Monday, June 13, 2022

Senate Confirms USDA REE Under Secretary

The ECOP Monday Minute will be on hiatus on June 20, 2022, to commemorate Juneteenth, the day the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, in 1865.


Senate Confirms USDA REE Under Secretary
- ECOP and the Cooperative Extension Section congratulates Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young on her U.S. Senate confirmation to serve as Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE) at the United States Department of Agriculture. Dr. Jacobs-Young recently served as the Acting Deputy Under Secretary of the REE mission area. Previously, she served as Agricultural Research Service Associate Administrator, where she led the Office of National Programs which manages the research objectives of the Agency. See more information here.



Celebrating 30 Years of SNAP-Ed - May 2022 marked 30 years of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed). ECOP and the Cooperative Extension Section joins the USDA to celebrate SNAP-Ed for providing evidence-based nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions and projects for those eligible for SNAP benefits. Through complementary direct education, multi-level interventions, and community and public health approaches to improve nutritional health of historically underserved populations, this federally funded grant program has impacted lives for three decades. See SNAP-Ed Works from USDA-Food Nutrition Service and the NIFA Blog that highlights the 30 years of SNAP-Ed. For a good number of years, ECOP has maintained a valuable alliance with a program development team in support of land-grant university Extension led SNAP-Ed programs and its impact evaluation



Advocacy Updates from Lewis-Burke Associates - APLU Office of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) is stepping up efforts to provide regular advocacy updates to the land-grant university system. Last week Doug Steele, APLU Vice-president of FANR,  announced that Lewis-Burke Associates will provide a monthly summary of highlights and key points to be included in his FANR Focus email messages. The most prominent updates in the last five months are the passage of fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations in March; the release of the President’s FY 2023 Budget Request a few weeks later; ongoing Congressional negotiations on the FY 2023 budget, and the official start of the 2023 Farm Bill process. To view the June update available at www.land-grant.org, please go here. If you are not receiving Doug's messages and would like to sign up, email Suzette Robinson at srobinson@aplu.org with your contact information.




2022 CECE-CGA Summer Meeting
- The APLU Commission on Economic & Community Engagement (CECE) summer meeting, themed Inclusive Community and Economic Engagement: The Path to Social Mobility, will be held from August 2-5 in Detroit, Michigan. Cooperative Extension leaders who are members of CECE are invited to join senior university economic development and community engagement administrators, presidents and chancellors, provosts, senior research officers, and communications administrators at The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit. Participants will look to the future and collaborate on expansive efforts promoting equity–both in process and outcomes–amongst  practitioners’ work. The event agenda features tours of local economic growth engines, interactive sessions, and special programming for Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Universities. Professionals employed by APLU member institutions may join CECE for free here and then proceed to register here

Monday, June 6, 2022

Census of Agriculture Response by June 30

From the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Extension Directors and Administrators are reminded that the 2022 Census of Agriculture is about people. Every survey response is essential by June 30, 2022. Ag census data informs policy, research, assistance programs, ag education, community development, and countless more decisions that ultimately affect farms and communities. From cattle ranchers to greenhouse and backyard growers and urban farmers to producers working thousands of acres, every ag producer needs to be represented. The ag census is a producers' voice, future, and opportunity. Find Partner Tools (i.e. brochures, FAQs, flyers, ads, website banners, etc.) for this Sign-Up to Be Counted phase and more on the NASS census page. Please check there regularly for additional/updated products. Contact: Jodi.halvorson@usda.gov.



Affordable Connectivity Program - As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, President Biden and Vice President Harris worked with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to create the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible households $30/month off their internet bills, or $75/month on Tribal lands. To deliver maximum cost savings to families, the current administration has secured commitments from 20 leading internet providers to offer ACP-eligible households a high-speed internet plan for no more than $30 per month. Eligible families who pair their ACP benefit with one of these plans can receive high-speed internet at no cost. Fact sheet is available here and outreach materials are available at GetInternet.Gov



Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments Proposed Rule - Almost a year ago USDA announced that it would begin work on three proposed rules to support enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards (P&S) Act, the law that protects poultry and hog farmers and cattle ranchers from unfair, deceptive, and anti-competitive practices in livestock markets. Recently, Secretary Vilsack announced that the first of the three priority regulatory initiatives, the Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments proposed rule will be released. The proposed rule would revise the list of disclosures and information live poultry dealers (integrators) must furnish to contract poultry growers. The proposal would establish additional disclosure requirements in connection with the use of poultry grower ranking systems (tournaments) by live poultry dealers to determine settlement payments for poultry growers. The proposed rule is intended to promote transparency in poultry production contracting and to give poultry growers and prospective poultry growers relevant information with which to make business decisions. One of the disclosures in the proposed rule requires live poultry dealers to supply the contact information for the state university Extension service office or the county farm advisor’s office that can provide relevant information to the current or prospective poultry grower about grower costs and poultry farm financial management in the grower’s geographic area. A link to the proposed rule can be found here on the USDA website: Poultry Transparency proposed rule.



Food Supply Chain and Food System News from USDA - USDA announced details of a framework to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers. The announcement also provides additional details on the June 2021 announcement to strengthen critical supply chains and address longstanding structural challenges that were revealed and intensified by the pandemic.



Free Online Social Justice Courses and Discussions Available - The 2022 Military Family Readiness Academy series focuses on individuals’ understanding of social justice and equity, including their own understanding of privilege and oppression. Three asynchronous courses and two panel discussions will equip family service providers with the skills to identify barriers that impact a family’s health and well-being and identify opportunities for social justice advocacy in their work. The Academy series will address the intersections between engaging a social justice mindset as a family service professional and the ability to support the well-being of diverse military families. Enrollment information can be found here.

Monday, May 23, 2022

The ECOP Monday Minute will be on hiatus on May 30. Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend.

The bipartisan report,
Boots on the Ground: Land-grant Universities in the Fight Against Threats to Food and Agriculture, highlights the unique role of land-grant universities in safeguarding the Nation's food and agriculture and can be downloaded here. The report finds that land-grant universities can play a critical role in protecting the Nation’s food and agriculture, and details 15 specific recommendations to maximize their effectiveness. The report’s recommendations address the coordination of federal and Land-grant food and agro-biodefense efforts, early warning of threats to food and agriculture, and incorporation of Land-grant Universities into preparedness, response, and mitigation of biological events.



Funding Opportunity – Positive Youth Development - Among the AFRI Education and Workforce Development program areas, 2 brand new Special Workforce Development projects funded by the Farm Bill were recently announced. Extension Directors and Administrators and their assigns might wish to attend a webinar Friday, June 3, 2022, 2:30pm to 4:00pm ET, regarding RFAs for Youth Innovators Empowering Agriculture Across America (YEA) and Youth Innovators Empowering Agriculture Across America Coordinated Network (YEA-CN) projects. Projects must be fully integrated to include research, education, and Extension components. To see/download the new AFRI review criteria, click here. Applications are due August 4, 2022. To learn more about the Request for Applications, who to contact for more information, and register for the webinar, go to https://www.nifa.usda.gov/rfa-youth-innovators-empowering-agriculture-across-america-yea-webinar.




2022 Academy on Social Justice Kicks off June 1
- The kickoff of OneOp’s 2022 Military Family Readiness Academy on social justice for family well-being will be on June 1. The kickoff event will feature representatives from USDA/NIFA and DoD to welcome attendees and encourage participation in the 2022 Academy series. Both will also speak to the importance of this topic for providers, military service members, and their families. The 2022 Academy features high quality content with diverse and respected course authors and experts in subjects such as social justice, racial equity, identity formation, media representation, resilience, engagement through an antiracist lens, and building communities of belonging. Three FREE courses offer participants insight into myriad aspects of social justice such as examining history, community standards, prejudice and discrimination, institutional discrimination in organizations, and advocate for fostering well-being for military families. Each course offers an attendance certificate and/or continuing education credits from various credentialing agencies. Click here to RSVP for the kickoff and learn more. Courses will be available to access June 1 after the event.



Recap 2022 National Health Outreach Conference - More than 200 Extension professionals from across the country gathered in Kansas City, MO recently to participate in Cooperative Extension’s National Health Outreach Conference hosted this year by the University of Missouri. Keynote speakers include Salma Abdalla of the Boston University School of Public Health, Andrea Everett, Community Development Extension Agent of Prairie View A&M University, Sara Bleich of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, and Dan Meers, mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs. Attendees engaged in their choice of 45 concurrent sessions and 30 poster presentations on such topics as coalition building, systems change, workforce development, immunization education, diabetes prevention, and food insecurity. Save the date for the next conference May 22-24, 2023, to be held in Ithaca, NY.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Testimony on USDA Funding

During the ECOP Budget and Legislative Committee (BLC) Meeting last week, recent testimony wss discussed that can benefit the Cooperative Extension Section.
  • On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. View a recording of the testimony here. The well-being of rural and underserved populations stands out in this testimony.

  • ESCOP Chair, Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president of agriculture and natural resources, director of the Agricultural Experiment Station and director of the Cooperative Extension Service, and Liaison to the ECOP BLC, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture on March 16, 2022, on A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The Role of USDA Programs in Addressing Climate Change. Highlights include sustainability and climate resilience, the value of a well-balanced mix of capacity and competitive funds, and the interrelatedness of land-grant university research and Extension.


Making Climate-Smart Agriculture Work - Quick reminder of the event announced here back on April 25, the NIFA-funded Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project will host a national virtual conference May 24-26, 2022Making Climate-Smart Agriculture Work. The conference focus is to share information and best practices regarding integrating science, modeling, and economics to help farmers, ranchers, and foresters mitigate and adapt to the challenges of climate change.



New Report Provides Regional Assessment of Ecosystem Services in Northeast U.S. - Authored by Northeast Ecosystems Services Fellows Alicia F. Coleman, and Mario R. Machado, and funded by the Association of Northeast Extension Directors (NEED) and the Northeast Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA), the report documents results from an assessment of over 1,300 ecosystem service provisioning programs and policies across the U.S. Northeast. The assessment describes the programs' institutional arrangements, their incentive structures, and the ecosystem services. It is intended to build the capacity of Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Research Station system’s work in supporting producers to deliver ecosystem services on working lands. In addition to providing analysis and recommendations, a linked database captures a time-bound dataset that can be filtered by state. Read the full posting excerpted above on Connect Extension here. View and share the Landscape Assessment. Join the Fellows for a national webinar about the assessment, recommendations, and opportunities grow from the work on May 24, 2022, 2:00- 3:00 PM ET. Attendance is open to all. Register here.



NIFA Nutrition Incentive Programs RFA Reminder - Each of the following have the due date of Thursday, June 30, 2022.
  • The GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program presents the opportunity to bring together stakeholders from various parts of the food and healthcare systems to foster understanding of how they might improve the health and nutrition status of participating households. The RFA may be found here.  Estimated Total Program Funding $33,982,780. 

  • The primary goal and objective of the GusNIP Produce Prescription Program is to demonstrate and evaluate the impact of projects on (1) the improvement of dietary health through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables; (2) the reduction of individual and household food insecurity; and (3) the reduction in healthcare use and associated costs. The RFA may be found here. Estimated Total Program Funding $4,900,000.
USDA NIFA will provide helpful webinars on May 19 for insulars and May 26 on the Produce Prescription Program.