Monday, February 12, 2024

Kenya: Extension and Related Activities, March 8 Zoom Meeting

On March 8 at 3:00 PM ET, APLU and Executive Director Bill Hoffman will host an information sharing Zoom meeting regarding Extension and related activities in Kenya. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture recently held a trade mission to that country and there is a very positive US agricultural benefit proposition to cooperation in Kenya. Please register here for this meeting. Also, contact Dr. Hoffman at to request the opportunity to share an institution’s work in Kenya during the session.

NSF Virtual Town Halls - The National Science Foundation (NSF) is hosting a series of events this month as part of its new Catalyzing Across Sectors to Advance the Bioeconomy (CASA-Bio) initiative. CASA-Bio is the latest federal effort to organize activities across agencies related to biotechnology, synthetic biology, and the bioeconomy, and follows from the September 2022 Executive Order and the March 2023 Bold Goals report on the bioeconomy. CASA-Bio aims to provide direction to the federal government (including research funding agencies) on which specific priorities within the broad bioeconomy landscape are most pressing and ripe for cross-sector collaboration. Slides from an informational webinar about CASA-Bio are available here.

CASA-Bio is hosting a series of town halls in February as an opportunity for stakeholders to provide their perspectives on the most important challenges in this space.

There are four virtual town halls scheduled for this month, all of which will have the same agenda and content according to NSF. Registration is on the CASA-Bio home page:

· Monday, February 12 – 7 PM ET
· Thursday, February 15 – 9 AM ET
· Wednesday, February 21 – 12 PM ET
· Thursday, February 22 – 5 PM ET

North American Agricultural Advisory Network (NAAAN) - The North American Agricultural Advisory Network (NAAAN…pronounced like the flat bread…nahn) is launching NAAAN CONNECT, an online community for extension and rural advisory services professionals in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, this March. Subscribe to the NAAAN Newsletter to stay updated on the launch and be a part of fostering collaboration and innovation in agricultural and rural development. This network represents an opportunity to share your state’s Cooperative Extension resources and research results across our nation, as well as with Canada and Mexico.

Priester Health Awards - Nominations and self-nominations are now being accepted for the 2024 Jeanne M. Priester Extension Health Awards. The awards are named for Jeanne Priester, former National Program Leader at ES-USDA involved in the development of such landmark programs such EFNEP and Mulligan Stew. Today, these awards recognize extraordinary programs and professionals that are modeling next generation work in health and well-being. Awards are presented in six different categories. Award recipients will be recognized at the 2024 National Health Outreach and Engagement Conference in Greenville, SC in May. The nomination deadline is March 20. For more information regarding the nomination process can be found here.

The ECOP Monday Minute will be on hiatus until February 26. 

Monday, February 5, 2024

Call for Nominations for 2024 Awards

Last Thursday, the call for nominations for the 2024 Cooperative Extension Awards by ECOP and USDA-NIFA was sent to all Extension Directors and Administrators urging them to share the opportunity with leadership teams and potential nominees. Online submissions are required by May 1. Award recipients are selected by the end of July and will receive cash awards. The announcement of the winners will occur in Fall 2024 just prior to, and travel to the APLU Annual Meeting in November to accept their awards. Learn more at The website hosted by Extension Foundation, is a gateway to full details and provides answers to frequently asked questions.

First Friday Recap: Assessments Ballot Overview and Budget and Legislative Matters - Last Friday, Extension Directors and Administrators from over 30 land-grant institutions joined ECOP Chair Damona Doye for an informative briefing on an upcoming vote by the Cooperative Extension Section. Consultant Christina Laridaen, Lewis-Burke Associates, shared what was happening with Federal Budgets and the next Farm Bill. Links from shared during the briefing: 
--> Fiscal Year 2025 Appropriations Request aka "2025 Unified Ask"
The concise 30-minute recording is available below. 

Registration for USDA’s 100th Agricultural Outlook Forum (REMOTE PARTICIPATION AVAILABLE) - The Agricultural Outlook Forum, USDA’s largest and premier annual gathering, will take place February 15-16. The breadth and timeliness of the forum’s programs have consistently drawn a diverse group of participants. The 2024 Program will feature a keynote address by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a presentation on the outlook for agricultural markets and trade, and 30 breakout sessions covering a wide range of agricultural, food market and environmental issues. This is a hybrid event.

Health and Human Sciences Leadership Fellows Program - Applications are being accepted here for the third iteration of the Board on Health and Human Sciences (BHHS) Leadership Fellows program now through February 16, 2024. Faculty and Extension Specialists with interest in becoming administrative leaders in the health and human sciences field are encouraged to apply. Information on the program can be found in the 2024 Leadership Fellows Brochure. Selected fellows will receive up to $3,000 to support their projects and assigned mentors to support their activities. Project funds (including travel stipends) will be awarded to the fellows for a period of one year, to begin immediately following the BHHS annual meeting and to culminate in attending and presenting at the following BHHS annual meeting. Questions may be directed to

MyPlate Helps Make Every Bite is the Federal symbol for healthy eating, and it offers a collection of easy-to-use tools and resources that promote healthy eating habits for people of all ages, budgets, and cultural backgrounds. The MyPlate Quiz (available in English and Spanish) provides resources that fit any need, and the MyPlate Plan (also available in English and Spanish) can be personalized for age, sex, height, weight, and activity level. There are also tools for on-the-go lifestyles: Shop Simple with MyPlate offers money-saving tips for grocery shopping and new ideas for preparing those foods, while the Start Simple mobile app helps set food group goals and track progress.

Registration Open for 2024 National 4-H Conference - Registration for the 2024 National 4-H Conference opened February 1. National 4-H Conference, the flagship youth development opportunity of USDA and hosted by NIFA, will be April 19 through 24. Read more about National 4-H Conference including registration details here.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Secretary's Speech Praises and Charges Land-grant Research, Education, and Extension

On January 8, 2024, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the University of New Hampshire. ECOP Member Ken La Valley was particularly impressed with the Secretary’s talk, which featured the important role of Land-grant University research, education, and extension. The Secretary gave a similar presentation at the APLU Annual Meeting in November 2023. The presentation, starting at the point when Extension was referenced, is captured below.

New 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development Impact - Many may be familiar with the 10-year longitudinal study, The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, conducted by Tufts University and sponsored by the National 4-H Council, which concluded in 2011. This research has been a tremendous asset for 4-H and helped the Cooperative Extension System tell a powerful story nationally and locally.

Council recently funded a follow up study to replicate the research with new youth, as well as reconnect with original study original participants who are now adults.

This Replication and Reconnection Study confirms the original, powerful outcomes: 4-H helps youth thrive, now and into adulthood. Here is the top line:

Compared to their peers, 4-H participants are:

• 4X more likely to make a positive contribution to their communities
• 2X more likely to participate in out-of-school-time science programs
• 2X more likely to make healthier choices
• 2X more likely to report feeling competent
• 2X more likely to feel positive about their wellbeing

4-H alumni are:

• 3X more likely to participate in community service
• 2X more likely to report living life with intentionality and purpose
• 2X more likely to have the goal of being a leader

Updating Economic Engagement Framework - This APLU Commission on Economic and Community Engagement developed framework is the foundation of a number of APLU projects and programs in economic and community engagement including the Innovation & Economic Prosperity Program. The new Principals of Practice for Higher Education’s Engagement in Inclusive Economic Engagement Strategies updated the 2015 previous framework “Foundations for Strategy and Practice” and articulates the values public and land-grant campuses can bring to this work, illustrates a theory of change showing that inclusive growth and social mobility are possible, and offers principles of practice for campuses to consider.

Revealing Article on Microcredentials - A new survey found training partnerships between employers and four-year colleges fell between 2022 and 2023 while instruction provided by third-party providers rose. The Inside Higher Ed article that quotes this statistic cites a new report released Tuesday by Collegis Education, an online program support company, and UPCEA, the organization previously known as the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. In 2023, 40 percent of organizations surveyed had partnerships or relationships with four-year colleges and universities, which was a nine-percentage-point drop compared to the previous year’s inaugural survey. Partnerships between employers and LinkedIn Learning, however, rose from 44 percent in 2022 to 52 percent in 2023. A quick search shows that several Cooperative Extension Services have a presence on Linkedin.

Monday, January 22, 2024

USDA-NIFA Hosts EFNEP Listening Session – February 23

On Friday, February 23, 2024, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will host a listening session for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) at 10:15-11:30 AM ET – immediately following the EFNEP National Conference. The hyperlink below provides details for this live and virtual event. Please consider attending, submitting written comments, and sharing this event information with Family and Consumer Sciences and EFNEP Coordinators. NIFA is seeking stakeholder feedback on all aspects of EFNEP.

ECOP Appoints Martin as NUEL Liaison
 - ECOP has appointed Dr. Edward C. Martin (pictured left) as the Liaison to the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) Steering Committee. Dr. Martin serves as Associate Vice President and Director of the Arizona Cooperative Extension System and is a faculty member in the Biosystems Engineering Department. Ed replaces Dr. Brent Hales, University of California, in this role. The appointment was established in 2015 with the adoption of A National Framework for Urban Extension. Please join ECOP to thank Brent and Ed for their national leadership!

ECOP/APLU Modernizing Scholarship for the Public Good Webinar Now Online - Last Friday, ECOP sponsored a webinar titled, Modernizing Scholarship for the Public Good, which is now online for asynchronous viewing. APLU launched the initiative to spur more publicly engaged and impactful research and scholarship. Over the past two years, Civic Science Fellow Elyse Aurbach led this initiative, and focused on the strategies public research universities can support scholars working in Public Impact Research, Cooperative Extension, civic science, and other forms of public engagement. ECOP thanks Elyse for sharing and discussing the initiative, action framework and case studies. The recording is available on ECOP's YouTube Channel

Associated links from the presentation: 

Rural Health & Safety Education RFA - NIFA recently published the 2024 Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program (RHSE) RFA. The RHSE program improves the quality of life in rural communities by providing the essential knowledge necessary for successful programs of rural health and safety in the context of food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences. Proposals are expected to be community-based outreach education programs, such as those conducted through human science Extension outreach that provide individuals and families with information regarding:
  • The value of good health at any age;
  • To increase individual or family’s motivation to take more responsibility for their own health;
  • Rural environmental health issues that directly impact human health;
  • Access to health promotion and educational activities; and
  • Training for volunteers and health services providers concerning health promotion and health care services for individuals and families in cooperation with state, local, and community partners.
Application deadline is March 14, 2024. For more information, read the RHSE funding opportunity.

GusNIP - Produce Prescription Award Applications - The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) 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 Produce Prescription portion of this program is of particular interest to Cooperative Extension. Applications for this portion of the program are due February 28, 2024. NIFA recently conducted a technical assistance webinar, for which the slides are now available.

USDA Names Participants in 2024 Future Leaders in Agriculture Program - On January 17th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the selection of 20 undergraduate and graduate students as the 2024 winners of the USDA Future Leaders in Agriculture program. The selected students hail from land-grant universities and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI). The recent USDA press release names the students, their hometowns, and their universities. Program winners will travel to Washington, D.C., in February to tour the nation’s capital and attend USDA’s premier annual event, the Agricultural Outlook Forum. They will also participate in several USDA briefings, gaining numerous opportunities for career development with leaders at USDA.