Thursday, November 12, 2015

What is the Best Way to Deal with Falling Leaves?

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The time-honored ritual of raking leaves during the fall months is a chore many homeowners would like to avoid.

In fact, there are several ways of putting leaves to better use in a yard according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“From an ecological point, the best way to deal with leaves in the landscape is to mulch them where they fall and let them decompose to release their minerals back to the soil,” said Byers.

In well managed turf, leaf drop from shade trees is not always a nuisance that requires raking. Even if a moderate amount of leaves are chopped with a mulching mower they can normally be allowed to decompose into the turf.

“Leaves are high in nutrients like iron, zinc and copper. They are also rich in organic matter, a valuable commodity for the turf, existing trees and shrubs,” said Byers.

The acidity of the leaves is a common concern with many homeowners. Fresh oak leaves may initially lower soil pH but as leaves decompose, the pH will gradually build to a neutral level causing little concern.

Another concern is smothering out the turf if leaves are allowed to remain.

Leaf cover that is too thick may cause excessive moisture under the leaves or drastically reduce sunlight to the turf.

“In some cases, leaves may accumulate to a depth that, even after mulching, will smother out the turf. If so, it is best to remove the leaves and shred them in another location,” said Byers.

Other options are to incorporate them into an annual flower or vegetable garden, start a compost pile, deliver them to a yard waste recycling center to be composted or create leaf mold.

More information on what to do with leaves is available by requesting Guide 6956, “Making and Using Composts,” from your local University of Missouri Extension Center.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

“4-H 5K Run for Health” Set for Nov. 21 in Aurora

Contact: Karla Deaver, 4-H Youth Development Specialist
Headquartered in Lawrence County
Tel: (417) 466-3102

MT. VERNON, Mo. – Lawrence County 4-H will hold its fourth annual “4-H 5K Run for Health,” starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21 at the United Methodist Church in Aurora.

In addition to helping raise funds for Lawrence County 4-H members, those who register will participate in a fun, healthy activity and be eligible for a number of awards.

“Healthy Lifestyles is just one of the 4-H initiatives,” said Karla Deaver, 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “This annual event will promote 4-H by encouraging youth to participate, but will also help the community engage with our members and volunteers in a fun, healthy way while raising funds for the local 4-H council.”

In addition to the 5K, a one mile kid’s fun run will be offered. 

“We are a youth organization, and we had a lot of fun last year with this shorter distance that accommodates some of our younger members,” Deaver said.

The race will feature divisions for youth and adults, with awards given to first, second and third place in each age division and to the overall youth male and female.  Youth divisions will be ages 10 and under, 11 to13 and 14 to 19.  Adult divisions will be in 10 year increments.

The cost to register for the event is $15 for 4-H members and volunteers, and $20 for non-4-H members.  All registrants will receive a race tech shirt, available in adults and women’s sizes this year. Advanced registration is required by Nov. 1. For more information on the event or to register, call MU Extension at 417-466-3102 or go online to 

“The Lawrence County 4-H Council is excited about this event. It as an opportunity to promote 4-H in the local area, as well as provide families with a fun, healthy activity,” said Deaver.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

“If We Say It, We Must Mean It,” Says MU Extension Human Development Specialist

Contact: Renette Wardlow, human development specialist
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909
Photo at

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Parents and other adults who care for children often discuss the “how and why” of discipline according to Renette Wardlow, human development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“One of the questions I get asked the most often is ‘How can I get my children to listen to me and do what I say’?” said Wardlow. “Basically, if we say it, we must mean it.”

There are many and varied ideas on what discipline is and how it should be used. Parents have the responsibility to train their child in the way he should go. Wardlow says that challenge often requires that we first learn to discipline ourselves in the matters of child rearing.

“Whether parenting skills come naturally, or we learn them through trial and error, they are accomplished by consistency, encouragement, and example,” said Wardlow.

First of all, there are no specific rules, no set answers.

“We are different people, different from our parents. The way we feel today may not be how we feel tomorrow. Our children are not alike and our setting is constantly changing. If we can remember these things then we can begin to understand why no book can contain one set of rules that will work for everyone,” said Wardlow.

However, there are some general guidelines and principles that can be adapted to individual situations and that can help you think through your situation.

Discipline is guidance, teaching, and learning. It is helping your children to grow in self-direction so that when they are grown up, they can control their actions. Discipline continues from birth all through life.

Discipline is necessary. It is necessary to develop wholesome, satisfying relationships with others; for health and safety; and for the protection of the rights of others.

Discipline does not just apply to misbehavior; it is much more. It involves looking at behavior, try to understand why, trying to find the best way to change behavior and provide a good learning experience for a child.

“Regardless of what age a child is, one of the most difficult jobs as a parent is to set limits on a child’s behavior. However, once limits are set it is especially important to determine what to do if a rule or limit is broken,” said Wardlow.

There are times when a child breaks a rule and must suffer the consequences.

“When we set limits but don’t follow through consistently, we find our credibility suffers,” said Wardlow. “Regardless of how ‘stern-faced’ we appear, if we do not follow through, we lose, but the child loses more. He or she learns that we do not really mean what we say!

For more information, contact any of MU Extension’s human development specialists in southwest Missouri: Renette Wardlow in Christian County at (417) 581-3558, Dr. Jim Wirth in Taney County at (417) 546-4431, or Angie Fletcher in Texas County at (417) 967-4545.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Check Out Charities Before Making Contributions

Contact: Janet LaFon, family financial education specialist
Headquartered in Jasper County
Tel: (417) 358-2158

CARTHAGE, Mo. -- In both good times and bad, Americans are generous givers to charitable organizations. Many of these organizations are legitimate and put the money to good use.

However, there are some charitable organizations that spend the majority of the money donated on salaries and other administrative costs – and little if anything on those in need.  How can a potential donor tell the difference?

“Most charities and professional fund-raisers operating in Missouri are required to register with the Attorney General’s office,” said Janet LaFon, family financial education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Those exempt from registering include religious organizations and educational institutions. Many of the charities who are required to register voluntarily provide information that the Attorney Generals’ office makes available to the public.

“You can find out the missions of various charities and how much money they receive each year. Also included is information on how much they spend on programs and administrative costs,” said LaFon. “The Attorney General’s office doesn’t endorse any of the charities on the list.”

The information is provided as a resource you can use to evaluate various charities. Check their website ( or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222.

“It can sometimes be difficult to know if a charitable organization is reputable and will put your money to good use,” said LaFon. “Before you donate, take some time to do a little research.”


To help consumers make informed charitable contributions and avoid fraud, LaFon recommends four basic tips to research the charity.

Check out the charity.  Before making a contribution to a charity that solicits funds by mail or telephone, check it out. Ask for information about the organization, how funds will be used and what percentage will go to administrative costs. Be sure to read all of the organization’s materials carefully, including the fine print.  Other resources you may wish to check are and The Better Business Bureau (BBB) also provides information to help evaluate charities at  “When evaluating a charity, be sure to take a look at the financial health of the organization, accountability, transparency, and results,” said LaFon.

Confirm tax-deductible status. Be sure you are giving to a registered public charity with a 501 (c) 3 status. To check the tax exempt status of aid or charitable organizations, go to the Internal Revenue Service website,

Donate Funds with Check or Credit Card. Do not give cash or a credit card number to solicitors who call or email you. Request that the charity mail you written information about the fund. Then make your donation to a charity with a check or credit card.

Report Fraud. If you think you have dealt with an organization that is not using your funds properly, contact the Missouri Attorney General ( or the Federal Trade Commission ( to file your complaint.

 “Take the time to choose the recipients of your charitable giving to make sure that the dollars reach helping hands,” said LaFon.


A good, highly efficient charitable organization usually spends about 75 percent of the money it raises on charitable programs and the remaining 25 percent on general administration and fundraising, according to (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy).

At the lowest end of the “acceptable” spectrum are charities that spend 60 percent on charitable programs and the remaining 40 percent on general administration and fundraising.

According to Charity Navigator, total giving to charitable organizations was $358.38 billion in 2014 (two percent of the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP). This is the fifth straight year giving has increased, and the first year to surpass the previous high of $355.17 billion seen in 2007.

As in previous years, the majority of that giving came from individuals. Specifically, individuals gave roughly $258.5 billion (72 percent) representing a 5.7 percent increase over 2013.


For more information on issues related to home finances, contact either of the MU Extension family financial education specialists in southwest Missouri: Janet LaFon, Jasper County Extension Center, (417) 358-2158, or Nellie Lamers, Taney County Extension Center, (417) 546-4431,

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.