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Monday, July 28, 2014

ECOP Monday Minute 7.28.14

ECOP Meets in San Diego – Among action at the meeting 7.22.14 in San Diego, ECOP accepted the interim report of the eXtension Strategic Planning Committee (see next item), approved continuation through 2015 of the AES-CES Communications and Marketing Project, endorsed a Futuring Task Force to be funded and managed by the BAA Policy Board of Directors, and accepted the recommendation by the ECOP National Task Force on Health to establish an implementation team. Votes are in process to approve an ECOP representative to the BAA Committee on Legislation and Policy and to approve a joint ECOP-ESCOP memorandum of understanding with USDA regarding regional climate hubs. Jimmy Henning, ECOP Chair, University of Kentucky, appreciates the strong participation at the meeting and critical national leadership of ECOP.

eXtension Strategic Plan Interim Report – ECOP has accepted the interim report on the eXtension Strategic Planning process chaired by Keith Smith, Ohio State University. See for a summary of the new Innovation Foundation (working title) designed to augment electronic capabilities of participating institutions. The business model calls for a membership structure in place of the current assessment process. The final report is due to ECOP at its October face-to-face meeting in Lexington, KY.

Power of Excellence in Extension Database (by Deborah J. Maddy, Associate Director, Oregon State University Extension) – You never know when comprehensive data, at your fingertips, might be needed to tell the Extension story to elected officials, to university administrators or to members of your own organization. The Excellence in Extension database provides historical and comparative information for Cooperative Extension systems across all land-grant universities. This important tool designed especially for Extension leaders is most powerful if everyone participates. As of the June 30 data entry due date, only 17 out of 75 Extension organizations had complete or partial data in the database, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Texas, Virginia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota (partial), Alaska (partial), Oregon, and Wyoming. Special thanks to those who made it a priority to provide Excellence in Extension data by June 30. If the due date slipped by you, it’s not too late to enter 2014 data. The recent program upgrade has many improvements, making entry easy. The data is used to describe the overall scope of Extension, market it as a national system, document Extension’s strengths, and focus on areas of impact.

USDA Announces Foundation for Food and Ag Research – For details about the new Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) and the appointment of its 15-member board of directors, see The foundation, authorized in the Ag Act of 2014, will leverage public and private resources to increase scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to boosting America's agricultural economy. Congress provided $200 million for the Foundation which must be matched by non-federal funds as it identifies and approves projects.

USDA-NIFA Requests Comment on Centers of Excellence – Join a webinar 7.31.14 (1:00-3:00 p.m. ET) about the Centers of Excellence, which will receive priority for funding for competitive research or Extension grant programs. Stakeholder input is welcome at any time, but to be incorporated into planning for the 2015 cycle, must be received by 7.31.14 via email to (please put “comments” in the subject line) or sign up to speak during the 7.31.14 webinar. NIFA is particularly interested in input on how best to define the scope of a Center of Excellence, whether there are models being used by other federal agencies that might be useful to examine, and at what point in the review/selection process “priority” should be given to applications submitted by Centers of Excellence. For more information, go to