The University of Missouri has launched the Digital Agriculture Research and Extension Center (DAREC), a collaboration between the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, MU Extension, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service, aiming to transform Missouri's agricultural landscape into a future of enhanced productivity, sustainability, and profitability through digital technologies and AI.
Shibu Jose, CAFNR's associate dean for research, emphasized the evolving skill sets required for modern farming and the importance of preparing the next generation of farmers to embrace technological advancements.
DAREC will delve into various agricultural domains, including crop production, soil health, and precision livestock farming, supported by faculty, student research, and partnerships with industry and agencies.
A key feature of DAREC will be the MU Digital Farm at MU's South Farm, which will serve as a field demonstration site showcasing the practical benefits of digital farming tools. Jianfeng Zhou, an associate professor and co-director of DAREC, highlights the center's role in adopting and demonstrating next-generation agricultural technologies for both educational and research purposes.
The center aims to foster confidence and trust among farmers and stakeholders regarding the adoption of new technologies through proactive education and outreach efforts. Rob Kallenbach, CAFNR's associate dean of extension, noted that DAREC will work closely with MU Extension specialists to ensure Missouri farmers have access to the latest in digital agriculture technologies.
With leadership from Zhou, Kent Shannon, and Ken Sudduth of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, DAREC is poised to significantly impact Missouri's agricultural industry. A symposium planned for this spring will further showcase the center's objectives and initiatives.