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New director of research center named


Trent Haggard is coming home to the Bootheel. As of July 16, he is the new director of the T.E. "Jake" Fisher Delta Research Center in Portageville.

Haggard grew up on his family's farm in Pemiscot County, Mo., where he was involved in all aspects of the 3,200-acre operation, growing core Bootheel crops: rice, cotton, soybeans, wheat and corn.

He spent the last 18 years working for Case New Holland Global (formerly Case IH), most recently as the U.S. sales and marketing manager for cotton harvesting.

Haggard's career has taken him across the U.S., from the heartland in Memphis, west to Denver, south to Baton Rouge and most recently in Racine, Wis. His diverse experiences have afforded him the opportunity to connect with farmers in several states. "I loved being involved selling tangible products engineered and designed based on producer feedback and to provide them with tools that help them be more productive in their agriculture operations," Haggard said.

The opportunity to come home in this role is an amalgamation of his passions, Haggard said. "I grew up at the DC (Delta Center) and my father and grandfather were very serious about the need for the center and how it can benefit agriculture here and around the world," Haggard said. "It's time for me to pick up that baton."

The center is part of a network of research centers across Missouri, extending the University of Missouri College of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources' research to nearly 14,000 acres to meet the regional research and demonstration needs of agricultural producers and natural resource managers.

Haggard has traveled back for field days at the center almost every year for the last 10 years. The annual field day draws hundreds from the region to learn about the latest research from the 1,024-acre center. The center's mission is to enhance the productivity of agricultural products from the unique climate and soil of southeastern Missouri, one of the most important farm areas of the state and where one-third of Missouri agricultural sales--soybeans, rice, cotton, corn, milo, wheat and vegetables--originate.

Haggard works to listen intently to find solutions for producers. "It's always informative to hear those challenges and rewarding to offer solutions that improve their operations, quality of life, resource management and increase profits," Haggard said.

He's looking forward to building on the tradition of excellence and innovation at the Fisher Delta Research Center, a resource his family turned to for guidance when they encountered challenges in the field.

"There's been a phenomenal amount of great accomplishments under Jake in the last 50 years," Haggard said. "We'll maintain and build on that solid foundation and work with a board that is robust and dedicated to the center's success."

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, the legislation signed by President Abraham Lincoln that established the land-grant university system. "The T.E. 'Jake' Fisher Delta Research Center is an essential part of the land-grant system in the state of Missouri," said Marc Linit, associate dean for research and extension for CAFNR. "It is fitting, therefore, that this year also will see a change in the leadership of the center. Trent Haggard, the incoming director, has deep Bootheel roots that have been nourished by exposure to national and international experiences in agriculture. I am very excited that we could hire an individual of Trent's experience and stature to lead the Delta Center as it continues to support local and regional agricultural needs within the framework of global agribusiness."

CAFNR is changing the core components of society that impact what we eat, where we live and how we'll face tomorrow. As the University of Missouri's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, we are at the forefront of research and education, working toward global sustainability.

Date: 9/3/2012

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