Candidates sought for Phelps County Extension Council

Nominations are being accepted for the upcoming election to the University of Missouri Extension Council of Phelps County.

"The Phelps County Extension Council is seeking people from all walks of life who are interested in education and the progress of our community,” said council chair Josh Ratliff. “Serving on the Extension Council is a great way to help make our community a better place for people to live.”

Candidates must be at least 18 years old and reside in Phelps County and willing to attend meetings held the second Monday of each month. Nominations for the Phelps County Extension Council must be made by this Friday, Dec. 19.

Council members assist in planning and carrying out Extension educational programs. As public officials, council members administer a local budget to support education.

Local programs in Phelps County include: parenting classes, youth development, family life, budgeting, financial literacy, 4-H, Master Gardeners program, child care provider classes, starting a business: the first steps, diabetes management classes, and the Food Nutrition Education Program held in the schools.

The University of Missouri Extension Council of Phelps County is the local link between county residents and the University of Missouri.

The election will take place the week of Jan. 26-30, 2015. Individuals interested in serving on the council may contact the County Extension Center at 573-458-6260. Information about the Phelps County Extension can be found online at or by visiting the Extension Center located in the Phelps County Courthouse at 200 N. Main St., Rolla.

Online Enrollment for the
2014-2015 Program Year is


Visit our enrollment page for more information.

Time to get the pressure gauge on your canner checked

When you plant your garden, it’s so easy to imagine all of the great-tasting, healthy food that will come from those tiny seeds and plants. You may be one of the people that grow not only enough to eat during the summer but extra so it can be preserved for cold winter nights. Now is a great time to make sure your canning gear is ready for production when your garden starts producing more than you can eat.

The dial gauge on your canner should be tested every year to assure it is processing foods at the correct temperature. The dial gauge registers the pressure in the canner. The pressure is an indicator of the temperature of the inside of the canner. It is important for low acid foods to be processed at 240 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy the spores of Clostridium Botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism.

Phelps County University of Missouri Extension can check your pressure gauge in just a few minutes. This service is provided for a fee of $1. The office is located on the west side of the courthouse. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

If you are looking for information on how to preserve your fresh vegetables, University of Missouri Extension has up to date information on how to safely can foods. You can download them at The Quality for Keeps series is all about home food preservation.  

Soil testing

Don’t guess. Soil tests save time and money.

Soil testing is the best guide to the wise and efficient use of fertilizer and soil amendments, said Manjula Nathan, director of the University of Missouri Extension Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Services.

Whether you grow acres of row crops or have a vegetable patch in the backyard, a soil test will provide you with an analysis of nutrients and a set of recommendations for any improvements. 

“We frequently get questions from customers like, ‘I apply fertilizer every year. How come my plants are not doing well?’” Nathan said.

“Most of the time the problem is they never have done a soil test, but have been guessing on fertilizer requirements,” she said. “They do not realize that by guessing they are wasting money by over- or underapplication, and the excess fertilizer can end up in streams, ponds and underground water, polluting the environment.” 

Soil testing can be done through the extension office. The cost is $15 per sample and mailed to the lab every Friday with a turn around time of about two weeks. Soil testing publications

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