Understanding the alphabet soup of USDA programs

Openings remain for a free workshop to help beginning farmers, ranchers and veterans learn about resources offered by state and federal agencies. MU Extension in Morgan County sponsors the, "Understanding the Alphabet Soup of USDA" workshop for beginning farmers and ranchers to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m at the Hunter Civic Center, 202 West Jasper, Versailles, said Joni Harper, MU Extension agronomy specialist.  A session designed for military veterans will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Representatives of Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Loan Programs, Rural Development, MU Extension and Missouri AgrAbility Project will provide information on how to access their agency's services.

A free lunch is provided.  Register by contacting Joni Harper at 573-378-5358 or rossjo@missouri.edu.  You may also register at the MU Extension in Morgan County, 100 E. Newton Street, Versailles.

MU Extension, through a grant from the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach to help veterans, Latinos and socially disadvantaged persons who want to farm, offers the program to increase agribusinesses and enterprise development.  Karen Funkenbusch serves as director.

The USDA 2501 grant helps beginning farmers and others evaluate and plan their farm enterprise.  Participants attend a set of practical seminars and field days to learn from MU Extension specialists, farmers and agribusiness operators.  The grant comes at a critical time, Funkenbusch says.  More than 300,000 veterans are expected to return to their rural Missouri roots in the next decade.  "Many of them will seek work in agriculture,"  Funkenbusch says.  Latinos also represent one of the fastest-growing populations of new farm operators.

USDA helps fund this program as part of an $8.4 million set of grants to 24 states through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program.  "Understanding the Alphabet Soup of USDA Programs" is offered near military bases and areas identified by USDA as "StrikeForce" and "Promise Zone" initiatives as part of the grant.

Understanding the Alphabet Soup of USDA Programs flyer (PDF)

Beekkeeping 101 

The Iberia Area Beekeepers and the Lake of the Ozarks Beekeepers will be hosting a beginning beekkeeping class on Saturday, November 4, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Eldon Career Center in Eldon.  Class size is limited, so register early.  For more information or to register, call 573-3928060, ext 1504 or email gabe.branstetter@eldonmustangs.org.

What's the buzz about?  Beekeeping 101 Class flyer (PDF)

Credit Freeze Information in the Wake of the Equifax Hack

Source:  Barbara O’Neill, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management, Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Credit experts recommend that consumers freeze their credit to reduce their risk of becoming an identity theft victim. This has to be done individually with each of the “Big Three” credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), plus some experts also recommend doing a freeze with a lesser-known credit reporting agency called Innovis to “cover all the bases.” That means making 4 separate freeze requests per person or 8 requests for a couple.

By freezing your credit, you prevent potential creditors from accessing your credit file, thereby preventing identity thieves from opening accounts in your name. However, credit freezes will not deter non-credit related frauds such as tax refund identity theft and health insurance fraud. For that, consumers are simply told to “be vigilant.”

Credit freeze requests can be made online, by phone, or by certified U.S. mail. Expect to devote some time to this task. Below is contact information for each credit reporting agency for each method of contact to request a credit freeze:

Online:

Telephone

  • Equifax: 800-685-1111
  • Experian: 888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: 888-909-8872
  • Innovis: 800-540-2505

U.S. Mail

  • Equifax: Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348
  • Experian: Experian, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
  • TransUnion: TransUnion LLC, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
  • Innovis: Innovis Customer Assistance, P.O. Box 26, Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0026

The costs of security freezes vary from state to state. Fees may or may not be charged to add a credit freeze, temporarily lift (thaw) a credit freeze (e.g., when you need to apply for a loan), and remove a credit freeze. Different fees for credit freezes may also apply depending on whether someone is or is not a victim of identity theft.

For mailed security freeze requests, include the following information in a cover letter format:

  • Full name (with middle initial) and former name, if applicable
  • Current address and former addresses within the last five years
  • Social Security number
  • Full date of birth (month, day, year)
  • Signature
  • Photocopies of two forms of identification such as a government-issued identity card and proof of residence such as phone bill or utility company bill.

If looking for local information about financial topics for yourself or for an organization, contact MU Extension in Camden County at 573 346-2644 and ask for Dr. Rebecca J. Travnichek or email me at TravnichekR@missouri.edu. Services for one-on-one financial counseling are also available.

Land Grant Compact will provide access to Missouri residents

This news release is from the MU News Bureau on Aug. 24, 2017.   Contact Liz McCune, MU News Bureau, (573) 882-6212, mccunee@missouri.edu, for additional information.                                                             

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Today, University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Pelema Morrice signed the Missouri Land Grant Compact, which will expand higher education access and affordability at MU for Missouri residents for generations to come.

As part of the compact, MU will offer the Missouri Land Grant and Missouri Land Grant Honors for Missouri residents. The Missouri Land Grant will cover all tuition and fees for all Pell-eligible Missouri residents who qualify for admission to MU. Missouri Land Grant Honors will meet 100 percent of unmet financial need, including tuition, fees, books and room and board, for Pell-eligible students enrolled in the Honors College.

The compact means that thousands of Mizzou students will be able to attend the university tuition-free. Based on current enrollment, it is expected that more than 3,500 MU students from Missouri will qualify for the grants annually.

“As the founders of this university did nearly 180 years ago, today we are reaffirming our pledge to provide access to higher education with the belief that an educated citizenry is the key to advancing the state of Missouri, our nation and world,” said Cartwright, who began his role as chancellor earlier this month. “It is a tremendous honor as chancellor to sign this historic compact and invest in attracting the state’s best and brightest.”

The grants are an homage to MU’s status as a land-grant university. The first public university west of the Mississippi River, MU was awarded land-grant status in 1870 through the Morrill Act. The act was intended to provide a broad segment of the population with practical education that has direct relevance to their daily lives.

Morrice said the grants will play an important role in attracting Missouri’s top talent who are heavily recruited by universities outside the state.

“We already know that the Pell Grant program is transformational for our students and opens pathways for many to attend MU who couldn’t otherwise,” Morrice said. “These grants are intended to build on the Pell program and create competitive financial awards for all Missouri residents who qualify.”

Most federal Pell Grants are awarded to students whose families make less than $30,000 annually. Pell Grants usually provide a maximum of $6,000 in higher education assistance annually, leaving significant gaps for some individuals and their families.

Mizzou invests about $12 million per year on need-based financial aid to promote access and affordability in higher education. MU students graduate, on average, with $8,000 less in student debt than the national average.

“Keeping higher education affordable and addressing student debt has been a focus at Mizzou for many years,” said Nick Prewett, executive director of the Office of Student Financial Aid. “We have a strong commitment to help students identify the financial resources necessary to fund a Mizzou education, resulting in students graduating with the least amount of debt. This helps put them on a great path as they begin their careers.”

The Missouri Land Grants will be available to students beginning in fall 2018. They are open to incoming freshmen as well as continuing and transfer students.

Missouri Land Grant Q&A (PDF)

2016 MU Extension in Camden County Annual Report

Check out the flip book version of the MU Extension in Camden County Annual Report.  https://www.flipsnack.com/meinkekroll/2016-mu-extension-camden-county-annual-report.html

Missouri Department of Conservation confirms invasive Emerald Ash Borer in Camden and Miller counties

Foresters with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) have confirmed the presence of an invasive tree pest in two new counties in central Missouri.  The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an exotic beetle that kills ash trees, has spread to Camden and Miller counties.  The destructive insect has now been confirmed in 33 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis.

EAB is a species of small metallic green beetles native to the Asian continent.  It attacks all species of ash trees and kills nearly all trees it attacks.  At approximately a half-inch long, the green adult feeds on leaves and does very little damage to trees.  However, in its larval stage, the insect kills trees by feeding on the water and nutrient conducting tissues just under the bark.

EAB first appeared in the United States in Michigan in 2002 - most likely imported in packing crates and pallets made of EAB infested wood.  The pest first appeared in Missouri in 2008 at a campground near Lake Wappapello in the southeast part of the state.

Emerald Ash Borer CSI brochure (PDF)

Soil testing

Soil tests save time and money.  Soil testing is the best guide to the wise and efficient use of fertilizer and soil amendments, said Manjula Nathan, director of the University of Missouri Extension Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Services.  Whether you grow acres of row crops or have a vegetable patch in the backyard, a soil test will provide you with an analysis of nutrients and a set of recommendations for any improvements.

We frequently get questions from customers like, 'I apply fertilizer every year. How come my plants are not doing well?'" Nathan said.

"Most of the time the problem is they never have done a soil test, but have been guessing on fertilizer requirements," she said. "They do not realize that by guessing they are wasting money by over- or under application, and the excess fertilizer can end up in streams, ponds and underground water, polluting the environment."

Soil testing provides analysis of pH, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, organic matter percent, neutralizable acidity, cation exchange capacity and nutrient requirements.  For information on test results, see MU publication G9112, Interpreting Missouri Soil Test Reports. Regional specialists also can assist you with additional information and recommendations. Soil testing can be done through the extension office. See Services for details.

Soil testing brochure (PDF)
How to take a soil test YouTube video 
Soil testing YouTube video 

Find us on Facebook

Check out our latest information and "like" our page on Facebook.