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June 27, 2011

June 27 message

Good Afternoon, as the state nears a possible government shut down, there are many questions. Here are a few questions and answers that I have heard. Feel free to use this blog this week pose other questions.

If the state government shuts down, when would the shutdown occur? The current state fiscal year ends June 30, so a shutdown would begin Friday, July 1.

Will our County and Regional Extension offices be impacted by a state government shutdown? The short answer is that Extension will continue 'business as usual". Employees should report to work as scheduled and continue programming.

What about Nutrition Programming? A significant funding source for Health and Nutrition programming is the SNAP ED program. This Federal SNAP ED funds "pass through" a state department which reimburses salaries and expenses for Nutrition Education including "Simply Good Eating". During a shutdown, SNAP ED funds may not be available, and programming will need to be supported from other sources.

Could things change? We are in a very fluid and rapidly changing time. Keep in contact with your Extension Supervisor for any funding or program changes. The Deans office will communicate any changes through the Deans page on the employee website. This is a time to be very careful with information that may not be accurate or circulated via "rumor mill".


June 9, 2011

June 9 message

Good Morning: I hope you have all had a good week. A few things to share today:

University of Minnesota Farm Family Recognition: All of the counties in our region have identified the families to be recognized in the 2011 Farm Family Recognition event. The state wide recognition event will be held Thursday, August 4 at Farmfest. In addition, many counties also have local recognition of their families at the county fair. The Marshall Regional Office coordinates the state wide recognition event and our office is communicating with the families. I will deliver the certificates for the local recognition to the County Office. Farm Family Recognition publicity will go out in mid-July. Additional details about the Farm Family Recognition program and the families being honored can be found at the Farm Family recognition website .

Here are the Families recognized in our region:

Chippewa County Tom and Kathy Palke
Lac qui Parle County David and Patricia Craigmile
Lincoln County Ken and Laura Krog
Lyon County Greg and Mary Deutz
Redwood County Bruce & Maydra Maas
Yellow Medicine County Randy & Ann Kamrath
Kandiyohi County Larry and Mary Larson
Big Stone County Wade and Vicki Athey
Swift County Al and Renaee Schreck
Renville County Neubauer Farms Inc, (Mike and Bill)

Extension Marketing and Communications: You have received information on the templates available on the Extension employee website . To quote from that web page: On this site, you'll find the tools you need to bring the University of Minnesota Extension brand to life. These templates and resources have been created to make it easier to create consistent, high-quality, cost-effective Extension marketing communications materials so you can spend more time working on the Extension programming that requires your unique expertise.
As Extension competes for funding, participant registration and donations, there is an important need to represent Extension in consistent ways that help all of our audiences understand our unique strengths and contributions. As key Extension brand ambassadors, you should use the professionally designed templates on this site for all of your Extension marketing communications needs.
Please use these communications tools and templates in material produced in your office. If you have questions, please contact the Administrative staff at the Regional Offices.

Have a good weekend.

Bob

June 3, 2011

June 3 message

Good Morning: I hope you have had a good week. A few things to share today:

Budget outlook: Public funding for budgets is a front and center topic for many. As we know, the University of Minnesota Extension budget is funded from multiple sources. County government funds account for about 21 per cent of Extensions budget. We are beginning work on the 2012 county budgets and expect the county support funding local programs will remain stable. Federal funds account for approximately 16 % of Extensions budget in Minnesota. The current budget decisions at the Federal level will likely result in a reduction in the Federal funds of about 10 per cent. State appropriations make up about 42 % of the budget for Extension. The Higher Education bill passed by the legislature this year contained significant budget reductions. This bill along with other appropriation and tax bills was vetoed by the Governor. The remaining percentage of Extension's budget is funded through grants, fees etc, including the grant that supports Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education programs.

Government Shutdown possibility: If a Special Session of the legislature does not result in a budget signed by the Governor by June 30, a shutdown of State Government activities will begin July 1. Several of you have asked if and how the University of Minnesota will be impacted by a State Government shutdown. Director of Field Operations Lee Raeth has provided the following response to that question:

A state shutdown will not directly affect Extension and the greater University (unless the shutdown goes for an extended period of time). The University receives State funds in installments - so if the State is shut down for a longer period of time then the next installment is in question. That would mean determining appropriate plans of action. With a short state shutdown we do not anticipate impacts to Extension and Extension employees.

Impact on Programs: Dean Bev Durgan has consistently said that Administration will continue to use budget decision-making principles that support local, regional and state-wide program impact. All of us have a role in continuing to deliver and support quality programs that are important to our audiences.


Phone book listings; Just a reminder for County Support staff to check and make any necessary updates or corrections with the publishers of the various phone books you receive. Guidelines for phone listings for Extension offices can be found at this link.

Extreme Weather response: I also call your attention to the feature on the public website on tornado and wind response resources. Earlier this year flood response was featured, and also publicized through posters each county received. If you still have those posters up in your office area, I would suggest they be taken down. However, keep them handy and available to be posted if and when we again experience flooding in the region.

Lawn and Garden questions: This is the time of year many of our offices receive calls about Yard and Garden questions. Of course, the Extension Master Gardeners are a resource to address these questions. I would also call your attention to the diagnostic tools for weed and insect identification and plant problem diagnosis on the Garden section of the Extension website. Introducing your customers to these tools can help them find the answers to their questions and also introduce them to an access point to University resources.

Have a good weekend,

Bob