Dr. Ricketts began an active dairy leadership role, on many fronts in Missouri, over 20 years ago. His ability and energetic efforts to analyze a situation and outline constructive programs has contributed much to the Missouri dairy and livestock industry. He has few peers in working with colleagues and the collaboration of efforts.
Rex was born in March 21, 1941 at Springfield, MO. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Ricketts, Fair Grove, MO. He grew up on 160-acre dairy farm with a registered Jersey herd at Fair Grove. During his high school days he and his brothers exhibited many prize winning cattle at fairs. He graduated from Fair Grove High School in 1959. He enrolled at the University of Missouri and received a B.S. in Agriculture Degree in 1963. He continued his studies and received a Master of Science Degree in 1964 and a Ph.D. in Dairy Husbandry in 1970. During his student days he was president of the “Ag” club and also the students dairy club in 1962-63. He was selected as the Outstanding Senior, College of Agriculture 1962-63. He was elected to QEBH, University Honorary Society as well as Gamma Sigma Delta, Honor Society of Agriculture. He was a member of the UMC Dairy Club Judging Team and High Individual at the International Judging Contest in 1961.
His early employment 1963-65 was with Cargill Nutrina Mills in sales and in 1969-70 with Ralston Purina Company as a consultant in farm and ranch management. In 1970 he joined the UMC Extension Staff as State Dairy Specialist and in 1978 became Project Leader in Dairy Extension. He was promoted to Professor of Dairy Science and Asst. Chairman of the Department in 1980 and in 1982 Interim Chairman and in 1985 Chairman, Department of Dairy Sciences. With the Dairy Science Department becoming a unit of the Animal Science Department in 1989 he was elevated to his present position as Coordinator, Commercial Agriculture Programs, University of Missouri Systems. This position places him in a leadership role with every facet of Missouri agriculture.
During his tenure as Chairman of the Department of Dairy Science Dr. Ricketts led the way for many expanded activities. Included was the Missouri Dairyman’s Institute, the all Breeds Show and Sale and Dairy Day Programs. He strongly promoted the state Dairy Herd Improvement Association program and the Missouri Livestock and Poultry Health Council. He revamped the management and cropping system of the University and the Foremost Dairy Farms resulting in increased feed production, improved milk production and more efficient use of labor. He continued to work closely with all state breed and dairy products organizations as well as 4-H Club and FFA programs.
Dr. Ricketts has been a member of numerous National, State and University Committee including: Chairman, North Central Extension Group 1977; Coordinating Group National DHIA Program; Chairman, American Dairy Science Association Intersociety Extension Group, and The North Central Committee for Improving Large Dairy Herd Improvement Practices. He has a close working relationship with Federal, State and local governmental agencies involved in agriculture.
In June 1964 Rex and his wife Sondra Rainey, B.S. in Education, UMC, McFall, MO were married. They have three children. Chad, their son is the first graduate of the UMC Food Engineering Program. He is now Senior Project Engineer with the Kraft Company at Springfield. Trina, the oldest daughter is a UMC senior majoring in Agriculture Economics. She plans to enter law school this fall. Neysa, the youngest daughter is an UMC junior majoring in Agriculture Economics. Both the girls received University Curator Scholarships.
The Ricketts family moved to their present farm home at Hallsville where the children have grown up active in 4-H Club livestock projects. Rex and Sondra are active in 4-H Club work and community projects. Rex has been chairman of the Boone County 4-H Club Council, a member of the Steering Committee for Hallsville Consolidated School Bond Issue, and the Trinity Presbyterian Church.