News release: Extension Horticulture Coverage for Northwest Missouri

Tim Baker, MU Extension Horticulture Specialist
102 N. Main, Suite 1, Gallatin, MO 64640

Release date: Set. 19, 2013

Title: Extension Horticulture Coverage for Northwest Missouri

You may be aware that University of Missouri Extension reorganized our administrative regions on January 1 of this year. We reduced the number of regions by one, which meant that most regions picked up new counties. Four new counties were added to the Northwest Region: Carroll, Lafayette, Ray, and Saline.

By July 1, the final decisions had been made regarding county programmatic assignments for each specialist. These assignments determine who serves each county in the region for each Extension program specialty. It was an interesting process to develop new maps for these assignments, with input from Extension specialists, county Extension Councils, the Regional Extension Council, campus administrators, and our Regional Director, Karma Metzgar.

The long-term plan for horticulture is to add a third Horticulture Specialist position to serve the four new counties, which will be headquartered in Saline County. That will happen when funding becomes available, but could be several years in the future.

In the meantime, we will have two Horticulture Specialists to serve the Northwest Region. Tom Fowler, in St. Joseph, will cover the western side of our region, and I will cover the eastern side, including the four new counties.

If you wonder how that actually divides out, it’s fairly simple.  If you live in Worth, Gentry, DeKalb, Clinton, or any county west of those, those counties are assigned to Tom Fowler. If you live in Harrison, Daviess, Caldwell, Ray, Lafayette, or any county east of there in our Northwest Region, those counties are assigned to me.

However, Tom and I do cover areas outside of our regular counties, especially when one of us is out of the office. Our goal is to make sure your horticultural questions are answered, and lines on the map don’t stop us when it comes to solving your problems.

I will be making trips this summer to the four new counties to meet growers, Extension Councils, Master Gardeners, and others who are interested in horticultural programming in Extension. I have already been busy talking to homeowners and commercial growers in those counties, helping them with their horticultural questions and needs.

I’ll close by a short reminder of what horticulture is.  Basically, we cover fruits, vegetables, trees, turf, and all sorts of ornamental plants.  If the crop is a traditional row crop such as corn and beans, the agronomist covers those crops.  It gets a little tricky here, since a 300 acre field of sweet corn planted in rows goes to the horticulturist. And pastures are covered by agronomist. So questions about fescue in your pasture go to the agronomist… but if it’s fescue in your lawn, call the horticulturist. 

Sometimes plants are divided between agronomists and horticulturists by tradition. So if you’re not sure who to call… call either of us… we’ll get your question to the right person and get you an answer quickly.