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Monday, May 23, 2016

USDA-NIFA Planning and Reporting Redesign in Process

In recognition of Memorial Day, ECOP Monday Minute will return on 6.6.16. 

ECOP is pleased to be working with USDA-NIFA on the next steps of the redesign of the planning and reporting process that is required by the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA). Following recommendations from an expert panel convened in 2015, which included Cooperative Extension representatives, USDA-NIFA is constituting three working groups as follows: 
  • Classification Working Group – to modify and expand the classification schema to better represent Extension’s work, 
  • Extension Module Working Group – to develop the requirements and clearly define the type of data NIFA needs to collect for Extension, and 
  • Institutional Profile Module Working Group – to develop the requirements and clearly define the type of data that will constitute a plan of work for both Research and Extension. 
Your regional Executive Directors and Administrator have details on the working groups. ECOP Chair Michelle Rodgers encourages you to have conversations with them about recommended personnel for working group membership. The deadline for response to USDA-NIFA through your Executive Director/Administrator is 5.25.16 in order for groups to begin work this summer. 

James Trapp, Oklahoma State University, and
Albert Essel, Lincoln University
Farm Bill 2018 Planning Needs Your Views – With leadership by James Trapp and Albert Essel, members of the APLU Board on Agriculture Assembly Committee on Legislation and Policy (CLP), preparation by Cooperative Extension for the next farm bill, expected in 2018, launches this week. Soon you will receive a communication that provides a survey link for Cooperative Extension directors and administrators to identify priorities for authorizations to be retained, changed, and deleted, along with new proposals, in the next farm bill. Your attention to this matter and response before 6.10.16 is appreciated. Also see for an ECOP summary of the overall process of the farm bill planning. Members of the Extension Farm Bill Coordinating Committee led by Trapp (Oklahoma State University) and Essel (Lincoln University) are Rick Klemme (University of Wisconsin), ECOP Budget and Legislative Committee Chair, and Executive Director and Administrator Team members Ron Brown (southern region), L. Washington Lyons (1890 region), and Jane Schuchardt and Sandy Ruble (ECOP National Office).

DOL Overtime Rule Webinar 5.25.16– APLU is partnering with the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources and other higher education organizations on a webinar Wednesday, May 25th from 1-2:30PM ET to assist colleges and universities with understanding the final rule U.S. Department of Labor Overtime Rule. Registration is open to anyone. For additional information on the rule, see fact sheets and guides at In response to many of the concerns raised by APLU and its members, including Cooperative Extension, the Department of Labor has released guidance for higher education institutions, including clarity as to the applicability of present exemptions. 

Twitter Town Hall Features Virginia Extension 5.26.16 – Join the Ag Is America Twitter Town Hall Thursday, May 26th 2:30-3:30 PM ET. Featured is Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension programming on food safety, nutrition, health and wellness. For more information, see

Paper Clover Campaign Raises Record-Breaking Funds to Support 4-H Extension Programs – Tennessee-based Tractor Supply Company, in partnership with National 4-H Council, recently announced the successful fundraising results of its spring Paper Clover Campaign. The April campaign raised "an astounding $935,351 during the 12-day national in-store fundraiser, " according to TSC. Tractor Supply Company and Del's Feed and Food Supply store customers purchased paper clovers between April 13 and April 24 for $1 or more during checkout. The seven year partnership with National 4-H Council has raised more than $9.2 million. Campaign proceeds support state and local 4-H Cooperative Extension programs. To learn more, click here.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Health Literacy an Extension Priority

Clockwise-Sonja Koukel, New Mexico State University; Sarah Bercaw,
University of Delaware; Belinda Letto, University of Tennessee; Nancy
Crevier, University of Wisconsin; Linda Quade, South Dakota State University;
Lisa Barlage, Ohio State University; Cathy Newkirk, Michigan State University;
Jatunn Gibson, Auburn University;
Fatemeh Malekian, Southern University A&M University
It is estimated that about nine out of 10 adults in the United States lack the skills to manage their health and prevent disease. The Health Literacy Action Team, a part of the ECOP-ESCOP Health Implementation Team, uses this statistic to drive it’s work to raise awareness of health literacy amongst Extension professionals and encourage making health literacy programming a priority. For more information, see, which provides a survey link to share ideas and resources. Sonja Koukel, New Mexico State University, chairs the team working with colleagues from Ohio State University, University of Delaware, University of Wisconsin, Auburn University, University of Tennessee, Southern University, Michigan State University, and South Dakota State University. In process is a toolkit to assist Extension educators and professionals who work within the health system to integrate health literacy into programming. The goal is to address social determinants of health, improve the collective public health, and increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. 

4-H National Youth Science Day Challenge 10.5.16 – National 4-H Council and 4-H National Headquarters at USDA-NIFA announce the ninth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD), this year focused on drone discovery. Developed by Cornell University Cooperative Extension, the engineering design challenge will explore how remote sensing can be used to solve real world problems while learning concepts such as flight dynamics, forces of flight, basic computer coding, as well as following federal regulations while operating drones. The 9th annual 4-H NYSD brings 4-H'ers together from around the nation to complete this single, innovative activity. The 4-H NYSD Challenge kit will be available for pre-sale on the 4-H Mall website starting May 18. The new and improved 4-H National Youth Science Day website will launch this month where you can find engaging STEM content, register for a local 4-H NYSD event and access resources and materials. 

Extension Launches “Horizon” Effort – The eXtension Foundation and the ECOP Innovation Task Force are partnering with The New Media Consortium to develop a custom Horizon Report for Cooperative Extension. A panel of 56 experts will look out five years to identify key emerging technologies and methodologies and their impact on Extension. Leadership of this initiative is shared by Jerry Thomas and Christine Geith of eXtension and Keith Smith, Chair of the ECOP Innovation Task Force. The panelists will spend the summer collaborating on the report in a wiki environment (a website that allows for collaborative editing) with a report scheduled for completion in September 2016. More information about the process is at

APLU to Focus on “Feed the World” – Helping to ensure domestic and global food security by 2050 is the goal of a new APLU commission launched last week The commission, called The Challenge of Change: Engaging Public Universities to Feed the World, combines leadership from the APLU Office of Food, Environment and Natural Resources Programs, of which the Cooperative Extension Section is a part, and the APLU Office of International Programs. The commission is tasked with identifying the research, education and engagement efforts public universities should develop to ensure the three pillars of food security – access, availability and utilization – are met throughout the world. Randy Woodson, Chancellor, North Carolina State University, chairs the effort, designed for completion with a report in early 2017 to align with the new presidential administration. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided financial support for the commission’s work. 

Extension Master Gardener Program Shows Public Value – The Extension Master Gardener National Committee reports more than 80,000 volunteers contributed time valued at $122 million in 38 states reporting in 2014. It is estimated Master Gardeners donate 1,382 tons of fresh produce to food banks and pantries annually and are involved in 6,000 community gardens. To find out more about the impacts of this Extension program, operating in 49 states, go to

Monday, May 9, 2016

ECOP, ESCOP Chairs Engage USDA-NIFA Staff

Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware,
and Shirley Hymon-Parker, North Carolina
A&T University
“Research to Application: National Leadership, Local Impacts” was the theme of a seminar last week for USDA-NIFA colleagues in Washington, DC. Speakers were ECOP Chair Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware, and ESCOP Chair Shirley Hymon-Parker, North Carolina A&T State University. The purpose was to brief NIFA partners on joint Cooperative Extension and Experiment Station efforts including pest management, water security, healthy food systems and people, climate, communications and marketing, impacts reporting, and the need for both capacity and competitive funding. Other meetings during the day-long visit focused on communications, program planning and reporting, and other items to advance the partnership with USDA-NIFA. 

Chris Boerboom, North Dakota
State University
Boerboom Named to Pest Management Team – ECOP member Chris Boerboom, North Dakota State University, has been named to the National Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordinating Committee. The committee makes recommendations to ESCOP and ECOP on programs, policies, reports, and budget matters that affect pest management implementation. It also facilitates national collaboration for IPM research and Extension at land-grant universities, and between land-grants and federal agencies. Membership includes representatives from regional IPM technical committees and centers, USDA agencies including NIFA, other federal departments, and non-government organizations. 

Grow True Leaders Campaign Thunderclap Deadline 5.21.16 – There is still time to participate in the 4-H Thunderclap. Join Reba McEntire, Jennifer Nettles and others in supporting #TrueLeaders. If 4-H reaches its 500 supporter goal by May 21, Thunderclap will blast out a timed Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr post, spreading the message of #TrueLeaders to millions. Join here and add an extra note celebrating young people passionate about 4-H. 

County Health Rankings Webinar 5.17.16 – The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, is hosting a webinar titled First Things First: Priority Setting. This short webinar will examine how to collaboratively set priorities building on data while also honoring multiple voices in the community. A priority setting tool from the National Association of County & City Health Officials, called First Things First, will be featured and examined. For registration and more information, click here

International Programs Webinar 5.9.16 – The APLU International Agriculture Section announces a webinar 1:00 p.m. ET, 5.9.16, featuring Otto Gonzalez, USDA-NIFA’s new director of the Center for International Programs. ECOP Chair Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware, met with Gonzalez and other USDA-NIFA colleagues last week where he described how he will work across all USDA-NIFA institutes to develop global engagement opportunities. Webinar registration is at

eXtension What’s New Webinar – If you missed the webinar last week reviewing recent changes and new opportunities now available for eXtension member institutions, view the recording at The eXtension leadership team answers questions and provide examples of how to use new tools and services.

Monday, May 2, 2016

eXtension What’s New Webinar 5.4.16

All Extension professionals are invited to join a webinar 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET, this Wednesday, 5.4.16 to review recent changes and new opportunities now available for member institutions. eXtension Foundation CEO Christine Geith and members of the leadership team will answer questions and provide examples of how to use new tools and services. For details, see

SNAP-Ed Program Development Team Meets in DC – ECOP Chair Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware, met last week with the Land-grant SNAP-Ed Program Development Team (PDT) in Washington, DC. Work of the PDT is funded through assessments to Cooperative Extension Services providing education to SNAP recipients. Rogers and PDT members had a conversation about accomplishments to date and what is required by ECOP, specifically expected outcomes and budget with justification, in order to make a decision about continuing assessments in 2017.  

NC-FAR Features Board on Agriculture Assembly (BAA) – In ECOP’s role as a member of the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research (NC-FAR), it recommended an update of efforts underway by the APLU Board on Agriculture Assembly of which the Cooperative Extension Section is a part. During the NC-FAR annual meeting last week in Washington, DC, APLU’s Wendy Fink summarized work related to the agriculture workforce pipeline, antimicrobial resistance, healthy food systems and healthy people, infrastructure and deferred maintenance, and a pending APLU commission on food and nutrition 2050. Tim Cross, University of Tennessee, represents Cooperative Extension/ECOP on the NC-FAR Board of Directors. See for details.

eXtension Seeks Chief Operating Officer (COO) – The eXtension Foundation announces recruitment for a half-time COO. Since eXtension operates as a virtual organization, functioning in this environment from anywhere in the United States is an important qualification. The COO has overall strategic and operational responsibility for eXtension Foundation programs and services and will manage staff leaders. The deadline for application is 6.1.16. For more information, see

Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP) Competitive Grants Webinar – Applications are due 6.2.16 for the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP) . Listen to a recent webinar recording for an overview of the program at pilot, community, and multi-state funding levels; goals, objectives, and evaluation criteria, and matching and eligibility requirements.