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Monday, June 18, 2018

Doug Steele Named APLU Vice President for Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources

Peter McPherson, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President, recently announced that Doug Steele will succeed Ian Maw who is retiring from the position effective December 31, 2018. ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd commented, “On behalf of the Cooperative Extension Section, I am thrilled that Doug will be the new VP. His rich experience in Cooperative Extension and leadership roles on the Board on Agriculture Assembly and as ECOP Chair will give him the foundation to be a great leader and continued friend of Cooperative Extension.” 

Pioneering the Best Ideas and Methods for Leadership in Portland - The 2018 National Extension Directors and Administrators (NEDA) and Cooperative Extension Section Annual Business Meeting is scheduled for October 1-3 in Portland, Oregon. Cooperative Extension Section Leaders, together with key partners, will convene for deep conversation and collaboration. Participants will:
  • understand engagement in a broad context; 
  • be comfortable with the concept of building on engagement principles in their own sphere of influence; 
  • be motivated to “engage’ in learning more about and practicing engagement; 
  • deepen understanding of best practices for evaluating and reporting engagement; 
  • contribute to the understanding of an innovative, system-interdependent, solution-based approach to Urban Extension Programming, and 
  • collaborate with Director and Administrator colleagues to learn about Urban Extension Programming resources for the System and what leadership resources are needed to develop a system-wide Urban Initiative Implementation Plan.  
Look for the registration materials by email, scheduled for release this week!

Updated NIFA Policy Guide Webinars - Extension Directors and Administrators are invited to webinars to learn about proposed changes to the NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide (NIFA Policy Guide or Policy Guide), version dated October 2014. NIFA seeks stakeholder feedback on Draft 2018 NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide by 5:00pm ET, Monday, July 30, 2018. The webinars covering the new structure, enhanced navigability features, labeling of sections for audience applicability, and new sections and information (e.g. allowable costs) will be offered to COMPETITIVE grantees (June 26 from 1:30 to 3:00 pm eastern time) and for CAPACITY grantees (June 28 from 1:30 – 3:00 pm eastern time). For complete details go to

Illustration by Jonathan Bartlett
4-H Story Points to Land-grant Approach to Youth Development - Cultivating the Next Gen of 4-H, authored by retired Cooperative Extension/ECOP Executive Director Jane Schuchardt, appeared recently in the Nebraska Quarterly. Through the work of the ECOP 4-H Leadership Committee, the Cooperative Extension Section is committed to increasing participation in 4-H positive youth development through collaboration among Extension Administrators and Directors with USDA-NIFA and National 4-H Council partners. For more information on the 4-H/Cooperative Extension relationship or the Leadership Committee initiatives, contact Sandy Ruble

Monday, June 11, 2018

Identifying Resources & Expertise Related to Broadband Access & Adoption

e-Connectivity is one of five priorities identified in the USDA Agriculture & Rural Prosperity Task Force Report released earlier this year. In order to support Cooperative Extension's capacity to effectively respond to this priority, a national team of Extension professionals, working in concert with the Regional Rural Development Centers, are conducting a survey (that has been sent to colleagues around the country) to better understand the e-connectivity resources and programs that exist within the System e-connectivity resources and programs that exist within the System. This information will help identify programmatic and educational gaps and guide the team’s efforts to collectively develop new resources and programs. Any Extension professional engaged in raising awareness of broadband, strategic planning, digital literacy or any such effort has been invited to respond at Directors and Administrators are asked to share the survey with those in their organizations who have content expertise to add to the survey responses. The team lead on the survey design is Roberto Gallardo (, Purdue Center for Regional Development.

Leadership in the City Course for Urban Extension Professionals - The Leadership in the City 10-month comprehensive online professional development program prepares Extension professionals working in urban areas, to be relevant locally, responsive statewide, and recognized nationally. Participants will learn from experienced leaders; apply what they learn in their city, region, or state; engage in critical thinking and creative problem solving; and participate in online collaborative learning. Each competency-based module, developed with the assistance of eXtension Foundation, incorporates interactive digital delivery and the flipped classroom model for active learning and engagement. The deadline for registration ($500) is June 29, 2018. Class limit: 20 participants. If multiple participants from the same institute register, each are entitled to a $100 discount (Discount code: EITC18-100). The course begins August 3, 2018 and concludes with an in-person event at the 2019 National Urban Extension Conference (participation is optional and not included in this registration fee). For more details go to or contact Michelle Gaston at

eXtension Technologies: Looking to the Future - As eXtension grows the Impact Collaborative, it continues to offer technology that supports its members and the Cooperative Extension Service. eXtension is upgrading its tools to ensure the future of content for communities of practice (CoPs), provide CoPs greater flexibility and control of their content, and offer a domain structure with better marketability. A webinar will be offered at 2:00 PM EDT on June 27th, 2018 for CoP leaders and article contributors to share further plans and information. Read the full announcement here.

Last Chance to Respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture - USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in a final push for response for the Census of Agriculture, asks Directors and Administrators to encourage farmers and ranchers, including landowners who lease land to producers, those involved in conservation programs, even those who may have received the Census and do not farm to submit to take action. Paper questionnaire deadline is June 15 and Census online deadline is the end of July. Improved in 2017, the online form is convenient and user friendly. To date, the national return is around 64 percent. Phone follow-up and personal interviews will continue through July. For more detail about the importance of the Census of Agriculture, check out and then share the latest press release and PSA from Secretary Perdue. For more information or for assistance with the questionnaire, producers can visit the website or call toll-free (888) 424-7828.

Monday, June 4, 2018

National Cooperative Extension/ECOP Office Staff Update

L-R: Rick Klemme, Executive Director, Sandy Ruble, Assistant Director
and Marianne Klein, Program Assistant
In February 2017, Rick Klemme was contracted by ECOP at 0.60 FTE as Executive Director (ED) and asked to expand focus on partnership building opportunities, a role that had not been emphasized with former EDs. In December 2017, ECOP extended the contract held by Rick until April 30, 2020. In March 2018, ECOP began to examine a new staffing model in order to meet the robust demands of the Cooperative Extension Section Strategic Agenda. After careful consideration, the ECOP Executive Committee voted on April 12, 2018 to promote Sandy Ruble to Assistant Director (1.00 FTE) effective May 1. "Sandy has capably served the National Office since March 2014 and is well-qualified and prepared for this expanded role," said ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd. Also, a third person was hired on to the team at 0.20 FTE. Introducing Marianne Klein, Program Assistant! “Marianne was sought out to fill this position because of her proven abilities and readiness to perform national work,” says Rick Klemme. Marianne's contact information is and 202-478-6093. Please continue to submit items for this blog directly to Rick Klemme at Thank you.

Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Reveals New Knowledge Area For POW Reporting - Nick Place, University of Florida, who is appointed by ECOP to communicate the interests of the Cooperative Extension Section on the EDEN Executive Board, recently shared that a new Knowledge Area for Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery (KA 807) will be included in the revised Plan of Work this fall. According to the memo, Land-grant institutions will have "the opportunity to buy-in and report almost all disaster work under one KA. This will result in improvement in reporting outcomes and demonstrating the utmost public value of this work." Some current projects in the Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grant Program have already been reclassified by NIFA staff under this new KA. CLICK HERE for more details. ECOP Member Carolyn Williams, Prairie View A&M University, serves as representative of the 1890 Institution Programs with EDEN. Questions may be directed to Steve Cain, Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), Homeland Security Project Director,

Coming Together for Racial Understanding Train-the-Trainer Informational Webinar - Civil dialogue to promote racial healing has been a focal point within ECOP for over a year with the launching of the first Rapid Response Team. As a result of this work, a train-the-trainer workshop is planned for August 27-31, 2018. An informational webinar previewing important details about the workshop and subsequent pilot efforts was hosted by the Southern Rural Development Center on Monday, May 21. The session explored important points regarding selecting a team to send, expectations of participants, and costs. To learn more:

Building a Culture of Health With Well-Connected Communities - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Dr. Richard Besser kicked off the National Health Outreach Conference on May 2 at the University of Minnesota highlighting the Foundation's $4.6 investment in Cooperative Extension and National 4-H Council's Well-Connected Communities initiative. The work supports the Foundation's efforts to build a Culture of Health in America. "You know how to bring communities to empower them to make positive change ... you know how to include young people," said Besser. Use source below to listen to Dr. Besser's remarks.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Resources Shared on Inclusivity in 4-H Programs

ECOP Monday Minute will return on June 4, 2018. Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend!

On May 18 ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd and Chair-elect Ed Jones moderated a conversation with Extension Directors and Administrators with a panel of Land-grant experts.
  • Joining Ed Jones, Kay Heidbreder, University Legal Counsel, Virginia Tech
  • Glenda Humiston, Vice President, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, and joining Glenda was Katherine Soule, Extension Director for SLO & SB Counties & Youth, Families & Communities Advisor
  • ECOP 4-H Leadership Committee Co-chair Andy Turner, State Leader for the 4-H Youth Development Program, Cornell University, and joining Andy was Melissa Schroeder, Youth and Family Leader, Schuyler County, and Eduardo Gonzalez, Jr. Statewide Diversity Specialist
Click Here to download resources from the conversation.
The link to the recorded presentation is provided below. Comments and questions are welcome at

Act Promptly: Extension System Addresses the Opioid Crisis - The Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup is charged by ECOP to develop a nationwide strategic framework to help position the Land-grant system to address the opioid crisis. There are 2 sets of activities in motion:
  1. Develop a broader strategic framework for Extension activities in the behavioral health arena. Last week Directors and Administrators were invited to either complete the 15-minute “Extension Behavioral Health Survey” or share the survey link with the most knowledgeable behavioral health person in their organization. This survey is due by close of business on Wednesday, May 30.
  2. Provide Extension substance abuse program resources that can be quickly expanded across state lines. From May 24 through June 1, a series of webinars have been designed to share information about these programs. To learn more about either joining the webinars live, viewing the recordings, or offering assessment of the programs go to
Direct questions/concerns to Workgroup Coordinator Mark Skidmore, or Cooperative Extension/ECOP Executive Director Rick Klemme

Culture of Health Opportunities in 2019 Webinar June 6 - National 4-H Council, in partnership with the groundbreaking health initiatives of the America's Cooperative Extension System, is helping to drive transformational change to create a Culture of Health across 1,000 communities in America over the next 10 years. The overarching strategy of the Well-Connected Communities initiative is governed by a combination of sustainable structure, leadership tools and training intended to emphasize the power of communities organizing to lead change. Learn more about the Well-Connected Communities initiative and future funding opportunities by participating in the following webinar.  
   Readiness for Well-Connected Communities -
   June 6, 2018 Time: 1-2 pm EST
   Audience: Land-grant institutions interested in Wave 2 of change makers (2019)

Economic Research Service Highlighted - USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) anticipates trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America and conducts high-quality, objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making. ERS research and statistics serve those who routinely make or influence these decisions – White House and USDA policy officials, the U.S. Congress, program administrators/managers, Federal agencies, State and local governments, private agribusinesses, and farm and industry groups. All ERS information can be found at, including ERS research and outlook reports, Amber Waves magazine, data visualizations and data products. For recent research highlights, see ERS’s FY 2017 Annual Report: Illuminating the Issues: How ERS Research Informs Decisions. Stakeholders can stay apprised of what’s new at ERS by signing up for weekly e-mail updates or by following @USDA_ERS on Twitter.

Monday, May 14, 2018

2018 Public Issues Leadership Development Conference in Review

2018 Joint PILD/4-H Delegations from Oregon and Georgia.
Picture Your Delegation Here in 2019!
Over 290 Extension Administrators, professionals, and volunteers learned how to tell Extension’s story and communicate more effectively with Congressional members and other decision makers at this year’s Joint Council of Extension Professional’s (JCEP) Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) Conference that took place in the Washington, DC area last month. The conference theme was “Cultivating a Climate of Civil Dialogue.” Highlights included a panel on “Cooperative Extension’s Value Proposition” moderated by ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd, Dean and Director of University of Nebraska, updates with NIFA National Program Leaders, as well as a session with two Congressional staffers who provided their perspectives on effectively communicating with members of Congress. Resources from the conference are available at PILD delegates were joined by over 300 4-H youth and their chaperones to coordinate talking points and plans for Congressional visits. Next year’s PILD Conference is scheduled for April 14-17, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA.

National Extension Web Mapping Tool Is Available - With the support of eXtension Foundation, the University of New Hampshire and Virginia Tech have developed a mapping and data exploration tool to assist Cooperative Extension staff and administrators in making strategic planning and programming decisions. The tool, called the National Extension Web-mapping Tool (or NEWT), was released in Beta late last year. No GIS experience is required to use NEWT, which is key in the effort to make spatial data available to a wider audience within Cooperative Extension. The Principal Investigators of the grant which supported the development of NEWT, Shane Bradt, University of New Hampshire, and John McGee, Virginia Tech, would like to get the word out about NEWT and get feedback about the ways in which NEWT could be improved. The relevant information and recent webinars about NEWT can be found at

Sustainable Agricultural Systems Webinars - New in 2018, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) program. SAS promotes the sustainable supply of abundant, affordable, safe, nutritious, and accessible food and other agricultural products, while enhancing economic opportunities and improving the long-term health and well-being of all Americans. The program requires a Letter of Intent, due June 27, 2018, after which applications are due October 10, 2018. Approximately $80 million will be available to fund non-renewable grants up to $10 million for fully integrated (including research, education, and extension) Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs) and Strengthening CAPs using transdisciplinary approaches. NIFA will present an AFRI Sustainable Agriculture Systems webinar on May 23rd. Go to to learn more.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Conversation About Inclusivity in 4-H Programming May 18

ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd and Chair-elect Ed Jones will moderate the up-coming Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders entitled, A Conversation for Extension Directors and Administrators About Inclusivity in 4-H Programming. The invitation to the the Zoom session with connection details for Friday, May 18, 2018, 3-4:00 p.m. ET, will be released by email this week. The Session will be archived HERE with the ability for Partners and Liaisons to provide comment. Questions may about the session may be directed to Executive Director Rick Klemme

NIFA Data Gateway - The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is committed to serving its stakeholders, Congress, and the public by using new technologies to advance greater openness. To strengthen transparency and promote open government, NIFA is providing easy access to data and metrics on how the agency disseminates funding. NIFA’s Data Gateway enables users to find funding data, metrics, and information about research, education, and extension projects that have received grant awards from NIFA. Users can use terms and filters to search for projects, choose the data elements to see in the results, and export the results. Visit Project Based Search Highlights and Congressional District Map Highlights for a quick visual overview of the features available. For a general overview, view the Data Gateway Factsheet. For details on the Data Gateway tool, visit the Data Gateway Resource Page. The main Date Gateway Page is at

Emerging opportunities for Cooperative Extension to bring Community Learning through Data-driven Discovery (CLD3) to Our Communities - Community Learning through Data-driven Discovery (CLD3) is a bold new approach for Extension professionals and Regional Rural Development Centers to use data in new and innovative ways not previously conceivable. To address increasingly complex issues of our communities. CLD3 is a collaborative approach among Extension professionals, university researchers, and local communities to use data, including local data, to inform and guide community level decision-making. Virginia Tech (VT) and Iowa State University (ISU) have an exciting partnership to implement CLD3 in their states, with the goal to rapidly expand CLD3 to other states. One example of CLD3 in action is ISU and VT’s work with Marshalltown, Iowa, where the multicultural population has increased from less than 1% in the early 1990s to over 25% today. Through the CLD3 cycle the government officials are gaining a data-driven understanding of how public transportation is meeting the needs of this demographically changing population, how current fee structures governing access to and use of parks and recreation programs might be adjusted to increase use by all, and what strategies might help in maintaining the quality of the neighborhoods through improvement projects. To learn more about CLD3, see "Helping Communities Use Data to Make Better Decisions", just released in the National Academy of Sciences Issues in Science and Technology Spring edition.

ECOP/ESCOP Health Action/Implementation Teams’ Work Recognized - ECOP commissioned the work of Extension and Experiment Station colleagues in 2014 in five teams to address five critical areas underlying the health and wellness extension programming across the country. The work of these teams has resulted in a special edition of the Journal of Human Sciences and Extension (JHSE). "The Cooperative Extension National Framework for Health and Wellness: Implementation and Scholarship Reports" was released last week at the 2018 National Health Outreach Conference. JHSE is a peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal focused on disseminating knowledge and information to academicians, educators, and practitioners on topics addressing human development; family studies; agricultural education; leadership development; extension; health and wellness; apparel, textiles, and merchandising; agricultural economics; nutrition and dietetics; family resource management; and program planning and evaluation. To learn more about JHSE, CLICK HERE. To subscribe to updates from JHSE, CLICK HERE.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders Postponed Until May 18

ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd has postponed the next in the series of Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders from Friday, May 4 until May 18, 2018, 3-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. This allows the time needed to assemble key presenters on the topic of inclusivity of our 4-H programs. Extension Directors and Administrators are encouraged to stay tuned to email to receive more details. Feedback continues to be collected from earlier conversations on the topics of Rural Development, Well-Connected Communities, and more. Go to to listen and react.

2018 NEDA - October 1-3: Registration Scheduled for Release in Early June - Past ECOP Chair Fred Schlutt who now chairs the 2018 National Extension Directors and Administrators (NEDA) Meeting Planning Committee calls for the Cooperative Extension Section and Partners to prepare for travel to Portland, Oregon for the great annual gathering! In the state with the deepest lake in the US, Crater Lake, Cooperative Extension will engage in deep learning opportunities that have real impact today and in the future. Members of the planning committee include Dawn Mellion Patin, Southern University; Marshall Stewart, University of Missouri; Amy Ouellette, University of New Hampshire; Laura Perry Johnson, University of Georgia, and Scott Reed, Oregon State University.

Well-Connected Communities Designated as Top Wellness Program -  The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement released its first Harkin on Wellness report recently, recognizing 11 wellness programs from across the country that exemplify best practices for how communities and organizations can invest in health. Well-Connected Communities (WCC) was among the designees selected from more than 60 submissions. The programs were selected based not only on their individual success but also their ability to be replicated by other communities. The full report is available on The Harkin Institute’s website, "Well-Connected Communities brings together the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), National 4-H Council and Cooperative Extension to empower communities to come together to help their residents be healthier at every stage of life," said WCC National Project Director, Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware Extension. "Leveraging the proven power and innovation of 4-H youth leadership, young people will work alongside community Health Councils to provide their ideas and perspective to help create and drive change." WCC will be featured at a National Press Club event in Washington, D.C. on May 11.

SNAP-ED Program Development Team Meets - The annual meeting of the Land-grant Universities SNAP-Ed Program Development Team (PDT) was held in Alexandria, VA on April 10-12. Representatives from USDA Food Nutrition Service, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Cooperative Extension and Experiment Station Sections met with current and incoming members of the PDT. The PDT reviewed progress on the strategic plan and developed goals for the upcoming year. Highlights of the meeting and the past year are now available for review. Thirteen (photo) of 16 members were able to attend with the remaining joining by Zoom. The work of the PDT is funded through assessments to Cooperative Extension Services providing education to SNAP recipients.

2018 Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) Conference - The Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) is a mix of state-public and private institutions with a goal to work collaboratively to build strong university-community partnerships anchored in the rigor of scholarship, and designed to help build community capacity. Lou Swanson, Colorado State University and Marshall Stewart, University of Missouri from the Cooperative Extension Section serve on the ESC Board of Directors. Although this year's conference conflicts with 2018 NEDA and Cooperative Extension Section (CES) Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd wishes to inform the CES of this opportunity. More details are available at

Sunday, April 22, 2018

ECOP National Leadership Transition

Doug Steele, Director for International
Extension Outreach and Education,
Borlaug Institute for
International Agriculture

Doug Steele has accepted a position as Director for International Extension Outreach and Education with the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture. Doug served in a number of national leadership roles, including ECOP Chair in 2012 and Chair for the Centennial Task Force 2013-2014. Until further action by the ECOP Executive Committee meeting, Jon Boren, New Mexico State University, will take the lead of ECOP Budget and Legislative Committee and represent ECOP on the Budget and Advocacy Committee, and Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware, will step in to fulfill her duty as Alternate Cooperative Extension Section representative to the of the Board on Agriculture Assembly Policy Board of Directors. ECOP is grateful to all for their national leadership and devotion to the System.

Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders Special: Framing Cooperative Extension's Response to the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity - ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd and 3 deep-thinking, distinguished presenters explore this emerging opportunity. The Land-grant Cooperative Extension Section (CES) is strongly positioned to address the challenging issues in Rural America. Highlights:
  • Develop a shared template intended to showcase efforts
  • Generate a single CES report telling the story holistically
  • Each state/university tell own story in its own way
The link to the presentation is provided below and comments and questions are welcome at

Ali Mitchell, Executive Director
Northeast Regional Extension Directors
Ali Mitchell Joins EDA Team - Ali Mitchell has been named Executive Director of the Association of Northeast Extension Directors (NEED). Ms. Mitchell most recently served as a NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Transportation in a dual role as Policy Liaison to the Executive Director of the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System and Advisor to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Port Performance Freight Statistics Program. Ms. Mitchell graduated with a BA from Williams College where she majored in religion and earned a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Brown University where she focused on the power of storytelling for policy goals and the integration of data analytics and social science to create, evaluate, and implement effective public policy. Her interdisciplinary professional experiences include working as a blacksmith, as a documentarian, as part of the executive team for the Williams Mystic Maritime Studies Program, and as an independent public policy consultant, among others. Please join ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd and the EDA Team welcoming Ali! Her email is

Opportunity – National Cooperative Extension Award Nominations Are Due May 1 - Stellar Programs and Extension Educators Wanted! Go to: for full details before time runs out by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, May 1. All nominations must be submitted electronically using the designated online platform, Contact Sandy Ruble with questions or concerns.

Farm Bill Proposes Changes in Nutrition Education - The version of the Farm Bill that passed out of the House Agriculture Committee last week proposes changes to nutrition education for people with low income. The changes pose opportunities and challenges for the Land-grant University (LGU) System. The LGU SNAP-Ed Program Development Team (PDT) is a group of Extension professionals from each region working in nutrition education for individuals with low income. The aim of the PDT is to maintain and improve the consistency and effectiveness of SNAP-Ed programming that is delivered through the LGU System and address challenges in this work through a national lens. The PDT is committed to supporting our colleagues throughout the Farm Bill process. The PDT's first step was an informational webcast, Nutrition Education Program for Limited Resource Audiences: House Ag Committee Farm Bill Proposal, held on April 18. A graphic illustrates the legislative process of the Farm Bill outlines the Farm Bill process, including its future once approved by the House Ag Committee.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Two Weeks Left to Nominate the Best of the Best in 2018

ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd encourages Directors and Administrators to seize this limited time opportunity to make Excellence and Diversity in Extension shine in 2018. May 1 is the deadline! Go to for complete details. Questions may be directed to ECOP Program Assistant Sandy Ruble, 202-478-6088.

Well-Connected Communities: Engagement Opportunities - Cooperative Extension is currently building a culture of health in communities across the country with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. The initiative has recently been re-titled as Well-Connected Communities, and there are two near-term ways for Extension professionals to learn more about this work and/or to get involved in the future. See the information below for two upcoming webinars. Read more: Building a Culture of Health: Well-Connected Communities
  • Readiness for Well-Connected Communities - Cooperative Extension has launched a 10 year initiative to harness, align and focus our assets and grow cross-sector partnerships to create a culture of health across America. Join us on this webinar to learn more about the Well-Connected Communities initiative and how you can get ready to join the next wave of change makers.
    Date/Time: June 6, 2018, 1-2 pm EST
    Audience: States interested in Wave 2 Initiative
    Join here:
  • Well-Connected Communities Master Health Volunteers - The Well-Connected Communities Master Health Volunteer Program Training is a collaboration addressing state and community health priorities (60%) underpinned by core content from the national master health volunteer model (40%). This webinar will focus on the content for top national priority core concepts that states are expected to include in their training with a roll-out of webinars and other resources provided. This will be followed by Zoom Office Hours on June 28 at 10 am and 3 pm EST.
    Date/Time: June 12, 2018, 3-4 pm EST
    Audience: Principal Investigators and Extension staff responsible for the Well-Connected Communities Master Health Volunteer program training and implementation.
    Register here:

Designathon One - What’s Next? - The first five eXtension Impact Collaborative Designathon One events included 170 extension professionals and their community partners. The next wave of events are being redesigned to have a greater focus on local or state priorities and context. To accomplish this, a local design team will work with the Impact Collaborative team prior to each event. The University of Kentucky will host the first pilot local Designathon One event in late April with their design team prioritizing next steps for their Innovation Working Group and key initiatives across the state. Several more events are being planned. Learn more about Designathon One or how to request one for your state...

Time is Running Out to Complete the 2017 Census of Agriculture - To date, NASS has received more than 1.5 million completed census questionnaires with more coming in every day. But the national return rate is currently lower than at this point in data collection for the 2012 Agriculture Census. NASS is reminding U.S. producers that everyone who received a census is required to respond – even if they are not involved in agriculture – and encouraging those who have not returned their completed questionnaire to do so as soon as possible so that they do not receive phone and/or in-person follow-ups. NASS is increasing their follow-up efforts with this census due in part to the questionnaire being mailed to many potential farmers and ranchers who may not be familiar with it. Beyond being a general reminder for those who may have waited until they gathered their tax documents to respond, the follow-up will give potential and other producers the opportunity to ask questions, and NASS the chance to address any concerns. In the meantime, farmers and ranchers can still respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture online at or by mail. For more information about the census or for assistance with the questionnaire, producers can visit or call toll-free (888) 424-7828. Remember, the stronger the response, the stronger the data. The stronger the data, the better the decisions and advocacy for programs that best serve producers and rural America.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Land-grant Impact Stories and More

Do you ever wonder if the impact statements submitted to the national database get used? They do. With the support of the Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Sections, a team of nationally recognized writers, editors and designers gathers each year to create materials highlighted on Under "Areas of Impact" you will find and download 28 stories and 15 fact sheets the group developed for each topic area that showcase the success of land-grant universities across the country. The stories are there for you to use in your communications efforts.

IMPORTANT UPDATES: Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders - ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd recommends the following action for Extension Administrators and Directors:
  • Tune in April 20, 2018, 3:00 p.m. Eastern to a special edition! Framing Cooperative Extension’s Response to the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (ARP) Join ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd in a conversation with National Program Leader Brent Elrod and Southern Regional Rural Development Center's Rachel Welborn about Extension opportunities found in Rural America Counts: A blueprint for reinvesting in Rural America. Watch for calendar invitation coming soon.
  • Review the Well Connected Communities presentation from last Friday, April 6. Project Director Michelle Rodgers (University of Delaware) introduces Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Dr. Monica Vinluan. Hear how Karla Trautman, South Dakota State University began the project at her institution. Stay tuned to ECOP Monday Minute for a list of professional development opportunities for the System!

USDA NIFA National Program Leader State Liaison Assignments - As a follow up to last week’s article on the NIFA state program liaison roles and responsibilities, the state liaison assignments may be found at

Time and Effort Webinar Available For Viewing - NIFA’s Office of Grants and Financial Management presented a webinar on April 5 that previews the time and effort reporting presentation to be made at the 2018 National Extension and Research Administrative Officers Conference (NERAOC) in Grand Rapids, MI, April 22-25, 2018. The webinar was conceived as a way for Extension Administrators and Directors to hear the presentation in advance in order for them to engage with their business officers ahead of this NERAOC conference. The webinar was viewed by nearly 120 participants with Maggie Ewell (Senior Policy Analyst for NIFA’s Office of Grants and Financial Management) and Natalie Bush (Manager of Financial Operations, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) moderating. The content of the webinar was a collaborative process involving NIFA’s Office of Grants and Financial Management, the BAA Cooperative Extension Section and the BAA Experiment Station Section. The webinar is available for your viewing at:

Learn more about FFAR - The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research was created in the 2014 Farm Bill to support food and agriculture research, foster collaboration, and advance and complement the mission of USDA. Many of you are aware of the Foundation, and I suspect that many of you are not fully up to speed on its work. To learn more about FFAR, you can go to You can also subscribe to the FFAR monthly newsletter at, and connect with FFAR on Twitter at @FoundationFAR.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Albert Essel Joins the Extension Directors and Administrator (EDA) Team

Albert Essel - Executive Administrator,
Association of Extension Administrators
Albert Essel, Ph.D., was recently named Executive Administrator of the Association of Extension Administrators for the 1890 land-grant universities. He has served as Dean of the College of Agriculture, Environmental, and Human Sciences at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, September 2015 to the present. Dr. Essel has served as Associate Dean for Extension in the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences at Delaware State University 2007-2015. Earlier in his career, Dr. Essel held positions at Fort Valley State University in Georgia, the State University of New York, and Virginia State University. Dr. Essel is a graduate of the University of Science and Technology in Ghana, where he majored in agricultural economics and earned his doctoral degree in economics from Iowa State University. Please join ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd and the EDA Team welcoming Albert! His email is

A REMINDER - Nominations for the 2018 National Extension Diversity and Excellence in Extension Awards Are Being Accepted Now Through May 1, 2018 - Nominees can be individual Cooperative Extension professionals or, for the Diversity Award, a team fundamentally composed of professionals. New nominations and those nominated in previous years that did not receive national award recognition are welcome and encouraged. Go to for full details. Contact: ECOP Program Assistant Sandy Ruble

Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup Update - Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup activities are now underway. The list of members (13) includes representation from 1994, 1890 and 1862 land-grant universities. An opioid expert support team is also providing assistance. The workgroup is charged with helping the System develop a nationwide strategy for addressing the opioid crisis culminating in a report for ECOP. While a preliminary survey was administered in late 2017 identifying opioid-related Extension programming, a second much broader survey on behavior health and substance abuse in general is needed to respond to the current crisis and position Extension to assist with future behavioral health challenges. eXtension has agreed to develop a webpage wherein all the materials collected and developed will be accessible to those in the Land-grant system. Questions may be directed to Mark Skidmore, Director of the North Central Regional Rural Development Center, is the lead coordinator for this effort.

NIFA State Liaison Program Roles and Responsibilities Updated - The liaisons serve as the primary resource and information channel between NIFA and the Land Grant and other state and territory-based universities and colleges receiving NIFA funds. Liaisons will aim to develop an on-going, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship with Extension and Experiment Station directors, and the leadership and faculty in Land-grant and other state-and territory-based universities and colleges. The updated roles and responsibilities were developed based on numerous conversations with Extension and Research administrators and directors across the institutions mentioned. You can learn more about the updated roles and responsibilities and the roles of NIFA Director, Associate Directors, Division Directors, the Director of the Center for International Programs, and Program Institute Deputy Directors at

Monday, March 26, 2018

Well Connected Communities - Web Discussion 4.6.18

America’s land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension System, including the 4-H youth development program, with its unparalleled infrastructure, reach and impact, play an important role in fostering a Culture of Health across the nation. The first initiative of its kind, a Cooperative Extension/philanthropic partnership, now has a title: Well Connected Communities. With the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health, National 4-H Council and the Cooperative Extension Section (CES) together are empowering communities to come together to help their residents be healthier at every stage of life. The April 6th edition of Next Generation for Extension – Learning for Leaders, What the Cooperative Extension Section Wants to Know About the Well Connected Communities Project will reveal more details on how Extension Directors and Administrators can participate in upcoming readiness professional development and prepare to become a part of this effort in future waves. ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd features Michelle Rodgers (ECOP Chair 2016), Program Director, Well Connected Communities during the moderated conversation. Other presenters will include RWJF's Dr. Monica Vinluan.

Another NSF Funding Opportunity - The Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public all in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning; and engage the public of all ages in learning STEM. The AISL program supports six types of projects: (1) Pilots and Feasibility Studies, (2) Research in Service to Practice, (3) Innovations in Development, (4) Broad Implementation, (5) Literature Reviews, Syntheses, or Meta-Analyses, and (6) Conferences. The Anticipated Funding Amount is $33,000,000 to $44,000,000. The Full Proposal Deadline is November 7, 2018 (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time). The Program Director is Alphonse T. DeSena (703) 292-5106

National Search for Excellence in Extension - The 2018 Excellence in Extension Award deadline is May 1, 2018. All 76 institutions in the Cooperative Extension Section are encouraged to make a priority over the next few weeks to nominate one or two of their own for the most prestigious award intended for Extension professionals delivering high impact programs at state, regional and/or county levels, with at least 50 percent EFT/FTE university appointment in Extension, and a minimum of 5 years consecutive program experience. Each nomination, submitted by Region, must include a letter of recommendation signed by the Director or Administrator of Extension or delegate this assignment to an Associate. Go to for complete details of both this award and the National Extension Diversity Award. Questions may be directed to ECOP Program Assistant Sandy Ruble at, 202-478-6088.

Monday, March 19, 2018

ECOP Meeting in Nebraska Continues Important CES Dialogues

Last week, ECOP met in Nebraska City, Nebraska and discussed several topics of importance to the Section. Each discussion included concluding next steps that will involve ECOP members and Extension Administrators and Directors. The topics included how Cooperative Extension can contribute to the university mission, an examination of the return on the Section’s investment in kglobal, focused land-grant reporting on 5-10 themes to better communicate the aggregate value of Cooperative Extension, strengthening the position of Extension professionals in competing for AFRI and other NIFA competitive grants, and the role of development in further leveraging the public investment in the Cooperative Extension around important national issues. Candid photos of the meeting are found below. Stay tuned to the ECOP Monday Minute for more details. Minutes of the ECOP Meetings can be found at

Cooperative Extension Responds to the President’s Task Force - Rural America Counts: A blueprint for reinvesting in Rural America - Vibrant, resilient, and sustainable rural communities are the focus of the President’s Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Report. This report focuses on five priority areas: e-connectivity, improving quality of life, workforce development, technological innovation, and rural economic development. All of these priorities are being addressed at various land grant universities through the Cooperative Extension Section (CES) and Experiment Stations. Many of these activities are coordinated by the four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs), who work in their respective regions – sharing resources and capacity in a wide range of rural development topics. At the suggestion of CES leadership, the RRDCs developed Rural America Counts, which serves as a blueprint for reinvesting in rural America, using the above priorities as a framework for mobilizing the resources of the land grant system.

Reminder: Keep Current With NIFA - USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invests in a wide range of land-grant university applied research and extension programs and is a key ambassador for us with federal agencies and in Congress. Stay current with NIFA activities by receiving the Weekly Digest Bulletin. You can subscribe at any time by using the USDA-NIFA link found on the right panel of this blog.

NSF Funding Opportunity Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) - As the nation continues to expand the horizon of opportunities and possibilities through advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the need for a more diverse and well-prepared STEM workforce is also expanding.
  • Download Solicitation with description and all of the details: CLICK HERE
  • Full Proposal Deadline (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time): August 08, 2018
  • The Anticipated Funding Amount: $10,000,000 to $20,000,000. 
  • The Program Director: David L. Haury (703) 292-5102

Monday, March 12, 2018

Award Nominations Deadline Only 7 Weeks Away

May 1 is the deadline for nominations for the 2018 National Awards offered in partnership by ECOP and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
  • The ECOP Personnel Committee and Regions seek nominations Cooperative Extension professionals who excel at Extension programming, make a positive impact on constituents served, and provide visionary leadership for the System.
  • The ECOP Program Committee seeks the nominations of either individual Cooperative Extension professionals or teams that are achieving organizational changes that support diversity, pluralism and innovation in programs that impact our Extension audiences.
Worksheets for nominations are designed to assist with preparation. Recipients will receive cash awards and travel reimbursement to the 2018 APLU Annual Meeting in New Orleans when NIFA officials present the awards on the national stage. Go to to learn more and submit nominations on-line. Direct questions about nominations to ECOP Program Assistant Sandy Ruble

In Support of Pesticide Applicator Education - In September 2017, eXtension Foundation (established to received and administer funds to support the work of eXtension and the Cooperative Extension Section) received a grant (#X8-83698001) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish and administer a national subaward program in support of pesticide applicator education, and training for certified applicators of restricted-use pesticides. For fiscal year 2018, eXtension Foundation has awarded $1,073,229.07 for pesticide safety education to 46 institutions. Through collaboration with the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC), eXtension Foundation will be able to provide pesticide safety educational products regionally and nationally. For more information on your institution’s participation, contact Tira Adelman

Farmer-to-Farmer Webinar on March 15 - Please join USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to receive information concerning university opportunities in the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 3:00 pm (eastern) at Zoom Link: F2F provides technical assistance from U.S. volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries with the goal of promoting sustainable improvements in such areas as food security and agricultural processing, production, marketing, and youth development. Average length of assignments is three weeks and the program covers all international travel, in-country costs, visas, immunizations, health insurance, etc. Representatives from USAID and three of the organizations implementing the program (ACDI-VOCA, Winrock and CNFA) will discuss how programs are developed in host countries, what type of individuals they’re seeking, what it’s like to serve in the field, how to apply, and more. The F2F program is especially interested in attracting extension professionals who have both the technical knowledge and the requisite skills to transfer that expertise to others.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Key Insights to Leading an Urban Extension Program

The 4th edition Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders, entitled Key Insights to Leading an Urban Extension Program, is released! ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd says, "Washington State University's Dr. Brad Gaolach offers Extension Administrators and Directors interesting insights to bridge the world of academia with community-based applications in urban communities." Gaolach's Urban Extension story and the dialogue with Leaders across the nation is available on video at Direct comments and questions to Hold the date for the #5 Cooperative Extension Section web conference, Friday, April 6, 3:00 p.m. Eastern. The electronic invitation for all 76 Directors and Administrators to participate will be released soon.

Celebrating Diversity in Extension - “Attitudes for Success” Youth Leadership Program received the 2017 National Extension Diversity Award "for the success and longevity of the coalition-model youth development program and for how the curriculum and evaluation tools can be expanded to other states" (Contact: Patricia Dodson, Extension Agent, 541-278-5403, Oregon State University, In addition to this great work, other examples representing the range of educational programming taking place across the country are featured below, each serving diverse audiences with the transformative power of Cooperative Extension.
  • Helping Standing Rock Youth Succeed – establishing an embroidery and silkscreen business at a local high school has built business skills among students in Sioux County of North Dakota, improved the economy of the county, and increased graduation rates. (Contact: Sue Isbell, Extension Agent/Sioux County, North Dakota State University Extension,
  • Culturally-based Youth Leadership Accelerators – developed to more effectively serve the one in five school age (K-12) youth of color in Iowa (Contact: John-Paul Chaisson-C├írdenas, State 4-H Youth Development Program Leader, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, 515-294-6772,
  • Unidos Se Puede, formerly Juntos – a culturally appropriate substance abuse prevention program for 300 Latino immigrant families in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Contact: Leilana McKindra, Communications Specialist, Agricultural Communications Services, Oklahoma State University; 405.744.6792;
  • Texas 4-H Mission Possible Camp – a co-educational, inclusive program that provides a residential summer camp experience for youth with medically-diagnosed disabilities, bringing youth together to improve their abilities and to learn from each other. (Contact: B. Darlene Locke, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, (979) 845-6535,
Nominations for the 2018 National Extension Diversity Award are being accepted now through May 1, 2018. Nominees can be an individual Cooperative Extension professional or a team fundamentally composed of professionals. New nominations and those nominated in previous years that did not receive this award are welcome and encouraged. Go to for full details. Contact: ECOP Program Assistant Sandy Ruble

PILD Pre-conference Webinar - A Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) orientation and preparation webinar is scheduled for Thursday, March 8th at 2:00pm Eastern Time. To register for the webinar click this link: Those attending PILD, especially for the first time, are encouraged to participate in the webinar. It will cover what you need to know in advance of coming to Washington DC, including how to make appointments and prepare for Hill visits, and what you can expect while at PILD. Details on the post conference workshop “Civil Dialogue in the Public Arena” will also be shared. New this year is an optional opportunity to coordinate Hill visits and state’s night out activities with the youth and adults attending National 4-H Conference. On Tuesday afternoon April 10th the PILD and 4-H Conference delegations will meet jointly by institution to share plans and messages. It may also be helpful to view the “Making Hill Visits” webinar held for 4-H Conference delegates which is archived at:

Behavioral Health Impact Collaborative - Behavioral Health (including opioid abuse) was identified by ECOP and Extension Directors as a high priority and was chosen as one of the focus areas for the 2018 eXtension Impact Collaborative (along with Food Systems and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion). Jami Dellifield, The Ohio State University and Courtney Cuthbertson, Michigan State University have been named Program Fellows for the Behavioral Health Impact Collaborative. They are currently identifying potential organizing committee members as well as participants. Directors and administrators with an interest in this area should reach out to Jami and Courtney and encourage their extension faculty/staff in this topic area to contact them. CLICK HERE to learn more about the fellows.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup Being Formed

The Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) has entered into an agreement in partnership with US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) (National Program Leaders, Ahlishia Shipley and Brent Elrod) to help coordinate the Land-grant University system's response to the opioid crisis. Several institutions have already identified evidence-based curriculum for replication nationally in response to the first ever Cooperative Extension Section Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders Web Conference. In this new agreement a set of 9 activities will culminate in the writing of a report for ECOP within a six-month period. The formation of the Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup, a group of opioid experts from the Land-grant system will serve as a resource and provide input. Those with expertise and interest in serving on this workgroup are urged to contact Mark Skidmore ( Director of the North Central Regional Rural Development Center, the lead coordinator for this effort. Last week, USDA launched a webpage highlighting resources to help rural communities address the opioid crisis:

Register for the APLU CEO-CICEP Summer Meeting - Extension Directors and Administrators are cordially invited to join university economic development, community engagement, public service and outreach officers in Richmond, VA from June 25-28 for the 2018 CEO-CICEP Joint Summer Meeting. The theme is Creative Placemaking for Healthy Communities. The meeting will explore creative placemaking in action via university partnerships in the arts, health and innovation. Through presentations, interactive sessions, and field experiences, participants will gain new insights into how public research universities as key “anchor institutions” leverage innovative and interdisciplinary strategies to address complex social and economic challenges facing our communities. The meeting will also feature APLU’s 5th annual Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities Program workshop. Note that early registration rates end in early March.

There’s Still Time to Respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture - As of today, the return rate on the 3 million 2017 Census of Agriculture questionnaires mailed last fall is just over 40 percent. Though making progress every day, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) needs to hear from the rest of the producers. More details of the obligation to complete the census may be found in the February 5th edition of the ECOP Monday Minute. For questions about or assistance filling out the census, producers can call toll-free (888) 424-7828. Please help NASS spread the word that farmers and ranchers still have time to be counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Climate Change Papers Available For Review - Extension Directors and Administrators are encouraged to review materials shared by Sonny Ramaswamy, Director of USDA-NIFA, last week, Climate Change Papers from NIFA-Funded Colleagues. This is good background for an upcoming Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders Web Conference which occurs on the first Friday of the month, 3:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Please stay tuned for more information and contact Executive Director Rick Klemme for more information.