Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to wish our District 11 Extension family a Happy Thanksgiving. Everybody looks forward to the thanksgiving feast. The turkey, the pies, and the celebration. However, thanksgiving is incomplete without a moment of reflection. Spare a moment, and say a prayer of gratitude for life's little blessings. For, it is these little blessings that enrich our life.

I hope you can send some quality time with your family this Thanksgiving. If you will be traveling be careful on those busy highways.

Leadership Extension , Application Deadline Due December 1st.
Texas AgriLife Extension Service and San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo have teamed up to sponsor the San Antonio Livestock Exposition-Leadership Extension Program (SALE-LE). This model program allows for a two year, four session (some 90 hours of actual training) comprehensive leadership development program for 32 Extension faculty. Since 1991, the program has utilized some of the most noted experts in leadership development and management techniques as resource people to transform 193 Extension leaders into a group ready and able to assume new leadership roles at the local, state, and national levels.

To apply go to for an application and more information on application process.

AgriLife IT-FirstCall is a centralized help desk service made available to employees of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Research and the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.

Through this customer portal you can create support request tickets, check real-time status of open tickets, edit your personal profile, and find answers to common issues in the FAQ section. As an added bonus, you can also pull up previous tickets for additional "self-service" support. You just need to create an account to stat using fistcall.

Workman's Compensation:
If you endure an injury during your work duties, please report the injury to me as soon as possible, your injury may not be very substantial at first , however your condition may be more serious than you suspect and by then it may be to late. In order to qualify for workman's compensation benefits you must notify your supervisor within thirty days of the incident.

Major Show Entries due December 1st. Those of you all that are preparing your entries for the major stock shows, please be aware of the December 1st deadlines. It would be a good idea to review your validation information so no one gets left out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Teamwork a vital part of Agrilife Extension"

Of course it is Football season, and I enjoy going to high school and college football games. There is nothing that I enjoy more than attending my daughter's high school team sports games.

Those teams that have success are those that work together to achieve a common goal. Just as in sports, Extension works much like a team. Teamwork is a very important aspect of achieving our goal of serving the citizens of our counties in District 11. Much like football or basketball coaches try to direct their team to success, Extension has coaches in District ll , I would be the head coach, the RPD’s would be the offensive or defensive coordinators, and the specialists could be the position coaches. You could use the same concept in your counties with your office staff and as you work with volunteers. Here is a link that Jodi McManus District 11 4-H Specialist sent me, it is short but Powerful Video on Teamwork

"Extension Education - Making a Difference" Initiative Documents

The formula for greater support from elected officials is excellent Extension programming, program visibility, and effective interpretation.Key components of the Interpretation Initiative include:

  • Involvement of County Judge, County Commissioners, and Legislators in at least one “showcase” Extension activity or program. Conduct at least one formal interpretation event with the County Commissioners Court and Legislators.
  • Prepare and distribute a “Extension Education - Making a Difference” document (annual report) to the County Commissioners Court, Legislators and other key decision makers and stakeholders.
  • Form a District Marketing and Interpretation Committee to develop effective interpretation strategies.
  • Host a District County Judges and Commissioners Conference, December 15th, 2009
This week you should get a email from me concerning our interpretation initiative, I will provide you a shell for your county interpretation piece. I will also provide you with a shell for your outcome summaries. These two interpretation documents need to be sent to me at the district office by December 15th.

District 11 Personnel News:
Last Thursday was a productive day in that we have identified several finalists for the agent vacant positions in Karnes and Colorado Counties, I am in the process of requesting authorization to hire the finalists. Today I will be in Matagorda County interviewing applicants for the vacant 4-H agent position with the assistance form Luis Saldana our 4-H Southern Regional Program Director.

County Swine Validations:
As many of you work with your local market swine validation committees to validate show pigs for this years show season, be aware of our publications to make exhibitors proactive in the recent events concerning the H1N1 virus.

Biosecurity Practices for Swine Validation” and "Biosecurity Practices for Swine Shows and Exhibitions". Texas AgriLife Extension has taken a proactive approach to educating swine exhibitors and those associated with the swine project about proper biosecurity practices. These recommendations have been reviewed by veterinarians, animal scientists, and county Extension agents. These resources are meant to be shared with your county validation committee, livestock show committee members, 4-H leaders and exhibitors. These publications are available at the Extension bookstore.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Who is the Boss?

An agent seeks direction form the local county commissioners court, local committees, 4-H leaders, and not to mention Extension administration.

However, the main boss of an agent is the local public. The taxpayer and local stakeholder is ultimately the supervisor of the Extension agent. The local county leadership advisory boards, program area committees, and youth boards provides the direction.

We all must understand that we must be accountable to our local customer and be assessable to their needs. We need to have our Extension office assessable to our clientele from 8 am to 12 noon and from 1 pm to 5 pm. Our county offices must open at 8 am every working day. We must re-open at 1 pm after our lunch breaks, and close at 5 pm. Our support staff must me diligent in keeping this schedule to consistently provide our accessability to our clientele. The Extension agent is often out of the office and we must have our offices open for business. County support staff must know where the agent is and what he or she is doing in support of county programing. Even though an agent is out of the office much of the time he or she must make time for office work and be assessable to our local stakeholders.

South Region 4-H Professionals:

I hope each of you have had the opportunity to reflect on your participation in the various sessions provided through South Region 4-H University. Please take a few minutes to respond to this brief evaluation. Your responses will help us frame future professional development opportunities for CEAs in the region. The evaluation focuses on the sessions as well as the facilities. There is also a section to give you the opportunity to express any specific thoughts you may have about the conference.

Collective responses will be shared with presenters and 4-H faculty to assist in reviewing the effectiveness of sessions offered and format.

Please respond by November 13th by clicking here...

for more information contact Mr. Luis Saldana.

TCAAA Professional Improvement Retreat held in Fayette County.

I would like to express my appreciation to Phillip Shackelford, Scott Willey , Larry Pierce and Kelvin Neal for being excellent hosts of our very successful TCAAA Ag retreat last week, in Fayette County at the Winedale Historical Center.

We had an excellent program the first day on S.A.R.E programing efforts by John Smith, Viticulture in Texas by Fritz Westover, and Mr. Jim Reaves provided information on the 4-H Foundation. That afternoon we went on a tour of the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham. After a sporting clay tournament at the Day Ranch, an excellent meal was prepared by our host agents. On our second day Dr. Juan Landivar, Research Resident Director from Corpus Christi provided a program on how Extension and Research can work better together. Anthony Netardus, Brent Bachelor, Joe Janak, Scott Willey, and Peter McGuill provided informative professional presentations on result demonstration work.

Again, I would like to thank our TCAAA leadership Phillip Shackelford and Brian Yanta for their outstanding planning of the event.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Volunteer Trends and Statistics

A new document entitled, "2009 Volunteering in America Research Report" is available on this website ,, and provides the key findings of research conducted regarding trends and demographics in volunteering. Some of the key findings include the following;

  • In 2008, 61.8 million Americans (26.4% of the adult population) contributed 8 billion hours of volunteer service. This service is worth $162 billion (using the independent Sector's value of a volunteer's time at $20.25 per hour).
  • More young adults, age 16-24, volunteered in 2008 than 2007, with more than 8.2 million giving their time in service.
  • Neighborhood engagement levels have risen sharply since 2007, with a 31% increase in the number of people who worked with their neighbors to fix a problem in their community.

If you have not checked out the Volunteering in America website (, you may want to take a look! Provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the site is a great resource for information on volunteering and civic engagement. Through this website, agents will be able to access information on volunteer trends, tools, resources and information for the nation, U.S. regions, and major cities.

District 11 TCAAA Professional Improvement Retreat

November 3rd-4th, Winedale, Tx

This week TCAAA members will participate in there annual retreat, a excellent program has been developed by Phillip Schackelford and agents in the northern counties of our district. Agents will participate in professional presentations on subject matter involving their result demonstration work and other aspects of their programing. Dr. Juan Landivar,AgriLife Research Resident Director, will also provide a program on his vision of Texas AgriLife Research in the Coastal Bend Area of Texas and how Extension and Reserch and better work together.

County Judges and Commissioners Conference - December 15th, 2009-Edna, Tx

Thanks to our Marketing and Interpretation committee an excellent program has been planned for next month. We will be working on getting invitations out to your county court members. I would appreciate a special effort in letting your elected officials know about the conference. Items to be discussed will be legislative updates, pesticide regulations, H1N1 awareness, and outcome program updates by the RPD's. We need three displays dealing with each of our three disciplines. If you have a unique program success that we could use, please let Kathy Farrow or Amy Freeman know.

District 11 Personnel News

Interviews have been set for positions in Karnes, Colorado, and Matagorda, in the month of November, We hope to identify a candidate by the end of the month for all three positions. New open positions for agents in Calhoun and San Patricio Counties will be announced soon.

We would like to congratulate Shamain St.Julien she has been selected to travel to Washington D.C. with our Texas 4-H delegation to the National 4-H Congress on November 28- December 1st. We know she will represent us well.

Chance Crossland has recently completed his Extension Foundation training in College Station. Extension Foundations is our new onboarding training for new county Extension agents. Formally (NEO) New Employee Orientation.

I would also like to congratulate the Victoria County staff for continuing to provide leadership to the Victoria Farm and Ranch Show. The show is an excellent opportunity for local farmers, ranchers, and young people in the Victoria area and surrounding counties to gain information about agriculture and much more. Also thank you to those other area agents that support the educational effort. This was the 25th anniversary year of the show. The show continues to grow each year due to local county committee involvement, volunteer leadership and the excellent support of our Extension staff

Agent Reports Due by the 5th working day of the month, Friday November 6th, 2009.