Updated July 1
More than 80 extension council members, state and regional specialists, and administrators gathered on the MU campus last week for the eighth annual Council to Campus.
Council to Campus connects county council members to the research and program development on the flagship campus of the University of Missouri, said Tony DeLong, county council coordinator.
In every county in Missouri, councils of elected or appointed citizens guide local extension programming, manage finances and personnel for local extension operations.
Council to Campus provides council members an opportunity to share ideas and concerns with state-level faculty and administrators as well as with council members in other counties, DeLong said.
With many councils facing severe budget pressures, funding was a topic on many council members’ minds. Mary Paulsell, director of communications and stakeholder relations for the Business Development Program, offered advice for council members when approaching legislators, prospective donors or potential partners: Don’t ask for money. Offer solutions to problems.
Cat Comley, director of development, said donors of today tend to view their gifts as investments, taking active interest in how their donations are spent and what outcomes they produce.
Michael Ouart, vice provost and director of extension, praised county extension councils for their efforts in preserving local programs and pursuing diverse revenue sources.
Council members also played an important role as advocates for legislation to empower councils to form single or multi-county extension districts. The “district option” would allow counties to share costs, pool resources and potentially boost revenue through a voter-approved property tax.
During the recently concluded legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly passed three bills incorporating the district option. The bills are now on the desk of Gov. Jay Nixon, awaiting his signature.
Pat Guinan, state climatologist with MU Extension Commercial Agriculture, talked about Missouri’s network of automated weather stations and climate trends in the state. He said that while last year’s drought is officially over, Missouri has endured far more severe droughts in the past and may do so again in the future. Droughts spanning several years afflicted the Show-Me State in the 1930s and 1950s, and studies of growth rings of ancient trees reveal evidence of droughts that lasted decades.
A major focus of the event was MU Extension’s strategic plan. A centerpiece of the strategic plan is program integration, a concept that recognizes that the solutions to the complex problems of today don’t fall neatly into geographic regions, program categories or professional specialties.
This month MU Extension forage specialist Craig Roberts becomes chair of the MU faculty council. That’s a first for extension faculty.
Being on council has allowed him to explain what MU Extension does, Roberts says. “For some, we’re unknown. They seem to know about field specialists, but don’t understand state-level extension faculty.
“As chair, my job will be to represent all faculty, not one division," he adds.
He becomes a voice for MU campus at system and board of curators levels. Already he’s worked to gain voting status for non-tenure and professional-track faculty, which includes many in extension.
Also, he’s learned that he is on call to explain faculty policy to the media. Four recent news interviews helped him learn to be concise.
The job takes time. He’ll receive a 40 percent buyout, which allows him to hire technicians to help with extension and research. He will continue grazing schools and other off-campus teaching.
Finding fresh, locally grown produce can be at your fingertips when you are traveling in Missouri this summer.
Seasonal and Simple is a free iPhone, iPad and Android app developed through MU Extension. Based on the publication “Seasonal and Simple,” the app guides you through selecting, preparing and storing fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Missouri, according to dietitian and MU Extension associate Cindy DeBlauw.
Through Seasonal and Simple, you can check if your favorite produce is in season. If you’re on the road, a county-by-county listing of Missouri farmers markets will help you find a place to shop for fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables. The app includes recipes and nutrition information for each of the fruits and vegetables that are listed.
To download the free application, go to extension.missouri.edu/p/MP909.
The application was created through a collaboration of MU faculty, staff and students from HES Extension, the Missouri School of Journalism and the College of Engineering.
The SW Region is leading the way so far in 2013 with counties moving from pending to permanent endowment status, says Cynthia Crawford, director of donor education.
Crawford congratulates councils, faculty and staff in Barton, Greene, Jasper and Taney counties for achieving a balance in their endowment accounts of at least $2,500.
Documents are in the process of being executed to move these counties from pending to permanent endowment status, she says. Rather than earning rates similar to a passbook savings account (less than 1 percent), the funds will be part of the university investment pool. Last year the investment pool had a 13.7 percent return. Another benefit of reaching this milestone is that each county will begin receiving a monthly distribution, and that distribution will continue forever.
While new endowment accounts at the university must have a balance of at least $25,000 to move from pending to permanent, established MU Extension accounts are grandfathered in at a $2,500 minimum.
For more information about gifts and endowments, go to http://extension.missouri.edu/extcouncil/de-faq.aspx.
Forage specialist Rob Kallenbach, right, examines cool-season grasses in a field in China.
In China, MU Extension forage specialist Rob Kallenbach was treated like a rock star. Everywhere he went in rural villages, crowds gathered to see the visitor.
“They’d seen Americans on TV, but never in person,” he said.
Kallenbach explored a request from the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University to send graduate students to MU. It’s one of three top schools in China, with ag enrollment of more than 30,000.
“Everything in China is big,” Kallenbach said. “Building is everywhere: apartments, highways, high-speed railroads, utilities—everything.”
We can help them with their forage, he added. Cattle are grazed on the public commons. All cattle are turned out early to get the grass. That results in two forms of grazing: overgrazed and not grazed.
China is investing billions in education, he says. “They want to improve.” But, he adds, “They are not going to overwhelm us with food. They have lots of mouths to feed.”
They likely will become a huge market, especially for meats, he says. “They love their pork.”
Meanwhile, Kallenbach helps work out details on such things as English language proficiency tests for students.
Dinner raises $2,500 for Greene County Extension
Thanks to the generosity of individual business and farms, extension council members and the owners of Sunshine Valley Farm, the June 14 “Dinner at the Orchard” raised $2,500 for the Greene County Extension Council, says David Burton, civic communication specialist and Greene County CPD.
Jan and Michael Wooten, owners of Sunshine Valley Farm, hosted the event so 100 percent of all ticket proceeds could benefit the Friends of Greene County Extension, Burton says.
The dinner featured locally produced and grown foods. A number of area farms and businesses donated all the provisions for the meal. Farm chef Marci Sonnemaker planned the menu and prepared the meal with help from staff.
MU Extension specialists and staff from Greene County waited tables and were assisted in the setup by members of the extension council. Volunteers included Carl Allison, Harold Bender, Jeff Barber, David and Stacey Burton, Patrick Byers, Jay Chism, Pam Duitsman, Craig and Tamara Vonfoerster, John and Lorri Winters, and Marty Wood.