Tuesday, May 31, 2011

District 11 Quartery Legislataive Email Report

Interpretation of our programs in our District, County, and communities is more important than ever.

In 2011, I expect for each District 11 county to provide a one page quarterly email report to your State senator and state representative and their staffers. We can keep them updated and most importantly update their district staff. I want you to get to know your legislative district staff especially they new staff members of newly elected state leadership.

As representatives of state government and our funding partners, our programs are also their programs. I want to remind our agents and specialists that we must stay positive in our interpretation efforts.  it is imperative that we stay positive! in providing information of our successful programs great programs are our best interpretation.

The quarterly reports can be creative with limited amount of pictures, and video, including much of the same information that you provide in your county commissioner reports, highlight timely events during the year. Keep it short to the point and include public value and or economic effectiveness of our programs each time.

I am not asking for you to do much more than you are doing already as you complete your reports each month. I know that you can clearly understand that completion of this and other special reports is a critical professional obligation associated with professional educators with Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Your quarterly legislative email report, TExAS monthly reports, and county commissioners reports are due by Tuesday June 7th.

The Power of Positive Attitude

by Remez Sasson
Positive attitude helps to cope more easily with the daily affairs of life. It brings optimism into your life, and makes it easier to avoid worry and negative thinking. If you adopt it as a way of life, it will bring constructive changes into your life, and makes them happier, brighter and more successful. With a positive attitude you see the bright side of life, become optimistic and expect the best to happen. It is certainly a state of mind that is well worth developing and strengthening.
Positive attitude manifests in the following ways:

Positive thinking.

Constructive thinking.

Creative thinking.

Expecting success.


Motivation to accomplish your goals.

Being inspired.

Choosing happiness.

Not giving up.

Looking at failure and problems as blessings in disguise.

Believing in yourself and in your abilities.

Displaying self-esteem and confidence.

Looking for solutions.

Seeing opportunities.

A positive attitude leads to happiness and success and can change your whole outlook on life.
District 11 Agents: I found this definition of positive attitude, as I tried to get through a challenging day after a holiday,  Monday and Tuesday all in one. It is clear that agents moral and attitude could be better in our challenging times due to our budget concerns. I want to remind you that all we can control is the quality of our programs, our positive attitude, and our professionalism.  DM

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quality Counts Verification is now active and ready to be used!

Quality Counts Verification is now active and ready to be used!  Moving forward into the 2011-2012 Major Show Season, Quality Counts Verification will be a part of the process for entry in all major shows.  This means youth exhibitors will need to demonstrate their knowledge of the Six Pillars of Character and the Eight Core Concepts presented in the Quality Counts Curriculum. To do this, they will need to pass an online test on the website ( http://qualitycounts.tamu.edu/ ) and acquire a Quality Counts Verification number.

Things you need to know about Verification:
* 2011 - State Fair of Texas will implement Quality Counts Verification on a voluntary basis.
* 2012 - All Major Livestock Shows in Texas will require Quality Counts Verification at the time of entry - This means youth will need to be verified prior to entry in the fall of 2011.
* A Verification number is obtained by answering 80% of the questions correctly on an online test.
* You will have access to the Verification Records for your county by logging in as a County Extension Agent. 
* Your initial username and password is your email address and your county name.  Example:  Username - kchilek@ag.tamu.edu  Password - brazos.  (please note:  you may need to try both variations of your email address:  @ag.tamu.edu and  @tamu.edu)
* You should log in and set up your own unique password.

The Quality Counts website ( http://qualitycounts.tamu.edu/ ) will serve as your portal to the online test, Verification Records, and educational resources related to Quality Counts.  From this website, you can access all of the Quality Counts curriculum and various PowerPoint presentations for use with 4-H livestock exhibitors, 4-H leaders, and local support groups and organizations. 

Distance Educational Tools for our Youth Educators

4-H Social Media: Choosing Your Channels
May 18, 2011: 1pm CST
Start off your social media ventures by discovering how a quick survey of your audience can help you understand their interest and investment in social media. This session will also focus on finding your primary audience and how they will affect your engagement online. Finally, examine how a social media strategy can help you meet your organizational goals.
View and Participate: http://www.4-h.org/get-involved/social-media/training.aspx

4-H Social Media: Starting Your Own Pages
May 25, 2011 1pm CST
Should you develop a page or a group? Who will build and manage your pages? What privacy settings should you consider? What is a hashtag anyway? Get to the nuts and bolts of creating your own social media channels, as National 4-H Council’s social media team lead you through a step-by-step process of preparing your own Facebook and Twitter pages.
View and Participate: http://www.4-h.org/get-involved/social-media/training.aspx

4-H Social Media: Content Generation
June 1, 2011 1pm CST
Generating content can be easy when you use the incredible resources of the 4-H Community. Learn how to build an editorial calendar, schedule your updates in advance using tools like Hootsuite, and how to use eXtension to collect general content for your social media outlets.
View and Participate: http://www.4-h.org/get-involved/social-media/training.aspx

4-H Social Media: Online Safety Best Practices
June 8, 2011  1pm CST
The best way to build a 4-H network is to create a secure online community for both adults and youth. Social media experts will provide you with an outline of best practices for adult volunteers who may be interacting with youth online, as well as a series of recommended privacy settings to keep youth and adults safe on your pages.

View and Participate: http://www.4-h.org/get-involved/social-media/training.aspx
These are listed on http://learn.extension.org.  No registration is required, just log in to the link on the training day. District Extension Administrators should let agents know about these online training opportunities.

Meaningful Internships Pay off 

In the summer of 2011, Texas AgriLife Extension will host a number college interns regardless to the fact that all these interns will be unpaid. Research indicates that providing college students with meaningful internship opportunities with employers increases the chance that they will stay in that career field after graduation.

Agents, if you  have contact with college students ( former 4-H members) that show and interest in a possible internship with our agency and in District 11 please direct them to me for proper protocol in getting them on board.

Remember, even though Extension is currently in limited hiring capacity our future success is dependent on our ability to attract a talented, diverse and competent workforce.  The time we spend with interns now is an investment in our future.

Spring Faculty Conference and 4-H Scheduling

Jodi and I are looking forward to our Spring Faculty Conference next week in Sinton, we have a full agenda for our two day meeting.  You are running out of time to register so please get this done ASAP. We need to prepare for the meals , meeting rooms, etc..  You have recently been emailed more information on the conference by Sharon Thompson, see the map of the fairgrounds as it is not the easiest place to get to if you don't know where you are going.  In advance, I want to thank the San Patricio County staff for hosting this year. I know they have gone over an beyond to plan in making our conference a success.

Please come prepared to stay for the entire conference.  We will also have an opportunity to recognize our outstanding agents and their accomplishments at our social, dinner and award presentation on Tuesday evening. The dress for the conference will be professional casual  nice office attire (for the men that means,no ties ladies you know what this means, we will be outside for the social, dinner and the presentation of awards.I need for one of the agents to volunteer to be the official photographer for the presentation of awards. I you have a good camera and know how to use it, I would really appreciate someone taking pictures so we can forward the pictures to the agents for recognition in their counties.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Issue Identification Deadline fast approching May 15th, 2011

The County Issue Identification Deadline is fast approaching, please enter you information into the website, if you need help let me know, or call Dr. Jeff Ripley for help. All of the guidelines for issue identification and procedures are at:   http://extensionissues.tamu.edu/?page_id=7

End of The Quarter
In reviewing your reports, I would like to remind you that the end of the quarter, is approaching at the end of May, all your monthly reports in Texas, should be completed by the 7th of June . This includes your county commissioners reports, travel, and our new Legislative Making a Difference, email one pagers. The one pagers should be emailed to state representatives, senators, us congressman, and their staff, you will also want to send to your local funding partners , county court members, and selected stakeholders in your county.

District CEA Strike Teams
Hurricane Season Just around the corner, most of you are very involved in providing leadership to your communities and county concerning Hurricane awareness and preparation. Once again we are in the process of establishing our District ANR strike team and FCS/4-H strike team. I will be evaluating the individuals on the team and call several of you in order to submit my list to our state office. If you would like to volunteer for the Hurricane strike teams please give me a call by the end of the week.

During the agency’s 2008 Hurricane Season After-Action Reports the concept of District CEA Strike Teams was borne.  When disaster strikes how can we elevate the human resource needs and improve our ability to support the CEAs in the stricken area.  Local CEAs may be victims themselves and the incident may call for an elevated level of professional responsibilities and commitments to fulfill Extensions role in County and State Emergency Management Plans.

District 11 Hurricane Recovery County Publication Management Plans (CPMP) 
DEAs are responsible for approving and filing the Hurricane Recovery CPMP.   This plan should include the pre-storm and post-storm distribution plan with county and city post-storm recovery/distribution center points-of-contact and addresses/information for each county and city recovery/distribution center in the plan. This contact information is essential in the event that local CEAs and/or their families are impacted by the storm or have been asked by their county judge/EMC to perform other duties after the storm.  With the completed CPMP on file DEAs have the option mobilize one or more of our CEA FCS/4-H Hurricane Recovery Strike Teams to assist local CEAs to  implement the CPMP.   

I am asking for you to review you CPMP and make and send me a copy of the new updated plan, if yo have not changes make reference to the new plan year and submit the plan to the district office for filing. if you need a template for the plan let me know.  I need the plans by next Monday, May 16th, 2011.

2011 Texas 4-H Volunteer Conference
July 29th-31st, 2011
San Antonio, Texas
Registration Now Open on 4-HCONNECT.

Why a Volunteer Conference?    
The opportunities for our youth, our volunteers, and our 4-H Program continue to grow!  With this growth comes the need to prepare and provide our volunteers with the best resources and training possible.  As our 4-H Program continues to expand and become more vital to the youth of Texas, it is imperative that we effectively engage and empower our volunteer network.     
Our volunteers need access to the highest quality educators and resources so they are best equipped to return to their counties and work in partnership with their local County Extension Agents to further develop our youth.  This has never been more important as we consider how to most effectively lead our youth.

Conference Highlights 

The Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program will be sponsoring a state-wide leader training on July 29-31, 2011 in San Antonio to prepare the new generation of 4-H volunteers to lead and instruct our members.  Highlights of the conference will include:
  •  High energy, dynamic, and engaging conference addressing the emerging issues of youth development and the Texas 4-H Program.
  • A two and half day conference filled with quality educational workshops and general sessions. (Scheduled to start on Friday evening and conclude on Sunday)
  • Opening session featuring engaging communicator and leading teen expert, Grant Baldwin, as well as an updated on the state of the Texas 4-H and Youth Development Program by Dr. Chris Boleman.
  • Sessions on Saturday and Sunday focused on needs provided through agent and clientele surveys ensuring our program leaders are receiving the training they want! 
  • It’s not a one time thing!  This is on target to become a bi-annual event (off years of Texas 4-H Congress). 
  • Conference will include web-based video streaming of some sessions for those that cannot attend in person!  
Recognizing District 11 Agents:

Stephen Biles, Joe Janak, and Peter McGuill recently had their article published in the "International Journal of Agronomy:" 

Great to see our agents being recognized for their demonstration work internationally.

International Journal of Agronomy

Soybean Yield along the Texas Gulf Coast during Periods of Variable Rainfall as Influenced by Soybean Cultivar and Planting Date, W. J. Grichar, S. Biles, J. D. Janak, and P. McGuill
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 314852, 14 pages

You may access this article from the Table of Contents of Volume 2011, which is located at the following link: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ija/contents/