Wednesday, December 7, 2016

NACAA Partners with Explorations by Thor to offer Professional Improvement Tours Abroad


NACAA Partners with Explorations by Thor to offer Professional Improvement Tours Abroad

For the past two years - Alex Thor of Explorations by Thor, has attended the NACAA AM/PIC to find out more about NACAA and make his international tour business known to NACAA membership.  What he and the NACAA board have determined - is that there is a "fit" between our two organizations which meets one of the primary objectives of NACAA - to offer Professional Improvement opportunities to NACAA members.  The first of many tour options is now coming to fruition.  Below - please find the first travel opportunity being made available to NACAA members, friends and family.  The agenda is listed below - along with links on how to go about signing up. Additional tour agendas will be forthcoming over the next several months.


NACAA Horticulture & Master Gardeners Tour
 France & Malta
April 25 - May 6, 2017


Day 1 (Tuesday, April 25) - Depart the U.S. for an overnight flight to Paris, France.

Day 2 (Wednesday, April 26) - Morning arrival in Roissy Charles de Gaulle International Airport where you will meet your English speaking guide.  Departure to Giverny (90km) with lunch on the way.  Visit the famous Monet’s gardens in Giverny.  Claude Monet called this place home for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926.  With a passion for gardening as well as for colors, this founder of Impressionist painting created a number of famous true works of art at this scenic garden.  Transfer and check into your hotel.
Overnight Honfleur
(L,D) 

Day 3 (Thursday, April 27) - Departure to Varengeville-sur-Mer (65 km). Visit the fabulous gardens of Bois des Moutiers with one of the family members of the owner.  The 30 acre park is located in a valley facing the sea created on acidic soil, which allows the growth of many rare species, in total contrast to the local vegetation.  The gardens were established at the time Dieppe hosted artists and writers in the late nineteenth century.  Later, depart Moutiers by the shaded path to the old church of Varengeville and its marine cemetery at the top of the cliffs.  Stop for lunch on the way to an apple cider producer’s farm for a visit and tasting.  Next, visit Astredhor, the regional association of horticultural experimentation.  This organization aims to help both producers and community resources work together to improve horticultural production with environmental requirements and techniques in mind. 
Overnight Honfleur
(B,L,D) 

Day 4 (Friday, April 28) - After breakfast, travel to the World War II historic area of Normandy and walk along Omaha Beach and see the memorial monument. Make a short stop to a Military Cemetery where over thousands of soldiers who died in the Normandy campaign are buried.  After lunch, visit an oyster producer.  Enjoy a guided tour to this oyster production park located on the beach and learn how to open an oyster with a tasting!  Afterwards, visit Levavasseur Nursery, a 200 year old family owned nursery that focuses on hedge plants.
(Overnight Le Mans) 
(B,L,D)

Day 5 (Saturday, April 29) - Departure to the Loire Valley, with a length of 280 km (174 mi) and covering 800 km2 (309 mi2), the area has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its living cultural landscape.  Visit the château and gardens of Villandry which is a Renaissance château located at the heart of three levels of terraced gardens.  It is the last of the great Renaissance châteaux to have been built on the banks of the Loire River.  Although the estate is renowned for the harmony of its architecture, it is especially well-known for its gardens that spread across three terraces combining esthetics, diversity, and harmony.  Lunch and visit the château and gardens of Chenonceau, once a royal residence as property of the crown.  It is a truly exceptional site, being built along the Cher River and is second only to Versailles as the most visited château in France.
(Overnight Tours)
(B,L,D)

Day 6 (Sunday, April 30) - Visit to Chaumont-sur-Loire’s Park, you will see that from the outside of the castle which overlooks the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Loire Valley, is a fine illustration of both the defensive architecture of the Gothic period and the more leisure-inspired style of the Renaissance.  A natural belvedere overlooking the Loire, offers one of the most beautiful views of this royal river, the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire that extends over an area of 75 acres.  The estate is comprised of the castle (15C-19C), stables and landscaped park designed by Henri Duchêne.  This area is also the venue for the International Garden Festival (late April to mid-October).  The estate is also currently hosting installations by contemporary artists and exhibitions by famous photographers.  Following lunch, travel to Versailles Palace and Gardens. First, you will have a special guided tour of the beautiful gardens designed by Le Notre. Then continue with a tour (audio guides included) of France’s most famous and prestigious castle of Kings that will give you a chance to see the unique Hall of Mirrors and all of the King and Queen’s apartments.
(Overnight Paris) 
(B,L,D)

Day 7 (Monday, May 1) - Visit Albert Kahn’s gardens, where guests can experience horticulture models from different areas such as Europe, America, Africa and Asia in the 7 variations of gardens in this 4 hectare (10 acre) site.  After lunch, enjoy an extensive 2 hour city tour of Paris.  All of the world famous classics will be on the itinerary from the Champs Elysées, to the Louvre, Notre Dame, Latin Quarter and more!
(Overnight Paris)
(B,L,D)

Day 8 (Tuesday, May 2) - Departure to the airport and flight to the island of Malta located in the central portion of the Mediterranean Sea.  Meet your guide as you depart the airport and enjoy lunch.  Next, take an afternoon walking tour of the capital city of Valetta which will allow you to discover the Upper Barraka Gardens, which offer a splendid view of the Grand Harbour.  You will then visit St. John’s Co-Cathedral, with its magnificent decorations dating back to the time of the Knights, includes the cathedral museum as well as the oratory to view the famous Caravaggio masterpiece: The Beheading of St. John.  The last stop will be ‘The Malta Experience’, a slideshow on a big screen that traces the history of Malta.
(Overnight Valleta)  
(B,L,D)

Day 9 (Wednesday, May 3) - Visit the beautiful President’s Kitchen Garden in Malta. The Kitchen Garden is one of the most historical gardens in Malta.  The beautiful garden belongs to the San Anton Palace and has been providing the palace with vegetables since the time of the Knights.  Next, pay a visit to San Anton Gardens.  From 1802 until 1964, San Anton Palace was the official residence of the British Governor, after which it remained a state building and is now the residence of the Maltese President.  Various heads of state have visited the gardens over the years and numerous plaques mark their ceremonial tree planting.  The garden is a botanical delight with mature trees, old stone urns, fountains, ponds and formal flower beds.  The garden also holds a wide variety of plants and flowers, such as Jacaranda trees, Norfolk Pines, Bougainvillea and roses.  Lunch and visit to Villa Bologna: a charming, elegant and welcoming 18th century Maltese country house, still lived in by successors of the family that built it in 1745.  The stunning Villa Bologna Garden is one of the finest examples of a historic Maltese garden.  Split in two sections– the old garden and the new – you can actually see how there were two stages of development here, with some spaces crafted during the baroque era and others later.
(Overnight Valleta)  
(B,L,D)

Day 10 (Thursday, May 4) - Meet a botanist professor from the University in charge of the Argotti Botanical Gardens and visit one of the botanical gardens.  Situated in Floriana, the Argotti Gardens were laid out in the 18th century as a private garden belonging to Grand Master Pinto.  The gardens became botanical a century later, with a rich collection of trees and shrubs from oaks to oleanders and potted plants, especially cacti.  The gardens also hold a variety of water features – fountains, ponds and water towers.  The private section has a number of both indigenous and foreign plants.  There is a small horticultural museum housed in part of the villa exhibiting seeds, plant pressing equipment, gardening maps and records.  Lunch and a landscape reading activity will take you on a remarkable site that will allow you to understand how, on the scale of a small territory, this landscape allowed people to create communities, agricultural areas and urban development and how it relates to local issues.
(Overnight Valleta) 
(B,L,D)

Day 11 (Friday, May 5) - The day will begin with a Harbour cruise where you can gaze at the impressive defensive architecture of the Knights of St. John and admire the creeks of the Port of Marsamxett and the Grand Harbour.  This excursion will end with a panoramic tour by coach of the marinas of Ta’ Xbiex and Msida, the bastions of Valletta and the Lower Barrakka Gardens.  Next, visit an apiculture centre to discover the traditional methods of bee breeding and the extraction of local honey.  A 15-minute commentary will be followed by a tasting session of different honeys.  You will then be able to visit the apiary.  The final tour of the day will be to an olive grove where the different methods of the olive culture used throughout the centuries will be explained. This culture dates back to the Phoenician and Roman domination establishing the olive trade of our times, and which eventually an industry boosted by the local farmers became popular.  You will then have the opportunity to witness the olive pressing, the oil separation and bottling (generally in September and October). The sampling of different qualities of olive oil will conclude this highly interesting visit, all this accompanied by dried tomatoes, goat cheese, Maltese bread and local wine.
(Overnight Valleta)  
(B,L,D)

Day 12 (Saturday, May 6) -  After breakfast, take a flight from Malta to Paris to connect with your return flight home.
(B)


“This itinerary  is subject to change without prior approval.  Please note that if a last minute cancellation occurs, a replacement technical visit of equal value will be arranged.”

Included: 20 passengers - Estimated per person $3,650 based on double occupancy, single room supplement upon request
Accommodations (10 nights)
Transportation
Bi-Lingual Guide/Driver
Tours/Technical Visits
Gratuities for guide
Meals as indicated on itinerary (30 meals)
B= Breakfast
L= Lunch
D= Dinner
Roundtrip airfare France to Malta

Not Included:
International Airfare (Roundtrip estimated $500-$1300 depending on departure city)
Cost of valid U.S. passport or other documents necessary for travel to France/Malta
Upgrades on Travel insurance coverage (optional)
Airline seat upgrades
Excess baggage fees
Souvenirs
Leisure activities on free days
Hotel charges for incidentals, including telephone calls, pay per view movies, mini bars, and snack trays, personal laundry, room service, and hotel penalties for smoking in hotel rooms.


Payment Schedule:
January 15, 2017- $650 non refundable deposit
March 1 , 2017- $1,500
April 1, 2017- $1,500

*3% credit card transaction fee

For more information please see the following links:

Travel Information Form

Itinerary with photos

Terms & Conditions


Contact info:
EXPLORATIONS BY THOR
P.O. Box 22332 Lexington, KY 40522
Phone: 859.533.1965 or 859.533.5474
donna@explorationsbythor.com

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Journal of the NACAA - New Articles Now Posted

Dear NACAA Members,

Volume 9 Issue 2 of the Journal of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents is now available online at: http://www.nacaa.com/journal. Titles and authors are shown below.

The next deadline for submission to the Journal is March 15, 2017, for the June 1, 2017 issue. A 2 ½ month turnaround time for peer review and publication is extremely fast. I encourage you to take advantage of that fact to bring the timeliest information to your colleagues and ag/hort professionals. The guidelines for submission can be found here: http://www.nacaa.com/journal/instructions.php.

Schultz, M.M.; Anderson, M.J.

Mullenix, M.K.; Tucker, J.J.; Anderson, L.K.; Rodning, S.P.; Tigue, A.; Marks, L.

Blair, A.D.; Underwood, K.R.; Zuelly, S.M.S.; Anderson, J.; Johnson, J.E.

Daniels, C. H.; Miller, Megan M.

Doye, D. ; Sahs, R.

Theisen, M.; Schweihofer, J.P.

Neufeld, J. ; Agenbroad, A; Guggenheim, R.; Hirnyck, R.

Lemus, R. ; White, J.A.

Fitzgerald, C.B. ; Hutton, M.

Cantaluppi, C. J.

Flanders, A.

The Journal of the NACAA is a peer reviewed publication that is recognized by the Library of Congress. It accepts articles on original research, applied research, case studies, and commentaries. Practically any successful Extension professional is doing something worthy of publication in our journal. Successfully publishing in a peer reviewed journal is one of the best ways to improve your resume and/or curriculum vitae.

Have a question about submitting an article to the Journal? Send me an email, we’ll talk.

Sincerely,
Lee Stivers

Lee Stivers
National Chair and Editor
Journal of the NACAA
Penn State Extension, Washington County
100 West Beau Street, Suite 601
Washington, PA 15301
Phone) 724-228-6881
Fax) 724-228-6883

Thursday, November 17, 2016

NACAA Technology Webinar Recording Available

NACAA Technology Webinar Recording Available


Hello Fellow NACAA Members,

Yesterday’s NACAA Teaching and Educational Technology committee webinar (Sarah Smith presenting “WSU Carcass Calculator App: From Development to Use”) was recorded and is archived at http://breeze.wsu.edu/p3rrfwuv0eu/. This webinar introduced the WSU Livestock Carcass Grade & Cutability Calculator app, which calculates carcass yield grade, dressing percentages, and cutability of beef, pork, and lamb carcasses from carcass data. It also estimates yield grade or cutability from live animal data. The webinar explains how the app was created and demonstrates how to use it.

We’ll have more webinars in January and February, 2017; details to follow.

This link and other Webinars which have been conducted by NACAA can be found at:  


Susan Kerr, DVM, PhD, PAS
Washington State University
Northwest Regional Livestock and Dairy Extension Specialist
Northwestern Research and Extension Center
16650 St. Rt. 536
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
360-848-6151
kerrs@wsu.edu

WSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Announcing the “$20 on the 17th” Fundraising Campaign

Announcing the “$20 on the 17th” Fundraising Campaign
Not many organizations or businesses have an opportunity to reach milestones seven years early. In 2017, (hence $20 on the 17th idea).  We are 7 years away from 2025 and closer to our $1 Million goal for the NACAA Educational Foundation.  What if we could reach this goal early? 
That would be great, did I hear you say?  Well here is an opportunity for us to help our NACAA Educational Foundation reach that goal and possibly raise more than $1Million.  This could provide even more scholarships and possibly fund future professional endeavors of our present and future members.

We are excited to announce as part of a special initiative:  The “$20 on the 17th” Fundraising Campaign!  The specific goal in mind:  is to help the NACAA Educational Foundation reach their financial goal of $1 Million before the year 2025.

How can NACAA members become involved?  We would like every member, active and life, to make a gift of $20 on the 17th of a month during 2016-2017.  You can also pick more months than one.  For example, if you decide to do one quarter of the year your donation would be $60 (that will cover your initial investment of $40 and qualify you for a $1,000 Scholarship); if you do half of the year your donation would be $120 (that would cover your total investment of $100 and would qualify you for your maximum of $2,000 in scholarships); for the entire year the payment would be $240.  All of these will also give you a tax deductible donation.   

If a member is not vested in the scholarship program, a contribution of $40 will vest the member for their opportunity to apply for up to $1,000 in scholarships through NACAA.  A contribution of $100 is required to apply for scholarships up to $2,000.  Members who become vested through this campaign may apply for scholarships in 2018.  As another option, you can spilt your donation between 2016 and 2017 to get tax credit in two years.

Our goal is to have all our membership be a part of this effort.  We are asking for participation from both active and life members.  If you can give $20 for one month or up to twelve, please consider some level of giving to honor our NACAA Educational Foundation goal early.

What is the timeframe?  Collections will start immediately, and the $20 on the 17th fund drive will conclude by June 1, 2017.  This will give us an opportunity to reveal our final fund drive totals at our 2017 AM/PIC in Salt Lake City, Utah.

How do I send a donation?  Checks should be made payable to the NACAA Educational Foundation and sent to:
Dwane Miller, NACAA Scholarship Chair
1202 Ag Center Drive
Pottsville, PA 17901
Please include $20 on the 17th on the memo line of your check, so we can accurately track contributions toward this effort.

Contributions can also be made online at www.nacaa.com - scroll to the bottom and hit the "Donate here" button.  Monthly recurring donation option is available.

Through strong leadership and dedication, NACAA members, active and life, can be proud to say we reached and exceeded out $1 Million goal early!

Another potential the NACAA Educational Foundation is working on is how to make it easier for member to give to the NACAA Educational Foundation is through your Estate Planning Documents…. More to come on this in the near future. 

Remember your cash donations to the NACAA Educational Foundation’s “$20 on the 17th” fund drive are 100% tax deductible.

Thank you!

Cynthia Gregg, NACAA Past President
Rick Gibson, NACAA Educational Foundation
Dwane Miller, NACAA Scholarship Committee

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Teaching and Educational Technologies Webinars

The first two in a series of free webinars sponsored by the NACAA Teaching and Educational Technology committee are listed below. Both can be accessed at this webinar location on their respective dates: http://breeze.wsu.edu/nacaawebinar/.

Nov. 16, 2016
11 AM Pacific Time
Sarah Smith
“WSU Carcass Calculator App:  From Development to Use”
The WSU Livestock Carcass Grade & Cutability Calculator app calculates carcass yield grade, dressing percentages, and cutability of beef, pork, and lamb carcasses from carcass data. It also estimates yield grade or cutability from live animal data. This webinar will explain how the app was created and demonstrate how to use it.

Jan. 17, 2017
11 AM Pacific Time
Trevor Lane, Jordan Tampien and Natalie Kinion
“There’s an App for That!”
With so many options and choices for smart phone apps and other technology, many people have a hard time sorting through the best apps.  This webinar is designed to educate Extension professionals how to better use technology, specifically smart phone technology, to enhance their productivity.  The webinar will teach tips and tricks to assist with everything from organization and teamwork to data collection and communication, and even touch on interactive media and graphic design. These skills will launch attendees into the next level -- even those who are “technologically resistant.”

Susan Kerr, DVM, PhD, PAS
Washington State University
Northwest Regional Livestock and Dairy Extension Specialist
Northwestern Research and Extension Center
16650 St. Rt. 536
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
360-848-6151

Thursday, October 13, 2016

October 2016 edition of The County Agent - now available online

The October edition of The County Agent magazine has recently been mailed.  For those of you who have indicated a desire to receive the printed edition - look for it in the mail over the next several days (it may take several days to reach everyone).  For those of you who subscribe to the electronic version only - it can now be found online at http://www.nacaa.com/countyagent/2016-03.pdf


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Puerto Rico Joins the National Association County of Agricultural Agents


       On Tuesday, December 1st NACAA Southern Region Director, Lenny Rogers, with the assistance of Florida County Extension Director and Puerto Rican native, Jonael Bosques landed in Puerto Rico with the mission of learning about and trying to unite the Puerto Rican Agents’ Association and NACAA.  
The first stop was the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Cooperative Extension Service office in Moca where Professor Edrick Marrero, County Extension Ag Agent, welcomed them and outlined the next two days of visits he would lead them in.  One of the main initial visits was the UPR, Mayaguez where they visited with the Agriculture Dean, Dr. Raul Macchiavelli and several other agriculture faculty, including professors and Extension specialists.  Afterwards they then traveled to the Lajas Agriculture Experimental Station where Professor Anibal Ruiz greeted them and then led them on a tour of the vegetable, fruit tree and rice demonstration plots.  Surprisingly one of their major pests in the produce plots are invasive green iguanas (Iguana iguana) native from Central and South America. These creatures have no predators in the island and can get up to 6 feet in length! 
From there over the next day and a half they met with several UPR Extension Agents and visited beef, dairy, plantain, breadfruit, banana, pineapple, orange, lemon, papaya, coffee and other type farms.  The banana growing/harvesting process is amazing.  During the growing season, they bag the huge bunches of bananas with perforated plastic white bags while still hanging on the tree and insert pheromone cards for repelling insects.  Then during the harvesting process these huge bunches are cut, transported and then hung on huge hanging rolling racks.  Here then smaller bunches of 4-7 bananas are cut off, dropped in a cleaning water solution, then lifted out, placed in plastic crates where dried and then moved into large cooling units until shipped. 
The coffee production process was also very interesting.  Here the bushes were hand-picked, placed in baskets, hauled to the processing area, a machine then removed the pulp from the bean, then the beans were dried in a heated forced air chamber, then air dried on racks, then moved on into the coffee bean roasting oven.  Once the beans were roasted they were ready to be ground and sold. 
The final day, Lenny Rogers and Jonael Bosques both spoke to all of the Puerto Rican agents in Arecibo at the Puerto Rico Agriculture Agent Association Annual Meeting.  Outgoing president, Professor Karen Bengoa, Extension Agent from Yauco, welcomed them with open arms and truly embraced their visit.  Here through the Puerto Ricans bi-lingual ability and through a power point translated in Spanish, thanks to Florida Agent – Elena Toro, Lenny and Jonael were able to communicate quite well with the group.  They shared the many benefits of being a member of NACAA:  awards programs, scholarship program, poster contest, professional development, county agent magazine, webinars, etc.  Then they shared more detailed information on last year’s AM/PIC in Sioux Falls, SD.  Last year there was over 400 hours of professional development offered via multiple presentations, 28 different educational agricultural tours, 17 different educational agribusiness sponsored lunches, and much more.  Many pictures were also shared of the 2015 AMPIC. 
The agents in Puerto Rico received the invitation openly, several wanted to pay their dues and join that day.  Dean Raul Macchiavelli and Extension Director Luis Mejia-Maymí, both present at this annual meeting, were very supportive of the agents joining NACAA.  They agreed to find funds to assist some of their members attending our next AM/PIC which will be in Little Rock, AR this year. 

Since the efforts in December by NACAA, the new Puerto Rican Agents’ Association President, Professor Irving Rodriguez has submitted a letter to the NACAA Board, requesting their acceptance into our National Association.  On January 13th the NACAA Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve The Puerto Rico Association of Agricultural Agents as an official National member.  We are excited to have them on board and we look forward to a long and beneficial relationship in the future.