News for employees

MU Extension Insider
June 15, 2010

In this issue:

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

Tourism dollars for small towns

University of Missouri Extension specialists are helping rural communities such as Chamois attract tourists by spotlighting their cultural heritage.


When thunder roars, go indoors

Lightning kills

Summer is the peak season for one of nature’s deadliest phenomena--lightning. We’ve already had a good share of rain, thunderstorms and lightning this year.  June 20-26 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week (, so it’s a good time to brush up on your lightning know-how to keep from becoming another statistic. In this audio story, MU atmospheric scientist Anthony Lupo talks about how to stay safe during a lightning storm.


MU Extension delegation visits University of the Western Cape, South Africa


Michael Ouart, Beverly Coberly and Mary Simon Leuci visited the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, May 25-June 3, to explore and develop the key relationships for strengthening the ongoing linkage between MU Extension and UWC as part of the 24-year-old UM-UWC collaboration and partnership.

Michael and Mary participated in a symposium exploring and highlighting UWC's engagement and outreach with communities.  The symposium, which commemorated UWC’s 50th anniversary, provided a mutual learning opportunity and included a presentation on MU Extension, Mizzou Advantage and best practices from MU Extension's community engagement.

The delegation met with various UWC faculty and participated in outreach programs conducted in townships and rural communities with leaders, youth, farmers and workers. The group concluded that MU and UWC share many of the same issues and concerns despite different contexts, cultures, politics and histories. "UWC administrators and we agree that there are many ripe opportunities for mutual learning, program evaluation and research that link to each of the MU Extension program areas,” Ouart noted. “We are committed to developing opportunities using blended technology and fostering faculty exchanges through grant funding."



MU FRTI supports firefighters across the state


It has been a busy spring for the MU Extension Fire and Rescue Training Institute. In late May, Mark Lee, aircraft/industrial program manager, trucked his large airplane simulator to the Mexico Memorial Airport-Hagan Brothers Field to train 52 central Missouri firefighters how to fight fires resulting from a plane crash.

“We have been doing aircraft rescue training across the state,” Lee said. “The large airplane simulator usually goes to larger commercial airports, but we are also trying to train local fire departments near smaller airports.”  The training includes classroom sessions and hands-on learning with funding assistance from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

The training was covered in an article in the Mexico Ledger.

FRTI also led the 78th annual Summer Fire School and Midwest Wildfire Training Academy, June 8-13 in Jefferson City.

More than 415 firefighters from 71 counties in Missouri participated in the training.

“Our classes have evolved over the years as firefighting has changed with technology and world events,” said Kevin Zumwalt, MU FRTI assistant director. “There were nearly 34 training sessions, from basic emergency techniques to specialized courses in dealing with technical rescue operations and company officer training.”

“Farm Machinery Rescue” and “Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Operations with Live Aircraft Fire Evolutions” were among the new courses this year.

For more information on courses and future training sessions, see the FRTI website at


Hagans-Reynolds recognized for 25 years of service

Gail Hagans-Reynolds, coordinator for the University of Missouri’s Fire and Rescue Training Institute (MU FRTI) Field Extension Program, was recognized June 3 for 25 years of service with the University of Missouri. Gail began her service with MU Printing and Records Management Services in 1985. In 1989 she was hired by MU FRTI. She was promoted to coordinator for the Field Extension Training Program in 2007. “Gail’s dedication and commitment to the university and FRTI is evident by her completion of 25 years of service with MU and 21 years with FRTI,” said MU FRTI Director David Hedrick. “We look forward to her continued exceptional work on behalf of the university and the institute.”


Massey gives home canning tips

“Botulism.” That one word is the reason to follow scientific methods of home canning and food preservation, said Vera Massey, MU Extension nutrition and health education specialist in Central Missouri. She spoke June 12 at the first Farm to Table conference at the MU Alumni Center. She appeared with world-famous chefs promoting the use of locally grown farm-fresh produce. She told the group that most of her summer workshops had already filled up. Morning classes are still available.

Canning and food drying was once done mainly for economic reasons . Today, these practices have come back for the pleasure of capturing that garden-fresh flavor.

Massey promoted the MU Extension publication “Seasonal and Simple: A Guide for Enjoying Fresh Fruits and Vegetables” (MP909), now available for purchase at


Beef farm leader

Justin Sexten, MU Extension beef nutrition specialist, is the newly appointed animal sciences faculty member giving oversight to the MU Beef Research and Teaching Farm on Highway 63 south of Columbia. That farm has the tallest landmark of any university farm, the KOMU-TV tower. He’s already working on the farm’s annual field day, set for Sept. 16.


Bob Weaber presents international papers, prepares for BIF meeting in Columbia

Just back from Latvia , Bob Weaber, MU Extension beef specialist, is deep into organizing the Beef Improvement Federation meeting in Columbia, June 28-July 1. Some 600 people are expected for seminars and tours of Missouri beef farms.

Weaber co-hosts the meeting with Ben Eggers of Sydenstricker Genetics, Mexico, Mo. They are assisted by Jewell Coffman, MU Conference Office.

The annual BIF meeting draws producers, industry leaders, academics and students. It was last held in Missouri in 1976, when 176 people attended.

In Latvia, Weaber presented papers at two conferences. First was for the multispecies equivalent of BIF, which sets standards for data collection, animal identification and other genetic evaluation protocols. “If you invent a milk meter to measure dairy cow production for genetic evaluation, it must be certified by this organization,” Weaber said.

The other meeting was of large animal genetic researchers for the Baltic region. Weaber told of his work at MU evaluating temperament effects on beef production. He has been measuring “exit velocity” of cattle released from processing chutes. Their speed of departure is an indicator of temperament and related to other production attributes.


Upcoming events

Toot your own horn!

“Many good things are happening in extension in Missouri.  Toot your horn and let us know about them,” says   Lisa Wallace, chairman for the MU Extension Performance Awards. “This is a great opportunity to be recognized for your hard work.”

The awards recognize the commitment and dedication of extension employees in carrying out the extension mission — serving the people of Missouri with research-based education that meets their highest priorities. These awards honor excellence in meeting the goals of extension's 21st Century Strategic Direction.

“We have a new award this year,” Wallace said. “The County Program Director Excellence Award recognizes distinguished performance and educational contributions to University of Missouri Extension and clientele by a CPD.”

What are the other awards?  There’s an award category for everyone…don’t miss out!

A complete list of awards and details are available at   Applications and supporting materials must be postmarked by Aug. 6.  Send to Janice Perkins, 109F Whitten Hall, Columbia, Mo. 65211.

Is money awarded?  Yes, the largest cash award is $5,000 for the teamwork award.  A couple other awards are for $1,000 and $2,000.   Check out the awards information and please take the time to apply.  

The awards will be presented at the Galaxy Conference, Oct. 5-6 at Camp Windermere.  

So toot your horn!  Take a little time for a big reward.  Get started now and meet the Aug. 6 deadline.  Contact Lisa Wallace, awards chairman, with questions at or 660-885-5556.


Preventing Employment Discrimination training

University policy states that discrimination in the workplace or in the educational environment is unacceptable.  To help all employees gain a better understanding of what constitutes discrimination and how it can be prevented, UM Human Resources has developed an online Preventing Employment Discrimination training program. Each employee is expected to complete this training by June 30.  It will take about an hour.

To access the online discrimination training module, go to

Look under “Self Service,” “Personal Information,” “HR Training - PED” to take the training. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Rhonda Gibler or Julie Middleton.


Coming and going

Barry Steevens set to retire

“The rumor is true,” says Barry Steevens, MU Extension dairy specialist. “I’m retiring at the end of August.” As he tells his plans, it may be difficult to see any “retirement.”

Steevens is lining up volunteers to help with the 2012 meeting of the American Holstein Association in Springfield, Mo. More than 1,000 Holstein breeders and their families are expected.

He’s considering a dairy expedition to India. A four-state group plans to improve milk production there. “They have lots of cows. They just need to learn how to make them productive,” Steevens says. “That includes organizing a dairy extension program.”

He adds that he intends to continue with building the Missouri dairy grazing program. “I want to help with the design of dairy parlors,” he said.

Finally, the retirement: He plans a trip to Germany and to restore a couple of old tractors. Four grandkids will get more attention, starting with a camping trip to Colorado this summer. “I don’t want those kids to grow up saying ‘Grandpa Who?’”

Best wishes to these retirees

Jean E. Volmert, South Central region, 4-H youth development program assistant.

Sara Gene Cooper, SEF-Family nutrition program, nutrition program assistant.

Brenda Nichols Robinson, Youth & 4-H, administrative associate I.


Please welcome

Katherine (Katie) E. Hogan, Clark and Lewis counties, 4-H youth development program assistant.

Helen Hurley, Randolph County secretary.




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.