SEMO students get hands-on farming experience at Sikeston campus

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SIKESTON, Mo. -- A familiar crop is sprouting up in a new place -- Southeast Missouri State University's campus in Sikeston.

As part of a simulated farm operation, 15 students planted 25 acres of soybeans at Southeast's Sikeston campus on May 1.

Dr. Michael T. Aide, the chair of Southeast's Department of Agriculture, said the farm operation will help students learn about agriculture.

"We desire to give real-world experiences to our students," Aide said. In addition to planting, students will also calibrate farm machinery and harvest the crop, he said.

As part of the program, "we will be putting varying micronutrients in the crops" to experiment with the plants, said Aide. Students will then make a comparison between crops with added nutrients and crops without, he explained.

In addition, students in pest management classes will learn how to scout for weeds, insects and diseases by using the project, he said.

The farm operation is part of a four-year agricultural program offered by Southeast at its Sikeston campus. Students, in addition to agriculture, also take classes in accounting, marketing and business, said Aide.

The program "has helped me a lot" in learning about agribusiness, said Austin Littleton, a student participating in the program. Littleton said it is more economical attending the program in Sikeston, because he spends less money on gas.

According to Aide, using Southeast's Sikeston campus as the program's location helps keep it "affordable and local." It allows students to pursue a four-year agriculture degree when they might otherwise be unable to due to farm commitments, he said.

Aide expects the program to grow in the coming years. "Each year, we will grow more crops," he said.

Although most of this year's participants were juniors, Aide said more grade levels will participate in the future.

This is "a well rounded program for someone going into local agribusiness," Aide said.

Holt Equipment Company in Sikeston donated a tractor to the program and the program's soybeans were donated by MRM in East Prairie, according to Aide.

Pertinent address:

2401 N. Main St., Sikeston, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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