Monday, October 05, 2015

Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus)

By Sarah Kenyon, agromony specialist, University of Missouri Extension

Nutsedge emerges as a pale green spike, similar in appearance to a grass seedling. However, the plant is not a grass at all; the leaf blades have no collar region, ligules, or auricles. Viewed from above, the leaves are arranged in three vertical rows (three-ranked arrangement). Grasses have a two-ranked leaf arrangement. The three-ranked leaves, triangular stem, and v shaped leaf blades are the major identifying characteristics of the sedges.

Sedges thrive in wet soil conditions.  With the abundant rainfall experienced this year sedges have emerged in large numbers.  Underground tubers that form at the end of each rootlet are even more important than seeds in the reproduction of yellow nutsedge. The tubers overwinter and survive soil temperatures as low as 20 degrees. The tuber skin contains a chemical that must be washed off by soil moisture before the tuber can sprout. Therefore, yellow nutsedge thrives in wet areas.

Livestock can graze sedges, and this weed can be nutritious when vegetative.  The tubers can also be consumed.  Hogs are recommended as a control strategy since they seek out sedges as a food source.  Chemical control options include Permit, Yukon, Sedgehammer, and Outrider.

For more information, contact any of these MU Extension agronomy specialists in southwest Missouri: Tim Schnakenberg in Stone County, (417) 357-6812; Jill Scheidt in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; John Hobbs in McDonald County, (417) 223-4775 or Sarah Kenyon in Texas County, (417) 967-4545.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Greene County Presiding Commissioner to Embark on “Re-envisioning Government” Listening Tour

Springfield, MO – Bob Cirtin, Greene County Presiding Commissioner, is focused on getting to know the citizens of Greene County. To accomplish such, he will embark on a town hall type meeting tour throughout the county, titled “Re-envisioning Government”.

“This is my first year as the Presiding Commissioner of Greene County, and a main focus of mine is meeting citizens and sharing with them my vision for the county and listening to their concerns,” said Cirtin. “Our citizens are our most important asset, and I want them to know that their voice is heard and that their input is valuable to me and my fellow Commissioners.”

The “Re-envisioning Government” tour stops will be held from 7:00 pm-8:30 pm.

* September 21: Ash Grove Library – Community Room – 101 E. Main St., Ash Grove
* September 22: Willard Library – Community Room – 304 E. Jackson St., Willard
* September 29: Walnut Grove City Hall – Recreation Center – 101 S. Washington Ave.,  Walnut Grove
* October 1: Fair Grove Library – Community Room – 81 S. Orchard Blvd., Fair Grove
* October 5: Republic Library – Large Community Room – 821 N. Lindsey Ave., Republic
* October 6: Strafford Library – Community Room – 101 S. State Hwy 125, Strafford

Light refreshments will be served at each location. No registration is required. The meeting agenda will begin with a brief introduction by Presiding Commissioner Cirtin and then include a time for open discussion in which citizens can ask questions about the county, Voice their concerns or share their input on ways to enhance or improve the county’s services.

Supporters of Greene County Extension are being asked to attend one of these special Commissioner events listed below and express their support for Greene County Extension and our programs.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Developing a Mineral Program for My Cattle

Q:  I’m looking for some help in developing a mineral program for my cow herd and wondered what was best for our area? Specifically, if there is commercial off-the-shelf offerings that would be sufficient or if there should be a custom mix put together. Thanks. -- B.T., Ash Grove, Mo.

Answered by Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension

Normally I feel there are few instances in which a "special" mineral mix would be necessary. Every feed company has a variety to choose from.  Seldom do you need the high dollar mineral.  Salt is the primary mineral they like and need for the sodium in it.  I would want the mineral to have at least 20 to 25% salt in it.  Phosphorus levels in the 6% range should be adequate if you're feeding decent hay or pasture.  Phosphorus will also come from concentrate supplements like distillers grains.

The trace minerals should run 1500 parts per million on copper, 3500 ppm on zinc and 12 ppm on selenium.  They may not be necessary but most dealers say they are in their supplements.

Finally minerals often have other ingredients contained in them such as fly controls, antibiotics, mystery items to combat fescue toxicosis.  The latter is usually not effective so I'd just buy a mineral for the true mineral ingredients.

If you have questions please call me at 417-466-3102.

Eldon Cole
Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension
Courthouse, P.O. Box 388
Mt. Vernon, MO  65712
(417) 466-3102

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tickets on Sale Now for 2nd Annual “Salute to Century Farms” and Benefit Auction in Greene County Sept. 28

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Put on your jeans and boots and celebrate our agricultural heritage in an historical setting as we honor the newest Century Farms in Greene County. The second annual “Salute to Century Farms” will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 28 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. It is the largest known barn of its type in the state and is the only one with full stone wall construction.

During the event, Greene County Extension will also honor the newest “Century Farms.” Farms in Greene County being recognized this year include the following. The 68-acre Luther and Alice Wallis Farm founded in 1913 and now owned by Robert and Marcia Harralson, Springfield. The 229-acre McAdoo - Helfrecht - Lindsey Farm near Willard founded in 1880 by Dr. Joseph McAdoo and now owned by Charles and Suzanne Lindsey, Springfield. The 260-acre Whitesell Farm near Bois D’Arc founded in 1879 by John Whitesell and G.W.Haynie and now owned by Jim Whitesell of Ash Grove.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Judy Domeny Bowen of Rogersville. The majority of her traditional folksong repertoire comes from the Ozark song collections of Max Hunter and Vance Randolph.  When presenting her farm program, audience members hear stories of her farm animals and songs about gardening, cutting wood, auctions, milking cows, and buying expensive equipment which strikes a chord with anyone who has ever experienced rural living.

Attendees will also be treated to a full meal provided by Maggie Mae’s Catering from Miller.

Judy Domeny Bowen will also conduct a live auction of selected art, gift cards, farm related items and two Yeti coolers. All proceeds from the event will benefit Greene County Extension.

This event is made possible by these sponsors. Our media sponsor is KOLR/KOZL. Our gold level sponsors are Old Missouri Bank and the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District. Our silver level sponsor is CoxHealth and our bronze level sponsors are Race Brothers Farm Supply and PFI Western Wear. Old Missouri Bank is our named sponsor for the meal.

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 tickets options online at For more information, call the MU Extension office in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.

Century Farm logo:
Round Barn exterior:
Round Barn interior:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Free eXtension Online Webinar Series Beginning July 15 to Focus on Drone Use in Agriculture

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – An eXtension webinar series that begins at 2 p.m. CST, July 15 will provide an overview of unmanned aerial systems in agriculture, along with a preview of future directions and information on how to get involved with this area of opportunity in agriculture.

The UAS webinar may be viewed at

The series is being presented by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Agriculture Learning Network for, which is an Internet-based collaborative environment where Land Grant University content providers exchange objective, research-based knowledge to solve real challenges in real time.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which some people refer to as drones, may save farmers time and money with bird’s-eye views of farmland, said Bob Schultheis, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Webster County.

“The uses are as varied as Missouri farmland. Entomologists may find the devices helpful for scouting of pests. UAVs can collect information on plants that have grown to heights that make it difficult to walk through rows,” said Schultheis. “Farmers could even use the unmanned devices to document conditions when applying for government programs like crop insurance.

A 2013 report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International predicts the UAS global market to reach $140 billion over the next decade. The report also said that agriculture would make up 80 percent of the potential commercial market for the devices.

The webinars will introduce the world of unmanned aircraft systems and their potential uses, along with how to use the devices and any legal issues that could apply. As seen in other fields, the sky is the limit for UAS use in agriculture.

While the webinar series will be targeted to extension agents taking the information to the fields, Dharmendra Saraswat, associate professor of geospatial technology at Purdue University, said the webinar series also targets the farmer and those wanting to learn more about the technology.

“It is not restricted to extension agents alone,” said Saraswat. “It will target farmers who are technology savvy. Our target is also youth. We would like to engage 4H youth and any other youth groups who would like to learn about this technology.”

The webinar series begins with an overview and intro to UAS on July 15 at 2 p.m. CST. The remaining installments will be released on a near monthly basis over the next year.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems webinars, offered at no charge to the viewer, can be found at
# # #

Friday, June 19, 2015

Resources to Help Those Facing Flooding Concerns

As the flood waters recede, lots of folks are going to find water damage in places they may not have seen it before. The following resources can help with recovery efforts.

Resources for Your Flooded Home

Mold control

MU Extension flood resources

Contact me if you have any questions.

Bob Schultheis
Natural Resource Engineering Specialist / CPD
University of Missouri Extension Center - Webster County
800 S. Marshall St., Marshfield, MO 65706
Phone:  417-859-2044

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Is that a sinkhole in my back yard?

Q: Over time, I have noticed an area of my backyard that keeps getting lower. I'm concerned about sinkholes in our area because of the number of caves we have in this area. There is a large sinkhole in a nearby field even. Who do I contact for help in determining if there is a sinkhole forming in my back yard. -- M.B., Republic, Mo.

Answered by Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Schultheis is headquartered in Webster County and can be reached by telephone at (417) 859-2044 or by email at

In Greene County, these questions can be referred to the Resource Management Department at, which maintains a GIS record of all known sinkhole locations.

As a second contact, or in counties other than Greene, landowners can contact the MoDNR's Geological Survey Program at Rolla, MO at or call 573-368-2100. They are good about timely follow-up to concerned landowners.

It is also possible to do some research on your own using the GeoStrat program at

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Duckweed and Lagoons: Your Questions Answered

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

Q: In May, our family moved into a rural home with a lagoon septic system.  In the short time the house was empty, the duckweed completely covered the lagoon.  Can you tell me what steps I can take to bring the duckweed back under control?

A: First, confirm if the plants are filamentous algae ( or duckweed and watermeal ( If it’s the former, the lagoon is operating normally. If it’s the latter, then it needs to be removed for the lagoon to operate properly.

Duckweed and watermeal are difficult to control. The Missouri Department of Conservation aquaguide at gives instructions for chemical control of the plants. Reward (active ingredient is diquat) is most often suggested because it is least expensive. But we are seeing limited success with it on watermeal. The products below are more expensive, but provide better control. Usually more than one application is needed. Unlike ponds, it’s best to treat the whole water surface to kill the plants. Adding a septic tank ahead of the lagoon (if it doesn’t already have one) will lessen the nutrient load on the lagoon and lengthen the time before the duckweed might reappear.

Herbicide product labels and example prices

You can also skim the duckweed from the surface and compost it or feed it to livestock, but you have to be sure to remove it all (don’t leave any on the lagoon bank where it can wash back in) or it will usually repopulate the lagoon within a month.

Our lagoon guide at gives more management tips.

None of these are restricted-use herbicides, so no license is required to purchase them.

For a typical 1,400 sq.ft. lagoon with a 3 ft. water depth and using Sonar RTU, you would need [1,400 sq.ft./(43,560 sq.ft. per acre x 0.5) x (3 ft. x 0.33 avg. depth) x 64 oz. per  half acre] = 4 oz. of chemical for the first application, and 2 oz. each for application #2 and #3.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Introducing Maggie Black: New Office Manager for Greene County Extension

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- This profile of an office manager for a county extension office is part of an on-going series designed to inform area media and the public about extension staff in southwest Missouri.

Name/title: Maggie Black, office manager

Headquartered: Headquartered in Greene County

Education Background: Maggie is a proud graduate of Willard High School in Willard, Mo. After graduation, she attended Draughon Business College for Medical Office Management, and recently attended Ozark Technical Community College and graduated as a Hearing Instrument Specialist.

Relevant experience:  Maggie has 30 years of experience in medical and dental office management as well as owning her own personal assisting business. “I have always strived to be a professional and positive representation of the group or individual I work for and will be for the Greene County Extension,” said Maggie.

Job Responsibilities: Maggie’s primary responsibility is to be a good first impression of Greene County Extension when the community comes to the office or calls. “After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” said Maggie. She is also a support member to all the staff as well as doing the financials, preparing soil samples, and general office duties to make the office flow smoothly and efficiently.

Why did you want to work with Greene County Extension? “The Greene County Extension office is such an important part of our community. The resources it offers is vital to our area, and I am proud to be a part of the team,” said Maggie.

What are some goals you have for the coming year? “I am looking forward to being a participant in the Great Game of Business.  I am also spreading the word about what Extension does and how it can be of help to everyone. There is a lot to learn so I am jumping in feet first and absorbing as much as possible. I want to be an asset to Extension and the communities it serves,” said Maggie.

Where are we most likely to see you in your spare time? “I am usually in a canoe on the river or in my flower and vegetable gardens. I have two grandsons who are the joy of my life with whom I spend as much free time as possible. They love the beautiful Botanical Gardens, so we use all it has to offer including the fabulous butterfly house and very kid-friendly park. I am also an amateur artist,” said Maggie.  

Contact Information: Maggie Black can be reached at the Greene County Extension Center by telephone at 417-881-8909 or via e-mail

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lorri Winters Departs Greene County Extension After 10 Years

June 1 will be Lorri Winter’s last day as office manager for Greene County Extension. After 10 years, she is starting a new chapter in her career/life by pursuing other options.

“During this time, Lorri has managed our office, maintained our  financial records, answered customer calls, worked with clients to enroll in classes, worked with members of Master Gardeners program, and operated our office during the frequent absence of the specialists,” said David Burton, county program director. “Lorri has been an ambassador for extension with the park board. She has a natural ability to talk with strangers and make people feel comfortable. She will be missed.”

Maggie Black, a resident of Ozark and member of Friends of the Garden, will begin working as the Greene County Extension Administrative Assistant on May 27. She has 30 years of clerical experience and is looking forward to learning more about MU Extension, meeting clients, and learning new things, including how to package a soil test!

Extension staff are hosting a private going away lunch for Lorri on May 28. Members of the public have until May 29 to wish her well.

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.