Last Thursday morning I stopped in at the Jake Fisher Bash, an annual event hosted by the University of Missouri Delta Center and held in Rone Exhibition Hall. It is also sometimes billed as the Delta Center Field Day.
As always there's a little politicking going on, good food, networking between ag producers (formerly known as farmers) and suppliers, and an opportunity for the scientists at the Delta Center to share innovations in crop production.
Local folks were well represented and that's no surprise given the support from around southeast Missouri for the efforts of the center.
James Shannon provided the invocation. A more proper salutation would be Dr. J Grover Shannon, Ph. D. Local folks get to call him Grover. An acknowledged expert in soybean production Grover's stop on the farm tour included a discussion of new soybean varieties. He was particularly pleased to have a group of high school students (future farmers?) as part of the tour.
Judith Haggard, chairwoman of the University of Missouri's Board of Curators, followed her husband, David, chairman of the center's advisory committee, to the podium and delivered an opening speech. A portion of her time included a video of various types of research taking place within the university's statewide system. Local folks get to call her Judy.
Another portion of her talk was about the university's funding, a challenging proposition to be sure.
Dr. Ken Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, and I had a similar discussion just about 30 minutes prior to hearing Judy's remarks. While the numbers have not yet been set for the next fiscal budget it is fairly certain more cuts from the state are coming. In Southeast's case, it could be as much as $6 million.
That's particularly daunting when you consider the pledge to Gov. Jay Nixon from the state's institutions of higher education not to raise tuition. Over the past couple of years colleges and universities have worked at cutting expenses. Some of those have been difficult calls to make and not without pain. The trick now is to drive revenue and hold costs.
One way Dr. Dobbins said Southeast is doing so is by raising class size from 21 to 26 students. He believes they can do that without dramatically raising the costs of delivering education to those additional 5-6 students.
He said the university is going to look at how it delivers information to the students.
"Just because I've stood up here and lectured for 30 years doesn't mean that's the best way to do it now," he said. "Just because we have 26 or 27 students in a class doesn't mean they will all be in a classroom all the time." I suppose one might think of that as re-educating the educators.
It's innovative thinking like that, taking advantage of current and emerging technology, that shows up in such independent rankings as the U.S. News rankings that indicatet Southeast as being one of the better values when it comes to a college education. The report is published in the magazine's Aug 31 issue.
I also got a little good news at the breakfast from our host.
Jake told me he has instructed his wife, Shelley, to box up all of his ties once he retires and ship them to me. That's quite a bonanza and anyone who has seen Jake all dressed up knows he has quite an assortment of really nice, pretty ties. For the record, though, I'm not in any hurry to receive those ties.
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Thanks to Rick and Cathy Bell for the rain last Sunday afternoon. They decided to wash their vehicles and brought us what we vaguely recall as rain. Maybe they'll do it again soon.
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Walt Jockety, former Cardinals general manager who basically lost out in a power struggle in St. Louis to current Cards GM, John Mozeliak, had no trouble finding another job. Baseball fans know he landed a similar role in Cincinnati as GM of the Reds.
Heading into the last six weeks of the season it looks like the advantage goes to Jockety. He's made all the right moves while Cards fans are left scratching their heads at what's going on with their team. Many are wondering if the Ryan Ludwick for Jake Westbrook trade will go down as one of the worst in team history. Another interesting note is the number of former, discarded, Cards on the Reds roster. If memory serves, I believe there are about six.
Do you think Jockety is a little motivated?
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More state fair news
"Entries from Kennett's widely-known purebred swine breeders, Jonesway Farms., apparently dominated the Duroc Show Monday at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia.
"The fair reported a 'good show' for this breed, and said 'quality was pronounced excellent' by Westley Miller of Montpelier, Ohio and C.S. (Fete) Reid of Carrolton, Mo., who awarded the ribbons and supervised the department.
"Jonesway received three ribbons:
"- Jonesway Perfection was first in the Senior Yearling Boar Class and was Reserve Grand Champion.
"- Their Bright Night was first in the Age Board class.
"- Their senior yearling sow was first in her class and was Reserve Grand Champion.
"Their young gilts and young boars took several second and third premiums, to make a total of 15 ribbons won by Jonesway entries, which is understood to be more than any other herd brought home.
"Jonesway had an outstanding offer of about 20 hogs-possibly the largest showing of swine in the fair's history."
The DDD's unofficial, but much appreciated historian, Vivian Helton, sent that timely submission along from the pages of the Friday, Aug. 24, 1951 edition of the Twice-A-Week Dunklin Democrat.
Bud Hunt is
regional vice president,
publisher of the
Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily Statesman, Delta News-Citizen, Missourian-News and
North Stoddard Countian.