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That is goal #3 from the Extension strategic plan. Collaboration is key to reaching this goal. Collaboration itself is not the goal of our programming but instead a vehicle to reach program success. In other words, address as a program the issues outlined in your program business plan--then form collaborations necessary to accomplish your program goals.

I work diligently to position our Center as a good collaborator. This summer, I have directly worked on collaborations with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative, the Minnesota Corn Growers, and Association of Minnesota Counties. There are scores of other collaborations that we all cultivate. Collaborations with external groups are essential and are most successful when all are clear of each other's roles.

Collaborations within CFANS Extension and with other Extension centers can also be a powerful way to reach programming outcomes.

-Mike Schmitt

PS: Program Conference offers valuable networking opportunities. I hope you will find the agenda worthwhile and you participate.

Congratulations, Jerry

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Jerry Shurson, Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Animal Science, was awarded the American Feed Industry Association Award in Non-ruminant Nutrition Research at the American Society of Animal Science Meeting. The award was sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association.

Employee transitions

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Welcome, Rod!
On August 4, Rod Greder joins Extension as the new educator in Wright County. Rod comes to us from the private sector with previous experience working for Cargill and Dow AgroSciences as a leader in their R&D, new business development and marketing divisions. He has started his own local foods operation including grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, and a variety of garden vegetables. Rod has a master's and Ph.D. in plant genetics from the U of M and U of Illinois respectively. Rod's efforts in Wright County will be varied, focusing on consumer horticulture, agriculture, and the Master Gardener program. Welcome, Rod!

-Nathan Johnson, program leader

Eli Sagor's new appointment
Eli Sagor transitioned to a new appointment on July 14 managing the University of Minnesota Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative (SFEC). This role represents a unique collaboration in which CFANS Extension is partnering with the Cloquet Forestry Center. The SFEC is a long-standing educational program that develops and delivers education programs focused on forest ecology and management targeting natural resource professionals and related audiences. Eli will be officed at the Cloquet Forestry Center and will still spend some time on the St. Paul campus.

-Linda Nagel, Director, Cloquet Forestry Center

Goodbye, Darren, and good luck
With regrets we said goodbye to Darren Lochner, program coordinator for the Minnesota Master Naturalist Explorers Program. Darren's last day with the program was July 25. Darren was instrumental in developing sites, resources and training to pair current adult Master Naturalist volunteers with staff in existing after-school programs to offer fun, outdoor, science-based educational opportunities for 4th and 5th graders. The kids learn about the ecology and natural history of their schoolyard, neighborhood, nearby natural areas, and the entire state. We wish Darren the best of luck in his new position with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.

-Nathan Meyer, program leader

Best wishes, Mike
Mike Boersma joined Extension in January 2006 as Extension educator, livestock and 4-H program director, in Pipestone and Murray Counties. Mike's last day is August 4. He has been a valued member of the Beef Team and the 4-H team in SW Minnesota. Mike developed two computerized Ration Balancer programs for beef producers that are used by producers across the US and internationally. Mike has received numerous awards including the Dean's Distinguished Team Award for his work with the Beef Team in 2009 and with the Private Pesticide Applicator Education Team in 2012. We wish Mike all the best in his new position with the Minnesota West Community and Technical College Farm Business Management program.

-Tim Arlt, program leader

While end-of-workshop surveys are a great way to gather data on your program's short-term outcomes, it is worthwhile to think about other data collection methods and evaluation questions. The following are alternative questions and ways to collect answers without using a survey:

What motivates your participants to attend your program?
Have participants interview each other as an ice-breaker. Break participants into groups of three. Assign one the role of interviewer, one the role of interviewee, and one the role of recorder. Give them a set amount of time (eg: two minutes) and have them interview each other. Rotate so everyone has a chance to be interviewed. Collect their answers.

What major challenges do participants face in tackling the issue your program addresses?
Give participants post-it notes and have them write down their greatest challenges and stick it on the wall. Their responses not only can be used to start discussion, but also collected and analyzed as needs assessment data.

How have your participants successfully applied what they learned in your program?
Have a photograph or video contest to gather success stories--and promotional material for your program. Ask participants to post pictures or videos of how they have been successful on your program's Facebook page and award a prize to the best one. Those who participate can also be used to generate a list of people to potentially interview for data that demonstrates your program's influence.

How do people use your website?
Use Google analytics data to identify when people come to your website and what sections they use. Such data can help you understand what drives people there (a newsletter, an external event, attention in the press?) and in what issues are they most interested.

If you need help or want to brainstorm other ideas on how to collect data, please contact me. Also note that the new Extension evaluation web section (still a work in progress!) also has an overview of different evaluation methods and different types of evaluation you could use.

-Whitney Meredith, evaluation specialist

Effort certification reminder

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Effort certification, for those of you on sponsored projects, for the period 12/16/2013 to 6/15/2014 will be available 8/18/2014. All statements must be in approved status by 9/26/2014.

This effort period also brings the roll out of ECRT V. 4.5. This version is very similar in how it works but will look different than the prior version. Review the job aid and demo. Please contact me if you have any questions when certifying your effort.

-Patti Combs, accountant

30-second template training tip

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Have 30 seconds? Take a look at this tip on using Extension Word templates.

-Katie Gallagher, designer

Priming minds for decision making

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It takes 10 to 12 years before a walnut tree can produce a commercial crop for the next 60 to 70 years. Yet growers still plant them--in the face of considerable uncertainty.

That continues to intrigue Kent Olson since his days working as an Extension economist at the University of California-Davis. Today he explores the same principle, though on a shorter time scale and with different crops, while here at the University of Minnesota as an Extension specialist and professor of applied economics.

Kent Olson in his office

"Even planting a crop or buying cattle or feeder pigs: the uncertainty is out there for six months. How do you decide? How do you protect your potential profit?" asks Kent.

It comes down to making decisions, and how we make decisions is of peak interest to Kent. Once you decide to make the investment, how do you decide what to grow? How to grow? What machinery to buy? What about insurance? And what is the market going to do?

One decision begets another.

Kent explained that many of the big decisions we make--big in that that they affect us down the line--are made spur of the moment, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

"It goes back to students taking tests. Your first guess is probably right, but how many times have we gone back and changed it? Then it is graded and you realize the first guess was right."

Extension helps farm managers and producers make better decisions by delivering research-based education. It's the information and stories that stick with farm managers.

"So when it comes time to make that decision--on the spur of the moment even--they have the background and are ready to roll," said Kent.

Farm bill analysis is currently occupying Kent's time. Kent takes example farms and applies different scenarios: such as insurance products, percent coverage, yield and acres. He looks at forecasts and budgets. He looks at the impacts of different choices along the way.

"I'm trying to help farm managers see if, in a very complicated situation, there are some easy signals."

His initial assessment: "Your choice of insurance coverage doesn't have the biggest effect on which option within the farm bill. But what you think the prices are going to be in the future really does. So pay attention to the price forecasts."

What makes a successful farm manager? There's no concrete answer. Yes, education and psychology are likely, but it's hard to evaluate. It also comes down to management characteristics: a bit of aggressiveness, flexibility, and curiosity. It's about looking for opportunity and threats and willingness to change. Extension helps farm managers recognize those opportunities and threats.

Of course, sometimes success comes down to a bit of luck.

"Some of it is the grandparents or great-grandparents stopped the wagon at the right place. On the right soil. Someone made a decision at some point in time that turned out to be gloriously right."

What's your program's story?

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I am a daily reader of your programs' blogs, social media, newsletters and beyond. Recently, CFANS Extension has been involved with invasive species issues--aquatic and terrestrial--such as emerald ash borer and spotted wing drosophila. I witnessed the field work in backyard poultry production and agroforestry efforts. We have also been part of community emergency response programming due to the significant flooding, especially with our cropping systems.

Now, let's address the follow-up question our stakeholders sometimes wonder: so what? Great, Extension is conducting some trials and educational events--so what?

Let's add context to the work so stakeholders know how we make a difference for farms, forests, communities and ultimately Minnesota. What condition does programming change: economic, environmental or agronomic? Then consider, how can I communicate that condition change? In other words, what is your program's story?

When someone asks what you are doing lately, tell them about the events, products and/or trials. But keep going. Tell the story about why you do your work. Give examples.

Years ago as an Extension specialist, I made a regular habit of describing my manure management programs by how they could increase producers' yields and profitability while at the same time reducing the nitrate loading in streams and rivers that flow into the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The context and story illustrate why our work matters.

-Mike Schmitt

Promotion process success

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Congratulations to the specialists and educators who successfully went through the promotion process this past year in CFANS and Extension. I am impressed by the breadth and depth of documentation these individuals provided. In CFANS and the Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, our work is conducive to meeting many of the requirements for promotion.

-Mike Schmitt


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Congratulations to our Extension educators who were honored by extension professional organizations including Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP), Minnesota Association of Extension Agricultural Professionals (MAEAP), National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA), and National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS).

Honoree Organization Award/honor
David Bau MAEAP/NACAA First place - state and regional finalist, learning module/notebook, "2013 What is a Fair and Profitable Rental Agreement Master Handbook" / second place - state, publication, "2014 Farm Resource Guide" / third place - state, computer-generated graphics presentation with script, "2014 Winter Crops Days: Outlook for Corn, Soybeans and Rent"
Debra Botzek Linn NEAFCS Second place central region and third place national winner: Community Partnership Award / Continued Excellence honor
Kathy Brandt NEAFCS Food Safety Award - first place central region and second place national (along with Suzanne Driessen and Katherine Waters)
Suzanne Driessen NEAFCS Food Safety Award - first place central region and second place national (along with Kathy Brandt and Katherine Waters)
Angela Gupta ANREP Early Career Leadership Award
Emily Wilmes MAEAP/NACAA First place - state, audio recordings, "Fly Management for Dairy Cows"
Andrea Lorek Strauss ANREP Honorable Mention, Engaging Natural Resource Volunteers: From Education to Action poster
Julie Miedtke ANREP Long Publication Silver Award, Minnesota Harvester Handbook, along with David Wilsey
David Nicolai MAEAP/NACAA First place - state and regional finalist, video recording, "Herbicide Spray Drift"
Jill Sackett MAEAP/NACAA First place - state and regional finalist, program promotional piece, "Fall Cover Crop Field Day Flyer" / first place - state and regional finalist, fact sheet, "Prevented Plant Cover Crop Options"
Eli Sagor ANREP Long Publication Bronze Award for the Growing your Peer Learning Network: Tools and Tips for the Women Owning Woodlands Network (with four colleagues from other states)
Chuck Schwartau MAEAP/NACAA First place - state plus regional and national finalist, feature story, "How Healthy is the Employment Situation on Your Farm?" / Second place - state, computer-generated graphics presentation with script, "Would You Work for Yourself" / second place - state, program promotional piece, "Dairy Systems That Work - Summer Field Day" / first place - state and regional finalist, personal column, "It's Still Up To You To Get It Done" and "What Keeps Employees"
Liz Stahl MAEAP/NACAA First place - state plus regional and national finalist, computer-generated graphics presentation with script, "Pesticide Resistance in Crop Production" / first place - state and regional finalist, publication, "Control Volunteer Corn for Yield Protection and Corn Rootworm Management"


Faculty journal appearances

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Congratulations to the following specialists and educators from our Center who have had their work published in the last two months.

Buckley, F., Lopez-Villalobos, N., & Heins, B.J. (2014). Crossbreeding: Implications for dairy cow fertility and survival. Animal, pp.122-133.

Diffendorfer, J.E., Loomis, J.B., Ries, L., Oberhauser, K., Lopez-Hoffman, L., Semmens, D., Semmens, B., Butterfield, B., Bagstad, K., Goldstein, J., Wiederholt, R., Mattsson, B., & Thogmartin, W.E. (2014). National valuation of monarch butterflies indicates an untapped potential for incentive-based conservation. Conservation Letters, pp.253-262.

Endres, M.I., Lobeck-Luchterhand, K.M., Espejo, L.A., & Tucker, C.B. (2014). Evaluation of the sample needed to accurately estimate outcome-based measurements of dairy welfare on farm. Journal of Dairy Science, pp.3523-3530.

Guarino, H., Moura, J., Cox, R., Goyal, S., & Patnayak, D. (2014). Survival of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus in fresh pork. Acta Veterinaria Hungarica, pp.257-263.

Hachfeld, G.A. (2014). The Sponsorship Model: Leveraging Extension Program Funds, Building Local Community Collaborations. Journal of Extension.

Hurley, T.M., Rao, X., & Pardey, P.G. (2014). Re-examining the reported rates of return to food and agricultural research and development. American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Impullitti, A.E. & Malvick, D.K. (2014). Anatomical response and infection of soybean during latent and pathogenic infection by type A and B of Phialophora gregata. PLoS ONE.

Kamanga-Sollo, E., Thornton, K.J., White, M.E., & Dayton, W.R. (2014). Role of G protein-coupled estrogen receptor-1, matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9, and heparin binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor in estradiol-17╬▓-stimulated bovine satellite cell proliferation. Domestic Animal Endocrinology, pp.20-26.

Kastendick, D.N., Palik, B.J., Zenner, E.K., Kolka, R.K., Blinn, C.R., & Kragthorpe, J.J. (2014). Regeneration responses in partially-harvested riparian management zones in northern Minnesota. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, pp.556-564.

Koch, R.L. & Pahs, T. (2014). Species composition, abundance, and seasonal dynamics of stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in Minnesota soybean fields. Environmental Entomology.

Liu, P., Chen, C., Kerr, B.J., Weber, T.E., Johnston, L.J., & Shurson, G.C. (2014). Influence of thermally-oxidized vegetable oils and animal fats on growth performance, liver gene expression, and liver and serum cholesterol and triglycerides in young pigs. Journal of Animal Science, pp.2971-2979.

Liu, P., Kerr, B.J., Chen, C., Weber, T.E., Johnston, L.J. & Shurson, G.C. (2014). Influence of thermally-oxidized vegetable oils and animal fats on energy and nutrient digestibility in young pigs. Journal of Animal Science.

Lobeck-Luchterhand, K.M., Silva, P.R.B., Chebel, R.C., & Endres, M.I. (2014). Effect of prepartum grouping strategy on displacements from the feed bunk and feeding behavior of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science, pp.2800-2807.

Malima, G., Blomquist, R., Olson, K., & Schmitt, M. (2014). The Companion Village Project: an extension education tool for improving crop production. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education.

Martinson, K.L., Coleman, R.C., Rendahl, A.K., Fang, Z., & McCue, M.E. (2014). Estimation of body weight and development of a body weight score for adult equids using morphometric measurements. Journal of Animal Science, pp.2230-2238.

Meloche, K.J., Kerr, B.J., Billor, N., Shurson, G.C. & Dozier, W.A. (2014). Validation of prediction equations for apparent metabolizable energy of corn distillers dried grains with solubles in broiler chicks. Poultry Science, pp.1428-1439.

Nigon, T.J., Mulla, D.J., Rosen, C.J., Cohen, Y., Alchanatis, V., & Rud, R. (2014). Evaluation of the nitrogen sufficiency index for use with high resolution, broadband aerial imagery in a commercial potato field. Precision Agriculture, pp.202-226.

Scholer, J. & Krischik, V. (2014). Chronic exposure of imidacloprid and clothianidin reduce queen survival, foraging, and nectar storing in colonies of bombus impatiens. PLoS ONE, p.3.

Woli, K.P., Fernández, F.G., Sawyer, J.E., Stamper, J.D., Mengel, D.B., Barker, D.W., & Hanna, M.H. (2014). Agronomic comparison of anhydrous ammonia applied with a high speed-low draft opener and conventional knife injection in corn. Agronomy Journal, pp.881-892.

Yost, M.A., Russelle, M.P., & Coulter, J.A. (2014). Field-specific fertilizer nitrogen requirements for first-year corn following alfalfa. Agronomy Journal, pp.645-658.

Yost, M.A., Morris, T.F., Russelle, M.P., & Coulter, J.A. (2014). Second-year corn after alfalfa often requires no fertilizer nitrogen. Agronomy Journal, pp.659-669.

Did we miss your publication? Let us know!

Employee transitions

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As of July 1, 2014, Jim Paulson, Extension educator in dairy, will be relocating to the Rochester Regional Extension Office from the Willmar Regional Extension Office. Jim's move strategically places him in a concentrated dairy area allowing him to interact more with dairy producers and industry professionals. The move will also result in greater programming opportunities and efficiencies within the dairy team.

-Krishona Martinson, program leader

Please join me in welcoming Andrea Rice to the Master Gardener volunteer program leadership team. Her main focus will be to provide teaching technology expertise to the development of Horticulture Continuum of Learning education experiences. Andrea brings experience from her most recent job as coordinator for the Maryland Beginning Farmer Success program at the University of Maryland. Her office will be at the Arboretum, and she starts on July 15.

-Tim Kenny, state director of Master Gardener program

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