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Monday, April 24, 2017

NIFA Updates

NIFA Updates - Interested in keeping up with USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)? If so, you can sign up for NIFA updates at There, you can sign up to receive email updates immediately, daily, or weekly. Additionally, besides choosing what News, Information, Updates, and Publications (i.e. Funding Opportunities, Press releases and announcements, NIFA Update, Fresh from the Field, LGU-NLGCA notes, NIFA Twitter Feed) you are interested in, you can also pick specific topics to be updated on. NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges.

One Week Away: Deadline to Submit RFA for Building a Culture of Health Pilot Program - The deadline to submit the Request for Applications for Building a Culture of Health in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is May 1, 11:59 PM ET. For more information about this exciting partnership and how to apply successfully, please view this on-demand recording of the April 6 webinar and download the recently updated FAQ document. It is extremely important that interested applicants plan to set up a National 4-H Council WebGrants account well in advance of the submission deadline. Click here to access the RFA and get started.

2017 Census of Agriculture - Conducted every five years by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the 2017 Census of Agriculture will be mailed this December to all U.S. farmers and ranchers. The Census of Agriculture remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation. The results are valuable to those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, researchers, and more. Answers to the census help grow a farm’s future, shape farm programs, and boost services for communities and the industry. For more information, partner promotion tools, and/or to demo the improved online questionnaire, visit or call 202-690-8123. New producers or those who did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 report form by visiting the agcensus site and clicking on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button through June.

Final Days For 2017 Award Nominations - Only days are left to submit nominations online for the 2017 National Extension Awards. To learn more about eligibility and criteria go to Direct questions to Sandy Ruble, 202-478-6088.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

May 1 for Awards

May 1 is the last day to nominate state and county Extension Professionals whose positive impact on communities and constituents is considered worthy of national attention. Directors and Administrators are encouraged to invest the resources to prepare nominations for the Excellence in Extension Awards for individuals and the Diversity in Extension Award for an individual or a team. Honorees are selected by the end of July and will receive a cash award and travel to the APLU Annual meeting. The program is offered by ECOP and USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Questions may be directed to ECOP Program Assistant Sandy Ruble

2017 4-H National Youth Science Day: Incredible Wearables - In its tenth year, 4-H NYSD is the world’s largest youth-led science challenge, reaching approximately 100,000 kids annually. Developed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the 2017 National Youth Science Day challenge, Incredible Wearables, is a hands-on project that challenges young people to use the engineering design process to build a wearable fitness tracker that will help people lead healthier lifestyles. On October 4, 2017, an estimated 100,000 kids and adults will participate in 4-H NYSD by completing the Incredible Wearables challenge in classrooms, homes and community spaces across the country. Through a generous partnership with DuPont, the 4 H Mall is offering one free kit for every two purchased. This deal is available while supplies of free kits last, or until June 1, whichever comes first. Click here to purchase your NYSD kits today.

Nancy Crevier, University of Wisconsin
Focus on Health Literacy - ECOP Health Literacy Action Team member Nancy Crevier, University of Wisconsin provided a poster presentation entitled Cooperative Extension’s National Focus on Health Literacy at the Wisconsin Health Literacy Summit held the first week in April in Madison, Wisconsin. Other team members attending the summit included Sonja Koukel and Laura Bittner, New Mexico State University. This presentation is one of many that members of the five ECOP/ESCOP Health Implementation Teams have been making over the past two years! Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware, will be updating ECOP at their Spring meeting this week.

Call for Applications: eXtension Food Systems Impact Collaborative Program Fellow - The fellow will lead the formation of the 2017-2018 Food Systems Collaborative, working with the organizing committee, Project Manager, and eXtension team. This is expected to be a one-year fellowship occupying .5-.7 FTE. The successful applicant will have expertise on the food system spectrum and be able to recruit and coach Extension professionals. Applications are due May 15, 2017.

Monday, April 10, 2017

TEConomy Capacity Funding Report Released

USDA-NIFA commissioned a study by TEConomy Partners, LLC to examine the value of capacity funds that provide resources for Extension and research in agriculture, natural resources and community/family/youth development. The report highlights the findings of this research and can be summarized in three points stating that Capacity funds
    a) result in relationship building and partnerships that lead to change in behaviors for agriculture, communities, families and individuals,
    b) provide the infrastructure and the stable, ongoing source of funding to enable quick response, drawing form the land-grant research base, to address issues important to communicating, families and individuals in every corner of the country, and
    c) are leveraged by state and local funds as well as a wealth of additional financial and human resources that results in a high return on the federal investment.
The detailed study highlights can be found at, and the link to the full report can be found at

Awards Q&A -
    WHAT? 2 Awards! The Award for Diversity is designed to focus national attention on innovative models and techniques that ensure that Extension programs equitably engage all appropriate audiences in an effective manner. The Excellence in Extension Award recognizes Cooperative Extension professionals who excel at Extension programming, make a positive impact on constituents served, and provide visionary leadership for the System.
    WHEN? Submit nominations by May 1
    HOW? Go to:
    WHO? Direct questions to ECOP Program Assistant Sandy Ruble 202.478.6088 or

Fred Schlutt, University of Alaska
Building Bridges For Energy Programming - ECOP Chair Fred Schlutt addressed National Extension Energy Summit attendees on April 4, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The biennial Summit is intended to enhance the sharing of ideas and programs among Extension educators. Dr. Schlutt spoke about recent discussions with the US Department of Energy (DOE) over how to expand linkages with Cooperative Extension, especially at the state level with Land-grant Universities. He asked meeting participants to work with ECOP to develop a list of national needs and program priorities to be shared in conversations with potential partners. Discussions are planned with members of the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professional (ANREP) National Extension Energy Initiative, many of whom were in attendance at the Summit, to organize the collection of the needs and priorities.

L-R: Judith Barth, JCEP rep. to ECOP-BLC; Jim Richards,
Cornerstone Government Affairs; Doug Steele ECOP-BLC
Chair, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and ECOP Executive
Director Rick Klemme. Not pictured, ECOP Chair Fred Schlutt.
Educating and Advocating on Behalf of the System - Nearly 300 extension professionals, administrators and volunteers met last week in Crystal City at the annual Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) annual Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) conference. ECOP Chair Fred Schlutt presented an overview of Cooperative Extension including an update on the One-ask Proposal and an overview of the TEConomy capacity funding report. ECOP-Budget & Legislative Committee (BLC) Chair Doug Steele led an information session, National Leadership: Partnerships and Advocacy in Action, for Directors and Administrators. The conference culminated with Hill visits on Wednesday morning.

AFRI Foundational: Critical Agricultural Research and Extension - AFRI-CARE is designed to support research and Extension efforts that quickly yield solutions for critical programs that impede the efficient production of agriculturally-important plants and animals that can be rapidly implemented by producers. The application deadline will be summer-fall of 2017. Roughly $3 million will be available to fund proposals with an estimated capacity of $300,000. A webinar will be held on May 2 at 1:00 E.T. The webinar address is Olivia Kwong or 202-720-7536 is the webinar contact person.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Countdown to Awards

The following is a brief timeline associated with the National Cooperative Extension Awards:
      • May 1 – Deadline to receive nominations for Excellence in Extension and Diversity Awards.
      • July 15 – All nominees and nominators receive notice within a few business days of this date of the outcome of the selection process.
      • November 12 – Honorees receive their awards at the APLU Annual Meeting at the Board on Agriculture Assembly Awards program. Click Here to review the list of former recipients. Read more about the criteria and nomination process for all awards at Direct questions about nominations to ECOP Program Assistant Sandy Ruble

Applying for Building a Culture of Health Pilot - As reported earlier, applications are currently being accepted for the pilot phase for the anticipated launch of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Cooperative Extension partnership to build a Culture of Health. Helpful links:
      • Partnership Overview Webinar held on March 9 
      • Updated FAQ from March 9 webinar
      • Tips for completing the RFA
      • Register for April 6 webinar: Applying for the Pilot Program
Partnership questions may directed to National 4-H Council’s Director of Healthy Living Programs and Foundations, JoAnne Leatherman at

Digital Green eXtension Fellowship Opportunity - Extension faculty with skills in technology and with an interest in exploring Extension models that have been successful in other countries should consider applying for the Digital Green eXtension fellowship. Applications will be accepted until April 24, 2017. The selected Fellow will work closely with the Food Systems Issue Corps to pilot test the technology and share their findings with the Cooperative Extension System.

County Health Rankings - The County Health Rankings, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, were released on March 29. These rankings compare counties within each state on more than 30 factors that impact health, including such social determinants as education, jobs, housing, exercise, commuting times and more. The 2016 county health rankings compare health differences on a broad range of differences among almost every county in the country. The report shows dramatic differences between rural and urban counties on several measures, most notably premature death rates. Nearly 1 in 5 rural counties saw rises in premature deaths over the past decade while most large urban counties experienced consistent improvement. Rural counties have higher rates of smoking, obesity, child poverty, and teen births, and higher numbers of uninsured adults than their urban counterparts. The report can be found at

NIFA Annual Report - NIFA recently published its annual report: “Today’s Science, Tomorrow’s Solutions.” The agency’s annual report highlights the transformative research, education and extension progress being made by NIFA grantees toward solving our nation’s most pressing concerns in the areas of food safety and security, nutrition and public health, natural resource stewardship, the bioeconomy, job growth, and economic health.