George Drury donated the land for the Thompson Farm in 1956. The 1,600-acre research center focuses on beef cattle production systems and crops management. Animal projects evaluate the efficiency and economics of cow-calf management practices; steer/heifer backgrounding and cattle finishing options.
Mission of Thompson Farm
Development, evaluation, and dissemination of technical information for beef herd management using multi-disciplinary approaches for Missouri and regional audiences. To accomplish the mission, research is focused on reproductive performance, heifer development, supplementation strategies, and animal health factors. Technology transfer is accomplished by web, newsletters, tours, intensive courses, workshops and publications.
Thompson Farm Advisory Council
By virtue of its geographic location, the Center has a responsibility to the agricultural coniunities it serves to advise the College of Agriculture when research needs are perceived. Aiding in this function is the purpose of an Advisory Committee composed of agricultural leaders from the area served. The Council is composed of producers, agri-business persons, extension specialists, research faculty and Thompson Farm staff. The role of the Council is consistent with the Agricultural Experiment Station guidelines, the primary activity to participate in developing research and demonstration priorities and defining the programs to accomplish these priorities. Advisory Council members also keep producers and others in the area informed about programs and activities at the farm and serve as ambassadors for Thompson Farm. The Council is appointed by the Dean of CAFNR to represent a geographic area including central and northern Missouri. The Advisory Council meets at least twice annually to review programs, provide input and respond to issues raised. The Advisory Council elects officers who serve for one-year terms. The Advisory Council is kept informed about the research and outreach programs at the farm and is encouraged to provide advice and counsel the management team regarding planning and prioritizing program.
Thompson Farm was established in 1955 through the will of Dr. George Drury, a retired dentist. His will specified that 1240 acres of land should be given to The University of Missouri. An additional 360 acres of the original tract later was added to the gift. The terms of the will prescribed that the farm should be “dedicated to public educational purposes in memory of Eulah Thompson Drury, Guy A. Thompson, Paschall W. Thompson and Olive F. Thompson.” Thompson Farm is located in an area of transitional soils with about 1000 acres of upland consisting of Grundy-Lamoni soil types, with lesser areas of Pershing and Armstrong.
Initial work at Thompson Farm involved research in crop production, soils, and insect controls. A full-time agronomist directed crops and soils studies from 1956 until 1978. The research effort at Thompson Farm historically centered on conducting yield tests with corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat and oats as well as herbicide studies in soybeans and testing of Hessian fly resistance in wheat. The 600 acres of bottom land along the Thompson River is currently leased for crop production. The University of Missouri introduced beef cattle research at the farm in 1963. The first comprehensive cattle crossbreeding experiment at Thompson Farm was conducted at Thompson Farm under the direction of Dr. John F. Lasley. The farm was also the site of a bull progeny testing program from 1970-1990, where approximately 100 bulls were tested yearly. Current research at Thompson Farm focuses on beef cattle production systems and forest management. Beef cattle research projects evaluate the efficiency and economics of cow-calf management practices and heifer development. Research is conducted on approximately 250 cows and 100 replacement heifers.
Thompson Farm operates within the guidelines and subscribes to the general mission statement of the Missouri Agriculture Experiment Station for off-campus agriculture research centers.
“Research Centers exist to support and facilitate the total research program of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station. As such, they are an integral part of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and are unique contributors to MU’s comprehensive land-grant responsibility. Our goal is to: (a) respond to the needs of the Missouri citizens, (b) maintain and enhance our natural resource base, (c) support a vital food and fiber system, and (d) keep Missouri producers competitive.”
The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) at The University of Missouri seeks to serve all agriculture in the State. Thompson Farm serves as an access door to the college that all farm people of North Central Missouri may enter to avail themselves of the benefits that only a Land Grant Institution can offer. In addition to its function as relayer of information, the farm conducts such research as the CAFNR deems desirable or necessary to serve their research needs for this area.