Friday, October 26, 2012

A Healthy Halloween is Possible with Healthy Treats

It’s hard to think of Halloween as a holiday to practice healthy eating habits. However, Halloween is a great time to set a good example and remember moderation is one key to a healthy diet according.

Some examples of Halloween treats that are healthy are apples, small boxes of raisins, individual bags of snack mix or pretzels, stickers, Halloween puzzles or pencils.

Make sure your child eats a healthy meal before they go trick-or-treating. The meal can be festive but children need to have a good meal before going out.

After getting treats, balance, variety and moderation are keys to healthful eating.

Let your children choose a few pieces of candy to have on Halloween night and then choose a few pieces each day after that.

Another thing to remember (when all of the Halloween candy is in the house) is that sugary foods contribute to tooth decay.

In the mouth, there are bacteria. These bacteria like to eat sugar and that produces an acid. That acid is what eats away at teeth causing cavities.

Children will be consuming sugar on Halloween so encourage them to brush their teeth often.

For more information on nutrition issues, go online to or contact one of the nutrition and health education specialists working in the Ozarks: Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; or Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Springfield, (417) 886-2059.

Holiday Weight Gain: Beware of the Eating Season

There is always ample opportunity to take in lots of extra calories and pack on a few pounds from Halloween to New Year’s Day.

If you don’t want to deal with that extra weight in 2012 make 1 plan now about how you are going to manage all of the opportunities for eating extras in the coming months.”

Avoiding weight gain will require more than just doing a little more physical activity.

Generally one pound of body fat is gained by taking in an extra 3,500 calories. If a person eats 250 calories more than normal every day for two weeks they could add one pound to their body weight. One brownie can have 250 calories.

While a person can gain one pound in two weeks, it takes a little bit longer to walk it off. A typical person can burn 100 calories by walking for 30 minutes. To get rid of that one pound of weight, a person would need to walk for 30 minutes, 35 days

Here are a few tips to avoid the holiday weight gain.
1. Watch portion size. Take a small portion and savor it.

2. Watch out for high calorie drinks.

3. Fill up on fruits and vegetables. They are healthy and low in calories.

4. Concentrate on fun rather than food. Visit with friends before hitting the buffet line.

5. Be aware of what you are eating. It is very easy to take in lots of extra calories while you are visiting and not even remember what you ate.

Making wise food choices in the next couple of months can help a person start 2013 without a resolution to have to lose weight.

For more information on nutrition issues, go online to or contact one of the nutrition and health education specialists working in the Ozarks: Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; or Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Springfield, (417) 886-2059.

Halloween Lady Beetles Making Home Visits

Around Halloween, some uninvited guests may make a surprise appearance at your home.

The multicolored Asian lady beetle (also known as the Halloween beetle) starts finding suitable hibernating sites during late October and November.

This colorful lady beetle has shiny yellow or orange or red wing covers and a distinctive “M” marking behind the head.

“Like other lady beetles, this one eats aphids and other soft-bodied insects and is a beneficial insect when outdoors," said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Greene County.

The Halloween lady beetle congregates in large groups on sunny sides of light-colored rocks or structures where it seeks protected crevices – or enters a building through cracks, vents or other openings -- to spend the winter.

"The best way to avoid invasion by the Halloween lady beetle is to tighten up your house. Caulk or seal cracks, cover attic and exhaust vents with insect screening, fix holes in window screens (making sure they fit snugly), and put sweeps and thresholds on exterior doors," said Byers.

If the Halloween lady beetle does make it inside, Byers recommends gently sweeping them up and then relocating them outside.

A handy collection sack can be made by placing a knee-high nylon stocking in the vacuum hose, folding over the top of the stocking and securely fastening it to the outside of the hose.

“When you turn off the vacuum, remove the bag quickly so the captured beetles don’t escape. They can be released outdoors in leaf litter or other sheltered places," said Byers.

For more information on the Asian (Halloween) lady beetle contact your local MU Extension Center and request a copy of guidesheet G7369, “Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle,” or G7368, “Household-Invading Beetles.” These publications are also available online at

Signup Now for Extension Beef Newsletter

Beef cattle producers who want to receive the monthly “Beef Newsletter” from University of Missouri Extension may sign up now.

The newsletter is written by Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with MU Extension in the southwest region of the state. The two-page letter covers production and management tips as well as dates and details of coming events that apply to this part of Missouri.

The November newsletter included these topics: upcoming tested bull and Show-Me-Select heifer sales; what do EPD accuracies mean; alfalfa as a beef supplement; bull breeding soundness clinic review and thoughts on clipping cattle to keep them cool.

The letter can also be accessed at:\lawrence if you want to get a monthly reminder just call the office and let staff know.

The hard copy mailed newsletter may be requested by contacting the Lawrence County Extension Center, Mt. Vernon, Mo., at 417-466-3102. There is no charge for the newsletter.

Missouri’s First Extension Council Business Plan on Agenda for Oct. 29 Greene County Extension Council Meeting

Members of the Greene County Extension Council will conduct their regular monthly public meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29 in the large classroom at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 South Scenic Avenue, Springfield, Mo. The Botanical Center is home to the Greene County Extension Center.

The full agenda for the meeting, as well as minutes from the previous month’s meeting, can be found online at under the “plans and reports” tab.

This month’s meeting includes a discussion and vote on a business plan for the Greene County Extension Council. This is the first business plan in the state of Missouri for an elected extension council and it is available for review on the Greene County Extension website.

“The Greene County Extension Council is an elected governing body established in Missouri state law as a function of county government,” said Carl Allison, chair of the Greene County Extension Council. “This business plan is in addition to our existing bylaws and policies and looks at a business direction for the council that goes beyond the stream of revenue received from the county commission.”

At this month’s meeting, council members will also consider changes to soil test prices and the monthly “Reaching Out Report” sent to area office holders.

The county extension council, comprised of both elected and appointed citizens, is a full partner with Missouri's land-grant universities to deliver high-quality education and research-based information that helps people solve real-world problems and take advantage of opportunities.

Council members work with extension specialists to provide county educational programs, manage finances of local extension operations, provide personnel to carry out extension activities, and elect and organize the local extension council

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Missouri 4-H Dairy Judging Team Places First in Brown Swiss Breed Division at National Contest

Missouri 4-H was one of only four teams to win a breed division at the 2012 National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest held Oct. 1 in Madison, Wisconsin, according to Karla Deaver, a 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The team won the Brown Swiss breed for the third time in recent years, placing them in the top five of states for repeated winners in the breed.

“We are so proud of how these youth did at the national contest,” said Deaver. “While they weren’t as consistent across breeds as they needed to be to place in the top 10 of the contest overall, their performance in the Brown Swiss breed was very impressive.”

The team of Brittany Groves from Lawrence County, Tricia Kirchdoerfer from Cape Girardeau County, and Bryce Romine from Crawford County won the Brown Swiss breed with a total of 413 points out of a possible 450.

For Groves, the win was special because her family are long-time Brown Swiss breeders. She is also involved with the breed at home on the farm. The team finished tied for 20th out of 32 teams, and were a mere 23 points away from the top 10.

Groves, daughter of Todd and Sheila Groves of Billings, was 5th high individual in Brown Swiss and 13th in Guernseys, placing 34th overall and just 12 points away from All-American status in the 124 person field.

Romine, the son of Cynthia and Gary Romine of Cuba, was 9th high individual in Brown Swiss. Kirchdoerfer, the daugther of Eddie and Amy Kirchdoerfer of Cape Girardeau, had her best performance in Holstein and Jerseys. All three members of the team achieved individual best scores in oral reasons, one of their goals going into the contest.

Contestants placed one cow and one heifer class in Ayrshires, Brown Swiss, Guernseys, Holsteins and Jerseys and gave five sets of reasons. The team is coached by Ted Probert, a dairy specialist with University of Missouri from Wright County, and Karla Deaver, a 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension from Lawrence County.

The team is supported by Monsanto Company, FCS Financial, the Missouri Holstein Association and the Missouri Dairy Association in partnership with the Missouri 4-H Foundation. For more information about the Missouri 4-H dairy judging team, contact Ted Probert at (417) 741-6134 or Karla Deaver at (417) 466-3102.

11.5 Percent of Bulls Found Unsatisfactory at Soundness Exam Clinics in Southwest Missouri

During the three bull breeding soundness exam clinics in southwest Missouri in early October, 11.5 percent of the 96 bulls were found to be unsatisfactory for breeding purposes.

“With the hot summer that extended into September it’s surprising that the fail rate wasn’t higher,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The fail and defer rate included both old and young bulls. The average age of the 96 bulls was 3.2 years. They ranged in age from 10 months to 10 years.

“Interestingly, those two extremes were found to be unsatisfactory potential breeders. They will be given a second chance. Seven of the questionable bulls had a percent normal sperm count under 60 percent,” said Cole.

Two bulls had penile injuries that likely would impair their breeding ability. One of the two bulls suffered their injury as a result of a hair ring that nearly cut the tip of the penis off.

None of the bulls were screened out because of physical defects that were easily visible. Five bulls had soundness scores of 2 or 3 which mostly was due to long and/or uneven toes. Their ability to breed cows on rough terrain could be compromised. Hoof trimming could help extend their usefulness if they were sound otherwise.

“Cow-calf producers who plan to turn bulls with cows in the next month should arrange with their veterinarian to do a breeding soundness exam. There is a good possibility about 10 percent of those bulls will be unsatisfactory and string out the fall, 2013 calf crop,” said Cole.

A strung out calf crop makes marketing and management more challenging. It may reduce income as the calves will weigh less if sold on a comparable date.

A BSE costs, as a rule, form $30 to $50 per bull. The cost depends on the number of bulls checked, whether the veterinarian has to come to your farm, what vaccinations are given and the extent of parasite control given.

“Trichomoniasis testing should be done if the bulls have been exposed to other than your cows. If a rental or neighbor’s bull has been with your cows, he needs tested if possible,” said Cole.

Trich testing is also advised when a high percentage of cows come up open even though the bull has a satisfactory BSE. The trich test will be an additional cost but should be considered a part of a non-virgin bulls exam.

The BSE clinics have been conducted in the region since 2005 as a cooperative effort with University of Missouri Extension, Pfizer Animal Health and various veterinarians. Cooperating veterinarians this fall were Drs. Voyd Brown, Cassville, Chuck Dake, Miller and Mike Bloss, Aurora.

“4-H 5K Run for Health” Set for Nov. 17 in Aurora, Mo.; Advance Registration is Required by Oct. 31

October 31 is the deadline to get registered for the Lawrence County 4-H sponsored “4-H 5K Run for Health,” which is set to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 beginning at Oak Park 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 4-H’s initiatives,” said Karla Deaver, a 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “We are hoping to make this an annual event that will not only help us send 4-H members on trips and help fund other educational activities, but will also help the community engage with our members and volunteers in a fun, healthy way.”

The cost to register for this first-time event is $15 for 4-H members and volunteers, and $20 for non-4-H members. Advanced registration is required by Wednesday, Oct. 31.

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, and see it as an opportunity to promote 4-H in the area, as well as provide families with a fun, healthy activity,” said Deaver.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Live life to the fullest

LIVE AND LEARN in Republic Monitor
Written by David L. Burton

Life is an accumulation of our choices. Both the good and the bad things are the result of repeated choices over the days, weeks, months and years of our life.

The good news is that each of us can maintain a life of optimism, a give-me-this-moment attitude, and a soft heart of gratefulness. That type of outlooks helps us to focus our choices and live a life without regret.

I think the key comes down to nine basics tips.

Avoid gossip: find good news about other people. Believe the best rather than assume the worst. Spread good rumors and avoid judgmental condemnation. Gossip diminishes your worth because you live at the expense of others.

Release bitterness: don't blame others. Don't walk around waiting for someone to apologize to you. Hey, I know this can be difficult but the best thing for you to do is forgive and then forget otherwise it festers and creates bitterness.

Take risks: for some, this means stepping out in faith. A life lived without risk is boring and a life that most people end up regretting later.

Trust: living a life of worry guarantees a sad life. When you grab control yourself, you shrivel because you cannot bear the weight. Worry never provides a benefit either.

Don't live for stuff: keep materialism in check. When you live for the accumulation of things - either by purchasing these things or by constantly longing for what you can't afford - you become a shrinking soul.

Master your appetite: if you are controlled by your cravings your capacity to grow and improve will lessen. Appetites can cause us to waste money and waste our time on self-fulfillment which actually has a negative impact in the long run.

Grow deep: spend time thinking about the meaning of life. Build your life on a firm foundation. Think of the important things and don't burn up your intellectual energies on monumental facts such as sports scores or the weather.

Live today: celebrate the past, embrace the present, and anticipate the future. Learn from the past but don't live there. Recognize that the good old days are never going to return and maybe weren't as good as you recall. Engage fully in this day.

Take time to enjoy life: if you have children, spend time with them. Work, hobbies and the needs of others can quickly eat up all of your time. Those are good things but to avoid burnout, you have to take some time for yourself.

Friday, October 12, 2012

2013 Wall Calendar of One-Room Schools in Southwest Missouri Available from MU Extension for $25

Individuals interested in efforts by University of Missouri Extension and the Ozarks Country School Project to raise operating funds can directly help by purchasing a 2013 wall calendar for $25.

The calendars are available only as a pre-ordered item and they will be available in time to give as holiday gifts in 2012.

This year’s 12-month color calendar features watercolor paintings of images inside area one-room schools done by David Burton, civic communication specialist with MU Extension, and author of “A History of Rural Schools in Greene County, Mo.”

The calendar features paintings of Little Moore School in Lawrence County, the Lawrenceburg School in Lawrenceburg, Flat Rock school near Willard, the 1905 school on the campus of Missouri State University, and other images of familiar items inside restored one-room schools.

Pre-ordering is required prior to Nov. 16 and can be done in person at the Greene County Extension Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo. 65807 or by downloading an order form online under the “rural schools” link at

The Ozarks Country School Association is a community development program of University of Missouri Extension in Greene County that partners with other historical groups in the region.

The mission of the OCSA is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the one-room school experience in Ozarks. The goal of the organization is to work with groups as well as interested individuals and building owners to raise funds and awareness to maintain the historic one-room school buildings in the Ozarks and develop them as community centers.

For more information about OCSA or becoming a member, contact Burton at (417) 881-8909, via e-mail at or online at

Online Holiday Shopping Requires Taking Extra Precautions

In today’s high-tech world, many people do holiday shopping online to save time, money and effort. However, shoppers using the Internet should be cautious according to Janet LaFon, a family financial education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Get the details. Confirm the phone numbers and physical addresses of online vendors in case you need to contact them. Be cautious of pop-up messages and links within e-mail messages. Read descriptions of products and calculate costs, including shipping and handling, before deciding which site offers the best buy.

Pay by credit card. An advantage of using a credit card is that you have additional protection under the Fair Credit Billing Act if you have problems. Sellers are required to ship items as promised or within 30 days after the order date if no specific date is promised.

Keep records. Be sure to save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, and copies of any email correspondence between you and the seller. Review your credit card statements thoroughly and check for any unauthorized charges.

Protect your information. Financial or personal information like your credit card, checking account, or Social Security numbers should not be sent via email because this is not a secure method of transmitting information. If you initiate a transaction through a company’s website, check to see if the website is secure.

For more information, visit the OnguardOnline website,

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

Candidates Sought for County Extension Councils in the Ozarks

Counties in southwest Missouri are accepting nominations for the 2013 public election of County Extension Council members. Names of nominees are generally needed during November 2012 for review by existing county council members.

Getting nominated as a candidate can be done by contacting the local MU Extension center and expressing a willingness to serve. Most MU Extension councils have an elections chairperson who will follow up with candidates and secure their permission to be placed on the ballot.

Persons who are interested can start by calling the MU Extension center in their home county.

Those telephone numbers include Barry County, (417) 847-3161; Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Cedar County, (417) 276-3313; Christian County, (417) 581-3558; Dade County, (417) 637-2112; Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; Greene County, (417) 881-8909; Hickory County, (417) 745-6767; Jasper County, (417) 358-2158; Lawrence County, (417) 466-3102; McDonald County, (417) 223-4775; Newton County, (417) 455-9500; Polk County, (417) 326-4916; Stone County, (417) 357-6812; Taney County: (417) 546-4431 ; and Webster County: (417) 859-2044.

The Greene County Extension Center has an informational brochure about the requirements of serving on an extension council and a nomination form on the Greene County website:

“Serving on a county extension council is a great way to represent your community, serve your county, and help create educational opportunities for your neighbors,” said David Burton, civic communication specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

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

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

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

Final Classes of “Live and Learn” Series Deal with Emotions Under Pressure and Winter Vegetable Gardening

The final two classes in Greene County Extension’s fall “Live and Learn” series will be presented by Dr. Jim Wirth, a human development specialist with MU Extension and Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with MU Extension.

Wirth’s class, “Managing Emotions under Pressure,” will be held on Oct. 17.

Byer’s class, “Vegetable Gardening in the Winter,” will be held Oct. 24.

The 50 minute classes will run from noon to 1 p.m. and cost $10 per person. Attendees of any “live and learn” class can bring a lunch or purchase snacks in the Botanical Center bookstore and learn something new each week.

Pre-registration is required so call (417) 881-8909 to reserve a seat for the program.

Classes will be held in one of the classrooms at the Greene County Extension, located inside the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield.

For more information, call the Greene County Extension Center at 417-881-8909. Information and order forms are also available online at

80th Tested Bull Sale Features Bulls with Top Expected Progeny Difference (EPD) Values

The 80th All-Breed Performance Evaluated Bull Sale, sponsored by the Southwest Missouri Beef Cattle Improvement Association, will be held Oct. 29 at the Springfield Livestock Marketing Center on I-44 west of Springfield at exit 70. Sale time is 7 p.m. but University of Missouri Extension livestock specialists will have a 30-minute discussion at 5:30 p.m. about understanding expected progeny difference (EPD) values.

Consignors to the sale cooperate with University of Missouri Extension specialists and their various breed associations in gathering and developing the data that aids buyers in making their genetic decisions.

This sale includes 37 Angus, 1 Simmental, 2 Polled Herefords, 2 Charolais and 1 Shorthorn Plus. Their ages range from 13 to 20 months.

Bulls qualify for the sale by weighing at least 1,100 pounds at 365 days, they must be a 4 frame or better and be in the top 50th percentile for two of the following 5 EPD traits: calving ease direct, weaning weight, yearling weight, milk and intra-muscular fat.

“Most exceed the minimum of two traits. The 37 Angus for example average in the 52nd percentile for calving ease. This means they are right near the average for non-parent bulls in that breed,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The other traits and average EPDs for the Angus bulls in the sale are: weaning weight 34th percentile; yearling weight 32nd percentile; milk 12th percentile; marbling 38th percentile.

“If you’re looking for some extreme, in a particular trait there are 12 bulls that rank in the top 3 percent of their breed for a trait,” said Cole. “It’s interesting that the milk EPD shows up as a big strength in this set of bulls. Several rank in the top 1 percent of their breed for the expected milk production of their daughters.”

The catalog is available on-line at

Catalogs may be requested from Pam Naylor at 417-343-8330 or by contacting your local University of Missouri Extension Center for details on the sale.

Training for Child Care Providers in Springfield Starting Nov. 3; Classes for Parents or those Working with Children

University of Missouri Extension in Greene County is offering a series of four workshops on eight topics for clock hours of training for child care and foster care providers starting Nov. 3.

All sessions will be presented by University of Missouri Extension and will be held at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo.

This series of focused classes is geared toward childcare providers, day care owners, Head Start and foster parents as well as parents and those interested in youth according to Dr. Jim Wirth, human development specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

The first session is from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Nov. 3, with two classes presented by Dr. Jim Wirth. “Making Secure Attachments” will address understanding the impact and significance of attachments for healthy development. “Creating Special Moments with Infants and Toddlers” will look at how to turn routine everyday tasks into special moments.

The second session is from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Nov. 10, with two classes presented by Dr. Jim Wirth. Wirth’s class topics this session are: “Every Child Counts: Building Community” and “Building Relationships with Children and Youth Who Challenge Us.”

The third session of classes will be held 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 1, with one class presented by Joe DeVries, an early childhood specialist. “The Nurtured Heart” will teach attendees how to energize positive behaviors and reduce negative behaviors through focused attention.

The fourth and final session the fall childcare series will be from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 8, and will be taught by Velynda Cameron, a 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “Family Style Meals,” will teach attendees how to serve family style meals at childcare centers. “Is Managing by Wandering Around Still Relevant” will teach strategies on being a successful director.

A registration fee of $15 will be charged for each workshop regardless of length. To register, contact the Greene County University of Missouri Extension office at (417) 881-8909.

Candidates Sought for Taney County Extension Council

Nominations are being accepted for the January 2013 election to the Taney County University of Missouri Extension Council, according to Council Chair Cinda Bauer.

County extension councils are the governing body for local educational opportunities provided by the University of Missouri Extension. Council members – both publicly elected and appointed citizens – work with extension faculty in making decisions concerning extension programs, personnel, council elections and the local extension office budget.

“The Taney County Extension Council is seeking a diverse group of people who are interested in education and the progress of our community,” said Bauer. “Serving on the extension council is a great way to help make our community a better place for people to live.”

Extension council members are elected to serve two-year terms to represent the diverse educational needs and backgrounds of Taney County residents. The Taney County extension council meets on the first Tuesday of each month. Candidates must be at least 18 years old and reside in the district they would represent. Newly elected members take office in March 2013.

Nominations for the Taney County extension council candidates must be made by Dec. 1, 2012. Individuals interested in serving on the council may contact the Taney County extension center, (417) 546-4431.

In Taney County, extension programs address such high-priority areas as agriculture, nutrition and health, parenting and youth development, family life, consumer education, business and workforce development, community development and continuing education.

Information on the role of county extension councils, and the Missouri state statues governing council elections, are available at:

Additional information about the Taney County University of Missouri Extension can be found on the web at or by calling (417) 546-4431 or visiting the Taney County Extension Center located at 122 Felkins Avenue, Forsyth, Mo.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

5th Annual Beef Conference in Bolivar Oct. 23 Focuses on Being Successful when Faced with Adversity

University of Missouri Extension will host the Fifth Annual Southwest Missouri Beef Conference starting at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the Citizens Memorial Hospital community rooms in Bolivar, Mo.

“Beef producers have experienced drought, high input prices, fluctuating cattle prices, and several other challenges the last few years,” said Wesley Tucker, agriculture business specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “Each topic at this year’s conference has been individually selected based on the needs of Southwest Missouri cattlemen.”

Tucker says this conference is not just for Polk County residents. “Anyone in southwest Missouri that’s interested in making money in the cattle business is welcome to attend,” said Tucker.

The presentations at the conference this year will begin with Dr. Justin Sexten, a beef specialist with MU Extension, speaking about alternative feeding strategies and how to get our beef cows through this winter. Dr. Pat Guinan, MU Extension state climatologist, will speak about long range weather patterns including the drought of 2012.

Dr. Abner Womack, cofounder of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, will discuss his latest findings on the current economic crisis in the U.S. and when we can expect to begin to see a recovery.

Mike Kastens will introduce a new project of MU Extension called Quality Beef. The program is designed to assist producers in capturing more of the value in their calves by investing in quality genetics.

The cost for producers wanting to attend the conference is $5 per person which includes a beef dinner for those who register by Oct. 19. For more information or to register, call the Polk County Extension Center at 417-326-4916 or email the center at

Looking at Your Cattle a Practice for Beef Production Success Says Extension Specialist

Successful beef cattle producers in southwest Missouri give varied responses when asked about their most important practices for success.

According to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, most producers will stay things like forage production, genetic selection, health programs and effective marketing.

“One couple I talked with surprised me a bit when the wife quickly replied, ‘we look at them a lot.’ Looking at your cattle is a management practice some may not take too seriously but I have admit, it is an important part of beef cattle production,” said Cole.

Other farm chores or off-the-farm job demands may be reasons this practice is not performed as frequently or as competently as it should be.

“Cattle and their environment do need to be looked at frequently and with a purpose,” said Cole. “A quick check after dark or before the sun comes up is not good enough, but may be the best you can do.”

During the “looking,” Cole suggests producers count the cattle if possible, to tell if someone might have borrowed or stolen some.

“Law enforcement folks need to know soon if you’re missing cattle. If you only do a count every two weeks, the chances of finding a thief are slim. A daily check is ideal,” said Cole.

A close herd check should be routine during calving season according to Cole.

“This is the one time during the year most cow herd owners do check to tag calves, make sure heifers or cows do not need assistance and no scour or other sickness problems have begun,” said Cole.

During the breeding season, close attention should be given to the bull to determine if he is healthy and doing his job. Close observers may even keep dates and numbers down on females that were in heat.

Grazing schools teach close observation of pasture growth too. It is especially important to look at the forage as far as quality and quantity are concerned.

“If you’re following a fairly rigid rotational grazing system, an excellent time to look and count is when you change pastures. Weed problems can be noted, some of which may be toxic,” said Cole.

In fescue country, in the late fall-early winter, special attention should be given on cold mornings to symptoms of fescue foot. It results in lameness in the rear feet. According to Cole, keen observation can pick it up before significant damage occurs to the animal.

Pasture checks may be done by walking, riding horseback, on a four-wheeler or in a truck. The important thing is to “look a lot,” make notes about what is going on with your investment.

“University of Missouri Extension budgets allocate five hours per cow per year for labor. A portion of that time is for looking and management. That time helps improve the bottom line in the beef cow enterprise,” said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551 or Dona Goede in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313.

Two photos for use in illustrating this article are available as a free download in the MU Extension photo library for southwest Missouri at

Volunteer Tax Preparers Needed in Stone, Taney Counties

University of Missouri Extension and the Healthy Families Taskforce of Stone and Taney counties are looking for volunteers to provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation during the next filing season, Jan 28, 2013, to April 15, 2013.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides free tax preparation to low-moderate income working families.

The Healthy Families Taskforce of Stone and Taney counties is committed to helping low-moderate income taxpayers receive tax refunds and provide an economic benefit to the community.

During the 2012 tax season, volunteers prepared over 1,000 federal and state tax returns in Stone and Taney Counties with an economic impact estimated at $2,495,012 to the local economy.

According to Nellie Lamers, a family financial education specialist with University of Missouri Extension, volunteers are asked to work at least four hours per week during tax season at the VITA sites in Stone and Taney counties.

“While volunteers need basic computer skills, accounting experience is not required,” said Lamers.

A volunteer orientation and training will be held Jan. 11 and Jan. 12, 2013 at College of the Ozarks.

MU Extension and the IRS provide free training and all the materials needed to prepare basic individual income tax returns.

If you would like to volunteer, contact Nellie Lamers with MU Extension at (417) 546-4431, toll free at 1-888-504-0443, or by e-mail at for an application, or visit our website: to download an application.

It is Possible to Have a Healthy Halloween

Halloween is a time filled with candy and sweets for a lot of people, especially those trick-or-treating or attending parties. But, according to Christeena Haynes, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension, it is possible to have a healthy Halloween.

“The first step is to eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating or attending a party. This helps keep you or your child from getting too hungry, which can result in overeating candy,” said Haynes.

Haynes also recommends serving healthy treats like popcorn, granola bars, trail mix, raisins, or pretzels instead of candy to trick-or-treaters or at a party. For children, non-food items like stickers, bookmarks, and crayons are another great alternative to the usual candy.

Parents should also limit the amount of sweets eaten each day.

“Moderation is always the key. Use this time to teach your children the importance of eating a nutritious diet while still having treats on special occasions,” said Haynes.

One way to make sure candy is only consumed in moderation is to not keep the candy where it is easily accessible, like in a candy jar or desk.

“Storing candy out of sight makes it less of a temptation and helps prevent mindless eating,” said Haynes. “At the same time, you can save leftover candy for another time. It could be used to decorate gingerbread houses at Christmas or for an art project. Chocolate could be frozen and used for baking when needed.”

Candy can also be added to a nutritious snack mix with whole-grain cereal, nuts, and dried fruit, instead of eating just candy. These foods contain fiber, which help you feel full and satisfied.

“It is also possible to celebrate by participating in non-food related activities such as carving a pumpkin,” said Haynes. “With all of the parties going on, don’t forget to also stay physically active to help with your overall health.”

For more information on nutrition issues, go online to or contact one of the nutrition and health education specialists working in the Ozarks: Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; or Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Springfield, (417) 886-2059.

Program at Point Lookout Oct. 12 Aims to Help Small Businesses Avoid Human Resources Landmines

“HR for Small Business: Avoiding the Landmines” is a workshop that will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 12 at the Keeter Center on the campus of College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Mo.

“HR for Small Business: Avoiding the Landmines” is targeted toward small business employers who do not have a human resources professional on staff. Any business owner, manager or supervisor with one to 500 employees will learn the basics in human resources at this program.

“This training will provide participants with a working knowledge of the subject and help them to organize the most important element in their business – the people,” said Chrystal Irons, a business development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The workshop is being jointly delivered by University of Missouri Extension, Taney County Small Business Technology and Development Center (SBTDC), Branson Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration and the Taney County Business Development Partnership.

The fee for the program is $60 if a person registers by Oct. 1, or $75 after Oct.1. Lunch will be provided to all participants. To register go to or contact Emily Sutliff at 417-334-4084, ext. 338.

Participants will gain a working knowledge on a wide variety of human resources topics with sessions covering: key elements to the employment life cycle, essential unemployment knowledge, legal landmines to avoid and legal updates on employment law.

“Attendees of this workshop will be armed with information to help them make better decisions about who they hire, what their responsibilities are as an employer, how staff should be evaluated and/or disciplined, as well as compliance with state and federal laws,” said Irons.

In addition to instruction, attendees will receive a reference manual that provides an overview of laws and regulations effecting companies; templates for a personnel policy manual, performance appraisals and new hire packets; and resources for additional information.

Human Resource experts including a human resource consultant, representatives with the Missouri Division of Employment Security and a local human resources attorney will be available to answer specific questions.

For more information or assistance related to a current or future business, contact either of the MU Extension business specialists in the Ozarks: Chrystal Irons at (417) 546-4431, Kathy Macomber at (417) 682-3579 or one of the two Small Business and Technology Development Centers in southwest Missouri: Missouri State University in Springfield at (417) 836-5685 or Missouri Southern University in Joplin at (417) 625-3128.

Meyer Communications (KWTO and KTXR) Becomes First Official Corporate Sponsor of Greene County Extension

Meyer Communications of Springfield, Mo., has become an official sponsor of Greene County Extension as part of a new marketing and fundraising plan developed by the publically elected Greene County Extension Council.

As an official sponsor, Meyer Communications will be able to co-brand their business with the well-respected name of University of Missouri Extension and the programs offered in Greene County, like 4-H and Master Gardeners.

Meyer Communications is located at 3000 East Chestnut Expressway in Springfield and is a business and community leader in radio. The company is best known for its industry leading radio stations: KWTO 560 AM (news talk), KTXR 101.3 FM (the Gentle Giant), JOCK 98.7 (news and sports) and KBFL99.9 FM (music of your life).

“This partnership is a good business decision for everyone involved,” said Ken Meyer, owner of Meyer Communications.

Greene County Extension specialists Patrick Byers and David Burton regularly appear on Lewis Miller’s Farm Talk show that airs daily on KWTO.

Carl Allison, chairman of the Greene County Extension Council, said the need for corporate sponsors stems from the fact that the Greene County Commission has cut the operations budget for the county extension office by 90 percent.

“In order to keep the Greene County office open and Extension serving the residents of Greene County, private dollars need to be raised,” said Allison. “This is the first time in 100 years that an official Greene County Extension sponsorship has been available.”

The Greene County Extension Council is also putting the finishing touches on a business plan that will guide council operations in future years.

More information about the Greene County Extension corporate sponsorship program is available online at or by contacting David Burton at the Greene County Extension Center: (417) 881-8909 or

2012 Missouri Blueberry School Conference in Springfield Oct. 19 and Oct. 20

University of Missouri Extension and Missouri State University announce the 2012 Missouri Blueberry School Conference, which will be held Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20, at the MSU Bond Learning Center, 2401 S. Kansas Expressway Springfield, as well as at area blueberry sites.

The conference will include educational sessions for blueberry enthusiasts of all levels – experienced commercial growers, prospective growers, or those interested in learning about this fruit crop. Included in the conference is a tour to two area blueberry sites.

“Blueberries are a fruit crop with huge commercial potential, as well as an excellent fruit crop for home fruit production”, said Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “The blueberry industry is relatively young in Missouri. The first blueberries in southwest Missouri were planted in the 1970’s”

The cost to attend the workshop is $50 for the educational sessions on Oct. 19, and $50 for the blueberry tour on Oct. 20. Advanced registration is requested by Friday, Oct. 12. For more information on the conference or to register, call MU Extension at (417) 881-8909.