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Monday, September 25, 2017

Extension Disaster Education Network

Supported by NIFA, Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) is a collaborative multi-state effort with land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension Services across the country, using research-based education and resources to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters. EDEN's goal is to improve the nation's ability to mitigate, prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disasters. EDEN equips county-based Extension educators to share research-based resources in local disaster management and recovery efforts. The EDEN website offers a searchable database of Extension professionals, resources, member universities and disaster agency websites, education materials to help people handle a wide range of hazards and food and agricultural defense educational resources. Steve Cain, Purdue Extension Disaster Communication Specialist and the Indiana Point of Contact for the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) will be presenting at the upcoming NEDA conference.

Jim Woodell, APLU

Exploring Intersections of University Engagement and Extension -  Participants in two of APLU’s member groups—the Council on Engagement and Outreach (CEO) and the Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP)—are focused on developing tools and resources to help universities create and demonstrate economic and societal impact, and both groups are interested in engaging the Cooperative Extension perspective and experience in this work. Please consider contacting APLU Vice President for Economic Development and Community Engagement Jim Woodell to express interest in connecting with one or both of these APLU groups. For those attending NEDA in Vermont, please note that Jim will be there.

Ag Census Survey Opportunity is Coming Soon - In just a couple months, farmers and ranchers across the nation will start receiving the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Producers can mail in their completed census form, or respond online via the improved web questionnaire. The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has extensively revised the online questionnaire this year to make it more convenient than ever. Very user-friendly, it can now be used on any electronic device, and can be saved and revisited as time allows. Responding online saves time and protects data quality, and better data mean informed decisions; that’s why it is so important that every producer be represented! New timesaving features of the online questionnaire include automatically calculating totals, skipping sections that do not pertain to the operation, and providing dropdown menus of frequent responses. Producers still have until October 1 to try the online questionnaire demo on the Census of Agriculture website. For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit or call (800) 727-9540. The Census of Agriculture is a producer’s voice, future, and opportunity.

CYFAR’s 25th Anniversary Celebration of Great Collaborative Work with the Land-grant and Cooperative Extension Systems - NIFA acknowledges the CYFAR (Children, Youth and Families at Risk) Program as the 25th year of program funding in the report CYFAR at 25 Years: What Are They Doing Now? During this time period, CYFAR has served over 250,000 children, youth and parents.  The report offers just a few examples of how the Extension educators and other caring adults have impacted the lives of past participants, youth and adult, regarding their career/life choices. The projects are representative of the 1862, 1890 and 1994 Institutions. Though, at this time the 1890 and 1862 Universities are eligible for CYFAR funding, the eligible institutions have forged partnerships with the 1994 Institutions in some cases. Some state accomplishments, scope of project totals, and state highlighted projects are also included in the impact report.

Monday, September 18, 2017

NEDA Session - Anticipating and Planning for Paradigm Shifts

NEDA Session Panelists: Ken LaValley, University of New Hampshire; Scott Reed, Oregon State University; Rosalind Dale, North Carolina A&T University; Laura Perry Johnson, University of Georgia, and Karl Martin, University of Wisconsin
When the old ways of doing things no longer apply, how do Deans and Directors respond in a way that leverages Cooperative Extension’s assets?” This question will be addressed on October 4, during 2017 NEDA meeting. 5 panelists, pictured above, are featured in Anticipating and Planning for Paradigm Shifts. Dan Lerner, University of Vermont, NEDA Planning Committee member is the moderator. Directors and Administrators will engage on the following topics: 1) the funding landscape for Cooperative Extension; 2) changing demographics; 3) state and national politics; 4) multigenerational workplaces and clientele; 5) shifting market preferences, and 6) sustaining entrepreneurial energy. The session will be filmed and archived with other 2017 NEDA presentations on the ECOP Monday Minute (see "NEDA Links and Downloads" on right at bottom of this page). Early registration fee for NEDA ends today, September 18! Lodging at The Essex is quite limited; call 802-764-1404, Monday-Friday, 8AM-4PM ET, for more information.

EPA Cooperative Agreement Will Support Pesticide Safety Education - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs is awarding a cooperative agreement to support Extension educators through a partnership with eXtension and the newly-formed National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC). NPSEC seeks to strengthen the national system Pesticide Safety Education Programs by improving the quality, consistency, and accessibility of educational offerings, promoting collaboration, and increasing revenue generation of Extension programs. The eXtension Foundation provides contractual services to deliver online programs and temporarily serves as the Center's fiduciary service provider. Additional partners include the Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC), Association of Pesticide Safety Educators, and CropLife America Foundation. Learn more about the NPSEC... | Learn more about eXtension… 

New partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Cooperative Extension System is Announced Publicly - A $4.6 million grant to National 4-H Council to improve the health of 1,000 communities over the next 10 years was shared with news outlets nationwide last week and posted to the 4-H and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation web sites. The partnership will leverage the reach of Cooperative Extension and innovation of youth leadership to build a Culture of Health. “This initiative taps into everything that the Cooperative Extension System has done well since we were formed over a century ago as the national education and community development program of the nation’s land-grant universities,” said Michelle Rodgers, PhD, project director and associate dean and director of University of Delaware Extension. “When we combine this with America’s philanthropy leader in health, it is amazing to envision the transformative impact we will have in communities throughout the country.” To begin this partnership, several land-grant universities have been selected to lead action plans in numerous communities. The details are included in the September 14 press release. We invite and encourage you to share this news with your colleagues and networks, including social media.

Breakthroughs 2030 Announces Five Focal Areas - The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have been engaging the science community in the study Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agricultural Research. This study’s goals were to identify ambitious scientific opportunities in food and agriculture made possible by incorporating knowledge and tools from across the science and engineering spectrum. The year-long project is working towards describing research directions with high potential to open new frontiers for food and agriculture science. The National Academies has announced five focal areas for the Breakthroughs 2030 Study including Greener Plants, Greener Animals, Reducing Food Waste, Safer Food Supply, and Pathways for Resilience. These areas will be explored in greater depth by experts at the approaching "Jamboree Meeting" on October 2-4 in Irvine, CA. Stay tuned to ECOP Monday Minute for findings/results of the October meeting.

Monday, September 11, 2017

ECOP Strategic Agenda Advances

Incoming ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd, working with current Chair Fred Schlutt and ECOP, continues to engage our ECOP members, Extension Administrators and Directors in developing the ECOP strategic agenda. This effort is building on the survey results from the July 7 webinar. That input formed the content for a Qualtrics Survey to provide regions the opportunity for more directed input. This input will be the basis for a webinar set for September 25th for regional Executive Committee members, ECOP, and the Extension Director and Administrator team. This webinar will focus on a review and discussion of the draft strategic agenda priorities, input on intended outcomes relative to each priority, and initial ideas on implementation tactics for each priority. The webinar results will set the stage for a discussion at the 2017 NEDA meeting on October 4th. Chuck will finalize the NEDA conversation into the ECOP strategic agenda that will form the basis for the work of ECOP for 2018 and beyond. The engagement of Extension leadership at our 1862 and 1890 institutions has been invaluable in the process thus far, and Chuck looks forward to robust and productive discussions on 9/25 and 10/4.

Vernon Jones. Langston
eXtension Foundation Results and Impact Collaborative Launch - eXtension has been in the process of a dynamic reboot on its mission and how our Cooperative Extension colleagues around the country are being engaged in exciting new ways. On October 3rd at 2017 NEDA, Vernon Jones, eXtension Foundation Board of Directors Chair, (Langston University) will report on eXtension's flagship program. Directors and Administrators in attendance will learn more about how the Impact Collaborative is meeting the demand for innovation and professional development. All Extension Directors and Administrators are encouraged to register for NEDA by September 18 before a price increase.

Rachel Welborn, Southern Rural
Development Center; Chris Boerboom,
North Dakota State University

2017 NEDA: Extension as a Rapid Responder – On October 4th at NEDA Chris Boerboom (North Dakota State University) and Rachel Welborn (Southern Rural Development Center), are featured presenters at a session called Extension as a Rapid Responder to Critical National Issues - Civil Discourse at 2017 NEDA on Wednesday, October 4th in Essex, VT. The session will showcase steps taken in piloting the Rapid Response Team protocol and explore applications to foster productivity with other multi-state virtual working groups. Additionally, NEDA attendees will engage in a first-hand exploration of issues around Civil Dialogue and Race Relations. For more information on the Rapid Response Team effort, visit

Happy Birthday, 1890 Land-Grant Universities
In celebration, readers are encouraged to review the resolution presented to 1890 Cooperative Extension leaders in October 2015:
A Tip of the Hat to Our 1890 LGUs Celebrating 127 Years of Cutting Edge Science, Education, Community Service
by Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA Director 

The author of the Act that created land-grant colleges, Congressman Justin Smith Morrill of Strafford, Vermont, had been disappointed that such educational institutions were out of reach for African-Americans. Almost 30 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act of 1862, the Second Morrill Act, creating our nation’s historically black land-grant colleges, was successfully shepherded through Congress by then Senator Morrill and signed into law Aug. 30, 1890. After 127 years of experience and diversity in agricultural research, education, and extension, our 1890 LGUs are poised to develop leadership and human capital for our nation’s preeminence in the 21st century. That is not a bad legacy for the seminal ideas Justin Smith Morrill articulated in the 19th century. Read the full article

Monday, August 28, 2017

Free Virtual Conference on “Learning Through Change”

ECOP Monday Minute will resume on September 11, 2017. Have a safe Labor Day holiday. 

eXtension Foundation Announces a Military Families Learning Network Virtual Conference for military family service providers to LEARN strategies for managing change, GROW in their understanding of capacity for change and begin to THRIVE as they connect with colleagues facing similar challenges. September 26-29, 2017. Registration is found at 

4-H and Google to Bring Computer Science Education to Young People Nationwide - 4-H and Google are coming together for a first-of-its-kind computer science (CS) collaboration thanks to the STEM outcomes and expertise that are a hallmark of the Cooperative Extension System. The partnership is funded by a $1.5 million grant from to establish a computer science program that will empower more than 100,000 kids across 22 states in its first year. The 4-H and Google partnership, featured on many news outlets, including, was announced on August 11 at the Illinois State Fair in collaboration with the University of Illinois Extension. National 4-H Council is grateful to the Illinois 4-H team for its support of this important partnership and help with the launch announcement. The partnership will establish an official 4-H CS Career Pathway, which helps kids progress from casual interest in CS to dedicated studies and career experience. Utah State University Extension’s 4-H program is a key partner in co-creating the pathway and developing tools for educators to implement the program. Click here for more information.

West Virginia University Launches Center for the Future of Land-Grant Education - To support the creation of a 21st century land-grant mission for West Virginia University and beyond, the WVU College of Education and Human Services will open the nation’s only higher education research institute dedicated to land-grant colleges and universities, the Center for the Future of Land-Grant Education, in the Fall of 2017. The Center will focus on advancing knowledge of the policies, leadership, students, faculty, and organizational practices of land-grant institutions. Faculty affiliates within the Center are leading higher education scholars dedicated to finding innovative solutions to preserve these unique institutions for future generations. Dr. Nathan Sorber, the Center director, is a national expert on the land-grant movement and public higher education, having three recent books on the topic for Transaction, Routledge, and Cornell University Presses. Other Center scholars have national profiles in rural education, education and community engagement, student access, public policy, and higher education organizations and management. The Center scholars have been recruited from leading education programs in the country, having worked previously in national research institutes such as the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Penn State University and the Education Policy Center at Harvard University.

NIFA Supports Federal Initiative to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance - Antimicrobial drugs (antimicrobials) are important for preventing, controlling, and treating diseases that harmful microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) cause in humans, food animals, and plants. These types of drugs include antibiotics, which are types of antimicrobials that specifically kills or inhibits bacteria. Through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI and other competitive and capacity programs, NIFA funds many types of basic and applied AMR research. From 2012-2015, the AFRI Food Safety Challenge Area program priority “Effective Strategies for Mitigating AMR” awarded $11,049,195 in research, education, and/or extension projects. Currently, “Understanding Antimicrobial Resistance” is an AFRI Foundational Program that will fund AMR research in both the private and public sector. In addition to these NIFA-funded programs, the USDA contributes to a number of other AMR activities related to surveillance, research, development, extension, education, and outreach. To learn more about antimicrobial resistance, view the full infographic

Monday, August 21, 2017

August 31 – Executive Director Applications Coming to a Close

Last week ECOP Chair Fred Schlutt announced a closing date for applications for the Executive Director, Cooperative Extension System, to be August 31, 2017. “The Search Committee is ready to move ahead with an application review,” said Fred. ECOP Monday Minute readers are encouraged to share the deadline and the job announcement

Communications and Marketing Committee Request - Bev Durgan, University of Minnesota, as Chair of the Communications and Marketing Committee (CMC), recently shared 2 recent reports from kglobal - a second quarter report and results of a recent "Call to Action" video campaign, describing the efforts of kglobal to support the BAA’s “One Ask” initiative; the initiative to increase funding to AFRI, Smith-Lever, Hatch, McIntire-Stennis, Evans-Allen and 1890’s Extension by $200M. Referring to systemic collaboration, Bev reminds Extension Directors and Administrators that future Calls to Action are meant to be shared with communicators, colleagues and stakeholders. and that more great stories are welcome. Cooperative Extension Section CMC representatives are Fred Schlutt, ECOP Chair, University of Alaska,; Mark Latimore, Fort Valley State University,; Scott Reed, Oregon State University, and Steve Bonanno, West Virginia University

Cooperative Extension System and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Partnership - Universities Selected to Support Culture of Health Initiative: Cooperative Extension's new partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to impact 1,000 communities over the next 10 years will launch this fall with the help of a $4.6 million grant approved in July by the Foundation's board. On behalf of the partnership, National 4-H Council is pleased to announce the selection of five LGUs that will lead this initiative over the next two years in three communities of readiness within each of their states. The five LGUs (from 26 applications) include: University of Maryland (Eastern Shore), University of Minnesota, South Dakota State University, University of Tennessee and Utah State University. Supporting partner LGUs include the Universities of Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin. In addition, Washington State University has been selected to lead the professional development work for the Culture of Health partnership. Supporting partner LGUs include: University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of California, Colorado State University and the Ohio State University. To ensure the System is positioned for national scale of this initiative and lasting impact, significant investments will be made in readiness for over 50 additional LGUs. Additional information will be shared in mid-September through a public announcement. Questions can be directed to JoAnne Leatherman, Program Director, Foundations and Healthy Living, National 4-H Council,

Michelle Rodgers,
University of Delaware
Extension Leader Michelle Rodgers Named National Project Director for Culture of Health Initiative - Dr. Michelle Rodgers, Associate Dean and Director, University of Delaware Extension, will assume a new half time role on September 1 as National Project Director of Cooperative Extension System's (CES) new partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Rodgers will continue to fulfill her responsibilities as Delaware's Extension Director with the assistance of a new half-time Associate Director position. The partnership to impact 1,000 communities over the next 10 years will launch this fall with the help of a two-year, $4.6 million grant approved in July by the Foundation's board, see above story for more details. Nearly 50 people applied for the project director position. National 4-H Council wishes to thank the nine colleagues representing Extension, ECOP, NIFA and Council who participated in the interviews and selection process. As Associate Dean and Director, Dr. Rodgers provides overall leadership for programs, personnel and the organizational development of the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. She is the immediate past chair of ECOP and served as co-chair of the ECOP Health Task Force. Prior to joining the University of Delaware, Rodgers spent five years as Associate Director at Michigan State University Extension. Rodgers also worked at Penn State University as an agent and regional director in Cooperative Extension.

Leadership in the City Online Professional Development Course for Urban Extension Professionals - Leadership in the City is an eight-week online professional development program for urban Extension professionals interested in entrepreneurial leadership, networks, innovation, and management. The program was developed based on a foundation of entrepreneurial theory and urban Extension practice. The curriculum builds upon existing leadership experiences, management training, and Extension professional development. Each competency-based module incorporates interactive digital delivery and the flipped classroom model for active learning and engagement. Participant from seven states have already registered. The investment in the program is $500 plus a commitment to actively participate. This course is aligned with ECOP’s 2017 Emphasis Areas and is led by Dr. Julie Fox from Ohio State University Extension. Practical application benefits individual participants, as well as their teams and organizations. The eight-week online course begins September 8, 2017 with orientation materials available on September 1. Multiple participants from the same institute are each entitled to a $100 discount (Discount code: EITC17-100). Complete details and registration can be found at

Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 NEDA: Extension Impact and Value

Jeff Dwyer,
Michigan State University
2017 NEDA: Extension Impact and Value - Jeff Dwyer, Michigan State University, is a featured presenter at a session called Communicating the Impact and Value of Extension at 2017 NEDA on Tuesday, October 3rd in Essex, VT. Jeff will begin the dialogue with NEDA attendees with an example of an effective communication approach. Planning Committee members Gary Lemme, Auburn University, and George Czapar, University of Illinois, will also share their experiences on this topic in small group discussions and best practices from participants will be summarized. Extension Administrators and Directors are encouraged to book a hotel room by 9.8.17 and register before early registration ends on 9.18.17, by going to today.

Positive Youth Development Call to Conversation: Input Opportunity - On August 3-4, several Extension Administrators and Directors, Program Leaders, and representative from numerous national youth organizations participated in a Call to Conversation on Positive Youth Development. NIFA is now reviewing the excellent feedback that was shared. Those who were not in attendance are invited by Lisa Lauxman, Director of 4-H National Headquarters, to respond to questions found on pages 2-3 on the "Point of Departure" document. Send your comments and feedback to 4-H National Headquarters by/before August 21.

Supporting the Tribal Land-Grant Institutions - NIFA commits to catalyzing transformative applied research, education, and Extension at 1994 land-grant institutions to address critical challenges in Indian communities across the United States. The 1994 land-grant institutions have the unique ability to address issues affecting lives of American Indian students and communities. These institutions deliver place-based knowledge that is rooted in the histories, environments, cultures, and economies of their respective communities. They are essential to affecting local to regional change as fully engaged partners within the land-grant university system.

Professional Development Opportunity - Join the 4-H system for the 2017 Professional Development E-Academy, The Role of Diversity and Inclusion in Positive Youth Development. The focus will be on engaging diverse youth and understanding the social issues they face. There will be ten one-hour online sessions spread out from October 2 to October 23. You can get more information and register for the free sessions at 2017 E-academy Registration. The target audience is 4-H field faculty but all positive youth development professionals are welcome to participate. The 2017 E-Academy is brought to you by 4-H National Headquarters in partnership with National 4-H Council and the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Scott Reed Receives Ruby Award

Scott Reed, Oregon State University
Scott Reed, Vice Provost-University Outreach & Engagement, Director-Extension Service, Oregon State University, has been chosen as the 2017 to receive of the highest recognition by Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), the Distinguished Service Ruby. As the recipient, Scott will deliver the prestigious Ruby Lecture on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, during the 2017 ESP National Conference in Wilmington, NC. Scott currently represents the Western Region of the Cooperative Extension System on ECOP, and in the past served on ECOP’s Budget & Legislative Committee, Private Resource Mobilization Task Force (Chair) and represented ECOP as Chair of the AHS/CES/ESS Communications and Marketing Committee. Registration for the conference is available at or contact 208-736-4495 or for more information.

Health Insurance Certified Educator Training on Smart Choice Basics - With health insurance policies in the news and summer soon turning to fall, health insurance enrollment season will soon be here. Extension Educators may want to offer the 1 hour Smart Choice Basics course to help reduce confusion and increase understanding among consumers they serve. Remember, the law doesn't change the principles of selection taught in Smart Choice Basics. The Health Insurance Literacy Initiative Team of the University of Maryland Extension and University of Delaware Cooperative Extension is offering a certified educator training on Monday, August 21, 1:00-4:30 p.m. Eastern. Registration is $25 through Eventbrite. Chair of the ECOP/ESCOP Health Insurance Action Team Virginia Brown, is a point of contact.

FSA Beginning Farmer Mentoring Program Opportunity - Recently, USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) has been working with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Service Corps of Retired (and working) Executives (SCORE), a nonprofit resource partner of the SBA, to develop a peer-to-peer mentor network intended to improve the financial literacy and profitability of agricultural businesses—particularly new farm, ranch, and rural businesses. SCORE offers free or low-cost, one-on-one business coaching that can help businesses develop a business plan, navigate legal and financial preparations in getting started, identify new markets, develop strategies for growth, and more. This resource, already available nationwide to small business owners, can be accessed through USDA’s new farmer website. USDA works with SCORE to increase producer awareness of the mentorship services, complementing Extension resources. USDA is stepping up efforts to recruit experienced farmers and ranchers to become SCORE mentors and roll out new participating states every 3 months over the coming year. A collaboration of SCORE and Extension is currently active in Connecticut, Iowa, and Minnesota; with 5 more states in the queue. This new USDA/SCORE initiative serves as an opportunity to complement new farmer educational resources and is an additional resource that Extension colleagues can offer to producers.

Capacity Funding Reality: Declining Real Dollar Federal Support - USDA-NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy sometimes mentions that Cooperative Extension “local boots on the ground” has lost about a third of its footprint. While this is clearly not a good news story, it does speak to the on-going challenge that Extension Directors and Administrators across the country must come to understand. Bill Hoffman, Chief of Staff to the Office of the Director at NIFA, found the article that documents Sonny’s statement. The article is found in Choices, the magazine of food, farms and resource use, and the principal outreach vehicle of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association, AAEA. Choices provides peer-reviewed articles exploring the economic implications of current food, farm, resource or rural community issues directed toward a broad audience. Sun Ling Wang, an Economist with the USDA's Economic Research Service, published a paper in Choices titled “Cooperative Extension System: Trends and Economic Impacts on U.S. Agriculture” in 2014.

Monday, July 31, 2017

New Directors and Administrators Orientation at NEDA

The ECOP Personnel Committee is planning a New Director and Administrator Orientation for Monday, October 2, 4:30-6:00 p.m. to precede the 2017 NEDA Meeting reception in Vermont. Navigating the Politics of Change and Budgets will consist of panelists from 1890, 1862, and 1994 land-grant institutions. This annual session is especially helpful for those with 1-3 years’ experience, is included in the cost of NEDA Registration, and limited to 45 participants. Go to to register for NEDA by September 18 and save on the registration fee.

Promoting Participation in the Upcoming Ag Census - On behalf of ECOP, Executive Director Rick Klemme is working with USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) officials to ensure as high a response rate as possible in the upcoming Ag Census. Being mailed to U.S. farmers and ranchers late this fall, the 2017 Census of Agriculture provides invaluable data to those who serve farmers, ranchers, and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, Extension educators, researchers, even farmers and ranchers themselves. Census results help shape farm programs and boost services for communities and the industry. To help spread the word, check out the 2017 Partner Tools. There you’ll find census promotional items and tips, including how to connect with NASS on social media. The gateway to share with producers in order for them to be counted is For more information, visit or call (800) 727-9540. The Census of Agriculture is a producer’s voice, future, and opportunity.

US Commitment to National and International Agricultural Research and Extension - The Association for International Agriculture & Rural Development (AIARD), a group of university, business, foundation and government leaders, has just issued a report titled, SMART Investments in International and Agriculture and Rural Development which showcases the importance of maintaining US commitments to agricultural research and extension that support food security at home and abroad. The report's recommendations focus on strengthening opportunities in both the Farm Bill and in foreign assistance appropriations legislation. This report will be particularly important to those who are keen to maintain American leadership in the agricultural sciences through global engagement.

L-R: C.Y. Wang, South Dakota State University; Paula Peters, Kansas State University;
Jill Thorngren, South Dakota State University, and Laura Stephenson, University of Tennessee.
SNAP-Ed Program Development Team Changes - C.Y. Wang (South Dakota State University) and Paula Peters (Kansas State University) have stepped down as members of the Land-grant University SNAP-Ed Program Development Team (PDT) Executive Committee. Drs. Wang and Peters have each dedicated years to the oversight of the PDT and worked to make the team an ongoing success. "ECOP thanks them for their many years of generous service and wishes them all the best in the future," says ECOP Chair Fred Schlutt. Welcome to Jill Thorngren (South Dakota State University) and Laura Stephenson (University of Tennessee) who have accepted the positions on PDT Executive Committee. Additionally, Dr. Thorngren will provide personnel and financial supervision of the SNAP-Ed Office, which is located at South Dakota State University. Based on the positive vote of a 2016 poll of participating institutions within the Cooperative Extension Section, ECOP reauthorized SNAP-Ed annual assessments to support PDT efforts through 2019.

Monday, July 24, 2017

ECOP Summer Meeting Highlights

ECOP members and guests step outdoors at Kananaskis Village, Alberta, Canada
ECOP met for a day and a half at the annual JointCOPs meeting last week that was held in conjunction with APLU Commission on International Initiatives. Agenda topics included
  • funding opportunities for Extension,
  • Ag and other organization relationships,
  • 4-H Leadership Committee work,
  • NIFA updates (Q&A on Calls to Conversation Meeting Series, time & effort reporting),
  • budget advocacy and call to action challenges, and 
  • nutrition education. 
Through a process undertaken by Chair-elect Chuck Hibberd, ECOP, the Board of Directors for the Board on Agriculture Assembly’s Cooperative Extension Section (CES) is learning what topics are most important to Directors and Administrators. Each of from this list warrant recognition in the ECOP Monday Minute. Stay tuned for more details.

Rural Broadband Resources - Access to broadband remains a significant economic and community challenge across the country, particularly in rural areas. ECOP recognizes the need to support Extension’s education efforts, and we have had conversations with the Regional Rural Development Centers and NIFA. In a recent webinar it was discovered that BroadbandUSA was developed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to provide assistance to stakeholders (government, industry, nonprofit) that want to expand their broadband capacity and promote broadband adoption. It provides technical assistance, publications and a connectivity assessment capacity. See for more information. You can join their mailing list by sending a request to

Breakthroughs 2030 Input Opportunity - The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are pleased to announce Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agricultural Research, a new study to identify ambitious scientific opportunities in food and agriculture made possible by incorporating knowledge and tools from across the science and engineering spectrum. The year-long project will involve the scientific community in describing research directions with high potential to open new frontiers for food and agriculture science. The study needs input from scientists of all disciplinary backgrounds to understand where opportunities are emerging. The public is also invited to contribute to the Breakthroughs discussion. Go to the Community Input page to find out how you can share your ideas in an IdeaBuzz framework. An in person and webinar-based town Hall will be held at the National Academy of Science Building in Washington, DC on August 8, 2017 to discuss ideas and white pages submitted to the IdeaBuzz discussion platform. Go to to register.

Economics Research Service’s Report Reveals Extensive Work - A new ERS accomplishment report is posted at The report provides specific accomplishments across the ERS program from the agricultural economy, global markets and trade, nutrition and food safety, resources and environment, and the rural economy. In addition, there’s an overview of how ERS adds value to the numbers through our integrated program of statistics, outlook, and research.

Biosecurity to Protect America’s Food and Agricultural System - Tactical science programs protect the integrity, reliability, sustainability, and profitability of the U.S. food and agricultural system against threats from pests, diseases, contaminants, and disasters. It is necessary to mitigate the threats posed by these foreign and emerging constraints to our nation’s economy and food supply. NIFA is committed to supporting programs that provide readily available, science-based tactics to help prevent, prepare for, detect, respond to, and recover from known and emerging threats. Click here to view the infographic.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Executive Director of Cooperative Extension System Position Announcement

The ECOP Executive Director Search Committee recently completed and released the new position announcement. The Committee encourages readers to share the announcement widely through professional channels across the country. The short link is

Health in All Policies Team Beta-Tests Professional Development Course - Cooperative Extension leaders, researchers and educators ACROSS ALL PROGRAM AREAS are invited to beta-test a new online professional development course, Extension Health in All Policies: Building cross-program awareness for health impacts of decision-making. Members of the ECOP/ESCOP Health Implementation HiAP Action Team chaired by Roberta Riportella, Oregon State University, have adapted and developed the course content specifically for Extension. Registration for this self-paced course, is hosted by Oregon State University Professional and Continuing Education (PACE). Early learners who are willing to provide feedback on the course may do so prior to August 15. Contact Deborah John with: Evaluate Extension HiAP Course typed in the subject line to receive a link to the evaluation survey.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Input Opportunity - On 14 and 15 June, NIFA hosted EFNEP administrators and locally based staff, interested partners and ECOP Chair Fred Schlutt and other Extension leaders in a Call to Conversation on Nutrition Education Programming - The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. See NIFA is now reviewing the excellent feedback that was shared. In that meeting, NIFA leaders noted that they would also invite comments from those who did not participate in that meeting. Those of you who were not in attendance are invited to respond to the following questions.
  • Who in the target audience would not be served if EFNEP remains the same in 2047 (30 years from now)? 
  • What do we need to do to reach these audiences – not worrying about resources? 
  • What barriers/challenges exist for making needed changes, and how might these be overcome? 
  • Based on your comments, what are your recommendations for the future of EFNEP? 
Please feel free to email us your thoughts (link sends e-mail). You can also send comments directly to by August 1, 2017.

Fueling Discovery and Engagement in Ag through Competitive Grants Programs - The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) envisions a future in which all people, at all times, have sufficient access to safe and nutritious foods that meet the needs and preferences for active and healthy lifestyles. Depressed agricultural production and farm incomes need a boost from evidence-based agricultural science, driven by research and extension supported via a competitive peer-review process. NIFA is the largest source of competitive agricultural research funding in the United States and supports the research, education, and extension activities needed to fuel discoveries and innovations in agriculture. Click here to see the infographic.

Monday, July 10, 2017

ECOP Strategic Agenda Webinar is Archived and Available

Thanks to all who completed the survey and/or participated in the July 7 webinar, Developing ECOP’s 2018 Strategic Agenda. This first round of input is getting the engaged agenda development process off to a great start. For those Extension Directors and Administrators who have not had a chance to engage, the next round of input via the five regions will occur very soon! Stay up to speed with other colleagues by going to video and/or the slide presentation at

Blueprint on Data Visualization - It is not enough to have data when telling the story of Extension impacts. It needs to be presented in a way that grabs attention and quickly communicates the message. Laura Thompson, University of Nebraska and eXtension fellow sifted through tools and techniques and created a professional development blueprint for Extension faculty and staff on data visualization. Visit Laura’s eXtension fellowship page for blog posts, a webinar, and her final report.

Strengthening the Land-Grant University Mission through Capacity Funding - The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is committed to supporting the research, education, and extension efforts of its land-grant institution partners. An important source of support for these institutions are legislatively authorized capacity funds. Several types of capacity funds are available annually on a non-competitive basis and are matched at the state and local levels. The amounts allocated to each state depend on variables such as rural population, farm population, forest acreage, and poverty rates. These capacity funds provide core investment, leverage financial and human resources and enable impactful applied research and extension programs responsive to local, state and national issues. Click Here to view the infographic.

Data-Driven Community Decision-Making Survey - ECOP has a growing interest in learning about the capabilities within Extension to use the vast number of data sources available at the local, state and federal levels to inform community decision-making. In response to that interest, the Southern Rural Development Center has set up a five-minute survey. ECOP encourages the completion of the survey designed to collect information about the capacities of land-grant institution access and use of these data sources. Please feel free to pass this survey on to others who may be able to offer more information. Please respond by July 24, 2017. Thanks in advance for your assistance! Survey link:

Extension Workforce Topic at NEDA - On October 2, at the 2017 National Extension Directors and Administrators Meeting (NEDA), participants will learn from a session called, Recruitment and Retention of an Innovative Workforce. Planning Committee member and session facilitator Brian Higginbotham, Utah State University, says, “We will explore ideas and lessons learned as to what it takes to keep an innovative county faculty workforce in Extension. There will be something for everyone who participates in this world-café style session.” Stay tuned for descriptions of other opportunities to share and learn at NEDA. Go to to register for NEDA by September 18 and save..

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ag Is America Campaign: Highlighting the Diversity and Necessity of Land-grant Universities

ECOP Monday Minute will return on July 10, 2017.
Have a happy, safe Independence Day.

Agriculture Is America has launched a new video campaign highlighting the diversity and necessity of land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in modern agriculture. The video, Redefining American Agriculture for the 21st Century, is part of a system-wide effort to support advocacy for additional funds in the upcoming Farm Bill.
To help spread the message, Agriculture Is America is asking for your support by:
  1. Visiting to contact your local legislator 
  2. Sharing the video on Facebook and Twitter
    o Sample Facebook copy: We research today, to impact your tomorrow. Watch this video
       showing the importance of #LGUimpact:
    o Sample Twitter copy: We research today, to impact your tomorrow. Check out this video
       highlighting our #LGUimpact: #agaction 
  3. Including the video in your weekly eNewsletters or websites 
Visit the Ag Is America website for more information.

Culture of Health Partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Professional Development RFP Due June 30 - Don’t forget to apply for the latest funding opportunity related to Cooperative Extension's anticipated multi-year partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an initiative that began in early 2016 with the Cooperative Extension System and the National 4-H Council . The goal of the Request for Proposals is to identify one land-grant university to lead professional development for the five pilot program states spearheading the Building a Culture of Health initiative. Want to learn more? Click here to access an on-demand recording of the live Q&A webinar. The RFP application deadline is June 30 at 11:59 PM ET. Click here to log-in to Webgrants to access the RFP and download the FAQ sheet. For more information, contact Joanne Leatherman at

NIFA infographic: Nutrition Education Programming in America - NIFA is committed to improving health and reducing hunger and poverty in America through nutrition education programming. Low-income families develop healthy habits in eating, physical activity, food handling, and food storage through peer educator-led training using credible, research-based nutrition information. NIFA and its predecessor agencies have partnered with the Cooperative Extension System to provide nearly 50 years of federal leadership in nutrition education programming through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). We need to ensure that such programming is commensurate with demographic, social, and technological change. See for an infographic on this topic.

Connecting Large Amounts of Qualitative Data to Impact Stories - Evaluating large amounts of qualitative data is important to telling the impact story of Extension. What if there was a way to systematize the analysis and harness the collective power of many people using the same platform? Christian Schmieder, University of Wisconsin and eXtension fellow envisions that in his fellowship final report “Responding to the Data Imperative in Extension”.

Monday, June 19, 2017

NEDA 2017 to Debut Kickbox for Innovation – Register Early and Save

National Extension Directors and Administrators (NEDA) are invited to attend 2017 NEDA Meeting, October 2-4, 2017, entitled Invigorate, Innovate, Celebrate: Positioning Extension for 2020s. “We hope you will come ready to learn, network, engage, and explore,” says Michelle Rodgers, NEDA Meeting Planning Committee Chair. Participating Universities will return home with an Adobe Kickbox, an innovator program that delivers an actionable process for discovering new opportunities, validating client engagement, and evaluating new service potential. Innovation in Extension is a strong priority by ECOP just as it was when catalyzed at the 2015 NEDA Meeting (Capstone video: Stay tuned for introductions to each session that will occur around the 5 goals! Go to to learn more and register.

2018 ECOP Agenda Survey Reminder - As noted in last week’s Monday Minute, incoming ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd, working with the ECOP Executive Committee, is placing an emphasis on engaging Extension Directors and Administrators more directly in the development of ECOP’s short and longer-term action agenda. This is a reminder to respond to the initial survey (if you have not already done so) by Friday, June 23!

SNAP-Ed Program Development Team (PDT) Update - Actions identified by the PDT Shared Expertise Ad Hoc Committee for the 2017 strategic plan are under development including:
  • a mentoring program for new SNAP-Ed coordinators at Land-grant universities (LGU)
  • a plan to consistently communicate PDT reports on regional calls
  • dissemination of information from the 2016 survey of expertise of SNAP-Ed programs at LGUs
On the survey, the areas of expertise are separated into sections of programming strengths, the name of the university, and contact person. Strategies are underway to keep survey information current and easily accessible to all LGU SNAP-Ed programs once it is released. Based on a positive vote by the Cooperative Extension Section from a poll held in 2016, ECOP reauthorized SNAP-Ed assessments to continue through 2019 to support PDT efforts.

NIFA Infographic: Diversifying the Next Generation of Agricultural STEM Leaders - The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is committed to developing an agricultural science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce representative of current and projected demographics in America. A diversified workforce is critical for developing the innovations that will drive the continued success of the agricultural sector and U.S. economy while serving respective communities in culturally-relevant ways. NIFA supports this future workforce through specialized partnerships and programs that build institutional capacity, facilitate access to higher education, and provide experiential learning opportunities in the community. See for an infographic on this topic.

Monday, June 12, 2017

4-H Grows Engagement Campaign: A Year in Review and A Look Ahead

June 20 Webinar: Join National 4-H Council on June 20 at 4:00 PM EDT for an interactive webinar that will review year one of the 4-H Grows Engagement Campaign and provide a preview of the year ahead. To date, 31 land-grant institutions have co-invested in this initiative. Institutions currently invested in the program are invited to register, in addition to any LGU's that are not currently enrolled but are interested in learning more about the multi-faceted brand building and alumni engagement campaign. Click here to register.

Civic Dialogue Webinar on 6/30 - Fostering Meaningful Civic Engagement is an important topic in today’s society. The investment of time and skill development is considerable to make meaningful progress. Is this a worthwhile effort for Extension, and what resources are available to those that engage in this area? This effort continues the work of the ECOP Rapid Response Team that you have experienced over the past several weeks. This upcoming webinar differs from previous webinars in that the focus will be on tools and skills needed by Extension professionals who are or are considering programming on this topic. Learn more about the risks and benefits of investing in this topic and about a newly published toolbox of resources. Visit the toolbox | Upcoming webinar 

JOE Special Issue on Innovation - The Journal of Extension Board, in partnership with eXtension, is pleased to announce a Call for Paper Abstracts for the Journal of Extension Special Issue on Innovation. A 200-word abstract is due June 30, 2017. To see the key areas being emphasized for this issue visit the Call for Submissions. This represents a great opportunity to shape the ECOP initiative on Technology and Innovation!

Chuck Hibberd,
University of Nebraska
2018 ECOP Agenda - Incoming Chair Chuck Hibberd, working with the ECOP Executive Committee, is placing an emphasis on engaging Extension Directors and Administrators more directly in the development of ECOP’s short and longer-term action agenda. In addition, this effort is important for maximizing the effectiveness of ECOP (and Chair) actions, strengthening purposeful engagement with current and emerging partners, and charting new procedures and internal ECOP policies that reflect the core values of a membership-based organization. Chuck will be asking for your participation over the next few months in order to develop the pathway to achieve his/our engagement goal! The goal is to use the data collected to inform a comprehensive conversation during the NEDA meetings in October. Chuck asks that Directors and Administrators respond to the initial survey by Friday, June 23 and watch for future opportunities to engage and inform!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Family & Consumer Sciences Report

Family & Consumer Sciences Report - Through research, education, and extension, the USDA NIFA Division of Family & Consumer Sciences (DCFS) provides resources that strengthen families, farms, communities, and the economy by focusing on the human and community dimensions of food and agriculture. DFCS incorporates two broad thematic areas: Family Well-Being contributing to the empowerment of families to achieve optimal well-being, and Community Vitality contributing to advancing the socio-economic potential of communities by addressing critical community needs and opportunities. During 2016, the DFCS portfolio was the third largest of nine at NIFA in terms of grant dollars. At over $180 million, the portfolio encompassed 13% of NIFA funding. For information on DFCS and competitive grant program opportunities, see the 2016 Year in Review DFCS Newsletter.

Culture of Health Partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: June 7 Webinar - Click here to register for a webinar on June 7 at 2:00 pm ET to learn more about the latest funding opportunity related to Cooperative Extension's anticipated multi-year partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The goal of the Request for Proposals is to identify one land-grant university to lead professional development for the five pilot program states spearheading the Building a Culture of Health initiative. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get all of your questions answered regarding the RFP during this live webinar and Q&A session. The RFP application deadline is June 30 at 11:59 PM ET. Click here to access the RFP on WebGrants. For more information, contact Joanne Leatherman at

eXtension Introduces New Services - Given increasingly complex issues and rapid changes our communities face, eXtension Foundation has transformed to deliver more meaningful member value and to provide a national Cooperative Extension presence for all. eXtension’s purpose is to help CES professionals across all Land Grants, innovate, accelerate, and amplify measurable impact on local issues. eXtension is achieving this through our new national flagship program called Impact Collaborative. In this year-long, multi-faceted, issue-focused program, a national cohort of Cooperative Extension project teams adopt new research and innovative practices in their local program design and delivery. ECOP, USDA-NIFA, and Directors/Administrators from the five Extension regions define the issues the program addresses. Learn more here about Impact Collaborative’s 6 value building blocks, the year-long experience, issues addressed, and how local Extension teams can join the 2017 cohort.

4-H – Strong Partnerships Enable Positive Youth Development - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has produced a 4-H infographic that highlights this public-private partnership of federal, state, local, and non-profit support with a rich history of being a leader in positive youth development experiences for more than a century. 4-H reaches nearly 6 million young people in the United States through local 4-H clubs, school and after school programs, camps, and special interest groups. The strong bond with land-grant universities' Cooperative Extension and NIFA assures a research and science base to the 4-H program. A 4-H Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) encourages collaborative and enhanced communication and management of national 4-H policies and procedures affecting state and local programs.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Culture of Health Partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: New Opportunity

 ECOP Monday Minute will return on June 5, 2017 following the observance of Memorial Day.
In partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National 4-H Council announces an additional opportunity for Cooperative Extension land-grant universities (LGUs). This Pre-Award Request for Proposals (RFP) will identify one LGU to lead the professional development component for the five pilot program LGUs (to be selected by August 1). The selected LGU will provide integrated leadership for professional development activities, content and resources to be delivered in-person and virtually to build capacity among the "wave one" states, and for other LGUs wishing to prepare for "wave two" participation. The deadline for proposal submissions is June 30, 2017; 11:59 p.m. ET. The Professional Development RFP will be made available the week of May 22nd and can be accessed on National 4-H Council’s WebGrants platform. Click here to register for a live webinar on June 7, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. ET when participants will have a chance to ask questions about this exciting opportunity. For more information, contact National 4-H Council’s Director of Healthy Living Programs and Foundations, JoAnne Leatherman at

Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware and
Fred Schlutt, University of Alaska
Urban Extension Programming Showcased at Recent Conference - The University of Minnesota recently hosted the 2017 National Urban Extension Conference in Bloomington, MN. Extension professionals from all program areas shared their research and innovative educational strategies that address the needs of urban, suburban, and peri-urban populations as well as urban-rural inter-dependencies. National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) hosted a breakfast on the final day of the conference to engage participants in discussions about efforts that can be coordinated through NUEL regional caucuses. Regional caucus chairs will be contacting interested participants as a follow up. ECOP Chair Fred Schlutt, Past-chair Michelle Rodgers, and members Chris Boerboom and Bev Durgan were presenters. Congratulations to conference planning team and their Co-chairs Brent Hales, University of Minnesota, and Brad Gaolach, Washington State University, for the exceptional conference. Held biennially, the 2019 National Urban Extension Conference will be in Seattle. Follow on social media using #urbext, #NUEC19.

Communications and Marketing Project - The Communications and Marketing Committee (CMC) oversees the Communications and Marketing Project (CMP), a coordinated and targeted educational effort to increase awareness of the value of Land-grant University agriculture related programs, Agricultural Experiment Stations (AES) and Cooperative Extension Services (CES). The audience includes state citizens, community leaders, and institutional allies, with connections to identified congressional decision makers. Two consulting firms, kglobal and Cornerstone Government Affairs, are contracted to identify key targets and develop strategies to focus communication and education efforts. kglobal then implements targeted strategies via traditional media, grassroots engagement, grass-tops advocacy, digital, and social media AgricultureIsAmerica website (, Twitter, Facebook). In 2017, the CMP will engage in targeted educational endeavors to support the Board of Agriculture Assembly’s priorities, including: the “One Ask” ($200 million increase to NIFA priority areas: Smith-Lever, 1890’s Extension, Hatch, Evans-Allen, McIntire-Stennis and AFRI), Water, Healthy Food Systems and Infrastructure). The newest addition to this effort will be video shorts supporting the One Ask. Stay tuned!

Addressing Domestic and Global Food and Nutrition Security - APLU’s Challenge of Change Commission last week released its report, Harnessing University Discovery, Engagement, and Learning to Achieve Food and Nutrition Security. With support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the APLU Board on Agriculture Assembly, APLU convened this commission last year to identify how public research universities can lead the way in addressing domestic and global food and nutrition security. The Challenge of Change Commission began with the understanding that public research universities – with their broad academic, research, and community expertise and experience – are uniquely positioned to address the complex and diverse challenges of food and nutrition insecurity. The strategy designed by the Commission includes all aspects of our food systems: production, nutrition, health, food safety and loss, economic costs, individual behaviors, and incentives – as well as societal factors affecting food availability, access and use. The report lays out an approach for stakeholders in government, business, and non-governmental organizations to work together with public research universities to achieve their shared goal of global food security. Learn more about the initiative and download the report at Follow along on social media using #ChallengeOfChange.

eXtension Food Systems Fellowship - Encourage land grant professionals who are leaders in an area of the food systems spectrum to apply for a fellowship to lead the eXtension Food Systems Impact Collaborative. This is expected to be a one-year fellowship occupying .5-.7 FTE. Applications are due June 1, 2017.