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Monday, June 25, 2018

Register for 2018 NEDA

Last week Extension Directors and Administrators and key partners received an invitation to register and attend the 2018 National Extension Directors and Administrators (NEDA) and Cooperative Extension Section (CES) Business Meeting. "The City of Roses", Portland, Oregon, is the backdrop for the meeting to be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Downtown. The early-bird registration rate of $350 includes round-trip transportation to Ecotrust on Tuesday, October 2 for a CES Celebration and Passing of the Gavel. Register using CVent and with hotel (Code:APL) by September 10 to avoid consequences of offsite lodging or higher fees. Complete details, including theme, goals and FAQs, are available to

NEW DATE Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders 8/3 - Unraveling the Mysteries of CES and ECOP - On May 29-30 a group of newer leaders of the Cooperative Extension Section (3 years or less) joined ECOP Chair Chuck Hibberd in Washington, DC for 2018 Capital Quest. A survey of participants revealed there is a great deal to learn about the Cooperative Extension Section and the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy! Go figure when nearly half of all Extension Administrators and Directors have 3 years or less of experience leading their respective extension institutions. In response to this feedback, Chuck has decided to focus his next conversation with colleagues on unraveling the mysteries of CES and ECOP. The Next Generation Extension - Learning for Leaders that was scheduled for July 6 is postponed until Friday, August 3, 3-4:00 p.m. Please hold the date and stay tuned for more details to follow! Missed earlier opportunities for one of these sessions? Listen to recordings and feedback is always welcome!

Artis Stevens, CMO,
National 4-H Council
National Recognition for 4-H Grows Campaign - The 4-H Grows Campaign is a collaborative effort to increase access to and enrollment in 4-H across the country. This strategic efforts to raise awareness of and grow 4-H has received significant recognition from the American Marketing Association. AMA's National Non-Profit Marketer of the Year Award will be presented to National 4-H Council Chief Marketing Officer Artis Stevens in July for leading 4-H's innovative alumni marketing strategy -- resulting in a significant increase in 4-H’s brand relevancy, revenue and reach. The award recognizes the vision and leadership efforts of the 4-H System to unite Cooperative Extension, USDA and National 4-H Council under one cohesive brand strategy across the country, ultimately laying the groundwork for the successful adoption of the 4-H Grows campaign.

USDA Rural Development Resources Available in Every State - Rural Development (RD) has many programs that complement the work of Extension across the country. Field staff work closely with the ag community and other rural leaders to ensure that communities have affordable housing, and essential community services such as schools, libraries, hospitals; and vital infrastructure such as broadband, water, and reliable electricity. RD provides capital for lenders, agricultural producers and rural businesses through programs like the Value-Added Producer Grant program, which can help transform commodities into higher-value products – such as grapes into specialty jellies. The Rural Energy for America Program helps reduce energy costs by installing renewable energy systems such as solar, wind, and anaerobic digesters; and energy efficiency projects such as new HVAC systems, lighting, and irrigation systems. USDA micro lending programs provide capital to start or grow a small rural business. Existing USDA borrowers, such as local utilities, create revolving loan funds that relend to rural businesses. Our Cooperative Service programs help strengthen existing co-ops and start new ones. Finally, at Rural Development our work is driven by three key principles: Innovation, Partnerships and Infrastructure. Secretary Perdue created an Innovation Center to help transform rural areas. Modernizing infrastructure and building new partnerships – such as with the Extension community – will strengthen our rural communities. Bette Brand, Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Services encourages Extension Administrators and Directors to reach out to USDA Rural Development offices.

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.