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Extension > Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Intranet > What's your program's story?

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

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