The Division is doing very well! We had an increase in freshman enrollment again this fall, which gives us the highest number of new students, 150, since our record enrollment in 2014. We have recently revamped our undergraduate curriculum to provide hands-on involvement with animals, based on a firm foundation of cutting-edge science. We have increased engagement activities, such as livestock and meats judging camps and other youth activities. Renovation of Trowbridge Livestock Center through a partnership among the Division of Animal Sciences, MU Extension, CAFNR Academic Programs and the Missouri livestock industry has enhanced its value as a venue for shows, sales, and educational events. We are also in the process of hiring new faculty members in genomics, nutrition, reproduction and teaching after an extended period of declining faculty numbers. Some of these individuals are introduced later in this newsletter.
Our benchtop-to-barnyard research program is #1 in the nation and leads MU in competitive grant activity. A unique feature of our program is the basic to applied research continuum that has taken laboratory discoveries to the farm in the form of PRRSV-resistant pigs, pregnancy tests, estrus synchronization programs, and SNP chips used for genotyping millions of cattle as well as other species of livestock and plants. Our research is implemented on farms through our extension activities such as the Show-Me-Select™ Replacement Heifer Program, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Producers from 108 of the 114 counties in Missouri enrolled heifers in the program from 1997-2017, and sales yielded returns of more than $50 million. This program is recognized nationally as a model in land-grant translational research with immediate impacts on the industry. A beef cattle genetic simulation program, Cowgames, developed in the Division and designed to illustrate genetic selection, is being used by more than 1,200 students at universities across the country this semester. These latter efforts come together in the recent establishment of the National Center for Applied Reproduction and Genomics, which will be a focal point for research and continuing education.
These are just a few of the activities and accomplishments of students, faculty and staff of the Division of Animal Sciences. We are proud of our endeavors and hope that you are proud to be associated with us. Check out our new website at animalsciences.missouri.edu. If you see us at events, say hello; if you are near Columbia, stop by the Animal Sciences Center. If you can’t see us in person, drop us a note and tell us your success story. We look forward to visiting with you.