By Wayne Flanary, Field Specialist in Agronomy

With or without COVID-19, Missouri requires food on its table and gardens in its backyards for continued health and economic vitality. Livestock and crops contribute to the economic vitality of the state. MU extension has long served as a trusted and necessary resource towards that end.

With structural support from the MU Integrated Pest Management Program (funded by USDA NIFA), the broad state network of Plant Science and Animal Science Extension programs will answer the current, pressing questions of our farmers, growers and the public in weekly one-hour “town hall” meetings.

In-house sessions will be held among agronomy, livestock, and horticulture specialists in the morning, which will serve as a framework to deliver the publicly open forums over the Zoom remote conferencing platform later that day. Four different town hall meetings based on commodity group (Field Crops, Forage/Livestock, Commercial Horticulture, and Home Horticulture) are being led by teams of state and regional faculty to deliver content and engage our farming and gardening communities.

This large group effort will bridge the distancing divide that restricts our site visits and face-to-face interactions to provide the service and support our farming community needs during a crisis, when plants and animals still require care for our benefit. For more information, see ipm.missouri.edu/TownHalls.