Extension specialist observes half-century of service

In this year of centennial celebration for extension nationally and in the state, one member of MU Extension’s field faculty can lay claim to have personally participated in helping extension make progress in the Show-Me State for the past 50 years.

Eldon Cole, Lawrence County-based livestock specialist, was honored this February with a plaque from the local county extension council recognizing his half-century of service to the people of Missouri. And he ain’t done yet.

Back in 1964, Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight championship, the first Ford Mustang came off the assembly line, the 24th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and Eldon Cole began his career with University of Missouri Extension.

Members of the Lawrence County Extension Council honored Cole during a council meeting Feb. 3, celebrating his 50 years with extension. Cole was presented a plaque by council chair Edward Dingman.

Cole was raised on a livestock farm at Potosi, Mo., and graduated from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture in 1962 and received a master’s in animal husbandry in 1963.

photo: Eldon Cole receiving his plaque from the council chair
Lawrence County Council Chair Edward Dingman presented a 50th anniversary plaque to Eldon Cole.

Cole started as an Extension Balanced Farming Agent on Feb. 1, 1964, in Saline County. On Oct. 1, 1966, his title was changed to extension farm management agent. June 1, 1968, he became the area livestock agent in Lawrence and Greene counties. On Jan. 1, 1970, his responsibilities included Barry, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Polk, Stone, Taney and Webster counties. On Sept. 1, 1970, his title changed to area livestock specialist, still headquartered in Lawrence County. On Feb. 1, 1996, the title of county program director was added and on Sept. 1, 2011, Cole was approved for a promotion to the rank of extension professional.

Cole’s programs with extension include beef and forage production and utilization, Missouri Steer Feedout, the Show-Me-Select Beef Heifer Replacement Program, bull breeding soundness clinics, and grazing schools to name a few.

Cole can be reached at the Lawrence County Extension Center in Mt. Vernon at 417-466-3102 or colee@missouri.edu.