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December 2009 Archives

Dean's Column (Winter 2009)

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It was a pleasure to see so many Extension retirees at Extension's Centennial celebration during the State Fair. More than 300 Extension retirees, partners, donors, friends and staff came together in celebration of our 100 years of making Minnesota a better place to live, work and play. Our history is certainly something we can all be proud of as we continue to build new partnerships and discoveries for the next 100 years.

You can continue to enjoy our history and special event by visiting the Centennial site.

Thank you for your many contributions to Extension's history and your continued support of Extension's future. Together we have and will continue to make a difference in Minnesota.

Professional Development Grants for Retirees

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The Office of the Vice President for Research and the University of Minnesota Retirees Association (UMRA) are pleased to announce the second cycle of professional development grants for retirees. These awards are intended to support retirees requiring financial assistance to pursue projects related to their research, instructional or other work history and that contribute to the educational, scholarly and academic reputation of the University.

The deadline for proposals is December 15. All Extension retirees are eligible to apply for these grants. Ten grants of up to $4,000 will be awarded during the 2009-2010 academic year. For more information about how to submit a proposal, and to view the list of last year's successful award applications visit the UMRA grants website.

MDA launches Minnesota Farmer Assistance Network

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The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, along with Extension as a partner, has launched the Minnesota Farmer Assistance Network (MFAN) in response to the struggling economy and to address the needs of farmers facing financial challenges. The MFAN network draws upon the expertise of experienced financial analysts from several organizations working together to help farmers.

MFAN analysts provide business and financial guidance to farm families on a variety of topics including financial statement preparation, debt restructuring, business reorganization and farm transition. They do this short-term work on a volunteer basis at the farmer's home.

Many of the volunteer analysts are former Extension educators or farm business management instructors. If you are interested in this opportunity or know someone who might be, please call Peter Scheffert with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 651-201-6486 or

Visit the MFAN website for more information.

Epsilon Sigma Phi, Pi Chapter

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The annual meeting of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), Pi Chapter, was held on Tuesday, October 6 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul. The evening ended with an awards and recognition banquet co-sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Extension Educators (MAEE) and ESP. Attendees enjoyed lively entertainment of stand-up comedy and magic with magician/comedian, Kristoffer Olson.

ESP is a professional organization that is focused on connecting Extension staff and retirees to build networks, continuity, and support for Extension and related issues. A list of this year's ESP award recipients, as well as information on how to become a member, can be found on the Epsilon Sigma Phi website.

EDEN Receives USDA/CSREES Partnership Award

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The National Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) received the USDA/CSREES Partnership Award for Effective and Efficient Use of Resources. EDEN earned the award for the collaboration of land-grant university professionals who provide exemplary resources through cooperative extension to reduce the impact of disasters through education.

EDEN is a collaborative multi-state effort by extension services across the country and Minnesota is a very active collaborator in this effort. More information about EDEN and this award can be found on the EDEN website.

Read about other Extension awards in the awards section of e-news (Extension's employee newsletter).

New Retirees (Winter 2009)

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Mary Laeger-Hagemeister retired on October 6 after 12 years of service as a regional Extension educator in Community Vitality. She served as the primary contact for the leadership and civic engagement programs in the 13-county service area, working out of the Albert Lea regional office.

Harlan Petersen, Extension specialist in forest products, retired in August after 32 years of dedicated service and life-long contributions. His early research focused on utilizing Dutch elm disease killed trees; teaching and outreach programs included wood-moisture relations and wood drying, Future Farmers of America and Partners of the Americas.

Jerry Wright, Extension engineer, associate professor, and interim head of the West Central Research and Outreach Center, retired on October 1 after 33 years of teaching and research. His major areas were irrigation water management and agricultural tile drainage.

In Memoriam (Winter 2009)

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Alice "Bette" Hare worked for Ramsey County Extension where she was a program assistant in health and nutrition and a 4-H leader at McDonough Housing. She started the first inner city 4-H club. In addition to raising three sons, she and her husband had 40 foster children. She was named as a WCCO good neighbor. Bette passed away on March 25, at age 90.

Geraldine Bobbette "Bobbie" Kern age 81, died at her home in rural Dodge Center on August 25. She taught home economics and science and worked in Dodge County as an Extension home agent, as well as with 4-H and adult programs. Bobbie was a leader in her church, partnered in the farm operation, and enjoyed exploring the cultures of the world through travel and hosting many foreign guests.

Patrick Weicherding, regional Extension educator in urban and community forestry, regional office in Andover, died from pancreatic cancer on September 2 at age 60. He contributed more than 16 years to teaching and research in natural resources and environment, including the Master Gardener and Tree Care Advisory programs.

Did You Know?

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Donna Rae Scheffert, retired Extension leadership development specialist, has launched a national online column and a new website. The column, Making Change: Getting Involved in Helping Others, is on the Washington Times Communities website (may require registration). Her website offers leadership tools that will make accomplishing goals easier, faster and more fun.

Extension's Response to Harvest Challenges

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A wet and cold fall has made the 2009 harvest incredibly challenging for Minnesota producers. Management decisions for harvesting, handling, drying or storing crops are proving complex for even the most well managed operations, not to mention concerns about feeding certain crops to livestock and insurance claims.

Extension continues to lead an ongoing response, using news media interviews and the Late Harvest website to share information and help farmers make informed decisions. All told, Extension experts have been quoted or cited in more than 50 news stories during the last month, from The Caledonia Argus to Minnesota Public Radio. You can view many of the stories on Extension's In the News site.

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