News for employees

MU Extension Insider
December 1, 2011


In the news

Upcoming events

Coming and going


MU Extension Insider is published on the first and 15th of the month. Send feedback and comments to Karen Dickey.

In the news

New feed may stop turkeys from gobbling profits

Profit margins for turkey producers are very narrow,  so any savings that can be reaped have a huge impact on the industry.  A University of Missouri animal scientist has designed the perfect turkey diet that allows the birds to add more pounds for fewer dollars.

Radio news story by Debbie Johnson:

Video news story by Kent Faddis:

News release by Roger Meissen:

More efficient turkey feed makes producing Thanksgiving dinner cost less


Mizzou Network launches

The Mizzou Network, which launched Dec. 1, is a web-based multimedia platform showcasing a combination of on-demand and live content with an emphasis on exclusive content for all Mizzou sports.

Live content will be available only to subscribers. Subscriptions are $9.95 per month or $79.95 per year.

The Mizzou Network also features news and information from across the university, including news stories produced by the Cooperative Media Group highlighting MU Extension and CAFNR.

Mizzou Network content will be available via apps for Apple and Android smartphones (and coming soon to BlackBerry).


MU FRTI simulates disaster for Texas airport drill


The MU Extension Fire and Rescue Training Institute’s mobile aircraft firefighting trainer (MAFT) was a key component in a fire and mass-casualty exercise at the San Antonio International Airport on Oct. 27, reports Mark A. Lee of MU FRTI's Aircraft and Industrial Programs.

The trip was to assist the Texas Engineering Extension Service and Texas A&M University with the disaster drill, which used the MAFT to simulate the crash of a Boeing 737 airliner.

 "This simulated what would be one of the worst possible events that fire and rescue personnel can face," said San Antonio fire chief Charles Hood.

The firefighters were able to practice controlling the fires with the airport vehicles and take fire hoses into the MAFT to fight the fires.  Emergency responders from more than 20 local hospitals treated nearly 150 "injured" volunteers sporting realistic-looking fake blood and simulated wounds.

Additional photos of the MAFT are at

See also: Media coverage from the San Antonio Express-News and television station KENS 5.


MU nursing instructor receives study abroad programming award


The University of Missouri Study Abroad Advisory Council (SAAC) honored Lynelle Phillips, an instructor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and field placement coordinator for the MU Master of Public Health program, with the annual Award for Excellence in Short-term Study Abroad Programming on Nov. 15. SAAC recognized Phillips for coordinating and implementing a study-abroad program to Ghana in western Africa for undergraduate nursing students in a community health course.

Phillips worked with Jason Kinnear, assistant director of study abroad in the MU International Center, to develop the new nursing opportunity.

“We thought a study-abroad opportunity like this really helps build cultural competence, which in the nursing profession is becoming more of a critical skill because our patient populations are so diverse,” Phillips said.

A total of 21 students in the study-abroad program traveled to Ghana in 2011. The students worked with nongovernmental organizations in Ghana and taught classes on hygiene, infectious diseases and sexually transmitted diseases; helped screen for HIV/AIDS, diabetes and hypertension; and trained community members to educate others about health issues.

“I saw my students gain such an appreciation and love for community health,” Phillips said. “They learned volumes by the minute. They were very engaged, and that makes it really fun for an instructor.”


Marilyn Rantz named American Academy of Nursing 2011 Nurse Leader in Aging


The American Academy of Nursing (AAN), in partnership with the John A. Hartford Foundation, recently selected Marilyn Rantz, professor and Helen E. Nahm Chair at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, as recipient of the 2011 Nurse Leader in Aging Award. Rantz was selected for her exemplary leadership achievements, contributions, productivity and mentorship in the field of gerontological nursing.

Rantz was instrumental in developing TigerPlace, an independent-living facility that uses the Aging in Place model to improve seniors’ quality of life in a homelike environment. TigerPlace residents live in private apartments featuring sensor technology to detect early changes in health conditions, which helps residents avoid or delay hospitalizations. 

“Dr. Marilyn Rantz has devoted her entire professional career to enhancing the quality of life of older adults,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing. “Her research is interdisciplinary and innovative in using noninvasive monitoring to detect patterns of physical activity that may suggest impending health problems. This early detection has saved millions of dollars by preventing emergency room visits and long-term care placement.”


Justin Sexten named ASAS/ADSA Outstanding Young Extension Specialist

Justin Sexten, extension assistant professor of animal science, was named 2012 Outstanding Young Extension Specialist by the Midwestern Section of the American Society of Animal Science and the Midwest Branch of the American Dairy Science Association. Sexten will receive the award at the 2012 ASAS/ADSA Midwest annual meeting in March.


Sen. Blunt delivers good news

Sen. Roy Blunt announced stable funding for extension, research and forestry at a Nov. 28 media event at MU FAPRI in Columbia. While agricultural spending was cut $350 million in the 2012 bill, funding for research and extension was held at 2011 levels.

“A flat appropriation becomes good news with the budget-cutting mood in Congress,” said Mark Linit, CAFNR associate dean of extension and research. Formula funding for land-grant university programs remains basically the same for the coming year. That includes Smith-Lever for extension.

Funding also stays stable for competitive grants. MU remains strong in winning those grants. That includes research on beef by David Patterson and forages by Rob Kallenbach. “This means continued funding for these long-term projects,” Linit said.

A new line includes $4 million to cover policy research. That aims to fund MU Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) and MU Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI.) That money goes into competitive grants, but Sen. Blunt said that no other policy research institutes have the expertise and track record of the Missouri groups. “I’ve been asking them questions for 15 years,” he added.


Missouri 4-H LIFE site visit

Jennifer Sirangelo, chief operating officer of the National 4-H Council, visited the Missouri 4-H LIFE  program at the Jefferson City Correctional Center and Chillicothe Correctional Center in November.

4-H LIFE (Living Interactive Family Education) is a program for children of incarcerated parents that takes place in the prison visiting room. 

“It was beyond inspiring to see the power of a high-quality 4-H positive youth development (PYD) program to transform youth whose parents' decisions have put their lives under extreme duress,” said Sirangelo.

Sirangelo noted that youth whose parents are incarcerated are six times more likely to be incarcerated themselves than children without a parent in prison. "4-H Life seeks to put these vulnerable young people on a positive trajectory,” she said.

The 4-H LIFE meetings were very similar to what you would see in any 4-H community club.  Youth officers conducted the meetings. Participants sang songs, reported on business, gave presentations and engaged in group activities from an MU Extension parenting curriculum.  They also do community service projects. Some of the youth members go to 4-H camp and participate in county and state 4-H activities.

“The difference between the youth engagement in the 4-H visiting room and in the regular prison visiting room was striking,” Sirangelo said. “The partnership between the Missouri Department of Corrections and MU Extension is what has led to 11 years of success.”

Jenny Flatt-Norell, 4-H youth development specialist, Rick Smith, 4-H LIFE program educator, Shaun Murphy, 4-H youth development specialist, Tammy Gillespie, Missouri 4-H LIFE program coordinator,  Rob Wilkerson, National 4-H LIFE  training specialist, and  Lynna Lawson, National 4-H LIFE  Mentoring Program  lead adviser, met with the National 4-H Council representatives as part of the review.


Shun listless verbs. Add vigor to your stories

A writing tip from Duane Dailey:

You use three kinds of verbs: Active, passive and linking. The most interesting writing shows action and tells stories. That requires active verbs. To test your writing, print a hard copy of your article and circle all linking verbs. Those are “to be” verbs: Is, was, were, are, am, will, etc. They don’t move the story. They link words, that’s it. Compare:

Duane is an agricultural news writer.
Duane writes agricultural news.

That edit cuts six words to four and adds a real verb. In a sentence with a linking verb, look for the nearby word that should be an active verb. I changed “writer” to the active “writes.”

I’ll bet that with fresh eyes, you’ll find many linking verbs in your articles. Linking verbs slip into writing because that’s the way we talk. In rewriting, edit them out and find the lurking verb. You will need linking verbs, but not as many as you use now.

With edits, your writing gains interest and loses length. The improvements occur every time you re-read and edit. You change from a bureaucratic report writer to a storyteller. Try it once. Let me know if I’m wrong.


Upcoming events

Funds available through the MU Staff Development Awards 

Are you trying to find funding to attend a conference or workshop? The Staff Development Award can help. Available to MU campus staff (individuals and groups), the program is intended to assist in personal and professional development.

Applications must be received by Dec. 20 to be considered for the Jan. 20, 2012, award. Submission of application does not guarantee funding. Visit for information on the program and how to apply. Have questions? Call Gina Scavone in the Staff Advisory Council office at 882-4269.


Mizzou basketball and 4-H team up

The MU Athletic Department is offering a group ticket discount opportunity to Missouri 4-H for the men’s basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 10 vs. Navy at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, with a special 4 p.m. game time.

4-H groups using this order form may purchase tickets for $10 (regular price is $15), with a $9 processing fee for the entire order. 

For 4-H families, volunteers and alumni within a couple hours drive of Columbia, this is an excellent opportunity to come up early to enjoy the holiday shopping and dining opportunities, cheer on the Tigers with 4-H friends at the special 4 p.m. start time, and still make it back home to catch the game highlights on the 10 o’clock news!  

The deadline for group ticket orders is Friday, Dec. 2.  If you have questions, please contact James Ronald at or 573-445-9792. 


Al Kennett retirement celebration

There will be a retirement celebration honoring Al Kennett, livestock specialist in Ralls County, on Jan. 21, 2012, at the American Legion Hall, Post 55, at 3819 Highway MM, Hannibal.

There will be a social hour at 4 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. The cost of the meal is $18 per person. Deadline for meal reservations is Jan. 11.

In lieu of retirement gifts, a scholarship is being set up in Al’s name through the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. If you would like to make a presentation to Al or say a few words, contact Jim Meyer at the Ralls County Extension Center at 573-985-3911.

Please make all checks payable to Ralls County Extension Center, P.O. Box 540, New London, MO 63459 (please make note of your scholarship contribution on your check).


Coming and going

Please welcome

Stacey Blodgett, extension associate, Business Extension/CE.

Thomas DeBlauw, extension associate, Business Extension/CE.

Anthony Bratsch, extension professional associate, SC Region.

Edward Brown, agronomy specialist, SC Region.

Amy Patillo, extension professional assistant, SC Region.



Susan Tharp, research associate, OSEDA, will retire Dec. 13.

Judy Poncet, 34-year Crawford County council secretary, has announced her plans to retire the end of December.  "Judy has served this office like none other before her, with more years than any other specialist or employee since extension began in Crawford County," said Pat Snodgrass, Crawford County PD.  "She has earned great respect from all staff and clients whom she has known.  She will not be easy to replace."



Congratulations to Sheila Bruns, educational assistant, Clay County, for receiving her Master of Arts in Education from UMKC.



Our sympathy goes to:

Cathy Oesterling and her family for the loss of her husband, Bill, who died at his home Nov. 22.

Janet Kline, husband Sterl and daughter Rachel on the loss of her father, Buren Lee, who died Nov. 23. Memorials may be made to Unity Baptist Church, 4846 State Highway 77, Benton, MO 63736.


If you have items to include in future issues, please send them to Karen Dickey or Curt Wohleber in the Cooperative Media Group. If you have questions, contact Mark Stillwell, CMG interim director.