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U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C. Dr. Dionne Toombs will serve as Acting Director of NIFA. With over a decade of USDA service, Dr. Toombs has significantly contributed to USDA’s agricultural research, education and Extension services while serving in various leadership roles. Most recently, she was Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS). 

Acting Director of NIFA Dr. Dionne Toombs

Call for Comments: Preliminary Observations on Collaboration in the Land-grant System

You are invited to comment on the topic of “Collaboration in the Land-grant System.” USDA asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to appoint a Blue Ribbon Panel to examine how collaboration among Land-grant Institutions can be more impactful in addressing the nation’s needs for a successful, sustainable food and agricultural system, and to recommend ways those institutions can better capture and share the collective outcomes of their collaborations. The panel has posted online 17 preliminary observations about the current state of collaboration, and is seeking feedback from stakeholders that it will use to inform the planning of a virtual workshop, and ultimately, a consensus report to USDA and Congress. You can find a link to the reference document containing the preliminary observations in the online comment form, which also contains a link to the project website with more information about the panel and a place to subscribe to project updates. Please send comments by Friday, May 6.    

Call for Comments: Proposed Scientific Questions to Inform the Development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2025-2030

As the first step in the development process of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2025-2030 (Dietary Guidelines), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and USDA are releasing proposed scientific questions for public comment. The public comment period will be open for 30 days starting April 15 through May 16 at 11:59 PM EDT. HHS and USDA are committed to transparency and providing opportunities for public participation during this five-step process leading up to the release of the Dietary Guidelines in 2025.

Feedback Needed for Connecting with Colleagues 2022

We Need Your Feedback - Connecting with Colleagues Survey for 2022
We want to hear from you!!! NEAFCS Connecting with Colleagues would like your input on topics that are important to you. Please take this short survey and let your voice be heard. Deadline to complete survey is February 28, 2022.

Take this quick survey now at:

2022 NEAFCS Leadership Experience

Calling all leaders, influencers and agents of change--Join us for the 2022 NEAFCS Leadership Experience!

The NEAFCS Leadership and Mentoring Committee will begin accepting applications for the class of 2022 TODAY February 1st.
What do mentees get out of this experience?
-Learn from some of the best in the business
-Get to know your leadership style
-Connect with colleagues across the nation
-Participate in meaningful personal and professional development opportunities
What do mentors get out of this experience?
-Share your infinite wisdom across the nation
-Fine tune your leadership style
-Create meaningful connections with future leaders
Learn more about the Leadership Experience or apply today:

National Partnership for Recruiting, Preparing and Supporting FCS Educators

From our Friends at National Partnership for Recruiting, Preparing and Supporting FCS Educators

We Want to Feature You in the Say Yes to FCS Spotlight!

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Amy Ressler Survey Responses Needed

Your fellow member needs your help! Amy Ressler (TX) writes:
Hi, Friends! My name is Amy Ressler. I am working on a doctorate degree in Leadership Studies from Our Lady of the Lake University (San Antonio/Houston, Texas). I have worked for Extension for over 28 years (I know, it’s kind of late to be working on another degree... but I felt a calling). Throughout my tenure, I’ve met some really amazing people from across the country in Extension with true hearts for service. I started to wonder if there is a connection between Servant Leadership Style and Job Satisfaction for people who work for Extension. That’s why I am doing this research!
It will take about 15 - 20 minutes to complete this survey. Other than a few of the demographic questions that require short text responses, most of the questions are multiple choice asking either how much you agree with a statement or how well a word describes how you perceive aspects of your job. As you will learn next in the “informed consent” section, this survey is completely anonymous; no responses will be tied to any individual respondent.
I want you to answer the questions as honestly as possible with your gut reactions, rather than how you think you "should" answer. As mentioned, there is no way anyone one will know how any one individual answered any of the questions.
Ultimately, I hope taking this survey will inspire you to consider your ideal leadership style; to learn more about servant leadership; and to consider how leadership contributes to your job satisfaction; in both how you lead and how you are led.
Thank you for your time in taking this survey! I really appreciate it!
From my servant heart to yours,

2021 December Tornado Activity Impacts NEAFCS Members

Recent tornado activity has directly affected our members. We are gathering information and will share it with you here, and via email, as we receive it. We invite you to share widely and contribute as you choose.
So far, we have heard from Kentucky:

Our Western Kentucky Research and Education Center is a total loss and some of our extension offices have endured some damage and several of our people have lost their homes.

We are collecting Backpacks and Toys through our McCracken County Extension Center. Monetary donations are being collected via Paypal @MCCErelief and Venmo @MCCErelief. 

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Help Us Prepare for #NEAFCS2022!

North Carolina is excited to host the next NEAFCS Annual Conference! We want to make sure that your time in NC is fruitful, fun and educational. To help us plan an exciting, pre-conference, please complete the brief survey below by January 3, 2022. If you have questions, please contact Carmen Long at [email protected].

Survey link:

Invitation to Help Identify Regional and National Priorities for Rural Economic Development

Invitation to Help Identify Regional and National Priorities for Rural Economic Development
Dear Colleagues:
The four Regional Rural Development Centers are leading an effort to identify the issues various rural stakeholders see as top priorities for economic and workforce development. We invite you to participate in this effort by completing an online survey to share more about the challenges and opportunities you see for investing in Rural America. Responses must be submitted no later than October 6th, 2021.
Responses to the survey will be used to formulate a public report, identifying both regional and national priorities. This report will help guide the work of the four RRDCs and will be shared with USDA NIFA and other federal partners as stakeholder feedback. Results of the survey will also be the basis for listening sessions - convenings of selected stakeholders with facilitated dialogue that deepens our understanding of the priorities identified.
Completing the survey takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Its questions allow you to identify what you view as the most important issues for rural communities, rate the capacity of your organization to engage in these areas, offer comments on challenges and opportunities, provide feedback on the kinds of activities and programming you value, and share more about your background. We are inviting a broad range of rural stakeholders who have professional roles supporting the development of rural economies, communities, businesses, and workers.
Your participation in the survey is voluntary and you may choose not to participate and may elect at any time to exit it without providing further responses. We do not collect any personally identifiable information tied to your responses to the questions, but in a separate area you may request to receive a notice when the public report is available. No compensation is offered for participating in the survey.
Before beginning the survey, you will be provided with information so you can make an informed choice to participate. Your voice is important in understanding how we and our partners can invest in building Rural America. To complete the survey, visit:
Regional Rural Development Center National Team
Note: This study has been reviewed by Mississippi State University’s HRPP/IRB and has been granted this Exemption Determination, per MSU IRB study number IRB-21-366, and by Penn State University’s HRPP/IRB per PSU IRB study STUDY00018654.

Webinar: Diagnosing Online Local Visibility Problems

Diagnosing Online Local Visibility Problems

Thursday, September 16, 2021
2:30 PM Eastern (time converter)

Webinar Overview/Objectives:
Are people able to find you and your programs using THEIR search terms on Google? Do you and your programs show up at the top of the search results or miles below the other search results? Increasing local audiences requires a broad net. No matter what they are looking for or where they search, they need to find your programs and services so they can judge whether you are worth contacting. Join me for an eye-opening look into what your local visibility across websites and social media really looks like. During this interactive presentation you will have the opportunity to take a deep dive into what your audience finds when trying to locate educational services and programs. After you perform a quick self-audit, I will explain technical terms like search engine optimization, social media marketing, and more. Then, I will provide you with a Marketing Prescription that will outline steps for dramatic visibility improvement!

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Don't Lose Out on the AHA Grant!

Healthy For Life® Grant Submission Deadline - August 20th
Grant Reviewer Request Deadline - August 20th

The NEAFCS is excited to announce a grant opportunity supporting the Healthy for Life® community nutrition program, an initiative led by Aramark and the American Heart Association (AHA).  The Healthy for Life® evidence-based nutrition education experiences are supported by American Heart Association science and developed by food and nutrition experts. 

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Connecting with Colleagues - Working with Underserved Audiences

Working with Underserved Audiences - July 2021

 Click the image below to watch the recording!
(or copy and paste this link:

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Extension Foundation Update for April 2021

The following information was shared with NEAFCS members during our Association Meeting following the 2021 Virtual PILD conference on April 14, 2021.


We look forward to serving Cooperative Extension in 2021. Below is information for both our member and non-members programs, and some basic information on how we can work together as your partner:

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Master of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences

University of Central Arkansas is offering a MS in FCS. The master’s program in family and consumer sciences is designed to serve the needs of qualified students preparing for family and consumer sciences careers in business, education, hospitals, industry, government, community agencies, or for entering a doctoral program in family and consumer sciences or a related discipline. For full details on this program, please click here.

Helpful Links:
Graduate School Graduate School – UCA
How to Register for Classes:
How to find/use DegreeWorks:

FCS News Update - April 5 2021

Conveying Land-grant Mission Impact

Current stories and talking points that document and demonstrate the value and collective impact of the national system of land-grant universities mission areas, teaching, research and Extension, were released in the National Impact Database (NIDB) last month. ECOP thanks the Communications Writing team for the numerous products - stories, summary factsheets, and a video - that highlight impacts that entered into the database by many of the 76 institutions. Use the Areas of Impact and Associated Impacts menus to browse the product titles. Two summaries related to COVID-19 response are found here and here. To begin using the Search dashboard, pause 20-30 seconds to load. The "Resources" menu is helpful for knowing best practices for entering data. The NIDB is an enterprise of ECOP, ESCOP and USDA-NIFA.
2021 County Health Rankings - The annual update to County Health Rankings is available at The information is based on more than 30 factors which influence health and show that where people live influences how well and how long they live. An easy-to-use snapshot, the Rankings compare the health of all counties within states and call attention to the differences in opportunity to live long and well from one county to the next. In addition to the county-level data, the Rankings also features What Works for Health, a database of more than 400 evidence-informed strategies to support local changemakers as they take steps toward expanding opportunities. The Take Action Center also provides valuable guidance for communities who want to move to action with data . The data is released every year by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute with Extension's funding partner on health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Globalizing Extension Innovation Network (GEIN) - GEIN connects professionals interested in Extension innovation in a global context. The network shares and develops best practices for augmenting Extension programs through cross-cultural and international experiences and supports the engagement of Extension professionals through international programs emphasizing global dynamics and cultural knowledge. GEIN can be followed on Connect Extension, a service of the Extension Foundation and is an open sub-group accessible to anyone within the Cooperative Extension System. Visit GEIN for more information. A Connect Extension Account is required. 

Community Engagement Scholarship Awards - APLU’s Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) invites all CECE members, Extension professionals, and the broader APLU membership to apply for the 2021 Community Engagement Scholarship Awards cycle. Both the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Awards provide recognition for the outstanding community-university engagement work of public universities. Prizes range from $5,000 to the grand prize of $20,000 for the national C. Peter Magrath Award. The deadline for applications is April 30th.

FCS News Update - March 29, 2021

Chair Chris Watkins, Cornell University, presided at the virtual ECOP Spring Meeting last week. Annual Work Plans by all ECOP standing committees were ratified. The 15-member, national policy-making body endorsed the work of the ECOP 4-H Leadership Committee's National Crisis Communications Playbook for the 4-H System. After reviewing the most recent draft, ECOP voted to have the ECOP Health Innovation Task Force proceed to vet the Cooperative Extension Framework for Health and Well-being at the National Health Outreach Conference (NHOC) in May. At its core, the new framework establishes "Health Equity". Speaking of NHOC...


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FCS News Update - March 9, 2021

Leaders Encouraging Collaborations with Diverse Communities

Last Friday, ECOP hosted a third in a series of Learning for Leaders conversations with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion theme. Katie Hartmann, who recently completed her PhD in Education, Equity, and Transformation at Colorado State University, identified what excellence looks like to collaborate with diverse communities. The structures include but are not limited to a Relations Liaison, Inside Collaborator, and a community-specific sense of timing. What can be implemented in the short and long term?

To review Leaders Encouraging Collaborations with Diverse Communities, from March 5:

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FCS News Update - March 1, 2021

The next meeting of Extension Directors and Administrators widely known as Learning for Leaders, will take place on Friday, March 5, 2021, 3-4:00 PM Eastern Time. Leaders Encouraging Collaborations with Diverse Communities: Consider the Experiences of Extension Educators, will feature findings from the field and latest literature, and exploration of the characteristics that enable Extension educators and their programs to be successful by looking carefully at challenges that they face. There will be ample time during the hour to discuss what support structures are needed at the institutional and systemic levels. Invitations with Zoom connection details were sent by Sandy Ruble, Assistant Director, Cooperative Extension System/ECOP, on February 18. Email Sandy at [email protected] for more information.


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FCS News Update - February 22 2021

AAFCS Selects New Executive Director - After an extensive & rigorous national search, we are pleased to announce Nancy Bock as the new Executive Director, effective March 1, 2021. Please join us in congratulating & supporting Nancy in her new role to lead & advance the #FCSsuccess of #AAFCS!

Extension Directors and Administrators are welcome to share this registration link as appropriate for the webinar, Immunization Education - Faculty & Staff, Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 3-4:00 p.m. ET. The hour-long session is led by Michelle Rodgers, University of Delaware. Michelle is the new Project Director for the developing alliance between the Cooperative Extension System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote the immunization education and innovative models for community action. This alliance was launched by the ECOP Health Innovation Task Force

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