May 8, 2014

Minnesota contribites to national impact statements

Congratulations to Minnesota Affiliate members for their contributions to the 2014 National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) program Impact Statements. Summary below taken from

NEAFCS, President Kathy Olson mentioned "...these national impact statements are shared by Caroline Crocoll of NIFA, with legislators and other partners at the national level. Caroline shared how she uses this information at the NEAFCS association section at PILD ( Public Issues Leadership Workshop Joint Council of Extension). This is a good indicator of how the association is working on behalf of all of FCS Extension".

Childhood Obesity
School Nutrition Programs - USDA Standards
In Minnesota the Extension office is countering Childhood Obesity, and Food, Nutrition, and Health by offering trainings to school foodservice teams about health eating initiatives, and increasing consumptions of fruits and vegetables. "Energizers" are also being offered in classrooms to pair physical activity with academic concepts.
Food and Nutrition
Training Volunteers and Professionals
Cooking with Whole Grains is geared at Minnesota child care providers. The training helps them learn how to identify and cook with whole grains, and then introduce whole grains to children through experiential learning.
Food Safety
Entrepreneurial Food Safety
A Food Preservation Basics Train-the-Trainer for Tribal Colleges and Communities workshop provided resources and local expertise to five Minnesota Native American communities. Minnesota educators also presented entrepreneurs and market vendors with classes on pickle safety, jam/jelly making & marketing, and produce preservation tips aimed at customers.

Increased demand for food preservation education prompted Minnesota educators to create five-minute online mini-modules on 22 food preservation topics that reached 2,000 home preservers. Each module emphasized critical science-based information and steps to achieve a safe and tasty preserved product.
Healthy Home and Environment

Disaster Preparedness
Minnesota trained 261 frontline disaster professionals via a webinar on identifying resources and key strategies to assist disaster survivors in making informed financial recovery decisions.

April 11, 2011

Public Issues leadership Development Conference (PILD) 2011 Report

NEAFCS Scholarship Fund PILD Recipient Report
April 3-6, 2011, Alexandria, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
By Suzanne Driessen, NEAFCS, Minnesota Affiliate

This was my first Public Issues leadership Development Conference (PILD) and my first trip to our nations' capitol. I had heard from past attendees what a great experience it is to go to PILD. After attending I too will encourage others to attend this unique staff development opportunity. PILD brings together leaders from six Extension professional organizations and volunteers from across the nation to focus on how the Extension system and our government work at the federal level.

The theme Cooperative Extension: Relevant Now and Beyond explored relevant issues for Extension to prepare for meeting with federal and local decision makers. National Program Leaders from USDA held roundtable discussions which provided a networking time with these leaders and others that work on specific issues. I attended the Food Safety and Family Consumer Science round table discussions. These leaders were very interested in issues in our states. They wanted to know what USDA should include in future grant proposals to help us continue to respond to emerging issues.

This was an interesting time to be in Washington with the potential for a government shut down and Smith Lever funding at risk. Our 'ask' of our legislators was to restore these funds at 2010 levels. Some take-home messages and ideas that I learned about communications with decision makers include:

Smith Lever funding requires a 1:1 University match; most leverage 4 to 5 times that amount.

Research the issues and background of the legislator. Know who they are. My congresswoman is Michelle Bachmann. I went to her website and found out that a week earlier she presented a congressional statement to honor and recognize Coborns Grocery for receiving the Independent Retailer of the Year award. I tied that story into how Extension has worked with Coborns on a produce food handling practice research study explaining how private industry reaches out to the University to partner on research projects.

Visit with the legislature from your district and mention you are a constituent. Be sure to mention the town in their district where programs were conducted and its impact.

Allow times for the staffer to ask questions. Engage them in the conversation.

Extension makes a difference in the lives of individuals by proactively engaging communities to solve issues and problems.

Communicate public value with message that show value of programs to those who did not participate. We need to show why our programs are worthy of public funding by explaining how society benefits.

The session on Branding Counts: Ensuring Cooperative Extension is No Longer the Best Kept Secret key points includes:
A brand lives in the mind of the consumer.

A brand is everything your name evokes in the mind of your customer.

A brand is a promise you make to your customer, a promise of quality, of experience---good or bad.

Every employee is responsible to portray a positive brand everyday and in every interaction.

It takes 8 impressions to make someone remember you--each impression builds on another.

Strong brands deliver strong benefits including: 1) strong funding; 2) greater customer loyalty; and 3) greater flexibility and adaptability.

We need to get better at telling our story. We can't afford to be the 'best kept secret' and it is our fault if funders do not know who we are.

Take the credit! We are essential to people lives.

ABCs of storytelling: A) Define the problem within the community and how you've begun to solve it. B) How are we part of the solution by explaining our relevance regarding issues of today? C) What was the impact on the community because of your involvement?

February 5, 2010

JCEP 2010 President's Report

JCEP brings together leaders from six Extension professional organizations from across the national. It was a chance to learn from others' experience and explore best practices.

The Family-Friendly Work Place theme explored relevant issues for Extension professionals as well as those we educate. A panel of human resource experts shared strategies, policies and trends related to family friendly workplaces. Some take-home messages and ideas include:

  • Work-life balance is rated one of the most important workplace attributes, second only to compensation.

  • Generational diversity is evident throughout the workforce. Understanding and respecting each group from the traditionalist to generations X and Y can help attract and retain the best people.

  • Take a 'bottom up' approach not 'top down'. Ask people what they need.

  • Tools - Ask what are the tool you need to get the job done?

  • Consider cross-training - creates greater flexibility to take time-off for family and increases team cooperation and flexibility.

  • Do more 'commercials' of benefits. A benefit may not apply at time of hire but now does because of life changes.

Some family/work balance ideas/suggestions in round-table discussions for Extension to consider:

  • Discussions on what to drop when something new is added

  • Mandatory vacation

  • Cross-training to increase team work and schedule flexibility

  • Compensation/credit/recognition for overnight travel

  • Adopt a 'family matters' philosophy top-down

  • Explore new staffing models to meet generational diversity.

  • Tuition benefits to pursue degrees across state lines (reciprocity)

  • Support after illness

  • Build in FUN
  • Eight hours of this conference was spent in professional Association meetings. As the Minnesota NEAFCS Affiliate President, I attended along with Mary Caskey, President-Elect. We spent some time brainstorming and talking about promoting and marketing the NEAFCS Living Well: More than a Cookbook reference book. The purpose of this book is to promote NEAFCS and provide financial security. See and Rosi Heins, NEAFCS, Minnesota Affiliate Living Well: More than a Cookbook representative at ,(763) 767-3879 for more information.

    The next JCEP sponsored event is PILD (Public Issues Leadership Development Conference). NEAFCS will be collecting impact information from each state regarding food safety educational efforts. The purpose is to feature NEAFCS professionals' efforts in reducing the incidence of foodborne illness across the nation.

November 20, 2009

PILD 2009 Report by Jo Musich

Public Issues and Leadership Development Conference
Connectivity: Community to the Capitol
April 27-29, 2009, Arlington, Virginia
Sponsored by the Joint Council of Extension Professionals

Report by Jo Musich, University of Minnesota Extension

The conference provided a close up look at the issues that impact Extension and the communities we serve. It also provided Extension professionals and volunteers the unique opportunity to interact with decision-makers in Congress and those who support our work.
PILD provided great professional development and opportunity to interact with decision makers and staff of elected officials. The 2009 conference focused on CHANGE - in Washington, in the executive and legislative branches of government, and in the creation of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). A highlight of PILD was attending both a session and round table discussion where Janie Simms Hipp, a national program leader CSREES Liason and an agricultural attorney, discussed risk management in the broader context, specifically focusing on how businesses, families and communities address financial, production, marketing, legal and human resource risks and what changes must occur at all levels to respond to rapidly evolving risk environments. Families in cities, on farms, ranches and woodland owners face risk and must learn ways to respond to tough economic times.

We received a welcome to Washington, D.C. from Jeanne Markell, and visited National Association of Counties (NACo) offices. Enjoying the monuments, museums and eating venues with the diverse people who visit and live in the Washington, D.C. area was most enjoyable and memorable.

PILD 2009

NEAFCS, Minnesota Affiliate member joined Minnesota educators and staff at the Public Institute Leadership Development conference.

Photo: J. Musich, D. Nelson, K. Martinson, T. Dolan, B Harrington hanging out with A. Lincoln late at night!

PILD 2009 Lincoln.JPG

To learn more about PILD, visit the conference Web site at http:/;/

October 29, 2008

$75 for the 75th

Minnesota Members,

$75 sounds like a lot of money, especially in these economic times. A $75 contribution is the goal that NEAFCS has nationally for each of us to build the NEAFCS Endowment for the Future through the NEAFCS Foundation. The Endowment builds toward marketing Extension, leadership, awards, professional development scholarships and more.

Even though $75 sounds like a lot consider the wealth of possibilities just by consulting our own members:

- You could forgo purchasing 75 - $1.00 bottles of water during the year. Yes, you still need to drink the water, but consult our Food Science educators on which kind of water bottle to purchase. Then, fill your own from the tap and save all that money! It can go to the Endowment.

- You could also give up buying 75 - $1.00 snacks during the next few months. Consult with our Health and Nutrition educators for healthy alternatives you could make at home. And again, save all that money that could go to the Endowment instead.

- How about considering memorials to the NEAFCS Endowment or shifting what you contribute to other groups? We are committed to this profession or we wouldn't be here. Check with the Family Relations educators for making this a priority.

- Finally, consider a savings plan throughout the year. Family Resource Management educators have spending plans. You could save a quarter a day and over 300 days, you would have saved $75 to go to the Endowment. Or how about $1.44 a week or $6.25 a month? Same thing but it all adds up to $75.

So, $75 sounds like a lot but with some planning it can be done. It would be great to see Minnesota add to the four life and current members who have contributed. The Minnesota Affiliate Board will be talking about what we can do to celebrate the 75th Anniversary including adding to the Endowment.

If you'd like to check out more details, go to the website at:

Note: this is completely separate from anything we do in Minnesota with a quasi-endowment.