News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Dec. 3, 2013


In the news

Upcoming events

Coming and going


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

In the news

Information on extension district option available soon

Reference materials about the newly created district option, including a manual and Web pages, will be ready soon for use by county councils, according to Tony DeLong, MU Extension county council coordinator.

“A committee of the MU Extension State Council is developing a manual about the district option for county councils,” says DeLong. “The committee is working with the extension communications office to keep it simple and understandable, and hopes to have a useable draft of the manual early in 2014.”

There will be additional reference material, including several Web pages that provide expanded explanations on state laws that deal with extension district option elections, campaign finances and revenue management.

DeLong has met with seven county councils and fielded questions from many others about the MU Extension district option since it was approved by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this year.

County program directors can ask DeLong to attend their local meetings to help orient county councils on the law and to provide answers to frequently asked questions. He can be reached at or at 573-882-4592.

DeLong also says: “Dolores Howard, chair of the state council’s district option committee, wants to remind everyone that the MU Extension district option is a tool. It never takes the place of the county councils nor does it require them to change how they operate or to implement the district option law.”


Counties have a new way to receive donations — online

“Our new online giving form allows donors to make online donations to MU Extension with ease and assurance,” says donor relations director Cynthia Crawford. “The form includes lists of the county gift and endowment funds. All it takes is a click to select the desired fund.”

To help guide local donors to the form, county program directors can publish a “donate” subpage on their county’s website. Customize the new page using WebTool and add a compelling explanation of goals for the funds, says Crawford. (See Henry County’s donate page as an example.)

More than 20 county-donate pages have been published, Crawford reports. “The CPDs of these counties chose to publish the page first and demonstrate it for their councils later. Other CPDs plan to demonstrate the page for their councils before publishing it.” The regional directors set Feb. 1 as their target date for all the county pages to be published. 

“One county had a $100 contribution less than 48 hours after its donate page was activated,” says Crawford.

To activate a county-donate page, the CPD simply needs to email the request to Crawford at

For more information on the new MU Extension online giving experience and directions on how to customize a county’s giving page, see Giving to MU Extension.


Instructional designer joins ETCS staff

Paula DeBates, instructional designerPaula DeBates has joined the staff of the Extension Technology and Computer Services office as an instructional designer, according to Steve Giesel, system support analyst and instructional designer with ETCS.

“This recent change at ETCS has more than doubled our Moodle course development support and expertise,” says Giesel.

DeBates is a recent M.Ed. graduate of MU's College of Education and is finishing an online educator certificate.  She comes to ETCS from MU’s veterinary pathology department, where she was a grant writer.

“Keep your eyes and ears open for learning opportunities with us, and don't hesitate to contact us,” says Giesel, who can be reached at or 573-884-6267. Contact DeBates at or 573-882-7130.


Reminder: Benefit premium collection schedule changes

“The timing of benefit premium collection has changed,” says Diane Dews, MU Extension benefits manager. “Beginning Jan. 1, premiums will be collected in the same month they are due.”

Prior to the change, benefit premiums for employee medical, dental, vision, and life insurance plans were collected one month prior to coverage.

“You will not have benefit premium deductions in December,” says Dews. “However, deductions will be made in December for employees with flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and retirement plans.”


Ralls County jumps to endowment milestone

The Ralls County Extension Council recently zoomed straight from zero to $2,500 in its endowment fund, reports Cynthia Crawford, MU Extension director of donor relations.

The Northeast Region county joins four others in the state—Barton, Greene, Jasper and Taney—that have reached the permanent endowment fund threshold in 2013.

“Generally counties start with a pending endowment that has a balance of something less than $2,500,” says Crawford. “Once the endowment balance reaches $2,500 and some paperwork is completed, the endowment moves from pending to permanent. When permanent status is reached, monthly distributions from the endowment to the county’s spendable account begin and continue to benefit generations of county people served by MU Extension.”

Distributions for the benefit of the Ralls County Extension Council will begin immediately and continue monthly, says James Meyer, county program director in Ralls County.


Wine trail comes to NW Missouri with MU Extension help

Missouri, now the eighth-largest wine producing state, has nine wine trails, 393 vineyards and more than 1,600 acres of wine grapes, according to Marlin Bates, MU Extension horticulturist based in Platte County.

Bates recently helped eight wineries north of Kansas City work together to bring wine-tasting tourists to their region just north of Kansas City by creating the Great Northwest Missouri Wine Trail.

“We’re sitting just outside of (the) Kansas City, Mo., city limits. There are two million people that live in this area and many of them are looking for an opportunity to come out to a working farm and experience the ambiance of that place,” Bates says.

Read, hear and see more of the story about the Great Northwest Missouri Wine Trail.


KOMA beef cattle conference set for Jan. 14 in Carthage

The 2014 KOMA Beef Cattle Conference begins at 3 p.m., Jan. 14 at the Joplin Regional Stockyards in Carthage, Mo., according to Patrick Davis, MU Extension livestock specialist based in Cedar County.

The KOMA beef conference is a joint effort by the extension services in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas to provide beef cattle industry participants with the latest information on production, marketing, economics, nutrition and forage utilization, says Davis. 

Cost of the event is $25 per person for those who pre-register prior to Jan. 10. Payment at the door will be $30.

For more information on the event, go to Southwest Missouri News.



Upcoming events

Fee-generation workshops

Workshops have been scheduled to explain additional functions and updates to the Fee-generation Worksheet-Online Tool. Register through ISE up to one week before the workshop. Sessions that do not have at least four registrants will be canceled and registrants will be asked to choose an alternative date.

2014 workshops

Jan. 15

10-11 a.m.

Feb. 20

2-3 p.m.

March 19

10-11 a.m.

April 17

2-3 p.m.

May 21

10-11 a.m.

June 19

2-3 p.m.

July 16

10-11 a.m.

Aug. 21

2-3 p.m.


Moodle workshops

Extension Technology and Computer Services (ETCS) is conducting half-day online Moodle course-development workshops. Dates and times for the next four offerings:

  • Jan. 10, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 22, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 19, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Other dates to remember

Dec. 3-5: NAEPSDP conference, Kansas City.

Dec. 3-6: Meetings to cover dairy farmer profit-margin safety nets:

  • Dec. 4, Cape Girardeau County MU Extension Center, Jackson
  • Dec. 5, Hagie’s Nineteen restaurant, Union
  • Dec. 6, FCS Financial meeting room, Sedalia

Dec. 6-7: Missouri Livestock Symposium, Kirksville.

Feb. 18: University of Missouri Alumni Alliance Legislative Day, State Capitol, Jefferson City.


Coming and going


William L. (Bill) Buehler, 80, died Nov. 18 at his home in Versailles. Bill was a 40-year veteran of MU Extension and had retired from his Morgan County farm management specialist post in 2000. Services were held Nov. 22 in Versailles. Memorial contributions are suggested to Hospice Compassus, the University of Missouri or the Morgan County Library.

Gene Haenni, 74, died Nov. 18 in Cape Girardeau. Gene served as a 4-H youth specialist based in Cape Girardeau County until his retirement in 1994. Private services will be held at a later date.

Dean Fitzgerald, 85, died Nov. 26 in Columbia. Dean was a longtime director of personnel for MU Extension, retiring in 1993. Services were held Dec. 2. Memorials are suggested to the Bryan Jay Fitzgerald scholarship fund, in care of the MU music department or to a charity of your choice.


If you have items to include in future issues, please send them to Karen Dickey, Curt Wohleber or Phil Leslie in the Cooperative Media Group. If you have questions, contact Dennis Gagnon, director, MU Extension Communications and Marketing.