News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Dec. 8, 2015


In the news

Dates to remember

Coming and going


MU Extension Insider is published on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month by MU Extension Communications and Marketing. Send feedback and comments to Karen Dickey.

In the news

Insurance confirmation and transition to UnitedHealthcare

From UM System Total Rewards

University of Missouri employees will receive a letter in the mail shortly confirming insurance choices made during Annual Enrollment. If you don’t receive this confirmation by Dec. 26, call toll-free 1-877-844-4999 for assistance.

In mid-December, you can also expect to receive your new UnitedHealthcare ID card in the mail. This card will be your proof of insurance and will detail your group and policy number. Once you have this card, you officially have an account with UHC. That means you are eligible to register on the UHC website. Registration has many benefits, including the ability to review claim information, view your benefits, update account information and find health information.

Your card also gives you access to features on the UHC app, called Health4Me. It’s available for both iPhone and Android and gives you the ability to search for health care providers, estimate prices for services from different providers with the myHealthcare Cost Estimator, track personal health records, view and pay claims, and connect with health care professionals. The app even stores an electronic version of your UHC ID card, so you’ll never be without it no matter where you are.

If you do lose your physical UHC ID card, or if you just want another for a family member, you will be able to submit a request online through your new account. You can also print temporary cards right at home!

Keep in mind that the transition to UHC from Coventry will happen at the end of this calendar year. If you or a member of your family are hospitalized during the transition—for example, from Dec. 31, 2015-Jan. 1, 2016—be sure to present both your Coventry and UHC ID cards to the hospital to ensure charges are properly distributed.

For more information on receiving care during the transition period, go to  “Transition to a new medical plan administrator” on the Total Rewards website.


Online tool offers farmers data about their land

MU Extension has developed a new online tool that allows landowners and managers to assess the physical, environmental and cultural characteristics of their land.

Users of the Agricultural Site Assessment Tool, at, can locate their land through aerial photos and maps and generate a report integrating data from multiple sources.

Reports include such characteristics as linear feet of streams crossing the land, acres of wetlands, presence of floodplains, soil types on the field and endangered species in the county.

“Reports are designed to provide farmers with insight into productive possibilities and environmental risks associated with their land,” says extension agricultural economist Ray Massey, who developed AgSite with John Lory, extension associate professor in plant sciences, and Chris Barnett, co-director of the MU Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems.

Ag Site is housed on Community Commons, a free website that helps users make use of publicly available data about their communities through mapping and reporting tools.

AgSite replaces two websites that were taken offline earlier this year: Business Environmental Risk Management (BERM) and Animal Feeding Operation Siting (AFOSite), Massey says.

Read more.


Insider reader contest

Brenda Arnold, livestock educator and CPD in Lewis County, NE Region, won the Nov. 10 reader contest. She received a short-sleeve polo.


This week’s prize is a Tri-Mountain long-sleeve polo shirt with a two-color embroidered logo and a three-button collar. Choice of black, heather gray or khaki.  

Read this issue, fill out a crossword puzzle with questions based on this issue, and submit the completed crossword for your chance to win MU Extension apparel.


MU Extension 101

We hope you have been following and sharing the MU Extension 101 social media posts that began on August 3. MU Extension 101 showcases all the ways extension affects people's lives across the state. Every Monday and Thursday, we post a new picture on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

We'd also like you to get involved:

1. We need your pictures and ideas for upcoming posts! Please send interesting photos (if you have the proper photo release signed) to along with a brief description about how it connects to an extension program, service or publication. Photos should be high-resolution. 

2. Please help us spread the message by sharing, retweeting, pinning and liking the posts on the extension accounts as well as your personal pages.

Visit to learn more.


New items available for purchase


MUEXT6000-6540: Men or women’s Tri-Mountain long-sleeve polo shirt with a two-color embroidered logo and a three-button collar. Choice of heather gray, khaki or black; 8.2 oz., 60% cotton/40% polyester. $27.99-$31.99/each.

tote bag

MUEXT108: Canvas tote bag, black and gray, 18 in. x 14 in. x 5 in. Large main compartment has protective flap with buckle closure. Zippered pocket on flap. Organizer with zippered pocket, pen pockets and mesh pocket with elastic band. Side mesh zippered water bottle pocket. Side zippered pocket with headphone port. Adjustable shoulder strap with shoulder pad and padded haul handle. $23.50/each.


MUEXT107: Travel mug, 16 oz., stainless-steel outer with black plastic inner and black trim, twist-on lid with slide-lock drink opening. $7.50/each.


UED1177: MU Extension notepad, “Your Source for Practical Education on Almost Anything,” 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 , 25 pages. $0.45/each.


Tabletop displays for events

Are you hosting an event for researchers, state or regional council members, legislators, or other constituents? If so, you need to reserve one of our new tabletop displays.

One display speaks directly to researchers and communicates the opportunities MU Extension has to collaborate with them on getting their research to the people of Missouri:

Research display

The other display is designed for events attended by constituents such as donors, legislators and council members. It communicates how MU Extension affects lives, businesses and communities across the state with specific examples of successes and available programming:

The three-panel displays are 64 inches wide and 32 inches tall and will fit perfectly on a 6-foot or an 8-foot table. Each display weighs 19 pounds and can be set up in minutes. Displays include a handle and shoulder strap for convenient transport.

Due to the weight, the display cannot be shipped, so it must be picked up in Columbia. Contact Laura Lindsey at to reserve.


Diversity highlight

The communities we serve are home to individuals from a variety of cultural and religious traditions. The following is a list of religious holidays that individuals in your community may observe in the coming weeks.

Dec. 6-14: Hanukkah/Chanukah (Jewish), the Jewish festival of lights, begins at sundown and lasts for eight days, commemorating the Jewish struggle for religious freedom.

Dec. 20-Jan. 1, 2016: Winter solstice/Yule/Alban Arthan (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid) marks longest night of the year, followed by the sun’s “rebirth” and lengthening of days.

Dec. 25: Christmas (Roman Catholic, Protestant) commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

Jan. 1, 2016: Gantan-sai (Shinto) is the annual New Year festival of the Shinto religion.

Jan. 7, 2016: Christmas (Eastern Orthodox Christian) commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

Feb. 1-2, 2016: Imbolc/Candlemas (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid) celebrates the coming of spring.

Feb. 3, 2016: Setsubum-sai (Shinto) marks the beginning of spring and is known as the “bean-throwing festival.”

Feb. 8, 2016: Chinese New Year (Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist) is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.

Feb. 10, 2016: Ash Wednesday (Roman Catholic, Protestant) is the first day of Lent, the period of 40 days before Easter.

Feb. 22, 2016: Magha Puja Day (Buddhist) commemorates an important event in the life of the Buddha, in which the four disciples traveled to join the Buddha.

For more information, go to


Dates to remember

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.

Dec. 17 2-3 p.m.
Jan. 20 10-11 a.m.
Feb. 18 2-3 p.m.
March 16 10-11 a.m.
April 21 2-3 p.m.
May 18 10-11 a.m.
June 16 2-3 p.m.
July 20 10-11 a.m.
Aug. 18 2-3 p.m.


Change how you think about eating! Enroll in Eat for Life now!

From UM System Total Rewards

Have a history of chronic dieting, or eating when stressed, bored or unhappy? Enroll in Eat for Life now. Create a healthier relationship to your food, mind and body. 

In-person class starts Jan. 20, noon-1 p.m., Memorial Union S304, MU campus. Register at

Online class starts week of Jan. 22. Register at

Cost: $50 for faculty/staff/family ($25 rebate with full participation), $180 for community.

More info at

Eligible first-time participants can earn 100 points toward the 2016 Wellness Incentive, which pays up to $450 ( 

Sponsored by Healthy for Life: T.E. Atkins Wellness Program for employees.


Get a new lease on life: Register now for stress reduction classes 

From UM System Total Rewards

Three decades of research show the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program is effective in helping people cope with job or family-related stress, medical problems, anxiety, and depression. Join this eight-week program to get tools for using formal mindfulness techniques (meditation, yoga, body scan) to respond to stress. 

Orientation: Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m.

Classes: Wednesdays, Feb. 3-March 23, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Full-day retreat: March 19, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cost: $40 for faculty/staff/retirees, which can cover you and your spouse/partner ($20 rebate if you attend seven of eight classes).


More info:

Eligible first-time participants earn 100 points toward the 2016 Wellness Incentive which pays up to $450 (   

Sponsored by myTotal Rewards T.E. Atkins Wellness Program.


Other dates to remember

Dec. 10: Dedication of tribute bench from CAFNR in honor of Michael Ouart, former vice provost and director of extension, 10 a.m., east side of Whitten Hall.

Dec. 15-16: MU Crop Management Conference, Columbia.

Jan. 1, 2016: Deadline for extension fellowship nominations.

Jan. 7-9, 2016: Great Plains Growers Conference, St. Joseph.

Feb. 26, 2016 (noon): Deadline for Provost's Award for Creative Extension Programming by New Faculty submissions.

Feb. 26, 2016 (noon): Deadline for The Donald W. Fancher Provost Award for Outstanding Achievement in Extension and Continuing Education submissions.

June 8-10, 2016: Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors): Latinos in the Heartland, 15th annual conference, Columbia.


Coming and going

Please welcome

Ashley Temmen, youth program assistant, Callaway County, EC Region.

Kylee Brassel, office support, Family Impact Center.

Shane Potter, assistant extension professional, state specialist, 4-H Science of Ag Youth Development.



Karen Wright, office manager, Hickory County, WC Region.

Vera Massey, extension professional, nutrition and health education specialist, Boone County, NE Region.

Paul Rainsberger, director, Labor Education.


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