Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Opportunity of a Life Time – the SARE Fellows Program

Are you interested in visiting farming operations in different parts of the country? Do you want to gain knowledge and skills in sustainable agriculture? Would you be interested in meeting innovative farmers and agri-business leaders across the country? Would you like to interact with other agriculture Extension colleagues and discuss sustainability issues? If any of these questions grabbed your attention, you might consider applying to become a SARE Fellow.

Each year, four NACAA members are selected, one from each region, to participate in the SARE Fellows program. Over a two-year period, the SARE Fellows travel to a different region of the country in the spring and the fall for a 3-4 day concentrated learning experience. These trainings are arranged by the SARE professional development program coordinator of the host state. The SARE Fellows Program is sponsored by USDA-SARE and NACAA

The SARE Fellows class of 2009 recently completed their two-year experience that included trainings in Georgia/South Carolina, Wisconsin,/Iowa, Washington,/Idaho and Maine. A presentation of their experience is planned for the NACAA AM/PIC in Kansas in 2011.

SARE Fellows on a wheat operation owned by John Aeischelman in Washington state.  It was taken April 2010.  Names of individuals from L to R include:  Mark Kopecky WI; Norman Suverly WA, Stephen Komar NJ, Steve Van Vleet WA, John Aeischelman - grower; Mark Blevins NC, Al Kurki, WY, Joran Viers NM, Vance Hogan WI and Mike Gastier OH.

SARE Fellow, Mike Gastier of Ohio writes, “In my part of the world, corn and soybeans dominate the landscape so it’s easy to forget the vast diversity of agriculture across our country. Even more diverse perhaps are the agricultural producers that make their living here. The SARE Fellows program offered me three very unique opportunities. First was the chance to see and to begin to understand the production systems of ag products that are unfamiliar to me. Second was the opportunity to meet agricultural producers that are striving to be sustainable. Third and the part that I will miss the most at the conclusion of my Fellowship is the chance to share this experience with other Extension professionals and to discuss our experience down to the philosophical core.”

Gastier continues, “The SARE Fellows program was the single best experience in my Extension career. The program opened my eyes and my mind to many facets of sustainable agriculture that I had never considered previously. Much of that enlightenment came from the other Fellows, many of whom I hope will be life long friends. Thanks to SARE and to all of the Fellows that made the trips so outstanding.

SARE Fellow, Steve Van Vleet of Washington State University writes, “I have worked for many different organizations throughout my career (USFS, USDA-ARS, NPS, Albany County Weed & Pest Control District, Washington State University, and private industry—Cyanamid & BASF), but have truly had the best experience and acquired the greatest knowledge as a SARE Fellow. Although I have worked on sustainable programs for the past 8 years, my passion for agriculture sustainability was never as ignited and as focused as since I became a SARE Fellow. Improved are: my understanding of sustainability, the challenges agriculture faces in working to become more sustainable while working to feed the world, and the true diversity of agriculture. I have had the opportunity to meet and discuss sustainability with whom I consider to be some of the finest agriculture producers in different but confined regions of the U.S. In addition to acquiring a wealth of information and ideas to bolster my Extension programs from the SARE Fellows Program, I have made valuable connections with other Extension colleagues, including my dear friends Mike Gastier and Richard Brzozowski.”

SARE Fellow, Richard Brzozowski of Maine writes, “We are grateful to NACAA and SARE for sponsoring the SARE Fellows program. It has been a career building experience that will definitely strengthen my efforts in assisting farmers and supporting Extension colleagues around sustainability.”

When applying to become a SARE Fellow, the deadline to submit your application to the Professional Improvement Council Chair is March 15, 2011. FMI see

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Southern Region Newsletter

The Fall 2010 issue of the NACAA Southern Region Newsletter is now available (click here).

In this issue:
  • Letter from Mike Sweat, Southern Regional Vice Director
  • President's Message
  • NACAA AM/PC in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Southern Region Update
  • Website Needs
  • NACAA Member Opportunities
  • State Meeting Schedule
  • 2010 NACAA Communcations Awards - Southern Region Winners
  • 2010 NACAA Southern Region DSA & AA Recipients
  • NACAA AM/PIC Dates
  • Southern Region Vice-Director Rotation
  • 2011 JCEP Leader Conference
  • 2011 PILD Conference
  • Awards Deadlines

Friday, August 20, 2010

50 Ways to Treat Your Pesticide publication available online

In the June, 2010 issue of the The County Agent there was an article by Carol Somody, Ph.D., Senior Stewardship Manager, Syngenta Crop Protection titled "50 Ways to Treat Your Pesticide".

This article is available as a publication suitable for printing at:, a low resolution version is at: or from the "The County Agent Magazine" link on the navigation bar on the NACAA website.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Outstanding Young Farmer Program presentation

On June 22, 2010 the Ag Issues and Public Relations Committee held a webinar on the Outstanding  Young Farmer Program.  You can watch the recording of the Elluminate session here.

Dan Downing, National AI&PR Committee Chair led this webinar and gave some background for the Outstanding Young Farmer Program, which is supported and sponsored by the Jaycees, John Dear, Outstanding Farmers of America Fraternity and the NACAA.

The purposes of the OYF program are to improve conditions for American farmers, improve urban-rural relations, show appreciation for farmer contributions and achievements and more. 

In the session, Dan also explains the nomination process, the national competition and more.

Please take 25 minutes and learn all about the Outstanding Young Farmer Program.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Special Presentation: Understanding Social Comfort to Improve Social Tool Adoption

eXtension has arranged a special presentation by a 'big name' speaker - Thomas Vander Wal.

If you are interested in using social media, this should be a good session to attend.

March 24, 2010
at 2:00-3:30 PM Eastern Time

There are three elements around social comfort to keep in mind when selecting and using social computing tools to interact with others: Social comfort with people; Social comfort with tools; and Social comfort with subject matter. These components of social comfort are factors that cause unease with most people outside the early adopters and those with technical ease with these tools and services. Thomas Vander Wal will discuss each of these three components of social comfort to help move social tools more toward mainstream adoption.

Thomas Vander Wal is Principal & Senior Consultant of InfoCloud Solutions, Inc. ( In Thomas' more than 20 years as a professional in information services and web he has worked in many industries and in many roles. He has always been the problem solver and the person who can see the big picture and put it into details to get it accomplished.

Thomas coined folksonomy in 2004 as part of his interest with how a novel approach to tagging aids a person refinding information and is also used to augment other information structuring methods so to help other people find information. Thomas also presents and provides training at many conferences, workshops, and in-house events. Thomas presents and leads discussions at many events across the U.S. and Europe on a broad range of topics including: folksonomy, Personal InfoCloud, social software, information architecture, design, web standards, ubiquitous computing (ubicom), tagging, and designing for use and reuse of information across devices.

This session will be broadcast and use your computers speakers for audio, not your phone. Audience interaction will include opportunities to use built-in chat capabilities. Plan to join the session 5 minutes before the starting time. The session will be held at 2:00 Eastern Time (1:00p.m. CT, 12:00p.m. MT, 11:00 a.m. PT, 10:00a AT; 8:00a HT) (for all Extension).

Five (5) minutes before the announced time of a session, go to Enter as a Guest. When prompted, enter your name followed by your institution. (ex: Beth Raney, Penn State).

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Part 3 of the East Coast Agritourism Webinar Series

MARCH 16, 2010

This free webinar focuses on the principles of sound marketing that will be necessary for the successful positioning of your operation within targeted markets, and customer attraction. Specific topics will include an overview of the fundamentals of marketing (the “Four Ps”: product, price, placement and promotion), the development of a marketing plan, and available promotional resources for agritourism. Dr. Brian Schilling is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist and Associate Director of the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

First time users please join the session 15 minutes early to become familiar with the webinar interface. This Webinar will use Elluminate. If you have not yet participated in an Elluminate webinar then please go to for assistance setting up your computer. Do this at least 24 hours in advance of a live webinar in case you have any problems that need to be resolved. If you have any hardware or software issues you can call Elluminate Support at 1-866-388-8674, option 2. You will be prompted to download some software which may take anywhere from 2-20 minutes depending upon your Internet connection speed. The steps you will complete are as follows: 1) Click on the appropriate link for the webinar. 2) Check that you have java installed. If you do not, the screen will tell you how to download the latest version of java. 3) Make sure your speakers and/or microphone are set up correctly. You will need to enter the "configuration room" in order to test your audio setup. 4) Listen to the "recorded introduction" to get an overview of how to use Elluminate as a participant. This takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. Go to: links to other webinars in the series. For questions before the webinar e-mail the moderator, Stephen Komar

12:00 – 1:00

7:00 – 8:00

Printable flyer

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Agritourism - Is it right for me? - A free webinar

Accessing your resources webinar "Is Agritourism Right for Your Farm?" Part 2 of the East Coast Webinar Series will be offered on March 9, 2010 from 12-1 or 7-8pm by Tourism Extension, NCSU Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and NC Cooperative Extension.

The agritourism industry has grown substantially in recent years. Conducting agritourism activities on your farm can be a viable way to diversify your farm and provide additional income for your operation. Although agritourism activities may be a potential way to increase farm viability and income, the risks and added responsibilities associated with these activities are not well-suited to every farm or farmer. This webinar will help you assess your farming operation and help you decide if an agritourism operation is right for you. The instructor will be Stephen Komar, Agricultural Agent, forRutgers Cooperative Extension of Sussex County, NJ.

March 9, 2010
12:00 – 1:00 -
7:00 – 8:00 -

Free of Charge

This webinar will use Elluminate. You can go to for assistance setting up your computer. If you have any hardware or software issues you can call Elluminate support at 1-866-388-8674, option 2. The steps you will complete are as follows: 1) Click on the appropriate link above. 2) Check that you have java installed. If you do not, the screen will tell you how to download the latest version of java. 3) Make sure your speakers and/or microphone are set up correctly. You will need to enter the "configuration room" in order to test your audio setup. 4) Listen to the "recorded introduction" to get an overview of how to use Elluminate as a participant. This takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. For questions on the seminar, e-mail the moderator, Jenny Carleo

For links to other webinars in the East Coast Agritourism Webinar Series go to:

Friday, January 22, 2010

The December, 2009 The County Agent is posted

The December, 2009 issue of The County Agent is available online at:

This issue has information about the 2010 Professional Improvement and Awards Programs and the Committee Directory.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 Public Issues Leadership Development Conference

Presents the 2010 Public Issues Leadership Development Conference
April 26 – 28, 2010
Key Bridge Marriott
Arlington, Virginia

The 2010 Public Issues Leadership Development Conference (PILD) is designed to keep Extension professionals abreast of changing public issues that impact our communities and affect Extension programming. Open to Extension educators, Directors and Administrators, Specialists and State Volunteer Delegates, PILD provides the unique opportunity for participants to hear nationally recognized speakers, participate in relevant breakout sessions, network with peers from throughout the United States and connect with others who work in our National Capitol.

The early bird deadline for the PILD Conference is March 1

For more information on the PILD Conference and to register online, please visit:

JCEP also sponsors a panel presentation during the PILD Conference. Selected presenters will receive a waiver of their 2010 PILD registration fee. Deadline for submitting proposals is 5:00 pm, February 15, 2010. For more information, please visit the JCEP Web site listed above.