Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Greene County Extension Improving Finances, Staff Communication and Council Involvement with “Great Game of Business” Management Model

By David Burton
Civic Communication Specialist
County Program Director

The Greene County Extension Council and University of Missouri Extension staff located in Springfield, are using a nationally recognized open-book management technique known as the Great Game of Business ( This system is designed to improve office finances, staff communication, and council involvement.


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 President and CEO, Jack Stack, developed the business philosophy of open-book management 30 years ago. The Great Game is used by Fortune 500 businesses and literally 1000s of other businesses, one university (Missouri Southern in Joplin), one county government (Greene County, Mo.) and now many non-profits including Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Springfield and the Greene County Extension Council.

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 process. The ultimate goal is to get employees and council members to make decisions like business owners that have a stake in the outcome.


In 2012, I received an extension award that came with professional development funds, but I had a hard time finding something that fit with my schedule, budget or needs. I was reading the Springfield Business Journal for March 9, 2015, and saw an article about a local non-profit using the Great Game of Business to improve its operation. I was familiar with this open-book management technique because our Greene County government became the first non-traditional business to start using “the game” back in 2013.

After taking the training, I found that the Great Game of Business could guarantee me: improved teamwork, better engagement of staff and council members, at least a 20 percent improvement in our finances, and improved communication. The Great Game goes beyond having a business plan. This gets all staff and volunteers involved with understanding our financials (which has been a problem in the past) and making business decisions like an owner.

Our first step to implementation of “the game” was to create a financial scorecard that better explained our monthly finances to staff and council members. In any game, you keep score to determine who is winning and who is losing. The same is now true in Greene County where we closely track our finances, staff makes projections about revenue and expenses for the coming month, and we track certain “drivers” that are indicators of how we are doing to improve our “critical number” for the year. The drivers we track monthly are total soil tests for the year, the number of donors for the year and number of paid registrations for programs.


We have already seen significant and documented improvements to our finances, staff and council communication and council involvement as a result of the Great Game. For example, Greene County Extension finished 2015 in the black for the first time since 1999. For their “stake in the outcome,” staff was able to earn $400 each in professional development dollars by helping improve the bottom line. The County Commission also increased its funding for Greene County Extension by 270% and paid the monies to the council in one lump-sum. Attendance at our monthly council meetings has increased, and we have gained new funding partners.

Also as a result of “the great game,” extension personnel in Greene County now enjoy a monthly lunch meeting as well as award activities outside of the office and outside of work time. Staff members have participated together in two work days. Donations have increased because clients, volunteers and staff better understand our finances and can express the need. The staff has created new lines of revenue and cut costs, including travel. We sought and got a partnership with Farm Bureau to fund mileage for farm visits in our county (and that idea came out of a staff huddle). Council members have become involved in new ways and are exceeding past year’s level of council engagement and assistance. We had a 170% increase in the number of people who gave input into our planned budget for 2016. Moreover, staff and specialists worked together to market soil tests and increased the number of tests submitted by nearly 20 percent.


Keep up with what Greene County Extension is doing to implement The Great Game of Business online at under the “Great Game of Business” link located in the left column. The first financial scorecard for the organization was posted online May 6, 2015, and is now updated at least monthly and available online, at council meetings and in our monthly newsletter

Monday, March 21, 2016

Pretty White-blossomed Pear Tree Used in Landscaping has an Unwanted, Invasive Side

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

Written by David L. Burton

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – With angelic white blossoms that transform the spring landscape, flamboyant foliage in fall and abilities to tolerate air pollution and resist disease, the Bradford pear became a favorite choice in commercial and home landscapes.

However, this beauty has a nightmarish side according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“People ask, ‘What is the beautiful tree that is blooming along the interstate or along Hwy. 60’?” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with MU Extension. “In warmer southern states, like Arkansas and southern Missouri, the tree is now considered an invasive species.”

The tree, one of several cultivars of the Callery pear, was brought to the West from China in the late 1800s as a small ornamental. Over the years, more cultivars of the pear were developed with an eye toward strengthening its weak branch structure.

The breeding also moved the pear away from being a non-fruiting tree that was cloned for sale in the trade, to being one that produced lots of fruit and lots of seed.

The tree can spread both by seeds and vegetatively through sprouts from the base. The tree’s white blossoms are now almost ubiquitous in any place where the sun shines – parks, highway rights of way, vacant lots, even areas under partially open forest canopies.

The same toughness that made it such a good choice in heavily trafficked landscapes, also makes the pear an aggressive spreader that can quickly crowd out native species. Once the darling of the landscaping trade, this tree has escaped cultivation and is considered an invasive species.

“This widespread invasion creates problems for farmers, ranchers, or anyone managing acreage,” Byers said. “The invasive plants are very difficult to control. Mowing them, if you don't pick up a thorn that will blow your tires, only creates more sprouts from the base.”

Girdling of mature trees can be an effective control. Herbicides can also be effective.

The Missouri Department of Conversation has additional information on this problem online at

MU Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians to improve lives, communities and economies by providing relevant, responsive and reliable educational solutions. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything. More information on this topic is available online at

Friday, February 26, 2016

Time to Register for 93rd Annual Greene County Agriculture Production Conference March 29 in Springfield

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The 93rd Annual Agriculture Production Conference and SWCD Annual Meeting will begin with a free dinner at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 29. The event will be held in the 2nd floor banquet room at Springfield Livestock Marketing Center, 6821 West Independence (Exit 70 off of I-44), Springfield, Mo.

Sponsors for this event include Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District, Old Missouri Bank, FCS Financial, Springfield Livestock Market, MFA in Ash Grove, Friends of Greene County Extension and the Greene County Commission.

Formerly known as the Soils and Crops Conference, the conference name has been changed this year to better reflect the topics that best address farming in Greene County.

“This conference is designed to provide research-based information and options to area agriculture producers that can help them make more informed and profitable decisions,” said Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Pre-registration is needed by March 24 to aid in meal planning.

An informational brochure can be downloaded online at Registration can be done one of three ways: on the Greene County Extension website, by calling 417-881-8909 or by emailing  Both phone and email messages need to include your name, mailing address with city and zip, telephone number and number attending.

The program will feature three speakers and three topics.  “Livestock Market Outlook and Risk Management Options” presented by Dr. Scott Brown, state ag business specialist at the University of Missouri. “Veterinary Feed Directives – It’s Impact on the Beef Industry” presented by Dr. Alan Wessler, vice-president of feed operations and animal health for MFA in Columbia and Dr. Larry Forgey, district veterinarian, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Ozark. “Fencing – There’s Nothing Maintenance-Free” will be presented by Mark Green, resource conservationist, NRCS, Springfield.

Staff with the Greene County NRCS, FSA, and the Soil and Water Conservation District will give program and cost-share updates.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Federal and State Funding Available for Food and Agribusiness Development Enterprises

Contact: Dr. Amy Patillo, community development specialist
Headquartered in Howell County
Tel: (417) 256-2391

WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- University of Missouri Extension in Howell County will present a special program about federal and state funding available for food and agribusiness development enterprises.

The program will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Feb. 16 at the Howell County Extension Office, 1376 Bill Virdon Blvd. West Plains.

Dr. Van Ayers, community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension, will be presenting the program. Van Ayers has assisted numerous farmers and farm groups in obtaining funding for their food enterprises.

“This workshop focuses on improving and expanding food systems including growing, processing, storing, distributing, transporting and selling food in Missouri. This represents an opportunity to build entrepreneurship, small businesses, and jobs,” said Dr. Amy Patillo, community development specialist with MU Extension.

Locally produced food has the growing attention of consumers, schools, grocers, restaurants, entrepreneurial businesses, including farmers, processors, and distributors.

“Growing businesses rooted in agriculture is a good approach to building the regional economy and local jobs,” said Patillo.

This workshop will focus on connecting growers and producers with the available funding for the development of food enterprises in Missouri and expanding the local food systems and value-added agriculture enterprises.

For more information, contact Patillo at the Howell County Extension center, (417) 256-2391.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Flood Assistance Resource Fair in Noel Jan. 16

Flood Assistance Resource Fair
Saturday, January 16, 2016
11:00am to 3:00pm
Noel Elementary School
318 Sulphur St. Noel, MO 64854

Come visit with these social service organizations and disaster relief agencies as they offer their services free of charge:

  • Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri- Disaster Case Management
  • Children’s Haven of SW MO- Respite care, temporary shelter
  • Community Clinic of Joplin- FREE flu shots
  • Economic Security Corporation- Housing/utility assistance, Head Start
  • Legal Aid of Western Missouri- Contract/tenant disputes
  • Ozark Center- Emotional support and mental health care
  • University of MO Extension- Flood recovery and clean-up strategies
  • Red Cross- Disaster Clean Up Kits
  • Access Family Health- Personal Hygiene Kits

Sponsored by: The McDonald County COAD, (Community Organizations Active in Disaster), The McDonald County Coalition, The Alliance of Southwest Missouri

USDA to Have Public Meetings about Assistance Available for Flood Damages

Representatives of four United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies will participate in public meetings January 20-21 to explain various types of flood-recovery assistance available to landowners and units of government.

During the meetings, representatives of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Rural Development (RD), and Risk Management Agency (RMA) will describe the federal programs they administer that could assist those whose property sustained damages from flooding that occurred late last year and into 2016.

Meeting times and locations are:

  • Springfield, MO – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 20, at the Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Center, 4601 S. Nature Center Way. The nature center is located in southeast Springfield just west of Highway 65 off the James River Freeway (Highway 60).
  • Rolla, MO – 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 20, at the Comfort Suites Conference Center, 1650 Old Wire Outer Road. The hotel is located off Interstate 44 at exit 186. Use the entrance at the rear of the building.
  • Union, MO – 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, January 21, at the Knights of Columbus building, 700 Clearview Drive.

Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in these meetings should contact their local USDA Service Center or Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 by Friday, January 15, 2016.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Flood Assistance Resource Fair for McDonald County

To be held 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesday January 12, 2016 at the Pineville Community Center, 602 Jesse James Road, Pineville, Mo.

Come visit with these social service organizations and disaster relief agencies as they offer their services free of charge:

Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri---Disaster Case Management     
Children’s Haven of SW MO—respite care, temporary shelter
Community Clinic of Joplin-- FREE flu shots
Economic Security Corporation—housing/utility assistance, Head Start
Legal Aid of Western Missouri--- contract/tenant disputes
Ozark Center---emotional support and mental health care
University of MO Extension—flood recovery and clean-up strategies

Sponsored by the McDonald County COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) and The Alliance of Southwest Missouri

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Homes Cures for Mold and Mildew Problems do Exist

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

MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- Wet weather, rain on storm damaged homes, and residential flooding can all create mold problems inside a home. But according to Bob Schultheis, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension, this type of wet weather does not mean it is a good idea to test a home for mold.

“If you can smell mustiness, mold is present. The cure is to eliminate the source of the moisture and improve airflow under the house and in enclosed areas like closets. Generally, a mold test is just an unnecessary expense using money that can be better used to fix the problem,” said Schultheis.

The key is to keep water out and that means checking for plumbing and roof leaks and repairing any leaks that are found.

“Make sure the house has working gutters and downspouts that direct roof runoff away from the foundation.  Every inch of rain you divert off the roof of an average-sized house is about 1000 gallons of water that won’t be trying to get into the house,” said Schultheis.

It is also a good idea to put 6-mil polyethylene plastic down on the dirt floor of the crawlspace and seal the edges and seams.  According to Schultheis, this will prevent as much as 20 gallons of water vapor a day from moving up into the living area of the home.

“Another option is to keep the foundation vents open year-round to allow water vapor to escape.  This also reduces radon gas buildup, if you have it,” said Schultheis.

It is also important to make sure the vents from clothes dryers, bathroom fans and range hoods exhaust to the outdoors, not just into the attic or crawlspace.

The best way to check moisture levels in a home is with a digital temperature and humidity gauge. The indoor relative humidity should ideally be in the 30 percent to 50 percent range.  A list of sources for these gauges is available at

“Too much humidity will show up as excess moisture on the windows and favors dust mite and mold growth.  Too little humidity can cause static electricity in carpets and scratchy throats and bloody noses for the occupants, said Schultheis.

For more information on solving moisture and mildew problems, contact the nearest University of Missouri Extension Center and ask for MU Guide GH5928 “How to Prevent and Remove Mildew — Home Methods,” see the mold control resources at, contact Schultheis at the Webster County Extension Center, 417 859-2044, or visit the MU Extension website at

Friday, January 01, 2016

Flood-related resources from MU Extension

Available for expert comment

Conne Burnham, University of Missouri Extension state emergency management specialist, can answer reporters' questions on disaster readiness, response and recovery at the household, community and state level. Contact Burnham at 573-884-5254 or

Missouri Flood Info on Facebook
Missouri Flood Info,, is a collaboration of state, federal and local agencies and organizations involved addressing flooding in Missouri, including the Partnership for Disaster Recovery. Managed by MU Extension.

News releases
Relevant information from MU Extension specialists:

Resources for Your Flooded Home

Mold control

MU Extension flood resources

(To access publications, use the links below or go and search by publication number.)
  • EMW1023, Quick Tips for Cleaning Up After a Flood – Tips on protective equipment; deciding what can be salvaged and what should be thrown away; safely drying, cleaning and disinfecting materials; and what to do before installing new drywall and insulation.
  • MP904, Resources for Your Flooded Home – Downloadable 24-page publications offers information about electrical systems, repairing walls, cleaning furniture, flooring and floor coverings, bedding, kitchen items, and controlling mold and mildew. Other information includes financial advice, filing insurance claims, avoiding fraud and hiring a contractor.
  • EMW1026, Safe Drinking Water in an Emergency – Downloadable guide sheet on storing and purifying drinking water during an emergency.
Other links

Private Water Wells Should Be Cleaned After Disaster

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

MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- If a private water well has been flooded or otherwise damaged by storms, the well and the entire water system should be cleaned and disinfected. Floods can contaminate wells with silt, raw sewage, oil and disease organisms.

"First, remove silt and debris from the well and examine the casing, motors and pumps, piping, electrical and other system components for damage. Consult a service professional if damage is extensive or if you are unable to make repairs," said Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

According to Schultheis, the following steps should be taken to disinfect a well:

1. Pump the water until it is clear.

2. Scrub and disinfect the pump room and wash all equipment with at least a two percent chlorine solution. Laundry bleach is usually six percent chlorine, so mix 1 gallon with 2 gallons of water.

3. Remove the well seal or plug at the top of the casing. Pour a solution of one quart of laundry bleach and three gallons of water into the top of the casing. Leave it there at least four hours, preferably overnight.

4. Pump the chlorinated water through the system. While filling all piping, open one faucet at a time until there is a strong chlorine odor at each faucet. Close the faucet and leave the chlorine in the piping at least two hours, preferably overnight.

5. Pump and flush the system until the taste and odor of chlorine are no longer present.

6. Have the water tested for bacteria. Boil or treat all drinking water until the water test indicates the water is safe for all purposes.

Water testing for bacteria is available through county health departments at

Details on treating a bacteria-contaminated well are available at

In emergencies, questionable water can be made drinkable by following the procedures in

Additional information on this topic is available online at or on the national Extension website

University of Missouri Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Flooding Issues: Dealing with Flooded Home Septic Systems

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

MARSHFIELD, Mo. – Home septic systems are being negatively impacted by the wet weather conditions in Missouri according to Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Our office is getting a lot of questions by phone and email about the same basic issue,” said Schultheis.

Question: What recommendations do you have for homeowners that have flooded septic systems?

Answer: The absorption drain field after the septic tank is not going to work until the soil becomes unsaturated.

If the septic system’s drain field is flooded or saturated, plug all basement drains and drastically reduce water use in the house. Don’t run water from a basement sump pump into the septic system or let water from roof gutters or the sump pump discharge into the drain field. Plug floor drains if flooding is occurring next to the house because water can flow back through the septic system. Unbolt toilets from the floor and plug the outlet pipe, shower drains, washing machine and basement sink drain.

Here are two links with more details.

What to do with Flooded Septic Systems

Managing Your Septic Tank During/Following a Flood

MU Extension programs focus on the high-priority needs of Missourians to improve lives, communities and economies by providing relevant, responsive and reliable educational solutions. Each county extension center, with oversight by locally elected and appointed citizens, is your local link to practical education on almost anything. More information on this topic is available online at

Saving Water for Residential Use

Here are a few indoor water conservation tips from Bob Schultheis, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

To save indoor water use:
a.  Repair faucet and toilet leaks
b.  Install toilet dams on older units
c.  Avoid unnecessary toilet flushing
d.  Take short showers instead of baths (8-10 gallons vs. 30-50 gallons; limit teenagers to 5-minute showers)
e.  Use low-flow shower head (50% less water, with more velocity)
f.  Turn off shower when shampooing or soaping
g.  Run only full loads in dishwasher and clothes washer (20-50 gallons/cycle)
h.  Install faucet aerators (50% less water)
i.   Turn off faucet when shaving, brushing teeth, handwashing dishes
j.   Limit use of the hot tub/spa/Jacuzzi

More details can be found at:

Saving Water - Tips for Residential Use

Indoor Water Use in the United States

Questionable water can be made drinkable by following the procedures in

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

USDA Offers Flood Impacted Missouri Farmers and Ranchers Immediate Disaster Assistance; Farm Service Agency Stands Ready to Assist Agricultural Producers Slammed by Recent Heavy Rains

Missouri Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers across the state of federal farm program benefits that may be available to help eligible producers recover from recent heavy rains and flooding.

FSA offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers in their recovery efforts following floods or similar qualifying natural disasters. Available programs and loans include:

Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) - provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters (includes native grass for grazing). Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for 2016 crops.

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) - offers payments to eligible producers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible losses may include those determined by FSA to have been caused by hurricanes, floods, blizzards, wildfires, tropical storms, tornados, lightning, extreme heat, and extreme cold. Producers will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event and must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent.

Tree Assistance Program (TAP) – provides assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers for qualifying tree, shrub and vine losses due to natural disaster.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) - provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs. ELAP covers physically damaged or destroyed livestock feed that was purchased or mechanically harvested forage or feedstuffs intended for use as feed for the producer's eligible livestock. In order to be considered eligible, harvested forage must be baled; forage that is only cut, raked or windrowed is not eligible. Producers must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is apparent.

For beekeepers, ELAP covers beehive losses (the physical structure) in instances where the hive has been destroyed by a natural disaster including flooding, high winds and tornadoes.

• Emergency Loan Program – Available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding.

• Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) - provides emergency funding for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate land severely damaged by natural disasters; includes fence loss.

• HayNet - is an Internet-based Hay and Grazing Net Ad Service allowing farmers and ranchers to share 'Need Hay' ads and 'Have Hay' ads online. Farmers also can use another feature to post advertisements for grazing land, specifically ads announcing the availability of grazing land or ads requesting a need for land to graze.

To establish or retain FSA program eligibility, farmers and ranchers must report prevented planting and failed acres (crops and grasses).

For more information on disaster assistance programs and loans visit or contact your local FSA Office. To find your local FSA county office, visit

For weekly emailed news blasts from University of Missouri Extension about events and helpful information for residents of southwest Missouri, please subscribe online to our free service.

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