Extension TodayNews from and about the 1890 Land-Grant Extension System
Message from the Chair
Vonda Richardson Extension Administrator, Florida A&M University
Oh, fall! It’s so nice to see you again. I welcome fall with this month’s Extension Today newsletter highlighting awards and recognitions throughout the 1890 Extension system.
AEA wants to take this opportunity to recognize the diligent work and accomplishments of our 1890 Extension professionals. Extension accomplishments can come in many forms, from awards to leadership assignments to grantsmanship.
Take time to read about the impact of 1890 Extension across the country. AEA commends all your efforts to improve the quality of life in communities.
Extension staff are shining stars
In the wake of the COVID pandemic, every Cooperative Extension employee deserves special recognition for their work over the past two-three years. We managed to continue delivering quality services and educational resources to colleagues and people across our states and around the world. This quality work was also recognized by several organizations that issued awards this year to Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M staff.
Association of Extension Administrators
This year, 4-H and Youth Development Specialist Dr. Angela Williams received an AEA Excellence in Extension Award for her body of work. For example, Williams used her talents to reach 703 incarcerated youths, ensuring that 66 percent completed their GED at a local community college.
In addition, Allyson Shabel placed second in the AEA’s Systemwide Conference Poster Awards contest for the work “STEM in the Garden Virtual Teacher Training Workshop Enables Successful Outdoor Classrooms.”
Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources Team Awards
The Natural Resources team received several accolades this year. First, they were named Partner of the Year in January 2022 by the Alabama Project Learning Tree Steering Committee for environmental programming under the leadership of Environmental Specialist Dr. Karnita Garner. Second, the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals and its Alabama chapter awarded Garner and her team the bronze award in Promotional and Marketing Materials for Earth Day and the Dothan Teen Nature Club activities.
Central State University Extension premiers Building Small Farm Viability training
Designed for those who have started their own farm but want additional training to increase its success or grow the operation, the Central State University Extension (CSU-CESTA Extension) Building Small Farm Viability program will educate participants about the multiple aspects of managing a successful growing operation.
“The Building Small Farm Viability program is for people who have already started their own farm within the last three to 10 years to provide more advanced education about production, marketing and business planning,” says Dr. Alcinda (Cindy) Folck, CSU-CESTA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources program leader for Ohio and project co-director.
The program is free and made possible by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2501 grant, says CSU-CESTA Extension Associate Director and Project Director Dr. Siddharth Dasgupta. The USDA Office of Partnership and Public Engagement funds the program and supports farmers to connect with USDA programs. Both adult and youth farmers benefit from programs focusing on loans, financing, cost-sharing, crop risk, crop failure support and more.
“Our Building Small Farm Viability program is well aligned with our priorities here in CSU-CESTA Extension,” says College of Engineering, Science, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA) Dean Dr. Michelle Corley. “It is part of our Value Added 21st Century Farming Technologies we are aiming to provide to our underserved farmers in Ohio.”
1890 land-grant competitive funding
During the month of September, Delaware State University (DSU) Cooperative Extension applauds the diligent grantsmanship efforts of employees who increase capacity in DSU’s outreach program.
Delaware is known as the First State; residents learn early that Delaware was first to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Delaware is also the smallest state with an 1890 Land-Grant University and less than one million people call Delaware home. Despite the state’s diminutive size, DSU’s Cooperative Extension personnel do things in a big way — from program ideation, to delivery, to impact.
With more than $3 million in current competitive funds procured by and including DSU Extension specialists and agents, nearly 4,000 Delawareans receive access to research-based outreach activities each year.
FAMU Cooperative Extension applauds leadership provided by faculty on state, regional, national levels
Dr. Dreamal Worthen, Extension specialist and program leader, served as president of the Rural Sociological Society this past year. RSS is a national professional association that promotes the generation, application and dissemination of sociological knowledge to enhance the quality of rural life, communities and the environment. Worthen was also one of the first recipients of the RESPECT award for Distinguished Achievement in the Promotion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Field of Extension Education. This state award honors Extension educators for creating and promoting a diverse and welcoming environment for all.
Kimberly Davis, Extension agent, serves as the 1890 representative for the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) and the EDEN Professional Development Committee chair. EDEN is a national Extension collaborative multi-state effort to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters. Davis also serves as the southeast regional representative for the GLOBE US Partner Forum. GLOBE is an international science and education program that works to build a collaborative, worldwide community of students, teachers, scientists and citizens in gaining invaluable insight into local environments around the globe.
Vonda Richardson, director of FAMU Cooperative Extension and AEA chair, has been elected to the Board of Agriculture Assembly Policy Board of Directors as the 1890 representative and voting member for the 1890 region. This group takes appropriate action on key matters affecting the interests of the member institutions.
FVSU Extension staff receives awards, recognition for service
ChaNaè Bradley and Latasha Ford, staff members for Fort Valley State University’s Agricultural Communications Department, recently received honors and leadership appointments within an international organization.
Bradley, senior communications specialist, and Ford, research communications specialist, will serve on the Association for Communications Excellence (ACE) Board of Directors. Bradley will serve as vice president, and Ford will serve as director of member services.
ACE is an international association whose membership consists of faculty and staff representing land- and sea-grant institutions in the U.S. and other nations. These include media professionals such as writers, editors, webmasters, photographers, graphic designers, information technologists and others in the communications field.
In addition to leadership roles, Ford received two awards for her writing during the 2022 ACE Conference recently held in Kansas City, Missouri. She received a gold award in the diversity category Writing for Targeted Audiences for the story Daring to Discover, Destined to Dominate. The research communications specialist also won a silver award in the writing category Writing within a Specialized Publication for the story Embracing Opportunities.
Furthermore, Woodie Hughes Jr., FVSU assistant Extension administrator state 4-H program leader, completed the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI) Leadership Program. The two-year national leadership fellowship program focuses on 21st-century global food systems.
Hughes was accepted for the fall 2019 FSLI, an executive leadership development program for academia, industry and government. The FSLI enhances personal and professional development by emphasizing leadership competencies, skills for organizational change and a broad, interdisciplinary perspective of food systems.
Also, Tyrone Spivey, print shop manager, supported the 2022 Association of Extension Administrators (AEA) Systemwide Conference by printing the program and abstract books for approximately 700 attendees.
Kentucky State University part of grant to establish Agriculture Business Innovation Center
Kentucky State University is a partner institution in the establishment of an Agriculture Business Innovation Center recently funded by a $1.92 million investment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The Agriculture Business Innovation Center will be located at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. Dr. Marcus Bernard, chair of the School of Agriculture, Communities and the Environment, is the point person for Kentucky State’s portion of the grant.
Bernard will further develop the Agribusiness Professional Development Guest Speaker Series, which he established at Kentucky State in spring 2021. In the coming years, the speaker series will include 10 food and agriculture leaders of color per semester.
A national Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)-focused food and agriculture industry-based case study competition will also be established in partnership with Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). Both efforts aim to increase experiential learning opportunities for agricultural students of color.
“The lack of direct access, engagement and hands-on enterprise training for HBCU students in the food and agricultural industry creates an enormous disadvantage for HBCU students that results in fewer students seeking food and agricultural-based majors, career paths and entrepreneurial opportunities,” Bernard said. “KSU and MANRRS will provide students with opportunities to engage with leading professionals in the agribusiness industry.”
Online meat and goat production certification awarded to Chilean animal scientists
Awarding certificates for the Langston University online Dairy and Meat Goat Production courses is one of the highlights of Chilean animal scientists’ and veterinarians’ careers. Worldwide, there is a growing interest in goat production for their great comparative advantage in sustainable production systems and the increasing consumer preference for meat and milk products.
The need for innovative training for these existing and new producers is satisfied by a collaborative effort between Langston University and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Langston University developed online production courses in English and had them translated into Spanish.
The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez assisted in beta-testing the Spanish sites. Via their vast network of South American universities and institutions, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez recruited individuals working within the Chilean Department of Agriculture as beta-testers. To date, 106 Chilean animal scientists and veterinarians have enrolled in either the dairy goat production course, the meat production course or both. A total of 19 Chileans have completed their respective course and have received their certifications.
This partnership between Langston University, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and the Chilean Department of Agriculture has imparted new knowledge, skills and abilities to personnel involved in goat production, especially in the Spanish-speaking world.
Recognizing Extension staff, strengthening morale and collaboration
During COVID, a time of unease and uncertainty, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE) established the Extension Awards Committee to boost morale and increase motivation throughout the department. The committee developed two types of awards to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of LUCE’s outstanding faculty and staff: special recognition awards and peer-to-peer recognition awards.
Special recognition awards were developed for the LUCE administration to recognize outstanding individuals across all program areas. Peer-to-peer awards were developed for individuals to recognize their colleagues’ support and accomplishments on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, to bridge the distance between LUCE faculty and staff working across the state of Missouri, the committee decided to highlight a few personnel during each of LUCE’s monthly staff meetings.
The goal of these highlights was to help everyone get to know each other, to foster collegiality and build collaborations across the LUCE system. Developing and implementing a comprehensive awards program when our faculty and staff are spread across the state has not been without challenges. However, the committee believes the effort has been worthwhile because it was vital to show our LUCE colleagues that they matter and that their dedication is appreciated.
Program educator Dorlissa Jones received special recognition from Sherry Maxwell, program assistant III at the Charleston office. Also, administrative assistant Jody Bruemmer was presented with the Lifesaver Award for her exceptional performance in serving the faculty and staff at Lincoln University Cooperative Extension.
State professional groups, CAES recognize work of N.C. A&T Extension staff
Cooperative Extension agents with North Carolina A&T State University won recognition for their work at 2022 NC Extension Association meetings and from N.C. A&T’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES).
The NC Association of Family and Consumer Sciences held its annual meeting from Aug. 15-18. Emily McClure, FCS agent in Jackson County, came away from the conference with three awards while Rhonda Peters, FCS agent in Montgomery County, brought home two awards. McClure received the Early Career Award and the Past President’s New Professional Award. She also received a Family Health and Wellness Team Award, along with Peters and Stanly County FCS agent Hayley Cowell.
Cowell and FCS agent Der Holcomb, Alexander County, also took home Safe Plates Distinguished Educator Awards for their work conducting the Safe Plates food safety certification program.
James Hartfield, ANR agent in Sampson and Duplin counties, and Nelson Brownlee, ANR agent in Bladen and Robeson counties, were recognized at the NC Association of County Agricultural Agents meeting with a Search for Excellence Team Award at the group’s annual meeting in June. The award was in the category of programming for Young, Beginning or Small Farmers/Ranchers. ANR technician Walter Adams received an award from USAg Recycling and the Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) in recognition of a program that recycled more than 10,000 pounds of pesticide containers.
Additionally, CAES recognized 4-H STEM Specialist Misty Blue-Terry, Ph.D., and 4-H Specialist Shannon Wiley, Ph.D., for winning competitive grants of more than $250,000.
Extension staff, faculty recognized for outstanding service
Each year, Prairie View A&M University recognizes faculty and staff with awards for their significant contributions in teaching, research and service – areas of importance to the university's land-grant mission.
The accomplishments and contributions of those selected are highly respected and worthy of recognition. Following the nomination periods for these individual awards, committee reviews and recommendations began the selection process. We are proud to share our colleagues among the 2021 and 2022 faculty and staff award recipients.
Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) Extension Award
- Crystal Wiltz (2021), Extension Agent, Family and Community Health, Travis County.
- Dawn Burton (2022), Program Specialist II, Family and Community Health, College of Nursing.
Initiative and Creativity
- Jimmy Henry (2021), Program Leader, Cooperative Extension Program.
Gibson elected to leadership position in South Carolina Association of Extension 4-H Agents
Latosia S. Gibson, 4-H youth development agent for the Extension Low Country Region, was elected to serve as the senior director of the Savannah Valley of the South Carolina Association of Extension 4-H Agents (SCAE4-HA). SCAE4-HA is a professional organization dedicated to promoting, strengthening, enhancing and advocating for the 4-H youth development profession. Gibson was elected as senior director in May 2022.
“It is a privilege to be elected to a leadership role with an association that focuses on my job,” said Gibson. “With this leadership role, I will share with my colleagues the benefits of membership and professional development opportunities. I am honored to be a representative of SC State 1890 at a state-level association.”
As senior director, Gibson will serve on the Board of Directors of the SCAE4-HA and act as a liaison between the district and state association. Gibson will also preside over district meetings and assist in securing nominations for district members to serve as officers for the association.
SCAE4-HA promotes the profession of Extension 4-H and youth work to advance the professional status of Extension personnel in South Carolina.
For more information on Gibson’s senior director position or the SCAE4-HA, contact Gibson at email@example.com.
Grants, contracts help SU Ag Center expand its programming, digital footprint
The Southern University Ag Center’s Cooperative Extension Program was awarded more than $4-plus million in grants and contracts for the 2022 fiscal year. These monies have afforded us the opportunity to increase our programming efforts and expand our digital footprint.
Our Youth Development Unit has several engaging programs such as Youth Futures, 4-H Tech Change Makers, Eradicating Food Deserts and our 4-H Healthy Habits Program, which offers nutrition, health and wellness programming for school-aged youths. This program takes a holistic approach to health and wellness while incorporating fun and engaging activities.
The Agriculture and Natural Resources Unit sponsors programming such as Garden Workshops, the Small Farmers Conference, Women In Agriculture and the Enhancing Capacity Certification Program, which is a training program that provides certifications in the areas of food and farm safety, small business development, master/small ruminant, and sustainable and urban agriculture.
Our Family and Consumer Sciences Unit boast a plethora of successful programs. These programs target youths, adults and seniors and incorporate both hands-on and experiential learning modules. Our newest program, JAGcation (a jaguar education, during vacation), is an experiential learning summer camp that targets youths ages 9 to 11 years old. The camp focuses on various concepts and careers in agriculture and family and consumer sciences.
Southern University continues to work tirelessly to link the citizens of Louisiana with Opportunities for SUccess.
Extension agent helps community members become homebuyers
Tennessee State University Extension agent Misty Layne-Watkins has taught 108 Realizing the Dream homebuyer education classes, conducted follow-up sessions and provided approximately 614 clients with certificates of completion for homebuyer education. She received approximately $35,875 in fee-based funds for teaching the first-time homebuyer education class, which allowed her to start the Rutherford County FCS/AG Endowment Fund.
Out of the 21 Extension offices across the state that provide homebuyer education, Rutherford County tied in fourth place for the number of clients who closed on mortgage loans in 2019. In 2021, Layne-Watkins received the UT Extension Central Region Home Buyer Education Award. She had 51 customers with a total loan value of $11,187,660.
In 2020, Layne-Watkins was selected by the national NUEL Awards Committee to represent the 1890 institutions for her highly successful “Homebuyer Education Program.” As part of her recognition, she prepared a presentation summarizing her program's impact on the local community.
So far this year, Layne-Watkins has conducted 13 On My Own lessons, including a simulation at four Rutherford County middle schools. Consequently, 282 eighth graders have learned about budgeting, financial responsibilities, what to expect during adulthood, and how education, career and family decisions can affect their lifestyle choices. Layne-Watkins can be reached at (615) 898-7710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIFA-funded project teaches UAPB pre-K children to grow healthy vegetables
Pre-K children at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s (UAPB) Child Development Center (CDC) recently had the opportunity to learn how to garden indoors, Dr. Karleah Harris, assistant professor for the UAPB Department of Human Sciences, said. The young children learned how to grow mung beans through an inquiry-based learning curriculum under the guidance of Harris and undergraduate student assistants.
“Research shows that children are more likely to engage in healthy eating habits when actively growing their foods,” Harris said. “Over the course of the spring semester, we instructed students and their teachers on how healthy produce can be grown indoors. As part of the exercise, children actively engaged in science inquiry by making predictions, observing the different growth stages of the mung beans, constructing explanations, drawing conclusions and communicating their findings.”
Dr. Marilyn Bailey, interim chair for the Department of Human Sciences, said the project is a great example of how young children can be exposed to the fundamental concepts of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and have fun while learning.
The project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) (award number 2021-38821-34712).
Small Farm Program coordinator receives Excellence in Extension Award
Berran Rogers, the Small Farm Program coordinator for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Extension, came home from the Association of Extension Administrators 1890 Land-grant Universities 2022 Systemwide Conference in Orlando, Florida, July 31-Aug. 4, with an award in hand.
Rogers was one of two recipients of the Excellence in Extension Award, representing the 1890s region for “a high standard of excellence in agriculture and natural resources.” The honor is bestowed on Extension professionals with at least five consecutive years of work in Extension who have “exhibited sustained and meritorious Extension programming.”
“Over the past 14 years with UMES Extension, Rogers has taken the lead in developing and implementing educational and outreach programs focused on small farm management, agricultural risk management and marketing on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland. As his direct supervisor, I have witnessed firsthand his remarkable leadership skills, dedication and ability to work well as a team,” said Dr. Enrique Nelson Escobar, associate dean for UMES Extension. “His fresh approach to finding creative solutions in his area of expertise has expressed itself in significant societal and economic impacts among limited-resource, beginning and underserved farmers.”
Virginia State University boosts efforts to connect with participants of PROSPER
The PROmoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) model is a program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Children, Youth and Families at Risk Grant. PROSPER seeks to avoid opioid and other substance misuses through proactive prevention strategies.
Implemented throughout four Virginia counties, the PROSPER program uses community engagement techniques and evidence-based strategies with youths ages 10-14 and their families. Managed in each county by a local Extension agent and a trained coordinator, the overall program is delivered through two pathways. The family-based program, Together Families PROSPER, is a seven-session program that fosters parent-child communication and the Life Skills Training taught by educators trained to deliver the program within the classroom.
The evidence-based programs build young people's abilities to solve problems, make decisions, prepare them for the workforce and reduce problem behaviors.
Virginia Cooperative Extension extends the resources of Virginia's two land-grant universities, Virginia State University and Virginia Tech, to solve problems facing Virginians every day.
WVSU Extension Service receives $10,000 from Extension Foundation for WV Coalfields Trail Town Program
West Virginia State University (WVSU) Extension Service has been chosen as a project fellow to receive $10,000 from The Extension Foundation to support the WV Coalfields Trail Town Program.
The WV Coalfields Trail Town Program is a community revitalization and economic diversification project that is tailored to adapt to the needs and capacity of the small, remote and diverse areas of the Southern West Virginia coalfields. Targeted strategies will be implemented in the program to create new and diverse economies, improve quality of life and draw new residents to these struggling communities.
"I am excited to have the support of the Extension Foundation in developing a strategy to assist our coalfield communities in Southern West Virginia with the challenges they face," said Adam Hodges, Community and Economic Development program leader for WVSU Extension Service.
The Extension Foundation will support 39 projects across Cooperative Extension as part of the New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE) program, which serves all land-grant universities in the United States. The NTAE program is made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) (grant number 2020-41595-30123).