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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas District 11

I would like to wish our District 11 Extension Team a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. As I read your making a difference reports and your outcome summaries, I am amazed at the great programs that you are providing your clientele each year. We certainly have the best district in the state but only because we continue to have the best agents in the state. As we prepare for a new year just around the corner, I encourage you to take some time to enjoy your family and all of what the holiday season is meant to be. If you are going to try to start shopping like me this week, be careful on the roads and as you travel to see family and friends. This has certainly been an eventful year for Extension, as I look back upon this year I am thankful to have the staff of great agents, support staff and volunteers in District 11.  I am sure you can also reflect on your year not only professionally but personally. Get some well deserved rest and come back ready to continue to Make a Difference in your counties in 2011.
The District office will be closed during the holiday break from Thursday, December 23 through January 1st; we will resume regular business hours on January 3rd, 2011. I know that many of your county offices will be open for some time during these days. If for some reason your office must be closed during the non-county holiday times, make sure that your clientele can reach you or a designated person if they need to. I will be available on my cell phone (361)543-7595.

District 11 County Judges and Commissioners Conference

We had a excellent conference on December 14th, in Edna. 4 county judges and 23 county commissioners attended the conference.  8 District 11 counties were represented at the conference. Four attendees were newly elected officials. Judon Fambrough with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University provided a program on wind energy opportunities in the Coastal Bend,  Dr. Rebecca Dundensing, provided a program on Economic Development opportunities and evaluation, and Mr. Dennis Dewitt, provided a great program on County health and community affair issues.  State Representative John Zerwas, District 28 contributed with a legislative update on the many issues affecting lawmakers in Austin this legislative session to start on January 11 2011.

The program finished with information from Jim Allison, general counsel for the judges and commissioners association of Texas.  Also in attendance was Ms. Ashely Mathews with the VG Young Institute for County Government, and Dr. Dromgoole, Associate Director for County Programs.  Dr. Dromgoole provided an update discussing our Budget reduction and possible future budget cuts.

Thanks to the JJ and Mike for being great hosts, and for the other agents that I ask to assit with the conference.

Outlook Conversion Process
District 11 counties that have been converted to Outlook email system are Karnes , San Patricio and Refugio Counties.

What does this mean? Basically means that any groups that you have created with Karnes, San Patricio and Refugio county staff will not get the e-mail if you send e-mail to the group as it exists. You need to go back and re-add the staff back to your personal groups.

In a nutshell, when the staff is moved to Outlook the e-mail address is deleted from the GroupWise address book, thus their names and e-mail address are removed from all personal groups. The new e-mail address is then added back to the GroupWise address book, but this procedure will not add the e-mail back to personal groups.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Big 4-H Weekend in District 11 !!!

District 11 Food Show-Food Challenge
Many compliments have been shared about the excellent District 11 4-H Food Show & Food Challenge contests that were held in Wharton this past Saturday.  Approximately 100 food show contestants and 17 food challenge teams competed for top honors.  Some have rated the event as "one of the best food shows ever."
Special thanks to Food Challenge Chair Dianne Gertson, Food Show Chair Sarah Womble and the rest of the event committee including Lynn Hough, Michelle Allen, Sally Garrett, Barbara Sulak, Talma Benavides, Kathy Farrow, Barbara Williams, Janis Pfeffer, and Julie Ketelsen. 
 In addition to the competition,  a very interactive educational activity was available for participants and parents.  The skill-a-thon challenged members to rotate through 9 classes and identify kitchen utensils, demonstrate measuring skills, assess nutritional values of food items, and many other tasks.  Additionally, a community service activity, the Great American Bake Sale, was conducted to raise money to feed hungry children. This community service activity was spearheaded by 2 4-H families but many other families donated baked goods to support the effort. 

I am extremely please with the focus and direction that our traditional district events are taking. As I reflect  back to our discussion at our 2010 4-H Scheduling conference last May in La Grange. Our agents are certainly getting back to the basics and the success of the District Food Show and Food Challenge are examples of you commitment to detail.

Thank you to all the agents and volunteers that served as judges, monitors,  or timekeepers.  Your professionalism and positive attitude helped make the event a big success.
Blue Ribbon Youth!!
Educational Presentations
The inaugural Coastal Bend Classic was held this past Saturday, December 4th, 2010. 209 exhibitors from most District 11 counties and others from Kleberg, Bexar, Jim Wells, Jim Hogg, Webb, and Walker Counties, also participated.  The educational event drew an estimated 600 participants, exhibitors, leaders and parents.  The attendance clearly showed that an event of this kind that promotes educational opportunities to learn from speakers and clinicians was warranted. Also the passion to compete in the showing was also well received with the great quality of livestock presented by even better youth exhibitors. 
I want to commend the committee chairs and all the agents for organizing excellent seminars, and a great show. I am extremely proud for the way each an every one of our agents focused on the needs of our participants. Your professionalism commitment is truly appreciated. Our supporters were very pleased with the event. I already have commitments from other prospective financial supporters for next year.  I have received numerous compliments on the event and on your interaction during the event itself.

CBC future Presenters!!
Our chairman, Kyle McManus stated after the event, The one consistent point made was that their children are much better off now, after having attended the CBC, than before the event.  The only thing that was requested of us was to make the CBC an annual event....Just goes to show the saying must be true, "If you build it they will come".  On behalf of Kyle,  please pass on to each of your youth & adult volunteers that provided a helping hand that we would not have been as successful if it had not been for their efforts.  The volunteers played an extremely important role in the CBC. I am also very proud that three of our speakers and or judges were products of the District 11 4-H program. (Lyle Williams, Sarah Brister, and Dustin Biela)

Great show!!

 As we get back to the basics of doing what we do best our clientele are sure to take notice of our efforts. Again thanks District 11. DM

"You have to train like a CHAMPION to be a CHAMPION"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Conducting Effective Performance Appraisal Conferences

Performance appraisal conferences involving District Extension Administrators and agents are too often less than successful interactions because of lack of preparedness and organization.  Agents should prepare with this outline in mind.

Performance Appraisal Conference – Total County Faculty
1. General Items
* Set the stage for a positive performance appraisal.

* Review the purpose of the Performance Appraisal Conference.

* agents share highlights and accomplishments from Outcome Programs (review Outcome Summaries).

* agents share highlights and accomplishments from Other Significant Programs .

* Review how these programs are addressing county issues.
2. Program Development, Interpretation, and Outreach.
* Review membership and meetings of Leadership Advisory Board.

* Review membership and meetings of Program Area Committees, task forces, coalitions, etc.

* Review involvement of other planning groups.

* Discuss LAB sponsored educational activities, annual meeting (in counties that still have some type of annual event), and informational events.

* Review interpretation events for County Commissioners Court and Legislators.

* Review LAB newsletters and “Extension Education-Making a Difference 2009″ document.
3. 4-H and Youth Development Program
* Review 4-H enrollment for past three years and discuss expansion efforts.

* Review involvement for 4-H volunteers and mentors.

* Review County 4-H management- 4-H club manager training, 4-H Council Meetings, 4-H VLAT Meetings, and 4-H volunteer training.

* Identify goals for 4-H and youth development program and enrollment.
4. Staff Management
* Discuss and review Office Conference agendas and minutes.

* Review support staff supervision and performance appraisal.

* Discuss County budgeting process and additional resource acquisition.

* Review support group annual financial review forms and discuss financial Best Management Practices.
Performance Appraisal Conference- Individual Conference
Comprehensive Review
Discuss and review Agent’s Performance Summary, review DEA's summary with the agent and establish clear goals for progress for each domain.
1. Educational Effectiveness and Quality- Outcome Programs
* The Relevance, Response, and Results of Outcome Program

* The target audience and outreach to new audiences.

* Committee involvement.

* Marketing efforts.

* Partners and collaborations.

* Quality and quantity of educational activities.

* Evaluation strategy and results.

* Interpretation efforts.
2. Educational Effectiveness and Quality- Output Programs
* How programs addresses key programmatic areas.

* The target audience and outreach to new audiences.

* Committee involvement.

* Marketing efforts.

* Partners and collaborations.

* Quality and quantity of educational activities.

* Evaluation strategy and results.

* Interpretation efforts.
3. Program and Organizational Support
* County Budget management.

* Grants, sponsorship, donations, in-kind support, etc.

* Training efforts related to financial Best Management Practices for support groups.

* Utilization of volunteers.

* Involvement of other agents, specialists, elected officials, etc.

* Management for support staff.
4. Cooperation and Coordination
* External partnerships and collaborations.

* Multi-county and interdisciplinary programming.

* interpersonal skills and teamwork.

* Cooperation with co-workers, other agents, and volunteers.

* Office conferences

* New audiences reached.

* New partnerships formed.

* Use of Extension organizations.
5. Personal Development of Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviors
* Participation in professional development activities.

* Graduate study.

* Professional organization involvement.

* Professionalism exhibited.

* Scholarly contributions (publications, fact sheets, websites, exhibits, etc).

* Dossier updates.

* Awards and recognition.

* Involvement of community organizations and activities. More information on your PAS confrences soon. DM

Congratulations, Karnes City High School, has been featured in a recent issue of the Healthy Schools Program Success Stories Newsletter! The story can be found online at http://www.healthiergeneration.org/schoolstories.
High School Students Benefit from Walking Program
KARNES CITY HIGH SCHOOL | KARNES CITY, TEXAS
Karnes City High School participated in a partnership formed with Texas AgriLife Extension- Karnes County through a physical activ-ity curriculum called Walk Across Texas. All high school students and staff members received a free pedometer and were asked to track the number of steps they took over eight weeks.
Meredith Carter with AgriLife Extension reports that everyone was excit-ed about the opportunity to increase physical activity levels and teach-ers noticed an increase in attention span in their students after the walks. Great Job Meredith!!!

Think Pink Event
On October 28th 42 women converged to participate in the “Think Pink Event” at the Methodist Activity Center in Bellville, Texas.  The event was the result of the Friend to Friend program which was adapted by Texas AgriLife Extension Service to assist with increasing the number of women meeting the American Cancer Society screening standards.  The event was co-sponsored by Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the Department of State Health Services, Bellville General Hospital and The Rose.  In addition to sponsorships, the event received donations from a host of community supporters.  At the end of the “Think Pink Event”, 33 women received a clinical exam from the Nurse Practitioner and a referral to get a free mammogram.  On October 29th and November 2nd , 33 women received mammograms from The Rose.  The results clearly indicate the impact of the event.    The “Friend to Friend” program will not only make a difference butt will ultimately save lives. 
Great Job Michelle !!!!

Advanced Degrees
Larry Pierce and Adrian Arrendondo, will be walking the stage this December as these District 11 agents have accomplished the reguirements in order to recive their Masters Degree. Larry Pierce will graduate from TAMU and Adrian Arredondo will graduate from TAMUK. I wanted to recoganize these two agents, it is not an easy task in finsinhing up your masters degree and being very productive agents in their respected counties. Great Job!!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Conducting Effective Performance Appraisals- Pre – Appraisal Process

An agent’s performance has a significant impact on The Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service capacity to fulfill its mission. However, the effectiveness of the performance appraisal conference is directly correlated to the preparation prior to the conference itself.   If the Pre-Appraisal process is to be effective the Extension agent must …
  • Finalize monthly reports on the TeXas System.
  • Finalize all County Commissioner’s Court reports.
  • Submit annual outcome summaries
  • Review support materials provided to DEA in monthly reports.
  • Review interpretation materials that communicate programmatic outcomes.
  • Review County Media Efforts, such as program area newsletters, radio programs, news releases
  • Complete our Making a Difference Documents- out come and/or out put summaries
  • Review 4-H enrollment goals
  • Review your inter disciplinary programs
  • Review your Showcase Events(including participation of Elected officials)
  • Review Multi-County Programs, Result Demonstrations and tours.
  • Review Leadership Advisory Board and Youth Board Events.
Your Performance Appraisals have been set, however, due to an oversight on my part, I will have to change some earlier conferences in December. Those of you prior to the 15th  may get a call to reschedule.  I will also send you an email this week in preparation for your PAS as to know what to prepare for.  I truly appreciate all of you hard work, on my behalf it is great to get see all the excellent programs you provide to your clientele during the year. I am very fortunate to work with the best agents in the State.

District 11 4-H Events and Activities

I had a great report from Jodi on District 11 Crossroads, a big thanks to those of you that assisted with the planning and implementation of the event. We now move on over to the District 11 Food Show and The Coastal Bend Classic both on December 4th, Looks like we are getting good participation for both events.

Our focus needs to continue to be provide our 4-H members and leaders with the best quality experience possible. If we can remember to keep our focus among our many tasks associated at the end of the year these two events will be greatly successful.

Major Show Entries due December 1st. Those of you 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. I know this is a process that can bring on much stress right before the holiday, however, please make sure you double check your entries and validations keep good documentation as every year problems always shows up. Cover your tracks!!!!!

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, football,shopping or even sitting in a deer blind.

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. Here is a quote, that I was forwarded on Twitter, that I wanted to share.

If you learn to appreciate more of what you already have, you'll find yourself having more to appreciate. -Michael Angier
I hope you can send some quality time with your family and friends this Thanksgiving. If you will be traveling be careful on those busy highways. DM

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Involving Elected Officials in Extension Programs

One of the most effective interpretation strategies that can be implemented at the county level is to involve the elected official in “show case” educational events. The involvement in these
events enables the elected official to witness first hand the effectiveness of the county educational programs, demonstrates Texas AgriLife Extension’s partnership with funding partners,
and provides the elected official with a positive platform to interact with constituents. The involvement of elected officials in"show case" educational events is also a component of the

Texas AgriLife Extension Service County Programs Interpretation
Initiative.The following are just a few ideas that can be utilized to get elected officials involved in county programs:
  • Serving as Honorary Chair of diabetes educational task force or committees that sponsor the Extension Do-Well- Be-Well program.
  • Provide a welcome at Extension events such as Farm and Ranch Show, Field Days, Health Fairs, Walk Across Texas Kick off event or Recognition Event, 4-H and Youth educational activity, Cow/Calf Clinic, County Dairy Day, etc.
  • Serve as Honorary Chair of educational task force or committees that sponsor major educational events.
  • Serve as master of ceremony for the media event that kicks off 4-H One Day community service event.
  • Serve as Team Captain or Honorary Team Captain for a Walk Across Texas Team made up of elected officials or elected official’s employees.
  •  Serve as master of ceremony for a 4-H achievement event.
It is important to remember, Extension has an unusually wide range of stakeholders-legislators,
county commissioners court members, supporters, clientele audiences, and agency partners who
are interested in knowing the quality and effectiveness of our programs (Braverman & Engle,
2009). County Extension Agents should have an interpretation plan that includes the involvement of elected officials in educational events and other appropriate interpretation methods.
Commissioner Court Interpretations
Commissioner Court or Elected Officials Luncheons are commonly used venues for Program
Interpretation. While this interpretation method has been utilized for many years and can be classified as a very “traditional “method, it continues to be effective in communicating programmatic outcomes. This method has continued to be effective because it incorporates a social element with carefully designed interpretation messages.

An example of a Commissioners Court Luncheon/Breakfast  format that can be utilized for program interpretation is listed below.
Texas AgriLife Extension Service –_____________ County
2010 Program Review
  • Welcome and Introductions- County Coordinator
  • Remarks from District Extension Administrator- Donnie Montemayor
  • Joint Programming – Example: Water Quality & Conservation, Community Development, etc...
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources – Ag Agent
  • 4‐H & Youth Development – 4-H agent or coodinator
    •  Curriculum Enrichment Programs – 4-H Agent or coordinator
  • Family and Consumer Sciences – FCS Agent
    • Diabetes Education -Example 
    • County Extension Education Association – EEA Rep.
    • Better Living for Texans – BLT Assistant or FCS Agent
This format can be extremely effective because it provides a venue to enhance relationships
with elected officials in a social setting, the interpretation message is targeted, outcomes
of programmatic efforts are clearly communicated and volunteers or program beneficiaries can also be utilized. I would like for you make me aware of your end of the year interpretation events, I know you put them in your monthly activity report however a reminder would be great. I would like to be included in your interpretation events if my schedule permits. DM

O’Connell’s dedication to community cited in
Distinguished Achievement Award

John O’Connell’s commitment to leadership and community development has earned him recognition from the Texas Extension Specialists Association. O’Connell, the Texas Sea Grant College Program’s marine agent for Matagorda County, received a County Extension Agent Award for Distinguished Achievement for work ranging from resurrecting a county leadership training program to leading the National Sea Grant
Educators’ strategic plan development efforts. Angela McCorkle, Extension Program Specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s Family Development and Resource Management Unit, presented the award to O’Connell during Texas Sea Grant Extension training in early October. “I was honored to be recognized for my work,” said O’Connell, “especially considering these are non-typical programs for a coastal and marine resource agent.” Matagorda County’s leadership training workshop had been discontinued for two years— the victim of high production costs — when O’Connell revived the program in 2009. He recognized that “leadership training for local elected, business and volunteer leaders is crucial to strong communities,” according to his nomination packet, which was submitted by the Ag Economics Chapter of Texas Extension Specialists Association.O’Connell formed an alliance between Texas AgriLife Extension and the Bay City Chamber of Commerce to make the workshop possible. He led work to revise promotional materials and develop the training agenda, which utilized a curriculum already developed by Texas AgriLife Extension. O’Connell also taught many of the courses and recruited teachers for other courses. Through O’Connell’s efforts, the cost to participants was cut in half. O’Connell calls the award “significant because it recognizes that Texas Sea Grant Extension’s efforts go beyond fisheries and purely coastal issues. The work at the heart of this award benefits an entire community.” O’Connell’s award also recognized his commitment to improving customer service offered by area businesses. He formed an advisory committee that reviewed customer service practices and then made training recommendations to area business owners and their employees. In addition to his leadership role with the National Sea Grant Educators Network, O’Connell is Chairman Elect of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Education and Outreach Council.

FCS Informaton Professional Development from Elaine's Desk
Family Food & Fitness webinars
“Healthy Holiday” Chat.....Thursday, November 18 from 2:00 - 3:00

For more information, visit the Families, Food & Fitness CoP
Contact Ashley Fondren at anp44@fsnhp.msstate.edu
“Food Friends” webinar....Wednesday, February 23 from 10:00 - 11:00
For more information, visit the Families, Food & Fitness CoP
Contact Ashley Fondren at anp44@fsnhp.msstate.edu
America On the Move” webinar......Thursday, January 20 from 10:00 - 11:00
For more information, visit the Families, Food & Fitness CoP or contact Ashley Fondren at anp44@fsnhp.msstate.edu

District 11 Election Results
Now that our elections are over I know we will have many changes in our district. We will certainly need to welcome our new Judges and County commissioners when they take office after the start of the new year.
If you have not already , please update me with an simple email informing me of the status of your county commissioners court.  I need name, address, phone number, party affiliation, and recent occupation. It is especially important to identify newly elected county officials. I am aware that the newly elected officials do not have their office set up until the start of the new year, and we can get more information later. At this time I want to make sure that I am aware of all new changes in the District. Agents please assist your county coordinator in compiling the information we need. Thank you to those of you that have already provided your information. Give me a call if you have any questions. Thanks, DM

Monday, November 8, 2010

“Making a Difference 2010” Document

As the age of accountability continues to expand, it is imperative that we tell our story in an accurate, valid, and reliable manner.  Therefore, it is critically important to develop a County  “Extension Education - Making a Difference” document which summarizes our successes with Outcome and Other Significant (Output) Programs.
Last Friday I sent the D11 agents an email with  templates for the “Extension Education - Making a Difference” document 2010 .  Please use the materials to compile the Making a Difference document for your county. Also here is a link to the documents. http://agrilife.org/communications/resources/extension/documents/
Each agents should develop their Outcome and Other Significant Summaries which will then be used to complete this document for your county. This document will serve as an Annual Report for Extension in your county and should be distributed to County Commissions Court members, legislators, and key stakeholders.
County Coordinators you are requested to provide leadership in assembling this document to reflect the successes of Extension Programs in your county. Submit your county’s “Extension Education - Making a Difference” 2010 to me, as an electronic file (WP, PDF, MSWord) attached to an e-mail message please cc Barbara Moretich. These documents are due by December 15, 2010.
If you have questions, please let me know. DM 

The formula for greater support from your 
County Commissioners Court
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 each year.
  • 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.Some counties programs to interpret annul report at their annual Leadership Advisory Board meeting.
  • Invite your County Judge and commissioners to our District 11 County Conference in Edna on December 14th, 2010.
District 11 County Judges and Commissioners Conference  December 14th, Edna Texas
I have sent an invitation to your county judge and commissioners for our upcoming Judges and Commissioners Conference on December 14th, in Edna, I expect for  our county coordinators to arrange for personal contacts with each county commissioner and or judge prior to the conference. The county coordinator may ask staff members to make appropriate contacts. If making a face to face contact please have a copy of the letter ,agenda and registration form available.  Kathy Farrow has contacted several of you to assist with exhibits and posters, I would appreciate your prompt assistance in helping her gather the necessary materials. I will soon be making assignments of agents to assist with the conference, depending on the our registration confirmations.

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.

Performance Reviews 2010
Barbara Moretich sent agents dates of when I am available to conduct your upcoming 2010 performance reviews starting next month, January and in February. For those that have not scheduled a date please do this ASAP. I will be sending an email shortly on what I will be needing for your PAS conferences. I will also be sending out information on Civil Rights Reviews, to those counties that we will having a review this year. I will be expecting for your to complete all materials prior to our conference. Please coordinate with organizational development and any others to have your evaluation materials back to you so that all end of the year out come or out put program summaries can be completed. More to come soon!!!

District 11 Ag Agents Professional Development Retreat
Ag agents that attended last weeks event in Cuero and Shiner, participated in an excellent learning opportunity provided by our leadership of TCAAA. Much like TCAAA state meetings, our district leadership coordinated great opportunities for professional development with programs from specialists, researchers, and great tours of industry in Dewitt and Lavaca Counties.  Agents that presented programs on county programing and result demonstrations did a great job. I plan on using this model to incorporate such a format with the the TEAFCS August retreat for our FCS agents.


I especially appreciate Brent Bachelor's presentation on the Purple Cow. Brent provided an approach to dealing with our challenging times of our state budget issues. Brent discussed transforming our programs as being remarkable and standing out from the herd. I would suggest if you can fit some reading time in get a  copy of the book, Purple Cow  by Seth Godin. Brent suggested that programs such as the Western Rice Belt Production Conference and the Food Challenge are Purple Cows. As we interpret to our stakeholders prior to or legislative session we must continue to make reference to our Purple Cows. I would challenge you to think of your purple cow in your county and use them to interpret to your stakeholders.


Thanks goes out to Phillip Shachelford, Brian Yanta, D11 TCAAA directors, and  Shannon Deforest and Anthony Netardus our conference  hosts. Look forward to 2011 in Matagorda/ Wharton Counties and 2012 in Karnes County.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Email Conversion Comming Soon

AgriLife as whole will soon transition to a new email system. Groupwise has served us well over the years but we have the opportunity to consolidate and modernize our ability to communicate and collaborate with others. This change will enhance your capability to communicate and the overall Extension mission.
We are changing to a Microsoft Exchange mail system. You will use Microsoft Outlook or the Outlook Web App on your web browser to access your email, address books and calendars.
Many of you already have Outlook on your computers, it comes with Microsoft Office.  If you do not we will provide a copy of Outlook for your primary daily use computer.  On other computers you will use the Outlook Web App to get your email.  The Outlook Web App (called “OWA”) allows you to use only a web browser and is full featured enough that many people use it exclusively.
 IT will take a carefully planned stepwise approach on making the email migration. The steps will be
1.      A general cleanup of the GroupWise mail system and collection of information
2.      Converting existing online GroupWise mail boxes to caching mode
3.      Scheduling a day to migrate everyone in the office
4.      On the scheduled day a AIT Specialist will help you migrate your mailbox
The total migration for AgriLife Extension will cover several months. During this time there will no doubt be some glitches in communications as some will be on GroupWise and some will be on Exchange.
AgriLife IT will attempt to convert by Districts as much as possible. This will minimize the time distribution lists and groups that commonly communicate are on different systems. IT is working on a schedule, but the goal is to focus conversions by District and tie the county office conversions as closely as possible to the District Center conversion.  There will be two to three weeks notice before a District conversion. This strategy will minimize the time counties and District staffs are on separate systems. 
A team of  our regional IT Specialists will help with Districts, so you may be working with a different Specialist at times. In addition the First Call help desk staff will be trained and able to help.
I attached instructions on my email sent out today on  how to clean up your Groupwise mail box. Agents please follow through with the steps and send the information needed back to IT, keep a copy for your files. DM 
2010 Ag Retreat-Cuero-Shiner
I am looking forward to next weeks Ag Retreat in the Cuero-Shiner area. I know that Anthony and Shannon will be great hosts. Thanks to Phillip and Brian for putting together a excellent program on Tuesday November  2nd, along with a tour in the Shiner area.  We will here programs from Monty Dozier, Megan Dominguez and AgriLife Research Entomologist Micheal Brewer we will also have time to here from other specialists from our district.  On our second day I look forward to presentations from some of our Ag agents, Brent Batchelor, Brian Yanta, Kyle McManus(Tue) JD Folbre, Phillip Shackelford, and Jeff Stapper, we will also have some late additions to the program.  These presentations will provide useful information on Result Demonstration reports, professional development tours, New 4-H project ideas, and alternative crops, etc.  I also hope that most of the agents and specialists can take some time to take part in the fellowship opportunities on Tuesday evening after our tours.  See you there, DM 
4-H Virtual Summit
This year's 4-H Summit will be a virtual summit using Centra Technology.   You can enroll in any of the 34 sessions you wish to attend.  The Course Catalog for the Virtual 4-H Summit can be downloaded using the link below:


To enroll in one of the sessions, please follow the directions below:
1.  https://first-call.tamu.edu/centra.php - and click on Centra Login
2.  Once there, login
3.  Click on "Enrollment"
4.  Then click on the folder "4-H and YD Webinars"
5.  When you get there, click on the "4-H Summit" folder (right under 4-H and YD Webinars)
6.  Enroll from there!  Please note there are two pages.  

Also, the one event entitled, "Coaching - Take a Stand Program Oriented" will include a presentation from Brooks Gibbs author of "Love > Hate."  Also, please note that is only a one hour program.  

Note: It is an expectation that D11 4-H agents and 4-H coordinators register and attend at least two sessions on each day.  Most Ag agents will be attending  next weeks Ag retreat in Cuero, on Tuesday and Wednesday, if you are a 4-H coordinator please plan on attending 4-H summit sessions on Monday and Friday. 

All 4-H agents and or 4-H coordinators  please let me know what sessions you will be attending, 
Tuesday, November 2nd is election day 
Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.
Franklin D. Roosevelt 
I wanted to remind everyone that Tuesday, November 2nd is election day. Please exercise your right to vote. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Building Effective Relationship with Newly Elected Officials

This fall together we will be developing comprehensive interpretation strategies to ensure that there is a county strategy to implement the County Program's interpretation initiative. This comprehensive initiative includes four basic components in District 11 which collectively make up the County Program Extension Interpretation Initiative as follows;
¨  District County Judges and Commissioners Court Conferences.
¨  Extension Making a Difference Newsletter
¨  Formal Interpretation Events
¨  Involvement of Elected Officials in "Showcase Events"

One of the prerequisites to effectively implementing any of these components is establishing effective working relationships with the elected official on the part of the agents and DEA.  With upcoming elections at the county level which could potentially result in the election of two new County Commissioners and a new County Judge. The following suggestions to establish relationships with newly elected officials that should be considered by District Extension Administrators, and agents.

Suggestions for Building Effective Relationships

District Extension Administrator and/or Agent could send a congratulatory letter to the new elected officials. This letter could provide an overview of Texas AgriLife Extension Service, and briefly outline their specific responsibilities related to working with Commissioners Court.

Provide personal visit to newly elected officials to provide overview of Texas AgriLife Extension Service, and briefly outline the District Extension Administrator responsibilities related to working with Commissioners Court

Conduct formal meeting shortly after introductory meetings and letter is sent with County Extension Agent(s) to provide briefing of Extension programs in that county that are specifically of interest to newly elected official and specifically outlines measurable outcomes . For example, if the newly elected has a high percentage of individuals in their precinct who are undeserved and at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and hypertension, focus of the conversation may be on the recent results and public value of Extension's Do-Well-Be-Well with Diabetes or Walk Across Texas programs.

County Extension Directors or agents in larger populated counties may provide information to newly elected officials that is specific to their precinct--such as Extension in Precinct #3.

Conduct a reception for newly elected officials prior to District Judges and Commissioners Conference, December 14th, Edna, Texas, for the purpose of enhancing the newly elected official's knowledge and understanding of Extension's relationship.

Showcase Extension Programs through educational exhibits on display at District County Commissioners Conference. Commissioner Court members like to see programs from their counties highlighted through these exhibits.

Conduct newly elected officials reception or Extension Open House for the purpose of enhancing the newly elected official's knowledge and understanding of Extension's relationship.

Program Planning Conferences

We had three very productive days last week as we completed our 2011 plans.  I want to commend each and every one of you for your outstanding commitment to submitting your plans on a timely basis. We are still finalizing a few plans for individuals that were having county fairs. Compared to last year, plans have come in quickly and with minor changes. Dr. Dozier and Dr. Fries along with Ms. McManus have provided great leadership in helping the agents submit quality plans. DM

4-H News From Jodi's Desk :

District Judging Contests: Quick Update and Reminders…..
Dairy Judging Contest will be held in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Dairy Judging Contest.  We will use team/individual scores from the Houston Contest to determine our district placings.  Please make sure to get teams registered by the December 1, 2010 deadline via the HLSR online registration.  Additionally, please email Jodi with the number of teams entered after December 1.

NO DISTRICT WOOL & MOHAIR JUDGING CONTEST OFFERED IN COLLEGE STATION
Wool Judging Contest will be held in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Wool Judging Contest.  We will use team/individual scores from Houston to determine district placings.   Teams must be registered by the HLSR December 1 deadline.  Please email Jodi with the number of teams entered after December 1.
Mohair Judging Contest: As of today, we do not have plans to conduct a district Mohair Judging Contest.  If your county has a team or is interested in a district contest, please contact Jodi ASAP.  We will find a contest in West Texas to use as our district event and send interested mohair teams.

Horse Judging: DATE CHANGE!!!  The district horse judging contest will be held on Saturday, April 9 (not April 2 as previously announced).  The contest will be held in College Station at Freeman Arena.  All senior contestants will be required to give 3 sets of oral reasons.  All intermediate contestants will be required to give 1 set of oral reasons. 

Livestock Judging: Still scheduled for April 30 in College Station.  All senior contestants will be required to give 4 sets of oral reasons; intermediates will give 2 sets of reasons.  Begin preparing your teams now!

Consumer Decision Making Contest will NOT be held in College Station with District 9 this year.  We will host the district event somewhere within the district.  The CDM committee will be meeting soon to identify a date and location.  If you are interested in hosting the event in your county, please let Jodi know!
All other district judging contests (soils, entomology, meats, plant id) will be conducted as in the past.

Monday, October 11, 2010

2010-2011 County Program Interpretation Initiative

As Extension positions itself for the future it is imperative that Texas AgriLife Extension Service implement the County Programs Interpretation Initiative that is systematic, comprehensive and focused on communicating programmatic outcomes.

The basic components of the 2010-2011 County Program Interpretation Initiative includes the
following core elements;


♦ Interpretation is a continuous process, not just an event conducted prior to a legislative
session or county budget hearing.
♦ Interpretation is systematically communicating programmatic outcomes.
♦ Interpretation is integrally linked to evaluation.
♦ Interpretation provides a venue that enables our funding partners to critically assess our
programming efforts. This assessment can be used in order to refocus and redirect programming
efforts to ensure our programs remain relevant

As your DEA I will work with our District 11 County Extension faculty to develop a District Extension Interpretation initiative that includes the following;

1. District Judges and Commissioners Conferences hosted by the District Extension Administrators. December 14th, Edna, Texas.

2. An Extension Making a Difference newsletter published annually that communicates
public value of Extension programs in county.

3. An active District Marketing and Interpretation Committee to develop effective interpretation
strategies.

4. Involvement of elected officials in at least one "showcase" Extension Program.

5. All counties will conduct at least one formal interpretation event with elected officials
annually.

One Day 4-H Great Success!!!
On October 9, 2010  Texas AgriLife Extension Service provided the leadership in conducting a very effective service project called One Day 4-H through our 4-H and Youth Development Program in a majority of the counties in the state.
With the leadership of Texas 4-H Volunteers and County Extension Agents there were more than 325 projects conducted involving more than 10,000 individuals.

County Extension Agents should make a special effort to interpret the results of their county project to elected officials and stakeholders. The following is the type information that could be utilized in a effective interpretation effort;
  • Number of Projects in the county.
  • Number of 4-H Youth Involved.
  • Number of NON-4-H Youth Involved.
  • Number of Adults Involved.
  • Total Number of People Project reached/assisted.
  • Hours Took to Complete Project.
  • Value of Time Contributed (Independent Sector Value).
  • Number of lbs of food collected.
  • Value of the food collected.
  • Number of care packets made.
  • Value of care packets made.
  • Number of miles of road/beach/park cleaned.
  • Number of lbs of Trash collected or materials recycled.
  • Number of people reached by Educational Projects.
  • Money raised for other organizations.
  • Number of new 4-H members recruited because of One Day 4-H.
Registration for the 
2010 Texas Plant Protection Conference is now open
22nd Annual Conference
Brazos Center in Bryan, TX
December 6-7, 2010
Here are some highlights from this year's conference:
The General Session begin at 10:00 am, Monday December 6. This is Farmer Day and the sessions will include:
Climate Changes and its Impact on our Crops, Jerry L. Hatfield, Ph.D. Laboratory Director and Supervisory Plant Physiologist, USDA-ARS, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames, Iowa
Managing Weed Resistance”, Stanley Culpepper, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Extension Agronomist, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA
Farm Credit Update”, Ben Novosad, CEO, Capital Farm Credit, Bryan, TX
Farm Management Session
New Technology and Chemistry Session.
Tuesday, December 7th will be a full day of Concurrent Sessions. The sessions include:
Fertilizer and Water Management
Grain
Soybeans & Rice
Pastures & Rangeland
Cotton
Horticulture & Minor Crops
*Both TDA & CCE ceu's will be offered at the conference.

Our state county programs office has agreed once again to pay the registration fee for agents in  district 11, to attend the Texas Plant Protection Conference on December 6-7, 2010.  Please send me the registration form by Monday, Oct. 29th,  I will submit the registration fee and paperwork for you from my office.  Please do not submit registration individually for the conference.


Information from Jodi's Desk: 
REMINDER: Club/Group Charters Due
This is the time of year that county offices should be requesting and gathering chartering documents from clubs and groups in your county.  This is a simple, yet EXTREMELY IMPORTANT task that MUST be completed on ALL clubs & groups in the county.  The chartering process legally authorizes club and groups to use the 4-H name and emblem (and is required by law).
WHO NEEDS TO BE CHARTERED?  All community clubs, project clubs, afterschool clubs, and military clubs (all groups you call a 4-H club).  Additionally, the following groups should also be chartered:  County Council, Youth Board, Volunteer Leaders Association, 4-H Booster Clubs, Clover Kids Groups, Ambassador Groups, etc.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE SUBMITTED? 
·         4-H Charter Application/Renewal for Clubs OR 4-H Charter Application/Renewal for Groups
·         List of club officers
·         Most recent copy of approved bylaws (must contain a dissolution clause indicating residual dollars and/or other assets become property of the county 4-H program should the club/group dissolve)
·         Annual Financial Status Report

WHEN DOES THIS NEED TO BE SUBMITTED?

The goal is to have clubs submit all chartering paperwork to the county office by October 31.  Counties have until December 1 to review and certify (on 4-H Connect) that all chartering information (and required attachments) has been submitted and reviewed.  This is an ANNUAL process.

Please make sure to communicate this information to your county clubs and groups.  Counties will be randomly audited in December to insure COMPLETE chartering information is on file in the Extension office.

All chartering guidelines, information, and forms can be found at:  http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/agents/index_agents.php (Chartering: Instructions & Guidelines)

If you have any questions, please contact Jodi.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Program Planning Confrences



The deadline to submit program plans for consideration of an exception for your program planning conferences has passed and we have many plans submitted, I want to thank you for your strong effort in submitting the plans on time. Monty, Elaine, Jodi and I have been reviewing and approving plans, we will send out a list of agents that have met the exemption status by the end of the week. Those individuals have less than three years are reminded that they will not be granted exemptions.
Our Program Planning Conferences will be held  next week October 12, 13, and 14th, 2010.
  • Texas AgriLife Extension Center-Corpus Christi  Tuesday,October 12th
  • Jackson County Service Building -Edna  Wednesday and Thursday, October 13th & 14th 
Conferences will start at 9:00 am .  We will discuss programing expectations, on your Organizational Management Plans, Individual Development plans and of course your Out come and out put plans.  Break for lunch and come back with an expectation that agents will finalize  plans online and have them approved before  leaving on that day.

Come ready to work on your plans on your notebook computer. PPC's will be a working session. If you have not started on your plans I suggest that you start before you come to the conference. The RPD's , 4-H specialist and I are committed to stay till the last plan is approved on those days. Please do not schedule evening meetings on the day of your PPC. If you do have meetings scheduled please reschedule or be confident that your plans will be approved so you can make your appointments. Please don't ask to leave early unless your plans have been approved.

A more detailed email is forthcoming with a final agenda for our PPC's by the end of the week, included in the email will be the list of the exemptions granted to agents. If you have any questions give me a call. DM

Child Safety Checkup Event held in Wharton on October 1st

Congratulations on another excellent event in Wharton on October 1st.  This event was a great partnership between Texas AgriLife Extension Service Passenger Safety, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Wharton County and the Gulf Coast Medical Center. Thanks to the generosity of Gulf Coast Medical Center and the efforts of all the technicians and volunteers the event was a great success.  All the parents left truly grateful for the education they received.

Here are some statistics from the event:
48 child safety seat inspections conducted
41 new child safety seats distributed
No child arrived correctly restrained
18 children arrived unrestrained or inappropriately in a seat belt

The proper use of child safety seats reduces the risk of injury and death, leading to reduced medical costs, avoidance of lost future earnings, and improved quality of life. These economic benefits are an estimated $1,974 per child age 0 to 4 and $2,318 per child age 4 to 8 for new seats distributed, and $550 per child for seat misuse with an assumed 75% continued use. Based on this formula, the total economic impact for the 48 inspections conducted on 10/01/10 is $66,233.

Great Job Wharton County Staff ( Dianne, Jamie, and Lynn) !!!!!! This economic analysis  should be used to interpret our excellent public value to our stakeholders.








NATURAL RESOURCE ISSUES FOR SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS

Last Thursday September 30th, I attended a great program that was developed by the Karnes County Leadership Advisory Board due to the recent natural resources/ economic development in the Karnes County area.  The program developed and facilitated by Karnes and Wilson County Extension offices, drew nearly 300 interested participants from Bee, Goliad, Karnes, Dewitt, Wilson, and Gonzales Counties.

Dr. Bruce Lesikar, Water rights, Dr. David Burnett, Water usage in energy production, Dr. Judon Fambrough, Oil & Gas Leasing, were assembled to address many concerns that local land owners have concerning the new mineral leasing in the area. This was a great example of how multi county programs can address very relevant issues affecting our clientele.  JD and Meredith did a great job in working with Wilson County agents in meeting the needs of our stockholders through identifying issues using their Leadership Advisory Board.


4-H INFORMATION FROM JODI'S DESK

QUALITY COUNTS  - NEW ACTIVITY RESOURCE GUIDE
A new resource guide has been developed to support Quality Counts programming efforts.  It includes 12 different activities that teach toward the eight core concepts.  There are also six sample news releases regarding Quality Counts.  Please use as you see fit in your county.  The guide can be found at:

4-H THANKS YOU!
Thank you to everyone for your hard work and strong commitment to completing the ES 237 Report.  In 2009-2010, District 11 had 6,489 members in 4-H clubs (up 492), and another 34,924 youth participating in curriculum enrichment, special interest or short term projects (up 6,705). With limited budgets, staffing vacancies and juggling your many Extension duties, YOU reached an additional 7,197 youth this past year.  HATS OFF TO YOU!  Thanks for your continued support of the 4-H and Youth Development Program.

NATIONAL 4-H WEEK AND “one day 4-H” ACTIVITIES
Happy National 4-H Week!  Many of you have great activities planned for this week (or month) to spotlight your local 4-H program.  Please be sure to take lots of pictures and share your great stories.  We would love to spotlight some of the many activities on the District 11 4-H website so please email pictures and/or a short note to Jodi about your activities.  Thanks for all your efforts…YOU REALLY ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

D11 Personnel News
Mr. Aaron Wilson has accepted the position of 4-H Agent in Brazoria County in District 9,   I wish Aaron success in his new position, D9 is fortunate to acquire Aaron as he brings them great work ethic and an excellent attitude. Aaron starts his new position today. In other news, I am in the process of interviewing for the Calhoun County and Nueces County 4-H agent positions this week.  I hope to have both positions filled by this fall.



Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 One Day 4-H Website and Resources

On Saturday, October 9, 2010, Texas 4-H will once again undertake the largest organized community service effort of a 4-H Program in the country through one day 4-H.  While we know many county and clubs are already well underway in the planning of their projects, information is also available on-line at the one day 4-H website to assist clubs and counties with the development, organization, and implementation of service projects. This information can be found at: http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/oneday/

In 2009, our county offices, agents, parents, volunteers, and especially our 4-H members came together in a way that has never been seen to make a difference in our state in just one day. Each project was a success in that it made a difference for our youth, for our program, and for those who benefited from the more than 284 projects across the state. As we look to the 2010 date, each of our communities have changed due to the economic condition, creating even more of a need to help and serve. Texas 4-H has extended a challenge to every county, small or large, to identify one project that can be done either on an individual, club, or county level to serve those who need the help of the 4-H Program like never before. one day 4-H may truly be a persons’ one hope of helping them!
Please visit the website at: http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/oneday/ to find resources such as:
  • Information packet to help organize and implement a service project
  • Listing of the 2009 one day 4-H projects conducted in Texas for ideas and suggestions
  • Additional publication of both general and project specific service projects
  • One page informational brochure for one day 4-H
  • Various one day 4-H logos and advertisement graphics that can be used in promotion of the event
  • Two interpretation pieces from the 2009 event
As with the 2009, projects throughout the state will be recognized for their achievements in their one day 4-H projects. To be considered for recognition, each group is ask to please SIGN UP on the one day 4-H website prior to September 30, 2010, and then to also report their successes after their event and before October 31st.

Two new components that will be released and posted on the website next week will be a documentary video contest and the instructions for groups to use on-line check-in mobile device.

DOCUMENTARY VIDEO CONTEST:
The documentary video contest is a 4 to 6 minute video documentary of a group’s process through their one day 4-H project. The documentary should include video/photos of the group planning, organizing, and implementing the event (basically the entire process from start to finish). We are asking that it highlight the successes of the event, the challenges, and the involvement of the youth and volunteers, and of course the difference it makes in the hearts and heads the people the project helped.

ON-LINE CHECK THROUGH MOBILE DEVICES:
Using such mobile apps as GoWalla and others, we would like to have youth “check-in” when they arrive at their service sites. If all of our groups/members/families did this, then at the end of the day we will be able to animate our state with thousands of dots on a map of how 4-H members across the state came together for community service.

Reminder: Program Planning Conference Exemptions
The last day to submit 2011 program plans for consideration for PPC exemptions is Friday, October 1st. All plans must be submitted and approved by RPD's and DEA in the TExAS system for considerations. Exemptions will be granted on a case by case situation. Agents with less than three years of service will not be exempt from their program planning conferences. Many plans have been submitted as of know and we are on a much improved pace from last year. Thank you for your commitment to the program planning process. I look forward to reviewing your plans this week.  If you have any questions please let me know. DM

Monday, September 20, 2010

Measuring The Most Impactful Things We Do!

I want to thank agents and specialists that attended our recent Program Planning Workshop in Victoria last week, I felt the workshop went well, expect for some of the internet connection concerns. I appreciate all you do and the attitude that you have as we start a new programing year. Also I do understand that our Administrative team does ask a lot from you during the fall of the year and toward the end of the year. With the many deadlines established it is sometimes overwhelming to an agent at any level in their career.

As you continue to submit plans I want to remind you that you are in control of your calendar. Your programing calendar as well as your reporting calendar . It is not a coincidence that we use the same program to plan and report. As I mentioned at our workshop you(agents) will be held accountable for your programing through your reporting. Please tailor your plans to fit your county situation as model plans sometimes may not fit all situations and all counties.

During times that present challenges it is important that we reflect on this vision and focus our efforts individually and collectively on efforts that will enable Texas AgriLife Extension Service to achieve a level of success that accomplishes our vision. Some fundamental elements that Extension Agents should continue to focus on that enable Texas AgriLife Extension Service to be the best outreach and continuing education organization include;

    *  Outcome and Output Plans- Ensuring that County Extension Agents are providing quality programs that address local issues and results in measurable outcomes. Remember, our programs are how clientele, stakeholders, and elected officials judge Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

    * Showcase Programs and Events -Ensuring that Texas AgriLife Extension Service programs are visible in the community. Quality programs are of limited value if only a small number of people in the county are aware of the programs.

    * Individual Development Plans - Ensuring that our County Extension Agents are competent and professional. Competency and professionalism is only accomplished through effective on boarding of new agents and on going professional development for more tenured agents.

    *  Plans should include Evaluation and Interpretation - Ensuring that our stakeholders and elected officials are aware of the impact of Texas AgriLife Extension Service programs. This is only accomplished through  program interpretation strategies that communicate public value to clientele ,elected officials and stakeholders.

Many plans have been submitted since our workshop, I commend you for being so diligent in completing your plans on time. Our final day for plans to be submitted for exemption consideration status will be October 1st. As you complete your plans for 2011. Try to remember the statement form Jodi McManus presentation on 4-HYD outcomes,

Why? We need to concentrate on measuring the most impactful things we do.

I believe if we continue to concentrate on the most impactful things we do and evaluate and interpret them to our stakeholders we will be in a better place in the near future. DM

County Web Sites Updates:
I have been evaluating our county websites and most of our counties are using the websites to provide useful information to our clientele, however some of the information posted needs to be updated regularly. 

We need to remember we are in a technology enhanced age and our capacity to provide information to our clientele does not stop as we close the office at 5 pm on weekdays. Our websites are our face to our county offices and are open 24 hours a day. Today's clientele needs their information now and if they can't get it when they need it ,they'll go somewhere else. We are in competition with other educational information sources, our information provided needs to be research based . References to other web links need to be  carefully considered as to not endorse products and or services. Please stay as neutral as possible with recommendations. 

We need to update information regularly.The information that is no longer useful needs to come off and replaced with information that can be used by our clientele. All agents need to be using their web site to provide information in their respected discipline. Train your support staff to update the websites at least monthly. If you need assistance with updating your websites contact Mr. Pete Flores IT specialist or myself for help. DM

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Program Planing Workshop

Program Planning Workshop-Victoria 4-H Activity Center
Victoria Texas
In preparation for the this weeks program planning workshop, I wanted to remind you of a few items prior to Tuesday. The Program Planning Workshop will be held in Victoria, Texas starting this Tuesday September 14th starting at 9:00 am with registration. The workshop will be held in the Victoria County 4-H Activity center, not the Master Gardeners Pavilion as once planned. Internet access is still not available at the new facility. The facility is located at the Victoria Airport on Business 59.

Please review our Guidelines for Documenting Program Excellence and our Excellence in Programing Planning Guides. Both documents are posted on our Organizational Development web site. http://od.tamu.edu/program-development/program-development-guide/

It is essential that your review these documents prior to coming to our workshop.

Program planning must be about ensuring that Extension is efficiently allocating resources that results in program excellence not just focused on approving a plan on the TeXas System. We must be committed to developing better programs that result in measurable outcomes. I can assure you that our RPD's and I are devoted to assisting agents in better allocating time which leads to efficiency.

The bench mark of this new program planning philosophy is focusing on assisting agents being able to better manage their time and program. Please come to our workshop prepared in a positive mind set as we work towards a productive 2011.

At this morning's office conference please discuss with your coworkers which model 4-H plan to utilize Option A , B, or C. See page 5 of the 4-H and Youth development program guide. Are you a lumper, or a splitter?

Dress for the workshop will be professional casual, and don't forget to bring your notebook commuter. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. DM

Coastal Bend Classic
Plans continue to come together for our new youth opportunity coming up this December.We have received some support and HonorShowChow has committed to be a major sponsor of our clinics and shows. We however are still in need of more sponsorships and for our counties to try to meet our $300 target in order for our program to be successful. Agents should try to find support toward your $300 benchmark. It is also important to not to solicit funds from supporters of your local events, in no way are we asking for you to compromise any support for other local programs and activities. Be creative in identifying support from new sources. The deadline to send in funds is this Wednesday September 15th, So we can finalize our marketing plan that will include email to ag chapters, and email blasts.

I am also wanting to remind Ag agents with livestock project responsibilities, that you will be assigned to a task at the clinic and or shows. 4-H agents I will assign you to either the CBC or the Food Show that will held on the same day. An email will be sent out soon with your designated tasks and committee assignments.

2010 National 4-H Week
The Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program has released the 2010 National 4-H Week Packet. “Make a Difference for Life” is the theme of the 2010 National 4-H Week, and the packet includes many items that can be used for promoting the program to potential new audiences, as well as items that can be utilized with current clientele. This year’s theme ties the national week of 4-H recognition into the final day on Saturday, which is one day 4-H – our programs day of truly making a difference for life!
To help organize and plan a full week of possible activities, a “Seven Days of Celebration” section has been developed with the help of the Texas 4-H Council members. “Seven Days of Celebration” is full of ideas for possible events/activities that 4-H members can conduct throughout their schools and communities. Four of the days are tied to the 4-H Pledge of Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. Wednesday is focused on the National 4-H Science Day, and then, of course, Saturday is one day 4-H.
County offices and agents are encouraged to review the printed packet and based on their plans and needs for promoting the week you can visit the website to download all necessary resources. The National 4-H Week page is located under the “Media” link on the Texas 4-H and Youth Development website (http://texas4-h.tamu.edu). We also ask that you share this information with your 4-H families and club managers as the information is designed for both county office and clientele direct use.

Monday, September 6, 2010

4th Quarter Reports Due Today,September 7th, 2010

Effective Extension educational work requires that reports be timely, accurate, concise, and complete. Reporting is an element of Extension work that most agents will tell you is not the most favorite part of their job. District 11 County Extension Agents do an excellent job of programming, but some fail to capture their accomplishments in monthly reports. It is important that “taxpayers deserve to know that their money is being prudently extended in society’s best interest” John Campbell (1995) in his book Reclaiming a Lost Heritage (p.140).

Failure to report these performance measures can severely impact appropriated funding. Reporting is fundamental to comprehensive Extension programs and is a significant part of agents professional obligations. Reporting should be thought of as tool to modify and improve educational programs, as well as to communicate program progress and results to faculty, staff, planning committees, elected officials, clientele, and Extension Administrators.

All reports should contain the following:
* Who are targeted audiences for program/activity and the number attending?

* What issue is being addressed and subject matter covered?

* When did the program/activity take place?

* The impact of the program/activity. Adoption of practices, knowledge gained or behavioral changes should be reported.

The 4th quarter of the 2010 fiscal year ended in August (June,July, and August). I will contacting county offices as I monitor agents reports on the TEXAS system for the 4th quarter. Remember your numbers are lost if not in the system by today.

Issue Identification Guidelines
Attached is a link to the guidelines to assist you in the Issue Identification process that you will coordinate through your Leadership Advisory Board late this year or early next year. Hopefully you will find the guidelines helpful as you work to facilitate a successful process with the LAB. We will have a program at next weeks Program Planning Conference to train all of our agents on issue identification.

The guide will be housed at the Extension Issues website at http://extensionissues.tamu.edu, and additional resource materials will be placed there as they are developed. For more information contact Dr. Jeff Ripley.
This process will be a critical component of our planning efforts, and will help to ensure that we have programs targeted toward the primary issues in each county. Thanks for all that you are doing to keep programs relevant and timely in your county.

Career Ladder Promotion
During this time of year, final work on dossiers for submission for 2010-2011 review are in full swing. The work that goes into the promotion process by agents, supervisors, regional program directors, and Level IV agents, is very much appreciated. This involved, highly reviewed process helps ensure a quality document for the peer review committees consideration. But, I didn't want to get too far into the 2010-2011 process without recognizing the agents who have received promotions effective September 1, 2010. Congratulations to all of our agents that submitted dossiers this past year, all four achieved promotion to the next level. A great accomplishment and recognizes District 11 once again as having some of the most productive agents in the our agency.

Agents promoted to:
Level II: Sally Garrett
Level III: Sam Womble,Brian Yanta
Level IV: Brent Batchelor