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Monday, June 29, 2020

Building Extension Understanding and Leadership in an Environment of Systemic Racism

The ECOP Monday Minute will be on hiatus on July 6th and will return on July 13th. Have a safe and pleasant Fourth of July.

Last Friday, Administrator and Director colleagues and their Associates from approximately 45 Extension Institutions, the Board on Humans Sciences, and Tribal Colleges, from Florida to Guam and many locations in between participated in the dialogue, Building Extension Understanding and Leadership in an Environment of Systemic Racism. Participants listened to one another in small groups answering 2 probing questions: How does racism impact you and the ones you love day to day?  If you woke up tomorrow and your hopes for racial equity had been realized within your system, what is the first thing you might notice yourself doing, thinking, seeing or feeling? They learned how Coming Together for Racial Understanding (CTRU) is unfolding and what is needed to support for this effort further. ECOP Chair Mark Latimore (Fort Valley State University) presented potential actions for fellow leaders and ECOP to consider. Stay tuned for more details. 

ECOP/eXtension to Host Extension Futures National Action Dialogues, July 13th or 14th, 1 PM - 3 PM ET - The purpose of the Action Dialogue is to imagine near-future possibilities for how Extension can better serve individuals and communities in the face of evolving needs and capabilities. The outcome of this dialogue will support transitional aspects of more digital engagement and community platforms, and inform the need for funding of infrastructure/equipment needed for the envisioned futures. Focus topics include National Community Learning Networks, Digital Cooperatives, Professional/Continuing Ed/Workforce Development, Infrastructure (access/capability to use it), and Living Ecosystem of Professionals. All Cooperative Extension professionals, including Directors/Administrators, Agents, & Educators are invited. Registration available here, Please choose only one day to participate.

A Time Like No Other: 4-H Youth Development and COVID-19 - In this Journal of Extension thought leader commentary is a review of the potential devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people, including trauma, impacts on mental health, socioemotional distress, and changes in academic learning. Stating that 4-H is uniquely positioned to mitigate these effects through intentional positive youth development efforts, there is a call to action for 4-H Educators and Extension Administrators as the nation moves from initial reaction to recovery and beyond. This commentary recommends four research-based strategies to ensure that youths not only survive but thrive in this time like no other. Go to: 

A Request from USDA APHIS to Extension Colleagues - Earlier this month, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) declared eradication of Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 from U.S. greenhouses. APHIS is asking Extension Administrators and Directors and the agents in their coverage areas to help share information about this pathogen with nursery and greenhouse operators, landscape managers, homeowners and gardeners. A fact sheet that describes R. solanacearum symptoms, transmission, and management is on the APHIS web site. For more information about R. solanacearum, please contact Lynn Evans-Goldner, National Policy Manager by phone at (301) 851-2286 or by email at

Urban Agriculture Stakeholder Input Gathered for USDA NIFA - In response to a recent call from NIFA for stakeholder input to help inform and set priorities for $40 million of grant funding for research, education and extension around urban, indoor and emerging agriculture, the Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research, the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) and a number of local Farm Bureau chapters located in urban counties from across the country, partnered to host four online, interactive listening sessions and an online survey. The listening sessions had 153 participants and the survey had 68 respondents from 38 U.S. states, territories and districts. The summary report provided to NIFA on June 22 is available here.

Monday, June 22, 2020

ECOP Monday Minute Submissions Contact Information and Guidelines

Caroline Crocoll, Executive Director for Cooperative Extension/ECOP, welcomes ECOP Monday Minute submissions for consideration. Please send submissions directly to This news blog provides clear, consistent communications to the Board on Agriculture Assembly Cooperative Extension Section (CES) to share member-driven opportunities designed to enhance resources, relationships and recognition for Cooperative Extension nationally. Weekly updates are intended to appeal to the work of Cooperative Extension Directors and Administrators in the USA with a focus on the CES Strategic Agenda. The focus is on national leadership, opportunities, emphasis areas, strategic priorities, and partnerships. Each Thursday is the last day of the week for time sensitive items to be considered. Items should be 120 words in length with relevant links.

The eXtension Foundation is seeking early stage, high potential projects from across Extension. - The New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE) cooperative agreement with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will enter the second year on September 1st, 2020. Join eXtension's Catalyst team - Scott Reed, Fred Schlutt, and Jimmy Henning - on June 30th, 2020 at 2 PM ET for an overview of the NTAE project nomination process, wrap-around services provided to projects, goals, outcomes, and what projects get from working with the eXtension Foundation. Learn more and register here.


Smart Cities Leading Edge Dialogue - The Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research has released the second white paper in their Leading Edge Dialogue series: Smart Cities: Technology Equity, Livability, and Trust. Cities are getting smarter. New technologies help monitor traffic and enforce parking. First responders use camera systems to explore incident scenes for potentially hazardous materials or spills. Autonomous vehicles are being piloted. With these new technologies, governments and communities have concerns about safety, privacy, and equity. The key to successfully navigating these issues is trust. So what's the role of Extension in smart cities? We asked this question of our panel experts and participants at the 2019 National Urban Extension Conference during the 90-minute interactive Leading Edge Dialogue, available here.

Elevate and strengthen the role of Cooperative Extension in economic and community engagement. - Forbes Magazine recently ran a feature of APLU's Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities designation program, a cohort-based collaborative effort that helps universities strengthen their strategy and practice in economic engagement. The article spotlighted how APLU's 66 IEP designees leveraged the IEP process to better position themselves to respond to the economic needs of their communities in light of COVID-19 pandemic. Read the article here: ECOP encourages Cooperative Extension leaders to contribute or lead their institutions' IEP designation process. To learn more, contact APLU's Shalin Jyotishi and visit

Monday, June 15, 2020

Cooperative Extension Section/ECOP Leadership Announcement

During the ECOP Executive Committee meeting last Thursday, 6/11/2020, the Northeast Region Extension Directors (NEED) announced the new Chair-elect for ECOP, beginning July 1. During the Cooperative Extension Section Annual Business Meeting (aka NEDA) in late September 2020 (see more below), the ECOP gavel will be passed from Mark Latimore, Fort Valley State University, to Chris Watkins, Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension (pictured left). Chris has served the System as a national leader on ECOP since 2017, the Search Committee for the Cooperative Extension System/ECOP Executive Director, and ECOP Budget and Legislative Committee since 2019.

Virtual NEDA Meeting – Chair of the National Extension Directors and Administrators (NEDA) Planning Committee, Ed Jones, Virginia Tech, announced to the ECOP Executive Committee last Thursday, that the 2020 Cooperative Extension Section Business Meeting/NEDA will occur September 23-24 (ECOP Meeting on September 22). However, NEDA will be conducted on a virtual platform rather than face-to-face in Detroit. All 76 members of the Cooperative Extension Section and System partners are encouraged to save the dates and watch for registration to be released, soon. Timing of the live Sessions, no more than 2 hours each, will accommodate up to 7 time zones to engage the full Section for important decisions to be made and vital dialogue to take place. The next meeting of the of the Planning Committee is set for June 18. Stay tuned for the announcement of a theme and other details with registration.

4-H Pathways Institute Opportunity - ECOP 4-H Leadership Committee congratulates teams from Washington State University, Virginia Tech, the University of Nebraska, West Virginia University, and the University of Missouri for the inaugural 4-H Pathways Leadership Institute on July 14th and 15th. There were so many interested applicants that Council is offering a second Institute in September 2020. This second cohort will include teams from New Mexico State University, the University of Florida, the University of Delaware, and N.C. A&T State University. There is still room for one or two more teams for our September Institute. Institutions interested in applying, may contact Kaitlin McTighe at for more details.

eXtension Partners with Farm Journal to Spotlight Cooperative Extension - Last month, eXtension piloted a story lead contest in its Connect Extension platform in partnership with Farm Journal with input from ACE and EDEN. All Cooperative Extension colleagues are invited to submit story leads, not full narratives, to the contest. Winners will have their stories fully produced by Farm Journal and shared across Farm Journal media to bring greater visibility to the work of Cooperative Extension. For the month of May, the topic area was wildlife conservation practices; Jeff Goodwin, Interim Associate Dean for Extension at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, submitted the winning story lead. A runner up was selected from Clemson University and will also have a story published. eXtension invites all Extension Directors and Administrators to encourage faculty and staff to participate. The topic area for June is Food Waste and the deadline is June 25, 2020. Learn more here

Monday, June 8, 2020

Change and Healing Through Understanding - ECOP is Responding

The Cooperative Extension family grieves as the nation again comes face-to-face with the serious and disheartening mistreatment that, sadly, is a part of African Americans’ daily existence. ECOP Executive Committee will be releasing a call to action later this week. Meanwhile, one effort for the Cooperative Extension System to consider in responding. One effort for the Cooperative Extension System to respond to the need for dialogue to promote racial understanding and healing is Coming Together for Racial Understanding (CTRU). Seeded by ECOP in 2016, CTRU began following a similar season of anguish in our country. CTRU’s vision is to grow a community of Extension professionals ready to aid in fostering meaningful community conversations leading to positive change. Many of the trained teams across 26 states continue to work fervently, aiding both CES professionals and communities toward this vision. As work continues, three principles are clear: 
  1. Dialogues are vital to understanding, and understanding is vital to healing and meaningful change.
  2. CES must do our own work around race before we can effectively engage communities.
  3. Administrative support to these teams is vital to their success.
Learn more about CTRU:
To view other great resources:
Coordinator: Rachel Welborn

Extension’s Leadership on Climate and Extreme Weather - Last Friday, Directors and Administrators from all 5 Regions joined ECOP Chair Mark Latimore for the latest Learning for Leaders session. The eXtension Climate Fellows introduced themselves and described the project using Project Drawdown framework. ECOP's Chuck Ross, University of Vermont, says, "Collectively, by building a database from across the System, the Climate Fellows will tell the story of the efficacy of the Extension System on the issue of climate and extreme weather conditions. We should look forward to the Climate Fellows contacting us and we should reach out to them to make this possible."   
   Enhanced PowerPoint with chat Q&A, resource links and contact info: Click here
   Contact information for the Fellows:
    * Jennison Kipp,
    * Sarah Klain,
    * Paul Lachapelle,
    * Roslynn Brain McCann,

Health Equity Principles for State and Local Leaders - The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic downturn have differentially affected certain groups of people causing some to suffer disproportionately. To ensure that all people and communities have an opportunity to recover fully and fairly, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently released an issue brief which identifies five health equity principles that should be considered in state and local decisions regarding the reopening the economy and eventual recovery from COVID-19. These principles include examining dis-aggregated data to surface inequities, engaging those most affected in decision-making, empowering teams take action on disparities, proactively addressing policy gaps, and investing in infrastructure which fosters resilience. Read the full text of the issue brief here.

Nominations for New Technologies for Agricultural Extension (NTAE) for 2020 - The NTAE cooperative agreement with USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will enter the second year on September 1, 2020. Nominations are a short request for information that is quickly and easily completed in minutes and will be available June 15, 2020. Selected projects will receive wrap around services from eXtension Foundation to support and amplify the project/program outcomes. Wrap around services include program advisory support, publication creation, evaluation, digital engagement, professional development services, and optional partnership development support and marketing/market research services from external firms. Learn more about eligibility, nominations, and the wrap around services that promote project/program progression to an evidence-based model here.  

Small Business Online Training is Available - The USDA SBIR Program Office is offering free, online training to learn more about the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Training is comprised of 5 weekly one-hour webinars (live or recorded) and a brief activity aimed at discovering previous SBIR awardees and complementary service providers in your area. USDA, Land-grant university, and Cooperative Extension (across ALL program areas) that complete this course will receive a Certificate of Completion signed by leadership at SBA and USDA. To learn more and to register, visit 

CYFAR Annual Report Available - The Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) Program is funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support collaborative programming with the nation’s land-grant college and university system. Although only 1862 and 1890 land-grant colleges and universities were eligible prior to passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, these land-grant institutions often collaborated with 1994 land-grants. This collaborative programming between institutions provided positive outcomes for children, youth, and families placed at risk and served by those institutions. The 2018 Annual Report features the highlights of these programmatic activities, outcomes, and impacts.