Going Virtual – CAFNR Agricultural Research Centers Moving Forward With Mostly Virtual Field Days

   Following discussions with local health departments and advisory boards, all educational field days offered by the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) Agricultural Research Centers, except one, will be hosted virtually this year. The Graves-Chapple Research Center, located near Rock Port, Mo., is the only Research Center that will host an in-person field day and will follow all CDC guidelines for social distancing. These decisions were made locally at each Research Center.
   “These were incredibly tough decisions that we did not take lightly,” said CAFNR Vice Chancellor and Dean Christopher Daubert. “We understand how important our Research Centers are to their respective communities, which is why instead of completely cancelling our field day season we are offering virtual presentations. This will allow our outstanding faculty and researchers an opportunity to still interact with Missourians across the state.”
   Each year, the Research Centers offer educational presentations and demonstrations through a variety of field days throughout the state. Those events offer regionally specific data and information that farmers and producers use to improve their own operations.
   The field day schedule will remain the same; however, most Research Centers will offer a schedule of prerecorded presentations on a variety of topics debuting the day of the scheduled field day. Those topics range from cover crops to industrial hemp to rotational grazing. The recordings can be found through each Center’s website and Facebook page, as well as a special CAFNR webpage. All presentations are free and open to any member of the public.
   “While we understand the disappointment in not gathering for our in-person field days, we are excited to be able to offer timely information through virtual means,” said Shibu Jose, associate dean in the CAFNR Office of Research. “Our faculty and researchers are still committed to serving Missourians during this trying time.”
   The decision for the Graves-Chapple Research Center to host an in-person field day came after much discussion with local health officials and its advisory board. That event is slated for Tuesday, Aug. 25. As with any event during the pandemic, it is subject to cancellation if conditions change.
   “Safety is paramount, and the Graves-Chapple Research Center will follow all CDC, state and local recommendations for social distancing during its event,” Jose said.
   Additionally, other large in-person events, such as the South Farm Showcase, held in Columbia, Mo., and the Missouri Chestnut Roast, held at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC) in New Franklin, Mo., have been cancelled for 2020. Both the South Farm Research Center and HARC will have virtual offerings instead.
   Jose added that if conditions improve later this year, there could be opportunities for the Research Centers to offer an in-person gathering to watch the presentations together, as well as hear live speakers. Those types of decisions will come at a later date.
   “We do understand the concern related to rural Internet issues,” Jose said. “We are going to do our best to get this important information into the hands on anyone who wants it.”
   2020 Field Day Schedule (Dates Subject to Change)

   • Greenley Research Center – Tuesday, Aug. 4
   • Hundley-Whaley Research Center – Tuesday, Aug. 11
   • Graves-Chapple Research Center – Tuesday, Aug. 25
   • Fisher Delta Research Center – Friday, Aug. 28
   • Bradford Research Center – Thursday, Sept. 3
   • Southwest Research Center – Thursday, Sept. 10
   • Forage Systems Research Center – Tuesday, Sept. 15
   • Thompson Research Center – Thursday, Sept. 24
   • Wurdack Research Center – Friday, Oct. 2
   • Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center Virtual Chestnut Roast – Saturday, Oct. 3
   • Baskett Research Center – Tuesday, Oct. 13
   • South Farm Research Center – Tuesday, Oct. 20  ∆
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