Division News

On Oct. 1, Jason Entsminger successfully defended his dissertation titled “The ecology of organizational forms in local and regional food systems: Exploring the scaling-up concept via a species concept.” Randall Westgren is his adviser.

Lauren Quinlan, agricultural education junior, has received a Sonja Hillgren Memorial Scholarship from Farm Journal. The experiential scholarship includes a $1,500 award, experience developing social media content as an #FJSocialSquad team member and opportunities to learn from Farm Journal professionals.

“Show Me Mizzou” highlights the work of rural sociology PhD student Daniel Yuhasz at the Henry Kirklin Community Garden. The Kirklin Garden was established in 2017 by rural sociology alumna Leslie Touzeau (MS, 2018).

The U.S. EPA and USDA invite communities to apply for technical assistance to help revitalize their economies, promote local foods, improve health and protect the environment through the “Local Foods, Local Places” program. The deadline to apply is Oct. 30.

Director’s Updates & Engagements

Seven months have passed since the University pivoted to remote work and learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m regularly asked how University employees and students are managing remote work, face-to-face classes, online learning, working on campus or communications. I want to provide my observations from the feedback I have received and the accomplishments I have observed:

  • Teachers are successfully managing dual delivery of courses. Technology failures are a challenge. Some teachers, and students, find the flexibility that accompanies the accommodation of making class available either face-to-face or online to be a challenge.
  • Everyone has become more proficient with video conferencing programs. Most have video conferencing fatigue, with extroverts hoping video conferencing disappears once the pandemic is over. Cell phone communications beg the question — do we still need office phones?
  • Campus life is active but nothing like a normal day of fall classes. From my perspective, all employees are wearing masks and social distancing when on campus.
  • The challenge of effectively managing remote work with children at home who are learning remotely continues. Another family challenge is the disruption of child care centers closing for quarantine following a positive coronavirus diagnosis among staff or children. There is no way to plan for when this might happen.

Faculty productivity is strong. Although there was an initial delay in productivity due to editors, federal agencies and stakeholders pivoting to remote activities, faculty have seen the merits of their earlier efforts realized during the latter half of the year.

Research, Extension & Engagement Activities

Scott Brown analyzes COVID-19’s impact on international beef markets in his latest column for Farm Progress.

Scott Brown discusses dairy’s demand future in Hoard’s Dairyman.

Heyao Yu, Jing Ma, Pei Liu, and Sujata A. Sirsat. 2020. “Investigating the effects of explanatory-based food safety training: A model of domain knowledge theory perspective.” International Journal of Hospitality Management.

Seth Meyer considers opportunities for U.S. soybean exports to China in Brownfield Ag News.

Ryan Milhollin has developed a video explaining the basics of Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Insurance. The video covers information such as eligible crops and what producers can do to customize a policy for their farms.

Theodoros Skevas and Victor Cabrera. 2020. “Measuring farmers’ dynamic technical and udder health management inefficiencies: The case of Wisconsin dairy farms.” Journal of Dairy Science.

Pat Westhoff titled his most recent column in the Columbia Daily Tribune as “Future of government payments adds another farm financial risk.”

Six-Month Snapshot

The “Six-Month Snapshot” highlights faculty’s planned research, teaching, extension, engagement and service activities for the next six months. By sharing this information, the intent is to enable divisional faculty to learn about one another and identify opportunities to collaborate.

All faculty will receive an invitation to contribute in an upcoming issue. In this issue, we feature Johanna Reed Adams and Michelle Segovia.

Johanna Reed Adams
Associate Extension Professor
Community Development

On what challenges or opportunities are your extension activities focused?

My extension activities are focused on emerging leaders throughout the state who want to build their leadership capacity. The Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA), along with a team of MU Extension facilitators, is reaching 67 Missourians virtually in a 10-week series. The NLA provides hands-on leadership training through seminars; discussion; and personal community projects, which emphasize community-building principles and strategies, project planning, organizational leadership and management practices and personal leadership skills.

What audiences do you plan to reach with extension activities?

A statewide conference in 2021, likely virtual, will engage graduates of community leadership programs like NLA and EXCEL (Experience in Community Enterprise and Leadership), along with those individuals who facilitate such programs, in sessions on how to successfully recruit participants, fundraise and design learning modules — to name a few. The MU Extension Community Leadership Development Team is working on the details.

What engagement activities do you have planned?

On Nov. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a Virtual Conversation will be held for the four UM campuses’ respective leadership programs and the people who facilitate them to give them the opportunity to get to know one another and find ways to collaborate, share resources and conduct research. Existing leadership programs include graduate and undergraduate classes, executive and professional education, community outreach, special topics seminars and more. This informal session will give people the chance to network and develop partnerships and programming to grow and strengthen Missouri’s leadership impact and build on their success.

Michelle Segovia
Assistant Professor
Agricultural & Applied Economics

What goals do you have set for your research program, and what is your research focus?

As a junior faculty member in a research-oriented institution, my primary goal is to get my research published in the best outlets possible, for which is vital to keep myself updated on the recent advances that have taken place in the fields of psychology, neuroscience and behavioral and experimental economics. In this regard, I am constantly looking for opportunities to capitalize on the diversity of faculty at MU and learn about the latest research being conducted, particularly by faculty in the social sciences. My research focuses on behavioral and experimental economics with emphasis in individual preferences and choice. Through the implementation of laboratory and field experiments, I attempt to better understand the factors influencing the decision-making of economic agents, including consumers, producers and farmers.

What projects do you have planned for students in the course(s) you teach, and who do you plan to engage as guest speakers in your courses?

Students enrolled in my Behavioral and Experimental Economics course are required to design and implement an economic experiment aimed at answering a research question related to the topics covered in class (e.g., social dilemmas, other-regarding preferences, markets). Following data collection, students analyze the experimental data and present the results in class. Students’ performance is evaluated by in-group and out-group members. I plan to invite experts in the fields of behavioral and experimental economics to participate as guest speakers in my course. For example, we will have Dr. Marco Palma, director of the Human Behavior Lab at Texas A&M University, as a guest speaker in the class on neuroeconomics. In addition, students will be joining online seminars on experimental economics organized by other institutions and economics associations.

What service activities do you have planned?

As the 2020-2021 Chair-Elect of the AAEA Institutional and Behavioral Economics Section (IBES), I plan to direct my effort at increasing the dissemination of knowledge about the economic behavior of individuals and institutions to the general public and academic and nonacademic entities. I will lead the planning of tracking sessions for the 2021 AAEA Annual Meetings on topics related to new trends in behavioral and institutional economics.

Grad Student Spotlight

The “Grad Student Spotlight” introduces new MS and PhD students in the Division’s academic programs. In this issue, we feature Amy Coleman, Eric Jackson and Jennifer Russell.

Amy Coleman
MS student, Food & Hospitality Systems
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

What’s the most impactful course you’ve taken during your graduate program studies?

This is my first semester in the program, but I really enjoy Dr. Kim’s destination management class. The format of the class is a lecture with interactive discussions between classmates and the TA, Jibin Baby. The topic of implementing sustainable tourism is extremely interesting to me, and we also discuss various COVID-19 impacts on the hospitality industry.

Eric Jackson
PhD, Agricultural Education and Extension
Hometown: Blue Springs, Missouri

What research questions are you seeking to answer through your dissertation?

I am interested in contributing to the research on reaching underserved audiences through innovative cooperative extension program-delivery models. This is an important topic that demands more attention. As we dive deeper into the 21st century, vast opportunity gaps in education persist, and I hope my research helps further the discussion of inclusive extension programming.

Jennifer Russell
PhD, Agricultural Education
Hometown: Shullsburg, Wisconsin

What’s the most impactful course you’ve taken during your graduate program studies?

Just starting out as a student, I haven’t had a chance to take many classes but have really enjoyed Ag Ed 8250 Leadership Theory and Application with Dr. Simonsen. It is an online course with a discussion-based format. The discussions about leadership are insightful and relevant to everyday situations. The course offers a chance to reflect on a variety of topics that will help me navigate a wide array of future situations.

Industry News

In its Sept. 16 survey to examine consumer sentiment during the pandemic, the Consumer Brands Association found that 69% of American adult consumers had concerns about access to food and beverages. That’s an increase from 63% in late July and 62% in late June.

The September Ag Economy Barometer survey, conducted by Purdue University and the CME Group, found 22% of the 400 responding U.S. agricultural producers said they had participated in an educational program or field day held virtually during 2020. Regarding online events, producers said they most like that the online format offers flexible timing, but they said they most dislike that the online format limits interaction with fellow participants.

Errors and Omissions

The Aug. 8 edition of the DASS Wrap-Up misidentified FAPRI research assistant Meongsu Lee:

Meongsu Lee and Pat Westhoff. 2020. “The U.S.-China trade war and impact on land returning to soybean production from the Conservation Reserve Program.” Selected Paper, 2020 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting.

The Sept. 25 edition of the DASS Wrap-Up incorrectly linked one article. The corrected listing is:

Hua Qin, Yanu Prasetyo, Martha Bass, Christine Sanders, Elizabeth Prentice and Quyen Nguyen. 2020. “Seeing the forest for the trees: A bibliometric analysis of environmental and resource sociology.” Featured research article, Society & Natural Resources.

Submit Your News

If you have information to share in the DASS Wrap-Up, then please send your news items to Amy Moum or Joe Parcell.