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Oct. 14, 2016
Northwest Missouri State University’s School of Agricultural Sciences and its R.T. Wright Farm continue to benefit from a partnership with Case IH and Savannah-based Derr Equipment that is now five years old and making students better prepared to enter the ag industry.
Through the partnership, more than $7.1 million in equipment has been provided for use on Wright Farm to support student learning and profession-based experiences in the agricultural sciences program.
While Case IH is known as a global leader in agricultural equipment, the partnership gives Northwest students firsthand experience with the newest technology available in the agriculture field and supports the operation of the crop enterprises at the Wright Farm.
“The partnership with Case IH and Derr Equipment allows Northwest to have cutting edge technology on the R.T. Wright Farm and provides exceptional learning opportunities for our students,” said Rod Barr, the director of Northwest’s School of Agricultural Sciences. “Ongoing access to new Case IH equipment such as tractors, combines and planters is a tremendous asset to the School of Agricultural at Northwest and we are greatly appreciative.”
Located in Savannah, Missouri, Derr Equipment is the largest Case IH Agriculture dealership in northwest Missouri. The dealership, which has been family-owned and operated since 1947, offers new and used farm equipment and parts.
Current owner Brad Derr and his wife, Deena, have two sons who have advanced their agriculture knowledge and skills at Northwest. Garrett, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwest in 2013 in agricultural business, is employed at the dealership as a precision farming specialist, and Cutler, a freshman agricultural business major at Northwest, works part-time in Derr Equipment’s parts department.
In addition to the benefits to Northwest students who are using the newest farm equipment and technology, Case IH and Derr Equipment benefits because graduates of the program have a deeper understanding of the equipment when they enter their professional careers.
“Being able to jump in this machinery with all of the AFS (advanced farming systems) and guidance that they have, they’ve already got a leg up on the information,” Brad Derr said, adding Northwest students often are using the equipment before Derr has the opportunity to sell it. “They get to play with all the newest and best.”
Partnerships such as the one with Case IH and Savanah-based Derr Equipment are helping Northwest’s School of Agricultural Sciences enjoy rapid growth with nearly 700 students – or more than 12 percent of the University’s undergraduate population – enrolled in its programs last year. Students gain profession-based experience at the 448-acre Wright Farm, which is home to beef, swine, dairy and sheep enterprises as well as row and forage crops.
Northwest and its School of Agricultural Sciences also are in the planning stages for an Agricultural Learning Center to be built at the Wright Farm. When completed, the estimated $8.5 million, 29,000-square-foot center will serve as a multipurpose facility, providing laboratory resources and research to supplement and enhance the academic curriculum. The space also will allow for greater use of farm crop, soil and livestock resources for research and scholarly activities as well as space for processing agricultural products. It will include space for public and private functions such as producer and agricultural industry meetings, workshops, shows and career development events, and the promotion of agricultural literacy.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468