The place to go when you need to know

The Benton County Extension Center is available to help you get the information you need. Extension can get you research-based information in the areas of agriculture, business and the workforce, children and teens, community development, environmental quality, family life, home and garden, and nutrition and health. 

Office hours

The Benton County Extension Office is open three days a week; Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and closed Thursdays and Fridays.  Office hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.   


MU Extension has publications on agriculture, natural resources, lawn and garden, home and consumer life, nutrition and health, families, community and leadership development, business and careers, emergency management and other topics. Prices vary by publication. 

Red Books

We are taking orders for the 2015 Red Books.  If you would like to reserve a copy, please contact our office. The cost is $4.50 per book.  


                       Upcoming Events


Stay Strong, Stay Healthy, A Strength Building Program

University of Missouri Extension in partnership with Care Connection will be offering Stay Strong, Stay Healthy, A Strength Building Program starting in September 2014.

This ten-week series of 1 hour sessions can help you get started on the road to better health.  The Stay Strong program, developed at Tufts University, is built on simple, strength building exercises that will improve balance, health, and state of mind. No, it’s not strenuous weight-lifting; you’ll start at a level that’s right for you.  No one is too inactive to participate.  Building strength promotes quality of life and independence; especially for adults over 50. 

Fall 2014 Classes will be Mondays from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

September 8, 15, 22, 29; October 6, 20, 27; November 3, 10, & 17

Classes will be held at the Care Connection at Harbor Village, 17571 North Dam Access Road, Warsaw, MO  65355.

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Missouri Master Gardener

2014 Core Class

Mondays and Wednesdays, October 20 - November 19

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 

Contact the Pettis County Extension Center for more details 660-827-0591
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Build Your Board - online training program

This program was designed specifically for board members of non-profit organizations. Participants can log in at any time and take all 16 lessons at once or can break the training up in 15-minute intervals.  No meetings to attend and no travel expenses mean both time and money will be saved. To register go to:

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Percolation Test Certification Training 

2-day event, Friday and Saturday, October 24-25 

Johnson County Extension Center, Warrensburg, MO 

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Missouri Master Gardener 2014 Core Class

Pettis County Extension Office

Mondays and Wednesdays, October 20-November 19

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

For more information, call 660-827-0591

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 Article:  Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Dry fields increase harvest fire risks

 National Farm Safety and Health Week is Sept. 21-27.

 Source: Kent Shannon, 573-445-9792

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Dead leaves, stalks, husks, oil and fuel are never in short supply when harvest begins. They can ignite fires in fields, farm equipment, grain trucks and wagons.

As harvest season approaches, University of Missouri Extension specialist Kent Shannon reminds producers to think about prevention and preparation.

Shannon recommends checking fire extinguishers before harvest. Look for cracks in the hose and inspect the gauge to make sure it is properly charged. Once or twice a season, invert the extinguishers and shake them to loosen any powder inside that has been compacted by machine vibrations. All equipment should carry at least one 10-pound, all-purpose dry chemical extinguisher. An extra 20-pound all-purpose extinguisher on the ground where it can be reached easily can provide extra protection.

If you have to use the extinguisher, remember “PASS,” which stands for pull, aim, squeeze and sweep: 

  • Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the handles together.
  • Sweep from side to side. 

Have a shovel handy to scoop dirt onto a fire, Shannon says. Carry one in the combine and in the grain truck. Carry a charged cellphone to alert emergency services.

Trucks with exhaust systems below the chassis also can ignite field fires. Catalytic converters operate at high temperatures. Field fires sometimes start when a truck travels through a field. Flames may not be noticed for 15 to 30 minutes, Shannon said. Avoid truck traffic in fields when conditions for a fire are favorable.

If there is a fire, call 911 before trying to put the fire out yourself.

Shannon offers the following fire prevention tips:  

Electrical systems

  • Keep wiring and fuses in proper operating condition and position.
  • Properly route and insulate all replacement wires.
  • Use heat-resistant insulation. 

Fuel systems

  • Regularly inspect fuel lines.
  • Keep fuel lines in good condition with tight connections.
  • Before refueling, always shut off the engine and let equipment cool for 15 minutes.
  • Never fill the gas tank near an open flame, while smoking or with the engine running.
  • Wipe up oil and fuel spills when they happen. 

Mechanical operation

  • Use a pressure washer or an air blow gun to thoroughly clean machines.
  • Remove crop residue from rotating units.
  • Always inspect machines for dry plant buildup before operation.
  • Check lubricant levels often and grease fittings regularly.
  • Fix leaking oil, fuel or hydraulic lines.
  • Check belts for proper tension and wear to reduce friction.
  • Check bearings for excessive heat. Overheated bearings are a major cause of combine fires.
  • Check valve covers for oil leaks that can ignite as oil runs down manifolds.
  • Check for cracked or loose exhaust pipes and ports and check the manifold.
  • Look for leaks, damage or crop residue buildup on the exhaust system.