Across the state, Missouri prepares to celebrate bicentennial with a variety of community events

In August, Missouri will officially celebrate its 200th birthday. That means many bicentennial events are planned this summer, culminating with Statehood Day at the Capitol build­ing in Jefferson City on Aug. 10, the date Missouri officially entered the union. This formal recognition of the milestone will include the unveiling of the Missouri Bicentennial stamp, exhib­its in the Capitol, a U.S. Naturalization Ceremony and more.

Here are a few other celebrations happening across the state:

The State Historical Society of Missouri and the University of Missouri are hosting “Together for 21 Fest,” a three-day event at the Center for Missouri Studies and MU’s Columbia campus. The festival, slated Aug. 6-8, will celebrate Missouri’s 200 years through the arts, with activities such as live music, documenta­ry film screenings and folk art demonstrations.

The First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site in St. Charles will host a commemoration event on Aug. 7 at the place where Missouri’s first legislature met from 1821 to 1826. The event, organized by Missouri State Parks, will give Missourians a chance to tour the original rooms where it all happened.

The Missouri Bicentennial Commission is planning a state­wide ice cream social on Aug. 10. Missourians can join in by signing up online and sharing photos of their community cele­brations under the hashtag #ScoopsAcrossMissouri.

The Missouri State Fair, Aug. 12-22 in Sedalia, will give a nod to the historic anniversary with a bicentennial theme. Com­memorative exhibits and events are joining the fair’s regular agenda of livestock shows, entertainment and more.

The Missouri Bicentennial Quilt is also making its rounds across the state. Quilt block submissions were accepted from October 2018 through September 2019, and one block was selected for each Mis­souri county and the independent City of St. Louis. The quilt exhibition sched­ule will be released a month in advance of each stop. Learn more and check out the submitted and selected quilt blocks at

All in-person events are being planned with health guidelines for COVID-19 safety in mind, but some of them will also be available to participate in via livestream.

Many communities and organiza­tions are planning and hosting their own bicentennial events and projects. Find out more about how you can help celebrate Missouri’s big birthday at, which includes an interactive map of other activities across the state.

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Research works to tame toxic fungus in wheat

Wheat growers understand the fuss about fusarium, a fungus that can aggressively grow under humid conditions, infecting the crop and reducing grain yield. A University of North Texas researcher, Jyoti Shah, chair of the biological sciences department, is working on a new approach to knock out this fungus and improve food availability for the future.

Fusarium head blight, a disease that affects wheat and bar­ley, can cause losses ranging from $300 million to $1 billion a year in the U.S. alone, he said.

“The infected wheat becomes useless as a food source, both for humans as well as for animal feed,” said Shah, who has been researching wheat for nearly 20 years. “Even if the farmers spray it with fungicides, the disease occurs when it’s already damp and raining. There is high probability that the fungicide will get washed away.”

No wheat variety is already resistant to fusarium, Shah ex­plained. That means genes can’t be moved from one variety to another, which is what scientists normally do to control other diseases.

The research team is working to identify genes in the wheat plant that make it susceptible to the fungus. Reducing activity of these genes increases resistance to the disease. While many approaches to the issue have been tried throughout the years, Shah hopes to explain why some genes react the way they do and how they can be shut off to make the wheat more resistant to the fungus.

“We’re hoping that if it works with wheat, then it’s something that barley farmers can use as well,” Shah said. “It’s going to affect other industries—the flour indus­try, the baking industry and food availability. It’s a global disease affecting the U.S., Europe, Australia, China, and they’re all trying to understand how to control it.”

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Student interns get hands-on training with MFA this summer

interns2021The 2021 MFA Ag Experience internship program kicked off May 17 at MFA Incorporated’s home office in Columbia. During the program’s ori­entation, interns had the opportunity to learn about the company’s standards and policies, explore their upcoming projects and network with MFA execu­tives and fellow interns.

The 12-week program is designed to challenge, educate and inspire college students pursuing careers in agricul­ture, business and communications. To be eligible, applicants must be working toward a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university, be a full-time student in good standing with a grade point average above 2.75 and have completed their sophomore year of college.

After being paired with an MFA men­tor, each student participates in a customized internship geared toward his or her interests and career objectives. This year’s topics include sales, precision agriculture, animal health and nutrition, communications, education and outreach.

Throughout the summer, the students will gain valuable, hands-on experience within the industry and collaborate with MFA and its members. As trusted and professional employees, they will also have access to the same technology resources, events and programs as other full-time employees in similar positions.

Overall, the goal is for interns to apply their knowledge and skills to a real-world setting. The program concludes Aug. 6, when all interns will give a final presentation detailing their projects and experiences to senior-level managers. Those who perform well throughout the program may be considered for fu­ture Ag Experience internship positions, part-time work during the school year or full-time employment after graduation.

This year’s interns are, front row, from left: Haley Kidd, Emma Ploch, Lauren Quinlan and Chloe Momphard. In back are, from left: James Fischer, Emma Miller, Alexandra Gast, Maddee Gastler and Caleb Boyd.

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