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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..