Monday, September 15, 2014

Two Stone County Farm Families Honored by Extension Council

Agriculture is a $25 million business in the county, supported by both large and small farm enterprises and specialized niche agribusinesses.  In an effort to recognize successful farm families in the county, the Stone County Extension Council recently honored two farm families with an evening dinner.  The event was sponsored by First Home Savings Bank.

Rick and Janie Blair of Galena were this year’s State Fair Farm Family representing Stone County.  Each year the fair recognizes farm families from each county based on recommendations from the local extension councils.  The council selected the Blairs this year since they have run a successful dairy farm in the county since 1973.

The Blair farm is located west of Galena and is now combined with a neighboring farm owned by their son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Megan Blair.  The farms consist of 300 acres of land where forages are raised for pasture, hay and baleage.  The farms use Winterking rye and Marshall ryegrass for spring and fall pasture and green graze and Marshall ryegrass for baleage.

The Blairs have three grown children including Jill, who is married to Kevin Garoutte, Holly, who is married to Bryan Harmon, and, Matthew, married to Megan.  The Blairs enjoy their three granddaughters, Lauren Garroutte and Shay and Addison Blair.  They also depend heavily on Clint Killman for help with the farm work.

The second family honored recently was Tom and Tammy Wiley of Springfield.  The Wiley’s farm located near Crane is the most recent that has been recognized as a Missouri Century Farm and is referred to as the Wiley Red Rock Farm.  The 180 acre farm has been in Tom’s family since 1914. The farm was first owned by Tom’s great grandfather, Almon Maben (A.M.) Wiley.

A certificate and a Century Farm sign was presented at the dinner for the family to proudly display on the farm.  

Photo Cutline: The Wiley Century Farm Family photo was taken at the dinner in Galena.  L to R include John & Mary Wiley (who are relatives of Tom Wiley with ties to the farm), Tammy Wiley (Tom’s wife) and Tom Wiley.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MU Extension’s Regional News Service Earns $2 Million in Media Coverage and 75 Million Impressions Annually

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Based on local research, the Southwest Region News Service has been generating media coverage valued at more than $2 million annually for University of Missouri Extension since 2007.

“It takes a variety of tools to generate that much media coverage and to have over 75 million readers annually,” said David Burton, civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Southwest Region News Service is a program of MU Extension’s community development program. It is also a team effort that involves many extension specialists in southwest Missouri.

“The goal is to connect Missourian’s with local extension resources. But in the process of doing that, members of the public learn valuable information,” said Burton. “Our annual survey of readers demonstrates that this communication effort spreads the MU Extension message and impacts people’s lives with new research.”

A poll conducted in 2013 found 96 percent of subscribers to the emailed news service increased their awareness of MU Extension programs. Over 82 percent said the news service provided information that caused them to do something differently, and 70 percent were able to give examples of how those changes impacted them or their family.


Southwest Region News Service has two audiences with the primary one being the news media in southwest Missouri.

“Everything in the news service is done with this target audience in mind,” said Burton. “When local journalists receive and use our content, our readership increases beyond our email blasts.”

Members of the public who subscribe to receive this information by e-mail are the secondary audience according to Burton. As of November 2013, over 9,300 members of the public receive this news service by email along with nearly 600 journalists.

Based on a 2013 demographic study of the email audience for the news service this is what is known: Missouri residents comprise 92 percent of the readership; one percent are international readers; seven percent are in neighboring states with Kansas leading the way followed by Arkansas and then Oklahoma.

The percentage of total individual readers from each county are as follows: Greene, 42.5, Christian, 15; Taney 5.8; Lawrence, 5.5; Webster, 4.6; Stone, 4.4; Jasper, 4.2; Newton, 4; Polk, 2.6; Dallas, 2.3; Dade, 2.2; McDonald, 2; Barton, 2; Cedar 1.5; and Barry, 1.4.


The Southwest Region News Service operates out of the Greene County Extension center and uses a variety of techniques and tools to reach about 300,000 southwest Missouri residents every week with research-based MU Extension information.

Some of the tools used include an e-mailed weekly news service which reaches nearly 9,000 individuals a week. The use of social media like Facebook, a blog and YouTube reach an additional 10,000-plus people per week. Three weekly columns in urban newspapers reach an audience of over 150,000 each week.

Regular interviews of MU Extension specialists on Springfield and Joplin television and radio stations expand the weekly audience further (with an estimated 40,000 households reached). In addition, over 120,000 people each week read printed versions of the media releases sent out via the weekly Southwest Region News Service in a variety of print publications in southwest Missouri and beyond.

“We don’t place a dollar value on the social media and online contacts, but we have documented that the annual value of the print and television media exceeds $2 million a year,” said Burton. “When you consider the fact that back in 1998, the media coverage had an annual value of $40,000 a year you can see that this team effort has really grown and has helped communicate to the public the various programs offered by MU Extension.”


Southwest Region News Service provides weekly educational news from MU Extension in southwest Missouri. Individuals and extension council members can subscribe to the news service online at Readers are also able to unsubscribe themselves from the email service.

Social media options for accessing extension information specific to southwest Missouri include and

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Two Springfield-Area Historic Schools to Celebrate Milestones with Special Celebrations Sept. 20 and Sept. 21

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Two historic one-room schools – one in Springfield and the other near Marshfield – will celebrate significant milestones on Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 respectively.

University of Missouri Extension is helping to promote these events because both historic schools are members of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance.

“Interest in protecting and recognizing and restoring one-room schools in Missouri is growing and gaining national attention,” said David Burton, civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension. “The goal of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance has always been to work with groups and owners to maintain these historic buildings and develop them as rural community centers.”


A “Flag Raising and Ribbon Cutting” will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 20 for Liberty School located in the Gray-Campbell Farmstead at Nathanael Greene Park, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield. The grand opening is part of the two-day “1860’s Lifestyle Exposition” taking place at the farmstead on Sept. 20-21.

This summer, portions of Liberty School were moved and incorporated into a restoration project that added a reconstructed Liberty School to the farmstead. The one-room school is now going to be used to depict the educational heritage of this region to visitors.

“Many years of fundraising and planning have led up to this day.  Some of those who worked diligently on this project will not be here to share this moment, but we want to recognize their support and honor our forefathers who laid the groundwork for our education at this special event,” said Norma Tolbert, chairman of Saving Liberty.

The maintenance of the school and future programming requires continued support. More information about the Liberty School project, including a fundraising brochure, can be found online at under the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance.


The 100th Anniversary of Greenwood School (a one-room school near Marshfield) will be celebrated starting at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.

Items from the one room school, like books, maps, desks, pictures and newspapers clippings from past years will be on display. B# Entertainers will provide music dating back 100 years, and the celebration will feature children's games from 100 years ago.

This community celebration will also include special one-minute talks from people who attended a one-room school as a young child. There will be light refreshments and horse/buggy rides. Be sure to bring your friends and neighbors and a lawn chair.

Greenwood school is located at 1377 Greenwood Rd, Strafford, Mo. (which is the corner of Greenwood and Whispering Oaks Road in Webster County). For more information visit the school online at


Membership in the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance is opened to local history enthusiasts and owners of one-room schools in the state of Missouri. A membership fee of $40 covers the cost of a quarterly newsletter as well as other educational resources, programs, networking and email blasts. Membership fees also make planning for future programs and resources possible.

More information about the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance, including a membership form, can be found online at The website also includes the mission and vision of the Missouri Historic Schools Alliance.

MU Extension Offers Online Course for Board Members of Nonprofits

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

Source: Connie Mefford, 660-438-5012; Georgia Stuart-Simmons, 660-747-3193

WARSAW, Mo.– University of Missouri Extension is offering online training for board members of nonprofit organizations.

“Serving on a board is a little different from volunteering for an event or activity,” says Connie Mefford, associate extension professional and community development specialist in Benton County. “I think many people don’t understand their legal responsibility.”

While board members can bring valuable skills and knowledge, they might not be ready to deal with issues such as conflicts of interest, maintaining minutes and other required documents, compensation of paid employees, and proper handling of grants, donations and other income, Mefford said.

Bringing new board members up to speed can be difficult and expensive for small nonprofits, especially in rural communities.  “It’s hard enough to find time to go to meetings and go to events,” she said, noting that volunteer board members for small nonprofits usually juggle service with full-time jobs, family life and other commitments.

She teamed up with fellow extension community development specialists Georgia Stuart-Simmons and Larry Dickerson to develop the online course, “Build Your Board.”

Mefford says they designed the course to accommodate the busy schedules of board members and the tight budgets of small nonprofit service agencies such as food pantries.

Oversight by an engaged board of directors can be critical to the continued fiscal health of a small nonprofit, she says.

“Board members are often not really involved in the finances,” Mefford said. “But if the organization begins to fail, the responsibility falls on them. If they had been more involved, they might have been able to provide some guidance.”

The course consists of 16 downloadable lessons covering such topics as finances, teamwork, conflict, meetings, planning, paperwork and avoiding crises. Participants can ask questions and discuss lessons with instructors by email.

Lessons take about 10-15 minutes to complete. Participants have three months to complete the training. Those who pass a test at the end of the course receive a certificate of completion.

To register, go to We would like to give you an opportunity to provide a new educational resource for nonprofit organizations in your community.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Garlic Workshop Offered by Extension Sept. 17

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Join University of Missouri Extension for a “Garlic Workshop” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17 at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield, Mo.

The workshop will include a presentation by Patrick Byers, a University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist, on growing garlic both commercially and for home gardeners.

Data will be presented on trial varieties grown at the Botanical Center Gardens and the evening will conclude with a garlic tasting.

There will also be garlic for sale just in time for fall planting.

There is a cost of $6 per person for the program and advance registration is requested. The registration form can be found online at


For more information about the program call Patrick Byers at (417) 881-8909 or contact him by email at Registration is also possible in person at the Greene County Extension, 2400 S. Scenic Avenue, Springfield, MO 65807.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Regional News Service Headlines and Stories for 9-5-14

Headlines from the Southwest Region News Service (which features MU Extension programs and news in southwest Missouri) are how available for the week. The headlines for this week are:

  • Xeriscaping Offers a Low Maintenance, Resource Efficient Way to Garden 
  • Dinner to Celebrate 30 Years of Greene County Master Gardeners Oct. 3 is Open to the Public
  • Learn About "Sources of Finance" for Your Business with MU Extension and Ozark Chamber of Commerce Sept. 17
  • State Fair Farm Family Day Celebrates 56 Years; Honors Farms in Greene and Lawrence County
  • Whether it is Possible to Safely Graze Cattle in Fields with Johnsongrass Has Become a More Commonly Asked Question Says Extension Livestock Specialist
  • "Food Entrepreneurship: A New Way of Thinking about Local Food and Jobs" in Nevada Sept. 19
  • Fall Sown Annuals Offer Options for High Quality Forage Production Says MU Extension Specialist 
  • Fall Fertility in Cool Season Pastures
  • 11th Annual Fall Gardening Workshop in Kimberling City Sept. 27
  • Podworms Feeding Seen in First Crop Soybeans
  • 4-H Event Sept. 21 will Honor "Best of the Best" from Southwest Missouri and Feature Cake Wars

Access this week’s headlines at: