Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Plugging Old Wells -- the how to and possible help

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates there may be as many as one abandoned well or cistern for every 80 acres of land in the state. That translates to over 4,700 old wells or cisterns in most counties of southern Missouri.

"These old wells, which were once an asset, can become a serious liability," said Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Read more about what you can do at:

For those of you wondering if there is financial assistance to help with plugging abandoned well, the answer is yes, some times, in some counties.

The nearest Soil and Water Conservation District office will cost-share on well decommissioning. In Greene and Webster County, the incentive payment is $400. 

To check, people can go to http://swcd.mo.gov/, click on Landowner Assistance, then look for the N351  Well Decommissioning practice, or call their office.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Greene County Extension Begins Playing the Great Game of Business

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beginning at the council meeting on April 24, 2015, the Greene County Extension Council and staff are going to begin playing the Great Game of Business (http://greatgame.com).

According to David Burton, civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension and the county program director in Greene County, this will become the new management system for the local office and will guide efforts to get Greene County Extension operations back in the black.

“There are several great models for this style of management already in Greene County,” said Burton. “The council is going to be using this open-book system of management and learning from the Greene County Commission and county government, Big Brothers-Big Sisters in Springfield and some other practitioners, like SRC and Paul Mueller Company.”


In 2012, Burton received the University of Missouri Extension “Carl N. Scheneman Excellence in Teaching Award.” That honor came with $2,000 to be used exclusively for his professional development.  Since that time, Burton had been looking at various conferences but nothing fit with his schedule, budget or professional development needs.

“I was reading the Springfield Business Journal for March 9 and saw an article about a local non-profit using the Great Game of Business,” said Burton. He was familiar with the open-book management taught in the Great Game because he attended the first few sessions when the Greene County Commission began using it.

“Back at that time I talked with Patrick Carpenter (vice-president of the Great Game of Business) about the program. Greene County government was the first non-traditional business to look to the game for financial advice. I didn’t think it was the right time for our county extension program and we were working on other efforts things, including a business plan,” said Burton.

The cost of training with the Great Game of Business was prohibitive for the local extension budget according to Burton.

“I came to believe the time was right now to get started in The Game and I was willing to use my award monies to get training and help our council, staff and specialists, to begin playing the game,” said Burton.

Since taking the training in mid-April, Burton says he believes the Great Game of Business has several benefits for the local office: improved teamwork, engagement of staff and council members to raise funds and generate revenue, and team building.

“This goes beyond having a business plan. This gets all staff and volunteers involved with understanding our financials and making decisions that make financial sense,” said Burton.


The Great Game of Business, Inc. was established to help companies implement the open-book management practices outlined in the book The Great Game of Business. It is the educational wing of SRC Holdings Corporation in Springfield, where the business philosophy of open-book management was developed by its President and CEO, Jack Stack, more than 30 years ago.

Originally established to handle a high-demand for company tours and visits after the book’s release, The Great Game of Business, Inc. is now the largest and most well-known resource for open-book management training and education.

The Great Game of Business is not a system. It is not a methodology. It is not a philosophy, or an attitude, or a set of techniques. It is all of those things and more. One of the misconceptions about The Great Game of Business is that it is synonymous with being financially transparent. While transparency is important, sharing financials is only a small fraction of the entire process.


Keep up with what Greene County Extension is doing to implement The Great Game of Business online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene under the tab “Great Game.”

Council has already kicked-off a mini-game as part of the Give Ozarks campaign and Burton says he anticipates another mini-game this summer.

“We also need a few months to develop a scorecard for our finances and to get council and staff trained in what we are doing,” said Burton. “I’m excited because I think this provides a real opportunity to engage our entire staff and council in working toward getting our office back in the black and moving forward.”

One-hundred percent of Greene County residents can benefit from the economically sound advice and unbiased, research-based information and education available from University of Missouri Extension programs in Greene County. Specialists with MU Extension offer educational programs that make lifelong learning fun and help people help themselves. More information is available at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene or by calling the MU Extension office in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Does Greene County Extension Still Support 4-H?

Submitted Question: “I note you included 4-H youth in your fundraising emails and materials as an area that extension helps. I have been told that the Greene County Extension does not help the 4-H youth any more.  What areas does the Greene County Extension help the 4-H youth?” -- Greene County 4-H parent

Answered by David Burton, Greene County Extension county program director

We don't have a 4-H specialist headquartered in Greene County anymore but the local office and council does a lot to fund and support 4-H as an official Greene County Extension program. In other words, the local council still provides serious support for 4-H programming. Every county 4-H program needs a sponsoring extension council to exist. Since this question has been asked, it reminds me that I need to remind 4-H families about what the local extension council and office is doing in support of Greene County 4-H.

Examples of 4-H things the local office funded in 2014:
4-H postage for local requests.
Free Storage for 4-H supplies.
Staff position to manage 4-H enrollment fees.
Mileage for all 4-H specialist travel in Greene County (nearly $1000 last year).
Council oversight of club audits and finances required by law.
Local council voted, supported and provided in kind support for two 4-H interns last summer and fall that worked with Greene County 4-H clubs and at the fair. We are doing the same thing this coming summer and fall and those internships are through the Greene County office.
Council and staff are currently working to build a 4-H endowment.
I wrote a grant to fund a Greene County 4-H educator in the county who would work with existing clubs and help establish new clubs. We are on round two of the grant and the local office would fund all overhead for that position.
I am also implementing The Great Game of Business in our local office as an operating model with the goal to generate revenue above our operating costs so we can move toward funding a 4-H position. That is our priority. The last four years we have operated in the red despite having a fundraising campaign. Five years ago we finished the year $45,000 in the red. Last year we were just $6,000 in the read but our reserve funds are nearly gone.
Media and marketing in support of 4-H programs and fundraisers which gets an audience to local events, like the pie supper, which allows the foundation to fund 4-H projects. This also includes media support for 4-H programs like the Dairy Cow Camp, summer camp and others. The staff and tools needed for the regional news service are all supported out of the Greene County Extension Center.
Some office and administrative support for the 4-H Foundation.

I suspect there are a few other things too but this was off the top of my head.

Individuals who want to donate to Greene County Extension’s “Give Ozarks” campaign but do not want to give online May 5 need to get their checks to the Greene County Extension Center, 2400 S. Scenic, Springfield, Mo. 65807, by April 24. This will make it possible for the checks to count toward the Give Ozarks totals. Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, business and community development. Your monetary gifts will help make it possible for these community educational efforts to continue.

Please make a donation from midnight to midnight on May 5 at www.giveozarks.org/2015/greene-county-extension in support of Greene County Extension 4-H youth, horticulture, master naturalists, master gardener, human development, nutrition and agricultural educational programs that will take place in the county this year. Our goal for the Give Ozarks campaign is $10,000. Every online donation we can get will move us closer to the goal and give our organization an opportunity to earn some of the incentive dollars being shared by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

Making a secure donation is simple. On May 5, donors can log onto www.giveozarks.org/2015/greene-county-extension to complete a basic credit-card donation. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS. Whether you give or not, please share this information with your friends and coworkers!