News for employees

MU Extension Insider
Feb. 18, 2014


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

Marshall forum explores university, community connections

University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe joined MU Extension officials and community leaders at a Feb. 14 forum in Marshall that focused on how extension benefits Missouri communities, and how it can connect even better with Missourians in the future.

The event was the first in a statewide series of “Extension Connections” forums taking place in the centennial year of the founding of MU Extension.

The event at the Martin Community Center included local community leaders, extension faculty and staff from Saline County, county and regional extension council members, and state Reps. Dave Muntzel and Dean Dohrman.

Rep. Muntzel thanked MU Extension for its work throughout the state. Rep. Dohrman said, “There are two points to education: getting it and using it. Extension does a great job of doing that.”

“Our touch is large because of the footprint we leave in Missouri,” said Bev Coberly, associate vice provost and associate director of MU Extension.

Coberly summarized MU Extension’s programming goals, explaining how the new program integration initiatives help align extension with President Wolfe’s focus on educational attainment.

Extension’s strong network and vast resources can help it create a pipeline to all kinds of educational opportunities for Missourians, she said.

Wolfe highlighted some of MU Extension and the University of Missouri’s important contributions to the Show-Me State.

“An investment in the University of Missouri is truly an investment in Missouri’s future,” Wolfe said.  

For more details see a video report of the day’s activities.


Communications and Marketing streamlines staffing

MU Extension’s Communications and Marketing group has finalized changes in content responsibilities and reporting relationships, reports Dennis Gagnon, the group's director. Five senior marketing and communications coordinators are now leading teams based on areas of specialty. Four of the content coordinators are long-standing extension employees.

Assignments are as follows:

DeeAnna Adkins protraitDeeAnna Adkins, Web Team, is responsible for extension’s website, social media content and digital assets, as well as training initiatives for Web content providers and those interested in social media.

Kent Faddis portraitKent Faddis, News and Media Relations Team, is responsible for activities associated with the development of print,Web, radio and TV news stories, as well as fostering news media relations.

Joe Vale, Publications Team, is responsible for editorial and graphic design for MU Extension’s publication efforts.

Robert B. Mize portraitRob Mize, Visual Design Team, is responsible for activities related to visual media for educational projects, video production and technical support for radio and TV news production efforts.

Laura Lindsey portraitLaura Lindsey, Marketing, is responsible for marketing activities associated with research, planning and execution for broad MU Extension initiatives and training to assist with marketing at the programmatic and local level. Though new to MU Extension, Lindsey previously led marketing and communications efforts for MU’s College of Arts and Science.

Andy Emerson continues to lead the distribution team for MU Extension’s print publication and marketing materials.

With these changes in place, please make requests for content support to the appropriate team leader or to Gagnon.


Core attributes, competencies for extension employees identified

by Julie Middleton, chair MU Extension Strategic Plan – Goal 6 subcommittee on extension workforce development

Last year, a subcommittee was appointed to identify core competencies necessary for successful MU Extension employees. Not only did subcommittee members identify competencies, but based on their research, they realized that there were also specific attributes that  all employees needed if they were to be successful. 

We wanted to be sure that the attributes  were inclusive of all employees. These attributes have been adopted by extension administrators to strengthen the entire organization.

“I believe that hiring employees throughout MU Extension who, at minimum, embody these identified attributes and competencies will improve MU Extension’s position to provide quality research-based education to our citizens,” says Melinda Adams, director of extension’s human resources office. “As such, we are incorporating the attributes into vacancy announcements and position descriptions, as well as improving training offered to assist with growth and success.”

The subcommittee also developed a self-assessment tool for employees to identify the attributes they possess and to help them determine areas where strengthening is needed.

In addition to the attributes that all extension faculty and staff must have, the core competencies identified for all faculty may also prove useful to ensuring a high-performing workforce. We have had a set of competencies for faculty for a number of years. But we realized that with the changes in programming, technology and the workforce, it was time to revise these competencies.    

Faculty should review these competencies each year at the time of performance evaluation to determine their own level of competence. If some of the competencies are lacking, faculty  may use that knowledge to identify professional development that will help them develop or improve those competencies. 

Faculty members also are encouraged to use the core competency self-assessment tool as they assess their own competencies. In addition, supervisors may wish to use to the tool to discuss the competencies and professional development needs of faculty they supervise.

Focusing on improving attributes and competencies will be an excellent way for all of us to strengthen what we contribute to extension and to those we serve. One value of identifying attributes and competencies is that extension is able to identify more specifically areas of need for professional development. The next step is for our transition leaders to place emphasis on ensuring we offer in-service education in areas of need on an ongoing basis.

For more information, please contact Julie Middleton at


MU Extension specialist observes half-century of service

In this year of centennial celebration for extension nationally and in the state, one member of MU Extension’s field faculty can lay claim to have personally participated in helping extension make progress in the Show-Me State for the past 50 years.

Eldon Cole, Lawrence County-based livestock specialist, was honored earlier this month with a plaque from the local county extension council recognizing his half-century of service to the people of Missouri. And he ain’t done yet. Read more about the career that’s extended since 1964.


Missouri Century Farm program seeks applicants

Owners of Missouri farms that have been owned by the same family since Dec. 31, 1914, can apply for recognition by the Missouri Century Farm program, reports Michael Ouart, vice provost and director of MU Extension.

“It is important to honor and respect our history,” says Ouart. “These farms represent both Missouri’s cultural heritage and the good stewardship that our farmers strive for.”

To qualify, farms must meet the following guidelines: The same family must have owned the farm for 100 consecutive years. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews or nieces, including through marriage or adoption. The farm must be at least 40 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.

Find more details in the article on Missouri century farms.


Book recounts former slave who helped found Missouri schools

Turner cover pageThe Cooper County Extension Council recently published a children’s book that tells the story of a former slave who helped organize rural schools for blacks in Missouri.

The book, “J. Milton Turner: An American Hero” by Mary Collins Barile, tells the story of the Cooper County resident’s rise from slavery through education. It is based upon a biography series by Missouri State Historical Society executive director Gary Kremer. Peggy A. Guest illustrated the book and Art Schneider, retired MU Extension human development specialist, was general editor.

“Black History Month is a perfect time to celebrate Turner’s work and how one man’s perseverance and dedication created opportunities for generations of people,” says Todd Lorenz, Cooper County CPD.

Extension faculty, staff and council members began working on the project about eight years ago and hope to provide a copy of the book to each fourth grade student in Cooper County. Read more about the new book and the history that inspired it.


4-H’ers make blankets at NW Region community service event

4-H'ers with blankets they made

One of the highlights of the recent Northwest Regional 4-H Energizer was a blanket-making workshop, reports Kathy Bondy, 4-H youth development specialist based in Lafayette County. Twenty 4-H’ers and 10 adult volunteers completed the blankets during the Jan. 25 event at the elementary school in Hamilton, Mo. Materials for the project were purchased through a Kemper/Pioneer Grant at the Missouri 4-H Foundation. The blankets were distributed to county sheriff departments, care centers, homeless shelters and emergency assistance centers for women and children throughout the Northwest Region


This winter could set records in Missouri

Looking at the meteorological winter, which runs Dec. 1-Feb. 28, this winter could be one of the coldest in decades, according to Pat Guinan, climatologist for MU Extension’s commercial agriculture program.

So far this year, average winter temperatures are running lower than the winter of 2009-10, Guinan said. If we end up colder than that winter, then we have to go all the way back to 1981-82 for a colder winter, and that one ranked as the ninth-coldest winter on record for Missouri.

Read more about our winter of discontent, and for additional weather information visit the Missouri Climate Center website.


Missouri regains position as No. 2 state in cow numbers

Missouri returned as No. 2 beef cow state in the nation, with a 63,000-cow increase in 2013, reports Daniel Madison, research economist at MU’s Division of Applied Social Sciences. The USDA cow count shows Missouri rose from No. 3 back to the position it held from 1983 to 2008.

The state has 1.82 million cows, down from more than 2 million in 2008. The annual U.S. Department of Agriculture inventory shows Missouri to be one of only three states to grow herd size by more than 50,000 cows.

In 2013, Kansas went up 86,000 cows. Oklahoma grew by 51,000. Texas remains No. 1, with 3.91 million head. In a long-term drought, Texas cow numbers dropped 1.1 million head from the 2011 USDA report.

Read the entire article for more details on state and national trends in cow herd sizes.


University approves cloud services

The University has finally found a cloud services provider that meets all their legal and security parameters, says John Myers, director of MU Extension's technology computing services office. The provider is Box and it’s free for faculty and staff, up to 30GB.

"Box provides free accounts for people outside the university to access your data," says Myers. "No longer will you be required to contact ETCS to setup a share with internal or external clientele."

Explore more about this service and read the first of many articles on how to acquire and use Box.


Upcoming events

2014 CPD conference set for June 10-11 in Columbia

A conference for MU Extension county program directors is set for June 10-11 in Columbia, according to Bud Reber, project administrator for leadership. Current CPDs and extension faculty members who anticipate becoming CPDs in the near future should hold these dates on their calendars if at all possible, advises Reber.

The program, which starts at noon on June 10 at Stoney Creek Inn, will include keynote speakers and multiple breakout sessions. It ends at noon the next day.

“Our CPDs are an extremely important part of the MU Extension organization, and in the two years since we have hosted a CPD conference there have been many changes,” says Reber. “So it is wholly appropriate that we gather these organizational leaders to discuss how we approach our work.” 

Reber also asks CPDs to be on the lookout for a Survey Monkey assessment in their email soon. It will seek their input for the breakout session topics. Responses will help guide conference planning.


Farm bill dairy details to be explained at seminars, Feb. 24-28

Dairy farmers have a new opportunity to protect their farm income with dairy margin insurance. The dairy safety net in the new farm bill takes a new approach, according to Joe Horner, MU Extension dairy economist.

Horner will explain the nuts-and-bolts decisions to be made regarding margin insurance at five Missouri dairy profit seminars to be held across the state, Feb. 24-28. They are conducted by the Missouri Dairy Association and MU Extension.

The new law provides margin insurance much like crop coverage, Horner says. It’s part of the nearly 1,000-page Agricultural Act of 2014.

Read the expanded article for more details and for seminar dates, times, locations and reservation contacts.


Multi-location program to untangle state's fence laws

MU Extension specialists soon will discuss the state’s complicated fence laws at multiple locations across the state via live video, according to Joe Koenen, MU Extension agricultural business specialist.

The first session will be offered Feb. 27 at extension offices in Atchison, Bates and Nodaway counties. A second meeting will run March 11 at extension centers in Cape Girardeau, Douglas, Johnson, Lafayette, Linn, Pike, Schuyler and Shelby counties. Sessions will run 6:30-9 p.m.

“Missouri continues to have a very complicated fence law, in large part due to the fact that two separate laws cover the state depending on the county that your land is in,” said Koenen. “Another problem is that both laws are subject to interpretation and can be a little different, depending on the county you’re in.”

Read on for registration details and additional information.


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

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 a half-day online Moodle course-development workshop. The next offering: Feb. 19, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Other dates to remember

Feb. 21-22: Missouri Blueberry School Conference, on the Missouri State University campus in Springfield. Additional information is available.

Feb. 24-28: Dairy farmers will hear moneymaking tips at a series of one-day dairy profit seminars across Missouri. Read more about the sessions, which run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at each of five locations.

March 1: Quarterly Teamwork Award nominations are due.

March 3: Ratchford award nominations due (award submission guidelines).

March 8: Small Acreages and Land Entrepreneur (SALE) Conference, St. Joseph.

March 24-28: Community development training with CDA in St. Louis.

May 17: 4-H Day with the Cardinals. Forms are available on the web at

June 10-11: 2014 CPD conference in Columbia.


Coming and going

Please welcome

Reese Rackets, editor, extension communications and marketing

Amanda Branson, nutrition program associate, St. Louis County, Urban Region

Miyosha Johnson, nutrition program associate, St. Louis County, Urban Region

Megan Tinsley, nutrition program associate, St. Louis County, Urban Region

Elizabeth Warner, nutrition program associate, St. Louis County, Urban Region



Margaret Meyer, extension assistant, Human Environmental Sciences

Parman Green, ag business/county program director, Carroll County, NW Region

Barbara Eavy, community development specialist, Jefferson County, Urban Region



Richard Von Schumate died Feb. 5. He was the father of Teresa Bell, FNEP nutrition program associate based in Laclede County . Services were held Feb. 8 in Lebanon.

Maezinna Campbell died Feb. 7. She was the grandmother of Paula Gray, FNEP program manager for the West Central Region. Services were held Feb. 12 in Springfield.


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.