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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.