“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.”

Advancements to Improve Industrial Hemp Production

Lincoln University of Missouri Receives Grant Funding for Industrial Hemp Research

$600,000.00 Grant Awarded for More Extensive Research on Industrial Hemp

Lincoln University was recently awarded a $600,000.00 grant by the USDA NIFA (National Institute for Food and Agriculture) for further hemp research in Missouri and also to establish sustainable hemp production in the Midwest. It is reported in various media outlets including Jefferson City News Tribune on May 1, 2021,

Dr. Babu Valliyodan, Chair of the LU Industrial Hemp Institute

Dr. Babu Valliyodan, Chair of the LU Industrial Hemp Institute and Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Genomics, is the project director. He will be collaborating with other leading institutions across Missouri (Truman State University, Missouri State University and Southeast Missouri State University) in an effort to share the various uses and benefits of industrial hemp. The University of Missouri will be assisting as a co-project investigator.

This project will address the genetic, molecular and management bottlenecks in the production of four major types of industrial hemp such as Fiber, Grain, Dual and Oil/cannabinoid types. Dr. Valliyodan and his team will be establishing genetics and genomic tools for hemp research, and will develop best hemp genetics for the Midwest hemp production through molecular breeding strategies including gene editing.

Dr. Clement Akotsen-Mensah, Integrated Pest Management Specialist

LU State Integrated Pest Management Specialist Dr. Clement Akotsen-Mensah, also a member of the LU Industrial Hemp Institute team, will conduct research to address current and potential crop management issues. These collaborative efforts are also intended to enhance educational programs for Missouri college-level students majoring in the areas of agriculture, molecular biology and plant science.

Another goal of the project is to discover ways to reduce the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produced in the industrial hemp and it’s a national problem our farmers are dealing with. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis and its level should be below 0.3% in the industrial hemp. The outcome of the research will introduce the breeding of new variations or genetics that will allow for a more stable hemp production here in Missouri and across the country.

Planting seeds at Lincoln University's Dickinson Research Center Greenhouse

In the news article, Dr. Babu Valliyodan stated that he is very grateful for the funding to help push this project forward. This past Memorial Day, the Lincoln University Industrial Hemp Team planted 10 varieties of cannabinoid hemp seeds at LU’s Dickinson Research Center Greenhouse.

Planting a Lincoln University's Busby Farm
Partnership with the SEMO
Hemp Planting at LU Carver Farm

This season, a range of 1,400 to 1,500 new seedlings will be transplanted at four other locations, including LU Carver Farm and LU Busby Farm. Also, around 18 varieties of fiber, grain and dual type hemps will be planted in the collaborating locations including two farmer field locations in the state, as part of the field trial.

Farm Team "All Smiles" after a Day of Planting Success!

To read the complete News Tribune story, please click below.

Ag Students Learn Latest Methods of Soil Conservation and Management from Industry Experts

Fieldwork Helps Students Connect the Dots

AGR 211L Students from the left, WrayVauze Given, Dr. Onema Adojoh (Courses Instructor), Logan Jacob, Petra Andrei, Brittani Wolken, Austin Branch. Students being led by Course instructor co-supported (Carver Farm Assistant Manager) leading lab - bulk density soil sampling, soil micro-organism and soil profile study, and field visit at Carver farm.

LU Agriculture students in the AGR 211L (Soils in Our Environment) class had fieldwork at three Lincoln University farms to connect classroom learning with hands-on activities on soils. Students gained experiences in bulk density soil sampling, soil profiling, and the role of micro-organisms.

Students also gained a better understanding of how soil, water, and air are vital in the sustenance of life, the problems with declining productivity, the effect of soil degradation/erosion, conservation techniques, etc. In this type of learning environment, students have an opportunity to observe and discuss soil erosion and the practical aspects of improving soil and water conservation.

Course instructor, Dr. Onema Adojoh, an adjunct instructor during Spring Semester 2021, led students during the field activities. Student attendees were WrayVauze Given, Logan Jacob, Petra Andrei, Brittani Wolken, and Austin Branch.

For the AGR 414/L (Soil, Water, Air Quality Management/Lab) class, Dr. Adojoh arranged a field trip with Farm Manager, Mr. Jim Keevan of SelecTurf Farm, Inc. in Jefferson City. This special field trip exposed our agriculture students to the commercial side of soil management. Our students, Rachael Schulte, Hunter Scheidegger, Abby Wilbers, Aliyah Tucker, and Collin Ankton had an opportunity to learn:

• Various irrigation methods

• Turfgrass harvest for horticultural purposes

• Application of turfgrass harvest for biomass energy production

• The last glacial and sugar sand deposit and its implication for climate change study

• Water/vegetation conservation policy

Field experiences are not just a day away from the classroom; it is an opportunity to gain experience and connect students to their future professions. Such experiences also allow them to apply critical thinking skills in a real professional environment.

The Native Plant Outdoor Lab is a Garden of Excellence!

Dr. Nadia Navarrete-Tindall (LU Extension Native Plants Specialist) and her specialty crops at the Lincoln University Native Plant Laboratory are taking a bow for being noted as a “Garden of Excellence” by the Grow Native Program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

Red Bud Tree in Bloom

Click below to read the full-length article.

The online news article provided the history of the project established in 2010 at the LU Main Campus in Jefferson City. The garden consists of a wide variety of native trees, wildflowers, grasses and more. The area attracts many pollinators often never seen by local garden enthusiasts. The garden also serves as a working outdoor laboratory for research and educational purposes.

Click below for upcoming lectures:

Summer Youth Programs - Where Learning Never Stops

4-H Youth Demonstrates Entrepreneurship in Action!

Garden Green participants discuss how to read a seed packet before planting their first seeds in the greenhouse.

One Youth Project that Teaches Multiple Skills

LUCE’s Garden Green youth offered greenhouse plants to the community in their first $2 Plant Sale. The plants had been grown and nurtured by the Bootheel 4-H members throughout the Garden Green project this spring season.

The project led by 4-H Area Educator Ms. Mariann Wright and Program Assistant Ms. Dawn Jordan was supported by the Healthy Schools, Healthy Community grant which funded the greenhouse.

The plants were sold for the purpose of allowing residents to grow their own home gardens. Some buyers reported that they were very excited to have ready-to-eat salad greens for dinner that same evening! The inaugural plant sale included Heirloom tomatoes, Red Dragon cabbage, sweet peppers, Rocky Top lettuce, and baby leaf spinach.

This event was yet another way to introduce to LUCE and its programs. Garden Green will continue to be a self-sustaining project, using the proceeds of the plant and produce sales to help support future costs associated with the program.

Most beneficial to the 4-H youth participants was the opportunity to learn gardening skills, entrepreneurship, and responsibility. Benefits of the greenhouse project also encouraged physical activity, development of math and science skills, witnessing of cause and effect, and environmental stewardship. The youth were involved in weekly chores to keep the plants thriving and healthy until the day of the sale. It also taught them rules on how to develop and market a business venture.

Participating partners for the project were Pemiscot Initiative Network (PIN), Dunklin County Caring Council, and the American Legion Post 88.

Continuing Help for Minority Farmers

Creating Production Plans for Minority Farmers

Through an external collaboration with the Columbia Center with Urban Agriculture, Dr. Eleazar Gonzalez (LU Agricultural Economics Program) and his team have continued their work to assist small farmers operating in the black farming communities in Central Missouri. The team is currently assisting one of the Black farmers with developing a production plan. The program will also help with strategies to connect with consumers in the Jefferson City area.

Delivery of gardening soil

On May 14 and May 28, the Agricultural Economics and Marketing program offered training to Latino beginning farmers and ranchers in Monett, Missouri. Participants in the training sessions developed skills and knowledge to connect with local buyers. Mr. Shon Bishop and Ms. Angela Brattin, both farm outreach workers of Lincoln University Cooperative Extension-ISFOP shared their knowledge and offered further assistant to the Latino farmers in attendance. The picture below shows Ms. Brattin presenting a farmer-to-market approach in use at her farm.

Ms. Angela Brattin facilitating workshop for minority farmers

The training was offered in Spanish. A translated version (English) has been made available. For more information, please contact Dr. Gonzalez at gonzaleze@lincolnu.edu

New Enterprise Arena for Specialty Crops

Native Plant Academy for Residents of Kansas City and Jefferson City

Persimmon, elderberry, wild plum, goldenglow (Rudbeckia laciniata), wild leeks (Allium tricoccum) and several other native edible plants and wildflowers, naturally found in Missouri, were the focus of the former Native Plants Program at Lincoln University from 2008 and 2017.

In December 2020, the new Specialty Crops Program was launched as part of Lincoln University Cooperative Extension. This new program will continue to promote native plants for their importance for human consumption and wildlife, with the potential to grow them as crops to generate income.

Columbine Plant - A Main Attraction for Hummingbirds

One such program is the Native Plant Academy (NPA). This program initiated on May 6, 2021 and will continue through September of this year. Four online webinars were conducted during the month of May and continued with in-person classes on June 5, June 12 and June 19.

Woodland Spiderwort for Pollinators

The Native Plant Academy is supported with funds from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Prairie Foundation. Cooperators include Westside Housing, Deep Roots, Kansas City Public Library and local businesses Green Thumb Service Center and GardeNerd Consultations.

One of the goals was to have 30 or more underserved individuals able to receive introductory training on several aspects of native plants. They would learn about native plants commercially available, including wildflowers and trees. The training objectives were to learn of the importance of monarch butterflies and other pollinators; uses for human consumption; and value-added potential in the floral and landscaping industries. Hands-on activities included site preparation and establishment of a garden in a Westside Housing location.

The classes were provided at no charge and were open to the public. Attendees received a certificate of completion at the end of the program. Those who attended all classes received “paid” internships geared towards a possible new career path. Others were welcome to register at any time and were able to participate in workshops of their choice.

Tossed Salad with Edible Plants

The program sought to increase the participation of Latinos, African American and other underserved and underrepresented individuals in conservation programs promoted by the MDC, especially those related to native plants, native pollinators and other wildlife.

A Renewed Focus on Employment After an Economic Downturn

LU Cooperative Extension Offers Engagement and Support at Community Career Exploration Fair

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE) in Pemiscot County partnered with other community organizations for the Job and Career Exploration Fair on Saturday, May 15th, at Faith Temple Complex in Hayti, Missouri. During the event, more than 50 families came to view the LUCE display. Mariann Wright, 4-H Area Educator, shared 4-H and youth opportunities with emphasis on summer program participation.

The booth also included informational items from LU Department of Agriculture for perspective students highlighting degree programs and Agricultural scholarships. Among the favorite give-a-ways were the miniature “sheep” stress balls and beef sticks LU often extends to the public at other special events.

A majority of the visitors were unfamiliar with 4-H and LUCE opportunities being provided in the area. Ms. Wright was especially happy to reach this new audience with information regarding LUCE’s presence and educational options. This weekend event reached those who would not ordinarily witness Lincoln University activities.

Interactive activities were provided for youth

The event setup was designed to engage actively with all family members. It incorporated a job fair for adults with career exploration for students. Employers had the opportunity to connect with potential employees of all skill levels and conduct face-to-face interviews. In conjunction with the career fair, there were fun activities for children, including a jump house, various interactive games and food.

The LUCE team used a new technique to engage youth. The families were given a career passport, a stamp for visiting each participating agency. Those with 100% completed passports were entered in door prize drawings. An evaluation of the overall event included a job survey and interviews from door prize winners.

The sponsor of the day was the Pemiscot County Acceleration Team. Southeast Missouri Food Bank was responsible for creating the team with the support of the Community Accelerator grant provided by Feeding America.

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension-Caruthersville Office is also an active member of this group, along with Pemiscot County Initiative Network (PIN), DAEOC, Pemiscot Memorial Hospital, Caruthersville Chamber of Commerce, and Faith Temple Complex-Church of God in Christ.

The continuing goal of each group is to decrease food insecurity and promote workforce development in the lower region of the Bootheel. The food bank was awarded the grant to improve hunger rates in Pemiscot County, where nearly 22% of its population are considered food insecure and more than 30% of children are living in a households without enough food to eat.

This community event was an enjoyable and successful way to connect members of the community with resources for jobs and other community services to help improve their economic outlook and achievements.

Forming Great Health Habits for Strong Minds and Bodies

Fun Activities to Achieve and Maintain Healthy Bodies

The Strive 4 Health April Wellness Challenge

This spring, the Bootheel 4-H Area Educators focused on healthy living by challenging community youth to move more and eat better. The “Strive 4 Health Wellness Challenge” officially began on April 3 and ran through April 30.

The goal of the program was to encourage youth to monitor and track their health habits. Being conscious of one’s behavior and habits are essential to living a healthy and active lifestyle. The program introduced the concepts of goal setting and accountability. 4-H Area Educator Mariann Wright offered this program as the premier off-site program for the month of April.

Youth were given the option to register for the “Challenge” either online or by visiting the Caruthersville Public Library or the Kennett branch of the Dunklin County Library to signup for the program. Once approved, participants tracked their activities and strove to meet the program challenges each day. They were also required to record their points on a weekly log sheet. Each Friday, youth totaled their points and submitted their weekly logs.

The challenge was composed of daily goals focused on the number “4.” Each goal in the challenge was set below the recommended guidelines for youth, meaning that each goal was extremely achievable. The program wanted participants to be encouraged while learning how to monitor their daily habits.

Activity challenges included:

• 4 Minutes of Meditation Each Day

• 4 Miles of walking each day

• 4 Bottles of water each day

• 4 Fruits and veggies each day

• 4 Forty-minute workouts each week

There were also additional challenges and activities each week! The weekly bonus challenges focused on different segments of health such as: physical activity, mental health, sleeping habits, and nutrition. Each of the Strive 4 Health weekly bonus challenges were posted on the Pemiscot County 4-H Facebook page at the beginning of each week.

Thirteen current 4-H youth members were part of the production of eight videos. Each Monday featured a “Move-It Monday” video that demonstrated a different physical activity. On Wednesdays, a healthy and easy recipe tutorial posted for “Recipe Wednesday.” The videos reached over 7,000 people during the month of April!

Incentives were given to participants to reward participation and progress at the end of each week. There was also a special drawing for one of four $25 gift cards for eligible participates at the completion of the program, sponsored by Hayden Pharmacy in Caruthersville.

Strive 4 Health allowed individuals to take part in this organized activity at their own time and place. With some social distancing requirements still in place, Strive 4 Health was a way for youth to be a part of an identifiable LUCE 4-H program. The Lincoln University Cooperative Extension personnel assisting this program were Dawn Jordan, 4-H Program Assistant, and Laveta Lockridge, EFNEP Program Assistant.

Additional information on this project and direct links to the Strive 4 Health Wellness Challenge can be found on the below websites.

You may also view the program materials on the Strive 4 Health Google Drive

Swing By and Meet Us at the Fair!

The Missouri State Fair Begins August 12 through August 22

The Missouri State Fairgrounds

2503 W. 16th Street - Sedalia, Missouri 65301

(Intersection of Highway 65 and 16th Street)

Special Events hosted by Lincoln University Extension and University of Missouri Extension

DATE: August 15 at 3:00 p.m.

EVENT: Youth Sheep Skillathon

Sheep Pavilion Arena

More Program Details Available Soon

Climbing the Ladder of Success

Introducing Ms. Armani Hodges

Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Area Educators and Staff Give Their All to Help Program Students Achieve

For the May 2021 Edition of the AEA TODAY newsletter, LU Cooperative Extension (LUCE) submitted an amazing story saluting Ms. Armani Hodges of Sikeston, Missouri. The story highlighted the tenacity she has exhibited throughout her young life as a participant in LUCE programs for youth development.

Ms. Hodges' many achievements show how much work LUCE area educators and staff put into assuring the success of youth growing up in Southeast Missouri. In the case of Ms. Hodges, she entered the LUCE program as a kindergartener and remained an active participant throughout her high school years.

Among the various programs, Ms. Hodges participated in 4-H, after-school programs, summer camp, agricultural camps, Summer Institute programs and Youth Futures. Armani also helped as a LU summer camp mentor and as an LU youth ambassador and stakeholder, and represented her community as a youth member of Police and Community Together, which Lincoln University Cooperative Extension helped to establish.

To read the complete story, please visit the AEA Extension Today Newsletter

Lincoln University Welcomes New Animal Science Professor

Dr. Eric Walters (Assistant Professor, Molecular Biology and Genomics in Animal Science) is Lincoln University’s newest member joining the team at Lincoln University College of Agriculture, Environmental, and Human Sciences.

Dr. Eric Walters

Dr. Walters earned his Doctorate Degree in Reproductive Physiology from the University of Illinois after receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Sciences from Western Illinois University.


Development of new gene editing tools such as the meganucleases, CRISPRs, TALENs, and ZFN have allowed for the production of many economically important agricultural models as well as biomedical models for human health and diseases. It is known that genetics play a critical role in the phenotype of the organism whether its domestic livestock or humans.

In humans, many of the diseases have been characterized in terms of the genetic mutation(s) causing the various disease phenotypes. However, in domestic livestock such as small ruminants, little to no data has been collected on economically important phenotypic traits. Understanding the genomic control of the economically important phenotypic traits in small ruminants will allow us the ability to improve animal production, and animal health.


(1) to investigate the immunoregulation of the female reproductive system in response to breeding, embryonic and placental development, and maintenance of pregnancy.

(2) to investigate the genetic control of seasonality of sheep by identifying gene(s) that are critical for seasonality, which will allow producers to use these gene(s) in marker-assisted selection breeding programs.

(3) perform gene editing of small ruminants and swine for the production of economically important agricultural and biomedical models.

LU Published Research

Announcement from Nature.com - Scientific Data

Dr. Babu Valliyodan, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Genomics and Chair of the Lincoln University Industrial Hemp Institute

Published: 08 February 2021

Genetic variation among 481 diverse soybean accessions, inferred from genomic re-sequencing

Babu Valliyodan, Anne V. Brown, Juexin Wang, Gunvant Patil, Yang Liu, Paul I. Otyama, Rex T. Nelson, Tri Vuong, Qijian Song, Theresa A. Musket, Ruth Wagner, Pradeep Marri, Sam Reddy, Allen Sessions, Xiaolei Wu, David Grant, Philipp E. Bayer, Manish Roorkiwal, Rajeev K. Varshney, Xin Liu, David Edwards, Dong Xu, Trupti Joshi, Steven B. Cannon & Henry T. Nguyen


We report characteristics of soybean genetic diversity and structure from the resequencing of 481 diverse soybean accessions, comprising 52 wild (Glycine soja) selections and 429 cultivated (Glycine max) varieties (landraces and elites). This data was used to identify 7.8 million SNPs, to predict SNP effects relative to genic regions, and to identify the genetic structure, relationships, and linkage disequilibrium. We found evidence of distinct, mostly independent selection of lineages by particular geographic location. Among cultivated varieties, we identified numerous highly conserved regions, suggesting selection during domestication. Comparisons of these accessions against the whole U.S. germplasm genotyped with the SoySNP50K iSelect BeadChip revealed that over 95% of the re-sequenced accessions have a high similarity to their SoySNP50K counterparts. Probable errors in seed source or genotype tracking were also identified in approximately 5% of the accessions.

Read full research article below.

“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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