News for employees

MU Extension Insider
October 15, 2010


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

Fee generation

MU Extension is one year into a three-year fee generation plan. Rhonda Gibler, assistant vice provost, and Jo Britt-Rankin, state specialist and HES Extension associate dean, provide an update on the transition process. Some highlights:

See mms://


4-H National Youth Science Day

In this video news story, 4-H’ers participating in National Youth Science Day perform an experiment to learn about carbon dioxide and the environment. For more information, see


Autumn colors—a biochemical symphony

Bright reds and purples are the hallmark of a stunning fall color display. While on the surface, trees may appear to be quiet and stationary giants, at the chemical level there’s a lot going on right now. In this podcast, MU forestry professor Stephen Pallardy speaks for the trees. Read more and see video at


Extension hosts candidate forum in St. Joseph

Candidates for state Senate and House seats in the St. Joseph area participated in a candidate forum on higher education issues Sept. 30 at the Heartland Foundation’s emPowerU facility in downtown St. Joseph. The forum was sponsored by MU Extension, the Mizzou Alumni Association and the Mizzou Flagship Council. Prior to the forum, candidates spent time visiting displays and meeting representatives from MU Extension during a showcase event. Legislators and candidates who participated in the forum included Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah; Rep. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph; Rep. Martin Rucker, D-St. Joseph; Rep. Pat Conway, D-St. Joseph; Jason Gregory, R-St. Joseph; Delus Johnson, R-St. Joseph; Mark Sheehan, D-St. Joseph, Bill Caldwell, D-Dearborn; and Galen Wayne Higdon, Jr., R-St. Joseph.

The panel was moderated by radio host Tom Brand. Candidates discussed their support for higher education and extension programs, the challenges facing the state economy and its impact on higher education, and the importance of creating jobs. They all voiced support for having voters consider a bond plan to fund higher education capital construction projects in the next year.


Candidates and legislators in the St. Joseph area prepare to begin a Sept. 30 panel discussion on higher education sponsored by MU Extension, the Mizzou Alumni Association and the Mizzou Flagship Council.

Additional photos of the event can be found here.


MU unveils new swine teaching barn

Producers, industry leaders, students and neighbors attended an open house Sept. 29 for a state-of-the-art swine barn dedicated to teaching. The 110-by-48-foot building off New Haven Road in Columbia houses an exhibition room, a 24-sow breeding/gestation room, a 12-sow farrowing room, a 150-head nursery and a finishing room that can house 150 market hogs.

A key feature of the swine teaching barn is the observation hallway, which allows visitors to observe the pig rooms from a biosecure area.

“The biosecure facility is representative of modern production,” said Tim Safranski, MU Extension state swine specialist and associate professor of animal science. “The swine barn will let us teach livestock production techniques rather than just teaching about the animal in a normal classroom. Students will get hands-on experience by actually doing the work involved with raising pigs.”

The facility also will be used to train and educate industry and producers, he said. “Companies with interests in large-animal production can send employees to our facility to watch through the observation hallway with its large viewing windows.”

Ross Cowart, MU associate professor of veterinary medicine and surgery, will use the barn to teach veterinary students hands-on disease diagnosis, in-barn procedures and surgeries.


Missouri 4-H Foundation receives $25,000 gift

Representing Missouri at the 1944 National 4-H Congress was a thrill Walter “Walt” Wilkening never forgot. “One of my early ambitions was to help other boys and girls enjoy the benefits and pleasures of 4-H, including the Congress trip,” Walt said. Walt and his wife recently endowed the Walter T. and Norma R. Wilkening National 4-H Congress Fund to ensure Missouri’s representation at National 4-H Congress for many generations to come.

“Walt’s experience as a member of the 1944 Congress delegation had a significant impact on him. The value of this experience led him and Norma to embrace future Missouri delegations with a $25,000 gift to establish this new fund,” said Missouri 4-H Foundation executive director Cheryl Reams. “This gift will inspire others to help make a difference in children’s lives through 4-H.”


College Colors Day and the winners

Nine county offices and the NW regional office participated in College Colors Day.

“This year's entries were just as creative and spirited as ever, making for some challenging judging,” said Dolores Shearon, director of marketing. “Please join me in congratulating your winners and in encouraging more offices to take part next year.”

First place:  Dallas County, Wendy Beckman—choice of four men’s basketball suite tickets OR one MU blanket and two sweatshirts.

Second place (tied): Franklin County, Brenda Humphrey—framed MU print and large standup Truman the Tiger cutout.

Second place (tied): Jackson County/Blue Springs, Crystal Lutgen—framed MU print and Truman Build-A-Bear.

Third place: Wayne County, Lisa Reeser—framed MU print.

Honorable mention: Carroll County, Kasey Pence—Mizzou goody bag.

Special kudos goes to Karma Metzgar and the NW Region staff, who participated in the only regional office entry—even serving black and gold food items.

“We again express our appreciation to Linda Gilbert and the MU Licensing and Trademarks Office for contributing the spirit items and prizes,” Shearon added. “Linda has posted photos of the top placers on the Facebook MU Black and Gold fan page. I encourage you to visit and post congratulatory comments there.”


Don Day presents clean energy farming paper in South Korea


Don and Fran Day enjoy dinner with Chang Yong Kang and his family the night of their arrival in South Korea.


Don and Fran Day with the Kangs at the Bulguksa Temple in South Korea.

Don Day, extension energy associate, traveled to South Korea in early September to present a paper on clean energy farming in the United States at the Green Korea 2010 conference in Seoul and at a similar conference was held at Suncheon National University.  

Chang Yong Kang, director of planning and coordination of the Korean Rural Economic Institute, invited Day to present the paper. Kang was in Missouri three years ago where Don and Fran became acquainted with them.  Kang and his family hosted the Days on a three-day tour of South Korea following the conferences.


Brees returns with market newsletter

Melvin Brees is back, at least part time. After heart surgery on Sept. 3, the agricultural economist is providing analysis for Missouri farmers on the volatile crop markets this fall. His "Crop Report Commentary" newsletter reappeared Oct. 8 after USDA’s surprising news on the smaller size of the corn and soybean crops. Then he was on the radio with Mike Lear of KRES radio, Moberly, Mo. Melvin is walking every day, as recommended by his doctors, and is starting a heart rehab program. Welcome back, Melvin. Your readers were missing you.


Retiree in the news

Ross Swofford, retired livestock specialist, was highlighted in the Columbia Missourian. The article, “Retired Group of Columbia Men Build Homes for Habitat for Humanity,” is a wonderful piece about how over the past 19 years this group of men has built 75 percent of the Habitat for Humanity homes in Columbia. Read the article at


Upcoming events

Business development program director interviews finalized

Interview agendas have been finalized for candidates for the position of business development program director. All faculty and staff are invited to attend the public presentations or view the presentations online (available the day after the presentations).

Public presentations:

Steve Jennings:  11 a.m., Monday, Oct 25.

Joe Jordan: 11 a.m., Monday, Nov.1.

Both presentations will be in Ketcham Auditorium, W1005 Lafferre Hall.

Candidate CVs, position description and complete interview agenda are available at Input may be provided to the search committee by completing the online survey by noon, Monday, Nov 8.

For more information, contact Dave Baker, search committee chair, or Melinda Adams, manager, human resource support services.


2010 eXtension Virtual Conference

Want to learn how to engage clientele effectively using social media technologies? How about expanding women-in-agriculture programs through creative networking?

These and many other special topics are included in the 2010 National eXtension Virtual Conference, Oct. 18-20. The program offers a great keynote speaker on each of the three days followed by a mediated conversation with the speaker, and 20 critical conversations on a variety of “working differently” topics.

Find all the choices at Look under “Upcoming Events” for NeVC (National eXtension Virtual Conference).

The conference is open to all cooperative extension employees. No pre-registration is necessary.


Coming and going

Please welcome

Kristi Fennel, nutrition program assistant, Callaway County.
Mary Studer-Logsdon, FNEP office support staff II, Cole County.
Lisa Eisenbeis, office manager, Washington County.



Our sympathy to:

Bud Reber, EC regional director, on the loss of his mother, Catherine Reber, on Oct. 9.

Lesa King, 4-H youth program associate, on the passing of her mother, Barbara Ellis, this past weekend. 

The family of Kathryn Libbee, retired home agent in Ralls County, who died Sept. 12.

The family of Jerry Carpenter, retired regional ag engineer and state extension water-quality coordinator, who passed away earlier this week. Jerry was the father of Brent Carpenter, research associate with FAPRI, and the father-in-law of Rob Kallenbach, state extension forage specialist.


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.