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Monday, January 18, 2021

Registration Ends 2/3/2021 for DEI Learning for Leaders Event

Since 1984 the third Monday in January is set apart from every other Monday as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to celebrate the birth and life of a leader who served as chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement. Please join the Cooperative Extension System/ECOP Office to remember Dr. King’s legacy and honor his dream. Normal office hours resume on January 19, 2021. 

Attention - To all Land-grant 1890 Extension Administrators and 1862 and 1994 Extension Directors who have not yet registered for the Learning for Leaders event, Improving Inclusivity in Our Institutions and ECOP, on Friday, February 5, 2021, 3-4:30 p.m. ET, registration IS required. Contact Sandy Ruble to register and receive connection details before close of business February 3, 2021. This is required. Why attend?

“Please plan to join me at the Learning for Leaders Session on February 5th.  Advancing our understanding, sharing successes, and challenging ourselves on how we embrace diversity, inclusivity and equity within our own organizations is critical to the success of the Cooperative Extension System.  This session is designed to support the work of Extension Directors around these critically important issues.” – Dr. Karl Martin, University of Wisconsin

“Given our strong Extension network and our passion for meaningful change, it’s time to combine our expertise and experiences to become part of the solution. I encourage you influential leaders to join us for a rich dialogue as we seek to advance the cause for diversity, equity and inclusion.” – Dr. Carolyn Williams, Prairie View A&M University (Texas)

“Dr. Archibeque-Engle gave me several things to think about, in addition to great examples from her own life story. I look forward to working in this upcoming session with her and especially with my fellow colleagues, to implement new ways to deliver vibrant, inclusive learning programs locally. I might only need to go as far as my own diverse network of colleagues, Directors and Administrators, to grasp and establish real change.” – Dr. Wendy Powers, University of California

National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NCFAR) Annual Report Released - NCFAR’s vital mission is to sustain and increase federal funding in food and agricultural research, Extension and education (RE&E). NCFAR leads through unique roles—the only coalition in which ‘Customers’— stakeholders who need and benefit from RE&E outcomes—are the leading voices in making an effective case for federal funding; provides a common forum and a unified voice, for diverse stakeholders; the only coalition whose focused mission is advocacy for federal funding for BOTH inter- and intra-mural food and agriculture RE&E. Read the report here. ECOP is a long-standing member of NCFAR and regularly contribute to the Lunch-n-Learn Series. Jason Henderson, Purdue University, is ECOP's appointed member of NCFAR Board of Directors. 

USDA Releases U.S. Ag Innovation Strategy Summary Report and Interactive Dashboard - The U.S. Ag Innovation Strategy and Dashboard was developed to provide a vision of Discovery Goals and to ensure a transparent and inclusive approach to addressing both challenges and opportunities in U.S. Agriculture consistent with the goal of the Ag Innovation Agenda to increase production/productivity by 40% and reduce the environmental footprint in half by 2050. The RFI process -- designed to hear the voice of the customer – provided a rich and compelling vision for how innovation and advanced technology can truly transform agriculture for the future. A complement to the strategy is the USDA Science Blueprint, which outlines the 5 key themes we believe USDA must expand as capabilities to bring many of the Discovery Goals to life. The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) has formed cross-agency theme teams to formulate the narrative, priorities, and strategies to build these capabilities. OCS will also be the home of the U.S. Ag Innovation Strategy for next versions and implementation oversight.

2019 SNAP-Ed Report Now Available - The 2019 SNAP-Ed through the Land-Grant University System Report and Infographic are now available here. The report features the outcomes and impacts of LGU SNAP-Ed programs representing 42 institutions and 37 states.

APLU Releases 2020 Annual Report - APLU has released its 2020 report, outlining the association’s work to support public universities in the midst of the pandemic, including through major advocacy efforts in Washington throughout the year. The report also details APLU's work to help an array of projects and initiatives centered on the three pillars of its agenda: expanding access and improving equity and student success to deliver the innovative workforce of tomorrow; advancing and promoting research and discovery to improve society, foster economic growth, and address global challenges; and building healthy, prosperous, equitable, and vibrant communities locally and globally.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Extension Leaders Explore Steps Toward Inclusive and Equitable Organizations

At Friday's Learning for Leaders meeting with participation by 31 leaders (1862, 1890 and 1994), from 21 states, Guam and American Samoa, participants learned the interdependent steps for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. ECOP Chair Chris Watkins, Cornell University, encourages his colleagues from across the System to familiarize themselves with the materials listed below and join him on Friday, February 5, 3-4:30 PM ET, for the next Learning for Leaders session, Improving Inclusivity in Our Institutions and ECOP.  Contact Assistant Director Sandy Ruble for details on required registration.
-- YouTube Recording
-- Slides found here

2021 Outlook for Cooperative Extension System's Health Initiative - All Land-grant University Health Leaders, Extension Deans, Directors and Administrators and Friends are invited to register for a "State of Health" webinar for Wednesday, January 13, 2021, Noon-1:00 PM Eastern Time. 2020 was an exciting year for the Cooperative Extension System, particularly for its work related to health and well-being. Responding to a global pandemic, expanding the portfolio of programming related to mental health, continuing the extraordinary work in the area of food and nutrition, and working with scores of new partners was just a beginning! Distinguished panelists representing various components of the Cooperative Extension System including USDA-NIFA, National 4-H Council, the eXtension Foundation, and ECOP, will present the latest information about the partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the work of the Health Innovation Task Force, and the expanding health presence on Connect Extension. Register in advance at Webinar Registration - Zoom to either attend and/or receive the link to the recording

USDA Announces Castille as New NIFA Director - Dr. Carrie Castille has been named as the new, permanent director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. She started her role as NIFA director on Monday, January 4, 2021, and will be the first female NIFA director in a non-acting role. Dr. Castille has a wide range of experience with the agency as a NIFA stakeholder, a faculty member at a partner land-grant university, as a USDA colleague, and as a leader in both the Vilsack and Perdue USDA administrations. Having worked with NIFA in so many different aspects gives her a unique view of the organization and the customers served. 

USDA Seeks Members for Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture - The USDA is seeking members for a new 12-person advisory committee on urban agriculture, including two representatives from an institution of higher education or Extension. This is part of a broader effort to focus on the needs of urban farmers. including two representatives from an institution of higher education or Extension. The committee will advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the development of policies and outreach relating to urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices as well as identify any barriers to urban agriculture. Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified individuals, with a broad spectrum of expertise. Self-nominations are also welcome. Read more here. and respond by March 5, 2021.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 - Updated jointly by the USDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years, the Dietary Guidelines provides science-based advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, help reduce risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 is the first set of guidelines that provide guidance for healthy dietary patterns by life stage, from birth through older adulthood, including pregnant and lactating women. To develop the Dietary Guidelines, the Departments built upon the previous edition of the Dietary Guidelines with updates grounded in the scientific review of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, along with comments from the public and input from Federal agencies.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Year End Wishes From the National Office

The ECOP Monday Minute will be on hiatus on December 28th and January 4th and will return on January 11th. The National Office is closed December 24th and reopens January 4th

To Extension Directors and Administrators and System Friends,
Throughout this extremely challenging year, Extension has done what it does best-serve the people of this nation both thoughtfully and selflessly. As 2020 comes to a close, we are reminded of what it takes to truly lead the critical work we do, and we thank you for your leadership and dedication to the enduring mission of Extension. We wish you and your loved ones a safe and pleasant holiday and may the New Year be kind to each of you.
Caroline (Crocoll) Henney, Sandy Ruble, and Roger Rennekamp

Learning for Leaders Coming Friday, January 8th - Last Monday, December 14ththis list of Extension Directors and Administrators and 1994 Extension Leaders were invited to register for 2 virtual conversations on Racial Equity in Leadership. 
-- 1/8/2021, 3-4:30 p.m. ET - "Inclusive and Equitable Organizations – An Evidence Based Model"
-- 2/5/2021, 3-4:30 p.m. ET - Working Title: "Improving Inclusivity in Our Institutions and ECOP"
To learn more and register, look for the email message from sent on behalf ECOP Chair Chris Watkins, subject: Dates for Racial Equity Leadership Sessions. Contact Sandy Ruble to answer any questions. 

Funding Opportunity Follow-up
- To review Friday's webinar regarding a pending funding opportunity with Verizon to scale the 4-H Tech Changemakers program, individuals must register to receive the link to the recording here

Cooperative Extension Helps Communities Mask-Up - This fall, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in partnership with USPS and the National Council of Textile Organizations offered to provide free face coverings to community-based organizations that would be willing to distribute them to community members. Twenty-four land grant institutions, including three 1890s and one territory ordered, received, and distributed a total of 441,000 masks to residents of their respective states. Mask were provided to food banks, childcare facilities, SNAP-Ed and EFNEP program participants, farm workers, and 4-H families. Several states engaged young people as health ambassadors to distribute masks to as many as fifty additional community-based organizations. By utilizing its distributed network, Cooperative Extension placed masks in the hands of many of the nation’s most under-resourced individuals and their family members. For more information about this effort, contact Roger Rennekamp, Extension Health Director at

eXtension Fellows for Health and Well-Being - Erin Yelland, LaToya O’Neal, and Caitlin O’Brien have been selected to serve in one-year fellowships dedicated to advancing Extension’s work in health and well-being. Yelland is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at Kansas State University with a specialty in gerontology. O’Neal is a medical sociologist by training and is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Health and Wellness at the University of Florida. O’Brien is the Director of Learning and Impact at the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation and specializes in trauma-informed practice. Through their fellowships, each will devote a portion of their professional time to systemwide work. The fellowships are made available through generous support from the Molina and Scattergood Foundations. For more information about the fellowships, contact Roger Rennekamp, Extension Health Director at

National 4-H Council Announces Election of Two New Leaders to its Board of Trustees - Jon Boren, Associate Dean and Director of New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service, and Abby Durheim, 4-H Young Alumni Advisory Committee member and a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Boren and Durheim will support Council’s mission to increase investment and participation in the nation’s largest youth development organization. They will be key partners in the Board’s work to support the 4 H system’s ambitious goal of reaching 10 million young people by 2025, with a special focus on promoting youth voice and supporting 4-H’s ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Urban Extension Conversation Shared

Last Thursday, 32 Extension Directors and Administrators gathered on Zoom for Learning for Leaders - Urban Agriculture: Needs, Opportunities, and Actions. A panel of experts joined ECOP Chair Chris Watkins (Cornell University). Strategies were presented that support the sustainable development of commercial and community-focused urban agriculture, use the following link:
--> YouTube Video Recording:
--> Slides with Links/Chat/Poll Results: Click here
--> May the conversation continue:

Potential Funding Opportunity
- The ECOP 4-H Leadership Committee Co-chairs Jon Boren (New Mexico State University) and Andy Turner (Cornell University) invite Extension Directors & Administrators and 4-H Program Leaders to join an informational webinar on Friday, December 18, 2020, 12:00 – 12: 45 PM ET, regarding a pending funding opportunity with Verizon to scale the 4-H Tech Changemakers program. Register for the webinar here, which includes a brief overview of the program, the potential for leveraging it for greater visibility across campus and the timeline for submission (possibly early January 2021) and funding. Apologies for the short notice as this opportunity is evolving quickly. National 4-H Council, source for the opportunity and webinar, will record it for anyone unable to attend. Details will be released next week here on the ECOP Monday Minute. Additional contact is Heather Elliott, National 4-H Council, at

2021 Military Family Readiness Academy Series - The Military Families Learning Network will launch its 2021 Military Family Readiness Academy series. In this series, dialogue will be a central component. Eight sessions will offer guidance on how to work effectively with families during disasters and hazards, and many will draw from recent and ongoing situations Extension educators and providers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. A workshop based on the Asset-based Community Recovery Framework, will allow for the discovery the assets and capacities of communities to make military families more resilient and aid in their recovery after a disaster. This framework is different because it’s a bottom-up approach allowing individuals, organizations, and businesses to think about the roles people and communities play in moving forward. Extension educators are encouraged to contribute their voices, experiences, and lessons learned to this workshop and register here

Urban, Indoor and other Emerging Agriculture and Food Systems - In May 2020, Western Center for Metropolitan Extension & Research (WCMER) and National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) hosted listening sessions related to NIFA developing an Urban and Emerging Agriculture grant program. The Western Experiment Station and Extension Directors have formally created a development committee with a charge to establish a Western Urban, Indoor and other Emerging Agricultural Production Research, Education and Extension Initiative to facilitate and promote multi-state research and extension projects. Anyone, including those outside the Western Region, interested in joining this effort (all aspects of the food system including production, marketing, distribution, access, equity, and resource recovery) are encouraged to do so. The specific details of how to join can be found here or contact Brad Gaolach (Washington State University) | 425-405-1734.