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The Center for Agroforestry

Shibu Jose

Message from the Director

Greetings from the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri on our 20th Anniversary! Our Center was established in 1998 as a big “C” Center here at MU. In March of 2017, the Center went through its second leadership change (of a sort). Dr. Shibu Jose, UMCA Director from 2009 – 2017, took a new position as Director of the MU School of Natural Resources (SNR). In that new role Dr. Jose is already making a strong and positive impact on SNR and remains a genuine supporter of our Center in his new role. I served as the Associate Director for our Center from 2002 to 2017 and worked closely with both Dr. Jose while he was Center Director and Dr. Garrett the founder and former Director of our Center. As Interim Director, I am honored to continue the great work of both previous Directors, Gene Garrett and Shibu Jose.

The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry is one of the premier centers of its kind in the world dedicated to agroforestry research, education, outreach and economic development. Our mission is to support the long-term future of rural and urban working farms and forests by achieving economic, environmental and social sustainability. The Center’s long-term research, teaching and outreach efforts help make a better Missouri, U.S. and world by (1) Discovering, integrating and applying new agroforestry knowledge and technologies to promote economic, environmental and social vitality; and (2) Educating and training students, professionals, scientists, leaders and general public who are empowered to make a difference locally, regionally, nationally and globally.

Our strength lies in the success of our dedicated and productive core Center faculty and staff, our active collaborative efforts, over 50 associated faculty, staff and external collaborators, and our graduate students and postdoctoral research associates who define, design and carry out dozens of research and outreach projects ( We also find strength in the diversity of our stakeholders and friends who believe in agroforestry as a major form of global land use in the coming decades.

Our Center has been unusually blessed with long-term continuity in all of our endeavors. These long-term efforts are now “bearing fruit” on multiple fronts (research, education, outreach, economic development). The impacts of our research, education, outreach and economic developments activities are profound and positively impact landowners in Missouri, regionally, nationally and also have a global impact.

As we head into our 20th Anniversary year, 2018, I want to provide you with a status update on our Center and highlight a few outstanding accomplishments which result from productive collaborations with many individuals (faculty, staff, students, partners and collaborators).

  • Research: Building upon the Center’s ongoing research collaboration with the ARS, UMCA researchers are serving as PI or Co-PI in new and existing grants and contracts totaling $11,015,803 in FY 2017.
  • Research: Center faculty, in collaboration with a large number of other researchers, published a total of 50 refereed articles and 8 book chapters in 2016 and 2017.
  • Education: Our Center, through the hard work of multiple faculty and strong ongoing support from Mizzou Online, launched an online agroforestry MS and graduate certificate program in 2011. The program was fully operational in 2103. Since 2014, 16 online MS and 11 online graduate certificates have been awarded. Currently there are 21 online students enrolled in the MS and 15 enrolled in the online graduate certificate. In 2017, our online MS was rated as the #1 online environmental science program in the USA!
  • Education: A three year USDA SARE PDP grant was awarded (2017-2019). This grant will enable the Center to create and offer six Agroforestry Summer Institutes and over three years, train 90 High School educators (20% of the total High School Agriculture Science teachers in Missouri), providing the necessary tools and materials to teach the agroforestry unit in their high school Agriculture Science II classes. Missouri’s FFA curriculum will be enhanced through the addition of six-modules of experiential learning agroforestry content to the existing Agriculture Science II curricula. It will integrate sustainable land use models exemplified by agroforestry into the foundational education of young farmers and agriculture professionals.
  • Outreach: In 2017, the Center offered its’ 5th Annual Agroforestry Academy as a crash course to train educators and landowners in agroforestry. Over 5 years, the weeklong Agroforestry Academy has trained 125 future agroforesters from 25 states, Washington, D.C., as well as hosting international participants from Canada, Taiwan and China. In 2018, through grant funding from the USDA “Armed to Farm” program and an additional NIFA 2501 grant, the Agroforestry Academy will place an even greater focus on attracting underserved farmers and military veteran landowners.
  • Economic Development: A collaboration with the MU Department of Veterinary Pathobiology and Elemental Enzymes Inc, developed novel spore-based enzyme display systems, which can genetically display high levels of proteins on the spore surface. Results of soil analysis showed that more than 98% of atrazine in contaminated soil was removed by the AtzA-spore system.
  • Economic Development: A collaboration with Tiger Energy Solutions has developed an enzymatic biocatalyst system for blood type conversion (resulting in production of universal blood type O).
  • Economic Development: One new patent was granted by United States Patent and Trademark Office. Multi-Enzyme Platform Production of Specialty Chemicals, Biofuels, and Blood Type Conversion.
  • International Programs: Over the past two years, 10 MS thesis students from Indonesia initiated agroforestry graduate programs at MU, funded via Fulbright-CIFOR-USAID-PRESTASI. In addition, a number of international postdocs and visiting scholars (Italy, France, India) have come to the Center for collaborative research.

Going forward, we will continue to focus on our mission to support the long-term future of rural and urban working farms and forests by achieving economic, environmental and social sustainability. The knowledge that agroforestry offers concrete solutions to many of the environmental and economic challenges that we face today is helping to spur adoption. Working closely with our many partners, our collective efforts are and will continue to help to realize agroforestry’s potential. On behalf of UMCA, we look forward to an exciting and productive year in 2018.

Michael A Gold, Ph.D.
Research Professor and Interim Director
The Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri

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