Educational opportunities

Single- and multi-session educational programs cover topics in agriculture, natural resources, lawn and garden, home and consumer life, nutrition and health, families, community and leadership development, business and careers, and emergency management. Fees vary by program. Customized training is available.

To find out more about the educational programs offered in Cole County, email us so you can be added to a monthly email list. Email addresses are not shared with anyone else and the emails are typically sent out once a month.

Soil testing

Basic soil testing analyzes nutrient content and fertility status. Results include fertilizer and lime recommendations. Additional tests are available for nutrient management plans, environmental issues, potting mixes, compost, manure and water usage. Each sample should contain about 1½ cups of dry soil from 6 to 7 inches deep. Consult the Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory website for specific instructions. Results are typically provided within two weeks.

Private pesticide applicator training

MU Extension provides private pesticide applicator training for producers as required for Missouri Department of Agriculture certification. Individuals must bring a copy of MU Extension publication M87, Private Pesticide Applicator Reference Manual, to the training.

See the private pesticide applicator training page or contact the field specialist in your county for details on training being offered via Zoom teleconference or in person.

Farmers seeking a Private Pesticide Applicator Training need to contact MU Extension in Cole County at 573-634-2824 to set up a time to watch a video. Walk-ins are not accepted. Depending on room availability, it can be scheduled on weekday mornings only.

Plant and insect identification

Plant and insect samples may be brought to the extension office for identification or disease diagnosis. Recommendations for managing pests, weeds and diseases are provided.

For plant and insect identification or plant disease diagnosis, feel free to email a photo of the insect or plant you need help identifying or diagnosing to There is a fee if the sample needs to be submitted to the lab.

Plant disease diagnosis

Plant disease, insect and weed diagnosis is available for field crops, ornamentals, vegetables, fruits and turfs.

Canner gauge tests

Testing for dial-type pressure canner lids is available. Dial-type gauges should be tested annually to ensure accuracy and prevent bacterial contamination of preserved foods. (Testing is not necessary for weighted gauges.)

Canners can be brought in between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Mon - Fri) to be tested, but we appreciate if you are able to call in advance so we are well prepared. We can be reached at 573-634-2824. Certain canners can not be tested. This center will test Presto, National, Maid of Honor and Magic Seal brands. We are unable to test All American.

Small business development assistance: Transforming Missouri businesses

MU Extension business specialists provide assistance to those wanting to start, maintain or expand a business through the Missouri Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and to those interested in doing contract business with federal, state and local governments through the Missouri APEX Accelerator. SBDC specialized services include assistance with technology and product commercialization, international trade, market research, and energy and environmental issues.

Distance education test proctoring

MU Extension proctors tests for students enrolled in Missouri Online courses.

Students need to set up an appointment by calling 573-634-2824. MU Extension in Cole County only proctors paper exams between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Meeting room rental

MU Extension in Cole County has a large conference room that is available for rental. Reservations are accepted based upon availability. MU Extension programs take priority. We do not rent on weekends and we're unable to book further than 3 months in advance. The primary purpose of this room is for education. Alcohol and parties are prohibited. The organization requesting use of the facilities will have access to the conference room, kitchen and bathrooms only. All requests must be completed and returned to MU Extension in Cole County at least 2 weeks prior to the activity. Submit your request by completing this Conference Room Request form (PDF). For more information, contact us at 573-634-2824 or by email.