Ryan is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri’s Center for Agroforestry investigating plant neighborhood effects on production and nutrient availability in silvopastoral systems. With financial assistance from the Borlaug Global Food Security Fellowship and logistical assistance from AEP, Ryan has worked with local ranchers to establish 4 acres of multi-strata silvopastoral systems on three farms . His work examines the neighborhood influences of nitrogen fixing and phosphorous aggregating fodder shrubs on the growth and survival of timber seedlings and grass dry matter yield. He is also assessing the growth and nutritional content of several species of popular planted improved grasses across a gradient of shade intensities in mixed species native tree plantations. The overall goal of this research is to help elucidate the impacts that perennial trees and fodder shrubs have on overall grass production and nutritive content in these systems.