News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Feb. 1, 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

Plant science specialist joins MU Extension field faculty in Linn County

A University of Missouri research specialist and former MU Extension field faculty member has rejoined MU Extension as a plant science specialist and Linn County program director, according to Shelley Bush Rowe, director of MU Extension’s Northeast Region.

picture valerie tate

 Valerie Tate started her new duties Jan. 28. Based in Linn County, she will provide agronomy expertise in Linn, Sullivan, Putnam, Adair, Macon and Randolph counties. Tate also will offer horticulture advice in Linn, Macon, Randolph and Chariton counties.

“With her broad experience, educational background and enthusiasm, Valerie Tate makes an excellent addition to the Northeast Region’s staff of talented extension specialists who serve the people and communities of our 20-county region,” says Bush Rowe.

For the past 12 years, Tate worked as a research specialist at the MU Forage Systems Research Center in Linneus. Since 1991, Tate also served in a series of posts with the university, including coordinator with the MU Extension Mark Twain Water Quality Initiative in Macon (2000-2001); research associate at MU’s Forage Systems Research Center (1995-1999); and MU Extension agronomy and water quality specialist based in Shelby County (1991-1995).

While completing her master’s degree in animal science at MU, Tate served as a graduate research assistant. She received her bachelor’s degree in agronomy from MU in 1989. Tate and her husband, Larry, own and operate a family farm in Linn County.



Lexington chosen for MU Extension Community Arts Pilot Project

The historic community of Lexington will be the site of the MU Extension Community Arts Pilot Project, designed to provide an economic boost through community development.

The project will make the resources of MU’s Art Department and MU Extension available to the Lexington community over a two-year period, said Lee Ann Woolery, project director and community arts specialist for MU Extension.

MU students and faculty, along with MU Extension staff, will work with Lexington residents on projects designed to enhance quality of life and stimulate economic development.

For more information about the project, see the news release and video news story from the MU Extension Cooperative Media Group.

picture Brian Foster, provost; Chris Campbell, co-president; Lee Ann Woolery, arts specialist; Michael A. Middleton, deputy chancellor; Mary Leuci, community development program director and Michael Ouart, vice provost and director of Cooperative ExtensionMU dignitaries showed their support of the first Community Arts Project in Lexington Jan. 29. Representing MU (left to right) were Brian L. Foster, provost; Chris Campbell, Live in Lexington co-president; Lee Ann Woolery, community arts specialist; Michael A. Middleton, deputy chancellor; Mary Leuci, community development program director; and Vice Provost and Director of Cooperative Extension Michael Ouart.



NELD participants selected for 2013 class

Ted Probert, extension dairy specialist in Wright County, and Jeremy Elliot-Engel, 4-H youth development specialist in Newton County, have been selected to participate in the 2013 North Central National Extension Leadership Development (NELD) program, according to Julie Middleton, MU Extension director of organizational development.

“This program is designed to build leaders in cooperative extension at all levels and to provide them with vision, courage and tools to lead in a changing world,” says Middleton. “The program will focus on leadership competencies, national and international study, individual reflection, coaching and feedback, and personal action plans.”

The first of four sessions, on understanding leadership roles, ran Jan. 23-26 in Chicago. Other session dates, locations and themes:

Session 2: Costa Rica, April 13-20, Entering the Realm of the Other.

Session 3: Washington, D.C., July 14-18, Leading in a Shared Power World.

Session 4: St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 25-28, Integrating Leadership for Change.

More information about NELD may be found at Go to: S:\MUCampus\VPO\Leadership Program Participants.pdf to see a list of past participants.



Despite extension, federal farm policy could see changes and cuts

Earlier this month, Congress extended the farm bill until Sept. 30. However, the director of the MU Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute says several factors may cause Congress to revisit the legislation sooner rather than later.

“There’s a very good chance there could be changes in this legislation long before we get to September,” said Pat Westhoff, MU FAPRI director. “Not because we’ll necessarily pass a new five-year farm bill right away, but because upcoming negotiations on fiscal issues may cause us to make further cuts in programs to try to meet budgetary targets. That can mean changes in farm bill provisions even for the crop we harvest this fall.”

Westhoff says that agricultural programs may be cut as part of budget debates that will occur at the federal level during the next several weeks.

“On March 1, across-the-board cuts in defense and many non-defense programs are scheduled to take effect. Many members of Congress would like to head off at least some of those cuts,” Westhoff said. “But they also want to try to find offsetting cuts to pay for not letting those cuts happen. So that may mean there will be proposals to make cuts in farm subsidies and other programs in the next few weeks.”

Read the complete story in this news release from the MU Cooperative Media Group.



SE Region staff, local legislators attend Ag Expo in Poplar Bluff

MU Extension Southeast Region members photo









Members of MU Extension’s Southeast Region attended the Jan. 18, Ag Expo in Poplar Bluff. The event was co-sponsored by MU Extension, the Butler County Extension Council and Three Rivers Community College, according to Janet Kline, SE Region director. From left to right: Jon Hagler, director of the state agriculture department; state Rep. Linda Black, 117th District; state Sen. Doug Libla, 25th District; Stephanie Milner, 4-H youth specialist; state Rep. Steve Cookson, 153rd District; Kevin Anderson, business development specialist; state Rep. Dennis Fowler, 151st District; Phyllis Flanigan, CPD and human development specialist; and Sarah Denkler, horticulture specialist.



Quarterly Teamwork Award nominations due March 1

Quarterly Teamwork Award nominations for the first quarter of 2013 are due March 1, according to Bev Coberly, MU Extension director of off-campus operations. The award recognizes MU Extension campus and/or regional faculty and staff members who have collaborated on teams of three members or more to develop, implement and evaluate a specific educational response to a specific need.

Additional information, including eligibility and evaluation criteria, is available at Submit nomination forms to Coberly at 108A Whitten Hall, Columbia, MO 65211 or



Short words. Short sentences. They aid reading ease.

A communications tip from Duane Dailey

Reading recent newsletters, including the Insider, I found items that needed haircuts. They sounded like wooly first drafts. Write unto others as you would have them write unto you.

Using big words and long sentences hampers teaching. That goes for news stories, handouts, PowerPoints and newsletters.

A needed big word gets more attention in a field of short words. Write concise items. And, remember your audience. They weren’t trained to understand Ph.D. talk.

Short writing requires extra work. Avoid first drafts as final copy. Let your words cool—overnight if possible. Then, read 'em with fresh eyes. That helps you spot blather and cut needless words to smooth reading ease.

We have no lock on our audiences. They don't have to attend our messages. Mindless TV talking heads provide easy alternatives to thinking and learning. But, we can compete for time with compelling stories. Show benefits of your idea.

Short items need not be dull. It is not dumbing down if you reach your audience.



Sign up online for Legislative Day and related ISE

This year’s Legislative Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City is April 3. The event, sponsored by the UM Alumni Alliance, provides an opportunity for volunteers and friends of the university to visit legislators and deliver messages of support for the university and MU Extension, according to Sandy Stegall, extension coordinator of constituent communications.

“In connection with the day, all faculty members attending Legislative Day are encouraged to participate in a mid-day ISE,” says Stegall.  “The theme this year is ASAP: Action for Sustainability and Progress.” 

Participants will learn about the value of creating extension county business plans as a tool for building community support and financial security.  Regional faculty and council members who have been involved in creating and using county business plans will discuss their involvement and positive results, as well as a few pitfalls.

Registration is available at for both Legislative Day and the ISE.



Quarterly updates available on county endowment funds

Curious about what your local county’s endowment account balances were at the end of 2012? Want to get quarterly updates on your county’s endowment fund account balances for 2013? Just ask Cynthia Crawford, MU Extension donor education director. Crawford and Cat Comley, director of development, receive monthly updates on endowment fund balances.



Alumni Alliance, MU Extension distribute maps to state legislators

On Jan. 17, the UM Alumni Alliance and MU Extension joined with the State Extension Council and 4-H students at the state Capitol to distribute maps to legislators.

After the redrawing of legislative district boundaries following the 2010 census, members of the Alliance voted to produce the maps, which provide a representation of each legislator’s district. The maps include facts about the university’s impact on that district, including tax revenues returned to each district. University and MU Extension properties are also designated on the maps.

picture Emily Paul 4-H representative and Bill Rieboldt state representative
Emily Paul (right), a 4-H representative from Neosho, was among volunteers delivering district maps to legislators in the Capitol on Jan.17. Here she delivers a map to state Rep. Bill Rieboldt (R-Neosho).







Nominations sought for 2013 Ratchford Fellowship

Members of the university community are invited to submit nominations for the 2013 C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship Award. Nomination materials are due March 1.

The $5,000 award is given annually at a meeting of the UM Board of Curators to a university faculty member who makes significant contributions to the land-grant mission in extension, international education or agricultural economics programming. The winner of the 2012 Ratchford Fellowship was Carl Calkins, director of the UMKC Institute for Human Development.

Award submission guidelines are available online.



Fiscal office offers points to consider for farewell receptions

When faculty or staff retire, transfer internally, or leave the university’s employment, it is common to have a farewell reception for them, notes Shelly DeJaynes with MU Extension’s fiscal management office.

To help navigate your options and understand what university funds can be used for, DeJaynes answers some questions and notes some key points to consider:

Can you have a farewell reception with university funds? Full-time and part-time employees with a minimum of five years of service who retire, resign or transfer internally are eligible. Student employees are not.

What approvals are required? The receptions and expenses must be approved by the unit director. If the reception is in the director’s honor, approval is required from the director’s superior.

What can I purchase with university funds? Refreshments and commemorative items. Other items like cards and flowers are not generally paid with university funds. A gift purchase is allowed if it is of nominal value, ideally bearing the university or MU Extension logo, and the expense is put on a gift MoCode approved for that purpose. If you are not sure if you have a gift MoCode that could be used, please contact Callie Glascock at 573-882-4522 or

How can I make the purchases? A purchasing card can be used and is highly preferred over an employee making a reimbursable purchase. In either case, please document what event the purchase was for (e.g., Sally Smith’s retirement reception). If the reception is for the purchasing card approver or voucher authorized signer, that person’s supervisor will need to approve also.



Printed campus directory makes final appearance in 2012-13

Due to decreased campus demand, the MU student, faculty and staff telephone directory will no longer be printed. Extra copies of the 2012–13 directory, distributed last October, may be purchased from Printing Services. To look up phone numbers and addresses for faculty, staff and departments, use the campus online directories. They contain the most accurate, up-to-date information. Follow these online instructions to update personal information or update department information.



Extension forage specialist featured in Vox

Craig Roberts, plant sciences professor known for his work on toxic tall fescue, has a passion for hymns. He is one of five senior editors of “Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs Hymnal,” published last summer and reprinted in January. His work on the hymnal is featured in an article in the Jan. 31 issue of the Columbia Missourian’s Vox magazine.

“Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs Hymnal” was the result of seven years of work by 30 editors. Roberts added his expertise as an editor of scientific journals. (He also has a two-year degree in biblical studies.) Most important, he says, is his love of hymns.

Craig modestly passes credit to his fellow editors: “It’s not just humility; it’s also just more professional.”



Upcoming events

Fee-generation workshops set

Workshops have been scheduled to explain additional functions and updates to the Fee Generation Worksheet-Online Tool. Register through ISE for the following workshop dates:




10-11 a.m.


2-3 p.m.


Other dates to remember

Feb. 1: UM President’s Awards nominations. Details and nomination forms are available at For more information contact Chris Weisbrook at 573-882-0001 or

Feb. 5: Deadline to change passwords. To change your password, log in to the Division of IT Password Manager. Visit Make IT Safe for password requirements and suggestions on creating a strong password or passphrase.

Feb. 8-10: MU FRTI winter fire school. A printable Winter Fire School brochure is available online. Visit Winter Fire School for more information. Please share this information with local CEMP teams and the firefighters in your communities

Feb. 21: Abstracts due for Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors). Full call for abstracts available at

March 25-29: Community Development Academy. Limited scholarships for registration fees are available. Contact Tracie Vangel at 573-882-8393 or for more information, or go to Registration deadline is March 11.

April 3: UM Almuni Alliance Legislative Day, Jefferson City.



Coming and going

Please welcome

Till Rosenberger, administrative assistant, continuing education.

Stacy Craig, clerical, Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

Patrick Greenwald, horticulture specialist, East Central Region.

Julie Graue, nutrition program associate, Southwest Family Nutrition Program.




Kathleen Portell, nutrition specialist, Southeast HES, effective Jan. 30.

Linda Bartkoski, nutrition program assistant, West Central Family Nutrition Program, effective Jan. 25.

Suzanne Andrews, executive staff assistant I, HES, effective Jan. 29.

Charles Browning, natural resources engineering specialist, Southwest Region-ANR, effective Jan. 29.




Our sympathy goes out to:

Lala Kumar, Urban West Region horticulture specialist, whose mother-in-law, Renuka Prasad, died Jan. 12 in Trenton, N.J. 

Tom Johnson, agriculture economics professor, and his family on the death of his daughter Jill, Jan. 20. If you wish to send a card to Tom and his family, the address is Tom and Sylvia Johnson, 1801 S. Route O, Rocheport, MO 65279.

Wesley Tucker, ag business specialist in Polk County, on the loss of his grandfather Roscoe Harmon, who died Jan. 21.  If you wish to send a card to Wesley, his address is 187 Lindley Road, Buffalo, MO 65622.



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.