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Monday, March 1, 2021

Encouraging Collaborations with Diverse Communities

The next meeting of Extension Directors and Administrators widely known as Learning for Leaders, will take place on Friday, March 5, 2021, 3-4:00 PM Eastern Time. Leaders Encouraging Collaborations with Diverse Communities: Consider the Experiences of Extension Educators, will feature findings from the field and latest literature, and exploration of the characteristics that enable Extension educators and their programs to be successful by looking carefully at challenges that they face. There will be ample time during the hour to discuss what support structures are needed at the institutional and systemic levels. Invitations with Zoom connection details were sent by Sandy Ruble, Assistant Director, Cooperative Extension System/ECOP, on February 18. Email Sandy at for more information.

NEDA Planning Committee Takes Next Step
October 12-14, 2021, are the dates for the 2021 National Extension Directors and Administrators (NEDA) Meeting! The Planning Committee is chaired by Immediate-past President of ECOP, Mark Latimore, Fort Valley State University (1890s Region), and joined by Jorge Atiles, West Virginia University (Northeast Region), Shelly Nickols-Richardson, University of Illinois (North Central Region), Laura Stephenson, University of Kentucky (Southern Region), and Barbara Petty, University of Idaho (ECOP Member from the Western Region). At their most recent meeting, the group examined surveys by the Regional Associations and established some bright ideas with a focus on the limitless possibilities for the future of Extension. Stay tuned for more details for what is sure to become and productive and motivating virtual event. Registration will begin in May 2021. 

ECOP Spring Meeting Topics - The Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) serves as the executive board and representative body (15 voting members, 3 from 5 regions) of the Cooperative Extension System and typically meets face-to-face 3 times each year. The Spring Meeting, March 23-25, will consist of 4, 90-minute virtual sessions. The agenda includes, 4-H Reputation Management, an update to the Cooperative Extension Framework for Health, NIFA Partnerships and Opportunities, and the role of the Executive Directors and Administrator Team (EDA Team). For more information contact Executive Director Caroline (Crocoll) Henney or Assistant Director Sandy Ruble. Thank you.

Military Family Readiness Academy Continues Free Sessions
- The Military Families Learning Network continues its 2021 Military Family Readiness Academy series, Disaster and Hazard Readiness in Action focusing on the skills, contexts, and situations military family service providers and Extension educators may draw from and navigate to manage disasters and emergencies. Weekly sessions will cover the readiness and wellbeing of military families as they connect with communities, caregiving, children and family needs, and nutrition. Sessions will guide providers on how to work with families during disasters and hazards, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dialogue will be central in this series—lessons learned, resources, and insights will be shared by panelists, speakers, and participants. All sessions are free and several continuing education credits will be available. To register and get more information go to:

Monday, February 22, 2021

Alliance with CDC to Help Rural and Underserved Populations

Extension Directors and Administrators are welcome to share this registration link as appropriate for the webinar, Immunization Education - Faculty & Staff, Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 3-4:00 p.m. ET. The hour-long session is led by Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware. Michelle is the new Project Director for the developing alliance between the Cooperative Extension System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote the immunization education and innovative models for community action. This alliance was launched by the ECOP Health Innovation Task Force

On a related note...
Aimed at improving the health and well-being of rural and underserved populations, the Cooperative Extension System’s work to reduce hesitancy and remove barriers to receiving the COVID-19 vaccines will be featured at a practitioner town hall scheduled for 2:00 PM ET on Wednesday, February 24. The town hall is part of the CDC’s National Forum on the COVID-19 Vaccine being held this week. The Forum is designed to connect representatives from the federal government with community leaders and health practitioners to promote the most effective strategies to build trust and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and increase access nationwide. The Forum begins on Monday, February 22 at 10:00 AM EST and ends on Wednesday, February 24 at 3:30 PM EST. View the full agenda hereRegister here to participate in either the entire conference, or just the sessions of most interest.

Expedite Nominations - Recognize the Best of Best in 2021 - The call for nominations for the Cooperative Extension Awards Program offered collectively by ECOP and USDA-NIFA began February 1. Whether they showcase innovation or shear excellence, winning nominations could take months to prepare. Ask administrative leadership teams to investigate the nomination process without delay at deadline to submit is May 1 only 10 weeks away. Direct questions to Sandy Ruble, Assistant Director, Cooperative Extension System/ECOP, Thank you.

Coming Together for Racial Understanding (CTRU) Pilots Virtual Train-the-Trainer Workshop - With support from ECOP, CTRU recently piloted a virtual Train-the-Trainer Workshop. Previously, this has been a week-long intensive face-to-face experience, but the current situation called for experimenting with an online process. Three new states joined the CTRU pilot: Delaware, New Mexico, and Ohio. Five existing CTRU states (Alabama, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Virginia) filled empty team slots due to retirements or job changes, and two Regional Rural Development Center colleagues joined to help strengthen regional support. Over the next few weeks, the CTRU evaluation team will be examining the efficacy of the virtual workshop in comparison with the two previous face-to-face efforts. To learn more about CTRU, visit: or contact Rachel Welborn, Southern Rural Development Center,

Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR)-Funded Report Outlines National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste - A FFAR-funded consensus study report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, “A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level,” examines the cultural and societal drivers of food waste among consumers. The report provides a multilevel strategy for how the public and private sectors can provide the motivation, opportunities and abilities to help consumers reduce food waste.

2021 Trust In Food Symposium - With individuals and communities forging new ways to do business, communicate and go about their daily lives. Against this backdrop, our country’s food system – from producers to consumers – appears to be rapidly evolving, as well. From Feb. 23-25, the 2021 Trust In Food Symposium Regenerative Reset will help leaders from farms, agribusinesses, conservation organizations, farmer associations, food companies, food retail, government agencies and other sectors make sense of the changing landscape and position themselves for success. Learn more and register here:

Monday, February 8, 2021

Creating an Inclusive, Equitable Cooperative Extension System

The ECOP Monday Minute will be on hiatus on Presidents' Day, February 15, 2021.

Last Friday’s Learning for Leaders event, Improving Inclusivity in Our Institutions and ECOP, was a launching point by 36 Extension Directors and Administrators from 1890, 1862,  and 1994 Land-grants to create an inclusive, equitable Cooperative Extension System. Organizers of this event and last month's, hope their colleagues can say in 2022, "I finally saw change." For anyone listed here who was unable to attend and for participants wishing to review, links to the 5-minute dynamic topical presentations, slides, and survey are found below.  Save the Date, March 5, 2021, 3-4:00 p.m. ET. Details of the next Learning for Leaders will soon be released.
-- Programming–A Path Forward
-- Hiring/Recruitment/Pipeline/Retention
-- Professional Development for Leaders and Personnel
-- Support for New/Existing Diverse Employees
-- 1890/1862 Relationship – Lessons Learned
-- Best Practices, and Collaboration Between 1862/1994 Institutions
-- Click Here to view/download Power Point
-- Complete Survey at

USDA’s Forum Building Resilience in Agricultural & Food Systems through Innovative and Strategic Partnerships - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 from 1:00-4:30 pm EST -  Presenters include leaders from USDA, Ag industry and community organizations followed by open Q&A discussion. This forum discussion will highlight how innovative and strategic partnerships between federal, state, local and private partners support the building of resilience in agricultural and food systems, with a focus on food systems and disaster recovery. Held in conjunction with USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum, this Microsoft Teams Live Event is hosted by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) and Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Mission Area. Click here to register! The link to the event will be provided upon registration.

2021 Renewable Resources Extension Act Programming Webinars - For Extension Directors and Administrators with direct dealings in renewable resources, the Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) Programming website features informative webinars. Coming February 23, 2021 at 1 p.m. (EST), is one that deals with the uncertainty about the future transfer of family forest or rangeland enterprises. To learn more and/or to register, go to

Webinar: Applying for NEW AFRI “Education and Workforce Development” Funding on February 26 -  In FY 2021, the AFRI Education and Workforce Development (EWD) applications cover seven areas: agricultural workforce training, professional development for agricultural literacy, training of undergraduate students in research and extension, fellowships for predoctoral candidates, fellowships for postdoctoral scholars, a new program for food and agricultural non-formal education (FANE), and a FY 2021-only program for evaluation of NIFA’s agricultural literacy and workforce development portfolio. 1890, 1994, and 1862 Land-Grant Institutions, and a host of others are eligible to apply. On February 26 from 2-3:00 PM Eastern Time, NIFA staff will provide an overview of 2 New! EWD programs, FANE and Civic Engagement Experience for Youth (CEEY). Learn more/register here.  

2021 Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) Virtual Conference April 12-13
- Registration is now open for the virtual Extension PILD Conference. PILD is sponsored by JCEP (Joint Council of Extension Professionals) and is conducted by and for Extension professionals. This year’s conference theme is “Building Our Future Together”.  Early registration is available through April 2. Speakers include Dr. Waded Cruzado, President of Montana State University, and Dr. Chuck Hibberd, Extension Dean & Director Emeritus, University of Nebraska, Lincoln. A special session especially for Extension Directors and Administrators will be organized by the ECOP Budget & Legislative Committee. Through speakers, workshops and panels, participants will learn how to communicate and engage with stakeholders and elected officials in advocating for Extension at the local, state, and national level. Information and registration is available at

Monday, February 1, 2021

Call for 2021 Cooperative Extension Award Nominations

Nominations are being accepted for the 2021 Extension Awards program through May 1, 2021. The Excellence in Extension Awards, recognize Cooperative Extension professionals - 1 National Award, and 5 Regional Awards - who excel at Extension programming, make a positive impact on constituents served, and provide visionary leadership for the System. The Award for Diversity is designed to focus national attention on innovative models and techniques that ensure that Extension programs equitably and effectively engage all audiences. A new Team Award for Excellence is under development for later release. The Awards include a cash prize and travel stipends to attend a reception and the Board of Agriculture Assembly Awards Session at the 2021 APLU Annual Meeting. With only 3 months before the deadline, visit and start completing nominations today.

Application Process Open for FSLI's Seventeenth Cohort - Applications are now being accepted for the seventeenth cohort in the Food Systems Leadership Institute starting in the fall of 2021. The Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI) offers executive leadership development to upper-level leaders in higher education, government, and industry to prepare them to meet the leadership challenges and opportunities of the future. More information on the FSLI program can be found in the short video on their website. Go to to apply. For optimal consideration interested parties should apply before March 1! 

Updated Guide to Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities - It can be difficult for farmers and ranchers to navigate the wide range of USDA resources and stay up to date with program changes after each Farm Bill. Thanks to the newly updated Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities, producers, researchers, nonprofits, and landowners can easily find USDA programs that can help them achieve their goals. For more information, download your free copy of Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities.

eXtension Responds to Evolving System Needs for Operational Excellence Online - eXtension Foundation would like to remind Directors & Administrators that all Extension professionals can join Connect Extension regardless of membership in the eXtension Foundation. Extension staff are invited to join the Technology in Extension Education Subgroup to access and contribute resources for delivering Extension programming in a virtual world. Also, for 2021, the Impact Collaborative program is hosting a Leadership series available to members leading teams of five or more. The topics in this series are a result of work with individuals & teams from across Extension wondering: What does effective leadership look like when we no longer have the ability to put a hand on a shoulder? How do we reduce friction, confusion & underperformance for individuals, teams, and organizations? Learn More & Register here.

Upcoming Webinar on Federal Resources for Creative Community Development - On Tuesday, February 9 at 4 p.m. ET, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations, and Metris Arts Consulting are offering a free web seminar on Federal Resources for Creative Community Development. This seminar is designed to help gain access to federal funds and harness the power of arts and culture for community development. The seminar will feature the new Creative Placemaking Public Resources Guide and will discuss a curated selection of federal funding sources that can be used to advance equitable community development, examples of initiatives that have transformed community development through create partnerships, and practical tips on accessing federal grant programs. To view the complete session details and register, click here.