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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