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Monday, February 29, 2016

National 4-H Council Congressional Breakfast

All Cooperative Extension directors and administrators are invited to attend the Congressional Breakfast, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Dirksen Senate Building Room G-50, Washington, DC. Two youth from each state or institution’s 4-H program are welcome to accompany you at the breakfast. Registration is required at Additional information has been provided directly to directors and administrators from National 4-H Council about this and other events of interest during 2016 National 4-H Youth Advocacy Day. Direct questions to Kelly Baird at or 530.354.4287.

National Health Outreach Conference – The 2016 National Health Outreach Conference, hosted by Virginia Cooperative Extension, is April 6-8, 2016 in Roanoke, VA. The theme “All Aboard: Building Partnerships for a Healthy America” joins health professionals, health educators and health policy makers to address issues of physical and mental wellness. See for details. Early registration is extended until March 9. 

Human Sciences Engagement Award – The APLU Board on Human Sciences announces a call for nominations for the 2016 Outstanding Engagement Award. The award recognizes an individual who is a “campus based” or a “state level faculty member” for exceptional creativity and scholarship in the development, application, and evaluation of outreach, Extension, and public service programs. Nominations are due 5.23.16. For details, see

eXtension at USDA Ag Outlook Forum – Unmanned Aerial Systems, Wearable Technology, and Oculus Rift provided a high-tech, interactive experience for participants at the USDA Ag Outlook Forum last week in the Crystal City, VA. Pictured  left, USDA-NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy learns about preparing his home against wildfire via an Oculus Rift program showcased at the USDA Ag Outlook Forum last week in Crystal City, VA. The program was developed by University of Idaho Extension professional Joey Peutz. This work was funded as an innovation grant by eXtension in 2015.

USDA to Release Urban Ag Toolkit – The USDA Urban Agriculture Toolkit will be launched this spring. To get an online alert, send your email address to and enter “Urban Ag” on the subject line. The toolkit will include resources on business planning, land access, soil quality, water access and use, capital and financing, infrastructure, and market development. Comments for additional information in the toolkit may be sent to the email address above.  

Awards Reminder - Nominate by 5.1.16 – ECOP in partnership with USDA-NIFA offers the 2016 nomination process for the national Excellence in Extension and Diversity awards. The due date for on-line nominations is May 1, 2016 at 5:00p.m. Pacific Time. For details and to access the online nomination forms go to: Questions can be directed to Sandy Ruble, ECOP Staff Associate.

Monday, February 22, 2016

ACTION: FY 2017 Appropriation Requests

ECOP representatives Rick Klemme, BAA Budget and Advocacy Committee (BAC), and Daryl Buchholz, BAA Policy Board of Directors, urge immediate action as outlined last week by Cornerstone Government Affairs related to the proposed FY 2017 USDA-NIFA budget. Deadlines to submit programmatic funding requests are March 15th for the U.S. House of Representatives and March 17th for the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. The BAC USDA-NIFA priorities are found on the individual fact sheets at In addition, the eXtension Board of Directors, Dennis Calvin, Chair, has developed a one-pager found at designed to help you advocate for protection of the New Technologies in Ag Extension (NTAE) funding. The FY 2017 proposed budget documents are posted at

4-H Engagement Campaign – 4-H Grows Here! – The ECOP National 4-H Leadership Committee co-chaired by Ed Jones, Virginia Tech, and Renee McKee, Purdue University, encourages your engagement with this campaign (known both as 4-H Engagement and 4-H Grows Here!). The vision is to engage 10 million youth in 4-H by 2025. Details are available at March 14th is the deadline for completed applications. The cost per institution is outlined at

eXtension at USDA Ag Outlook Forum – New eXtension Innovation Lab projects, including Unmanned Aerial Systems, Wearable Technology, and Oculus Rift, will be on hand for the USDA Ag Outlook Forum February 25-26 in the Crystal City, VA. The focus will be on how these technologies can be used to solve issues related to climate and food systems. USDA-NIFA also will host the showcase on February 24th. 

Urban Extension Strategic Plan – In support of an ECOP goal for 2016 to support urban programming, learn more about Florida’s Urban Extension Strategic Plan. Register for the 9:00 a.m. ET, February 25th webinar at Taking a bold step toward active and deliberate engagement of the state’s urban regions, University of Florida’s Strategic Plan for Urban Extension Initiative is organized to use an adaptive management approach that promotes flexible, adjustable decision-making in the face of uncertainty. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

ECOP-ESCOP Align on Capitol Hill Event
Suat Irmak, University of Nebraska, and
Steve Slack, The Ohio State University
– Impacts of the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network drew significant interest at the NC-FAR Lunch and Learn series “More Crop for the Drop” earlier this month in Washington, DC. Co-hosted by ECOP and ESCOP, the seminar for U.S. Senate and House of Representative staffers and others was augmented by social media coverage (@agisamerica) on February 8th. Speakers were Steve Slack, Ohio State University (retired), and Suat Irmak, University of Nebraska. For a recording of the presentation, go to

Suat Irmak, University of Nebraska, speaks to a crowd gathered on Capitol Hill
USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, center left, and Laura Perry Johnson,
center right, associate dean for UGA Cooperative Extension, welcome panelists
including, from left, Cindy Ayers Elliott, CEO of Footprint Farms in Jackson,
Mississippi; Caroline Hoffland Bakker, CEO of CBH International in Suwannee,
Georgia; Caula Beyl, dean of the University of Tennessee College of Agricultural
Sciences and Natural Resources; and Camille Young, senior professional at Cornerstone
Government Affairs in Jackson, Mississippi. (Credit: Blane Marable)
South Focuses on Women in Agriculture – More than 150 agricultural leaders from across 13 Southern states and Washington, D.C., converged on the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens on Feb. 8 to discuss leadership roles for women in agriculture. Women representing government agencies, farms, the Cooperative Extension System and agriculture-related industries were invited to participate in the UGA-led Southern Region Women’s Agricultural Leadership Summit. Participants were chosen because of the leadership roles they play in their home states. One of the goals of this summit, which was sponsored by the UGA President’s Venture Fund, the UGA Women’s Leadership Initiative and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was to put these agriculturally minded women together to share their leadership experiences and document the barriers they have overcome. For more information, see
Awards Reminder - Nominate by 5.1.16ECOP in partnership with USDA-NIFA offers the 2016 nomination process for the national Excellence in Extension and Diversity awards. The due date for on-line nominations is May 1, 2016 at 5:00p.m. Pacific Time. For details and to access the online nomination forms go to: Questions can be directed to Sandy Ruble, ECOP Staff Associate.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Culture of Health Focus of Planning Grant

In recognition of President’s Day, ECOP Monday Minute will return 2.22.16. 

Efforts led by ECOP Chair Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware, and Jennifer Sirangelo, National 4-H Council Chief Executive Officer, on the planning grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) have shifted from a focus of eliminating childhood obesity to building a culture of health. RWJF requested this change, plus time to get better acquainted with the structure and reach of the Cooperative Extension System (CES). During a recent meeting of the planning grant’s National Leadership Advisory Team, RWJF asked attendees to generate ideas for what could be done in partnership in the next six months giving the CES an opportunity to demonstrate capacity for rapid response. Under exploration is a webinar in March to introduce the CES to the 2016 County Health Rankings released by RWJF, and feature ways CES has used the rankings to improve health. The planning grant is overseen by National 4-H Council. For further information, contact Bonnie Braun, Project manager,

National System Survey Due 2.19.16 – Chuck Hibberd, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Chair of the ECOP National System Task Force, expresses thanks to Cooperative Extension Directors and Administrators for participating in a recent survey on Cooperative Extension as a National System and encourages further involvement. Forty-five responses were received. The purpose of this work is to identify common themes that describe the intent, the work and the results of Cooperative Extension. Common themes will assist in obtaining national resources and establishing programs important to our future. A new survey asks you to review and reflect on initial findings. Please respond by 2.19.16 by clicking on this link – Common Themes for Cooperative Extension - Reactions to Initial Survey Results. Other members of the task force are Mark Latimore, Fort Valley State University; Scott Reed, Oregon State University; Deb Sheely, University of Rhode Island; and Doug Steele, Texas A&M University.

eXtension Announces Speakers for March National Conference – The eXtension Foundation announces speakers for its National eXtension Conference: From Innovation to Impact March 22-25 in San Antonio, TX. John Stepper is author of Working Out Loud, widely heralded as the new roadmap for working more effectively in an increasingly digital environment. Paul Pangaro, Chair of the MFA Interaction Design program at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, focuses on how to apply “designing for conversation” to developing and implementing innovations, software and organizational processes. ECOP Chair Michelle Rodgers and Keith Smith, Ohio State Extension Director (retired) and chair of the new ECOP Innovation Task Force, will spotlight the Cooperative Extension Innovation Inventory. The task force is charged with building on the findings of the inventory and developing guidelines to implement innovation strategies throughout the Extension system.

M. Ray McKinnie,
Virginia State University
USDA Event Features Extension – M. Ray McKinney, Interim Dean/Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Assistant Administrator of Extension Programs, at Virginia State University, will be part of a panel at USDA’s Tomorrow’s Table, a two-day event February 17-18 in Washington, DC. The purpose is to bring stakeholders together to discuss how beginning farmers can connect with new markets. USDA will highlight Cooperative Extension as an educational resource.

Volunteerism Conference Set for 2017 – The next National Extension Conference on Volunteerism will be April 10-13, 2017 in Asheville, NC. The conference is designed to focus on volunteer development and program management for all Extension priorities. Direct questions to Doug Swanson at USDA-NIFA. 

Awards Reminder - Nominate by 5.1.16ECOP in partnership with USDA-NIFA offers the 2016 nomination process for the national Excellence in Extension and Diversity awards. The due date for on-line nominations is May 1, 2016 at 5:00p.m. Pacific Time. For details and to access the online nomination forms go to: Questions can be directed to Sandy Ruble, ECOP Staff Associate.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Water Seminar on Capitol Hill 2.8.16

Suat Irmak, University of Nebraska, and Steve Slack, The Ohio State University
ECOP and ESCOP are proud to co-sponsor a “science to application” water seminar next Monday, 2.8.16, as part of the National Council on Food and Agriculture Research (NC-FAR) Capitol Hill Lunch and Learn Series. Steve Slack, The Ohio State University (retired), and Suat Irmak, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will speak on the theme of More Crop Per Drop: Technology Implementation in Agriculture for Enhancing Crop Water Productivity. The seminar on the Senate side will be at 10:00 a.m. in 328 Russell Senate Office Building and will be repeated on the House side at Noon with lunch in 1300 Longworth House Office Building. Please encourage Congressional staffers to attend. 

eXtension Conference Registration AvailableAll Extension professionals—agents, educators, faculty and specialists as well as directors, administrators and other Extension leaders—are invited to attend the National eXtension Conference 2016 (#NeXC2016) March 22-25 at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk. Information and registration is available at The conference will focus on the priorities of eXtension’s new i-Three Initiative: Issues, Innovation, Impact and feature two tracks – professional development and i-Three Issue Corps. 

NDSU Winter Survival Kit Gets Media AttentionA prime example of effective competitive AND capacity funds is the new Winter Survival Kit free phone app developed by North Dakota State University Extension Service (NDSU) and Myriad Mobile. Funding was provided through a USDA-NIFA Special Needs Grant with NDSU matching funds. If stuck in a snowbank or slid into a ditch, the app helps users find their location, call 911, notify friends and family, and estimate how long they can run their vehicle to keep warm before running out of fuel. The app also alerts the user every 30 minutes as a reminder to turn off the vehicle’s engine and check the exhaust pipe for snow buildup to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. The Winter Survival Kit phone app has received rave reviews

ECOP Releases 2016 Handout – ECOP Chair Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware, encourages your use of the new ECOP handout The handout is designed for external audiences and, among other points, summarizes ECOP goals for 2016. 

Become Employers of National Service – 4-H National Headquarters at USDA-NIFA encourages your institution to become an Employer of National Service. This is a Peace Corps partnership initiative with the Corporation for National Community Service that celebrates employers who actively recruit Return Peace Corps Volunteers and AmeriCorps Alumni. By signing on at, you join more than 260 employers who recognize the unique value that these national service alumni bring to the workplace.