News for employees

MU Extension Insider
March 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

MU Extension bill makes progress in General Assembly

Two versions of MU Extension county funding-district bills are in varying stages of progress this week in the Missouri General Assembly, according to Marty Oetting, director of government relations for the UM System. The goal of each version of the legislation is to provide statutory authority for MU Extension to establish single- or multi-county funding districts.

The issue is a priority for the University and would provide a tool for extension councils in the counties to improve efficiencies. It also would give them the option of putting local property tax questions on the ballot to support local extension programming, says Oetting.

Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), passed the Senate last week and has been sent to House for consideration. House Bill 202, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho), passed the House earlier this week and is on its way to the Senate. The primary difference between the two bills: the Senate version was amended to exclude St. Louis County’s option to form a district.

“Given the legislature’s full schedule and upcoming spring break, it will probably be late March or early April before this critical extension legislation is finalized by the two houses,” says Oetting.

“It should also be noted that this entire process has given numerous senators and representatives the opportunity to speak on their respective floors about the positive impact MU Extension has provided to their local constituents.”



Extension’s fall conference set for late October in Columbia

The MU Extension fall program conference will run Oct. 28-30 at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia, according to Joy Millard, interim assistant vice provost.

Millard has appointed Stephen Jeanetta, community development state specialist, as program chair. Janet LaFon, family financial education specialist and Jasper County program director, will serve as vice chair.

“A committee will be established shortly to begin program planning,” said Millard.



Spark your spirit: Notice what colleagues are doing right and praise them

by Julie Middleton, member, Self-Directed Spirit Team

In our work lives we often find ourselves critiquing the work of others, problem-solving and providing constructive criticism. Of course there is a time and a place for this.

As we think of ways to keep our spirits up in the workplace, on behalf of the Self-Directed Spirit Team I want to share the words of author Mary Jo Asmus, who provides some tips for praising others and being more positive in the workplace. The following is an excerpt from her article “When Things Go Right.”

Notice: Your critical demeanor may have clouded you from seeing what’s good. I believe you can “practice” and train yourself to look for things that are going right by the people around you. It isn’t easy, but it can be done. And it can make a world of difference to your ability to lead others to do the “right things.” Start today. What if you spent the entire day looking for what’s right?

Let them know you’ve noticed: No matter how small the “right” thing you’ve noticed is, say it out loud to the person you’ve seen doing it. Put yourself in their shoes. A little bit of noticing and letting them know what you observe can go a long way, especially if you have a habit of being critical.

Don’t forget to give credit where credit is due, especially for the big triumphs. Make sure that those who matter (the rest of the team, the “higher ups,” your peers) know that you are cognizant of the fact that you can’t lead alone. It takes followers who are doing the right things for a leader to be successful. Call out these “right things” by name to others, and be specific.

Find ways to celebrate. We are all too serious and professional for celebration – or are we? What keeps you from having a little fun in honor of the right things? Most people enjoy recognition, and celebration is a great way to do so. Ask the people who are doing the “right things” what celebration might mean to them (within appropriate boundaries).

Asmus suggests that each of us should start today noticing what others are doing right and letting them know it. I think we can all agree that praise is motivating. I invite you to share instances where you received praise that was motivating, or when you gave praise to someone else. Send your message to with “Praise” in the subject line. As this fits in with our civility campaign, we will share some of these in a future article. Individual names will be eliminated, of course.



Dairy margin proposal would cut spending in a 2013 farm bill

Dairy producers will seek a new safety net when farm bill discussions restart in Congress, said a University of Missouri dairy economist at the recent USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum. Current proposals look more like insurance than price programs of the past.

But with financial binds in Washington, there are no easy answers, said Scott Brown of the MU agricultural and applied economics department.

“With rapidly rising feed costs, dairy interest turned to a margin insurance plan,” said Brown. That’s a shift by milk producers from years of price-support programs in the federal act.

One thing is certain: There will be less federal money for any new policy compared to past levels. “Projected CCC (Commodity Credit Corporation) outlays for current dairy policy decline yet again,” Brown said.

He added that it is too early in the 2013 farm bill process to know where dairy policy might fit in.

For more information, read the full news release from the Cooperative Media Group.



Simple principles offer sound pointers to consider when seeking donations

Cynthia Crawford, MU Extension’s director of donor education, offers these 10 principles of fundraising from Carl Richardson, a nationally recognized expert in the field.

“Richardson calls them the10 immutable laws of the fundraising universe,” says Crawford. “They’re good points to remember when planning to seek donations for extension-related programs.”

Law 1: No group of individuals is waiting to give (also known as the “Law of the Nonexistent They”).

Law 2:  Fundraising is a conversation between funded and funder.

Law 3: Effective fundraising is a result of telling your story.

Law 4:  People give to people.

Law 5:  Someone must ask for the money.

Law 6:  An organization cannot thank a donor enough.

Law 7: Seek investments, not gifts.

Law 8: Donors are developed, not born.

Law 9:  Fundraising out of desperation is futile.

Law 10:  In the best of circumstances, people will do what they please.

Cat Comley (director of development) and I recommend reviewing Carl Richardson’s entire classic article on the Ten Immutable Laws on The Foundation Center website,” says Crawford. “It’s guaranteed to make you think.”



National urban extension meeting coming to KC area in May

The 2013 National Urban Extension Conference is set for May 6-9 in Overland Park, Kan., according to Kansas State University Research and Extension, host of the event. Nearly 300 extension professionals from across the country are expected to attend the meeting.

Early-bird registration deadline is March 31, and will save each registrant $50. Consult the conference website for more details and to register.



Media Tip: What if a member of the news media calls you for an interview?

Here are three basic points to follow if a member of the news media contacts you for an interview.

First, be friendly. In the majority of cases, reporters are hardworking professionals trying to complete a story, says Kent Faddis, video news producer for MU Extension’s Cooperative Media Group.

Second, buy time. You are under no obligation to interview right now. Politely explain that you will call the reporter back and ask what you should be prepared to discuss.

Third, call your regional director or a member of the MU Cooperative Media Group (573-882-7794) to learn more about the reporter, gain background on the issue, and discuss the message points that you would like to use during an interview. And then call the reporter back.

Faddis can be reached at 573-882-5361, office; 573-823-9499, cell; or



SPCC can help environment and protect property values

May 10 is the final date for all farmers with on-farm petroleum storage exceeding 1,320 gallons to have a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan in place. An MU Extension water quality specialist says putting together a plan is fairly simple and can provide several benefits.

“Having this plan in place may be one of the cheapest forms of insurance you can get,” said Bob Broz. “The plan is really a very good way of helping protect property values. Yes, it is going to help protect the environment, it is going to protect water quality, but it also protects that land value in case you do ever have a spill. The cost of cleaning up a spill, what you have to do, and what you are going to have to be aware of become major issues if you ever decide to sell that property.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has a series of easy-to-use templates and instructions for determining if a farmer needs an SPCC plan and what should be included at

For more information, read the full news release from the Cooperative Media Group.



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:




2-3 p.m.


Other dates to remember

March 1: Quarterly Teamwork Award nominations for the first quarter of 2013 are due. Additional information, including eligibility and evaluation criteria, is available at Submit nomination forms to Bev Coberly at 108A Whitten Hall, Columbia, MO 65211 or

March 1: Ratchford Fellowship award nomination materials are due. Award submission guidelines may be accessed 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. “In connection with the day, all faculty members attending Legislative Day are encouraged to participate in a mid-day ISE,” says Sandy Stegall.  “The theme this year is ASAP: Action for Sustainability and Progress.”  Registration is available at for both Legislative Day and the ISE. Deadline for registration is March 27.



Coming and going

Please welcome

Carol Schoonover, 4-H youth development program assistant, NE Region.

Sara Lampe, project director, social and economic data analysis office.

Mitchell Morse, student assistant professional, statewide administration.




Sam White, labor education specialist, is leaving the Labor Education Program to take a position as an associate professor of industrial relations with the Institute for Labor Studies and Research at West Virginia University.



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.