Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What is Your Extension Story?

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension has been improving lives for generations. While the topics and methods have changed over the years, the impact that research-based information can have on an individual has not.

David Burton, a civic communication specialist with MU Extension, says his first contact with the "extension service" was when he was 10-years old and trying to grow pumpkins.

“My grandfather had a big garden and he gave me some space to start my pumpkin business. He also helped me plant several hills and water the pumpkins during the hot summer,” said Burton.

Things were going great, and Burton was seeing dollar signs as the small pumpkins formed, until bugs showed up on the vines. That is when his grandfather suggested visiting the county extension office to get information on what to do.

“My parents drove me to Springfield and I went in to the old extension office on Boonville. I still remember all of the file cabinets full of publications that lined the walls in that office,” said Burton. “Someone in the office located an extension guide sheet for me on raising pumpkins and one on dealing with pumpkin pests.”

The publication was informative, research-based, and answered his questions.

What was the result of the information MU Extension provided?

“I went to the MFA store in Ash Grove and spent some money on a pesticide to deal with the problem. That fall I made, what seemed like a lot of money to me, selling pumpkins out of our garage for jack-o-lanterns and pies,” said Burton

MU Extension helped Burton solve a problem and make money back in 1976 and county extension offices are still doing the same thing today.

Extension offices still have resources and experts on topics related to gardening, agriculture, starting a business, youth development (like 4-H), community development and other topics. 

“One of the biggest changes is that MU Extension’s popular guide sheets can all be found online ( That sure would have saved me a lot of time back in 1976,” said Burton.

So what is your MU Extension story? Share your first experience with MU Extension by sending Burton an email at with the details, or become a Facebook fan at and share your story with others.


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