Celebrating National Farmer’s Day

National Farmer's Day is celebrated every year on October 12 to honor farmers’ invaluable contributions to the world. This day recognizes the hard work, dedication, and resilience of those who work tirelessly to provide us with the food and resources we depend on daily. Farming supports food security around the globe, economic stability in rural communities, and the livelihoods of farming families. 

Our Farmers Support Science

This year, we are especially excited to celebrate the people who have been diligently caring for the Danforth Center’s new Field Research Site since it was acquired last August. The farm, which is located in St. Charles, is overseen by Farm Manager & Field Research Operations Coordinator Terry Beeler, Assistant Farm Manager Nelson Curran, and Field Research Technician Kevin Hava.

Terry grew up on his parents’ small farm in Schuyler County, Missouri, spent 20 years in the farrow-to-finish swine production industry, and worked in research at Bayer Crop Science for 16 years before joining the Danforth Center team. 

“I have always enjoyed working out in the fields, and, while at Bayer, I worked with several farmers in Missouri and Kansas,” Terry says. “They taught me about farming, and I explained to them about the research we were doing on their farms. Farmers feed and clothe the world.”

The 140-acre site that Terry, Nelson, and Kevin care for has made it possible for Danforth Center scientists to test their research outside of controlled lab spaces in the field, where conditions can be harder to predict. In this first year alone, eight different Danforth Center labs ran experiments at the Field Research Site, work that would not have been possible without the support of our farmers. 

Assistant Farm Manager Nelson Curran harvests sunflower leaves for an Edison Agrosciences research project.

Our Science Supports Farmers

Danforth Center scientists are committed to delivering innovations that support sustainable farming solutions, pest and disease resistance, and higher yields for farmers both here in the United States and around the globe. 

We are delighted to work with companies like Edison Agrosciences, a Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) company. Edison’s goal is to cultivate sunflowers as a potential domestic crop for natural rubber, supporting American farmers and taking pressure off the heavily harvested tropical ecosystems where rubber trees are native. 

Our research is not focused solely on crops that are typically grown in the U.S.; many of our scientists focus on food staple crops that are important to farmers around the world.  Earlier this year, the USDA cleared our Institute for International Crop Improvement’s genome edited teff to move forward without biotechnology regulation. Teff is a small grain native to Ethiopia, where it is an important source of income for many small-scale farmers in the country. It is a staple food for millions and is estimated to provide up to two-thirds of the protein and dietary fiber consumed in the country.

Getu Beyene Duguma, Senior Manager Regulatory Science at the Institution for International Crop Improvement, visits experimental teff plots at the Field Research Site.

Farmers are the backbone of the agricultural industry. Their commitment to sustainable agriculture keeps food on our tables, and their stewardship of the land inspires us to work toward a better future for our planet. Today and every day, we are proud to support them in all that they do.