Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Tickets on Sale for “Dinner in the Orchard” June 20; Event Benefits Greene County Extension and Features Locally Produced Foods

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A special upcoming event being billed as “Dinner in the Orchard” will benefit Greene County Extension and feature locally produced foods deliciously prepared on a Midsummer Night’s Eve. But you only have until June 10 to purchase the limited tickets available for this memorable evening.

This second annual event begins with a welcome at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 20 at Sunshine Valley Farm Café, 8125 E State Highway AD, Rogersville, Mo. Proceeds from the event will benefit programs funded by Greene County Extension.

This year, Chef Craig von Foerster of From Table to Farm, will put together a micro-local four course menu that will begin with appetizers in the orchard. Dine inside or on the porch with views of the Orchard. Local wine and beer and music will be part of the evening. After dinner, attendees will have a chance to take home a homemade pie with a fun “pie pull.”

MU Extension specialists and staff from Greene County will attend along with Greene County Extension Council members who have organized and planned the event.

The event is a match with MU Extension’s mission and program focus according to Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition and health specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Greene County Extension specialists are heavily invested in promoting and educating the public about locally produced foods, helping people produce their own food, teaching about good nutrition and helping local businesses succeed,” said Duitsman. “This event will showcase the impact of those efforts in one location.”

Seating for this event is limited to 80 individuals and the first event did sell out.

Advanced tickets must be purchased before June 10 and are available at a cost of $75 per person.

Tickets can be purchased by cash or check at the Greene County Extension office, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo. 65807 or easily and safely online at or directly at

Individuals with questions about the dinner can email

Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, business and community development. Members of “Friends of Greene County Extension” contribute financially to make it possible for Extension to continue having a positive impact on the quality of life in Greene County.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Practical PR Suggestions for the Real Word

by David L. Burton

I attended and helped to organize the Southwest Missouri PRSA Chapter's Spring Boot Camp on April 28 in Springfield, Mo.

I've heard it said that if you leave a workshop with one good take away sentence then your time has been well-spent and the workshop was a success. Here are my take-away sentences for the day!


What is your companies plus one? What are customers wanting from you? Answer that question and then do something extra.


Because of mobile access to web, writing lean is essential. Treat it word like it costs a $1 and spend as little as possible.

PDFs do not load well on mobile devices. Who knew? This changes everything for me if my goal is to make our website more mobile friendly.

Google prefers blogs of 1500 words or less. Keep it updated.


Tell a specific story with a specific point of view. Start In the middle of the action. Start when story begins. Use details to convey meaning. If possible, subvert expectations. If possible, establish and resolve a conflict. If possible, set up a puzzle or mystery.


Social media does not do magic. Social media does not maintain itself. It is extremely hard to use social media to convert a follower to a customer. Social media does not replace your website or blog.

Six words are a good length for headlines. Brevity is crucial on social media.

In news, the readers and viewers are the product and they are sold to advertisers.


Keep the ego out of stories. If you are telling a story, it is not about you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Plugging Old Wells -- the how to and possible help

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates there may be as many as one abandoned well or cistern for every 80 acres of land in the state. That translates to over 4,700 old wells or cisterns in most counties of southern Missouri.

"These old wells, which were once an asset, can become a serious liability," said Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Read more about what you can do at:

For those of you wondering if there is financial assistance to help with plugging abandoned well, the answer is yes, some times, in some counties.

The nearest Soil and Water Conservation District office will cost-share on well decommissioning. In Greene and Webster County, the incentive payment is $400. 

To check, people can go to, click on Landowner Assistance, then look for the N351  Well Decommissioning practice, or call their office.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Greene County Extension Begins Playing the Great Game of Business

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beginning at the council meeting on April 24, 2015, the Greene County Extension Council and staff are going to begin playing the Great Game of Business (

According to David Burton, civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension and the county program director in Greene County, this will become the new management system for the local office and will guide efforts to get Greene County Extension operations back in the black.

“There are several great models for this style of management already in Greene County,” said Burton. “The council is going to be using this open-book system of management and learning from the Greene County Commission and county government, Big Brothers-Big Sisters in Springfield and some other practitioners, like SRC and Paul Mueller Company.”


In 2012, Burton received the University of Missouri Extension “Carl N. Scheneman Excellence in Teaching Award.” That honor came with $2,000 to be used exclusively for his professional development.  Since that time, Burton had been looking at various conferences but nothing fit with his schedule, budget or professional development needs.

“I was reading the Springfield Business Journal for March 9 and saw an article about a local non-profit using the Great Game of Business,” said Burton. He was familiar with the open-book management taught in the Great Game because he attended the first few sessions when the Greene County Commission began using it.

“Back at that time I talked with Patrick Carpenter (vice-president of the Great Game of Business) about the program. Greene County government was the first non-traditional business to look to the game for financial advice. I didn’t think it was the right time for our county extension program and we were working on other efforts things, including a business plan,” said Burton.

The cost of training with the Great Game of Business was prohibitive for the local extension budget according to Burton.

“I came to believe the time was right now to get started in The Game and I was willing to use my award monies to get training and help our council, staff and specialists, to begin playing the game,” said Burton.

Since taking the training in mid-April, Burton says he believes the Great Game of Business has several benefits for the local office: improved teamwork, engagement of staff and council members to raise funds and generate revenue, and team building.

“This goes beyond having a business plan. This gets all staff and volunteers involved with understanding our financials and making decisions that make financial sense,” said Burton.


The Great Game of Business, Inc. was established to help companies implement the open-book management practices outlined in the book The Great Game of Business. It is the educational wing of SRC Holdings Corporation in Springfield, where the business philosophy of open-book management was developed by its President and CEO, Jack Stack, more than 30 years ago.

Originally established to handle a high-demand for company tours and visits after the book’s release, The Great Game of Business, Inc. is now the largest and most well-known resource for open-book management training and education.

The Great Game of Business is not a system. It is not a methodology. It is not a philosophy, or an attitude, or a set of techniques. It is all of those things and more. One of the misconceptions about The Great Game of Business is that it is synonymous with being financially transparent. While transparency is important, sharing financials is only a small fraction of the entire process.


Keep up with what Greene County Extension is doing to implement The Great Game of Business online at under the tab “Great Game.”

Council has already kicked-off a mini-game as part of the Give Ozarks campaign and Burton says he anticipates another mini-game this summer.

“We also need a few months to develop a scorecard for our finances and to get council and staff trained in what we are doing,” said Burton. “I’m excited because I think this provides a real opportunity to engage our entire staff and council in working toward getting our office back in the black and moving forward.”

One-hundred percent of Greene County residents can benefit from the economically sound advice and unbiased, research-based information and education available from University of Missouri Extension programs in Greene County. Specialists with MU Extension offer educational programs that make lifelong learning fun and help people help themselves. More information is available at or by calling the MU Extension office in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Does Greene County Extension Still Support 4-H?

Submitted Question: “I note you included 4-H youth in your fundraising emails and materials as an area that extension helps. I have been told that the Greene County Extension does not help the 4-H youth any more.  What areas does the Greene County Extension help the 4-H youth?” -- Greene County 4-H parent

Answered by David Burton, Greene County Extension county program director

We don't have a 4-H specialist headquartered in Greene County anymore but the local office and council does a lot to fund and support 4-H as an official Greene County Extension program. In other words, the local council still provides serious support for 4-H programming. Every county 4-H program needs a sponsoring extension council to exist. Since this question has been asked, it reminds me that I need to remind 4-H families about what the local extension council and office is doing in support of Greene County 4-H.

Examples of 4-H things the local office funded in 2014:
4-H postage for local requests.
Free Storage for 4-H supplies.
Staff position to manage 4-H enrollment fees.
Mileage for all 4-H specialist travel in Greene County (nearly $1000 last year).
Council oversight of club audits and finances required by law.
Local council voted, supported and provided in kind support for two 4-H interns last summer and fall that worked with Greene County 4-H clubs and at the fair. We are doing the same thing this coming summer and fall and those internships are through the Greene County office.
Council and staff are currently working to build a 4-H endowment.
I wrote a grant to fund a Greene County 4-H educator in the county who would work with existing clubs and help establish new clubs. We are on round two of the grant and the local office would fund all overhead for that position.
I am also implementing The Great Game of Business in our local office as an operating model with the goal to generate revenue above our operating costs so we can move toward funding a 4-H position. That is our priority. The last four years we have operated in the red despite having a fundraising campaign. Five years ago we finished the year $45,000 in the red. Last year we were just $6,000 in the read but our reserve funds are nearly gone.
Media and marketing in support of 4-H programs and fundraisers which gets an audience to local events, like the pie supper, which allows the foundation to fund 4-H projects. This also includes media support for 4-H programs like the Dairy Cow Camp, summer camp and others. The staff and tools needed for the regional news service are all supported out of the Greene County Extension Center.
Some office and administrative support for the 4-H Foundation.

I suspect there are a few other things too but this was off the top of my head.

Individuals who want to donate to Greene County Extension’s “Give Ozarks” campaign but do not want to give online May 5 need to get their checks to the Greene County Extension Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield, Mo. 65807, by April 24. This will make it possible for the checks to count toward the Give Ozarks totals. Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, business and community development. Your monetary gifts will help make it possible for these community educational efforts to continue.

Please make a donation from midnight to midnight on May 5 at in support of Greene County Extension 4-H youth, horticulture, master naturalists, master gardener, human development, nutrition and agricultural educational programs that will take place in the county this year. Our goal for the Give Ozarks campaign is $10,000. Every online donation we can get will move us closer to the goal and give our organization an opportunity to earn some of the incentive dollars being shared by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

Making a secure donation is simple. On May 5, donors can log onto to complete a basic credit-card donation. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS. Whether you give or not, please share this information with your friends and coworkers!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

First Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Discovered in Greene County; Homeowners Advised of Potential Problem

Contact: Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Educator Kelly McGowan says the first reported Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in southwest Missouri has been confirmed and area homeowners should be on alert.

On January 28, 2015, Karen McDonald, a member of the Master Gardener of Greene County, found the brown marmorated stink bug in her home. MU Extension specialists sent the specimen to the Missouri Department of Agriculture where staff confirmed identification.

Until now, the closest Brown Marmorated Stink Bug that had been found and confirmed was in the St. Louis area.

“The brown marmorated stink bug has a huge appetite for many different horticultural and agricultural crops,” said McGowan. “While other types of stink bugs favor just a few kinds of plants, the brown marmorated stink bug will eat almost any type of fruit or vegetable. Most worrisome is that there are no predators for this bug in the U.S., so populations are increasing.”

Another problem is that the brown marmorated stink bug overwinters in large groups in homes and have a bad smell.

“This is a big problem on the east and west coast where they have been found in groups numbering in the thousands.  They do not bite people or damage buildings, but the smell can be horrid and hard to get rid of,” said McGowan.

The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive species from Asia and that probably made its way to the United States in shipping containers.  The insect was first recognized in Pennsylvania in 1998.

Brown marmorated stink bugs are about a one-half long and are a little larger than other stink bugs.  They have white stripes on their antennae, faint white bands on their legs and the outer edges of their abdomen have alternating white and dark markings.

Stinkbugs have five stages as young insects before they become adults. When they die, these insects produce a foul odor, thus the name stinkbug.

“With the recent discovery at a home just outside of Springfield, Mo., it is now accurate to say that Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs have found the Ozarks,” said McGowan.

Individuals that think they have found a brown marmorated stink bug and would like it identified can bring it to the Greene County Extension office, which is located inside The Botanical Center at 2400 S. Scenic Ave. in Springfield,  Mo.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Know the Facts Before Buying, or Selling, Firewood

Contact: Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist
Headquartered in Webster County
Tel: (417) 859-2044

MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- Many people who buy cordwood for their home wood stoves admit they do not understand the transfer process. Some dealers talk in terms of a "rick," a "rank" or a "pickup load."

Others mention a "face cord" and still others talk in terms of a cord or fractions of a cord. Sometimes the definitions vary from dealer to dealer and from locality to locality.

“We would like to think that most dealers are honest, and the transaction is fair. However, this is no way to run a business,” said Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Schultheis shares here the most common questions he receives about buying and selling firewood, along with his answers to the questions.

Q: Homeowners with wood stoves are stocking up on firewood for their winter heat supply. I understand there is a state law governing how firewood is bought and sold?

A: Yes, by state law, firewood must be sold by the cord or fraction of a cord. It must also be accompanied by a bill of sale in accordance with requirements of the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Division of Weights and Measures. Rick, rank, face cord, truckload and pile are not legal units of measure for sale of firewood.

Q: How much is a cord of wood?

A: A cord of wood measures four feet high, four feet wide and eight feet long, totaling 128 cubic feet. Any combination of these measurements is fine as long as they total 128 cubic feet when the wood is stacked in a compact manner.

Q: What’s the easiest way to measure a stack of wood?

A: A simple way is to measure the length, width and average height (all in inches) of the compactly-stacked pile of wood. Multiply these three figures together and divide the result by 220,000. The answer is the number of cords. Multiply this number by the dollar cost per cord to get the price the buyer should pay.

Q: Any other tips on getting a fair deal when buying firewood?

A: First, don’t pay for the wood until it has been stacked and measured by both the buyer and seller. Second, get a receipt with the seller’s name, address, phone number and vehicle license number, along with the price, amount and kind of wood purchased. Third, if a problem with the seller cannot be resolved, contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Division of Weights and Measures at 573-751-5639.

Q: Where can I get more information on buying and selling cordwood?

A: Contact the nearest University of Missouri Extension Center and ask for MU Guides G5450 and G5452, which give details about buying and selling cordwood, and about the burning characteristics and heat content of various woods. Schultheis can be contacted at the Webster County Extension Center in Marshfield by telephone at (417) 859-2044.

Persimmon Seeds Predict: Below Average Snowfall, Colder Than Average Temperatures with Warm Spells in Ozarks

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- This coming winter in the Ozarks is going to be colder than average with a below average snowfall and a few warm spells. Well, at least according to persimmon seeds.

“It’s a cherished bit of Ozarks folklore that the shape of the seedling inside a persimmon seed can predict upcoming winter conditions,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension. “It is not a research-based way to forecast the weather, but once a year it is a fun tongue-in-check project and a great way to educate people about this unique native Ozark fruit tree.”

According to Ozarks folklore, a spoon shape on the seed indicates above average snowfall, a knife shape signals colder than normal temperatures and a fork shape means warmer than average temperatures.

For this year’s weather forecast, Byers collected fruit from persimmon trees in Lawrence, Newton, Webster and McDonald counties. He extracted the seeds from the fruit and then randomly selected 102 seeds.

“I cracked open the seeds, observed the seedlings and then added up the data,” said Byers.

In 2014, Byers found 18 percent of the seeds had a knife shape; 31 percent had a fork shape, and 51 percent had a spoon shape. Over the past five years of doing this same thing, Byers says the average has been 57 percent spoon shaped, 13.6 percent knife shaped and 28 percent fork shaped.

“The important thing is the deviation from the average.  The numbers should be considered individually.  The spoon percentage is always the highest, but I look for whether a given year's numbers are above or below the average,” explained Byers.

Based on deviation this year, Byers says a folklore based forecast can be made.

“Looks like Ozarkers better get a warm coat,” said Byers. “At least this data from persimmon seeds suggests below average snowfall this year some periods of warm temperatures.”

Persimmons grow on a tree and look like an orange tomato. An unripe fruit can quickly pucker the lips of a person with its bitter taste. Native Americans taught early settlers that the fruit should be left on the trees well into October when it becomes ripe enough to eat.

Once ripe, persimmons don’t keep well. They should be eaten right away or refrigerated for no more than a day or two. To freeze persimmons, simply spoon out the flesh of each one as it ripens, and store it in the freezer in an airtight container. When you have enough, persimmons are often used to make bread, muffins, cookies, cakes and pudding.

For more information on persimmons, or answers to your specific lawn and garden questions, contact Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension or the Greene County Master Gardener Hotline at (417) 881-8909. More information is available on the Greene County Extension website at

Friday, October 17, 2014

Consider Serving on Greene County Extension Council

The Greene County Extension Council is accepting nominations for the 2015 public election of County Extension Council. Names of nominees and completed forms are needed prior to Nov. 14. Individuals can self-nominate themselves for consideration by the extension council at the November meeting. There is a great need for council members representing participants in Greene County Extension’s programs like Master Gardeners, 4-H and the family nutrition education program.

A brochure explaining the roles of an Extension council can be found online at The nomination form for the Greene County Extension Center is available at

Serving on a county extension council can be fun. It is also a great way to represent your community, serve your county, and help create educational opportunities for your neighbors.

Every county in Missouri has an Extension Council made up of elected (and appointed) members who represent the broad educational needs and backgrounds of people in that county. Council candidates must be at least 18 years old and reside in the district they represent.

Missouri statutes create County Extension Councils to work with MU Extension specialists. Council members assist in planning and carrying out MU Extension programs, providing local Extension governance and representing the diversity of the county’s changing population.

Most counties in southwest Missouri hold council elections the third week of January. Each council election is held in accordance with state law (Chapter 262.550-262.620 R.S. Mo. 1969).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mizzou Students Coming to Springfield Nov. 14-15 to Volunteer; Need a Place to Stay

Twelve Mizzou students are participating in a "Mizzou Alternative Break" trip by coming to Springfield Nov. 14-16 to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield.

However, the students are still in need of free housing on Friday, Nov. 14 and Saturday, Nov. 15 for the Mizzou Alternative Break trip. The two student organizers have been in contact with multiple locations around Springfield but have not yet found an option large enough for this group of 12.

"We were wondering if you had any recommendations on places to contact that may be able to house 12 people for both of those nights. We would appreciate any recommendation you may have, as we are needing to confirm a housing site as soon as possible," said Marissa Steele, an undergraduate student and a weekend site leader for Mizzou Alternative Breaks

The students will be serving at the Ronald McDonald House on that Saturday and Sunday.

The Ronald McDonald House will be hosting a fundraiser on the weekend of Nov. 21 and is in need of volunteers to perform various tasks around the house to get it ready for the event. Students will also be cooking a meal on the night of Nov.15 at the House at Children's Mercy Hospital for the families of the patients.

"We are very excited about this trip and the partnership with MU Extension," said Marissa Steele.

If you can help with the student housing, please contact one of the group leaders:

Marissa Steele
Mizzou Alternative Breaks- Weekend Site Leader

Debrielle De La Haye
Mizzou Alternative Breaks- Weekend Site Leader

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Newspapers are the Foundation of Vibrant Communities

Written by David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

A recent visitor to my house noted that I had four different weekly newspapers on the kitchen counter. “If you have that many newspaper subscriptions, you must be rich,” said my friend, who confessed to never having subscribed to a newspaper in his entire life.

I wanted to cry in response to the fact that he had never subscribed to a newspaper, but I laughed instead. “I am not rich when it comes to money, but these communities are better off by having a weekly newspaper,” I said. “That is why I support local newspapers with my subscription.”

As a consumer, I know first-hand that most weekly newspaper subscriptions are reasonable. I have subscriptions to my hometown newspaper, the newspaper I managed, the newspaper in my community of residence and the newspaper in the community where I work. These newspapers keep me updated on government decisions, community events and the lives of my friends.

Despite our changing world, daily and weekly community newspapers remain a prime source for recording local news events. Newspapers document the lives of local citizens from birth to death. Newspapers chronical the decisions of city councils, county commissions, fire districts and school boards along with hometown school athletics and art programs.

Newspapers serve an important function in the American democratic process. When I was editing a weekly newspaper, I would say the newspaper was a “beacon of truth.” I still believe that is true in most communities. At the very least, quality newspapers aid in the well-being of the communities they serve.

Newspapers help protect our communities from destructive influences. Newspapers help to sound the alarm with accurate and complete coverage of sensitive or tragic community issues. The best community newspapers provide facts and editorials that help communities make decisions. They also help celebrate individual and collective achievements in the community, offer congratulations and join in the community celebration.

Newspapers have an important role in small and large communities across this country.  Despite what a few might have you believe, newspapers are not dead. Weekly newspapers are doing well and for communities that want to grow and flourish, they are vital.

EDITOR’S NOTE: National Newspaper Week (October 5-11, 2014) marks the 74th year of the Week, which observes the importance of newspapers to communities large and small.

PHOTO CUTLINE: David Burton reading the newspaper published in his hometown of Ash Grove, Mo.: The Commonwealth.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Nineteen 4-H’ers Recognized as Best of the Best at Sept. 21 Event Hosted by Greene County 4-H Foundation

Contact: Monica Spittler, 4-H youth development specialist
Headquartered at the Taney County Extension Center
Tel: (417) 546-4431

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Nineteen 4-H Club members from across southwest Missouri were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments as the “Best of the Best” Award winners by the Greene County 4-H Foundation on Sunday, Sept. 21.

The event was held in Center Hall at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds as part of the annual Pie Auction and Cake Wars fundraising event held by the Greene County 4-H Foundation.

Missouri 4-H is University of Missouri Extension's youth development program.

“It is always a pleasure to recognize youth for growth and development thru their 4-H participation in southwest Missouri,” said Byron Morrison, vice-chairman of the Greene County 4-H Foundation.

Eleven counties had members recognized for their current involvement in 4-H.  Each county could nominate two members to receive this special recognition.

Plaques were provided for 4-H’ers from:  Jasper County – Eli Meyer and Hannah Andrews;  Greene County – Blake Wright and Lora Wright; Christian County – Dallas Goolsby and Grant Goolsby; Lawrence County – Joel Adams and Hannah Adams; Hickory County – Sydney Bailey and Abagail Hammer;  Dade County – Blake Daniel Cossins; Webster County – Jessie Terry; Polk County – ReAnna Owens and Hannah Norblitt;  Newton County – Jacob Boeglin and Brianna Werner; McDonald County –Collin Thacker and Katrina Eubanks and Barry County – Joshua Rittenhouse.

The 4-H program helps to create opportunities for young people to be valued, contributing members of their community. To learn how to get involved locally go to

Residents of southwest Missouri can contact any of these 4-H youth development specialists with MU Extension for  information: Karla Deaver in Lawrence County at (417) 466-3102; Monica Spittler in Taney County, (417) 546-5531; Bob McNary in Jasper County at (417) 358-2158; Jeremy Elliott-Engel in Newton County at (417) 455-9500; Taylor Bryant in Howell County at (417) 256-2391; or Janice Emery in Texas County at (417) 967-4545.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Over 100 Attend “Salute to Century Farms” and Help Raise About $3,500 for Greene County Extension

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – About 135 people purchased tickets, and 108 attended, the “Salute to Century Farms” event held Sept. 30 at the Round Barn Event Center along Clear Creek between Ash Grove and Willard.

Due to event sponsorships and the sale of nearly $1,500 worth of locally handcrafted items in a silent auction, the event raised about $3,500 for the continued operations of Greene County Extension.

“It was a great night of fun with great attendance. Members of the Greene County Extension Council appreciate the generosity of our sponsors and those who donated items for auction,” said George Deatz, chairman of the Greene County Extension Council. “These funds are so important for our continued operation and the fact that everyone had fun made the event even better.”

The following family farms were honored as Century Farms during the event: Charles and Katherine Buckner of Fair Grove; Robert and Mary Mays of Ash Grove; John and Doris Breakbill of Republic; and Warren D. Hardy Jr. of Rogersville.

Acoustic Essays provided traditional bluegrass and classic country music during the event.

David Baker, assistant dean of agriculture extension at the University of Missouri, discussed the 100 year history of Cooperative Extension and the challenges facing family farms.

A copy of Baker’s presentation can be found online at

This first annual event was made possible by our media sponsors: News-Leader; Ozarks Farm and Neighbor Newspaper; KOLR/KOZL; Our Gold Level sponsor the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District; and our silver level sponsors Old Missouri Bank and Cox Health Systems; and our bronze level sponsors: Race Brothers Farm Supply, Main Street Feeds and Fire & Ice Restaurant & Bar.

Photos of each honored family are available

Monday, September 15, 2014

Two Stone County Farm Families Honored by Extension Council

Agriculture is a $25 million business in the county, supported by both large and small farm enterprises and specialized niche agribusinesses.  In an effort to recognize successful farm families in the county, the Stone County Extension Council recently honored two farm families with an evening dinner.  The event was sponsored by First Home Savings Bank.

Rick and Janie Blair of Galena were this year’s State Fair Farm Family representing Stone County.  Each year the fair recognizes farm families from each county based on recommendations from the local extension councils.  The council selected the Blairs this year since they have run a successful dairy farm in the county since 1973.

The Blair farm is located west of Galena and is now combined with a neighboring farm owned by their son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Megan Blair.  The farms consist of 300 acres of land where forages are raised for pasture, hay and baleage.  The farms use Winterking rye and Marshall ryegrass for spring and fall pasture and green graze and Marshall ryegrass for baleage.

The Blairs have three grown children including Jill, who is married to Kevin Garoutte, Holly, who is married to Bryan Harmon, and, Matthew, married to Megan.  The Blairs enjoy their three granddaughters, Lauren Garroutte and Shay and Addison Blair.  They also depend heavily on Clint Killman for help with the farm work.

The second family honored recently was Tom and Tammy Wiley of Springfield.  The Wiley’s farm located near Crane is the most recent that has been recognized as a Missouri Century Farm and is referred to as the Wiley Red Rock Farm.  The 180 acre farm has been in Tom’s family since 1914. The farm was first owned by Tom’s great grandfather, Almon Maben (A.M.) Wiley.

A certificate and a Century Farm sign was presented at the dinner for the family to proudly display on the farm.  

Photo Cutline: The Wiley Century Farm Family photo was taken at the dinner in Galena.  L to R include John & Mary Wiley (who are relatives of Tom Wiley with ties to the farm), Tammy Wiley (Tom’s wife) and Tom Wiley.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MU Extension’s Regional News Service Earns $2 Million in Media Coverage and 75 Million Impressions Annually

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Based on local research, the Southwest Region News Service has been generating media coverage valued at more than $2 million annually for University of Missouri Extension since 2007.

“It takes a variety of tools to generate that much media coverage and to have over 75 million readers annually,” said David Burton, civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Southwest Region News Service is a program of MU Extension’s community development program. It is also a team effort that involves many extension specialists in southwest Missouri.

“The goal is to connect Missourian’s with local extension resources. But in the process of doing that, members of the public learn valuable information,” said Burton. “Our annual survey of readers demonstrates that this communication effort spreads the MU Extension message and impacts people’s lives with new research.”

A poll conducted in 2013 found 96 percent of subscribers to the emailed news service increased their awareness of MU Extension programs. Over 82 percent said the news service provided information that caused them to do something differently, and 70 percent were able to give examples of how those changes impacted them or their family.


Southwest Region News Service has two audiences with the primary one being the news media in southwest Missouri.

“Everything in the news service is done with this target audience in mind,” said Burton. “When local journalists receive and use our content, our readership increases beyond our email blasts.”

Members of the public who subscribe to receive this information by e-mail are the secondary audience according to Burton. As of November 2013, over 9,300 members of the public receive this news service by email along with nearly 600 journalists.

Based on a 2013 demographic study of the email audience for the news service this is what is known: Missouri residents comprise 92 percent of the readership; one percent are international readers; seven percent are in neighboring states with Kansas leading the way followed by Arkansas and then Oklahoma.

The percentage of total individual readers from each county are as follows: Greene, 42.5, Christian, 15; Taney 5.8; Lawrence, 5.5; Webster, 4.6; Stone, 4.4; Jasper, 4.2; Newton, 4; Polk, 2.6; Dallas, 2.3; Dade, 2.2; McDonald, 2; Barton, 2; Cedar 1.5; and Barry, 1.4.


The Southwest Region News Service operates out of the Greene County Extension center and uses a variety of techniques and tools to reach about 300,000 southwest Missouri residents every week with research-based MU Extension information.

Some of the tools used include an e-mailed weekly news service which reaches nearly 9,000 individuals a week. The use of social media like Facebook, a blog and YouTube reach an additional 10,000-plus people per week. Three weekly columns in urban newspapers reach an audience of over 150,000 each week.

Regular interviews of MU Extension specialists on Springfield and Joplin television and radio stations expand the weekly audience further (with an estimated 40,000 households reached). In addition, over 120,000 people each week read printed versions of the media releases sent out via the weekly Southwest Region News Service in a variety of print publications in southwest Missouri and beyond.

“We don’t place a dollar value on the social media and online contacts, but we have documented that the annual value of the print and television media exceeds $2 million a year,” said Burton. “When you consider the fact that back in 1998, the media coverage had an annual value of $40,000 a year you can see that this team effort has really grown and has helped communicate to the public the various programs offered by MU Extension.”


Southwest Region News Service provides weekly educational news from MU Extension in southwest Missouri. Individuals and extension council members can subscribe to the news service online at Readers are also able to unsubscribe themselves from the email service.

Social media options for accessing extension information specific to southwest Missouri include and

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Two Springfield-Area Historic Schools to Celebrate Milestones with Special Celebrations Sept. 20 and Sept. 21

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Two historic one-room schools – one in Springfield and the other near Marshfield – will celebrate significant milestones on Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 respectively.

University of Missouri Extension is helping to promote these events because both historic schools are members of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance.

“Interest in protecting and recognizing and restoring one-room schools in Missouri is growing and gaining national attention,” said David Burton, civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “The goal of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance has always been to work with groups and owners to maintain these historic buildings and develop them as rural community centers.”


A “Flag Raising and Ribbon Cutting” will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 20 for Liberty School located in the Gray-Campbell Farmstead at Nathanael Greene Park, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield. The grand opening is part of the two-day “1860’s Lifestyle Exposition” taking place at the farmstead on Sept. 20-21.

This summer, portions of Liberty School were moved and incorporated into a restoration project that added a reconstructed Liberty School to the farmstead. The one-room school is now going to be used to depict the educational heritage of this region to visitors.

“Many years of fundraising and planning have led up to this day.  Some of those who worked diligently on this project will not be here to share this moment, but we want to recognize their support and honor our forefathers who laid the groundwork for our education at this special event,” said Norma Tolbert, chairman of Saving Liberty.

The maintenance of the school and future programming requires continued support. More information about the Liberty School project, including a fundraising brochure, can be found online at under the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance.


The 100th Anniversary of Greenwood School (a one-room school near Marshfield) will be celebrated starting at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.

Items from the one room school, like books, maps, desks, pictures and newspapers clippings from past years will be on display. B# Entertainers will provide music dating back 100 years, and the celebration will feature children's games from 100 years ago.

This community celebration will also include special one-minute talks from people who attended a one-room school as a young child. There will be light refreshments and horse/buggy rides. Be sure to bring your friends and neighbors and a lawn chair.

Greenwood school is located at 1377 Greenwood Rd, Strafford, Mo. (which is the corner of Greenwood and Whispering Oaks Road in Webster County). For more information visit the school online at


Membership in the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance is opened to local history enthusiasts and owners of one-room schools in the state of Missouri. A membership fee of $40 covers the cost of a quarterly newsletter as well as other educational resources, programs, networking and email blasts. Membership fees also make planning for future programs and resources possible.

More information about the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance, including a membership form, can be found online at The website also includes the mission and vision of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance.

MU Extension Offers Online Course for Board Members of Nonprofits

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Source: Connie Mefford, 660-438-5012; Georgia Stuart-Simmons, 660-747-3193

WARSAW, Mo.– University of Missouri Extension is offering online training for board members of nonprofit organizations.

“Serving on a board is a little different from volunteering for an event or activity,” says Connie Mefford, associate extension professional and community development specialist in Benton County. “I think many people don’t understand their legal responsibility.”

While board members can bring valuable skills and knowledge, they might not be ready to deal with issues such as conflicts of interest, maintaining minutes and other required documents, compensation of paid employees, and proper handling of grants, donations and other income, Mefford said.

Bringing new board members up to speed can be difficult and expensive for small nonprofits, especially in rural communities.  “It’s hard enough to find time to go to meetings and go to events,” she said, noting that volunteer board members for small nonprofits usually juggle service with full-time jobs, family life and other commitments.

She teamed up with fellow extension community development specialists Georgia Stuart-Simmons and Larry Dickerson to develop the online course, “Build Your Board.”

Mefford says they designed the course to accommodate the busy schedules of board members and the tight budgets of small nonprofit service agencies such as food pantries.

Oversight by an engaged board of directors can be critical to the continued fiscal health of a small nonprofit, she says.

“Board members are often not really involved in the finances,” Mefford said. “But if the organization begins to fail, the responsibility falls on them. If they had been more involved, they might have been able to provide some guidance.”

The course consists of 16 downloadable lessons covering such topics as finances, teamwork, conflict, meetings, planning, paperwork and avoiding crises. Participants can ask questions and discuss lessons with instructors by email.

Lessons take about 10-15 minutes to complete. Participants have three months to complete the training. Those who pass a test at the end of the course receive a certificate of completion.

To register, go to We would like to give you an opportunity to provide a new educational resource for nonprofit organizations in your community.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Garlic Workshop Offered by Extension Sept. 17

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Join University of Missouri Extension for a “Garlic Workshop” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17 at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield, Mo.

The workshop will include a presentation by Patrick Byers, a University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist, on growing garlic both commercially and for home gardeners.

Data will be presented on trial varieties grown at the Botanical Center Gardens and the evening will conclude with a garlic tasting.

There will also be garlic for sale just in time for fall planting.

There is a cost of $6 per person for the program and advance registration is requested. The registration form can be found online at


For more information about the program call Patrick Byers at (417) 881-8909 or contact him by email at Registration is also possible in person at the Greene County Extension, 2400 S. Scenic Avenue, Springfield, MO 65807.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Regional News Service Headlines and Stories for 9-5-14

Headlines from the Southwest Region News Service (which features MU Extension programs and news in southwest Missouri) are how available for the week. The headlines for this week are:

  • Xeriscaping Offers a Low Maintenance, Resource Efficient Way to Garden 
  • Dinner to Celebrate 30 Years of Greene County Master Gardeners Oct. 3 is Open to the Public
  • Learn About "Sources of Finance" for Your Business with MU Extension and Ozark Chamber of Commerce Sept. 17
  • State Fair Farm Family Day Celebrates 56 Years; Honors Farms in Greene and Lawrence County
  • Whether it is Possible to Safely Graze Cattle in Fields with Johnsongrass Has Become a More Commonly Asked Question Says Extension Livestock Specialist
  • "Food Entrepreneurship: A New Way of Thinking about Local Food and Jobs" in Nevada Sept. 19
  • Fall Sown Annuals Offer Options for High Quality Forage Production Says MU Extension Specialist 
  • Fall Fertility in Cool Season Pastures
  • 11th Annual Fall Gardening Workshop in Kimberling City Sept. 27
  • Podworms Feeding Seen in First Crop Soybeans
  • 4-H Event Sept. 21 will Honor "Best of the Best" from Southwest Missouri and Feature Cake Wars

Access this week’s headlines at:

Friday, August 29, 2014

Regional News Service Headlines for Aug. 29, 2014

  • “Fall Garden Tour” Sept. 20 of Eight Area Gardens will Benefit Greene County Extension
  • Feedout Sign-up Underway with Oct. 10 Deadline Looming
  • Predatory Lending and ID Theft Seminar Sept. 11 in Forsyth
  • “Raised Bed and Winter Gardening” Topic of Workshop Offered Sept. 9 in Forsyth
  •  MU Extension’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Offering Courses for Over-50 Adults Starting Sept. 9 in Galena
  • Podworms are Above Threshold Levels in Many Southwest Missouri Soybean Fields
  • Show-Me-Select Heifer Meeting Sept. 15 in Mt. Vernon
  • Field Day for “Small Ruminants on Limited Acreage” is Sept. 27 in Stella
  •  Programs in Taney County Sept. 3 Look at “Health Insurance, the Affordable Care Act, and You”
  • Sheep and Goat Workshop in Stockton Sept. 16

Extension News is Accessible Lots of Different Ways, Just Not as Often on this Blog After Today

Contact: David Burton
Tel: (417) 881-8909

One thing a person can accurately say about the Southwest Region News Service is that it has changed a lot in the past 13 years. When I first began my job with University of Missouri Extension, a majority of our media releases were sent by mail or fax. Now, we send no content out using either of those methods.

Instead, we now have a mix of electronic methods that have shown results. For many years, I have made changes and accommodations to this news service after receiving feedback from various journalists and users of our weekly content.

In the case of this week's announcement, the changes are being made because of staff reductions and the need to save some time by eliminating some steps in the process. 

This blog is going mostly silent as of today. From time to time some special stories may get posted here. As a result, the weekly email blast and social media posts will be linked to the news stories posted on the Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board (AgEbb) at AgEbb is maintained by University of Missouri Extension.

Many of you are aware of the AgEbb resource. Some have told me they prefer it because the articles posted on AgEbb are in a .txt format and more easily copied and pasted for use in publications.

The articles on AgEbb remain posted for 90 days. The first 30 days are visible on the main page, and the other 60 are archived under a separately identified link. The content for Southwest Region News Service appears under the Cooperative Media Group link. The direct link to content from southwest Missouri is .

The regional news service page ( also has the option of subscribing to the RSS Feed which will result in you getting an email of any media release once it is loaded to the AgEbb page. This works best if you are using Microsoft products like Internet Explorer and Outlook. The subscription details for an RSS Feed is as follows: On , you’ll see an orange and white square in the top left hand corner. Click on that logo, and it will take you to the RSS feed for Southwest News. To subscribe to the feed, there is a link that has be clicked on in the yellow box, at the top of the page that reads “Subscribe to this feed” and you are ready to go with email. If you want to add the feed to your website you will need these additional steps after clicking “subscribe to this feed”: place the RSS feed link in the designated area they prefer for the information to appear, and hit Subscribe.

Of course, some prefer to receive the weekly news blast that we send out once a week as a listserv. (Information about subscribing to the news listserv is posted here: As a time savings, that email blast is changing too. The blast will no longer contain a link to each headline with a summary sentence. Instead, it will contain a list of the headlines for the week and then one link to our regional news service on AgEbb. Readers can still click on the stories they want to read once they are on the AgEbb news page.

This listserv is the tool/format that is provided to our office free-of-charge. I do realize it is a little old-fashioned and some folks have trouble with the unsubscribe option. And yes, I do realize that Constant Contact and Mail Chimp are both great services for emailed news however money is tight in our office after a 90% budget cut and funds for these tools simply is not available.

If you wish to receive the individual media releases, subscribing to the RSS feed is a good option. I will also continue to email media releases to media outlets in the area where the story should be of most interest. Although these emails will contain a story headline and the first sentence, they will now also contain a link back to the story on AgEbb.

As a journalist, if none of these options meet your needs but you still want to easily access our weekly content, there is one final option. I can email the original Word documents to you each week under the subject heading of “For posting to AgEbb (SW Region News Service Word documents for the week).” Simply send me an email identifying the media outlet that employs you and let me know you would like to receive the Word documents weekly.

Maybe this is more information than you need. The main point is to be sure you know that there remain several ways to access, copy, use and share news content posted by MU Extension in southwest Missouri.

Your input remains important and you are invited to take our news service survey online at:

If you have additional feedback, please email me at

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Silent Auction Added to “Salute to Century Farms” Event in Greene County Sept. 30

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Local businesses and artisans have donated Missouri products and services for a silent auction at the upcoming “Salute to Century Farms” being held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the Round Barn Event Center along Clear Creek, 10731 W. US Hwy 160, Walnut Grove.

All of the proceeds from the silent auction will go to Greene County Extension.  Individuals must be present to bid so buy a ticket for the event today. So far, council members have gathered over $1,500 worth of merchandise for the auction.

At the end of the “Salute to Century Farms” the top bidder could be taking home a great Missouri item like a charcoal drawing, a hand-crafted stained glass work, a gift certificate at Five Pound Apparel, local artisan jewelry, apple pies from Sunshine Valley Farm or tickets for an on farm dinner at From Table to Farm.

The Greene County Extension website ( has a full list of items up for auction and more complete descriptions. If you are a local business/artisan wanting to donate an auction item, email


The first annual “Salute to Century Farms” will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the Round Barn Event Center along Clear Creek, 10731 W. US Hwy 160, Walnut Grove.

The event location is historically known as the Octagonal Barn and is located 3.5 miles east of Ash Grove on Hwy. 160 (northwest of Springfield). The barn was built in 1880 and is probably the earliest polygonal or round barn in Missouri.

Farms in Greene County being recognized as Century Farms at this event include Charles and Katherine Buckner of Fair Grove (2014) and the 2013 farms: Robert and Mary Mays of Ash Grove; John and Doris Breakbill of Republic; and Warren D. Hardy Jr. of Rogersville.

An hour of musical entertainment will be provided by Acoustic Essays, a traditional bluegrass and classic country band. A full meal will be provided by Maggie Mae’s Catering from Miller.

David Baker, assistant dean of agriculture extension at the University of Missouri, will discuss the 100 year history of Cooperative Extension and the challenges facing family farms in the coming 15-20 years.


This event is made possible by our media sponsors: News-Leader; Ozarks Farm and Neighbor Newspaper; KOLR/KOZL; Our Gold Level sponsor the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District; and our silver level sponsors Old Missouri Bank and Cox Health Systems; and our bronze level sponsors: Race Brothers Farm Supply, Main Street Feeds and Fire & Ice Restaurant & Bar.

Advance tickets are required and cost $25 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the Greene County Extension office or with a check or credit card using various ticket options online at

Blister Beetles in Area Alfalfa Fields Poise Poison Risk to Livestock Says MU Extension Specialist

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

MT. VERNON, Mo. -- Blister beetles are showing up in area alfalfa fields and that is a cause for concern according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Blister beetles poise a poison risk to livestock, especially horses,” said Cole.

The compound causing the poisoning is cantharidin which causes blistering of the mouth, tongue and digestive tract.  Death loss can occur in horses, depending on the size of the animal and the quantity of beetles in the baled hay.

According to Cole, the primary cause of poisoning is the crushing of the beetles in the haying process.  Crimpers used to speed the drying process of hay will crush the beetles and release the toxic compound into the hay.

Cantharidin is a stable material so it will stay in the hay once it’s contaminated.

“As with many toxins, the severity of the problem depends on the dosage level.  Ruminants are not as sensitive to the toxin but can be affected if levels are high,” said Cole.

Blister beetles come in a variety of colors, gray, black and black/yellow striped.  They like to feed on alfalfa blooms but may show up in red clover and soybean fields.

The University of Arkansas has a fact sheet (FSA7054) “Blister Beetle Management in Alfalfa,” online that answers several questions for producers that have the beetles in their alfalfa.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551, Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.


Scales are an Important Part of Livestock Program

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

MT. VERNON, Mo. -- Since the 1950’s and 1960’s seedstock and commercial cow herds have used a scale to evaluate the individual performance of animals in their herds.

At first, the weights taken at weaning were actual weights without any standard age like 205 or 210 days. The age of dam and sex of the calf were not considered according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“It seemed the important thing was to know what the actual weight was and use it to impress neighbors and perhaps potential customers,” said Cole.

Over the years, various groups made progress in standardizing the weights to 205 and 365 days of age.  Contemporary groups were promoted to compare calves or yearlings more accurately to other progeny within the herd.

According to Cole, herd ratios were becoming accepted as the best method to get a quick snapshot of whether an animal was average, above or below.

A weight ratio of 100 percent indicated an average animal while larger numbers showed above average growth within the herd. Ratios below 100, of course, were those with below average performance.

“These ratios are still valuable today in genetic evaluation within a herd under comparable genetic and environmental conditions,” said Cole.

A most probable producing ability (MPPA) was adopted as an excellent cow herd selection tool.  The MPPA uses weaning weight ratios and numbers of herd records to accurately compare cows of varying numbers of records.

In the early years, computation of data was handled by University Extension programs and beef cattle improvement association’s (BCIAs).  Breed associations gradually entered the picture as calculators of performance data at least for registered cattle.  Some computed data also existed for commercial herds.

As bred associations climbed on-board, the performance evaluation efforts evolved thanks to computers, into estimated breeding values (EBVs) and expected progeny differences (EPDs).

“This enabled cattlemen to make herd comparisons more accurately than previously,” said Cole.

Many of the EPDs and within herd comparison begin with an individual weight written down on a report sheet or entered in a computer.

“In spite of the simplicity of weighing an animal it’s amazing how few cow herd owners develop a performance program that involves individual weights.  The major excuse is not having a scale. This might be a good time to invest in a scale,” said Cole.

Cole notes that the current cattle market indicates the value of one big steer calf or yearling could pay for a scale.

“If you only have a few cattle, perhaps consider buying a portable scale with a friend or neighbor.  If you have a scale, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you use it for more than genetic evaluation,” said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551, Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.


Fry, Owings and Kirchdoerfer Sweep Top Spots at State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest

Contact: Karla Deaver, 4-H youth development specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

MT. VERNON, Mo. -- Megan Fry, Matthew Owings and Tyler Kirchdoerfer finished first, second and third, respectively in the senior division of the Missouri State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest held Aug. 16 at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. Only 12 points separated the top three finishers.

Fry, Owings and Kirchdoerfer, along with Morgan Reed of Mountain Grove, are current members of the Missouri 4-H Dairy Judging Team, and will represent Missouri at contests in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Madison, Wisconsin this fall.

Megan Fry was the high individual in the senior division with 387 points.  Fry, of Mtn. Grove,  was first in Brown Swiss, Guernseys, Jerseys, and Oral Reasons, and second in Holsteins.

Second high individual in the senior division was Matthew Owings of Mountain Grove.  Owings was first in Ayrshires, second in Guernseys and Jerseys, and third in Holsteins.

Tyler Kirchdoerfer of Cape Girardeau finished third overall, and was third in ayrshires, Brown Swiss and Jerseys.

Rounding out the top five were Lora Wright of Verona and Ellie Wantland of Niangua.  Wright was second in oral reasons, and Wantland was third in that division.

Bailey Groves of Billings was the high individual in the intermediate division  with 378 points.  Groves was first in Holsteins, second in Ayrshires, and third in Guernseys.

In second was  Lauren Whitehead of Conway followed by Evan Dotson of Marionville, Grant Groves of Billings, and Nicolas Dotson of Marionville.

Taylor Whitehead of Conway was the high individual in the junior division. Second was Garrett Grimm of Aurora, followed by Lila Wantland of Niangua, Raven Austin of Conway, and Whitney Yerina of Conway.

The contestants placed six classes and gave two sets of reasons. The top three individuals in each breed received cash prizes sponsored by the Missouri breed associations.  The top ten individuals in each division received rosettes from the Missouri State Fair, and the top three individuals in each division received a plaque from the Missouri State Fair and supporters of the contest.  

Contestants, their families, and exhibitors who provided cattle for the event were the guests at a Junior Dairymen’s Barbeque sponsored by Midwest Dairy Association, Missouri State Fair, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, MFA, Dairy Farmers of America, and Hiland Dairy.  The Missouri 4-H Dairy Judging Team is supported by Monsanto Company, FCS Financial, the Missouri Holstein Association and the Missouri Dairy Association in partnership with the Missouri 4-H Foundation, and thanks all their sponsors for their support.  

Teams will represent Missouri 4-H at two contests this fall:  The Youth Invitation Contest at the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest in Madison, Wisconsin in October.

For more information about the dairy judging program, contact either Ted Probert at the Wright County Extension Center at (417)741-6134, or Karla Deaver at the Lawrence County Extension Center at 417-466-3102.


New August 2014 Issue of “Historic Schools Quarterly” Released Online

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Every three months, members of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance receive a high quality newsletter full of information related to one-room and historic schools in Missouri. The “Historic Schools Quarterly” is also available for purchase by non-members online at as a digital download.

Highlights of our 18-page August 2014 issue included the following articles: “Profile of Pony School in St. Joe, Mo.,” “Getting Tourists to Slow Down for Small Town Heritage,” “Amish One-Room Schools in Missouri,” “Iowa Law Establishes Grant for One-Room Schools,” “Case Study: Cave Springs School in Jasper County” and “Kings Prairie School Profile.”

“Every quarter this newsletter includes profiles on existing historic schools in Missouri, information on restoration and renovation, memories of one-room schools written by former students and details about upcoming events,” said David Burton, a civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension and director and editor of the newsletter.

Members of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance receive the newsletter as part of their annual membership fee. Information about membership is also available on the Greene County Extension website.


Missouri Historic Schools Alliance has a mission to research, restore and maintain one-room schools in Missouri. Participants in this MU Extension program work with individuals and other state and national partnering organizations interested in preserving the state's one-room schools as a means of community and economic development.

The Missouri Historic Schools Alliance works with groups and individuals to establish non-profit organizations to preserve these schools and encourage their ongoing use as active rural community hubs. At the center of this entire effort are the local resources of University of Missouri Extension.

For more information about MHSA or to learn how to become a member and receive the quarterly newsletter, contact Burton at (417) 881-8909, via e-mail at or online at

Two MU Extension Meetings in Southwest Missouri Aug. 26 will Explain Dairy Margin Protection Program

Contact: Ted Probert, dairy specialist
Headquartered in Wright County
Tel: (417) 741-6134

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Dairy producers must make a decision on a new risk management program offered under the 2014 Farm Bill.

Registration for the USDA Margin Protection Program (MPP) will probably start in September, says Joe Horner, a dairy economist at the University of Missouri.

In the past when milk prices dropped below a set level, Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) support kicked in. Now, the USDA Farm Service Agency’s MPP gives producers margin protection.

Farmers sign up the portion of their milk production they want covered, then decide a level of margin above feed cost they want to purchase. The lowest coverage option is free.

“Protecting that margin above feed costs can help a dairy farm stay in business in hard financial times. Choosing the best option is important,” Horner said. “Risk mitigation depends on strength of the dairy business and level of risk that can be absorbed.”

Horner and Scott Brown, an MU livestock economist, developed calculator software to help producers find optimal margin and participation levels.

“The process sounds complicated,” Horner says. “But the calculator makes decisions easier.”

Horner and Brown will stage in-person demonstrations at two workshops Aug. 26 in southwest Missouri.
At 10 a.m., they will be at the MU Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon.
At 1:30 p.m., they will meet at the Missouri State University Experiment Station in Mountain Grove.

For producers who cannot attend, a webinar will be held Sept. 19 from noon to 1 p.m. Details are available at local MU Extension offices.

Since the expiring MILC program followed prices and kicked in automatically, the MPP pays the dairy farm when the national margin drops below a set threshold for two consecutive months. Margins are based on a formula using income from milk and costs of corn, soybean meal and alfalfa hay.

Farmers’ decisions depend on how tight a margin their farm can tolerate and how much they want to pay for insurance. Producers need not sign up the full volume of milk they will produce. That will depend on the operator’s risk acceptance.

Dairy operators must sign up for the MPP through their local USDA Farm Service Agency office.

“It will help if the producer does some calculations before their appointment to sign up,” Horner says. “The software will help.”

Each operator can customize the protection level to fit their farm's capacity to absorb losses. Protecting the margin can help farms profit.

The MPP covers unexpected drops in milk prices or run-up in feed costs.

Coverage is not based on individual farms’ milk prices and feed costs because the MPP uses nationally published prices.

For more information, contact one of the MU Extension dairy specialists in southwest Missouri: Ted Probert in Wright County at (417) 741-6134 or by email at, or Reagan Bluel in Barry County at  (417)  847-3161 or by email at

Reagan Bluel Named Dairy Specialist for MU Extension in Southwest Missouri

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Reagan Bluel has been named the new University of Missouri Extension dairy specialist in Barry County according to Jay Chism, Southwest Region director for MU Extension. She and her husband have already moved to Monett with their girls, Ada and Lily.

Here is a chance to get to know this new MU Extension specialist.

Name:  Reagan Bluel, regional dairy specialist

Education: Bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and a Master’s degree in ruminant nutrition.

Relevant past employment: From 2007 to 2014, Bluel worked as farm manager of The Ohio State University's Waterman Dairy in Columbus, Ohio. Previously, from 2006 to 2007, she had worked as a research specialist at Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon, Mo.

Responsibilities: Working with dairy farmers of all types in Barry, Dade, Greene, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Stone, and Newton counties.

What attracted you to working with MU Extension? “I am eager to join and complement the strong existing dairy team to serve dairies in our surrounding communities,” said Bleul.

What do you hope to accomplish as a dairy specialist? “My goal is to keep current on research to empower producers to improve their herd health and profitability through information and dedication,” said Bleul.

What do you expect to accomplish in Barry County? “I expect to continue existing programming and develop around the needs of our constituents to ensure I serve SWMO's dairy industry to my maximum ability,” said Bleul.

Contact information: Barry County Extension Center, 700 Main, Suite 4, Cassville; telephone 417-847-3161 or email at

PHOTO AVAILABLE: A print quality photo of Reagan Bluel is available for download at

Diseases Appearing in Soybeans Says MU Extension Agronomy Specialist

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Headquartered in Barton County
PHONE: 417-682-3579

LAMAR, Mo. -- Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields north of Arcola on Aug. 20 for the MU Extension crop scouting program. Scheidt offers this advice from the field.


Corn in the area is at from 75 to 100 percent black layer.

Scheidt did observe corn earworms feeding on mature kernels.

“The corn earworms were moving slow and should move to other fields or end their lifecycle soon. There was not enough damage and it is too late to spray an insecticide,” said Scheidt.

Scheidt recommends a fungicide in the bin to prevent disease if a lot of kernels are damaged by corn earworm.


Soybeans are in the beginning bloom to beginning seed stages.

Scheidt observed grasshopper feeding was seen on leaves; threshold levels for foliage feeding insects are 20 percent defoliation during or after bloom. Hero, Warrior or Mustang Max are the recommended controls.

“No corn earworms were seen but should be scouted for in soybeans. They pose the biggest threat to second crop soybeans,” said Scheidt. Threshold levels are 1 per foot of row or when 5% of pods are damaged.

Septoria brown spot was seen south of Lamar.

“It is too late to spray a fungicide in order to prevent or control most diseases if soybeans are past the flowering stage. Fungicide applications made after the flowering stage or once the disease is present, usually only suppress the disease,” said Scheidt.

According to Laura Sweets, plant pathologist with the University of Missouri Extension, fungicides do not need to be applied unless favorable weather conditions for disease are present.

Sudden death syndrome, or SDS, was seen in irrigated fields in Lamar. “SDS is caused by susceptible varieties and wet conditions,” said Scheidt.

According to Jason Bond, plant pathologist with the University of Illinois, turning off irrigation is not a good option if soybeans are developing seeds, because the consequences of dry growing conditions without irrigation outweigh the effects of SDS.

“There is no rescue treatments for SDS, selecting resistant varieties is the best control option,” said Sweets.


The weekly field scouting report is sponsored by University of Missouri Extension and Barton County Extension. For more information on this scouting report, or to learn how to receive it a week earlier by telephone, contact the MU Extension Center in Barton County, (417) 682-3579.

“Learn A Do” 4-H Club Receives First Place at Gold Buckle Extravaganza

Contact: Elaine Davis, 4-H program assistant
Headquartered in Barton County
Tel: (417) 682-3579

LAMAR, Mo. – “Learn A Do” 4-H club received first place in the Gold Buckle Extravaganza team events held July 17-19 at the Ozark Empire Fair.

Congratulations to youth and exhibitors participates Back row, George Weber, Lauren Morgan, Chase Mc Kibben, Kelsie Morgan, Halle miller, Trent Morgan, Tony Morgan, Caitlyn Moreno. Front Row, Mason Brown, Connor Brown, Stetson Wiss, Zaverie Wiss, Matthew Morgan, Kinder Standley, Brandon Overman. Addison Brown, Marcy Miller, Lily Weber, Payden Nolting and Lakin Standley.

Learn A Do 4-H club members from Lamar and Liberal participated in team events on the junior, intermediate and senior divisions.

The events included a stockmen’s contest, team sales, photography contest, livestock judging, showmanship and exhibition of animals. The 4-H club with the most accumulated points was presented a check of $150 to their 4-H club and each participant received individual recognition.

The Gold Buckle Extravaganza is a signature event of the Ozark Empire Fair Foundation. It first held in 2004 with the primary purpose of recognizing the efforts of Southwest Missouri 4-H and FFA livestock exhibitors who have qualified for the auction, and to award youth grants and scholarships. Since the event’s inception, nearly $600,000 has been awarded to kids.

Residents of southwest Missouri can contact any of these 4-H youth development specialists for information: Karla Deaver in Lawrence County at (417) 466-3102; Monica Spittler in Taney County, (417) 546-5531; Bob McNary in Jasper County at (417) 358-2158; Jeremy Elliott-Engel in Newton County at (417) 455-9500 or Velynda Cameron in Polk County at (417) 326-4916.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School Blast Horse Show Taking “Ice Bucket Challenge” to a Whole New Level Aug. 23

Contact: Karla Deaver, 4-H youth development specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County 
Tel: (417) 466-3102

Media inquiries call: Lynn Neidigh at 417-988-0798

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Close to 100 people are expected to participate in an “Ice Bucket Challenge” for the ALS Association between 7 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23 as part of the “Back to School Blast” Hose Show at the Ozark Empire Fair, 3001 N. Grant Springfield, Mo. 

The challenge was issued by Julie Williams, Battalion Chief of the Springfield Fire Department.

All exhibitors and sponsors of the horse show are being asked to participate in the “Ice Bucket Challenge” and then to donate funds to the ALS Association. Organizers of the “Back to School Blast Horse Show” say all exhibitor donations will be matched up to $500.

In addition, over 100 children who are participating in the horse show are going to pour cold water on their heads too as a thank you to the co-founder of the show.

“Debi Woodward, co-founder of this horse show, is currently living with ALS. The other co-founder of the show, Julie Williams, issued the challenge. Our committee members wanted to do something to show our support of Debi,” said Lynn Neidigh, coordinator of the horse show committee. “Ozark MFA was nice enough to donate a 20 gallon water bucket commemorating the 100th anniversary of MFA for every exhibitor to use in this challenge.”


The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media and then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.

Beverly, Mass., resident Pete Frates, along with his family, helped to make the “Ice Bucket Challenge” go viral this year on the social sites Facebook and Twitter.  Frates, 29, has lived with ALS since 2012, and he has worked with The ALS Association’s Massachusetts Chapter.  A former Division 1 college athlete with Boston College Baseball, Frates tirelessly spreads awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

This viral sensation, which has used the hash tag #IceBucketChallenge, has attracted thousands of followers nationwide.

“This is a creative way to spread ALS awareness via social media and in communities nationwide,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association.  “We appreciate all of the individuals and groups that working to spread the word about ALS.”


The sixth annual “Back to School Blast” is a three-day youth horse show being held Aug. 22-24  at the Ozark Empire Fair, 3001 N. Grant Springfield, Mo. 

This horse show is open to any youth nationwide and is a major fundraiser for Greene County 4-H. Proceeds from the show will help fund the Greene County 4-H fair, Greene County 4-H scholarships, contest fees, trips and many other 4-H activities in the community. 

The “Back to School Blast” has grown to be the largest open all youth horse show in Southwest Missouri.  

This year’s horse show sponsors are: Go Classic Trailer, The Equine Clinic, Signs Now, Ozark MFA, Ozark Empire Fair, SOMO Farm and Ranch Supply, PFI Western Stores Inc. and Race Brothers.

For more information visit online or email the organizers at Lynn Neidigh and Gail Driskell are the volunteer organizers of this year’s horse show.