Monday, January 27, 2014

NACAA Communication Award Program Rules Clarification

The Communications Award program committee would like to clarify a few rules for each member to consider prior to submitting award applications/abstracts this year.
Our rules in the County Agent Magazine say, "Entries must have been used by the member between March 15, 2013 and March 15, 2014." This rule is straightforward for most of the categories. 
It is important to note that we want to know when the piece was USED FIRST WITH AN AUDIENCE, not necessarily when it  was WRITTEN or PUBLISHED.  Therefore the published date is not necessarily within the time frame of March 15, 2013 to March 15, 2014.  Often times it is impossible to write, publish, and  introduce a piece to an audience plus determine impact in a 12 month period.   We ask people in the abstract how it was used, what the impact was, etc. That speaks to the USE of the piece not the PUBLICATION of the piece. 
What does this mean?
If the publication date falls outside the program year dates in the County Agent, but the piece was first used in programming within the program year, please provide an explanation addressing this in your abstract.  If it is not addressed in the abstract, the judge(s ) might not give you the benefit of doubt when he/she sees the publication date on the item. 
Additionally, the score sheets have changed this year to reflect the importance of the abstract.  Please follow the rules and the sample format for all NACAA abstracts on page 13 of the County Agent magazine.  It is imperative that your abstract is done this way. The score sheets are available on the NACAA website for your convenience.
Extension editors and/or other paraprofessional Extension Communication specialists are not eligible.  Communications Committee State, Regional and National Chairs are not eligible to participate in this program unless they are one member of a team entry with another person as the primary entrant.    (We receive this question quite frequently)
Class 2 Published Photo, Class 5 personal column and Class 7 - Individual newsletter,  are open to individual entries only.  All other classes are open to entries from one or more NACAA members.
As always, the Communications Committee members are  willing to answer any questions you have.  Please don't hesitate to give us a call or an email with your particular situation. 
It is our pleasure to showcase the talents of our colleagues from across the country through this prestigious competition.  You all do good work and we want to show it off!

Sherri Sanders
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
White County
Office: 501-268-5394
Cell: 501-230-9972

Friday, January 10, 2014

February 18 - Crops and Soil Health Forums to Take Place This Winter at Hundreds of Locations Nationwide

You are invited to attend a free, live broadcast of the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health and discuss how to build soil health, improve yields, curb erosion, manage pests and build resilience in your farming system. On Feb. 18, locations in every state across the country will host Cover Crops and Soil Health Forums where farmers will have the opportunity to learn from one another while exploring local and national perspectives on cover crops.

Facilitated discussions on local issues pertaining to cover crops will follow a live-streamed broadcast of opening sessions from the national conference, including a dialogue with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (invited) and Howard G. Buffett, plus a panel discussion with expert farmers. Because the national conference attendance is limited, the local forums represent a way to include farmers, educators and researchers across the country in the emerging conversation about the use and benefits of cover crops.

"This will be a great opportunity for farmers interested in cover crops and soil health to meet up with like-minded individuals from their local area to discuss both local and national issues related to cover crops," said Dr. Rob Myers, conference chairman and Regional Director of Extension Programs, North Central Region SARE. "We hope that farmers will come prepared with questions and ideas that they can feed back to USDA about programs and assistance needed for cover crops and soil health."
Attendees of the local forums will also have the opportunity to contribute ideas and comments on cover crops and soil health back to the leadership group at the national conference. These comments will be collected by staff at the local sites as part of the local discussion process.

The Cover Crops and Soil Health Forums will be held on Feb. 18 at over 200 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Extension offices nationwide, and are being organized in conjunction with the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health in Omaha, Neb. Both the national conference and the local forums are jointly funded by SARE and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, with planning support from NRCS, the Midwest Cover Crops Council and the Soil and Water Conservation Society. The Omaha conference is invitation only; the local forums are open to the public.

For more information about the Cover Crops and Soil Health Forums and a list of forum locations, visit

North Central SARE funded a national survey of farmers who have grown cover crops, and found that during the 2012 drought, corn and soybean fields that had been cover cropped yielded 9.6 percent to 14.3 percent better than fields that had not been cover cropped. And with an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million acres of cover crops planted in 2012, the practice is increasingly recognized as key to sustainability, productivity and profitability.

Please RSVP to ensure adequate seating and to get specific details about the forum as programs will vary by location. Live streaming from the national conference will begin at forum locations at 9 am Central Standard Time, except at Pacific Standard Time locations, where the broadcast will begin at 10 am.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Webinar - Basic Vaccinology: Why Vaccines Work or Don’t Work

Dan Grooms, Michigan State University

January 13, 2014 12:00 PM Central

Vaccines are a vital part of maintaining the health and well-being of a dairy herd, but have you ever wondered about what makes them work? Dr. Grooms will cover some of the basics of vaccinology, including basic immunology and how vaccines work, as well as the different types of vaccines and important considerations for designing and implementing a vaccine program for your farm. 

Other Upcoming Webinars

February Forage Fermentation: How to Make Good Silage– Dr. Limin Kung


March Dairy Reproduction: Identifying Problems and Solutions for Your Herd– Ray Nebel

Subclinical Hypocalcemia, or Milk Fever, in Dairy Cows — Why All the Fuss?

With the initiation of lactation and continued milk production by the dairy cow, tremendous adaptations occur to support the increased need for nutrients to support milk synthesis. Besides the increased need for energy and amino acids for colostrum and afterward for milk synthesis, the requirement for calcium increases two- to three-fold over those required by the dairy cow before calving.  

Please contact Nancy McGill at with questions and concerns.