbed the reigns for an exciting horseback ride

Southeast Region Cooperative Extension 4-H Activity Night

Learning Skills of Plant Care, Cultivation and Record Keeping

In July, the LU Cooperative Extension in Caruthersville held another exciting youth event at St. John AME Church in Kennett, Missouri. Its mission was to promote good citizenship and community concern, one of several goals of the “4-H Activity Night” events. After completing a healthy meal served by church volunteers, Southeast Area Educator Mariann Wright and Community Volunteer Ms. Blair Mobley, conducted a learning session on how to use raised beds to plant and grow vegetables.

Blair Mobley, Plant Biologist, explains how to interpret the plant ID guides

Ms. Blair Mobley, who studied plant biology at the University of Missouri before serving the Peace Corps, directed the group in this project. Using the community garden located on the church’s property, youth learned how to plant peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, okra, and peas for this take-home activity. Most of the youth had never transplanted vegetables and were amazed to learn the processes involved.

Ms. Mobley demonstrated how to plant and care for the personal garden items that each youth and volunteer took home. Additional plants included melons and pumpkins. Care, cultivation, and record keeping were discussed and modeled. None of the participants had existing home gardens and this provided new “how-to” information and opportunity for them and their households.

Community volunteers joined 4-H Activity Night participants in planting during the process of learning

The four table planters were assembled with the help of Rev. Dinah Tatman of St. John AME Church. The planters, supplies, and equipment were purchased cooperatively with Dunklin/Stoddard Caring Council and LUCE funds.

Smiles of Great Success from Youth and Volunteers!

This multi-age 4-H group meets on a regular basis. These evening events provide a safe space for youth to discuss critical personal issues and explore a variety of research-based findings with trained youth professionals.

Kansas City Impact Center

The "Growing Your Future" Program

Growing Your Future began with a desire to educate urban youth about environmental and horticultural careers and opportunities available after high school. The Kansas City Urban Impact Center educates youth desiring to major in the field of agriculture. The education they provide promotes successful entry into college and into a career field that is not only profitable, but in many ways a part of a positive reconstruction of our roots.

Please read the full-length article on how the Lincoln University Kansas City Urban Impact Center is making progressive efforts to educate and assist students with career aims in agriculture, published in the July 2021 edition of EXTENSION TODAY

St. Louis Urban Impact Center

Learning the Skills of Strategic Planning

Making the Right Strategic Move

In anticipation of learning more about the game of chess, more than 20 local residents gathered at the St. Louis Urban Impact Center for its first chess tournament, a collaboration between the St. Louis Urban Impact Center and staff of the Black Squares. The organizers and staff of Black Squares provide a meaningful outlet for young Black youth in this urban area to experience the thrill of chess playing while helping them develop positive ways on problem solving.

In July, the St. Louis Urban Impact Center collaborated with Mr. Justus Williams of Black Squares to host a series of chess tournaments. Learning the skills of chess continues to be a growing interest for both youth and older adults of the St. Louis community. Participants in the chess program are taught the tactics of “end game” strategies, mediation, and discipline. These skills are essential in handling issues of social justice.

“Life is like a game of Chess. To win you have to make a move. Knowing which move to make comes with insight and knowledge and by learning the lessons that are accumulated along the way. We become each and every piece within the game called Life.” ~ Allan Rufus

(The Master’s Sacred Knowledge)

Homestown, Missouri

Past and Present

The city of Homestown, Missouri is rich in history. Originally named South Wardell, it is located in Pemiscot County with a population of 151 (2010 census).

The town is uniquely one of several communities that was established by the FSA (Farm Security Administration) in the early 1940’s after the January 1939 roadside sharecropper protests, leaving many of the sharecroppers and farmers unhoused and displaced. Mostly all of the protesters were African Americans.

Statistical data from the 2010 census shows the town’s racial makeup as 95.36% Black or African American.

Today Homestown thrives on agriculture. The LU Innovative Small Farmer's Outreach Program (ISFOP) has started a community garden in Homestown that will have a significant impact on the town’s residents. Each home received a tomato plant and tomato cage to encourage their participation in the gardening project.

Ms. Beverly Alford Thomas (Owner of Virgie's and Leonard's Place (left) and Area Educator Ms. Mariann Wright from LU Southeast - Caruthersville (right)

Virgie’s and Leonard’s Place, a nonprofit organization in Kennett, Missouri received the assistance of LU ISFOP to establish a vegetable garden on the plot. Owner of Virgie's and Leonard's Place, Ms. Beverly Alford Thomas, has assisted nearby communities for more than 20 years with access to food, clothing and household items available at her “place” including diapers, school supplies, and medical transportation.

On the front door of Virgie's and Leonard's Place, visitors are greeted with the words, “When you divide, it will multiply.” In regards to her new gardening plot, she stated that it had been a goal of hers for many years.

Front Entrance to Virgie's and Leonard's Place

The ISFOP team was assisted by youth and staff members of LU Cooperative Extension – Southeast outreach offices in making Ms. Thomas’ dream come true. All joined in to plant paw paw trees, pear trees and plums trees.

(Left to Right) Mayor Melvin Macklin, Local Resident Mr. Chris of Homestown and Mayor's Secretary Ms. Sharon Shaver

This joyful experience will surely add yet another piece to Homestown notable history.

Kennett Community Garden is an ongoing project with Lincoln University and University of Missouri for the minority people in this area.

Please visit the SOUTHERN SPACES website to learn more about the 1939 Roadside Demonstration, titled “Out Yonder on the Road: Working Class Self-Representation and the 1939 Roadside Demonstration in Southeast Missouri”

Good News from Lincoln University Carver Farm Aquaculture Center

New Home for Trout Babies!

Meeting the Market Demand for Trout

Baby Trout from the Crystal Lakes Fish Hatchery in Ava, Missouri have recently found a new home. LU staff and students worked over the course of several months to build its latest equipment to house, feed and grow more trout to maturity.

Initial housing for trout fingerlings upon arrival

The new arrivals (approximately 200) were initially placed in four smaller tanks. As the young fingerlings mature to the next stage, they end their two-month stay and are placed inside larger, one thousand gallon tanks until they reach full maturity.

Growing trout fingerlings (light blue tanks) awaiting time to be added to larger (dark blue) tanks

Dr. James Wetzel (Associate Professor - Aquaculture) and his team at the Carver Farm Aquaculture Center monitors their growth during this cycle. The target goal is to have 800 fish in the larger tanks.

Please read the recent publication of EXTENSION TODAY to learn more fascinating news about what LU's Aquaculture Team is doing!

Lincoln University Industrial Hemp Institute

A Visit to Sikeston's Variety Trial Site

Lincoln University Industrial Hemp Institute is conducting industrial hemp variety trials at various locations in the state of Missouri.

The trials aim towards developing superior variety/genetics for the Midwest Region. Sikeston, Missouri is one of the field trial sites.

On July 30, Ms. Yvonne Matthews (LU Cooperative Extension Associate Administrator) and Mr. Lester (LU Farm Outreach Worker) visited the site for a close-up view the experimental plots and to receive reports of the progress achieved during this period.

Ms. Yvonne and Mr. Lester Gillespie on tour of hemp fields in Sikeston, Missouri

Improving Our Environment

Brownfield Remediation in Springfield, Missouri

LU Cooperative Research was invited by a local environmental group to join community efforts for brownfield remediation, which allows reuse of land that was once contaminated by hazardous waste.

The four-acre brownfield site, located within the City of Springfield in southwest Missouri, was contaminated with heavy metals and organics by industrial operations. In an effort to promote urban agriculture and environmental sustainability, the local community plans to turn the site into community greenhouses and gardens.

LU soil specialists meet with local environmental staff

On July 21, four Lincoln University scientists specializing in soil (Dr. John Yang), plant (Dr. Babu Valliyodan), watershed management (Dr. Sean Zeiger) and extension (Mr. David Middleton) were invited to a site visit to discuss a possible remediation approach with local environmental staff.

The LU team will help the community with technical supports and take lead in developing a proposal in pursuit for federal or state funding to support this community effort.

$500,000 Funding for Organic Transition Strategies

A Lincoln University (LU) researcher’s team has received $500,000 in grant funding over three years for a project designed to help organic vegetable farmers enhance the productivity and health of environmentally sensitive soils in Missouri and the surrounding states.

Dr. Tunsisa Hurisso, Assistant Professor of Soil Science, and his team comprised of research and extension faculty from Lincoln University of Missouri and University of Missouri received the funding from the Organic Transitions grant program, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Their research aims to address critical concerns of vegetable farmers interested in transitioning to certified organic operation, as well as those who are considering abandoning organic practices because weed control often requires excessive tillage, which is detrimental to soil health by increasing soil erosion and loss of soil organic matter.

Typically, after the vegetable harvest, crops such as cereal rye and hairy vetch are planted in the fall to benefit soil health and control weeds. These non-cash crops are then terminated in the spring before planting next season’s vegetable crop. Utilizing annual cover crops like cereal rye and hairy vetch has had some success, but most research has shown that cover crop’s positive effects on soil health and weeds depend on cover crop biomass production.

Alternatively, fields are taken out of economic production while cover crops are planted over a period of time, including both winter and summer cover crops, while soil health and fertility are being built. This approach can reduce farmers’ economic returns and limit adoption of cover cropping.

Dr. Hurisso and his team will evaluate whether utilizing perennial cover crops in travel paths between vegetable production beds can lead to greater crop yields, improve soil health, enhance nutrient and water availability, smother weeds, help suppress insect pests and diseases, and result in the improvement of other soil properties.

“Integrating living perennial cover crops that tolerate frequent mowing between rows of vegetable crops enables farmers to simultaneously build soil health while keeping land in cash crop production,” Hurisso said.

The research will take place at one of LU’s research farms near Jefferson City, Missouri. It will also include three other sites across Missouri and Kansas that are on working farms, which Dr. Hurisso thinks will help bring the real-world, practical experience and knowledge of farmers to inform research strategies. Also, these on-farm trials will be host to outreach activities and serve as venues for farmer-to-farmer learning.

During the study, different combinations of perennial grass cover crops for biomass production and legume cover crops for nitrogen cycling will be planted in travel paths between vegetable production rows and will remain in place for three years (“organic transition period”) to build soil health and fertility.

A mixture consisting of annual grass and legume cover crops will also be planted every year as a control against which the perennial cover crops will be compared. Additionally, business-as-usual vegetable production system – in which travel paths between vegetable beds, mulched with woven weed barriers, are tilled and left unplanted – will be included in the study for comparison purposes.

The measured field data, which includes soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, as well as pests (weeds, insects, and diseases) and crop yields, will be used to identify effective cover crop-cash crop companion production strategies that fit well into organic vegetable production systems under Missouri and Kansas growing conditions. Data will also be collected to perform economic analysis using production inputs, outputs, and cover crop value-added benefits to provide vegetable farmers with the ability to make profitable decisions in their operations.

“Novel cover crop management strategies that help build soil health and increase yield and profitability could prove extremely valuable and readily adopted by organic vegetable farmers,” Hurisso said.

Project co-investigators include Mr. Timothy Reinbott (Director of Field Operations) of University of Missouri and Lincoln University Research and Extension faculty Drs. Touria Eaton, Clement Akotsen-Mensah, Jaimin Patel, and Ye Su.

LU's "Garden of Excellence"

KJLU Radio Station Interviews LU's Native Plant Specialist

Many visiting the grounds Lincoln University have made notice of the lush gardens located on the main campus.

The beauty of the landscape recently caught the eye one of radio reporter, Ms. Leslie Taylor.

Ms. Taylor of Lincoln University radio station KJLU spoke with the creator of the campus garden, Lincoln University Native Plants Specialist, Dr. Nadia Navarrete-Tindall about the gardens and set up an interview with her.

Dr. Nadia Navarrete-Tindall

Campus visitors are always welcome to come by and view the gardens located adjacent to Allen Hall and Foster Hall, Lincoln University Native Plants Specialist, Dr. Nadia Navarrete-Tindall.

To read the full interview by Ms. Taylor, please visit the KJLU website below.

Continuous Training for Small Farmers and Gardening Entrepreneurs

Webinar Training for Gardeners

The Agricultural Economics and Marketing Program at LU Cooperative Extension through the Gardening Entrepreneurship Webinar Series offered two sessions.

On July 1, a webinar titled, "Selling Home Grown Products" consisted of two sessions: Session One was led by Dr. Eleazar Gonzalez (Agricultural Economics and Marketing Small Sustainable Farms) who focused on helping attendees increase their knowledge about "Market Regulations and Marketing."

Dr. Gonzalez’s training session on market regulations and marketing for gardeners

Session Two was led by Mrs. Angela Brattin (Farm Outreach Worker) who used her personal experience to instruct attendees on how to create a Farm-Stand-Direct Marketing approach to better connect with final consumers.

Mrs. Angela Brattin’s training session on farm-stand direct marketing

The 2021 Gardening Entrepreneurship Series will have its last session on September 23, 2021. The garden topics will offer training about fall and winter crops and their production and marketing strategies.

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program

On July 10, the Agricultural Economics and Marketing program offered a farm visit to Latino farmers at Salas’ Farm in Carthage, Missouri.

The program was designed to help Latino farmers gain additional knowledge and understanding of rotational grazing systems and pasture management. Latino farm owner Mr. Giovani Salas hosted the farm visit.

Farmers on-site discussion during the farm visit

In addition, to understanding Salas’ Farm grazing management system, farmers can learn about grazing ID, weed management, and supplement nutrition at the different growing stages of beef. For more information, please contact Dr. Eleazar Gonzalez at gonzaleze@lincolnu.edu.

Workshop for Latino Farmers

On July 23, 2021, the Agricultural Economics and Marketing program offered a workshop to Latino farmers titled, “Agricultural Support Programs.” Farmers learned about current USDA support program requirements and how to access the various programs.

Latino farmers receiving classroom training on how to access farming resources to enhance production capacity

The training also focused on developing the capacity to assess other farm resources and available USDA support programs to enhance their farming conditions.

New Hire for Lincoln University Cooperative Research

Technician II Ms. Emily Martin

Ms. Emily Martin recently came on board as one of a team of research technicians at Lincoln University. As a Technician II, Ms. Martin is currently working on projects with Dr. Tumen Wuliji (Associate Professor and Program Leader of Animal Science) in the Cooperative Research program. She is a graduate of University of Missouri- Columbia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in Equine Science.

Through her new position at LU, Ms. Martin has the duties of managing animal experiments and daily operations of research laboratories. She will also take on the role of monitoring the overall health and wellness of the small ruminant research herds.

GROW TALL WITH US!

The College of Agriculture, Environmental, and Human Sciences

Agricultural Career Opportunities

Lincoln University of Missouri

Cooperative Research and Extension

“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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Created with images by karikdickinson - "rubel blueberry blueberry fruit" • boustifaille - "vegetables food market" • LC-click - "blueberries health vitamins" • Famifranquoi - "sprouted seeds power bio" • klimkin - "chess pawn king" • cytis - "cannabis green weed" • MetsikGarden - "nature wood outdoors" • MabelAmber - "foxtail barley grass weed" • lefteye81 - "tree forest nature"