Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Texas Budget Cycle

Spring is a busy time of the year, planting season, educational programing, and 4-H District contests have our main focus, and I appreciate your efforts to implement our partial cost recovery initiative in your spring plans of work,.

However, it is also clear that many of you have questions on the Texas Budget and how the proposed budget cuts could affect our agency. To date we do not know what the budget reductions would involve because the budget has not been pasted. Below is a good explanation of the Texas Budget process and a how the budget process moves through the house and senate prior to being submitted for approval.  I suggest you take a look at this article from the Texas Tribune to gain a better understanding where we are in the overall process. If you have any questions feel free to give me a call.

District 11 Spring Faculty Conference and 4-H Scheduling 
May 24-25, Sinton, Texas

Our annual spring faculty conference and 4-H scheduling has been scheduled for May 24th, and 25th, in Sinton at the San Patricio County Fairgrounds, Civic Center.  We will have a full two days of instruction starting with a BLT Centra that will be viewed by selected individuals , we will follow the Centra presentation with a general session, involving a distance technology training, the evening of the 24th we will have a social with an expectation that every agent be in attendance. We will present several awards to our agents, and have administrative updates from state administration. Tentatively we will have our social and program at the Welder Wildlife Refuge north of Sinton. The following day May 25th, we will continue with 4-H programing and scheduling. Please mark your calender as every Agrilife and CEP Agent will be expected to attend.More details to come soon.

Partial Cost Recovery
As we close March 2011, we will start to work on our District Cost Recovery Report.  Please make sure that you have submitted any funds associated with your programing in our first month of our new imitative. Please go to the web site for forms and information on the procedures.

District 11 4-H Contests

We are about to start our Spring 4-H Contests in order to qualify our young people for State Round Up. I would like to remind you that each an every one of you are youth educators. We will assign you to the many tasks that we need accomplished, I expect for you to continue to provide enthusiasm for the contest,  also be positive as you assist with your task.  These contests are important to our 4-H members and leaders. Your support of our young people is of great importance to them and their leaders. Most of the time all you need to do is be there and provide your support to the contestant and their family.

An agent needs to remember that the monetary cost involved in participating in a contest is very high. There is an investment by a parent or leader in time and money to practice and travel to the contests. It is important that they know we are appreciative of their investment in our programs. Please read the rules, meet the deadlines, and finally be professional  in your attire, we must look the part.  These contests are just not another Saturday we have to work, these Saturdays are important times in our young peoples lives.

In the words of a former District 11 agent , Jack Hunter, "every body got to be some where, if we got to be here we need to make it the best". District 11 Horse Show Beeville, Texas , 105 degrees, June 1999.

District 11 4-H Round up Blinn College April 9th
District 11 Horse Judging , TAMU April 9th
District 11 4-H Fashion Show , Victoria Mall, April 16th
District 11 Livestock Judging, Entomology ID, Meats Judging & ID, Range & Pasture Grass ID, Soil Judging, TAMU, April 30th

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant. -Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Solving Problems Using Creativitiy

Most of you know that I am a twitter user, I don't tweet much but do follow mostly news sources that I am interested in personally and professionally, one of the individuals I do follow is John Maxwell, a author of several Leadership books, and well known leadership speaker etc.. He provides short blogs on helpful leadership topics I find useful. Today his topic is titled Complicated problems need creative solutions.   I would suggest that you take a look at this site when you have time. John Maxwell provides some good points and ways to establish discipline of creative thinking when faced with challenges.  Clearly Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service is being challenged with changes. I would consider our Partial Cost Recovery Initiative just initiated this month to be a creative solution to a very complicated situation. Below are the points that John Maxwell writes about in his blog today.

1. Spend time with creative people.
2. Look for the obvious.
3. Be unreasonable.
4. Practice mental agility.
5. Dare to be different.
6. See problems as opportunities.

District 11 Quarterly Legislative Email One Pagers

Thank you for your diligence in completing these reports, I am extremely pleased in the quality of these interpretation pieces that you and your support staff have completed. Some of you have commented that you have received positive comments from contacts.We need to continue to provide positive information to all of our stakeholders. I also continue to see some really creative new way you are implementing our cost recovery imitative this is one of the best things you can do right now.

Historic Day in Dewitt County 
Anthony (Old Dog) Netardus

Anthony Netardus officially became the longest tenured County Extension Agent in DeWitt County history.  The previous Agent who held this distinction was Gilbert Heidemann, who was an Agent in DeWitt County for 15 years, 8 months and 15 days.  Netardus surpassed that today, currently serving DeWitt County for 15 years, 8 months and 16 days, and counting.  Congratulations to Anthony!!!

4-H News from Jodi's Desk

Hats off to the District 11 Dairy Judging Teams that recently competed in Houston and qualified for the Texas 4-H Dairy Judging Contest to be held in April.  State qualifiers include the Fayette County 4-H team of Amber Matula, Jennifer Drabek, Dillan Drabek, and Dakota Zapalac, Washington County team of Kristian Kasprowicz, Samantha Meyer, Kyle Bentke, and Laramie Naumann, and Wharton County team of Hannah Weinheimer, Danielle Valenta, and Shelby Stary.

Congratulations to the Matagorda County Wool Judging Team of Chasidi Jackson, Faith Grisham, and Dillon Bramble.  They competed in the Houston Livestock Show Wool Judging Contest and qualified for the Texas 4-H Wool Judging Contest in June.

Wildlife Conservation Camp
The Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society invites you to the best week of your summer.  Wildlife Conservation Camp will be held July 17-23, 2011 at Welder Wildlife Refuge in Sinton, Texas.  The Conservation Camp focuses on exciting, hands-on, outdoor experiences and activities with presentations led by wildlife professionals from across the state.  Students must be nominated by a Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society member, teacher, county Extension agent, youth leader, or local Farm Bureau.  Student must be in high school at the time of nomination.  Cost for each student is $250.  The application deadline is May 1, 2011.  You many download an application at For more information, contact Dr. Megan Dominguez

NEEDED:  4-H Volunteer Award Applications

We realize this is a very busy time of year for agents; however, it is important not to forget to recognize our volunteers!  Each year, Texas 4-H provides awards and recognition for various individuals and groups that provide support to the 4-H program.  All awards are presented at the Salute to Excellence banquet during Texas 4-H Roundup. 

PLEASE FIND JUST A FEW MINUTES BEFORE MARCH 23 to complete the short nomination form to recognize a volunteer from your county.  There are 5 nomination categories:  Citation for Outstanding Service to 4-H, Texas 4-H Alumni Award, Meritorious Service Award, Salute to Excellence Award, and Leader’s Legacy Award.  To find out more details about each category and to download a nomination form, please visit:

Each district gets to recognize two Salute to Excellence winners and we have only received 1 application/nomination for this year!  Please consider nominating a volunteer from your county!  If you have any questions, or need any help, please contact Jodi.

Friday, March 4, 2011

2nd Quarter Reports Due March 7th

Effective Extension educational work requires that reports be timely, accurate, concise, and complete. Reporting is an element of Extension work that you may be the most favorite part of your job. Our County Extension Agents do an excellent job of programming, but some fail to capture their accomplishments in monthly reports. John Campbell (1995) in his book Reclaiming a Lost Heritage emphasized the public accountability importance of reporting by stating, “taxpayers deserve to know that their money is being prudently extended in society’s best interest” (p.140). The Legislative Budget Board (LLB) receives your TEXAS reports. If you did not report it did not happen. If you don't get your reports in prior to end of the quarter those reports are useless.

It is extremely important  that Texas AgriLife Extension Service account for all educational activities and contacts. Failure to report these performance measures can severely impact appropriated funding. Reporting is fundamental to comprehensive Extension programs and should be treated as 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.

As your District Extension Administrator I monitor Agent reports monthly to ensure that all Agents develop a system for maintaining records and documentation for my reporting purposes. 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 2nd quarter ended in February (December, January and February). District 11 agents should have completed their reports on the TEXAS system before March 7th.

Reference: Campbell, J.R. (1995). Reclaiming a Lost Heritage. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press.

Legislative Contacts Quarterly Email One Pagers

I have been extremely pleased with the quality of the Legislative Quarterly One Pagers  (December, January and February) that have been sent out recently. The information is more important than ever as state legislators work in Austin to balance our state budget. Your one pagers are being read, today an agent called me to tell me that he had contact with a Legislative aid about their county one pager and the aid requested the email sent  in another format. This tells me that they want our  information.  Your Legislative Contact Quarterly Email One Pager is due to your Legislative contacts, county commissioners, selected stakeholders, and cc both Barbara Moretich and I by March 7th the end of the 2nd quarter. 

Distance Educational  Survey:
For those agents that have not completed the survey I asked you to complete last week, the deadline has been extended till today March 4th, you can go to the survey at the link below:

Partial Cost Recovery

There has been much discussion and questions on starting our new partial cost recovery initiative this week.  Remember, try to find ways to implement cost recovery not look for ways to exempt your programs for the new process. We need to recover cost now and as quickly as possible.  The Regional Program Directors and my self welcome your questions, keep them coming.  Ag/NR agents your questions on Pesticide CEU's are being answered, you point of contact will be Dr. Dozier, and I will visit with Monty on trying to make our CEU cost recovery as consistent as possible in the District. Dr. Dozier is working with the state office in getting the answers to your questions.

2010 Performance Reviews

I have completed all of our performance reviews, and you should be getting an email from greatjobs, indicating your PAS is ready to certify. In completing my second year in evaluation your successes, I am certainly amazed of all your high quality outcomes.  At times it may seem that I may ask more and more from you, but good agents can only get better if their supervisor challenges them; my job is to challenge agents in exceeding expectations. I am very fortunate to have agents in our district that that understand our mission and our capacity to provide quality service and leadership to those we work with.

Please certifiy your PAS and send back to me so I can forward to our unit head. The system sends me an email to let me know I have a pending evaluations for action when you complete the process in Greatjobs. If you have any questions contact me or our district office manager Barbara Moretich.