News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Dec. 17, 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

St. Louis County extension presents budget to county officials

In a first-time event, the MU Extension Center in St. Louis County recently presented its 2014 budget request to the St. Louis County Council, according to Nina Balsam, county program director. The budget request had been recommended for presentation to the county’s legislative body by Charlie Dooley, St. Louis county executive.

Ken Truemper, St. Louis County Extension Council chair, and Balsam made the 30-minute presentation Dec. 3.

“This was the first time we received the opportunity to present our budget to the county council, and we viewed it as an opportunity to educate council members about us,” says Balsam. 

The St. Louis County extension office assembled a booklet that included an overview of MU Extension; the history of extension in St. Louis County; the 2014 budget request in a pie-chart format; information about local extension specialists, their programming and the value associated with their work; and two pages highlighting a capstone project conducted by local extension horticulture specialist Nathan Brandt and the Master Gardeners program in conjunction with the St. Louis County social services department.

“The presentation went well, with the county council members thanking us for our good work, and even mentioning Rob Russell (local extension labor education specialist) for his work with the Labor Law Breakfast,” says Balsam.  “We anticipate getting a roughly $10,000 increase in our appropriation to cover our additional costs in our new building in Creve Coeur.”

The approximately $180,000 appropriation from St. Louis County will take effect Jan. 1.


2014 Fall Conference set for Oct 21-23 in Columbia

Joy Millard, interim assistant vice provost, asks extension faculty and staff to hold Oct. 21-23 on their calendars for the 2014 MU Extension Fall Program Conference in Columbia. 

“The MU Conference Office is working with the Holiday Inn Executive Center to complete a contract,” says Millard. “These dates had the most positive responses and least amount of conflicts.”

Also, Millard reports poster abstracts from the 2013 fall conference are now available for review on the S drive (S:\Special Projects\Fall Conference). The session, which was a first for the conference, had 57 posters and 326 registered participants.


Soybean yields good despite weather challenges

2013 soybean yields were good, a testimony to the resilience of the state’s top row crop, according to MU Extension agronomy specialist Bill Wiebold. Heavy precipitation and isolated flooding in spring delayed planting. Then the spigot dried up during crucial growth periods.

“The latest USDA estimate for soybean yield in Missouri is 35 bushels per acre,” says Wiebold. “A final statewide figure for 2013 will be available after the first of the year.”

The plant sciences division in MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources recently released results of the 2013 Variety Testing Program. Since 1973, seed companies and organizations have selected several of their best varieties for evaluation at farmer-owned fields and MU test plots throughout the state.

Missouri ranks eighth in soybean production in the U.S. One bushel of soybean produces 1.5 gallons of soy oil and 48 pounds of soybean meal, which supplies 21 pounds of animal feed. Industrial uses are inks, plastics, solvents and biodiesel.

Read more about the 2013 soybean yield in Missouri.


Pike County establishes new permanent endowment

Earlier this month Pike County became the sixth county to establish a permanent endowment in 2013, according to MU Extension donor education director Cynthia Crawford. The county’s extension council chose to bypass a pending endowment and instead go directly to a permanent endowment with an initial deposit of $2,500 or more.

Achieving permanent endowment status means that 4.5 percent of the endowment’s value will be distributed annually beginning immediately and will continue to benefit generations in Pike County with MU Extension programming, says Crawford.

“Congratulations to Pike County, which joins Barton, Greene, Japer, Ralls and Taney counties in establishing a permanent endowment in 2013,” she says.

Patty Fisher is Pike County program director.

Discover more details about MU Extension’s donor education and development efforts. You can also contact Crawford or MU Extension development director Cat Comley.


Water quality instructional modules available on DVD

Two recently produced video modules on water quality improvement are available on request to extension offices throughout the state, according to Bob Broz, director of the MU water quality program in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

The modules are designed to educate landowners and land managers about water quality improvement, watershed areas vulnerable to pollution and use of best management practices to protect water resources.

“These teaching tools should help improve the environment and also help farmers cut pesticide expenses,” says Broz. “Copies of the DVD have already been sent to 11 extension offices in critical watershed areas around Missouri.”

Extension offices interested in receiving the two modules on DVD should contact Broz at 573-882-0085 or The modules also are available on YouTube: Module 1: Module 2.

Broz developed the modules with assistance from MU Extension Communications and Marketing, and in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Check here to find more resources from the MU water quality program.


Eh? What’s that you say? Speak up!

A communications tip from Duane Dailey

This tip has a long pedigree. I heard it the first week of training as a new extension specialist. That was before cohort training. It was even before microphones were widely used.

It came back to me recently during a talk by an audiologist from the VA hospital.
Realize members of your audience can’t hear as well as you might think they can.
In essence: “Use your Extension Voice.” Stand up and speak up. Don’t talk. Project directly to a person in the back.
Speaking involves more than saying words in your mouth and throat. The process starts down in your belly. Put some oomph behind your words. Do that in any size group.
Don’t project your words down at your notes. Or worse, at the PowerPoint screen.
This is for all extension workers, not just those talking to deaf farmers. The audiologist said the most hearing impaired are artillerymen, farmers and rock-and-rollers. All were exposed to loud sounds that ruined their hearing. Most never used audio earmuffs.
Many tips help you to be heard. First, face the listeners. Aim your noise at them. Standing projects your sound over the heads of the seated audience. Heads absorb sound.
When sitting and speaking from the back of the room, your voice is lost if people can’t see your lips. People with poor hearing learn lip reading -- even if they don’t realize it.
In discussions, encourage all participants to stand up when speaking. Then, as leader, repeat the question.


Adapted MU Extension program promotes exercise

Nutrition specialist Lynda Zimmerman has adapted MU Extension’s popular “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy” program to meet the needs of Callaway County residents who are developmentally disabled. She hopes that the program will be used statewide.

Zimmerman said the class helps participants strengthen muscles and improve balance. More importantly, it provides opportunities for social interaction.

“They benefit along with everybody else,” she said. “I have seen such tremendous growth in these individuals. I have seen how they truly love to be here. They come in very excited.”

Read and see more about Stay Strong, Stay Healthy.


Jan. 16 webinar looks at everyday work challenges

Extension transition team leader Don Nicholson will host an informal Adobe Connect seminar to discuss everyday challenges of extension staff at all levels.

“This may be especially useful for newer staff, but it will deal with issues most of us face now and then,” says Nicholson.

The seminar Managing and strengthening relationships within your office, with commissioners, and with council members is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 16.

This seminar will feature the experiences and perspectives of three MU Extension staff:

  • Debby Whiston, family financial education specialist, Clark County
  • Joe Koenen, agriculture business specialist, Putnam County
  • Nancy Elkins-Mense, 4-H youth development specialist, Clay County.

Mark your calendar and register through the ISE system.


A gift for you from the MU Extension Insider

In recognition of the crossword puzzle’s 100th anniversary, Dec. 21, here is a crossword puzzle based on the Dec. 17 issue of the MU Extension Insider. Enjoy! Answers will appear in the Jan. 7 edition.


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.

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.

June 19

2-3 p.m.

July 16

10-11 a.m.

Aug. 21

2-3 p.m.


Moodle workshops

Extension Technology and Computer Services (ETCS) is conducting half-day online Moodle course-development workshops. Dates and times for the next four offerings:

  • 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.


Other dates to remember

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


Coming and going


C.W. Browning, an MU Extension retiree, and his wife Betty will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary Dec. 24. During C.W.’s 30 years in extension he and Betty lived in Chillicothe, Columbia and Warrensburg. Well-wishers can send cards of congratulations to the Brownings at 10 NW OO Highway, Warrensburg, MO 64093.

Bob Broz, MU Extension food science and nutrition specialist, recently received an award for outstanding service to Missouri agriculture from the Missouri Farm Bureau.


Please welcome

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

Sean Robinette, program/analysts-entry, MU Extension OSEDA

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

Deborah Pankau, administrative/professional, Lawrence County

Andrea Grelle, nutrition program associate, Jackson County

Ara Staab, nutrition program associate, Jackson County.



Marie Waller, nutrition program assistant, New Madrid County


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.