Friday, June 27, 2014

Happy Friday !!!

The Progress Challenge Reveled

Progress means: forward movement , advance , gradual betterment. It takes awareness , character, discipline, and effort to progress. 
 Change is inevitable.
Progress is a choice.

The word progress carries a forward thrust and focus, and vibrant and transcendent quality that the words change and even success don't deliver. With every success comes the desire for more success. 

When we focus on daily progress we are able to feel daily satisfaction. With every forward step, we see more clearly, our confidence grows, our passion improves, and our options multiply. We progress toward today's goals on the strength of our pat progress. Once achieved, today 's goal becomes tomorrow's launching pad. 

-----Dean Lindsay, The Progress Challenge 

Texas Rural Leadership Program orientation and training for County Agents 

Extension Agents TRLP Orientation
July 8, 2014 and July 9, 2014
La Grange, Texas 

On behalf of Ronnie McDonald,and  Dr. Steel regarding a Texas Rural Leadership Program orientation and training for County Agents originally geared to a few pilot counties.  Ronnie attended many of the District meetings last fall and presented information on the Texas Rural Leadership Program.  In working with Dr. Steel, he asked that I ask if there were any more agents that would like to attend the training.

We have asked that any county agents interested in attending the training to please respond with their availability so they can be included in the orientation and training.  Dr. Steel will be providing the county agents with a hotel room for the night of the 8th, meals during the training and mileage. If you are interested in attending please contact Dr. Elaine Fries or Ronnie McDonald. 

Make sure these dates are on your calendar:  Regional Program Planning Workshop September 3-4, Rosenberg Texas. 

4-H News

We are still working on our Memorandum of Understanding to be presented to our Club Managers for fiscal accountability in reference to their 4-H accounts.  We should get clearance to send to you soon. 

4-H Horse Show and Leadership Lab come and gone for another year.  I want to thank agents and Meredith for your leadership and professionalism during these two D11 events.  For the most part they both went well, we do have to continue to find was to improve both events as to meet the needs of our stakeholders. 

We will be scheduling a parent volunteer input meeting for our District 11 horse show this fall much like we had a few years ago.  This will give our 4-H horse parents a chance to provide constructive input to our event and assist our 4-H Horse show management team to provide a better opportunity. 

It was good to go up to the hill country for leadership lab to a different location, I am eager to see the evaluations as to get some feed back for the event.  However it is clear that we have a great set of young people in our District and that is a direct reflection on their parents, guardians and you as youth development professionals. 

I also want to thank our three interns Chad, Ashton, and Whitney, for their assistance with lab. I appreciate them being so engaged and willing to participate in preparing for the sessions and assisting their agent mentors.  Also appreciate their help at the D11 Horse Show. 

4-H Range Day 

We have an upcoming deadline for the 4-H Range Day of July 8th – so we have time to make plans!  Range Day is August 8th at La Copita Ranch, Ben Bolt, TX. Hope some kiddos and leaders from each of your counties can make it.  Please call or email Dr. Megan Clayton  with any questions.

Professional Association Meetings 

I encourage you to attend and participate in your respected professional association meetings this summer, this is a great time to interact with agents from across the state and share professional improvement ideas.  I have visited with many of your lately and glad you have made plans to attend.  Soon it will be our turn to host these important meetings, so keep that in mind as you attend this year so we can host the best meetings in our district in the next few years. 

Personnel News 

We have a new agent in Calhoun County, Ms. Katelynn Curry was approved by the Calhoun County Court yesterday, and will be in CC at our center on Monday for new employee processing.  She will first step in Victoria County starting on Tuesday for up to about a month.  She starts in Calhoun County at the end of July.  Katelynn, is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and a native of Richmond, Texas.  Please help me welcome Katelynn to D11 as she will work to provide leadership to the Calhoun County 4-H program. 

New Entomologist 

Dr. Robert Bowling has agreed to become the new Extension Entomologist at Corpus Christi. Dr. Bowling’s first day will be July 1, 2014. Please help me welcome Dr. Bowling to our district.  Give him a call if you get a chance next Tuesday.  

"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their commons sense"
--- Gertrude Stein 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Should I Fire My Doctor

A few weeks ago at my recent Admin retreat we had two speakers that were excellent, to help us in our daily duties as administrators and of course in every day life,

Both speakers were selling books and Dr. Steele provide us each with a copy,  The Progress Challenge:  Working and Winning in a world of Change. is one of the books.   A quote from its author, Dean Lindsay was “Change is inevitable, progress is optional.”  We certainly are seeing change in Extension and more to come. Change will happen, but how we deal with it will prove how well we progress.

Another session we had related to wellness and our speaker was Patsy Sulak, M.D.  She’s with Scott &  White  and among physicians who believe that by the time people need a doctor to help them with their health, we’re too late in providing the type of support and assistance that will truly make a lasting difference in their health and quality of life.  Her book is Should I Fire My Doctor? but the context of that question relates to the role your doctor plays in helping patients makes the changes necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Her book begins with a testimonial from an attorney who was one of her patients and tells her story about health issues she had that required frequent medical attention and care.  However, the “treatment” that changed her life wasn’t medical but educational and occurred as a result of a seminar and subsequent visits with her NEW doctor that helped her make the lifestyle changes that have significantly improved her health and wellness, lowered her weight, blood pressure, stress, etc.   

 Dr. Sulak promotes “eleven essential elements to living WELL aware.”  Some are medical in nature but most as just common sense things we all know but just don’t practice. @LivingWELLAware  ,her twitter username

I made reference to the book , last week at our region 4-H meeting,  I have started reading the book, but her program was so interesting I wrote down her 11 essential elements as she explained them , here they are :

1.  Normal Numbers Now.  This was one of the most important to me and includes blood pressure, weight, BMI, cholesterol, and a multitude of other “numbers” that need to be normalized.  She covered a range of statistics on disease and death along with research, science, and facts that were sobering.  Most things that happen to us medically are the result of choices we make. 

2. Critique Caloric Consumption.  We put way too much in our mouths and of the wrong kinds of things too.  Very little food to us, in some places could feed 4 people.  Unhealthy intake and their relationship to diseases and disorders are well documented.

3. Make Movement Mandatory.  EXERCISE!  There’s obviously more to it than that, but it’s important to move…walking, gardening, anything that keeps us moving and active 

4. Address Adverse Addictions/Halt Harmful Habits.  These include the obvious, such as tobacco, alcohol, and related substances but could also include food, social media, and television. 

5.Meticulously Manage Money & Minutes.  When it comes to health, the two most common excuses are the lack of time and money.  Yet, Dr. Sulak says, we spend enormous amounts of time and money on two things – superficial appearance and seeking entertainment.  We spent lots of time and money trying to grow hair where it doesn’t grow and removing hair from where it does grow, pedicures, manicures, massages, coloring, styling, removing wrinkles, applying makeup, piercing & tattooing, excessive clothing and jewelry, hours of tv and movies, houses, cars, and pets that exceed our income, and of course facebooking and twittering.  We have time and money for these things, but not for things that promote wellness and health.

6. Graciously Give Our Gifts.  “When you cease to make a contribution, you die.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

7. FORGIVE:  Family, Friends, Foes, and Ourselves.  Dr. Sulak points out that there are typically two things that make us angry…when someone DOES something to us and when someone THINKS about something differently than we do.  How we manage and handle these things affects our wellness.

8.Passionately Pursue Purpose and Priorities.  Live your passion.

9. Stifle Stress/Sever Suffering.  Stress is mental strain resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.  Sulak suggests that stress is inevitable but suffering is optional.


10. Periodically PAUSE/PONDER/PLAY/PRAY.  “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”  Albert Einstein.  This element deals with thoughtful meditation, prayer, or whatever you can do to remove yourself from the everyday grind long enough to clear your mind and reset. 

11. Seek and Secure Support.  In this chapter, Sulak visits a variety of strategies that support the positive behaviors and choices that she shares in previous chapters.  It’s a great book but the presentation is what adds color and meaning to the written word. 

Our jobs are not easy jobs and provide a good share of stress that contribute to our well being.  Please take time to reflex on these 11 points that Dr. Sulak provides and try to make a positive change to even just one of these elements.  Remember every one can be at least 1% better at something.

Wellness Begins Here     doc

As part of the Chancellor’s Wellness Initiative, The Texas A&M University System is taking a more active role in the health of its employees.  If you have not done so, you will need to have your physical/wellness exam by June 30th to receive the lower wellness premium for Plan Year 2014-15.  This will be an annual requirement and applies to you and your spouse, if he/she is covered under your health plan.
Schedule your exam NOW if you have not done so.
Good luck to those of you going to State 4-H Round Up!!! next week and congratulations to all our scholarship recipients for such a great accomplishment and a terrific way to finish your 4-H Careers.  Agents take pride in your 4-H members scholarships this great opportunity was provided to them due to your capacity to lead.

Personnel news
Welcome to Ms. Rachel Berry , our new 4-H agent in Wharton County, she just completed her first week on the job. 


Thursday, May 8, 2014

2014-15 Career Ladder Timeline

Career Ladder Timeline

Smith-Lever logo

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Cooperative Extension  Program agents implement innovative and contemporary programs that meet the needs of local clientele and communities. 

These programs result in measurable outcomes that truly “Make a Difference”.  One of the methods agents are recognized and rewarded for effective programming is through the County Extension Agent Career Ladder system.

The purpose of the career ladder is to provide a system for measuring and documenting the progress of Extension Agents in their profession and to reward their professional accomplishments.

The following table provides a timeline from June through September for managing promotion in the Professional Career Ladder System for County Extension Agents;

The effectiveness of the career ladder process is directly correlated to our  Level IV “mentors” RPL's and myself with engagement in coaching D11 County Extension Agents.  The success of this system is important for Extension to maintain a competent, committed, and dedicated workforce.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Matagorda County Coastal Marine Resource Agent

New Man on the Job!!!!

We have a new man on our team , welcome Mr. Dru Garson, as our new Coastal Marine Resource Agent in Matagorda County.  Dru was processed today at the District office and will assume his new role and duties starting on Monday morning Nov. 4th  in Bay City.  Dru comes to us from Alaska where worked a community development agent.  Dru will work to provide leadership in the areas of community development in Matagorda County particularly associated with coastal/marine issues. Help me to welcome Dru to District 11.

Finishing up Program Planning

We are finishing up program planning and looking forward to your new year of programing with all the great new ideas and opportunities to assist our local clientele with outreach education. Please remember that we must finish up our current year with our Making a Difference annual reports complied by our outcome summaries.  Several of you attended a very good lync meeting this week where Dr. Ripley provided good information on writing your outcome summaries.  I will soon provide you with updated templates for your reports.

October went by very fast and November looks to be as busy as ever
Events coming up in November:

D11 ANR Retreat - Sealy
Extension Foundations, Academy I and II - College Station
4-H Crossroads - San Antonio
Thanksgiving Holidays

Friday, October 25, 2013

40 years of Service to Texas Agriculure

Roy Parker, Extension Entomologist

This week we celebrated Dr. Roy Parker's career with our agency, his retirement celebration, was a great success.  Over 100 family members, coworkers, acquaintances, producers, and administration attended this weeks event at the center in Corpus Christi.

Dr. Parkers service to the agricultural industry in our area is legendary, his work ethic and commitment to the producers was evident by the many testimonials that were presented at the event.

The department of Entomology will soon be seeking Dr. Parkers replacement as we move to the next chapter in meeting the needs of our producers for the next 40 years.

Dairy Max Trainings

Many of FCS agents and 4-H agents have attended or will attend the dairy max trainings soon.  The trainings are just the begging of a great partnership in moving toward a new audience in the health and wellness arena.

Potential educational programs:

-          Family Nutrition Nights (nutrition, physical activity, food demonstrations, etc)

-          Dinner Tonight (healthy cooking demonstrations)

-          Dinner Tonight e-blasts (participants can sign up to get a weekly food demonstration video showing the preparation of a healthy, quick, budget friendly recipe)

-          Provide nutrition and health information at health fairs

-          Master Wellness Volunteer training (volunteers receive 40 hours of research-based training in nutrition, food safety, food demonstrations, walking program, etc.  In return, participants help support Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Cooperative Extension Programs in a volunteer capacity for a minimum of 40 hours)

The FUTP60 program is flexible and tailored to the needs/wants of each school campus.  The basic components to work your way through the playbook include:

-          Program advisor identified for the school (coach, counselor, teacher, etc.)

-          Create FUTP60 youth committee to discuss and identify ideas on initiatives for that school (engages other youth)

-          Provide opportunities for engaging identified health and wellness ideas at the campus

-          Making this a “team” effort

Strategies to support the potential of many school campuses in enrolling in the FUTP60 program with the help of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Cooperative Extension Program will need to include train the trainer models.  Suggestions include (but not limited to):

-          Training for identified program advisors

-          Training for youth committees

-          Training for parent or community volunteers
District 11 ANR Retreat, Northern District 11
 Upcoming next month is the District 11 Ag Retreat, to be held on November 6th and 7th,  in the northern part of the district.  I want to be clear that this is our annual District 11 ANR professional development retreat, that is sponsored by The Texas Agricultural Agents Association and coordinated by the agents in the northern part of the district.   It is an expectation that all agents with agricultural duties be at this training.   You are certainly encouraged to be a member of TCAAA, however, If you are not a member you do not have to stay for the business meeting.  The agenda looks really good, and we also have the opportunity to visit with one of our state’s legislative representatives.
On the second day of the retreat, we will have our ANR/4-H agent presentations.  I am soliciting from you 5 professional presentations, involving power points and or other forms of audio visuals for the presentation.  This is your time to share your outcome summaries, result demonstration summaries, innovative program ideas, and any other presentations that you believe would be beneficial to your peers in the district.  The presentations can be in either in adult or 4-H youth ANR programing.  I need 5 presentations , each presentation 15 min in length.  I need you confirmation to present by Oct. 23, if I do not get 5 presentations, I will designate to whom will present at the retreat.  Please take advantage of this great opportunity to share your programing efforts, and for enhancement of your dossier.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

District 11 Awards and Recognition Committee

District 11 Awards and Recognition Committee

I want to thank Mr. Corrie Bowen and Mr. Matt Bochat for chairing the newly reorganized District awards and recognition committee. Members of the committee working to nominate their peers are Adrian Arredondo, Kara Matheney, Kayla Kaspar, Anthony Netardus, Brent Batchelor, and Michelle Allen. 

The last of the award applications were due today.   In all, 8 Superior Service Award Applications and 1 Vice Chancellor’s Award Application were submitted from District 11!  Thanks to the committee and other agents  for all of your time and effort to get this applications completed and submitted on time.  All of our applications were of very high quality.   Thanks Again!

Person Nominated
Status of application
County Extension Agent
Brent Batchelor
submitted 9/18 by C. Bowen
Kayla Kaspar
submitted 9/24 by K. Matheney
Jason Cleere
submitted 9/24 by K. Matheney
Multi-County Beef Quality Team - Philip, Larry, Kara, Scott, Dr. Hide
submitted 9/24 by K. Matheney
Western Rice Beef Production Conf.
submitted by B. Batchelor
Food Preservation in the 21st Century
submitted by M. Allen
Sally G., Michelle Allen, Phillip S., Scott Willey, Dr. Jenna Anding
Ardrian Arrendondo's San Patricio County Extra Special Livestock Show
Submitted by Adrian Arrendondo
Distinguished Career
Jeff Stapper
Submitted by M. Bochat
Vice Chancellor's Award
Phillip Shackelford
Submitted by C. Bowen on 10/4

Texas AgExchange Farm and Ranch Show
Corpus Christi Texas

I had a chance to attend an afternoon of the farm show this week , there was a big turn out from the south Texas and Coastal Bend agricultural community as moisture has once again renewed producers optimism for their fields, range and pasture.  It was good to see some old friends and visit with producers once again.

A big turn out for educational programs, conducted by the Nueces County/San Patrico County office was held on both days,  Monty Dozier, Bobby McCool and the Nueces County staff need to be commended for an outstanding program. Helen Orsak in particular provided great leadership in facilitating the meetings prior to Jason Ott getting to the office.  I want to also thank Joe Paschal and Megan Clayton for providing very informative programs.

Dr. Doug Steel, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Director attended the program and  show on Wednesday. It was great to see our director come out to one of our programs in District 11, we really appreciate his support.

Program Planning Conferences
We start Monday morning -through Thursday  on this years PPC's I will be sending out lync meetings the day before each conference, again please be ready and plan to for the entire day till you are excused by the RPD's and myself.   Have a good weekend, DM

Friday, September 27, 2013

District 11 Extension News:
I know I have not posted in a very long time, but yes the blog is not dead!!! I wanted to provide you some reminders to some recent administrative communication, if you have any questions give me a call.

Honoring 40 Years of Service

Below and attached is an invitation to Dr. Parker's Retirement Celebration being sent out by the our office.  Hopefully most of you will be able to attend, as Dr. Parker touched many County Agents lives in working with Texas Agriculture.  Please share this information with Ag Producers in your counties that you think would be interested.  I know some agents have included the invitation in their county Ag newsletters, and some were going to do an email blast to producers.  Also, please share this information with retired agents living in your counties, who would be interested in attending. 

Let’s all try to make Roy’s Celebration something very special! This retirement celebration is not only a celebration for Dr.Parker it is a celebration of 40 years of Extension Programing in Texas. Dr. Parker's driving work ethic translated into many of the agents that worked with him and the demonstration cooperators and producers that learned from his wealth of knowledge. His efforts clearly made a difference in the lives of so many Ag producers making them more productive by his persistence to be the best Extension Entomologist in the Nation.  We have just been fortunate to call him our own.

  Program Planning Conferences
As planned at our recent district workshop, attached is the schedule and agenda for the program planning conferences for the week of Oct 7th thru Oct 10th. The conferences will be conducted using the lync program. You will soon be getting an invitation to a lync meeting on your outlook calendar.  I would suggest that you test your lync program for working  order, prior to the morning of the conference.  It is acceptable to join another coworker at their computer for the group and county sessions.  However you will be required to lync with the RPD’s and possibly myself for the individuals sessions.  Austin County please send me some possible dates in order to schedule your conference.

I want to remind you that this is one of the most important tasks that you must complete as a county Extension agent.  Identifying the issues of your clientele and addressing their needs with your plans is what should drive you in Making a Difference in 2014.

Please plan on the entire day for the conference, however I believe that most of you will be done early afternoon.  Please be prepared by entering you 2014 plans into Texas by Oct 1st.  If your first draft of plans are not in the system by your designated PPC you will have to come to Rosenberg for the regional face to face program planning conference, November 1st.  

I also want to remind you , new this year you are required to send me your updated curriculum vita, as it is also important that you work on your dossier each year.

I look forward to our conferences, and reviewing you plans of work,  please call if you have any questions.

The Texas 4-H & Youth Development Program is pleased to announce the capability for volunteers to report their activities and accomplishments. As you well know, the 4-H Program relies heavily on volunteers to reach more youth, lead educational programs, coordinate activities, and manage clubs and groups. We know that volunteers are doing great things in the 4-H Program! In order to assess the impact they are making, we have developed two online reporting options for volunteers to report their activities and accomplishments.
4-H Club Manager Reporting: This reporting system is for 4-H club managers and is accessible on 4-H CONNECT. Club Managers will need access to their 4-H clubs in order to report club meeting numbers and activities. The information inputted by volunteers is accessible at any time by County Extension Agents.
4-H Volunteer Reporting: This online reporting system is available for any type of volunteer to report an activity. Volunteers can use it to report club meetings, project activities, workshops, project visits, and community service activities, just to name a few. Club managers are welcome to report using this online system; however, they should not report to both systems. Information reported to this site will be sent by the 5th of each month to County Extension Agents.
More information about these two reporting options can be found on the Volunteer Resources web page at: well as the one-pager attached. How-to videos are also available on the site to walk you and volunteers through the reporting systems.
Several online trainings, using the TTVN Web Meeting Program, will also be hosted this Fall to showcase the two volunteer reporting options. The trainings are scheduled for the following dates and times.
Friday, October 4th at 10:00 am - Event ID: HPL435605; Link:
Tuesday, October 22nd at 2:00 pm - Event ID: LLL482406; Link:
Monday, November 4th at 10:00 am - Event ID: HRP524963; Link:
Please feel free to contact Courtney Dodd or Toby Lepley with any questions about these two volunteer reporting systems.
Personnel News:
I want to announce that  Mr. Jason Ott, has accepted the ANR position in Nueces County. Jason will transfer to Nueces County from Medina County in District 10 effective October 1st. We are fortunate to have Jason join the staff in Nueces County and the our D11 team. He comes highly recommended as an agent with great knowledge of production agriculture and will prove to be a great asset to the Nueces County agricultural community. Please join me in welcoming Jason to the Coastal Bend.
October 6-12 is National 4-H Week, which culminates with “one day 4-H” — a day of community service set for Oct. 12.   I know you all have many activities planned for this important week , pleas let us know how the District office can help support your efforts.