Duane Dailey started with the University of Missouri’s “agricultural editors office” in 1959. “My job is to convey technical information about modern farming practices. But my method is to use photos and words to tell stories of people who have successfully used the technology,” Dailey said. Born in South Lineville, Mo., he grew up on a farm in Mercer County in the Green Hills of North Missouri. He received degrees in agricultural journalism and extension education from the University of Missouri.
He has spent 28 weeks, one week per year, in photo workshops teaching mid-career photographers. First, he was director of the Agricultural Editor’s Photo School, copied from the Missouri Photo Workshop run by Cliff and Vi Edom. When the Edoms retired, they asked Dailey and Bill Kuykendall to co-direct the Missouri Photo Workshop. He’s known as an “agricultural photographer,” but he considers himself a story teller who happens to use photographs to help convey the message. His photographs have received top awards from the American Agricultural Editor’s Association and the Agricultural Communicators in Education. He began photography with a 4×5 Speed Graphic, then helped many agricultural journalists switch to 35mm photography.
Since retirement, Dailey has continued to use his M.U. professor-emeritus office to write stories and make photographs for Missouri newspapers and farm publications. He is “contributing editor” to Missouri Ruralist magazine, and he writes a weekly newspaper column. Dailey traveled the state, documenting the stories of more than 100 Missouri mule people in words and photos, the result of which is a two-volume history of the Missouri mule. More than any other single person, Dailey has brought quality and significance to agricultural journalism through his photos and stories.