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.

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

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

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
Soybeans & Rice
Pastures & Rangeland
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.
·         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


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.


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.


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:

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.

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.