KENNETT, Missouri, April 13, 2015 – A new Horticulture Incubator lab at Southeast Missouri State University-Kennett opened this month, providing a space for horticulture oriented extension activities and for Southeast students to continue developing their agriculture skills – planting, growing and nurturing – through hands-on experiences.
In plant science courses, students in the lab will study crop anatomy and physiology. In soils courses, students will use the facility to examine soil fertility, entomology, weed science, irrigation and basic agronomy, said Dr. Mike Aide, chair of Southeast’s Department of Agriculture.
“I am tickled that we got this done and that we are progressing on serving southern Dunklin County,” Aide said.
The Department of Agriculture at Southeast created the Kennett Agriculture Program Soils Lab to continue to provide a comprehensive and dynamic academic program for agribusiness students.
The $192,000 facility was funded in part with a $90,000 USDA Rural Development grant, Aide said. The space also serves as a horticulture incubator in partnership with Lincoln University. Aide said Lincoln plans to conduct programs in the lab focused on fruit and vegetable production of interest to residents of Pemiscot and Dunklin counties.
Construction of the new 570-square-foot agriculture lab started in fall 2014. It was completed as students left the campus for Spring Break in March and opened this month.
“We renovated existing unused space in the Kennett campus building,” said Marsha Blanchard, director of the Kennett campus.
Faculty will set up and conduct labs in the new facility to provide Kennett campus students the same lab experiences as if they were on the Cape Girardeau campus, according to Blanchard. The new lab was created to support agriculture students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in agribusiness at the Kennett campus. It will be used for all agriculture labs in which students and faculty engage.
“The students will have space designed specifically for conducting the types of labs that are taught in the agribusiness program, which will elevate the lab experience,” Blanchard said.