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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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FCS News Update - February 4 2021

News & updates week of 2/4/2021

Call for 2021 Cooperative Extension Award Nominations

Nominations are being accepted for the 2021 Extension Awards program through May 1, 2021. The Excellence in Extension Awards, recognize Cooperative Extension professionals - 1 National Award, and 5 Regional Awards - who excel at Extension programming, make a positive impact on constituents served, and provide visionary leadership for the System. The Award for Diversity is designed to focus national attention on innovative models and techniques that ensure that Extension programs equitably and effectively engage all audiences. A new Team Award for Excellence is under development for later release. The Awards include a cash prize and travel stipends to attend a reception and the Board of Agriculture Assembly Awards Session at the 2021 APLU Annual Meeting. With only 3 months before the deadline, visit and start completing nominations today.

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2021 NIFA Grants for FCS Extension

The United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA) is offering two grant opportunities that apply to FCS Extension. Don't pass up these opportunities to get funds!

The first opportunity is the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) - Education and Workforce Development (EWD) grant. The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Education and Workforce Development (EWD) focuses on developing the next generation of research, education, and extension professionals in the food and agricultural sciences. In FY 2021, EWD invites applications in seven areas: agricultural workforce training; professional development for agricultural literacy; training of undergraduate students in research and extension; fellowships for predoctoral candidates; fellowships for postdoctoral scholars, a new program for food and agricultural non-formal education, and a FY 2021-only program for evaluation of NIFA’s agricultural literacy and workforce development portfolio. See EWD Request for Applications for specific details. (Click here for full details and the application.) This is a grant that many in FCS pass over, mistakenly thinking it does not apply.

The second opportunity is the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Sustainable Community Projects grant. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA announces the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) funding program to improve the quality and quantity of comprehensive community-based programs for at-risk children, youth, and families supported by the Cooperative Extension System. The CYFAR program mission is to marshal resources of the Land-Grant and Cooperative Extension Systems to develop and deliver educational programs that equip limited resource families and youth who are at-risk for not meeting basic human needs with the skills they need to lead positive, productive, contributing lives. (Click here to view more details and to apply.)

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2021 National Extension Conference on Volunteerism

2021 National Extension Conference on Volunteerism - The National Extension Conference on Volunteerism Planning Committee and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, encourages those who are interested to save April 26-29, 2021, for the National Extension Conference on Volunteerism "NECV” 2021! Plans are underway for an exciting Extension professional conference with a focus on volunteerism at the Hard Rock Hotel and Conference Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This conference is ideal for volunteer-focused professionals who are serving within all areas of Extension programs (4-H, ANR, FCS). For information about calls for proposals and registration opening:

  • Join the NECV 2021 interest list-serv at: Receive pertinent information about the conference without filling up your email inbox! Unsubscribe at any time.
  • Follow developments on Facebook at

FCS News Update January 2021

News from Around the FCS Community the Week of January 11, 2021

2021 Outlook for Cooperative Extension System's Health Initiative - All Land-grant University Health Leaders, Extension Deans, Directors and Administrators and Friends are invited to register for a "State of Health" webinar for Wednesday, January 13, 2021, Noon-1:00 PM Eastern Time. 2020 was an exciting year for the Cooperative Extension System, particularly for its work related to health and well-being. Responding to a global pandemic, expanding the portfolio of programming related to mental health, continuing the extraordinary work in the area of food and nutrition, and working with scores of new partners was just a beginning! Distinguished panelists representing various components of the Cooperative Extension System including USDA-NIFA, National 4-H Council, the eXtension Foundation, and ECOP, will present the latest information about the partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the work of the Health Innovation Task Force, and the expanding health presence on Connect Extension. Register in advance at Webinar Registration - Zoom to either attend and/or receive the link to the recording

USDA Announces Castille as New NIFA Director - Dr. Carrie Castille has been named as the new, permanent director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. She started her role as NIFA director on Monday, January 4, 2021, and will be the first female NIFA director in a non-acting role. Dr. Castille has a wide range of experience with the agency as a NIFA stakeholder, a faculty member at a partner land-grant university, as a USDA colleague, and as a leader in both the Vilsack and Perdue USDA administrations. Having worked with NIFA in so many different aspects gives her a unique view of the organization and the customers served. 

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