News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Nov. 19, 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

Jody Squires named new Urban Region associate regional director

Jody Squires

Jody Squires will be the new associate regional director for the Urban Region.

Squires, currently an extension urban youth specialist and St. Louis City program director, begins her new position on Dec. 1.

“It was a difficult decision, but I am confident that she is the right choice for what we need to move the region forward,” said Cynthia Zluticky, Urban Region director.

As associate regional director, Squires will provide leadership in the development of new and emerging urban programs and partnerships to address complex urban issues, Zluticky said.

Squires has been instrumental in inspiring an interest in science, technology, engineering and math through the city’s 4-H robotics program, which primarily serves African-American youth from the inner city, says Zluticky.

She also has played a key part in Missouri 4-H’s after-school program in inner-city St. Louis. The program, which is credited with helping at-risk youth stay in high school and reducing barriers for them to attend college, emphasizes the importance of education and community service and teaches participants practical skills such as managing finances, communicating and teamwork. Members have the opportunity to visit colleges and take field trips, and help is offered in preparing them for the standardized ACT test that is required for most college admissions.

Since 1997 Squires has served as an equal employment opportunity counselor for the East Central Region and the Urban Region. She is a graduate of both the North Central Extension Leadership Development (NELD) program and the Missouri Extension Leadership Development (MELD) program. She was recently awarded the St. Louis American Foundation 2013 Excellence in Education Award.

Squires has been with MU Extension since 1995. She has a bachelor’s degree from Mizzou, a master’s from University of Missouri-St. Louis, and holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the UM-St. Louis.


Extension seeks Global Foods Team facilitator

MU Extension’s Integration Team has an internal opening for the Global Foods Team facilitator and is seeking applications until Dec. 2, 2013. This position is accountable to the Program Integration Team with ultimate responsibility to the Associate Vice Provost of Extension. This is a 20 percent appointment with 20 percent of current salary paid by extension. Required travel will be reimbursed. Before a final appointment is offered, the job responsibilities will be negotiated with the successful candidate and his or her supervisor.

Download “Thematic Team Facilitator Roles and Expectations” for a better understanding of expectations of the position.

Because this is a salary offset without modification of compensation, it is not required to go through Human Resources. However, the Integration Team plans to conduct interviews to fill this position because it is a key position in extension’s strategy.

If interested, please send a current resume or dossier along with a statement or letter explaining why you would be interested in leading this team along with a current resume or dossier to Sherry Howard at or in hard copy to 103B Whitten Hall, University of Missouri. Documents must arrive within 48 hours of the due date to be considered by the Integration Team.


Matt Brillhart named Jackson County CPD

Matt Brillhart will be Jackson County’s new CPD, starting Dec. 2.

Brillhart was previously director of special projects and grants at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, where he led and managed a $1.5 million federal grant program credentialing students in environmental water technology.

He also brings to MU Extension his experience as director of community outreach at William Jewell College’s Pryor Center for Leadership Development in Liberty, Mo.

Brillhart received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Emporia State University, Emporia, Kan.


‘Development 101’ covers extension fundraising basics, Nov. 22

Learn the principles of MU Extension development during a one-hour Adobe Connect session, Development 101, at 10 a.m., Nov. 22.

“The session is designed for county program directors interested in starting development activities in their counties,” says Bud Reber, MU Extension transition leader. “Topics include two accounts managed by MU, how to be proactive, support for development work, and the Web-giving process.”

Cynthia Crawford, director of donor education, and Cat Comley, MU Extension development director, will lead the training.

Sign up through the ISE system by Nov. 21, says Reber. “The ISE number is 283. Participants who sign up will receive an Adobe Connect link via email a day or so before the event.”


Moodle workshops to be offered over next several months

Starting Nov. 20, Extension Technology and Computer Services (ETCS) will conduct a new half-day online Moodle course-development workshop, reports Steve Giesel, instructional designer at ETCS. It will be offered multiple times during the coming months.

Times and dates for the first five offerings are:

  • Nov. 20, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 3, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 10, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 22, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 19, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

“The first two workshop dates are listed in WebApps as ISEs for sign-up, with plenty of room still available,” says Giesel. “The other three sessions will be available in WebApps within another week, and we will add two more per month for 2014.”

Workshop participants will learn to write concrete and measurable objectives, to create tests with good feedback, to develop skills for making exciting PowerPoint presentations and other written narratives, and to conduct audience analysis, among other things. 

“So bundle up your ideas, materials and other artifacts you may have already developed or are planning to develop, and join in the fun,” Giesel urges.

“If you need some help creating your course materials and formatting them for Web delivery, contact Joy Millard's office,” he adds. “She has some funds available for part-time hire of someone, such as a graduate assistant, to do more of the heavy lifting in your development efforts.” Contact Rhonda Clayton at 573-882-6114 or for more details.


Media relations templates available for use by field faculty

Two new templates are available on the “Templates and Logos” page of the MU Extension website, according to Kent Faddis, video news producer for extension communications and marketing. The templates are designed for writing news releases and media advisories.

“These new tools will help field faculty use a standardized format when writing news releases and media advisories for their local news reporters and editors,” says Faddis. “Use of these new tools will help everyone in extension offer a consistent layout when writing information for news media outlets.”

The new news tools are an outgrowth of suggestions from participants in a media training session at the recent MU Extension Program Conference.


Meetings to cover dairy farmer profit-margin safety nets

Dairy farmers are operating without a financial safety net.

“They may not have noticed yet,” says Joe Horner, MU Extension dairy economist.

The federal Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program expired Sept. 30. Congress has not passed a farm bill to replace it.

With stronger margins now—good milk prices and lower feed costs—most producers aren’t thinking about their safety nets, Horner says.

“When milk prices crash, and prices do, farmers need protection,” he says. “There were times in the last 10 years when the only thing keeping us afloat was MILC payments.”

To stay ahead of the next milk-price crash, Horner has organized a series of five regional workshops on insuring dairy margins. The meetings will start by teaching mechanics of a new margin program in the proposed farm bill.

Workshops are set for the first week of December in towns near most producers:

  • Dec. 2, MU Southwest Center, Mount Vernon
  • Dec. 3, Missouri State University Fruit Experiment Station, Mountain Grove
  • Dec. 4, Cape Girardeau County MU Extension Center, Jackson
  • Dec. 5, Hagie’s Nineteen restaurant, Union
  • Dec. 6, FCS Financial meeting room, Sedalia

The sessions are set to avoid dairy producers milking hours. Programs start at 9:30 a.m. and end by 3:30 p.m. All are free, including lunch provided by FCS Financial. However, reservations are needed to get lunch. Call Hannah McClure at 573-884-6311 or email

For more information on the meetings, read on or go to Horner’s website at


Missouri Livestock Symposium set for Dec. 6-7 in Kirksville

“The 2013 Missouri Livestock Symposium features something for everyone,” says Garry L. Mathes, chair of the event’s organizing committee and a longtime Adair County livestock producer.

The two-day event, which attracts an audience from a seven-state region, will be held Dec. 6-7 at the William Matthew Middle School, 1515 S. Cottage Grove in Kirksville, Mo. It runs 4-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, with a free beef supper served at 6 p.m.; and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, with a free governor’s-style lunch at noon.

There is no cost and no preregistration is required, says Mathes. “Just show up and take advantage of everything the symposium committee has put together for you.”

The event will feature nationally known speakers on horses, beef cattle, sheep, meat goats, forages and stock dogs. For more information, contact MU Extension livestock specialist Zac Erwin at and put “MLS” in the subject line; or call the Adair County MU Extension Center at 660-665-9866. A complete list of events is available at


MU economist predicts stronger beef prices for next two years

Livestock producers heard optimism with a bit of caution from an MU agricultural economist Nov. 4 at the annual Missouri Forage and Grassland Conference in Lake Ozark.

Rising beef prices would be even better in returning profits to feeding and producing cattle if based on rising demand and not shrinking supply, Scott Brown told the group.

Brown said with lower corn prices and higher cattle prices, it’s hard not to be optimistic about profits in the beef business. He used all fingers on his left hand to tick off reasons for optimism in 2014 and 2015.

Read more to discover the reasons for Brown’s rosy beef price outlook.


MU Quality Beef Team wins top USDA award

The University of Missouri Quality Beef Team has won a top USDA award for taking its beef research to the field.

The team received the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) 2013 Partnership Award for Mission Integration at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Nov. 10-12 in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes efforts by the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and MU Extension to promote increased beef reproductive efficiency through innovative research, education and extension programs in reproduction, genetics and beef cattle management.

For more than 10 years, NIFA has helped fund beef reproductive research headed by Dave Patterson, MU Extension state beef specialist, through its competitive grants. “A significant amount of funding has come to MU through these grants,” Patterson said.

Team members include Patterson, reproductive physiologist Mike Smith, geneticists Jerry Taylor and Bob Schnabel, ruminant nutritionist Monty Kerly, agricultural economists Scott Brown and Joe Parcell, veterinarian Scott Poock and extension news writer Duane Dailey.


Mid-Missouri 4-H robotics competition held in Camdenton

Rural central Missouri hosted some of the state’s greatest young minds Nov. 16 at the Mid MO FIRST Robotics Lego League qualifier at Camdenton High School.

Camdenton 4-H Robotics LASER 3284 team members design, build and market robots during the after-school program.

With a population of 3,200, Camdenton is small, but its school district covers 372 square miles, drawing more than 4,000 K-12 students. One in 20 of those students participate in the school district’s internationally recognized FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program. They work with 43 adult mentors and meet via Skype with industry professionals who challenge and encourage the students.

MU Extension 4-H youth specialist Michele Kroll, based in Camden County, leads “Fantastic Fridays,” weekly meetings that introduce students to 4-H and other extension programs, such as the robotics competition.


October brought record-setting low temperatures

October in Missouri started out warm until Canadian air dropped temperatures to record-setting lows.

Early October saw temperatures in the 70s and 80s, said Pat Guinan, climatologist for MU Extension’s Commercial Agriculture Program. Then a strong Canadian high-pressure system settled over the state and the mercury dropped.

“On Oct. 22, 23 and 25 we saw freezing temperatures over a lot of the state and on Oct. 25 record lows were established when temperatures dropped into the low to mid-20s,” Guinan said.

While temperatures set records in the Show-Me State, that wasn’t the case for precipitation.

“The statewide average was about 3 1/2 inches, which is about normal, but Missouri is a big state so there was some variability in precipitation numbers,” Guinan said.

Read on to learn more about October weather outcomes in Missouri.


Upcoming events

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.

2013 workshops

Nov. 20

10-11 a.m.

Dec. 19

2-3 p.m.

2014 workshops

Jan. 15

10-11 a.m.

Feb. 20

2-3 p.m.

March 19

10-11 a.m.

April 17

2-3 p.m.

May 21

10-11 a.m.

June 19

2-3 p.m.

July 16

10-11 a.m.

Aug. 21

2-3 p.m.


Other dates to remember

Nov. 21: Webinar on “Keeping yourself sharp as a professional, and keeping your bucket full,” 9 a.m. at

Dec. 3-5: NAEPSDP conference, Kansas City.

Feb. 18, 2014: University of Missouri Alumni Alliance Legislative Day, State Capitol, Jefferson City.


Coming and going

Please welcome

John Martellaro, 4-H youth development program associate, Marion County

Sarah Schumann, 4-H youth development program associate, Worth County

Sean Robinette, programmer/analyst-entry, OSEDA

Monie Brehmer, 4-H youth development program assistant, Stoddard County

Courtney Roberts, 4-H youth development program assistant, Butler County

Catherine Bylinowski, administrative professional, Jackson County

Mark Jenner, extension professional/associate, Bates County

Traci Baldwin, business specialist, Cass County

Dana Pournelle, 4-H specialist, Morgan County

Sherry Springer, county office support staff, Nodaway County

Tracy Shewey, county office support staff/office manager, Holt County

Marcia Evans, county office support staff/office manager, Harrison County



Barbara Jean Eavy, Urban Region community development specialist based in Jefferson County, will retire Nov. 27.

Diana Hammond, programmer/analyst-expert, OSEDA

Kristen Heitkamp, director of development, youth and 4-H



Several MU Extension professionals were honored Nov. 6 at the Faculty Recognition Awards ceremony. Shirley Farrah, assistant dean for extension at the MU School of Nursing, received the Donald W. Fancher Provost Award for Outstanding Achievement in Extension & Continuing Education. The Provost Award for Creative Extension Programming by New Faculty went to G. Lee Miller, state extension turfgrass specialist. Karen Branstetter, 4-H youth specialist in Crawford County, and Don Nicholson, MU Extension transition team leader based in Palmyra, received 25-year service awards.

Two MU Extension communications and marketing professionals are board members of Missouri Press Association regional groups. David Burton, SW Region civic communications specialist, continues to serve as a member of the Ozark Press Association. Linda Geist, writer with MU Extension communications and former owner and publisher of The Lake Gazette in Monroe City, has rejoined the board of the Show-Me Press Association.

Kevin Anderson, SE Region business development specialist based in Butler County, has been selected by Gov. Jay Nixon as one of 51 participants from eight states for the 2013-14 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy. DLI’s academy is a yearlong collaborative leadership development process looking at regional approaches to strengthening the economy and viability of the Mississippi Delta region.

Tim Schnakenberg, SW Region agronomy specialist, reports the Missouri Agricultural Extension Professionals (MAEP) recently honored three people for their contributions to Missouri agriculture and to MU Extension programs. Joe Powell, a Maryville veterinarian since 1965, was honored for his leadership in the animal agriculture industry in northwestern Missouri. Robert and Kathleen Cessac, of Higbee, were recognized for their vital roles in developing the Mid-Missouri Premier Beef Marketers, the first such program in the state.



Angela Larison, Worth County office manager, and her husband, Clint, are the proud parents of a son, Troop Dalton, born Sept. 10.



The father of Shawn Deering, NW Region livestock specialist and CPD of Gentry County, died Oct. 31. Services for Wayne Deering were held Nov. 4 in King City, Mo.


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.