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MU's Mount Vernon research center starts $400K project

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The University of Missouri yesterday broke ground on a project at its Southwest Research, Extension and Education Center in Mount Vernon.

The addition of a livestock handling facility is designed to offer more public education and research opportunities, according to a news release. Michelle Enger, spokesperson for the MU College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, said via email the 3,600-square-foot development has an estimated price tag of $400,000.

The groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday represents a joint effort between CAFNR and the University of Missouri Extension.

“This is going to make our farm and our programs so much more accessible to the public,” said Jay Chism, director of the Mount Vernon research center, in the release. “As a land-grant university, the ability to bring the knowledge of our researchers and faculty to the hard-working farmers of southwest Missouri is truly rewarding, and this facility will make even more of that work possible.”

The facility is slated for completion by June 30, 2023.

The livestock handling facility, located in the portion of the research center north of Interstate 44, will have an indoor space for breeding activities like pregnancy checking, health care procedures such as vaccinations, and research data collection, including blood draws, according to the release. It also will have an observation deck and add amenities like restrooms that do not currently exist on the portion of the nearly 900-acre research facility.

Serving 22 counties, the Southwest Research, Extension and Education Center was established in 1959. The center works to address area agriculture needs involving beef, forage and horticultural crop production.

Earlier this year, Chism was named center director after previously working nine years as the southwest regional director for MU Extension, according to past reporting.


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