Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interest in Local Food Causing a Stir, Changing Habits

Contact: Dr. Pam Duitsman, nutrition and health specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: duitsmanp@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- One hundred years ago, nearly half of Americans lived on farms, and most of the food bought and eaten was produced locally.  For many foods, availability was dictated by the growing season.  Today, only about one percent of Americans live on working farms, and food routinely travels many miles before it reaches our local markets.

Consumer demand for local food has skyrocketed over the last few years according to Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition and health specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“A variety of studies have looked into the reasons for the growing demand for local foods,” said Duitsman. “The studies have found the primary things driving demand for local food are: quality and freshness, support for the local economy, nutritional value, knowledge of where the food came from and the growing methods, effects on the environment, and support for local farmers.”

LOCAL PREFERENCE

Many shoppers also say the taste of local food is preferred and that the food is fresher, and often has been allowed to ripen fully prior to harvesting.

“While local products generally have a higher cost, studies have shown that quality, nutrition, and environmental concerns increase the consumer’s willingness to pay,” said Duitsman.

The National Restaurant Association, after surveying 1,300 top chefs, reported that the top trends for 2014 focus on local sourcing of food, environmental sustainability and nutrition.

“The association noted that this trend is more than a temporary fad –increasingly our society is shifting toward a demand for locally grown food,” said Duitsman.

Government and non-profit groups, including food assistance programs, have recognized the demand for local food and are increasing their support.  For instance, USDA is providing education and grant funds for communities in finding ways to support farm-to-institution procurement of local foods.

This can sometimes be a challenge, since local production may not be able to supply large markets like hospital systems, schools, grocers, and large businesses that may prefer to purchase local food.  USDA and other government groups are also interested in policies that will promote local food markets, provide incentives for low-income consumers, and help communities form local Food Policy Councils – which provide forums for interested community partners.

LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS

Research indicates that thriving local food systems help to improve the quality of food, and also help provide sufficient access to healthy food for those whose food dollar is stretched.

“One of the most beneficial aspects of the local food movement is that it allows us to develop a greater connection to our food, and to the people who raise and grow it,” said Duitsman. “We benefit from knowing what we are eating and where it came from. It is also good to choose whole food rather than what comes in a box. This process supports social, psychological and physically healthy behaviors for many people.”

Many groups in Missouri communities are cropping up to build community and school gardens.  Farmers markets are multiplying, and CSA’s (community supported agriculture organizations) are increasing.  In 1986, there were two CSA operations in the United States.  In 2007, this number was closer to 12,000 according to USDA.  Tens of thousands of families now purchase food through CSAs.

WANT MORE INFORMATION?

“If you are interested in becoming involved in the local food movement, check out your local farmer’s markets, and investigate what CSA’s might be operating near you,” said Duitsman. “Plant a garden, or get involved in a school or community garden.  These projects may be worthwhile to you as an individual and provide benefits to the community where you live.”

For more information on nutrition contact one of the following nutrition specialists: Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Cammie Younger in Texas County, (417) 967-4545. Information is also available online http://extension.missouri.edu.
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Is a Gluten-Free Diet a Cleaner, and Healthier Way to Eat?

Dr. Lydia Kaume, nutrition and health education specialist
Headquartered in Barton County
E-mail: kaumel@missouri.edu
Tel: (417) 682-3579

LAMAR, Mo. -- There are individuals that need to consume a gluten-free diet but it is not a recommended diet for everyone according to Dr. Lydia Kaume, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Some examples of foods containing gluten include: baked goods, breads, products containing flour, beers, ales, gravies, pretzels, crackers, some chips, soy sauce, cornstarch, malts, candies and chocolates, cereals, thickened soups, vegetable starch, and processed meats.

“Although gluten is mainly in foods some medicines, nutritional supplements, lip balm, and glue on stamps and envelopes may contain traces. Reading an ingredients list on the food label will be important in determine which foods have gluten in them,” said Kaume.

Gluten-Free diet sometimes known as the GF-diet is recommended only for individuals who have been diagnosed with celiac disease or have a wheat allergy according to Kaume.

CELIAC DISEASE

“Celiac disease is genetic and is diagnosed by blood tests and exams of tissue from the small intestine,” said Kaume.

Individuals diagnosed with Celiac disease have a delayed immune-mediated reaction to gluten. This results in intestinal damage and inflammation leading to poor absorption of nutrients.  The prolonged inflammation damages the wall of the small intestines and may lead to weight loss (due to poor absorption of nutrients), bloating and sometimes diarrhea.

“A strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and prevent malnutrition that can occur when the body is deprived of vital nourishment,” said Kaume.

Individuals diagnosed with a wheat allergy have a different immune response when consuming wheat. Barley and rye may or may not affect persons diagnosed with a wheat allergy depending on whether or not they have been exposed to wheat.

While Celiac disease results in gastrointestinal problems, a wheat allergy could also include skin irritation and breathing difficulties.

GLUTEN-FREE DIET

The gluten-free diet is a therapeutic diet to prevent these negative responses by the body when gluten is consumed in these individuals.

“It is recommended that gluten-free diets only be followed by those individuals who have been medically tested by a physician to be gluten intolerant or have a wheat allergy,” said Kaume.

If an individual unnecessarily, and without a medical reason, chooses to be on a gluten-free diet, they would miss-out on vital nutrients and benefits that come with consumption of gluten-containing products.

“If consumed in their whole forms, gluten-containing grain products are generally rich in mainly fiber and B vitamins and enriched or fortified with many B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, and calcium,” said Kaume.

In addition, gluten containing grain products foods have sterols and stanols that contribute to decreasing the risk of heart disease.

“It is a becoming a generally common misconception that a gluten-free diet helps one lose weight or is a much healthier or natural diet that is good for anyone. Research shows this is not the case. However, individuals who think they may have a reaction to gluten need to consult with their physician and contact a Registered Dietitian for help on how to manage their symptoms,” said Kaume.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information on nutrition, go online to http://extension.missouri.edu or contact one of the nutrition and health specialists working in the Ozarks: Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Cammie Younger in Texas County, (417) 967-4545


Unique Food Preservation Books Available at Greene County Extension Center

Contact: David Burton, country program director
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: cameronv@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Individuals wanting to learn research-proven best ways to preserve their garden produce will benefit from either of two books available for sale at this summer at the Greene County Extension, located inside the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield.

“SEASONABLE AND SIMPLE”

The 112-page “Seasonable and Simple” cookbook is available for sale for $15. “Seasonable and Simple” is a guide that helps readers select, store and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables. The recipes use simple preparations and seasonings, so you can taste the goodness of a fruit or vegetable at the peak of its flavor.

The “Seasonable and Simple” book lists fruits and vegetables by their growing season — spring, summer and fall. Nutrients and associated health benefits are listed with each fruit or vegetable. This guide can also help you choose fruits and vegetables in season and get all the benefits — food that tastes good, is good for you and is reasonably priced

HOME CANNING GUIDE

For those wanting to learn pressure canning and would like some recipes as well, the Greene County Extension Center is also selling the 196-PAGE book, "Complete Guide to Home Canning” for $18.

This book from the U.S. Department of Agriculture includes research-based recommendations for canning safer and better quality food at home. It contains seven home canning guides that cover topics like: scientific principles on which canning techniques are based, canning equipment, proper use of jars and lids, basic canning ingredients and procedures, how to achieve safe canned products, deciding how much to can, selecting and preparing foods for canning, and procedures for canning all types of fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, meats, jelly, pickles and more.

For more information, call the Greene County Extension Center at 417-881-8909. Information and order forms are also available online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene.
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Test Pressure Canner Gauges Now and Get Prepared for Home Canning

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: burtond@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Spring is here, which means it is time to get canning supplies and equipment checked and ready to use. It is also a good time to brush up on safe canning techniques.

Before using it, be sure to get the dial gauge of your pressure canner tested. The spring in the dial gauge can get worn out or stuck, so it needs to be tested annually.

Any low acid foods, like vegetables, meats and some tomato products, need to be canned under pressure in order to reach the temperature required to destroy the disease-causing microorganisms that could be present.

If a pressure gauge is not accurate, it could create an environment inside the canning jar that is not only unsafe but is instead the perfect breeding ground for growing the pathogens. The contamination cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, so the only way to ensure that the food is safe is to preserve it in the correct way.

GAUGE TESTING 

Pressure canner gauges can be tested at many MU Extension offices in southwest Missouri. Some county extension offices have a minimal charge to test gauges.

One exception is the Greene County Extension Center which no longer tests gauges. Staff there sends all inquiries to Star Appliance, 1774 S Grant Ave, Springfield, Mo.

“We don’t have the equipment to test in Greene County,” said David Burton, county program director. “But also, it is a convenience to send clients to Star Appliance because they will test gauges for free and if there is a problem, they have parts for repairs. That way you only have to make one stop to get both things done.”

PRESERVATION BOOKS

MU Extension has guides and publications explaining how to get started canning and step-by-step instructions on how to use a pressure canner online and at most offices.

MU Extension guide sheets cover topics like canning vegetables, fruits, jams and jellies, tomatoes and tomato products, pickles and pickled products, and meat, fish and poultry.

For those wanting to learn pressure canning or need recipes, the Greene County Extension Center also sells the 196-page book, "Complete Guide to Home Canning” for $18.

MORE INFORMATION 

For more information on nutrition contact one of the following nutrition specialists: Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Cammie Younger in Texas County, (417) 967-4545. Information is also available online http://extension.missouri.edu.
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“Garden Inspired Writing” at Botanical Center May 1

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: burtond@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Experience nature and be inspired by the beauty of the gardens at Na-thanael Greene and Close Memorial Parks in Springfield as part of the Greene County Exten-sion’s “Garden Inspired Writing” program.

“Garden Inspired Writing,” will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon on May 1. The cost per person, per session, is $10. Members of the Springfield Writer’s Guild can attend the retreat for only $5 which covers the cost of a work book.

Advance registration for the program is required and can be done in person or by mail with a check to the Greene County Extension Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo. 65807.

The retreat will be led by University of Missouri Extension specialist David Burton, who is a journalist and published creative writer. Burton will guide participants on a journey into the natural world with creative writing exercises in the gardens.

“This retreat is for anyone who wants to be more creative whether you like journal writing, poetry, fiction, non-fiction or news writing,” said Burton.

Burton adds that no prior writing experience is needed. However, attendees are advised to bring a lawn chair and their own writing tools. Participants will visit at least three different areas of the park and be given writing prompts that will encourage creativity and sharing.

"Regular writing retreats help you stay motivated, inspired and productive. Our brains and bodies need regular rest breaks. Writing retreats like this one to the garden, are to creativity what a good night’s sleep is to physical well-being. You and your writing both will benefit," said Burton.

The program was previously offered during the fall of 2013. This Greene County Extension program is being conducted in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center.
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14th National Conference of One-Room School Enthusiasts in Missouri June 15-18; Register Online Before June 1

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: burtond@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A national conference on one-room schools is coming to Missouri this summer and should bring national attention to one-room school preservation efforts in the state.

The 14th annual conference of the Country Schools Association of America will be held June 15-18, 2014 at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph. Keynote conference speakers and the conference tour will focus on one-room schools in Missouri and Kansas.

Registration for the conference can be done online at http://www.countryschoolassociation.org. A complete agenda for the conference is also available online.

The conference this year will attract a diverse group of participants from many different organizations, museums and academic institutions as well as cultural and heritage centers.

“Each year, we provide museum personnel, teachers, staff, faculty and students, preservationists, historians and re-enactors from across the country, with an intimate forum to exchange ideas, discuss their current activities, programs and issues with people who have similar interests,” said Gloria Hawkins of Lenexa, Kansas who is a member of the CSAA board of directors and organizer of this year’s conference.

This year’s conference also provides a unique educational opportunity for lovers of one-room schools in live in Missouri. The conference will include several Missouri speakers including David Burton, a civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension and founder 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 Burton. “In Missouri, the goal has always been to work with groups and owners to maintain these historic buildings and develop them as rural community centers. This national conference is a great opportunity for fans of one-room schools in Missouri to connect with each other.”

MISSOURI CONNECTION

More information about getting involved with the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance, including a membership form, can be found online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene. The mission and vision of MHSA is outlined on the Greene County Extension website.

For 100 years, MU Extension has engaged Missourians in relevant programs based on University of Missouri research. The year 2014 marks the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which formalized the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service, a national network whose purpose is to extend university-based knowledge beyond the campus.

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything.
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MU Extension to Offer “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy” Exercise Program Starting May 1 in Clever

Contact: Renette Wardlow, human development specialist
Headquartered in Christian County
Tel: (417) 581-3558
E-mail: wardlowr@missouri.edu

OZARK, Mo. -- University of Missouri Extension will again be offering “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy,” a 10-week exercise program designed for men and women over 50.

The new series of classes begins on May 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the First Christian Church, in Clever.  The first class is 90 minutes long to allow time for an orientation to the program and health assessments.  The nine remaining classes start at 10 a.m. and last an hour.

The program, developed by Tufts University, is designed to help older adults improve strength, flexibility and balance.  According to research conducted by Tufts, strength training improves bone density, can help reduce falls, improve arthritis symptoms, increase flexibility in older adults and can lead to a healthier, more active lifestyle.

“The exercises are low-impact/low weight and all the necessary equipment is provided.  The class is a great way for older adults to improve their strength, balance and flexibility,” said Renette Wardlow, University of Missouri Extension specialist and program coordinator.

The program is limited to 20 participants.  The cost of the 10 week program is $25 per person and pre-registration is required.

Some participants may have to obtain their physician’s permission before taking the class.  For more details, contact the Christian County Extension Center, 417-581-3558.
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Wait 3 to 5 Days Before Assessing Freeze Damage

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Headquartered at Barton County Extension Center
Tel: (417) 682-3579
E-mail: scheidtjk@missouri.edu

LAMAR, Mo. –Wheat in the jointing stage becomes sensitive to freeze damage at 26 to27 degrees Fahrenheit. However, wheat prior to jointing is not likely to be affected by frost or freeze according to Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“I scouted fields on April 16 west and south of Liberal,” said Scheidt. “If temperatures remain at 24 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours or more, the frost is likely to cause some damage. It is best to wait 3 to 5 days before assessing damage. You may need to wait longer if cool days follow the frost because the plants’ recovery may be slow.”

After 3 to 5 days new leaf tissue should be visible if the plant was not damaged.

If wheat is at the jointing stage, and if nitrogen is needed, Scheidt says it should be applied now in order for nitrogen to be efficiently used by wheat.

With corn, the growing point is protected under the ground until the fifth leaf stage and corn should be able to recover from a frost without any yield loss according to Scheidt.

“If the frost penetrates deep in the soil, there is a possibility of damage to the plants,” said Scheidt.

Herbicides and insecticides should not be applied in temperatures lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

“When the temperatures are lower than 60 degrees plants are not actively growing and insects are not active, so pesticides will not effectively be taken up by the pest,” said Scheidt.

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.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Manage Stress, Don’t let it Manage You

Contact: Dr. Pam Duitsman, nutrition and health specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: duitsmanp@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Stress comes in all shapes and sizes but no matter how it is packaged, stress can test our limits psychologically, emotionally and physically.

“It is hard to believe but almost 90 percent of all visits to primary care providers are due to stress-related problems,” said Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

IMPACT OF STRESS

Science has linked stress to all sorts of health issues, including all of the leading causes of death:  cardiovascular disease, cancer, accidents and suicide.  More subtle, but impactful, is how stress can decrease our immune system, cause weight and body-fat changes, prevent us from sleeping, trigger migraines, and cause fatigue.

Stress is also linked to negative quality of life measures: stealing our joy, peace, and sense of well-being; causing fear, mood swings, and intense and overwhelming emotions.  Research shows stress can profoundly affect our brain and decrease our ability to remember and learn.

Chronic stress, which results in a daily over-stimulation of our sympathetic nervous system, is often a simple and natural reaction to our daily challenges.  This sort of low-level, constant stress can overload our brain with hormones that are meant for fight or flight.  Long term, the effect is diminished brain capacity and susceptibility to mental illness.

“Stress is not only affecting us, it is affecting those around us.  Workplace and road-way violence, and other violent crimes are linked to increased stress,” said Duitsman.

Some significant stressors rate high on the stress scale, such as death of a loved one, loss of job, or a bad diagnosis.  These situations are overwhelming, and may demand that a person seek the advice and counsel of a trained professional to help them cope.

“Most stressful situations that we face each day are not this severe.  It would be great if we could avoid every situation that creates stress – but, that’s probably not going to happen,” said Duitsman. “Instead, what we can do is learn to control our response.  Healthy responses to stress can be learned, and can help protect us from the most damaging impacts of stress.”

MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES

Several techniques have been shown to help people manage their response to stress.
The first is to determine what, specifically, is the cause of your stress, anxiety or fear. “If you don’t know why you are stressed, begin by keeping a diary to record your physical symptoms or emotions, and the events, situations or people that trigger them,” said Duitsman.

Second, develop a support system that includes people you can trust.  Studies show that those who manage stress well have strong support networks.  “Cultivate friendships with those who have similar values and goals.  Sign up for a class, or reach out to those you may work or worship with,” said Duitsman.

It is also a good idea to check your medications. A side effect may be anxiety.

Duitsman says it is also important to learn what your limits are and set boundaries for involvement.  “When you are overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to say no. Restructuring priorities can simplify your life.  Evaluate what is most important, and focus on those things.  As you are able, you can always add things back in to your schedule,” said Duitsman.

Getting some type of physical activity daily is another way to manage stress. “Make the exercise something you love to do.  Exercise can mean walking the dogs, gardening, a brisk walk, golfing, shopping with a friend, or a host of more structured activities,” said Duitsman.

According to Duitsman, breathing exercises, prayer and meditation, gratitude journals, and volunteering have also been shown to be beneficial in reducing stress.

“Realize that quick fixes, like eating, drug use or alcohol may make us feel better for a time, but rarely reduce any stress long term,” said Duitsman. “Dealing with stress can be learned though.  Develop healthy habits by starting small and taking a week to try something new.”

MORE INFORMATION

For more information on nutrition contact one of the following nutrition specialists: Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Cammie Younger in Texas County, (417) 967-4545. Information is also available online http://extension.missouri.edu.
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Strong Cattle Prices Open Door to Performing Management Practices that Could Make a Good Year Even Better

Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel:  (417) 466-3102
E-mail:  colee@missouri.edu

MT. VERNON, Mo. – Spring and summer weather may be unpredictable but everything else associated with beef cattle production looks optimistic for 2014 according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“I hear beef producers talk about tight margins involved in practices like vaccinating, deworming, implanting, supplement feeding, fly control and a few others,” said Cole. “But the way the cattle price situation is now this year could be the time to perform some of the practices you’ve backed away from in the past.”

Cole says profit margins are projected to be at record levels this year and likely next year for all classes of cattle. That means this could be the year to experiment a little with a herd.

“Over the years, I’ve stressed the importance of improving the genetics in our cattle.  We’ve made progress but improvement can be made to practices that allow those genetics to be expressed,” said Cole. “So when management practices may not have appeared to be economically sound in the past, this year appears to be when these practices will pencil out.”

Now is a good time to inventory various management items used in the past. Some items are additive and may result in significant improvement in rate of gain, for example.

“The use of growth promoting implants, along with feeding an ionophore are examples if you’re a stocker operator,” said Cole. “Just remember, you can’t force an animal to perform better than their genetic makeup allows.”

Cole says it is still important to compare the cost/benefit side of the equation. But with prices going up, producers can afford to try a new practice or two now.

“I’d recommend visiting with your veterinarian, feed dealer and extension livestock specialist to assess what you might do this year to make a good year, even better.  You may even decide to put a few steers in a feedout program which can evaluate your herd’s genetic merit beyond the weaned calf stage,” 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.
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Candidates Vying for Presiding Commissioner to Debate in Springfield April 29 at Event Hosted by Extension Council

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: burtond@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Greene County Extension Council is hosting a debate between candidates vying to be the next Presiding Commissioner in Greene County.

The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., April 29 at the Executive Conference Center 910 W Battlefield Rd, Springfield. Members of the public are encouraged to arrive early to submit questions for the candidates and to also informally meet the candidates before the debate begins.

“This event provides a great opportunity for county residents to hear from the candidates running for Greene County Presiding Commissioner,” said Matt Simpson, a member of the Greene County Extension Council and moderator of the debate. “We are hoping this debate kicks off the campaign season.”

The rules for the debate create more of a forum-type of event. All candidates will be given equal time to answer questions, some of which will be taken from the audience. The forum is expected to last two or more hours.

Candidates that have filed to run for Presiding Commissioner include: Bob Cirtin (Republican), Steve Helms (Republican), Jerry Fenstermaker (Republican), Donna Bergen (Democrat) and Benjamin Brixey (Libertarian). All candidates were invited in March to participate and all five candidates have already confirmed their participation.

Savannah Fitzgerald, a political science major at Missouri State University in Springfield has been working on this event as part of her internship this spring with Greene County Extension.

“Some extension council members came to me this past summer about their idea of hosting a debate for Commission candidates,” said David Burton, county program director for Greene County Extension. “Since the Commission votes on the primary source of our office funding as a county program, since we are now funded at levels equal to our 1953 funding, I think the reason for the council’s interest in this election is pretty obvious.”

Every county in Missouri has a publicly elected extension council. County extension councils (mandated by state statutes) are the governing body for local opportunities provided by University of Missouri Extension. Council members work with extension faculty in making decisions concerning programs, personnel, council elections and the local extension budget.

Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought unbiased educational help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, human development, business and community development.  Specialists with MU Extension offer educational programs that make lifelong learning fun and help people help themselves.

More information is available at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene or by calling the MU Extension office in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.
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MU Extension Family Nutrition Education Program Reaches Over 34,800 in Greene County During 2013

Contact: Terri Fossett, coordinator
Family Nutrition Education Program for SW Missouri
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 886-2059

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The University of Missouri Extension Family Nutrition Education Program (FNEP) provides long lasting benefits to residents of Greene County. During fiscal year 2013, the FNEP program in Greene County had a direct influence on 8,502 participants plus another 26,328 indirect participants for a total of 34,830.

The goal of direct teaching in FNEP is to conduct an average of six classes with each client, to promote behavioral change. A significant number of Greene County residents also participated in these Extension programs through indirect teaching methods at venues like food pantries and school and community health fairs.

Nutrition education for youth provides information in kid-friendly terms and lessons with hands-on activities. Activities include opportunities for taste-testing healthy foods and practicing skills that lead to good health. Education for adults includes nutrition, food safety, physical activity, and food resource management.

“FNEP reached Greene County youth and adults by partnering with Greene County schools, community groups and agencies,” said Terri Fossett, coordinator of the Family Nutrition Education Program for southwest Missouri.

FUNDING MODEL

University of Missouri Extension is dedicated to providing research-based nutrition education to Missouri’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) recipients and food stamp eligible citizens.

The Family Nutrition Program (FNP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service through SNAP (food stamp program). In the Farm Bill, SNAP-Ed (FNP) was funded for $401 million nationally.  In Missouri, FNEP will be funded at $10.495 million.

“Participants in FNEP become more aware of nutrition, make healthier meal and snack choices, eat breakfast more often, are more willing to try new foods and increase their physical activity,” said Fossett. “This important programming effort serves to reduce healthcare costs over the participant’s lifetime, saving taxpayers money in reduced public healthcare benefits and insurance premiums.”

Fossett says whether reaching out to youth through classroom education or adults in community settings, the goal of the program is to help participants make behavior changes to achieve lifelong health and fitness.

PROGRAMS OFFERED

Programs offered in the county during 2013 included a variety of curricula, methods and tools that provide programming specific to a client’s needs considering age, culture, reading level and abilities; supports Missouri’s School Wellness Policies; and aligns with the Department of Education’s (DESE) grade level expectations.

“Our lessons with hands-on activities are designed for youth and the adults that support them, pregnant teens, and immigrant populations,” said Fossett.

MU Extension nutrition programs are held at Greene County locations like the Pregnancy Care Center, Springfield/Greene County WIC Clinic, Southwest Missouri Office on Aging, Price Cutter Grocery Store Classroom and Victory Mission Family Ministries. In-classroom education is also offered by MU Extension at many elementary schools in the county. Show-Me Nutrition educational displays that incorporate different nutrition messages are also maintained at Greene County locations.

School nutrition efforts included a variety of in-school programs, educational displays, handouts for teachers and handouts that are taken home for the entire family.

 “Evaluation data collected across the state reflects the positive impacts that occur in every county with FNEP,” said Fossett. “Our statewide research shows positive impacts with youth in areas like nutrition awareness, making healthier food choices, willingness to try new foods, and increased physical activity.”

Adults who participate in FNEP show improvements in eating more vegetables and fruits, exercising more, planning meals ahead of time, and making healthy food choices for the family.

REGIONAL IMPACT

In the southwest Missouri region, direct FNEP programming reached 52,109 plus indirect programming of 168,629 for a total of 220,738 participants.

“We provide services to 17 counties with 27 nutrition educators and three support staff with the goal to give quality service to our clients,” said Fossett.

The regional Family Nutrition Education Program is located at 2160 W Chesterfield Blvd. Suite 200 in Springfield Mo and is sometimes referred to as the Greene County Extension Annex.

The goal of FNEP is to assist Missourians with limited resources in achieving lifelong health and fitness. In southwest Missouri, programs for youth and adults provide nutrition, food safety and tasting opportunities that allow participants to learn about healthy food choices and regular physical activity.  To learn more visit MU Extension online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene .
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16th Annual Master Gardener Plant Sale April 26 at Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: byerspl@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The 16th annual Master Gardener Plant Sale in Greene County will start at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, April 26, at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center located in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Parks, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield, Mo.

Members of the Master Gardeners of Greene County gather plants to sell from their own gardens -- and from the two city gardens that Master Gardeners maintain in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park and at the Xeriscape on South National – at this sale.

“The quality is excellent and the prices are real bargains. Those factors have made this annual event very popular among area gardeners,” said Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

People are advised to arrive early if they want the best choices of shrubs, small trees, bulbs, perennials, annuals, grasses, ground covers, houseplants, vegetables, herbs and garden related items. The sale continues until the plants are sold out.

The fundraiser helps the Master Gardeners of Greene County maintain the public demonstration gardens and to serve the public by providing quality educational programs and aid the University of Missouri Greene County Extension Service in garden related questions with the popular lawn and gardening hotline at 417-881-8909, ext. 320.

Last year, members in the Master Gardeners of Greene County chapter gave more than 23,000 hours in volunteer service.

For more information about the sale in Greene County, contact the Greene County Extension Center at (417) 881-8909.
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Consider the Economics First Before Spraying Fields for Aphids or Weeds

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Headquartered at Barton County Extension Center
Tel: (417) 682-3579
E-mail: scheidtjk@missouri.edu

LAMAR, Mo. – When aphids and weeds start showing up in area wheat and corn fields, farmers need to consider the cost of herbicides before application according to Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“I scouted fields on April 9 around Golden City and see any aphids yet but temperatures were still cool,” said Scheidt. “If temperatures are below 60 degrees, aphids are not active. If aphids are not present in wheat fields and if temperatures are below 60 degrees, an insecticide is not economical to apply.”

Kevin Bradley, a state weed specialist with University of Missouri Extension, recommends a two-pass herbicide program when spraying corn.

“Over the past 11 years, in 67 percent of corn trials, the highest yield was obtained by using a pre-emergent, followed by a post-emergent herbicide application; regardless of whether you plant conventional or not,” said Bradley.

The economic threshold level of weeds depends on species and growth stage of the weed.

To estimate weed density in wheat, count the number of plants in a square foot in 5 to 10 random places in the field. If weeds make up more than 30 percent of the plant population in that square foot, treatment is justified.

“If weeds make up 5 to 29 percent of the plant population, wheat prices and herbicide costs should be considered first,” said Scheidt.

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.
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New 4-H Position Opened for Candidates Who Want to Help Expand Youth Opportunities in Barry County

Contact: Jeremy Elliott-Engel, 4-H Youth Development Specialist
Headquartered in Newton County
Tel: (417) 455-9500
E-mail: elliottengelj@missouri.edu

CASSVILLE, Mo. – The Barry County Extension Council has opened a new part-time 4-H youth program assistant position that will be headquartered in Cassville. The position will support the Barry County 4-H program during a time of expansion.

A successful candidate will help create opportunities for youth in the county and support the 4-H organization in partnership with the Regional 4-H Youth Development Specialist, the Barry County Extension Council and community partners.

“The candidate will need to be a self-starter, who is highly organized, proficient in verbal and written communication, and have experience in event planning and management,” said Jeremy Elliott-Engel, 4-H youth development specialist.

Interested candidates can go to http://extension.missouri.edu/barry for a full job description. The position closes on April 17th.

University of Missouri Extension is funded through a partnership of County, State and Federal dollars. 4-H is the youth program of the United States Department of Agriculture and University of Missouri Extension and the program relies on support from each level to provide local programming. This position is made possible due to increased County Commission support over the next five years in local Barry County Extension funding.

As the largest out-of-school youth organization in the world, 4-H is open to all boys and girls, ages 5 to18. Children who are five to seven years old (by Dec. 2010) are eligible for 4-H Clover Kids, an introductory program.

Currently there are two 4-H clubs in Barry County: Exeter Trailblazers 4-H Club, Exeter; and, the Screeching Eagles 4-H Club, Purdy /Pierce City.

Youths who are 5 to 18 years of age (by Dec. 31, 2012) can select from a variety of 4-H projects and activities that stress social and life skills in areas such as decision making, communication, social interaction, civic responsibility and physical skills.

Missouri 4-H is designed to help to create opportunities for young people to be valued, contributing members of their community. 4-H members are less likely than their non-4-H peers to participate in risky behaviors and are more likely to go to college and return to their local communities according to a study done by Tufts University.

To learn more about 4-H and how to get involved locally go online to http://mo4h.missouri.edu or visit the Barry County Extension Center in the County Courthouse, Cassville.

For information on this position contact Jeremy Elliott-Engel at (417) 455-9500 or the Barry County Extension Center at (417)-847-3161.
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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

“Organic Gardening Academy” Being Offered by MU Extension at Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: byerspl@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A total of 11 classes will be taught by University of Missouri Extension specialists this gardening season as part of a new “Organic Gardening Academy.”

Each of the classes will begin at 6 p.m. and be held at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo. The first class on April 17 is free since it is an “Introduction to Organic Gardening” class.

Kelly McGowan, horticulture assistant with MU Extension, has been instrumental in getting the academy planned because of area interest in the topic.

“This class series was developed in response to growing interest in our area about organic and sustainable gardening practices.  Our hope is that people will use what they learn not only in their own gardens, but that they will share their knowledge with others,” said McGowan.

Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension, will be teaching many of the academy classes along with an Extension specialist from Lincoln University.

“The topics being presented at this academy are intended to help guide you to balance in your garden with naturally occurring products and practices,” said Byers.

The following is a list of class dates and topics. There is a $20 fee per class and pre-registration is necessary by calling the Greene County Extension Center at (417) 881-8909.

Apr 17 -- Introduction to Organic Gardening
May 1 -- Preparing Garden Soil
May 6 -- Basic Plant Nutrition/ Organic Fertilizers
Jun 12 -- Growing Organic Vegetables at Home
Jun 19 -- Disease Scouting and Treatments
Jul 16 -- Organic Pest Control
Jul 31 -- Organic Weed Control
Aug 7 -- Organic Gardening for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects
Aug 21 -- Garden Planning for the Next Season / 4-season Gardening
Sep 18 -- Composting
Sep 30 -- Sustainable Water Use

For 100 years, MU Extension has engaged Missourians in relevant programs based on University of Missouri research. The year 2014 marks the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which formalized the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service, a national network whose purpose is to extend university-based knowledge beyond the campus.

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything. More information on this topic is available online at http://extension.missouri.edu.
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Drury and Extension Partner to Help Four Communities in Southwest Missouri with Community Visions

Jeff Barber, housing and environmental design specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: barberj@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Drury University architecture students and University of Missouri Extension specialists are continuing their work to improve urban and rural development in Missouri as a part of Drury University’s Center for Community Studies (CCS).

Students meet with their communities several times during a semester and collaborate with the citizens to envision a future. At the end of the project, students present several poster sized presentation boards and a book that they call the “visioning toolkit.”

“Drury’s CCS works with MU Extension to prepare communities before Drury students begin working with communities. After students have completed their projects, MU Extension continues to work with communities to develop and pursue their action plan,” said Jeff Barber, a housing and urban development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The students’ work is a valuable tool for Missouri cities. CCS only charges for project expenses, averaging $5,500 per community project, a small fee considering the 300-plus in-kind hours donated by each architecture student throughout the semester resulting in $15,000 of value per student team member. Travel distance is the largest factor in cost for each community.

RECENT PROJECTS

This partnership has impacted five southwest Missouri communities during this academic school year. The most recent projects are as follows:

Webb City (Spring 2014) population 10,996: Five students are working with a Visioning Advisory Committee to build on the Spring 2008 Main Street visioning effort, Fall 2013 King Jack Park visioning effort, and the DREAM Initiative reports to develop a citywide vision for their 20-25 year future horizon. The students have toured the community and conducted a workshop with 29 participants attending and sharing their input through a gaming method used to determine an overarching goal, objectives and methods. Funding is provided by Webb City.

Sheldon (Spring 2014) population 543: Four students are working with a Visioning Advisory Committee to develop a citywide vision for their 20-25 year future horizon. The students have toured the community, studied super-trends affecting Sheldon and have conducted a workshop with 39 participants attending and sharing their input also through a gaming method used to determine an overarching goal, objectives and methods.  Funding is provided by West Central Community Action Agency, citizens, businesses and the City of Sheldon.

Carthage (Fall 2013) population 14,378: Five students studied the parks and recreation facilities in Carthage to assist a citizen committee with developing their broader vision for improving and expanding park opportunities. Clear to all participants was the need to have a focus that ranges in scale from the neighborhood park to regional assets like conservation areas and expanded greenway trails. Funding was provided by the City of Carthage.

Joe Bald Park (Fall 2013): Four students were asked by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce to lead an exploratory group to compile ideas to help the site become a greater recreational and financial community asset. The Advisory Committee is comprised of 25 individuals representing various agencies, officials, local business owners, fishing guides and area residents. Joe Bald State Park has been closed to the public since 1998, but many citizens hope that it will once again become a regional asset.

CONTINUED PROGRESS

Reeds Spring Community Vision-to-Action, population 913: Following the Spring 2011 Visioning Effort in Reeds Spring, the school district approached the Board of Aldermen to gift the Old Reeds Spring High School building and property to the city.  This led to the relocation of the City Hall to the site and notions of developing the Old High School into a community center. Anticipated follow-up includes assistance with PACE funding application, grant applications, professional services procurement and an advisory role in any implementation.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about the CCS program contact Jay Garrott at Drury University, (417) 873-7371 or Jeff Barber at the Greene County Extension Center, (417) 881-8909. Some additional information can also be found online at extension.missouri.edu/greene.
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Friday, April 04, 2014

Master Gardeners of Greene County Hotline Re-Opens; Answering Your Home Garden and Lawn Questions

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: burtond@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Area gardeners and homeowners with lawn, tree, shrub, flower or garden questions can find answers by calling the Master Gardeners of Greene County Hotline.

Trained volunteers answer the Master Gardener Hotline from the University of Missouri Extension Center inside the Botanical Center at 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo. 65807

OPEN HOURS

Residents can call the Master Gardener hotline at (417) 881-8909 ext. 320 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every business day until October and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

The gardening hotline in Greene County began in 1982 and annually answers questions about gardening practices for over 2,000 callers.

"It is impossible for one person to handle all the phone calls received in the Greene County office pertaining to horticulture.  However, through the Master Gardener Program, trained volunteers assist with many of the calls relating to home horticulture,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

GETTING ANSWERS

Questions that come into the hotline deal with flower and vegetable gardening, turf grass management, trees and shrubs, fruits, houseplants, landscape design, pest control and plant fertility management, gardening techniques and many more topics.

 It is always helpful when a person brings in a sample branch, leaf or pest as part of the identification and diagnosis process.

If actual samples cannot be brought in then pictures can be helpful if they are close and provide detail of the problem. One suggestion is to place a ruler in the picture to provide a reference to size along with a photo showing a full view of the plant.

Master Gardeners of Greene County have other suggestions online to help make diagnosis easier. Check out the list of questions at http://mggreene.org/hotline/diagnosis-of-plant-problems. Some of the questions may lead to solutions, while others may help a caller convey important information to hotline volunteers.

MORE INFORMATION

Master Gardener hotlines are also available through the MU Extension centers in Christian, Taney, Stone and Jasper counties, but hours vary. Call your county extension center for more information.

The Master Gardener Program is a popular and successful statewide volunteer community-service organization administered through University of Missouri Extension.

The organization’s goal is to train gardeners who are willing to share their knowledge with others. Master Gardeners become volunteers of University of Missouri Extension and donate hours for community educational projects in horticulture.

For more information about the Master Gardeners of Greene County, visit http://mggreene.org
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Hay Production Tour and Dinner in Taney County April 17; Registration for Event Needed by April 14

Contact: Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist
Headquartered in Stone County
Tel: (417) 357-6812
E-mail: schnakenbergc@missouri.edu

FORSYTH, Mo. –A “Hay in the Ozarks” tour is scheduled near Taneyville on April 17 according to Tim Schnakenberg, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The Taney County Extension Center and Branson Bank are partnering to offer a program and tour starting at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 17th at the Joe Smith farms near Taneyville, northeastern Taney County, Mo.

The program will focus on the costs of making hay, making quality hay, hayfield improvement, hay barn feasibility and construction, getting a handle on hay losses and making haylage.  The Smith family harvests hundreds of bales of grass hay each year and have numerous hay fields and hay barns that will be a backdrop for this discussion on hay production.

“We will also have on-hand a tube liner for a discussion on the procedure of making haylage using the forages,” said Schnakenberg.  “Representatives from Larson Farm and Lawn will be available to discuss how use a tube-liner.”

Schnakenberg will be joined at the event by two other University of Missouri Extension specialists that are very knowledgable in hay production: Stacy Hambelton, ag business and Bob Schultheis, natural resources engineering.

To get to the tour site, go to the Joe Smith Farm at 945 Smith Rd.   From Taneyville, Mo, take Hwy. AA north 4.4 miles to the Swan community.  Turn right past Swan Creek onto Shipman Rd. and go 0.4 mile to Smith Rd. on the right.  Go south on Smith Rd. 0.8 mile to farm.  Watch for signs at the farm.

A dinner will begin after the tour (at about 6:30 p.m.) at Taneyville Schools and is hosted by Branson Bank. Participants should pre-register by April 14 by calling Susie Mefford at Branson Bank (417) 546-6790 or email her at hfleming@bransonbank.com.

Contact the Taney County Extension Center at (417) 546-4431 for more information regarding content of the program.
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Christian County Livestock and Forage Conference April 8

Contact: Dr. Gordon Carriker, agriculture business specialist
Headquartered in Christian County
Tel: (417) 581-3558
E-mail: carrikerg@missouri.edu

OZARK, Mo. -- The annual Christian County Livestock and Forage Conference will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 8 at the Clever High School Commons and Performing Arts Center, Clever, Mo.

This long-running educational event, organized by the University of Missouri Extension, provides area residents with a wealth of research-based agriculture information.

Topics to be covered during the evening include: Missouri Cattle Market Outlook; Herd Health and Getting the Most for Your Health Dollars; the Missouri Beef Check Off; and, short presentations on NRCS programs, pasture leases, pasture and forage insurance.

“At this annual event we try to address timely topics of interest to producers in Christian County. The planning committee has put together another great program this year,” said Dr. Gordon Carriker, agriculture business specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

The program is open to the public, whether or not they reside in Christian County. However, Carriker does request those planning to attend call the Christian County Extension Center at (417) 581-3558 to reserve a meal.

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything.
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Area Management-intensive Grazing Schools in 2014 Can Help Attendees Reduce Feed Costs, Improve Forage Production

April 4, 2014
Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: burtond@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Dates for the Management-intensive Grazing (MiG) Schools in southwest Missouri have been set for 2014.

MiG is also known as rotational grazing management. Producers who follow the MiG system manage for both the benefit of livestock and forage. Livestock graze in each pasture long enough to harvest the forage but are moved before eating too much of the leaf area.

The result is lower feed costs and improved forage production. That means more money in the pocket of the beef cattle producer.

DATES & REGISTRATION

April 29, May 2, 6, 9 (evenings 6:30–9:30 pm), May 3 (Saturday field day 9 am–3 pm) in Halfway. Contact: Dallas County SWCD at 417-345-2312, ext.3

May 21, 22, and 23 (daytime) in Mt. Vernon. Contact: Lawrence County SWCD at 417-466-7682, ext. 3.

June 3, 4, 5 (daytime) in Neosho. Contact:  Nathan Witt at 417-451-1007, ext. 3.

September 23, 24, 25 (daytime) in Forsyth.  Contact: Aaron Hoefer at 417-581-2719, ext. 3.

October 7, 8, 9 (daytime) in Bois D’Arc.  Contact: Greene County SWCD at 417-831-5246, ext. 3.

For more information about other schools around the state visit the Missouri Forage and Grassland Council website at:
http://agebb.missouri.edu/mfgc/.  Registration forms and fees can be obtained at the NRCS office on Hwy. B, Springfield, Mo., or by contacting Mark Green at (417) 831-5246 or via e-mail at mark.green@mo.usda.gov. There is a limit on attendance at each location and the enrollment fee varies.

WHY MIG?

The single most important management factor in determining the profitability of a livestock operation is keeping feed cost low.  So why buy it when you can grow high quality feed yourself through a Management-Intensive grazing (MIG) system?

Cost control, not the amount of production, separates profitable from unprofitable operations.  Through a MIG system you can keep your cost down and production in most cases will increase, all while helping out the environment.

In addition to the profits to your pocket book and the environment you may be eligible to receive cost share to help establish your MIG system.  Attendance at a grazing school is one requirement to be eligible for state cost share programs.

HISTORY OF SUCCESS

Grazing schools started in 1995. Since that time, the schools have been held at various locations, dates and in different formats to meet the diverse needs of livestock producers.

To date, literally thousands of individuals have attended the schools to learn about the basic principles and practices of MiG. The schools have also helped livestock producers qualify for thousands of dollars in various cost-share programs through NRCS or FSA.

USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service, University of Missouri Extension and the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District sponsor the MiG school. University of Missouri Extension specialists from southwest Missouri teach many of the sessions during the school.
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Old Newspapers Can Have Second Life in Garden

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: byerspl@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Past copies of the daily or weekly newspaper can have a second life in your garden as mulch or a weed barrier.

Newsprint (but not slick paper used in inserts or magazines) is a great tool for the garden according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Even newsprint with color pictures is generally fine since most use biodegradable and water-soluble inks that won't harm the environment,” said Byers.

Whether a person is creating a new flower bed, a mulched area around a tree, or covering paths between rows in a vegetable garden, newspaper has all the great properties expected and wanted from organic mulches.

“When you lay newsprint out several (4 to 10) sheets thick and overlap one group of sheets onto the next, you create a weed barrier that will smother out many existing plants.  It will also preserve moisture so you don't need to worry about watering as often,” said Byers.

Newsprint will dissolve in a few weeks or months, leaving behind no residual mess.

If a gardener wants a nicer look, after laying down the newspaper, cover it with mulch.

“I would not put wood chips in my vegetable garden, but straw is a great cover between rows.  On the other hand, I would not put straw in my flower beds in front of the house since I think wood mulch looks better,” said Byers.

Using newspaper as a mulch or weed barrier results in a cost savings. But remember, it will take a lot of newspaper to cover an entire garden.

“Newsprint can be used in composting too. Just shred it up and add it to your compost pile as dry or brown matter,” said Byers.

For more information, contact the Master Gardener’s Hotline in Greene County, or University of Missouri Extension Horticulture Specialist Patrick Byers, at (417) 881-8909.

For 100 years, MU Extension has engaged Missourians in relevant programs based on University of Missouri research. The year 2014 marks the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which formalized the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service, a national network whose purpose is to extend university-based knowledge beyond the campus.

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything. More information on this topic is available online at http://extension.missouri.edu.
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Prices at Bull Sale Follows Trends, Shatter Previous Records

Eldon Cole, Livestock Specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel:  (417) 466-3102
E-mail:  colee@missouri.edu

MT. VERNON, Mo. -- The 83rd Southwest Missouri Beef Cattle Improvement Association’s bull sale March 31 at Springfield Livestock Marketing Center followed the current beef market trend with a record average price of $4389.

The 37 successful bidders on the bulls shattered the association’s previous high of $3393, set at the October, 2013 sale according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The top seller and new record price was $6800 on an Angus, October, 2012 son of SAV Bismarck 5682 consigned by Naylor’s Angus, Buffalo.  The successful bidder was Joshua Mahan, Strafford.  The 6.8 frame bull ranked in the top 30 percentile or better on calving ease direct, weaning weight, yearling weight, intramuscular fat, ribeye area and $Wean.

A herdmate, and also a Bismarck son was the second high seller at $6500.  The six Naylor bulls averaged $5467.  The 31 Angus bulls averaged $4598.

Three Polled Hereford bulls, all consigned by Bonebrake Herefords, Springfield, averaged $3650.  Their top seller brought $4500 form Charles Harris, Taneyville.

Bebout Charolais, Theodosia sold the two Charolais for an average of $2600.  Julius Fraley, Houston paid $3000 to claim the high price for the Charolais.

Cork Cattle Company, Wentworth had the lone SimAngus.  Jacob Davison, Aurora paid $3700 to take him home.

According to Cole, the bulls in the sale had to meet some strict standards for calving ease, weaning and yearling weight, milk and intramuscular fat expected progeny difference (EPD) values. “They also must weigh 1100 pounds or more and have a frame score of 5 or more at 365 days of age,” said Cole.

The SW Missouri BCIA welcomes prospective consignors for their next sale, Oct. 27.  Details on the process are available from University Extension livestock specialists or contact sales manager Pam Naylor, Buffalo 417-345-8330.  Also, check for information on the website at www.swmobcia.com.
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Tips for Making Stories More Appealing

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: burtond@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The best way to improve the readability of a media release is to use short sentences, short paragraphs, easy words and active verbs.

Using short sentences is essential when writing for newspapers according to David Burton, civic communication specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

“Sentences with 15 to 20 words are easy reading. Sentences longer than 30 words may be hard to understand,” said Burton.

Short paragraphs are important too.

Newspaper columns are narrow and what looks like a reasonably sized paragraph can be too long in print.

“Editors don’t like long paragraphs and neither do readers,” said Burton.

It is also important to use short, simple words instead of multi-syllable words with the same meaning.

“When a technical word must be used, explain its meaning,” said Burton.

Using personal words is also a good way to hold a reader’s interests. Using action verbs helps to grab reader’s attention.

“Words like ‘you,’ and ‘we,’ or a person’s name and a direct quote, give news copy more human interest,” said Burton. “For examples of grabbing action verbs take a look at sports headlines.”

For more information about writing media releases that will get used, purchase a copy of the book: “Newswriting for Non-journalists.” The book is now available for purchase on Amazon.com or at the Greene County Extension Center.

“It is a great tool for any community leader of volunteer that works with the news media or seeks to publicize community events,” said Burton, who edited and contributed to the book.

For 100 years, MU Extension has engaged Missourians in relevant programs based on University of Missouri research. The year 2014 marks the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which formalized the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service, a national network whose purpose is to extend university-based knowledge beyond the campus.

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything. More information on this topic is available online at http://extension.missouri.edu.
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Soil Temperature, Not Air Temperature Leads to Corn Germination

Contact: Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist
Headquartered at Barton County Extension Center
Tel: (417) 682-3579
E-mail: scheidtjk@missouri.edu

LAMAR, Mo. – According to Real-Time Weather, current soil temperatures in the Lamar on Monday, March 31 were 51.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Corn seeds need the soil temperature to reach at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit to begin germination,” said Jill Scheidt, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County.

Current soil temperatures in Lamar are updated every 5 minutes and can be found online at http://agebb.missouri.edu/weather/realtime/lamar.asp  

Scheidt scouted fields east of Lamar April 2. “No aphids were seen on the underside of leaves this week; if aphids are present you should be able to spot them this week, since temperatures will be above 60 degrees,” said Scheidt.

Bird cherry oat aphids, identified by a red ring near their rear, vector barley yellow dwarf virus which can  lead to stunting and sometimes severe yield loss in wheat. If bird cherry oat aphids reach threshold levels of 12-15 aphids/foot of row, an insecticide should be applied.

“Septoria is still being seen on the lower leaves, but is not moving up the plant, so should not be a problem at this stage in growth,” said Scheidt.

Septoria is identified on leaves as a yellow lesion that turns brown, black bumps, called picnidia, will be located in the middle of the lesion. Septoria and other foliage diseases are usually only a concern when the flag leaf is present in wheat.

MORE INFORMATION

Sponsors of this weekly field scouting report are 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.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Extension Specialist Recommends Annually Testing Well Water for Bacterial Safety

Contact: Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist
Headquartered in Webster County
Tel: (417) 859-2044
E-mail: schultheisr@missouri.edu

MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- Rural residents who get their water from private wells need to take steps to make sure their water supply is safe according to Bob Schultheis, a natural resources engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The best way to make sure water is safe is with an annual water test that monitors for bacteria and other contaminants that can make well water unhealthy.

"This inexpensive test can be obtained through your county’s health department and can provide peace of mind for rural homeowners, or can alert them to a serious problem that needs correcting,” said Schultheis.

Sample bottles for water tests, along with instructions, are available from the county health departments. Results are normally mailed back within seven to 10 days.

Schultheis responds here to the most common questions he receives on this issue.

Q: Protecting the safety of our drinking water is important, but difficult because of the fractured geology and cave structure underlying the Ozarks. How big of a problem is contamination of water wells in rural areas?

A: “Missouri Department of Health testing results show that, depending on the county, one third to one-half of private water well systems in southwest Missouri are contaminated with coliform bacteria at unsafe levels,” said Schultheis.

Q: What are some common ways water wells can get contaminated?

A: Failing septic systems located near the well are the biggest concern, especially if the well was drilled prior to 1987.  Heavy rainfall flushing down sinkholes and losing streams, rapid housing development within a couple of miles of the well, and opening the plumbing system to make repairs are other common ways.

Q: How often should a private water well be tested for bacteria and what does it cost?

A: “The water should be tested at least annually, and preferably quarterly,” said Schultheis.  Sample bottles with instructions can be obtained from your county health department and the testing costs $10 per sample.  For most accurate results, keep the sample cool and away from light and get it to the lab within six hours of drawing it. Test results are returned to you within a week and should be kept with your important papers for liability purposes.

Q: If my well tests positive for bacteria, what can I do to correct it?

A: Shock-chlorination with ordinary, unscented laundry bleach or swimming pool chlorine tablets is often an inexpensive and effective way to correct the problem.  After 7 to 10 days, the water should then be rechecked for bacteria.

Q: Where can I get more information on water testing and treatment options?

A: For information on water testing and treatment procedures, contact the nearest University of Missouri Extension Center. These helpful MU Extension publications are available: WQ101 "Understanding Your Water Test Report," WQ102 "Bacteria in Drinking Water," WQ103 "Nitrate in Drinking Water" or WQ104 "Understanding Home Water Treatment Systems." These guides are also available online at extension.missouri.edu/webster.
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Alfalfa Tour in Lawrence County April 22, Register by April 14

Contact: Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist
Headquartered in Stone County
Tel: (417) 357-6812
E-mail: schnakenbergc@missouri.edu

GALENA, Mo. – Raising alfalfa in the Ozarks is an effective way of producing protein and energy sources to supplement beef and dairy cattle diets, according to Tim Schnakenberg, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The Lawrence County Extension Center is offering a program and tour to address this subject starting at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, at the Glenn and Toni Obermann farm near Freistatt in central Lawrence County.

The program will focus on the benefits of alfalfa in beef nutrition, establishment and management, variety selection, weed and insect control, hay harvest techniques and making haylage.

“Feed supplements are a significant expenditure when raising cattle.  If a producer has the land, labor and equipment available, the possibility of growing alfalfa to supplement beef diets may be worth considering, “said Schnakenberg.  “Glenn and Toni have been raising alfalfa for many years and this will be an outstanding tour location to discuss quality alfalfa production.  They are also involved in a steer backgrounding program.”

Schnakenberg and Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, will be on hand for the discussion.

To find the Obermann farm from the Monett area, take Hwy 60 just east of Monett to Farm Rd. 1100 and go north 4.5 miles to the farm on the left.  From Freistatt, take Farm Rd. 2180 east 1 mile.  Turn south on Farm Rd. 1100 and travel 2.5 miles to the farm on the right. Watch for signs at the farm.

A dinner will be served after the tour in Freistatt and is sponsored by Fritz Implement, MFA Incorporated and W-L Alfalfas.  Participants must pre-register to reserve a meal by calling the Lawrence County Extension Center at (417) 466-3102 by April 14.

Space is limited so participants are encouraged to preregister early.  Bringing lawn chairs is recommended.
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Careless Mowing and Weed Trimming Can Cause Trees to Die a Slow Death

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: byerspl@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Homeowners might be their trees’ worst enemy if they don’t take care when using mowers and weed eaters around them.

“Trees don’t heal from cuts like we do, so a lawn mower scrape, or a trimmer slash, creates a permanent injury,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “Once the underlying wood is exposed, you’ve put out a welcome sign for diseases and pests to attack your trees.”

Many an older tree has succumbed to internal rot that originated with damage caused years earlier.

According to Byers, there is an easy way to avoid this kind of damage.  Remove the grass and weeds from around the tree.  Not only will it make it unnecessary to mow near the tree, the tree will not have to compete for the nutrients and water.

Spreading mulch of leaves, grass clippings or straw around trees will keep weeds and grass under control and will give the tree base an attractive appearance. Plus, these organic mulches will help conserve moisture, keep soil temperatures stable, and add nutrients to the soil.

“Damage by mowers and weed trimmers isn’t a tree problem, it’s a people problem. That mighty oak may look invincible, but careless mowing and weed trimming can cause it to die, slowly, from a thousand small cuts,” said Byers.

For more information on this and other lawn and garden questions, call the University of Missouri Master Gardener Helpline at the Greene County Extension Center, (417) 881-8909.

For 100 years, MU Extension has engaged Missourians in relevant programs based on University of Missouri research. The year 2014 marks the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which formalized the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service, a national network whose purpose is to extend university-based knowledge beyond the campus.

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything. More information on this topic is available online at http://extension.missouri.edu.
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Choosing Bull Turnout Time This Spring

Eldon Cole, Livestock Specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel:  (417) 466-3102
E-mail:  colee@missouri.edu

MT. VERNON, Mo. – This past winter (2013-14) has been hard on livestock and the people managing them according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“The severe cold, wind and precipitation is now causing beef cow-calf raisers to evaluate their breeding season for later this spring,” said Cole. “I’ve had more than one say they are not turning their bulls out until May 20 or even later because they don’t want to calve in February again.”

Cole says he sympathizes with those raising cattle regarding losses due to the weather this year. At the same time, he wonders if holding the bulls out or delaying the artificial insemination date is the answer.

WEATHER PREDICTION

According to Pat Guinan, the Missouri agriculture extension climatologist,  there are no guarantees on what February 2015 weather will be like but data collected over does help him make a forecast.

“Overall, February temperature trends across southwestern Missouri over the past 25 years have been mild,” said Guinan. “Since 1990, there have only been nine Februaries (36%) with below normal temperatures and of those nine, only two were especially cold, 2010 and 2014.”

Guinan went on to note that our winter temperature trends have been mostly benign.

“Only seven of the past 25 (28%) have been colder than normal.  There were three that have been notably cold:  2000-01, 2009-10 and yes, 2013-14,” said Guinan.

When it comes for forecasting, Guinan declined to go out on a limb to speculate what exactly might happen in February 2015.  However, the past February was the 18th coldest in southwest Missouri dating back to 1895.

IMPACT OF DELAYING

Farmers who choose to delay the breeding season for their cattle should be aware of those downsides too.

“Calving 30 days later will affect weaning weights by around 50 pounds per head.  Sure, you can leave them on the cow longer but that may mess up your weaning and sale marketing schedule,” said Cole.

Some of producers but their calves in the feedlot and the younger calf might not hit the top market for fed cattle. Cole says it seems the best fed prices usually are in April

“It’s likely a later breeding season will result in more open cows if you follow a limited breeding season of 60-70 days or less.  Late May and early June breeding should not be so hot as to result in poor conception rates,” said Cole.

If breeding moves into late June, July and possibly August, conception rates drop and early embryonic deaths will increase due to hot weather stress. This problem exists especially on the “hot”, endophyte-infected fescue.

“Just as we can’t say for certain that February 2015 will be very cold or relatively mild, we don’t know this summer’s breeding season temperatures.  Delaying the breeding season could result in late summer or even fall calves depending on bull management and the summer heat,” said Cole.

IMPROVE CONDITIONS

In lieu of altering the breeding season, Cole says producers may make plans to provide a better calving environment if February 2015 is another bad one.

Changes could involve:  a more protected calving pasture; more bedding; feeding females late in the day for more daytime births, especially heifers; more night-time checks on heavy springers and evaluate warming techniques for severely chilled calves.

“Remember, there are tradeoffs on any management decision.  Cow-calf raisers need to thoroughly evaluate those tradeoffs before delaying their bull turnout this spring,” said Cole.

MORE INFORMATION

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.
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Donated Vehicles and Farm Equipment Can Give Financial Boost to Greene County Extension

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
E-mail: burtond@missouri.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Greene County Extension Council is generating money for educational programs and office operations thanks to a partnership with a national vehicle buying company with a Rogersville location.

Cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, ATVs, boats, boat motors and farm equipment -- in any condition -- can now be donated to the Greene County Extension Council by calling the office at 417-881-8909 or by visiting them online at extension.missouri.edu/greene.

“This is a perfect way to contribute to Greene County Extension and help us maintain our programs and office operations,” said David Burton, county program director for Greene County Extension. “Best of all, we think this is a valuable service and a great way to clean up a yard or farm. For no cost, you can get rid of a heap of junk and extension gets money to keep operating.”

Through a local partnership, Extension is able to accept nearly anything as a donation.

“It doesn’t even need a motor or wheels for that matter. If you have an old turning plow that’s broken, they can sell it,” Burton said. “They can sell junked tractors, combines, trucks, ATVs. If you don’t want it, donate it to Greene County Extension.”

Donations can be arranged through the Greene County Extension office. Arrangements can then be made to have CoPart pick up the vehicle at a time that works best for the donor, or the donor can deliver the item to CoPart’s location in Rogersville save Extension the hauling fee.

When the vehicle is picked up (or delivered) the owner must sign over the title.

To arrange for a pickup through Extension online or by email the following information will be needed: name, address and telephone for the owner and type of item; if it is a vehicle we will need VIN, make, model, year, color and mileage.

PROGRAM HISTORY

Initially, marketed as “Donate Your Hunk of Junk,” the program was linked nationally to a company known as AutoWranglers. This partnership allowed Extension to receive the benefits of donated vehicles without owning them. Following a family tragedy that caused the owner of AutoWranglers to close his business it became necessary to find another partnering business and develop a local program.

The owner of AutoWranglers used his contacts to get Greene County Extension set up with Copart. This national company just happens to have a location just east of Rogersville along Hwy. 60. The company specializes in online auctions of vehicles, boats and farm equipment at www.copart.com.

CoPart charges Greene County Extension a per item fee to process the title and sale. All proceeds over that amount are given to the Greene County Extension Council. During the month of December 2013, CoPart sold three vehicles on behalf of Greene County Extension netting the local office just over $3,000.

FINANCIAL NEED

Funds remain tight at the Extension office after Greene County Commissioners cut the county contribution to the extension council by 90 percent in 2011.

“We understand the Commissioners have a difficult budget situation and that the budget is tight. However, it does take money to provide the services we offer to residents. Thanks to the vehicle donation program, anyone can help support the Greene County Extension office,” said Burton.

Since 1914, residents of Greene County, Missouri (and adjoining counties) have sought help from MU Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, Master Gardeners, 4-H youth, nutrition, cooking, families, Master Naturalists and business and community development. During 2013 over 46,000 residents of Greene County received unbiased and research-based information, assistance or education through the Greene County Extension Center.

“Thousands of children have come through the 4-H programs we have offered in this county and they are better adults as a result of the experience. Farmers and gardeners use our services year round. The impact extension has on Greene County and the area is just massive,” said Burton. “Donating your old car to Extension will help these services continue.”

LEARN MORE

To learn about the “Friends of Greene County Extension,” a campaign to raise funds for Greene County Extension, call (417) 881-8909 or go online to http://extension.missouri.edu/greene. The Friends campaign was established in 2012 in effort to privately raise monies to keep the Greene County Extension office open to the public.