The Network: A newsletter for champions of MU Extension

The Network — June 2017

A message from Marshall Stewart
Vice chancellor for extension and engagement

Summer has arrived in Missouri and things are heating up! We in MU Extension find ourselves back on the road, this time to meet again with our faculty and staff, network of councils, elected officials, and stakeholders and partners to share what we learned from all of you during the Community Conversations we held, the qualitative and quantitative studies we undertook, and the third-party review we commissioned. Those elements have combined to give us a much more comprehensive picture of what Missourians think, what is important to them, what their needs and challenges are, what MU Extension is doing well, and areas where we can improve. We will be relying heavily on our findings to help shape our efforts and programming.

Because of the breadth and depth of the studies, people who participated and partners that heard about it are all very interested in our findings. My team has been busy creating videos to disseminate and making arrangements for me to meet with groups and organizations, both internal and external, so we can share our findings as we move ahead in “Building Our Future Together.” For the issues outside our sphere of ability, we will facilitate partner groups that may be willing and interested in taking on those issues.

As you may have heard in the news or discussed in extension council or retiree meetings, factors came together this year to significantly affect the university’s budget and therefore all of us under the UM System. It became apparent to us quite a while back that these changes were coming. When the 12 percent reduction for 2018 was issued, we, like everyone else, were forced to tighten our belts. Because so much of our budget is in human capital, this meant letting go of some of our people. This is not something we did lightly, and we will do everything we can to help them as they look for new positions and opportunities. The situation will also necessitate realignment and changes to some of the traditional ways we have delivered our programming.

But if we keep our eyes firmly fixed on what is best for Missourians and how we can best address their needs, then we are on the right track.

As we go across the state this summer to meetings and events, as well as on road trips with new UM System President Mun Choi, new MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and new CAFNR Dean Christopher Daubert, I hope you will take the time to come and hear firsthand what we have learned from you and about Missouri.


News from Extension

Needs assessment presentation

Video of a May 10 presentation on the MU Extension needs assessment is available. The presentation includes a welcome by Marshall Stewart; an overview by Joy Millard; a report on the qualitative assessment presented by Mark Stewart and Mary Simon Leuci; a report on the quantitative assessment by Shelley Bush-Rowe and Ina Linville; and Jay Chism and Jewel Coffman on the third-party review. The reports are followed by a guided discussion facilitated by Blake Naughton. There is a question-and-answer session after each of the team reports.

Related information: Executive summary of 2016-17 Community Conversations.

New 4-H project raises awareness about healthy soils

4-H members across the country are learning about the importance of good soils through the new 4-H Ag Innovators Experience. Photo by Bradd Anderson.

Missouri 4-H members are digging deep into learning about healthy soils.

Missouri 4-H’ers are joining 4-H’ers across the nation in the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, sponsored by the National 4-H Council and Monsanto. This year’s Ag Innovators Experience, called the Healthy Soils CSI (Carbon Soil Investigation) Challenge, helps 4-H’ers in third through eighth grade learn how modern agricultural practices can improve soil health, said University of Missouri Extension 4-H specialist Shane Potter.

The program also supports 4-H’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) efforts.

“Soil doesn’t just mean dirt,” Potter said. “There is an entire world beneath your feet.” Soil is a mixture of minerals, organic material, living organisms, microbials, air and water. Potter said the program teaches 4-H’ers the whys and hows of improving soil quality. They also learn to conduct a variety of soil tests. “By asking our 4-H’ers to become soil sleuths and CSIs, we can raise awareness of the importance of soil in a rich ecosystem,” he said.

Manjula Nathan, director of the MU Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory, said this new 4-H project will raise much-needed awareness of the importance of soil health. This will have long-term benefits whether these young people become involved in agriculture, owners of hobby vineyards or simply homeowners with lawns. “These 4-H members will grow up as responsible stewards of the soil,” Nathan said. “If they can understand the concepts learned in this project, they will practice them and remember them.”

4-H’ers learn through videos and hands-on activities. They learn to evaluate soil quality through visual inspections and physical and chemical tests. Nathan said soil health depends upon the soil’s chemical, physical and biological properties. Much attention goes to the chemical properties of the soil and application of fertilizers and amendments, but the physical and biological properties are equally important to build sustainable soils, she said. Soil health looks into all three aspects of the soil to keep it healthy.

4-H members will learn how conservation tillage practices and cover crops prevent erosion and loss of nutrients, Nathan said. This leads to discussion on ways landowners improve the environment.

Horticulture specialist trains farmers in Nepal

Participants in a training in Nepal on improved vegetable production led by horticulture specialist Lala Kumar.

Lala Kumar, left, is welcomed by Virgu Rishi Duwadi, who leads Winrock International's Farmer-to-Farmer program in Nepal.

Lala Kumar, regional horticulture specialist, Jackson County, recently completed a two-week Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteer assignment in Nepal funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by Winrock International, an Arkansas nonprofit. Kumar trained members of a farmers cooperative in improved vegetable production skills.

After talking with participants and visiting their vegetable fields, Kumar noticed that small farmers know fairly well how to grow vegetable crops but are extremely concerned about pest problems. They use chemical pesticides indiscriminately, often using the wrong chemicals in wrong amounts, Kumar said. Many farmers spray their crops two or three times a week without any protective clothing.

“Indiscriminate pesticide use has allowed the pests to develop tolerance to pesticides,” he said. The widespread use of insecticides has also killed large numbers of beneficial insects, leading to a resurgence of thrips and mite populations.

Kumar’s training provided information on cover crops, crop rotation, crop sanitation and other practices to improve crop health, increase production and reduce pest infestations.

“Working with farmers in Nepal was a professionally and personally rewarding experience,” he said. He encourages MU Extension colleagues to participate in the Farmer-to-Farmer program. For more information, visit

News for councils

Extension council youth profile: Shea Fitzgerald, Johnson County

By Steve Henness and Maria Calvert, 4-H Center for Youth Development

Shea Fitzgerald, left, has served as a youth representative on the Johnson County Extension Council since 2015. In 2016, she shadowed state Rep. Denny Hoskins and met with state Sen. David Pearce, right, as part of the Missouri 4-H Legislative Academy.

Shea Fitzgerald, 16, is an example of a young emerging leader in MU Extension. Shea has served as youth representative on the Johnson County Extension Council since 2015. She has also represented MU Extension and 4-H to state lawmakers at MU Legislative Day as regional representative on the State 4-H Council.

Shea joined 4-H when she was in fifth grade and says she has loved it ever since. Her favorite 4-H memory is attending the National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C., where she had the opportunity to speak to the U.S. House of Representatives Agricultural Committee on the importance of 4-H and youth to the future of agriculture.

Shea decided to serve on the extension council as a youth representative because she wanted to be more involved in her community and provide a youth's perspective to the council. She says there are lots of benefits, such as learning how extension works, putting youth-adult partnerships into place and giving youth a voice on such an important council.

“We are on the council to bridge the gap between youth and adult voices in order to better extension,” she says. “We choose to be there and see it as an amazing opportunity.”

Shea’s role on the Johnson County Extension Council has led her to other civic involvement. She was elected to serve as a nonvoting member on the Johnson County United Way board of directors. She says “board members saw me on extension and liked my input. So now, I go to every board meeting, all events, and talk to people of the community as a junior board member.”

After she graduates high school, Shea plans to attend the University of Missouri, majoring in animal science and agricultural business with a minor in political science. She aspires to practice law and eventually run for political office.

Would she consider serving as a voting council member? “Absolutely! Extension plays a huge role in our community and I'd be proud to serve as a voting representative in the future to continue the greatness.”

Shea is the daughter of Arthur and Joye Fitzgerald of Holden, Mo. Thank you, Shea, for serving as an extension council youth leader in Johnson County!

For more information about engaging younger generations to serve on your extension council, visit

News for donors

headshot of Cat Comley AdamsCat’s Corner

Cat Comley Adams
Senior director of advancement

'Hot Salsa Night' fundraiser, July 12, to support MU Family Impact Center

The MU Family Impact Center and HES Extension will host “Hot Salsa Night,” a fundraiser in support of the Family Impact Center.

The event, 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, at the Country Club of Missouri, will feature a reception and live and silent auctions. The dress code is business attire. The cost is $40 per person. RSVP by June 28 at

Through partnerships with various units within the university, the Family Impact Center, at 105 E. Ash St., Columbia, provides services to community members in Columbia in a variety of fields, including health, financial literacy and life skills.

One of the center’s youth programs is Camp Salsa, an eight-week program for high school students during which youth learn how to prepare and sell salsa made from vegetables grown in a garden maintained by the participants. Youth are paid for four weeks of their experience in a partnership with the City of Columbia’s Career Awareness Related Experience (CARE) program. Youth also gain credit hours from Columbia Public Schools. Other partners are the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, MU Small Business and Technology Development Centers, Columbia Farmers Market and Lucky’s Market.

The Country Club of Missouri is at 1300 Woodrail Ave., Columbia. For more information about the event, contact Amy Sanders at 573-884-5958 or

News for retirees

Quilt Camp 2017

Quilt Camp will be Monday, July 31, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, Mo. Registration is $15, lunch included. Please note any dietary restrictions with your registration. To register, email RSVP preferred by July 1.

Campus spotlight

New MU chancellor announced

Alexander N. Cartwright will be the new chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia on Aug. 1. UM System President Mun Choi announced Cartwright’s selection May 24.

Cartwright currently serves as provost and executive vice president at the 64-campus State University of New York (SUNY) System. He has a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa.

“Having spent my formative years in Iowa, my wife Melinda and I are delighted to return to the Midwest. We have already found the great people of Missouri and the campus community to be welcoming and supportive,” Cartwright says. “There is no question that MU is one of the state’s most valuable assets. We look forward to joining the Mizzou family and to working together to protect and grow that value.”

For more information about Cartwright, read his profile (Mizzou News), biography (UM System) and curriculum vitae.

Christopher R. Daubert named CAFNR dean

Christopher R. Daubert, professor and head of the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University, has been named vice chancellor and dean of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. He will join CAFNR effective Aug. 1.

Daubert, who has a doctorate in agricultural engineering and food science from Michigan State University, has been on the NC State faculty since 1997. As an administrator, he has been leading an economic development initiative aimed at transforming North Carolina into a regional food processing destination, a project that supports the food and agriculture industry while creating new jobs.

Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart, a member of the search committee, worked with Daubert during his time at NC State.

“He brings an authentic leadership that I think will resonate well with Missourians on and off campus,” Stewart told the Columbia Missourian. “He’s deeply committed to the land-grant university mission, and I think he’ll also be a very strong proponent of AAU (Association of American Universities) recognition as an institution.”

Daubert succeeds Marc Linit, who has served as interim CAFNR dean since the retirement of Thomas Payne in December 2016.

Read more.

Astronomical view

From Mizzou News

Columbians are preparing to view a total solar eclipse Aug. 21. The astronomical event coincides with the first day of classes for the fall semester.

On that day, sunlight will turn to pitch blackness during the first total solar eclipse Missouri has seen since 1869. Columbia hasn’t witnessed one since 1442 and won’t see another one until March 1, 2500. That’s why Angela Speck, co-chair for the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Eclipse Task Force, has been preparing for this event for the last five years.

Total eclipses, when the moon blocks the sun completely, occur about once a year, says Speck, a professor of astrophysics at Mizzou. However, most happen over bodies of water so few people see the magical moment when only the sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, is visible to the naked eye.

The 2017 eclipse will black out a 3,000-mile stretch of the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina, temporarily darkening the day of 12 million people. Columbians will have 2 minutes, 37 seconds, to view the event. The longest duration, 2 minutes, 42 seconds, occurs near Carbondale, Ill.

Read more.

Call to action

In each issue, Vice Chancellor Marshall Stewart will feature a different, relevant call to action. These are ways you can advocate or get involved that will help extension get the word out or maximize our message to decision-makers.

In my opening letter this month, I outlined the “Building Our Future Together” outcomes we will be sharing as we crisscross the state this summer. Plans are in full swing to get in front of as many of people as we can to tell you what the data collected showed and to start rolling out some of the realignments and strategies to address those findings while working within our budget and resources.

Rest assured that program coverage to meet the needs of our citizens remains our driving principle as we thoughtfully and intentionally create the framework of what MU Extension will look like going forward.

“Friends of Extension,” we call on you, our best advocates, to familiarize yourself with the facts and strategies when they are shared with you so you can help all of those in your spheres of influence see the possibilities and champion our efforts.

As our name implies, we are the embodiment of “extending” the university’s knowledge and research by turning it into practical, everyday information, programming and services. We open the door for all Missourians to benefit from MU, per our land-grant mission.

However, we are not alone. You too are what makes up MU Extension! From your former work life or your service on an extension council or your support as a client/recipient of our programs, all of us are in this together to ensure that in our next 100 years MU Extension continues to be the front door to Missouri’s land-grant institution for all people.

– Marshall Stewart


June 26, noon-1 p.m. – Entrepreneur shares story and best practices
St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, 3003 Frederick Ave., St. Joseph, Mo.


June 27, 6:30 p.m. – Marshall Stewart in Springfield
Greene County Extension Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave, Springfield, Mo.


July 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Butterfly Festival
Jefferson Farm and Garden, 4800 E. New Haven Road, Columbia.


July 7 – Pest Management Field Day
Bradford Research Center, 4968 Rangeline Road, Columbia.


July 13 – Crop and Soil Management Workshop
Bradford Research Center, 4968 Rangeline Road, Columbia.


By Tracy Feller

Now that the Community Conversations, quantitative and qualitative studies, and third-party review are over, how can you hear what was learned?

We have resources for that!

We have not one but TWO newsletters: The Network for our external audience and The Exchange for our internal staff, faculty and administration. Each is geared toward news specifically of interest to that group. Sometimes the stories overlap and appear in both. If you or someone you know is not receiving one of the two, please let us know!

Opportunities coming to you…

Marshall Stewart and his teams will hit the road again this summer, this time to talk about the recent studies that show what Missourians are thinking. It is particularly timely since we are now able to pair what we learned with the new realities we face in our budgets and manpower to come together in “Building Our Future Together.” Watch the newsletters, emails, and council news and opportunities posted on your county’s website and calendar for events in your area.

Summer in the District…

As we told you in the May issue, Summer in the District is already in full swing. This is our opportunity to look at all your area’s upcoming events and find things that you want to showcase to your elected officials. We are looking for you to tell us what programs, field days and other events might either show them something in their interest area or reveal to them something they need to know more about. Need help knowing what their interests are? Feel free to talk to their staffers, or contact me in Partnership and Stakeholder Development and I can give you some ideas.

You can always reach me at or call my direct line at 573-882-4134.



Please welcome

Krista Chambers, youth program assistant, Henry County, WC Region.

Robyn Eckhoff, youth program assistant, Bates County, WC Region.

Barbara Hash, youth program assistant, St. Clair County, WC Region.

Linda Heryford, youth program assistant, Cedar County, WC Region.

Andrew Luke, agronomy specialist, Harrison County, NW Region.


Isabel Pinto Rife, research aide, HES Extension, statewide.

Mary von Schoenborn, office support assistant, Nursing Outreach.


Garry Emery, father of SW Region community development specialist Amy Patillo, died May 29 in his home in West Plains at the age of 68. Obituary.

Connect with us

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement, Partnership and Stakeholder Development, and the Office of Advancement have teamed up to share news of interest through this e-newsletter, which replaces the printed Friends of Extension newsletter. In this fast-paced world where news happens quickly, an emailed newsletter not only saves resources, it helps us to be timelier in getting information out to you and keeping you up to date. We want to be your Network — and another valuable link to MU Extension.

Is your contact information up to date? Don’t miss another meeting or event. Make sure we have your current mailing and email addresses.

Have other items you’d like to hear about or comments on what you read? Let us know what you’d like to see from us! If that includes retirements, obituaries and personal news, please continue to send them to us and let us know if you have changes to your contact information.

headshot of Linda Runnebaum

Linda Runnebaum
109 Whitten Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

The Network