The University of Missouri named a new leader for its research center in Mount Vernon.
Jay Chism starts Jan. 24 as director of the Southwest Research, Extension and Education Center, aka the Southwest Research Center, according to a news release. He most recently worked the past nine years as southwest regional director for the University of Missouri Extension.
“I am excited to share the innovation and research that is being done at the SW-REEC with farmers in southwest Missouri. I can’t wait to join this local team,” Chism said in the release.
Springfield Business Journal reported in 2020 that Reagan Bluel was named the center's interim leader after the exit of David Cope. A spokesperson could not be reached immediately for comment by deadline on the latest transition process.
As the center's director, Chism will oversee research, extension and education opportunities. The research center covers more than 22 counties and works to address agricultural industries such as beef, forage and horticulture. It's one of four research, extension and education centers of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station in MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
“CAFNR’s strategic plan will allow the Southwest Research, Extension and Education Center to focus on the present needs, while anticipating the future of Missouri farmers and ranchers. It’s an exciting time for agriculture and Mizzou in southwest Missouri," Chism added in the release.
In 2019, MU completed a multimillion-dollar meeting space addition to the Mount Vernon research center, according to past reporting.
On 893 acres, the Mount Vernon center serves as MU’s main footprint in southwest Missouri to conduct agricultural researching and testing. The center is a meeting place for farmers, producers, MU Extension regional specialists and students.
On Oct. 27, Convoy of Hope dedicated its new 250,000-square-foot distribution center and broke ground on its next project: a 200,000-square-foot headquarters and training center, which will be connected to the distribution center by a skywalk.