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Commission hears MU extension report

The St. Francois County Commission covered several items of business and received a quarterly update on the county’s MU Extension Program when it met in regular session Tuesday morning at the courthouse annex in Farmington.

The report, given by Kendra Graham, field specialist in livestock, was presented on a slightly different date than usual, according to Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher, who said, “I asked [SFC MU Extension] to move their report from the first meeting of the term to the second meeting. We are always busy at the start of the term, and this will be fairer to the extension.”

Graham began her report by welcoming Janet Braun as a new team member who started her new position with county extension in August.

“She brings a wealth of 4-H knowledge serving as 4-H leader, youth program associate in Ste. Genevieve County, kindergarten teacher and now our 4-H youth specialist serving St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Washington and Crawford counties,” Graham said. “[Youth Program Associate] Kayce Amsden and Janet attended a back-to-school fair at North County Primary School on Aug. 15. They handed out 60 flyers to interested families and answered many questions.

“On Aug. 6, Standford Spokes bike riding students stopped in Farmington to do science activities with kids. We had 35 youth sign up in two days to participate. Janet has been working with shooting sports leaders in St. Francois County. The program has four trained leaders in shotgun, rifle and air pistol. On Aug. 14, Kayce traveled to conduct the Missouri State Fair Show-Me STEM Day, where she set up multiple demonstration booths. STEM supplies are available for clubs and leaders to use.”

Graham noted that two new 4-H clubs have started in St. Francois County, which brings the club total to six, with many kids involved in various project meetings.

Next, Graham spoke about 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council (SNAC) clubs. These clubs focus on projects including nutrition, gardening, and/or physical activity. SNAC Club members engage in a youth-led advocacy project to promote healthy habits in their community and/or teach younger youth about healthy habits. Membership preference is given to underserved audiences and 4th-12th grade levels.

“The 35 SNAC Club members have been meeting every Tuesday since March, growing and caring for plants that fill nine garden beds at the Farmington Community Garden,” Graham said. “We have donated lots of fruits and vegetables to the Farmington OAKS senior center.

“The members were also able to build an accessible garden bed for those with mobility limitations. They are wrapping up the garden project and will hold a ribbon cutting at the accessible garden bed they built last spring.”

Graham also mentioned that the 4-H enrollment year kicks off in October.

“To date, there are 139 4-H members and volunteers enrolled in the four counties, with expected numbers to reach nearly 630,” she said.

On the subject of SFC MU Extension livestock programming, Graham spoke about the SFC MU Extension Show Me Select Heifer Program.

“Farm visits were made on heifers enrolled for the fall sale season,” she said. “The next sale is Dec. 2 in Jackson and Dec. 9 in Farmington. Sale numbers are low this fall because of the high input cost, drought conditions reducing pasture and hay as well as the lower prices of cattle at the market. Over 90 heifers have been enrolled for the next sale season in St. Francois County alone and 600 in the counties I serve.”

Other livestock items Graham reported on was nitrate testing of susceptible forages being heavily utilized in the SFC MU Extension office this summer, the Washington County Fair had 44 youth exhibitors showing 46 steers, 37 hogs, two sheep and two goats, with participation growing every year, and the FFA field day at MU Extension’s Wurdack research center near Steelville reached 600 high school students.

She also spoke about her partnership with state and regional specialists on a biosecurity grant.

“We had a mobile biosecurity trailer built and will be traveling the state educating producers on proper sanitation and biosecurity practices on their farms,” she said. “I have also been a part of trainings related to disaster situations and composting research in the event of a livestock disease outbreak.”

Other actions taken by the county commissioners included approval to increase internet speed at the county jail to 500 megabits per second (mps) and adding the position of maintenance technician II to the list of county employees. There is no candidate to fill the position at this time, and the pay rate will not be determined until one becomes available.

Also, Sheriff’s Department Fleet Manager Buck Copeland announced that four new police cars OK’d for purchase almost a year ago have finally arrived at the Sam Scism Ford dealership. The cost of the vehicles — $34,828 per police car — will be paid out of the Law Enforcement Sales Tax (LEST) budget.

The next meeting of the St. Francois County Commission will take place at 10 a.m. Oct. 25 on the third floor of the county courthouse annex in Farmington.

Kendra Graham of the St. Francois County MU Extension program gives her quarterly report at Tuesday morning's county commissioners meeting.

Kendra Graham of the St. Francois County MU Extension program gives her quarterly report at Tuesday morning’s county commissioners meeting.

St. Francois County Commissioner Harold Gallaher, center, listens intently as Kendra Graham of the St. Francois County MU Extension presents her quarterly report.

St. Francois County Commissioner Harold Gallaher, center, listens intently as Kendra Graham of the St. Francois County MU Extension presents her quarterly report.

Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-783-9667 or

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