University of Missouri Board of Curators honors former Sen. Roy Blunt with naming of Soil Testing and Research Laboratory

A groundbreaking ceremony will take place April 5.

T.E. "Jake" Fisher Delta Research, Extension and Education Center.

March 12, 2024
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,
Photo by Kyle Spradley

The University of Missouri Board of Curators has voted to approve the naming of the Roy Blunt Soil Testing and Research Laboratory planned at the Fisher Delta Research, Extension and Education Center (FD-REEC) in Portageville, Missouri, to honor the former U.S. senator. The official groundbreaking event will be held April 5.

Roy Blunt
Roy Blunt

“As a longtime Delta Day attendee and Delta Center advocate, I’m pleased to have been part of spearheading a new facility that will support existing university programs while inspiring research among future generations of students,” said former Sen. Blunt. “It is an honor to have my name connected with this world-class facility right in the heart of the region that will benefit from the research the most.”

Supported by $4.6 million in funding from the U. S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, the state of Missouri and the Fisher Delta FD-REEC, this state-of-the-art laboratory will help advance research and innovation in all the agricultural research programs currently housed at the center.

"During his decades in public service, Senator Blunt has long championed the importance of agriculture," said Robin Wenneker, chair of the UM Board of Curators. "He recognizes its economic impact to the state and its sustenance for our residents and those beyond our borders. It is only fitting, then, to recognize his support and partnership over the years as we lend his name to the University of Missouri System’s ongoing commitment to advance our state's leading industry to this new facility where ag and research collide."

The project, spearheaded by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, will offer technologically advanced soil sample and water and plant-tissue testing. It will also provide lab space to house the rice production and entomology research programs while accommodating additional greenhouse operations.

The Soil Testing and Research Laboratory is only one example of the many ways that the University of Missouri is infusing innovation into all that it does — inspiring creativity, investing in hands-on learning and research, and collaborating across divisions to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

“Sen. Blunt is an incredible supporter of public higher education and MU’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and meaningful engagement,” said Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri. “His leadership was critical to advancing this facility and developing important initiatives that transform Missouri communities. We are proud to honor his legacy and to strengthen agriculture in the Bootheel and around the state.”

The testing services to be offered by this new laboratory are unique and currently unavailable in this region of Missouri.

“The addition of this research and testing facility will prove crucial in enhancing the quality of research conducted at the center while supporting the successful production and profitability of Missouri farmers,” said Christopher R. Daubert, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “We’re grateful for Sen. Blunt’s contributions to furthering our university’s research mission as well as supporting our state’s value-added producers.”

Chad Higgins, chief engagement officer for the UM System and vice chancellor of MU Extension, echoed Daubert’s gratitude for Blunt’s work.

“We appreciate Sen. Blunt’s dedication to securing funding for another laboratory that will support innovation in agriculture research,” Higgins said. “The research conducted in this world-class facility will not only serve to support the value-added producers we all depend on, but it will also help us work towards our goal of doubling the value of Missouri’s top industry while sustaining its natural resources.”

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