News for employees

MU Extension Insider
May 1, 2012


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

MU team collaborates to improve food pantry nutrition

Fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by for some food pantry clients. The MU Food Pantry Nutrition Project brings researchers from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) together with eight mid-Missouri food pantries to improve nutrition. Kent Faddis reports.

Video produced by Kent Faddis.

See also: Related news release by Roger Meissen: Better eating for those in need.


FCS Financial endows MU Extension 4-H animal science programs

FCS Financial, a member of the Farm Credit System, has pledged $25,000 to establish the FCS Financial – Missouri 4-H Animal Science Fund. The pledge supports the Missouri 4-H Foundation endowment initiative, "The Next Sixty Years," which focuses on providing permanent support for University of Missouri Extension 4-H state programs.

The new fund will support animal science programs, including dairy, livestock and horse judging. These programs are essential to the future of agriculture in the state of Missouri and are the roots of 4-H.

“Supporting our rural youth is the key to a successful Missouri,” said FCS Financial CEO Daryl Oldvader. “We are honored to be a part of 'The Next Sixty Years' initiative and are committed to helping 4-H members continue their education process in the animal science field.”

“The Missouri 4-H Foundation is thrilled that FCS Financial has generously committed to continuing its support of Missouri’s rural youth through this new fund,” said Cheryl Reams, executive director of the Missouri 4-H Foundation.

A longtime supporter of Missouri’s rural youth, FCS Financial supports Missouri 4-H at many levels. “The scope of FCS Financial’ s support to Missouri 4-H members is phenomenal,” Reams said. “FCS Financial provides everything from scholarships, grants and state funding to local funding and in-kind gifts, not to mention the time the organization devotes through its employees to assist 4-H. We are extremely grateful for all FCS Financial does to enhance opportunities for our youths now and in the future.”

For information on FCS Financial, visit


MU Lego Robotics Challenge


At the MU Lego Robotics Challenge on April 14, Zack Murphy watches teammate Kenneth Khor set up their robot while Jared Shopper, MU biomedical engineering student, makes sure the course rules are followed. The challenge is open to home-schoolers, public and private schools, Girl and Boy Scouts, and 4-H clubs. Satish Nair, MU professor of electrical and computer engineering and biological engineering, started the program to help foster an early eagerness for engineering. (Photo by Jessica Salmond/Cooperative Media Group)


Spirit Spark!

Last month, Team Spirit conducted a survey asking, “What is your ‘spark’ in your Extension career?”   The team would like to thank each of you who responded to the survey.  Today, we report the top three responses with a few tips for capitalizing on these ways to help create or maintain “spark” in Extension.

Think of ways to help others throughout the day. You can provide help by performing a simple task such as opening a door.  You might also consider assisting with a task or providing feedback on a program if requested.  Sometimes we feel that we are too busy to take time to help others, but slowing down long enough to assist others can add spark to their day—and yours!

There are many ways to create opportunities to interact with others.  Gene Klann of the Center for Creative Leadership suggests that interactions such as sitting together at a staff meeting do not build spirit or morale.  He recommends spending quality time with one another.  He suggests that colleagues might consider sharing experiences in a social context.  These kinds of interactions improve communication and understanding in the workplace.  Going out to lunch, celebrating birthdays, participating in potluck lunches or office picnics, or conducting a community project can all help provide that “spark.”

We all enjoy face-to-face conferences as a means of professional development and growth, but with shrinking funds for face-to-face professional development, consider other ways of creating “spark.”  MyHR has a wealth of books, articles, videos, simulations, podcasts and workshops to provide professional development right at your desk.  You might consider joining with a colleague to participate in some of these sessions.  Also, create camaraderie by joining together for an ISE via Adobe Connect.  Bring along some snacks and make it fun and enjoyable.  For more information on building morale, pride and spirit, check out the MyLearn section of MyHR. There are many resources on this topic.

We agree with Gene Klann: “When morale and spirit are present in the workplace, productivity is high, relationships are strong, and it is fun to go to work.”

Continue to share your great ideas with Team Spirit, which includes Clint Dougherty, Janet Lafon, Kathy Macomber, Beverly Maltsberger, Susan Mills-Gray, Julie Middleton, Jim Ronald, Sarah Traub and Lynda Zimmerman, so that we can share them with your colleagues!

Reference: Klann, G. (2004) How to Build Morale, Pride, and Spirit. Available on MyLearn at


 “I Don’t Need a Microphone.” Wrong!

Communications tip from Duane Dailey

Speakers walk away from the microphone telling us they have a strong voice. They do, for two minutes. Soon people in back can’t hear.

If a microphone is available, use it if your audience includes AARP members—average-age farmers. People who drive loud tractors have little hearing left.

Learn to use a microphone correctly. Test it in advance. Put your mouth close, about 3 inches. Handheld microphones are not pointers or conductor’s batons. Those who talk with their hands get in trouble fast.

Meeting organizers must ensure that a working microphone is available if the audience has more than 20 people.

Recently at an awards program, the audience included proud parents. The speaker claimed he didn’t need a microphone.

Within minutes I noted the only parents laughing at his jokes were in the front four rows. Those in the back, where most people sit, couldn’t hear the punch lines.

From audience reaction, I could tell students could hear. Dads could not. Often, one leaned over to ask his daughter, “What did he say?”

Don’t let your words of wit and wisdom fall on deaf ears.


Scott Brown explains dairy act at congressional hearing

Scott Brown

As the Senate version of the 2012 Farm Bill was released last week, Scott Brown, MU Extension economist, told the potential impact of the proposed law to legislators.

Brown analyzed previous drafts from both milk producers and dairy processors. Now he was called to appear before the House subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry.

He told them the Dairy Security Act, if passed, would reduce milk-feed margin volatility, limit price fluctuations and cut federal spending.

Brown was the only economist called to the Washington hearing. He posted his prepared text at A news release on the dairy act appears on AgEBB.

Long ago, no dairy title to a Farm Bill passed without analysis by economists from Cornell. Then Wisconsin dairy economists held that favored spot. Now, University of Missouri gains input on dairy analysis in D.C.


Producers join ISE on 2012 Kansas Beef Tour

Four years ago, the Kansas Beef Tour started in a university van. This year, it took two coaches to carry 92 participants. Dave Patterson, MU beef specialist, received financial help from the Missouri Beef Industry Council.

The tour became an ISE for regional livestock and ag business specialists. They got a sneak preview of a major educational plan for the coming year.

With that MBIC help, the tour included more beef producers than ever. The goal: Help cow-calf producers see where Missouri calves go—and the value added at Kansas feedlots and packers.

Touring feed yards and packing plants dispels myths about cattle feeding and beef processing. New this year was a stop at a Tyson beef processing plant.

A big step in producer education will be getting carcass cutout sheets that show quality and value. Most herd owners don’t track their calves once they leave the farm.

Speakers said that not only AI genetics but also health and nutrition affect final carcass quality.

Evaluations show the tour was a hit. One gave a shoutout to Lena Johnson, administrative assistant, who did details for herding the group to western Kansas—and back.

State specialists on the Missouri Beef Project plan in-state meetings.


Missouri Beef Project gains national press attention

The Missouri Beef Project was featured on the educational day of the Washington, D.C., meeting of North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ). The group attracts top ag writers from daily newspapers, news services and farm magazines.

When the RFP went out for topics, several group members asked for updates on beef production. The cow herd has shrunk. Beef prices have shot up. The cattle business is changing.

Duane Dailey, MU Cooperative Media Group senior writer, responded with a proposed panel on the shift in demand for high-quality beef—with premiums paid to producers. That’s the Missouri Beef Project. MU Extension has the recipe.

Panelists were Scott Brown, MU livestock economist; Mike Kasten, Show-Me-Select producer, Millersville, Mo.; and Larry Corah, vice president for marketing, Certified Angus Beef, Manhattan, Kan.

They condensed what had been a day’s worth of information into 1.5 hours.

A DTN story went nationwide that night. Scott Brown got immediate feedback from a Wyoming rancher, saying, “Way to go!”

Several requests have come for more information and asking to be kept informed. The Extension story spreads.

eXtension revamps “Ask an Expert”

Meridith Berry reports that eXtension is working on a new version of “Ask an Expert.” One of the biggest changes, as described in the eXtension 2012 Strategic Roadmap, is that the new AaE will be a public-facing site. Submitted questions (and answers from our experts) will be publicly viewable and the public will have the opportunity to post comments on questions.

A recording of an Adobe Connect session providing a walkthrough of an early-stage mock-up is available at


Upcoming events

CAFNR promotion and tenure workshop, May 8

2-4 p.m., Tuesday, May 8, Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center, Room 572

This workshop will cover the process and philosophy of Promotion & Tenure. Faculty in the process of preparing their dossiers are strongly encouraged to attend.


County clerical award nominations due May 25

It is time again for the County Clerical Staff Recognition awards. The deadline for nominations is May 25. For nomination forms and additional information, go to


Council to Campus, June 22-23

Rick Sparks, SC Regional Director, has news on Council to Campus 2012, June 22-23 in Columbia:

The C2C website is now up and open.

UM System President Timothy Wolfe is confirmed as the speaker for Friday night.

Please encourage folks from your county to attend this year. We are allowed to have 12 people from each region plus the regional council chair, regional state council representative and regional state representative alternate. Therefore, we could have a total of 15 from each region.

Since this is an on line registration process, I would appreciate your letting me know when people from your county sign up to attend.


Other dates to remember

June 5-10: Summer Fire School and Midwest Wildfire Training Academy, Jefferson City.

June 12-15: Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) - Latinos in the Heartland conference, Columbia.

Sept. 15: MU Extension Day with the Tigers.

Oct. 29-31: 2012 Extension Annual Conference.


Coming and going

Please welcome

Sarah Ginter-Novinger, receptionist, Continuing Education.

Olivia Hitsman, administrative professional, EC Region - Business and Industry.

Diane Besler, administrative professional, HES.

Scott Greer, clerical, SC Region - Youth.

Elizabeth Farmer, service, WC Region - HES.

Penny Hopkins, FNEP program manager, NW Region.


New beginnings


Sophie MiddletonCongratulations to grandparents Mike and Julie Middleton on the birth of Sophie Alana Middleton on April 12 at 4:40 p.m. Sophie weighed 5 pounds, 7.5 ounces, and was 18.25 inches long.  Mom and baby are doing well. So is Dad.



Katie Cook, Buchanan County office manager and bookkeeper, has left to accept another position.



Our sympathy goes out to:

Saralee Jamieson, human development specialist/CPD St. Clair County, and family on the death of her mother, B. J. Bury, on April 3.

The family of Harold "Bud" Isaak, retired Crawford County small farm assistant, who passed away Friday, April 27. Cards may be sent to Marlene Isaak, 607 Hwy. Y, Steelville, MO 65565.


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.