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Program Conference preview

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Program Conference is an exciting and challenging time for me. Exciting because of all the enjoyable conversations with educators, specialists and coordinators. Challenging because this is the only time of year all of our programming personnel meets. I want to assemble a program for Wednesday that benefits each of you. My goal is you attend based on the program quality rather than expectations.

Last year our Wednesday program focused on program business plans, especially their design and value. This year I want to focus on a different aspect of our Center business plan as well as your various program business plans--communication. How we communicate with our funders, authorizers, stakeholders and audiences needs to be strategic. This is the theme of our Wednesday program.

The keynote will be Dr. Dominique Brossard, professor and chair in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at University of Wisconsin-Madison. I had the privilege of hearing her speak at a conference earlier this summer--she was outstanding. She speaks about communicating risk in the science of food and agriculture. She has an industry background and a European perspective about science and risk that will be thought-provoking. It will be a good day; we will start at 8:55 a.m. on Wednesday, October 8 and wrap up by 2:00 p.m.

I look forward to seeing you in Bloomington October 6-8.

- Mike Schmitt

How to register for Program Conference

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Registration for the 2014 Extension Program Conference is open! More than 300 Extension faculty and educators will gather at Bloomington Hilton Hotel for three days of networking and professional development October 6-8. The deadline for registration is September 12. Read more.


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Mohamed Khan, a sugarbeet specialist for both the U of M and NDSU, has received the Excellence in Extension Award from the American Phytopathological Society. The award recognizes individuals who have made contributions to extension plant pathology programs and have shown significant leadership in the field.

Sally Noll, Extension poultry specialist and professor in the Department of Animal Science, has been named a fellow of the Poultry Science Association for her lifetime of contributions to the field of poultry science. The fellow title is the highest honor awarded for professional distinction and contributions to the field by the Poultry Science Association.

Bob Craven, Kevin Klair, Dale Nordquist, and Jeff Reisdorfer of Center for Farm Financial Management were awarded the Extension Outstanding Electronic Media Education Award for AgPlan at the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. More than 35,000 business plans have been developed using AgPlan. You may recall AgPlan was the online tool used for program business plans.

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 few months.

Did we miss your publication? Let us know!

Baidoo, S.K., Kil, D.Y., Kim, J.N., Liu, Y., Kim, J., Kim, K., Kim, Y., & Song, M. (2014). Productive performance of sows fed increasing levels of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) across parities. Revista Colombiana de Ciencias Pecuarias, pp.171-177.

Blinn, C.R., O'Hara, T.J., Chura, D.T., & Russell, M.B. (2014). Minnesota's logging businesses: an assessment of the health and viability of the sector. Forest Science, pp.1-7.

Boldt, J.K., Meyer, M.H., & Erwin, J.E. (2014). Foliar anthocyanins: a horticultural review. Horticultural Reviews, pp.209-252.

Bridges, G.A., Lake, S.L., Kruse, S.G., Bird, S.L., Funnell, B.J., Arias, R., Walker, J.A., Grant, J.K., & Perry, G.A. (2014). Comparison of three CIDR-based fixed-time AI protocols in beef heifers. Journal of Animal Science, pp.3127-3133.

Chen, Y.P., Pettis, J.S., Corona, M., Chen, W.P., Li, C.J., Spivak, M., Visscher, P.K., DeGrandi-Hoffman, G., Boncristiani, H., Zhao, Y., vanEngelsdorp, D., Delaplane, K., Solter, L., Drummond, F., Kramer, M., Lipkin, W.I., Palacios, G., Hamilton, M.C., Smith, B., Huang, S.K., Zheng, H.Q., Li, J.L., Zhang, X., Zhou, A.F., Wu, L.Y., Zhou, J.Z., Lee, M.-L., Teixeira, E.W., Li, Z.G., & Evans, J.D. (2014). Israeli acute paralysis virus: epidemiology, pathogenesis and implications for honey bee health. PLoS Pathogens, e1004261.

Clark, M.D., Bus, V.G.M., Luby, J.J., & Bradeen, J.M. (2014). Characterization of the defense response to Venturia inaequalis in 'Honeycrisp' apple, its ancestors, and progeny. European Journal of Plant Pathology, pp.69-81.

Cruppe, L.H., Day, M.L., Abreu, F.M., Kruse, S., Lake, S.L., Biehl, M.V., Cipriano, R.S., Mussard, M.L., & Bridges, G.A. (2014). The requirement of GnRH at the beginning of the 5-d CO-Synch + CIDR protocol in beef heifers. Journal of Animal Science.

Fernández, F.G., Terry, R.E., & Coronel, E.G. (2014). Nitrous oxide emissions from anhydrous ammonia, urea, and ESN in Illinois corn fields. Journal of Environmental Quality.

Glunk, E.C., Hathaway, M.R., Weber, W.J., Sheaffer, C.C., & Martinson, K.L. (2014). The effect of hay net design on rate of forage consumption when feeding adult horses. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, pp.986-991.

Glunk, E.C., Sheaffer, C.C., Hathaway, M.R., & Martinson, K.L. (2014). Interaction of grazing muzzle use and grass species on forage intake of horses. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, pp.930-933.

Gunn, P.J., Schoonmaker, J.P., Lemenager, R.P., & Bridges, G.A. (2014). Feeding excess crude protein to gestating and lactating beef heifers: Impact on parturition, milk composition, ovarian function, reproductive efficiency and pre-weaning progeny growth. Livestock Science, pp.435-448.

Huang, H.-J., Ramaswamy, S., & Liu, Y. (2014). Separation and purification of biobutanol during bioconversion of biomass. Separation and Purification Technology, pp.513-540.

Koch, R.L. & Pahs, T. (2014). Species composition, abundance, and seasonal dynamics of stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in Minnesota soybean fields. Environmental Entomology, pp.883-888.

Kueper, A.M., Blinn, C.R., & Kilgore, M.A. (2014). A comparison of lake states logger and forester perceptions of ideal state timber tract characteristics. Forest Science, pp.804-810.

Kueper, A.M., Blinn, C.R., & Kilgore, M.A. (2014). Preferred timber tract characteristics in the lake states under varying market conditions. Forest Science, pp.795-803.

Lazarus, W., Headlee, W.L., & Zalesny, R.S. (2014). Impacts of supplyshed-level differences in productivity and land costs on the economics of hybrid poplar production in Minnesota, USA. BioEnergy Research.

McCarville, M.T., O'Neal, M.E., Potter, B.D., Tilmon, K.J., Cullen, E.M., McCornack, B.P., Tooker, J.F., & Prischmann-Voldseth, D.A. (2014). One gene versus two: A regional study on the efficacy of single gene versus pyramided resistance for soybean aphid management. Journal of Economic Entomology, pp.1680-1687.

McGinnis, E.E., Smith, A.G., & Meyer, M.H. (2014). Environmental control of flowering in Pennsylvania sedge. HortTechnology, pp.301-306.

Meyer, N.J., Scott, S., Lorek Strauss, A., Nippolt, P.L., Oberhauser, K.S., & Blair, R.B. (2014). Citizen science as a REAL environment for authentic scientific inquiry. Journal of Extension, 4IAW3.

Pagliari, P.H. & Laboski, C.A.M. (2014). Effects of manure inorganic and enzymatically hydrolyzable phosphorus on soil test phosphorus. Soil Science Society of America Journal, pp.1291-1300.

Samac, D., Wilbur, J., Behnken, L., Breitenbach, F., Blonde, G., Halfman, B., Jensen., B., & Sheaffer, C.C. (2014). First report of stemphylium globuliferum causing stemphylium leaf spot on alfalfa (Medicago sativa) in the U.S. Plant Disease, p.993.

Spiehs, M.J., Brown-Brandl, T.M., Parker, D.B., Miller, D.N., Jaderborg, J.P., DiCostanzo, A., Berry, E.D., & Wells, J.E. (2014). Use of wood-based materials in beef bedded manure packs: 1. Effect on ammonia, total reduced sulfide, and greenhouse gas concentrations. Journal of Environmental Quality, pp.1187-1194.

Spiehs, M.J., Brown-Brandl, T.M., Berry, E.D., Wells, J.E., Parker, D.B., Miller, D.N., Jaderborg, J.P., & DiCostanzo, A. (2014). Use of wood-based materials in beef bedded manure packs: 2. Effect on odorous volatile organic compounds, odor activity value, escherichia coli, and nutrient concentrations. Journal of Environmental Quality, pp.1195-1206.

Suhre, J.J., Weidenbenner, N.H., Rowntree, S.C., Wilson, E.W., Naeve, S.L., Conley, S.P., Casteel, S.N., Diers, B.W., Esker, P.D., Specht, J.E., & Davis, V.M. (2014). Soybean yield partitioning changes revealed by genetic gain and seeding rate interactions. Agronomy Journal.

Wells, M.S., Reberg-Horton, C., & Mirsky, S.B. (2014). Cultural strategies for managing weeds and soil moisture in cover crop based no-till soybean production. Weed Science, pp.501-511.


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Please welcome Ashok Chanda who started his position as assistant professor on August 30. Ashok is located at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center in Crookston with a tenure home in the Department of Plant Pathology. Ashok earned his BSc and MS from ANGR Agricultural University in Hyberabad, India and his PhD from Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, where he held a post-doctoral position for the last couple of years. Ashok is developing an extension and research program focused on diseases and disease management that affect sugarbeet production.

- Albert Sims, director of operations, Northwest Research and Outreach Center

Please welcome Britt Forsberg as the Minnesota Master Naturalist Explorers coordinator. She starts on September 8. Britt comes to us from the Bell Museum where she spent over six years coordinating and facilitating urban after-school science programming. She has developed and managed novel inquiry-based learning with an emphasis on education technology. In her new role, Britt will be responsible for working with her FWCE team members and MN DNR partners to design and implement statewide the Explorers after-school program. She will be based on the St. Paul campus.

- Nathan Meyer, program leader

We extend a warm welcome to Axel Garcia y Garcia. Axel joined the University of Minnesota on August 25 in sustainable cropping systems located at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics with a research and extension appointment. Axel received his BSc in agronomy from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala and his MSc and PhD in agronomy from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. After receiving his PhD, Axel spent ten years as a researcher at the Guatemalan Institute of Science and Agricultural Technologies. He then became a visiting scientist and postdoctoral research associate at the University of Georgia before moving to the University of Wyoming as an assistant professor in 2009 in the Department of Plant Sciences. Axel will provide leadership for research and extension education programs in cropping systems including the corn-soybean rotation.

- Nancy Jo Ehlke, head of Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics and Pauline Nickel, head of Southwest Research and Outreach Center

Extension welcomes Becky Masterman as the director of the Bee Squad program within the Bee Lab on the St. Paul campus. The Bee Squad is an Extension and business program that helps beekeepers and the community in the Twin Cities area foster healthy bee populations and pollinator landscapes. Becky develops Bee Squad programming for beekeepers and bee supporters and a growing group of people and businesses interested in us managing bee colonies for them or interested in learning more about native bees. She also communicates with these audiences via social media and a newsletter.

- Marla Spivak, Extension entomologist, professor in Department of Entomology

Employee departures

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Bill Craig, Extension educator, agricultural business management, Crookston, retired on July 31. Bill came to Extension with a background in crop insurance and agricultural lending and put that knowledge to work in educational programs in risk management and marketing. He was instrumental in creating the Northwest Minnesota Ag Lenders Conference and was active on many leadership teams and boards including the Minnesota Crop Insurance Conference Planning Committee, the Small Grains Institute, the International Crops Expo, and the Crops College Planning Committee.

- Kevin Klair, Dale Nordquist, Robert Craven, program leaders, agricultural business management

Bret Oelke, Extension educator, agricultural business management, Morris, retired on June 30. Bret specialized in risk management and commodity marketing education and worked closely with several marketing and management groups in Central and Northwestern Minnesota. He loved working with young farmer groups and conducted several workshops for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Young Farmer Group and several 4-H activities. He was a featured speaker at the annual Top Producer Seminar in Chicago. Bret is a past recipient of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Educator of the Year award.

- Kevin Klair, Dale Nordquist, Robert Craven, program leaders, agricultural business management

Effort certification and travel

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Effort is required on a sponsored project in most instances when submitting a travel reimbursement to be paid from that sponsored project:

  • University of MN policy states that all 100-percent-time employees must have contributed effort on a sponsored project in order to be reimbursed for travel on that project. The effort must be certified or cost shared to the project during the effort period in which the travel occurs.
  • Employees less than 100 percent time and graduate students with less than 100-percent-time appointments are not subject to the effort certification requirement. The University has provided a work-around with the statement "This travel and related activities occurred outside of my University appointment time."

Please contact me if you have questions on when effort certification is necessary.

- Patti Combs, accountant

4 tips to get more people to your event

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  1. Describe what they'll learn
  2. Before your audience commits to attending, they need to be persuaded that this will be worth their time. Does this event answer a need? Spell out how it will--and tell them how they can put what they've learned to work immediately.

  3. "Do I need to RSVP?"
  4. Don't skimp on the details. Is there a fee? Do I need to register? Remember to include who, what, when, where, why, and how.

  5. Promote via multiple channels
  6. One email invitation won't fill the room. Use a mix of methods: Add it to your website. Tweet thought leaders in your subject area about the event. Put it in local newspaper calendar listings. Mail targeted postcards. Spread the word among your colleagues.

    Are you working with a partner? They can help promote the event to their channels.

    Remember the University of Minnesota has powerful brand recognition. Use that brand equity to boost attendance at your event by using branded Extension templates.

  7. Deliver a top-notch event

  8. It costs far more to win new "customers" or attendees than it does to retain them. If your event delivers on what was promised and is a valuable use of time, they'll be back! Maybe next time they'll bring a friend.

- Maggie Frazier, communication writer/editor

Evaluation data can be used to promote your program--not just to report for accountability purposes. While it is always a good idea to demonstrate the public value of your program to funders, when targeting future participants, you might want to emphasize the private value of your program. If you are purposeful about the data you collect, you can likely use the same data to do both; you will just want to present it differently for each audience. Here are some ideas on how to do this:

Type of data Public value emphasis Private value emphasis
Statistics on knowledge gains and behavior changes Show connection to program's impact-improvements in environment, economy and community Highlight what participants will learn in program
Positive feedback from open-ended survey questions Tell a story about how the things that your program teaches participants leads to a real impact Quote past participants as testimonial about value of the program
Data on participants' background Demonstrate the scope of your program's impact Communicate who will benefit from participating in your program

-Whitney Meredith, evaluation specialist

Health, food and teaching

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Driessen's garden.JPG

Suzanne Driessen has always been a teacher, though she began her career as a nurse.

"I found that I really liked the teaching aspect of nursing," said Suzanne. "Then I went back to school for health education."

Being an Extension educator in food safety was a natural fit when she joined Extension 17 years ago at the Morrison County office. She is now based at the St. Cloud regional office.

"Some people say that food safety is common sense. I always say, 'if you don't know, you don't know.'"

And it is certainly important to know. The Center for Disease Control estimates that each year about one in six Americans get sick with foodborne illness, and most of these could have been prevented. Foodborne illness can even be life threatening to young children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

The University of Minnesota Extension food safety program "exists to help prevent foodborne illness and protect public health here in Minnesota," said Suzanne. They accomplish this in a variety of ways for consumer, food processing and food service audiences.

The thorough food safety website is the main channel the program uses to reach consumer audiences. In the last few years, there has been a growing interest in food preservation. With the local food movement, there has been plenty of demand for education related to canning your own fruits and vegetables. This worked well with Suzanne's special interest in the technology side of teaching: she developed mini-modules like the boiling water canning method and stop BOT (botulism) that are available online.

Suzanne Driessen, Minnesota Pickling demonatration.jpg

"Food preservation is based on science--it's different from cooking," said Suzanne. Indeed, recipes cannot be improvised without serious risk.

For those working in food processing and food service, the program provides research-based information on processing methods, hazards and regulations to help keep Minnesotans safe. Their signature continuing education re-certification online course for food service managers, Serve It Up Safely, has been around for 10 years!

Suzanne is currently working with Minnesota Farmers Market Association to develop food sampling training for farmers market vendors after Governor Dayton signed the Safe Food Sampling bill into law last spring.

Now that gardens are bountiful, you'll find Suzanne canning her own fruits and vegetables--and teaching Minnesotans how to safely preserve their produce.

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.

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