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Monday, June 14, 2010

Developing Plan for Building Effective Relationships with New Commissioners and Judges

One of the prerequisites to effectively implementing any of the components related to our District 11 Interpretation Initiative is establishing effective working relationships with the elected officials. With upcoming elections at the county level which could potentially result in the election of new County Commissioners and/or a new County Judge it is important that agents have a plan that includes targeted interpretation for newly elected County Commissioners or County Judges.

We should work together this summer to ensure that there is a county strategy to implement the County Program’s interpretation initiative related to providing quality interpretative efforts for newly elected County Judges and Commissioners. The following are some suggestions to establish relationships with newly elected officials that should be considered by agents.
  • Agents and myself can 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 official 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.
  •  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 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.
Every county in the district  should  must have a interpretation plan that includes formal interpretation events, involvement of elected officials in “show case” educational events and other appropriate interpretation methodologies for 2010.

State 4-H Round Up
I would like to congratulate our agents in District 11 for their excellent support of our 4-H members while at State 4-H Round up last week. Our district was well represented during the contests and many events last week in College Station. I also would like to especially congratulate Jodi McManus our District 11 4-H Specialist and the many agents in our district that have made a special effort in establishing District 11 as a major player in earning 4-H Foundation Scholarships. Our youth were awarded an amazing $282,000 at the 4-H Foundation Scholarship Assembly on Friday. The reviewing of scholarship and editing of applications, and the mock interviews certainly have reaped major rewards for our 4-H members as they transition to their next chapter in their life.

I was also especially honored to visit with the Schertz family from Nueces County. Sam, Matt and Jeff Schertz established a memorial scholarship with the Foundation on behalf of Sam's wife and Matt and Jeff's mother Dot Schertz. Mrs. Schertz passed away this year and the family honored her for her great service to Nueces County youth as a 4-H volunteer and leader. I was agent in Nueces County at the time when Mrs. Schertz was a leader and the boys were very involved.  It was great to see these young men give back to the 4-H program that means so much to them as well as remembering their mother in a very special way.

Legislative Interpretation request
I would like to remind agents in District 11 to notify me if you invite a state representative or senator to any event in your county. You are encouraged to invite your state rep and or senator to a special showcase event,however, it is important that our state leadership know of AgriLife events that our state funding partners may be attending.  Some of the events may be 4-H award banquets, field days, health fairs etc.
I also need to compile a report on a monthly bases on interpretation events, and or special interpretation methods that you conduct each month.

District Horse Show Assignments-Edna, Texas 2010
4-H agents and Ag agents by now you have reviewed you assignments for the upcoming horse show in Edna at the end of the week. I would like to remind agents that this event is an event that horse project members look forward to each year, as they qualify for state. We must strive to conduct the best horse show that we can provide for our horse project members, leaders, and parents. I know that many of you do not have a background in Equine events, however we must support our young people as we would in any other 4-H project. It is all about the experience, if it is a good one, we have succeeded.

Crop tours-Summer 2010
I continue to receive many great reports of your agricultural crop tours being held this month. It is great to see the diversity in programing on your agendas.  I also appreciate the way agents interpret to the local community of how agriculture plays a major role in the local economy. Our crop tours have also traditionally been a great venue for the local agricultural community to enjoy fellowship. Great job , and good luck to agents that will have upcomming crop tours the next few weeks.