News for employees

MU Extension Insider
May 15, 2011


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

Extension part of bakery's recipe for success

With help from MU Extension business development specialists, Brandon Kelley made the leap and opened his own bakery in Jefferson City. Kent Faddis reports.

See also: Related news release by Roger Meissen.


Budget update

“The state budget came in with a 5.45 percent decrease,” reports Rhonda Gibler, associate vice provost for administrative management. “This is much better than early expectations about the potential cut for the year. However, it is still a significant funding loss.”

This state decrease mirrors the 1 percent decrease in the federal Smith-Lever funds and the 2.8 percent decrease in county appropriation.  On the positive side, self-generated revenues are projected to be up slightly with grants and contracts increasing by 3.16 percent.

The budget task force has been working since December to identify funding priorities. The task force’s input is influential in determining how budget reductions are handled for the organization this year.    Continued work will be done in FY 2012 to assess investments in communications, technology, overall staffing, number of regions and number of programs.  This work will inform budget planning for FY 2013.

Staffing update: 37 positions released

Gibler also reports that the news regarding state funding allows MU Extension to assess the total number of currently vacant general-operating-funded positions and set priorities for selective refilling.  Thirty-seven positions have been released from the more than 90 positions that are currently vacant.  The positions breakdown is 28 off campus and nine on campus; 23 academic and 14 administrative and support. “We are pursuing filling strategically as even in tough budget times we must continue to bring great new faculty and staff into the organization,” Gibler said. “We are filling in a very conservative way to ensure that we don’t bring in more faculty and staff than we can reasonably sustain.”


MU chancellor to chair federal board


Congratulations to Chancellor Brady J. Deaton, whom President Barack Obama has designated chair of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD).

BIFAD was created in 1975 to draw on the scientific knowledge and capacity of U.S. higher education institutions, especially those with land-grant missions, to advise and serve the country’s international assistance efforts via the U.S. Agency for International Development. The seven members of the board are appointed by the president.

Deaton was brought to the attention of President Obama for this position by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill based on his service as chancellor of MU.

Deaton has been nationally recognized for his efforts to promote global education and international understanding, beginning with his service as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching agriculture in Thailand from 1962 to 1964. Additional volunteer service included summers in Colombia and Ecuador and a year’s service as a Robert F. Kennedy Fellow in Clairfield, Tenn., working to create jobs for an economically depressed region of Appalachia in 1970.

Recent global initiatives include establishment in 1998 of MU's European Union Center (currently known as the Transatlantic Center), which addresses critical public policy issues between the U.S. and the European Union; and MU's Confucius Center (2011) to promote education, trade and cultural exchange between China and Missouri.

More information available in a news release from the MU News Bureau.


Eakins wins Block & Bridle award


The MU Block & Bridle Club’s Livestock Person of the Year award went to Roger Eakins at the club’s program April 29 on the MU campus. Eakins is the MU Extension regional livestock specialist in Jackson, Mo., where he has worked since 1984. Roger has B.S. and M.S. degrees from MU. He started his career in Extension in 1972 at Princeton, Mo.  

For a few years, he went into the purebred cattle business before rejoining MU. He remains a seedstock producer of Simmental cattle and is treasurer of the Missouri Beef Improvement Association.

He is coordinator of the southeast Missouri Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program.  He educates beef producers in estrous synchronization, artificial insemination and genetic improvement of their herds. Eakins has received the Honorary State FFA Degree, National Association of County Agricultural Agents Distinguished Service Award, MU Extension Agriculturalist Award and MU Vice Provost’s Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Upon returning home with his award, he prepared for the May 7 annual spring sale of Show-Me heifers at Fruitland, Mo., increasing incomes for local producers.


Livestock specialists tour Kansas feed yards

Seven MU Extension regional livestock specialists took part in a three-day ISE beef tour of Kansas feed yards in April. The goal was to see MU cattle at the Irsik & Doll Feed Yards, Garden City, Kan. The specialists were part of 63 herd owners, veterinarians and beef organization leaders learning about the value of retaining ownership of Missouri calves.

“Our goal is to get more feedback from feed yards on what they want from Missouri producers,” said David Patterson, MU Extension beef specialist, who organized the tour.

Regional faculty were Roger Eakins, Jackson; Zac Erwin, Monticello; David Hoffman, Harrisonville; Jim Humphrey, Savannah; Amie Schleicher, Rock Port; Gene Schmitz, Warsaw; and Wayne Shannon, Troy.

The ISE was made possible by Dave Baker, assistant dean for agriculture extension.

The group saw calves with high-accuracy proven genetics from MU Thompson Farm and MU Greenley Center. Word from feed yard managers: “We want more cattle like these.”

The feed yard tour was the first visit for most farmers on the bus. Their evaluations at the end of the trip indicated they intend to change how they raise their calves.  


HES Celebration of Excellence winners

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s HES Celebration of Excellence awards.

Early Career:  Sarah Traub, SC
Lifetime Achievement: Susan Mills-Gray, WC
Mentoring: Cynthia Crawford, CM, and Glenda Kinder, WC
Creative, Non-Traditional Delivery: Marsha Alexander, WC
Reaching Diverse Audiences:  Damaris Karanja, EC
Teamwork—Internal: Carole Bozworth, WC; Janet LaFon, SW; and Suzanne Gellman, EC, for “Making Money Count”
Teamwork—External: Annette Fitzgerald, SW
Campus-Based Specialist: Molly Vetter-Smith
Friend of Extension: Don Syferd

FNEP awards

FNEP Coordinator of the Year: Linda Morgan, SE
FNEP Rookie of the Year: Tonya Wogoman, SW
FNEP Support Staff of the Year:  Cindy Edmondson, SW
FNEP Regional Specialist of the Year:  Melissa Bess, SC
FNEP Mentoring Award: Julie Williams , WC; Lupe Hernandez, WC; Nichole Harms, SC; Terri Fossett, SC; Becky Roark, SW

NACAA communication awards

“I wanted to let everyone know about the good work that is being done and submitted for recognition, ”says Darla Campbell, communications committee chair. The state winners for the National Association of County Agricultural Agents communication awards are:

Audio Recording: Tim Baker
Computer Generated Graphics Presentation: Rebecca Travnichek
Team Newsletter: Donna Aufdenberg
Publication: Randa Doty

Donna Aufdenberg and her team are national finalists with their newsletter.


Beachy to depart NIFA

Roger Beachy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will leave his post May 20.

Beachy took the helm of USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service in October 2009 and led the reorganization that transformed the agency into NIFA in 2010.

“Dr. Roger Beachy has been an outstanding advocate for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and its research and extension mission,” said Catherine E. Woteki, under secretary and chief scientist at the USDA.

Beachy helped forge NIFA’s reputation as a leader in promoting research and education into some of the most important issues facing the nation today, Woteki said.

Chavonda Jacobs-Young is appointed acting director of NIFA.   


Upcoming events

79th annual Summer Fire School, June 7-12

The MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute’s Summer Fire School and Midwest Wildfire Training Academy, June 7-12, plays host to the largest gathering of fire professionals in Missouri. Covering the issues and challenges that face the fire service, Summer Fire School and Midwest Wildfire Training Academy provides unparalleled hands-on training, in-depth workshops and a comprehensive multiday curriculum of conference sessions. Topics range from ”Skills & Drills for Rookie Firefighters” to “Advanced Extrication Tactics” designed to challenge even the most experienced veterans.

More information is available at


Coming and going

Please welcome

Amanda Meek, 4-H SET educator for the Cargill Grant from National 4-H Council.  Amanda will be working out of the St. Louis County MU Extension Center and can be reached at or 314-615-2911, ext. 7631.



Best wishes to Kelsey Jincks, who resigned as office manager in the Mercer County MU Extension Center to accept another position.

Best wishes to Jeanne Miner, executive staff assistant for administrative management, who is moving to Minnesota to be closer to her family.


Welcome back

Ellen Herndon will be rejoining administrative management temporarily while a search for Jeanne Miner’s replacement is conducted.



Kathy Dothage, CM human development specialist and Osage County program director, whose husband, Bob, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, May 10. See


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.