(Michelle Felter, Staff)
PORTAGEVILLE -- Farmers in the Southeast Missouri area have a big advantage, said John Marshall Jr. After all, they get a firsthand look at developing research that goes on at the University of Missouri's Delta Center.
On Friday, researchers flaunted their latest research to a crowd of farmers, students and businessman at the 46th annual Delta Center Field Day.
Marshall, who rode on the red tour, focusing on soybeans Friday morning, said research is "the key to everything." A Charleston native who now lives in Dallas, Texas, but still owns land in Scott County, tries to make it to the field days every year to hear the latest research.
"These people are really topnotch," he said. "I just don't think we utilize them as much as we should."
Jake Fisher, superintendent of the Delta Center, couldn't agree more. He said that getting to hear that research is one of the biggest draws to the field days.
Fisher has spearheaded the day since its beginning. He recalled how the first field day had 250 people, but 1,500 were fed for lunch this year.
"You have all walks of life," he said. Special booths and programs were also set up for high school students. "They're very important, because they're the future."
The day kicked off with an appreciation breakfast at 7 a.m., which legislators, including Rep. JoAnn Emerson and Gov. Matt Blunt attended, to name a few.
Judy Haggard, the newest appointee to the Board of Curators, was in attendance. The Kennett nurse said she attends regularly with her husband, who is a farmer.
"We've always been involved because this is the helm of research for agriculture," she said. "It's a wonderful thing to see going on, and this research affects the state and the entire world."
The breakfast was followed with time for people to take one-hour tours on four routes: soybeans, cotton production, soil and water and weed science.
On those tours, people heard about the advancements being made. For instance, one stop on the soybean route focused on plant diseases, while another researched talked about how a soybean genotype is being created to be marketed in stores.
Those in attendance also got to meet new people, as well as reconnect with old acquaintances they hadn't seen in awhile, or perhaps only see at the yearly event.
But for the most part, it's just about keeping up with the times, said Josephine Hueckel of Dexter, who came with her husband Newby, who retired from farming in 1989.
"That thing's really something, isn't it?" she said, pointing to a shiny red cotton picker. "I've never seen anything like it."