Welcome to the University of Missouri Extension Needs Assessment Hub!

 About the Project

In the fall of 2016, Dr. Marshall Stewart, Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement, launched a plan to create a collaborative vision for University of Missouri Extension. The first step along this journey was a series of listen and learn Tours throughout the state with faculty, staff, extension council members, partners, elected officials, community members, and other stakeholders. The objectives of these meetings was to hear about ideas, goals and concerns from a variety of perspectives.

Next, a comprehensive assessment of the state was called for to identify needs and the capacity of MU Extension to meet those needs. It was determined that this assessment should include both quantitative and qualitative research, as well as a third-party independent review. The projects goals include an examination of the current and emerging needs in the state of Missouri, allowing the University to look forward and focus its energies and resources toward creating products, programs, and most importantly meeting the needs of people in the state of Missouri.

This website serves as a resource for that needs assessment, allowing users to explore some of the project’s findings in your own way; the way that is most meaningful and applicable to your life.

 Data Domains

Choose a data domain to explore key issues, view data reports, and find resources.

 Identifying Emerging Issues – Contributions

The following questions were submitted by the University of Missouri community to help frame and identify key issues across each of the data domains.  If you would like to contribute to this process, please submit you questions to the Quantitative Needs Assessment team.



  • What are the characteristics of our workforce? How do these differ by age group, race/ethnicity, gender, geography?
  • For which occupations does Missouri need the most workers? For which occupations does Missouri have a surplus of workers?
  • How do we encourage work and organizational skills early on? How do we encourage entrepreneurship?
  • How far are people driving for jobs?  What types of jobs are most likely to be available in each region of the state?



  • What are the highest levels of education attained by age group, race/ethnicity, gender, geography? How have these changed over time?
  • To what extent do those who grow up in Missouri attend state colleges/universities/technical schools? To what extent do those who receive education/training at Missouri institutes of higher education stay in Missouri?
  • To what extent do Missouri citizens demonstrate soft skills? Are there differences by age group, race/ethnicity, gender, geography? How have these changed over time?
  • What educational experiences, formal and non-formal, are related to successful development of soft skills?
  • How do we create effective job shadowing or mentoring programs?

  • What is the educational attainment level of citizens in each region of the state (% for each region)?


  • What is the impact of urban/suburban life on the environment as opposed to farming (urban/rural divide)?
  • What data do we have on air and water quality, and how can that data be put in a meaningful format for everyday citizens (ie ranking a city’s environmental health)?
  • How resilient are our local environments? What is the geographic variation across Missouri in terms of management plans, soil health, wildlife corridors, and ecological diversity?
  • What factors contribute to environmental vulnerability? How can we visualize those risk factors? At what level of geography (watershed vs. county)
  • Where do natural factors contribute to environmental vulnerability? Examples might include erodible land, slope, drought, and floor hazard.
  • Where do anthropological factors contribute to environmental vulnerability? Examples might include impervious surface, CAFOs/AFOs, wastewater treatment facilities, Superfund sites, air pollution, and impaired waterways.
Environment and Health
  • What are the environmental impacts on health, and where are natural environments negatively affecting health outcomes? Examples might include high heat index days and particulate matter exposure.
  • What are the environmental impacts on health, and where are natural environments positively affecting health outcomes? Examples might include proximity to parks and recreation areas, and tree canopy cover.
  • Where do Missourians lack equity in access to “healthy” environmental resources?. Where is environmental justice a concern in Missouri?


Mental Health

  • Can we develop a “Mental Health First Aid”? How can we create a set of resources to help those in the workplace and organizations recognize potential issues?
  • What are the most prevalent mental health problems/disorders by age group, race/ethnicity, gender, geography? How have these changed over time? Important topic areas to address include Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse.
  • How happy and secure are citizens (by age group, race/ethnicity, gender, geography)? What factors are associated with happiness and security (the positive side of mental health)?
  • What is the cost of mental illness to the state of Missouri each year?  Where are mental health care service providers located throughout the state? How far are people traveling to access mental health care?
Access to Health Care
  • What are the opportunities or barriers of tele-health?
  • Where are there transportation challenges in accessing healthcare and how can these be met?
  • Is the state properly resourced to care for an aging population (access to long-term care facilities, home-based care)?
  • What are the most significant non-transportation barriers to accessing health care?  Examples may include information, culture, insurance, income, and quality.



  • What data do we have on local food sources (i.e. food deserts, fresh food for schools, nursing homes etc.) and what are ways we can promote better food security through either infrastructure changes to communities such as farmer’s markets, distributors etc.

  • How can we drill down through the data for simple food nutrition labels that have a definite meaning?  Can we provide a resource so someone would know that if they bought a can of beans this food is good value (meaning healthy and economical based on price per nutrition) and soda is poor or no value (meaning not healthy or economical)?


Agricultural Technology
  • Where are producers adopting technology?  What are barriers to adopting new technology?
  • How do we increase access to economic incentives through technology?
  • How can the agricultural industry use technology to be more efficient / increase output with limited input?
Economic Sustainability
  • What is the agricultural industry’s contribution to the Missouri economy?  How does this break down?
  • How can we manage financial risk and ensure strong farm income?
  • How can we encourage robust enterprise mix?
  • How do we ensure inter-generational farm transfer?
Environmental Sustainability
  • What data do we have on soil health that can be used to predict sustainability of food production? What data or management practices promote/or are detrimental to soil health? How do we get farmers and food consumers to care about soil health so it is a driving force in decision making?
  • How do we encourage conservation practices and reduce the use of non-renewable inputs?
  • How to we increase water quality while maintaining robust farm production?
Vibrant Rural Communities
  • What are the causes and implications of rural population outflow?
  • How can we support rural communities in providing better agricultural jobs and/or alternative income sources?
  • What are other quality of life concerns in rural areas?  How do we increase general quality of life?
Consumer Outreach
  • How do we educate the public about today’s agriculture?
  • How do we better connect urban and rural Missourians?
  • What food markets are growing?  Contracting?  How do we support/develop new markets?