One of my goals upon becoming Director was to increase communications with alums and friends of the Division. In working toward that goal, I have enjoyed writing these notes, and especially the responses that I have received. I will be stepping down as Director this summer, so this will be the last of my messages to you.
As I leave this role, I am proud of the Division. We have a faculty that excels in teaching, research and Extension. Our balanced contributions place us at the top of departments at Mizzou, and among the top in research among animal science departments nationwide. We have a very strong undergraduate program with excellent retention, placement and diversity of students. Our graduate program ranks in the top ten nationally. We are among leaders the nation in all research metrics. Our Extension and outreach programs provide excellent service to the livestock industry and strong connections between MU and our stakeholders.
Over the past five years, we have had a number of accomplishments, most notably, strong faculty hires, despite an adverse fiscal climate. We have been fortunate to marry campus and donor funding to invest in infrastructure, particularly in making improvements in Trowbridge, which yielded strong returns in its use as a teaching venue during Covid, as well as in new swine facilities. With your assistance, we have been able to reinvigorate the Livestock Judging Team under Tawnie DeJong’s leadership. There is more on that later in this newsletter. Our Extension beef group has made much progress in coordinating objectives for the beef herds at our farms and centers across the state.
Although we have enjoyed many successes, there is still much to do. I am most disappointed to have been ineffective in addressing our needs in nonruminant nutrition. We must make improvements at Foremost Dairy, although we have made progress in addressing some problems there and have plans for major improvements. We also have reactivated plans for replacing the 70 year-old abattoir and linking that to a new meat laboratory. Construction of a major new swine research building on South Farm will begin soon.
Mizzou has treated me well over the past 37 years. It is hard to believe the time has passed so quickly. I look forward to reading of the Division’s future accomplishments in my successor’s notes to you.
Director, Division of Animal Sciences