July 2009 Archives
Visitors to the 28th annual Farmfest next week will have opportunities to learn about crop maturity concerns, renewable energy and farm program decisions at the University of Minnesota exhibit. Farmfest, the state's largest farm-related gathering, takes place on August 4-6 at the Gilfillan Estate in Redwood County. Extension educators and faculty will engage visitors in conversations about how University research applies to the decisions they make on the farm. Dean Bev Durgan and Governor Tim Pawlenty are part of a Farmfest forum panel titled, "Making Minnesota Strong for the Next Decade and Beyond."
In addition, 73 Minnesota families will be honored by the University as 2009 Minnesota Farm Families of the Year, for their contributions to agriculture and their local communities. For more information about Farmfest, visit the event website.
Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station
Educators from the Extension Center for Community Vitality were joined by residents of Grand Rapids and Jeff Horwich of Minnesota Public Radio (and other panel members) to discuss "What Makes a Small Town Thrive" on June 22. Ben Winchester, research fellow, and Jodi Horntvedt, educator in leadership and civic engagement, gave their informed perspectives on why some small towns in Minnesota are dying while others are thriving despite large challenges. Maxine Norman, educator in leadership and civic engagement, also participated from the audience, describing her Connecting Rural Communities initiative.
If you have ideas for a radio program, visit the communications section of the employee website for Tips on Developing a Radio Broadcast, and contact Julie Christensen or Catherine Dehdashti.
Public Relations Coordinator
Extension in Minnesota is a national leader in partnering with other states to address today's issues that often cross state lines. Flood response in the Red River Valley, Emerald Ash Borer research, and financial security education are all examples of timely issues that Minnesota faculty and educators are addressing with other states.
As we continue to look for ways to increase both our impact and funding, Extension program teams should look across state lines for opportunities to initiate or strengthen partnerships with other states. Federal agencies, nonprofits and industry often recognize and value states that work together by rewarding multi-state collaborations when making funding or grant decisions.
Professional societies as well as regional and national conferences all provide opportunities to develop the necessary relationships with colleagues from other states that lead to joint programs. Recently, eXtension has placed much emphasis and many resources on forming communities of practice, which enables faculty from multiple states to collaborate. And, many of our departmental faculty have worked across state borders via Multi-State Research Committees overseen by the Agricultural Experiment Stations. These multi-state committees have resulted in great regional projects like the US Pork Center for Excellence.
Many of the issues we are dealing with are not unique to Minnesota, thus working with other states provides an opportunity to leverage other resources by expanding our scope.
Senior Associate Dean, Programs and Research
In August we will be changing the publication schedule for this employee newsletter, Extension Weekly. Rather than a weekly publication, the employee newsletter will be published twice a month on the first and third Thursdays. The newsletter will maintain its role as the official news source for Extension employees and will continue to provide employees with relevant and timely information from Extension administration. Critical or urgent news that needs to be communicated sooner than the next issue allows will be delivered to affected employees between the scheduled publication dates.
As a result of the change in the publication schedule, the newsletter will no longer be called Extension Weekly. Instead, it will be called Extension e-news. Critical or urgent news broadcasts that cannot wait until the next production date will be sent under the name Extension Update.
This change in production schedule allows us to respond to the decrease in administrative and communications staff while still maintaining a consistent communication schedule between Extension administration and employees. If you have questions or concerns about this change, please feel free to share those with me and Aimee Viniard-Weideman, assistant dean for communications.
It's county fair season in Minnesota. After spending the morning at the Scott County fair earlier this week with President Bob Bruininks, Regent Dallas Bohnsack, and Gopher football coach Tim Brewster, I've been thinking about the unique opportunity county fairs provide for Extension to connect with some of our many stakeholders and audiences.
Our invitation to the Scott County fair included a breakfast for community leaders from across the county. Sitting in the heart of the fairgrounds with Scott County Extension staff and community leaders, provided a great opportunity to hear about and see the impact the University and Extension have had on Minnesota. After the breakfast and a visit to the county office, we took a few minutes to watch the 4-H rabbit judging. Seeing those nervous and excited young people reminded me of the skills and confidence my nieces and nephews have gained in their years of learning and growing with 4-H in Montana.
Today, unlike in years past, not as many of our staff are involved in the Extension and 4-H programs at county fairs. For those who are, thank you! For those who are not, consider visiting a fair in your area to see an example of Extension in action. From the 4-H youth who are demonstrating the knowledge and skills they have gained over the last year, to the Master Gardeners giving tours of teaching gardens, there is a lot we can all be proud of at the county fairs.
If you're looking for information on growing food close to home or preserving your local produce, you can find reliable information on the food preservation section of Extension's website. Instructions for canning, recipes for jams, jellies and salsas, pickling techniques, and drying methods are all available from Extension food safety faculty and educators.
Various food safety workshops are also being offered throughout Minnesota for people who prepare, preserve and process foods at home for personal or for-profit use. If you are trying to help consumers find information, remember that in addition to the website and workshops, you can also direct them to call the AnswerLine for questions of food preservation and safety.
Debbie Botzek-Linn and
Carol Ann Burtness
Extension Educators, Food Science
Jennifer Skuza, director of urban 4-H programs, has been appointed to represent Extension on the University Faculty Senate. Her three-year appointment began on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2012. We are excited that Jennifer has this opportunity and will support us in this important work.
Congratulations to Jennifer on being selected to fulfill this important role.
Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Extension Program Leader, 4-H
Beki Saito, senior research associate for the Youth Work Institute, has been invited to be one of 14 advisory board members on Best Buy's national initiative, @15. During the advisory board's kick-off meeting, a national survey of 1,817 teens was unveiled, which was conducted by Search Institute and Harris Interactive.
@15 is Best Buy's national initiative to connect youth, give them a voice, and support their efforts to lead social change. To learn more, visit www.at15.com or contact Beki Saito at email@example.com.
Extension Assistant Center Director and State Program Leader
Youth Work Institute
If you are planning to use copyrighted material in an article, publication, presentation or program materials, you must obtain permission. The University's Copyright Permission Center works closely with publishers, rightsholders, and the University of Minnesota Office of the General Counsel to help you get the permission you need. Their effective process makes it worth the nominal fee they charge.
You can submit your permission request online. Remember to give yourself plenty of time to get permission and be aware of the center's busiest months-before the start of a school term. See their deadlines and plan accordingly!
Neil D. Anderson
Director, Resource Development Unit
Dean Herzfeld, Extension coordinator for pesticide safety and environmental education, has been elected president of the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators (AAPSE) and will be installed next month at the association's national meeting. Dean will serve two years as president and will remain for two more years as one of five national officers on the executive committee as past president.
AAPSE membership includes extension pesticide safety education coordinators and other extension faculty and staff, state and federal government staff involved with pesticide education and licensing as well as others who work with or have an interest in pesticide safety education.
Extension Associate Dean
Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Please join me in congratulating the 73 families from around the state, one from each participating county, that have been named a "2009 Farm Family of the Year" by the University of Minnesota.
While there is no standard definition of a farm family, the one factor they all have in common is that the families work together to make their farm successful. Families receiving honors were selected by their local county Extension committees and have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture and agriculture production. The University and Extension are proud to recognize these farm families for their contribution to agriculture and their communities.
The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, August 6 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Profiles of the 2009 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University's farm family website.
The Master Gardener program's main office has moved to 155 Alderman Hall on the St. Paul campus, while maintaining a satellite office at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum where the program manages the Yard and Garden desk and phone line.
Both locations offer work space for consumer horticulture Extension educators and Master Gardener program staff visiting campus as well as work space and computer access for Master Gardeners volunteering with state projects.
State Program Director, Julie Weisenhorn, will maintain the satellite office at the Arboretum. The new Master Gardener Administrative Specialist, Bridget Barton, will manage the new state office location in Alderman Hall. The new mailing address and phone number are: U of M Extension Master Gardener Program, Department of Horticultural Science, 155 Alderman Hall, 1970 Folwell Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, (612)624-4211.
State Master Gardener Director and
Assistant Extension Professor, Horticultural Science
IT Operations will be performing maintenance on Extension servers this Sunday, June 19, from 6 a.m. until noon.
During this time, please do not enter data into MyPrograms or any other web form located on Extension websites and do not use queries and reports that rely on our database servers.
The Extension website may have sporadic availability during the maintenance period on Sunday, but email and network shares (H and S drives) will not be affected.
IT Operations Manager
The environmental science education team is excited to announce the new Prairies & Potholes field guide to selected native species commonly found in Minnesota prairie and wetland ecosystems. Illustrations and descriptive text help novice naturalists identify representative grasses, soils, woody plants, seasonal flowers, mammals, insects, aquatic and upland birds, wetland plants, fish, reptiles and amphibians.
The field guide provides an excellent introduction to the prairie biome for Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, teachers, youth, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Orders can be made through the Extension Store for $4.95 per copy.
Extension Program Leader
Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) seeks your help in identifying individuals who may be willing to serve on the Board of Directors. The purpose of MISA is to bring together the diverse interests of the agricultural community with interests from across the University community in a cooperative effort to develop and promote sustainable agriculture in Minnesota and beyond.
Beginning September 1, the following vacancies will be filled: two sustainable agriculture practitioners (e.g. farmers and ranchers); and one representative of the sustainable agriculture community (e.g. nongovernmental organizations, business, government and citizen representatives). A term on the MISA Board is three years and you may nominate yourself or someone else to serve.
More information can be found on the MISA website.
Coordinator, Agronomy and Plant Genetics
Extension Housing Specialist, Bill Angell has been selected to receive the 2009 Excellence in Extension Award for the North Central Region. This award is presented annually to an individual who has strived throughout his or her career to achieve benchmarks reflective of excellence in Extension educational programming.
The award will be presented on November 15 at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Join me in congratulating Bill on this honor.
During the week of July 20, the Cloquet Forestry Center will be celebrating 100 years of education, research and outreach. Established in 1909, the Center is the longest continuously operating forestry field station of its kind in the United States. Please join the Cloquet Forestry Center and University of Minnesota Extension in Cloquet for the CFC Centennial Celebration. More information can be found on our website.
Extension Regional Office, Cloquet
Katherine Waters, Extension educator, will begin as the new program leader for food safety education on August 1. She replaces Joellen Feirtag, who served as food safety program leader for five years and continues her role as state specialist in the food safety program. As program leader, Katherine will work with the food safety team on administrative needs, supervise food safety educators, liaise with the health and nutrition program in Family Development, and provide direction for agricultural safety and disaster education initiatives. Katherine will continue her duties as a member of the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). Please join me in welcoming Katherine to her new role.
Extension Associate Dean
Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Barb Liukkonen, who retired last month, has rejoined Extension's Center for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (EFANS) in a revised version of her previous program leader role. In this 50-percent-time position, she will supervise the county-based Extension educators in Northeastern Minnesota, strengthen Extension's relationship with counties, and provide leadership for emerging EFANS initiatives. Welcome back, Barb!
Extension Associate Dean
Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
As we have discussed, one of Extension's budget principles is to keep the cost of operations as low as possible in order to maintain as many employee positions as possible. In keeping with this principle, we have discussed the merging/closing of some regional offices. Now that we have received our budget reductions and unallotments, it is time to make the decision on the number and locations of our regional offices.
After receiving input from Extension leadership, and in consultation with Senior Vice President Robert Jones, I have decided to close the regional offices in Albert Lea and Mora. The Albert Lea office will be closing on September 30, and the Mora office will be closing on December 30. Lee Raeth, director of field operations, has been working with program leaders to reassign staff in the Albert Lea and Mora offices to other regional offices. Closing these smaller Extension offices will allow us to reduce operation costs while maintaining the educator positions. If you have questions about these office closings, please feel free to contact me.
Did you contribute any of your time toward a sponsored project during spring semester 2009 (January 5 through June 7)? If you provided effort (paid or cost-shared), you will receive an e-mail notification that will include a link to the Effort Certification and Reporting Technology (ECRT) page letting you know your effort statement is ready to be certified by electronic signature. Anyone who works on a sponsored project or grant, whether paid by the grant for the work or not, is required to complete this statement.
Please help us meet this important obligation. Make sure to click all the boxes even if the effort listed was zero for the period. Visit the Extension Finance & Planning website for more information and instructions. The deadline to complete the effort certification is Friday, August 7.
Interim Effort Coordinator
In tough economic times, it is important to have a basic understanding of the University's complex budget process and how it impacts your paycheck. The University has developed an online video presentation called Dollars and Sense to help all staff and faculty better understand where our money comes from, how our budgets are determined, and what that means on pay day.
Extension and the University have many other online resources on the Extension and the Economy webpage to help staff and faculty through this economic downturn. In addition to budget-related Extension messages and information, you will find links to University resources for topics such as personal financial management, professional development and stress management.
Human Resources Director