News for employees

MU Extension Insider
July 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

8th annual Council to Campus

More than 80 extension council members, state and regional specialists, and administrators gathered on the MU campus last week for the eighth annual Council to Campus.

Council to Campus connects county council members to the research and program development on the flagship campus of the University of Missouri, said Tony DeLong, county council coordinator.

In every county in Missouri, councils of elected or appointed citizens guide local extension programming, manage finances and personnel for local extension operations.

Council to Campus provides council members an opportunity to share ideas and concerns with state-level faculty and administrators as well as with council members in other counties, DeLong said.

With many councils facing severe budget pressures, funding was a topic on many council members’ minds. Mary Paulsell, director of communications and stakeholder relations for the Business Development Program, offered advice for council members when approaching legislators, prospective donors or potential partners: Don’t ask for money. Offer solutions to problems.

Cat Comley, director of development, said donors of today tend to view their gifts as investments, taking active interest in how their donations are spent and what outcomes they produce.

Michael Ouart, vice provost and director of extension, praised county extension councils for their efforts in preserving local programs and pursuing diverse revenue sources.

Council members also played an important role as advocates for legislation to empower councils to form single or multi-county extension districts. The “district option” would allow counties to share costs, pool resources and potentially boost revenue through a voter-approved property tax.

During the recently concluded legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly passed three bills incorporating the district option. The bills are now on the desk of Gov. Jay Nixon, awaiting his signature.

Pat Guinan, state climatologist with MU Extension Commercial Agriculture, talked about Missouri’s network of automated weather stations and climate trends in the state. He said that while last year’s drought is officially over, Missouri has endured far more severe droughts in the past and may do so again in the future. Droughts spanning several years afflicted the Show-Me State in the 1930s and 1950s, and studies of growth rings of ancient trees reveal evidence of droughts that lasted decades.

A major focus of the event was MU Extension’s strategic plan. A centerpiece of the strategic plan is program integration, a concept that recognizes that the solutions to the complex problems of today don’t fall neatly into geographic regions, program categories or professional specialties.


Craig Roberts elected chair of MU faculty council

This month MU Extension forage specialist Craig Roberts becomes chair of the MU faculty council. That’s a first for extension faculty.

Being on council has allowed him to explain what MU Extension does, Roberts says. “For some, we’re unknown. They seem to know about field specialists, but don’t understand state-level extension faculty.

“As chair, my job will be to represent all faculty, not one division," he adds.

He becomes a voice for MU campus at system and board of curators levels. Already he’s worked to gain voting status for non-tenure and professional-track faculty, which includes many in extension.

Also, he’s learned that he is on call to explain faculty policy to the media. Four recent news interviews helped him learn to be concise.

The job takes time. He’ll receive a 40 percent buyout, which allows him to hire technicians to help with extension and research. He will continue grazing schools and other off-campus teaching.


App helps you find local, in-season produce

Seasonal and Simple

Finding fresh, locally grown produce can be at your fingertips when you are traveling in Missouri this summer.

Seasonal and Simple is a free iPhone, iPad and Android app developed through MU Extension. Based on the publication “Seasonal and Simple,” the app guides you through selecting, preparing and storing fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Missouri, according to dietitian and MU Extension associate Cindy DeBlauw.

Through Seasonal and Simple, you can check if your favorite produce is in season. If you’re on the road, a county-by-county listing of Missouri farmers markets will help you find a place to shop for fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables. The app includes recipes and nutrition information for each of the fruits and vegetables that are listed.

To download the free application, go to

The application was created through a collaboration of MU faculty, staff and students from HES Extension, the Missouri School of Journalism and the College of Engineering.


Barton, Greene, Jasper and Taney counties move to permanent endowments

The SW Region is leading the way so far in 2013 with counties moving from pending to permanent endowment status, says Cynthia Crawford, director of donor education.

Crawford congratulates councils, faculty and staff in Barton, Greene, Jasper and Taney counties for achieving a balance in their endowment accounts of at least $2,500.

Documents are in the process of being executed to move these counties from pending to permanent endowment status, she says. Rather than earning rates similar to a passbook savings account (less than 1 percent), the funds will be part of the university investment pool.  Last year the investment pool had a 13.7 percent return.  Another benefit of reaching this milestone is that each county will begin receiving a monthly distribution, and that distribution will continue forever.

While new endowment accounts at the university must have a balance of at least $25,000 to move from pending to permanent, established MU Extension accounts are grandfathered in at a $2,500 minimum. 

For more information about gifts and endowments, go to


Rob Kallenbach gets rock star welcome in China

Kallenbach in China

Forage specialist Rob Kallenbach, right, examines cool-season grasses in a field in China.

In China, MU Extension forage specialist Rob Kallenbach was treated like a rock star. Everywhere he went in rural villages, crowds gathered to see the visitor. 

“They’d seen Americans on TV, but never in person,” he said. 

Kallenbach explored a request from the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University to send graduate students to MU. It’s one of three top schools in China, with ag enrollment of more than 30,000.

“Everything in China is big,” Kallenbach said. “Building is everywhere: apartments, highways, high-speed railroads, utilities—everything.”

We can help them with their forage, he added. Cattle are grazed on the public commons. All cattle are turned out early to get the grass. That results in two forms of grazing: overgrazed and not grazed.

China is investing billions in education, he says. “They want to improve.” But, he adds, “They are not going to overwhelm us with food. They have lots of mouths to feed.”

They likely will become a huge market, especially for meats, he says. “They love their pork.”

Meanwhile, Kallenbach helps work out details on such things as English language proficiency tests for students.


Dinner raises $2,500 for Greene County Extension

Thanks to the generosity of individual business and farms, extension council members and the owners of Sunshine Valley Farm, the June 14 “Dinner at the Orchard” raised $2,500 for the Greene County Extension Council, says David Burton, civic communication specialist and Greene County CPD.

Jan and Michael Wooten, owners of Sunshine Valley Farm, hosted the event so 100 percent of all ticket proceeds could benefit the Friends of Greene County Extension, Burton says.

The dinner featured locally produced and grown foods. A number of area farms and businesses donated all the provisions for the meal.  Farm chef Marci Sonnemaker planned the menu and prepared the meal with help from staff.

MU Extension specialists and staff from Greene County waited tables and were assisted in the setup by members of the extension council. Volunteers included Carl Allison, Harold Bender, Jeff Barber, David and Stacey Burton, Patrick Byers, Jay Chism, Pam Duitsman, Craig and Tamara Vonfoerster, John and Lorri Winters, and Marty Wood.


To tell your story, speak concisely for 20 seconds

A communications tip from Duane Dailey

Twenty seconds on the radio? Why bother? That was one reader’s reaction when a radio reporter said all he wanted was a 20-second sound bite to go with a story.

The reporter writes one minute of copy from your news release to wrap around your voice telling the heart of the story.

A lot can be said in seconds. And it may be short enough for listeners to remember. Conciseness requires that you know your own key points. That takes thinking ahead.

Remember, radio builds awareness. It’s not for teaching nuts and bolts. Radio and television let large audiences know you exist. And you can entice people to attend events. You’ll be surprised how much you can say in 90 seconds. Try it.

Most famous brands became famous in 30-second and one-minute bites. And that’s how you get most of your electronic news.

In extension we must tell our story concisely. The second part of that strategy: Repeat often! Tell your story again and again.

It doesn’t hurt to be interesting. Make people want to listen.

Start by letting the media know that you are there for them. 

They’ll help you, because they need your stories.


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

July 17: Breimyer Seminar, Columbia.

Aug. 4-7: Missouri FilmFest 4-H, Branson.

Aug. 30: Application deadline for MELD VI.

Aug. 30: College Colors Day.

Aug. 31: Deadline for UMEA awards nominations.

Sept. 1: Deadline for Quarterly Teamwork Award nominations.

Sept. 5: Bradford Research Center Tomato Festival, Columbia

Oct. 1: NTT Training for Applicants 2, “Last Minute Tips with Questions and Answers.”

Oct. 28-30: Extension Fall Conference, Columbia.


Coming and going


Zac Erwin, NE regional livestock specialist, and wife Jessica became the proud parents of a healthy baby girl on June 24.  Adrienne Rae weighed in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Cards can be sent to the Erwins at Rt. 1, Box 134, Knox City, MO  63446.



John Sachen, 77, longtime instructor for the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute, died on June 21. To read FRTI director David Hedrick’s tribute to Sachen, go to

Another FRTI instructor, regional training coordinator Lee Ireland, 62, died suddenly on June 26. Read Hedrick’s tribute at

Alta Younger, mother-in-law of Texas County nutrition and health education specialist Cammie Younger, died on June 24. Cards of sympathy may be sent to Cammie and her family at HC4, Box 74, Birch Tree, MO 65438.


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.