Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ag Issues & Public Relations Webinar – June 30th -10 am PST, 11 am MST, 12 pm CST and 1 pm EST

Ag Issues & Public Relations Webinar – June 30th -10 am PST, 11 am MST, 12 pm CST and 1 pm EST.

Webinar Topic: Agriculture’s Opportunity to Take a Role in Monarch Butterfly Conservation

The monarch butterfly is one of the most well-known and widely distributed butterflies in the United States.  Dozens of species of milkweed are acceptable larvae host plants, but over much of the eastern and central United States common milkweed and butterfly weed are a few of the most widely available.  Both species are strongly influenced by agricultural land use decisions and weed management practices.

A sharp decline in the population of this butterfly over the last decade has captured public and government attention.  The Corn Belt region of the U.S. is known as a high production area for breeding monarchs, but with the widespread loss of their larval host plants in the region due to the onset of herbicide tolerant crops, monarch and milkweed populations have diminished. While this has been identified as one of the chief causes of the monarch decline, conservationists are working to mitigate numerous threats throughout the North American range.

Public Opinion on Agriculture’s Impacts on the Monarch Butterfly

Public concern about B.t. toxins in the pollen of B.t. corn causing harm to monarch larvae is also apparent. Studies have shown that while this toxin can be detrimental to other Lepidoptera, including monarchs, it may not be as high of a conservation priority because exposure levels are lower.

Significant reduction of milkweed populations due to an increase in use of glyphosate-resistant GE corn is a more recent focus of public attention.  See http://www.mlmp.org/results/findings/pleasants_and_oberhauser_2012_milkweed_loss_in_ag_fields.pdf  for a published article documenting the reduction of milkweed availability and its impact on monarch populations.    

Butterfly weed, among other species, is a typical component of seed mixes used in conservation plantings.  High corn prices raised public concern that conservation plantings would be put into crop production, lessening natural habitat for many wildlife species, including monarchs.
These topics have generated a great deal of discussion amongst many partners looking to identify ways to collaborate on a viable solution for an iconic species.  

Scientific and Governmental Attention to the Monarch Butterfly Situation
A North American Monarch Conservation Plan was put forth in 2008 by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), an organization with representation from the United States, Canada and Mexico.  See http://www.mlmp.org/Resources/pdf/5431_Monarch_en.pdf

In February 2014 a joint statement was issued by President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.  It included:
            “Our governments will establish a working group to ensure the conservation
              of the Monarch butterfly, a species that symbolizes our association.”

In August of 2014 a petition to place the monarch on the federal threatened and endangered species list was presented to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.  Some groups disagree with this method of protection monarchs, but it has garnered a lot of public attention to the issue. The fate of this petition is still to be determined. The full petition can be found at http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/pdfs/Monarch_ESA_Petition.pdf.  

The U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service released information regarding $2 million in funding for monarch conservation in February of 2015.  For more information, see:

“Conservation and Management of Monarch Butterflies: A Strategic Framework” was published by Forest Service of the U.S.D.A. in March of 2015. 

There are a number of organizations and groups that are concerned with monarch conservation, two of the most authoritative are:

Monarch Joint Venture- http://monarchjointventure.org/

Erwin 'Duke' Elsner, Ph.D.
Small Fruit / Consumer Horticulture Educator
Michigan State University Extension
520 W. Front Street, Suite A, Traverse City, MI 49684   
phone: 231 922-4822  fax: 231-947-6783  email:  elsner@msu.edu

Duke Elsner has been an agricultural educator for Michigan State University Extension for 25 years, currently specializing in small fruit production and consumer horticulture.  He holds a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology, and has studied North American butterflies and moths for over 40 years.  He is a former president of the Michigan Association of Extension Agents and the Michigan Entomological Society. 

Wendy Caldwell is the coordinator of the Monarch Joint Venture, a national partnership working to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. In this position, she works with over 30 partner organizations across the U.S. to protect and restore habitat for monarchs and other pollinators. Prior to her role with the Joint Venture, Wendy worked for Dr. Karen Oberhauser at the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, leading the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project and assisting with research efforts and educational workshops for teachers.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes Conference

Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes Conference (October 12-14, 2015) The registration process is now open at:  http://events.anr.msu.edu/event.cfm?folder=PPOL
This professional development opportunity will be limited to the first 170 participants so please register early if you wish to ensure your attendance. The program is jointly sponsored by Michigan State University and North Carolina State University.
See this article for more details:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

NACAA AM/PIC Early Bird & Pre-tour Reg. Deadlines - this Friday - May 15th

Just a reminder that this Friday - May 15th at midnight (CST) - is the final date to take advantage of the early-bird registration fee. On Saturday - May 16th the fee will jump $100 for everyone.  On-line Registration can be completed at https://okzyhxiuzf.formstack.com/forms/?1959638-MIUG7m8VIw
If your mailing in your hard copy registration form, if postmarked by the 15th - you'll get the early-bird fee.
Pre-Tour registrations will also conclude this Friday.  For the Soils Pre-Tour...you register online thru the AM/PIC registration.
Horticulture Pre-Tour - http://www.nacaa.com/awards/apps/ - then
select the Horticulture Pre-AM/PIC Workshop & Tour.
Animal Science Pre-Tour - http://www.nacaa.com/awards/apps/ - then
select the Animal Science Pre-AM/PIC Workshop & Tour.
Hoping to see you all in Sioux Falls!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The First National Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes Conference

The First National Protecting Pollinators in
Ornamental Landscapes Conference
Save the Date—Registration Opening Soon!
Date: October 13, 2015 and October 14, 2015

The First National Conference on Protecting Pollinators in the Ornamental Landscape will take place October 13 and 14, 2015 at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. Hosted by Michigan State University and North Carolina State University, this conference is intended for extension educators, academic and industry researchers, growers, and representatives of related industries interested in or involved with ornamental plant production or maintenance.

Sessions will include research presentations and discussions on topics such as: Function of urban pollinators, threats to pollinators, impacts of neonicotinoids and other pesticides, pollinator-safe products and strategies, and educating the public about pollinators. Registration will be opening in May 2015. For more information, visit www.ornamentalpollinators.org and look for more details to come!

Hosted by Michigan State University and North Carolina State University

Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 NACAA AM/PIC “First Timers” Webinar

2015 NACAA AM/PIC “First Timers” Webinar
Presented by NACAA – Early Career Development Committee
Thursday, April 30, 2015
12:00 PM Central Time

Join WebEx meeting

Meeting number: 743 125 300
Meeting password: NACAA2015
 Click on the Join WebEx meeting above or click on the link to participate: 

To test your technology follow the Join a Meeting Test link: https://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html

Have you ever wondered about some of the opportunities at an Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement? Have you ever wondered exactly what do I get for attending these conferences? This webinar can be helpful if you answered yes to either question. The NACAA Early Career Development Committee will provide a presentation regarding the NACAA AM/PIC to be held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota from July 12-16th.

The South Dakota Association of Agricultural Extension Professionals (SDAAEP) and the NACAA Early Career Development Committee would like to extend an invitation and encourage you to attend the 2015 NACAA AM/PIC. We are very excited about this year’s event and confident that the program offers opportunities for program sharing, motivational speakers, and meeting others from across the U.S. Plus, the registration fee for any first timer with less than 10 years of experience is FREE!

The first step you need to take is getting registered. For someone new to the NACAA AM/PIC, this can be somewhat of a daunting task. There is a very comprehensive schedule to navigate through and numerous decisions that need to be made on what to attend. The NACAA Early Career Development Committee is offering a free webinar that will hopefully make your decision to attend the NACAA AM/PIC process much easier.

An hour-long webinar will be held on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. Central Time. We plan to highlight the benefits of attending the NACAA AM/PIC, what events and activities first timers and others can and should attend throughout the week and finally we will take you through the steps of the registration process. This will be a live webinar so be sure to ask questions. We are planning to record the webinar and will provide details on how to access the recorded presentation. Further questions can be directed to Nathan Winter at 320-484-4303 or by e-mail at wint0146@umn.edu

Also, NEW in 2015 the first timer orientation and welcome will be fun, fast-paced, and energizing to learn more about NACAA AM/PIC. You will not need to worry about feeling confused or lost as a first timer as you will be matched up with an experienced mentor for the conference! Yes, you will meet a fellow Extension professional that will help you successfully navigate your first AM/PIC. Excited yet? I know we certainly are as these are new things previously never offered to first timers!! For someone new to the AM/PIC registration process, we understand that there are many decisions that must be made. To aid in your registration process, there are various resources available. The County Agent magazine is a great place to start along with the Ag Agent’s conference website (https://agagents.wordpress.com/).

Two events that First Timer’s are encouraged to attend are:

First Timer’s Reception on Sunday July 12th, 2015
First Timer’s Luncheon on Monday July 13th, 2015

Questions regarding these events can be directed to Lindsay or Jenny:
Co-Chair:  Lindsay Chichester, Nebraska, lindsay.chichester@unl.edu
Co-Chair:  Jenny Rees, Nebraska, jenny.rees@unl.edu

Thank you,

Nathan Winter 
Early Career Development Committee, Chair

Thursday, March 26, 2015

NACAA 2015 AM/PIC Registration Now Open - Magazine in the Mail

Early-Bird Registration for the 2015 AM/PIC in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (July 12-16, 2015) - is now officially open and will run through May 15, 2015.  The April, 2015 edition of The County Agent was placed in the mail today.  Realizing that it may take several days for the magazine to travel across the country and be in everyone's hands - an electronic copy of the magazine can be found at http://www.nacaa.com/countyagent/2015-01.pdf.  This edition of the magazine highlights AM/PIC activities and includes the registration form.  On-line registration can also now be completed at the following link https://okzyhxiuzf.formstack.com/forms/?1959638-MIUG7m8VIw
This link can also be accessed at the NACAA website at www.nacaa.com  underneath the AM/PIC logo where it says "2015 AM/PIC Registration".
In the printed edition of the magazine soon to arrive in the mail, there is one modification to the registration form which has been made in the online version (as well as in the on-line registration).  The Soils Pre-Tour mentioned in the magazine - was supposed to have a spot on the registration form (page 36) to pay the registration fee.  The line was inadvertently left out of the printed magazine.  If you plan to submit a paper copy of your registration forms and plan attend this pre-tour - you will need to go to the magazine link listed above - and download the revised registration form - which shows this change.  As mentioned above, this change has already been added to the on-line registration, so for the 85-90% of you who register on-line....there is no change, the option to participate in the Pre-Tour is listed.
Please let me know if you have any questions or problems with the online registration process.  We do our best to make sure there aren't any "bugs" in the registration system, so if you find any, please let me know and I'll do my best to get it fixed as quick as possible.

NACAA Executive Director
Scott Hawbaker
6584 W. Duroc Road
Maroa, IL 61756
Phone: 217-794-3700
Fax: 217-794-5901
Email: nacaaemail@aol.com
Web: http://nacaa.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Recording of Public Relations & Ag Issues Webinar on GMO now available

The recent Webinar held by the Public Relations & Ag Issues Committee on "GMO's" is now available at http://breeze.wsu.edu/p7pwkr5s0em/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

This Webinar - along with other webinars held by NACAA in the past can be found at:  http://www.nacaa.com/countyagent/Webinars.php