Around The South
March 2018 Vol. 14, No. 3
In This Issue

SRDC Items of Interest

Rachel Welborn Announced as SRDC’s New Associate Director

The SRDC staff congratulates Rachel Welborn on her new role as Associate Director of the Center. Mrs. Welborn, previously the Center's Program Manager, is a crucial member of the SRDC team and her new appointment reflects her service, performance, and value to the SRDC and its vision, mission, and goals.






Rural America Counts: A Blueprint for Reinvesting in Rural America

Vibrant, resilient, and sustainable rural communities are the focus of the President’s Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Report and resulted in five priority areas: e-connectivity, quality of life, workforce development, technological innovation, and rural economic development. All of these priorities are being addressed at various land grant universities through the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and Experiment Stations and many of these activities are coordinated by the four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs). At the suggestion of CES leadership, the RRDCs developed Rural America Counts, which serves as a blueprint for reinvesting in rural America, using the above priorities as a framework for mobilizing the resources of the land grant system.
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Bonnie Teater Award Nominations Due March 20, 2018

Each year, the SRDC honors someone who has excelled in community development work within Extension Service in the South. On even numbered years, we seek to honor a person with the Bonnie Teater Community Development Lifetime Achievement award. We need your help! Nominations are now open, so please consider nominating someone that has excelled in this arena. The nominee must be currently employed by one of the 29 land-grant universities located in the Southern Rural Development Center region; serve as an administrator, specialist or agent who has worked in the Extension CD area for at least TEN years at the state, multi-county and/or county levels. An individual who has retired over the past 12 months and who, at the time of his/her retirement, met the conditions outlined, is eligible for consideration.
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USDA to Host Roundtables on Rural Opioid Misuse

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced USDA is hosting a series of monthly roundtables on opioids through the summer. Beginning this month, Hazlett will convene regional roundtables to bring together partners in five states to raise awareness and better understand what support rural communities need to address opioid misuse. Key topics will include challenges associated with substance use disorder; strategies for prevention, treatment and recovery; and how these measures can be replicated to effectively address the epidemic in other rural communities.
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Southern CRD Webinar Series Continues:
The Opioid Epidemic: Considering Extension's Role and Virginia's Multi-Faceted Approach

March 20, 2018 @ 10:00am CT/11:00am ET

This session will provide an overview of the opioid epidemic, inform participants of current strategies being implemented to address it, and explore additional opportunities to effect change from an Extension perspective.

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Regional Spotlight

The North Carolina Farmworkers Health and Safety Education Program - North Carolina State University

Farming and agriculture workforce constitute an important core of North Carolina’s economy as about 17% of its income comes from the agriculture and agribusiness industry. The state is recognized as the number one tobacco and sweet potato producer in the country, and the second in Christmas tree production. In 2016, there were 83,723 total farmworkers in the state and North Carolina ranks second in the number of H2A workers. Because of the sheer size of this population and the critical role they play in our agriculture system, facilitating this group’s health and safety is imperative.

The agriculture workforce also constitutes a vulnerable group as they face risk factors such low socioeconomic status, i.e. average income is $10-12,499.00 and limited access to health care; health risk factor, i.e. exposure to pesticide, harmful weather, and nicotine and mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety. Farmworkers suffer from the highest rate of toxic chemical injuries. In one day, workers can absorb the amount of nicotine found in 36 cigarettes. One in four farmworkers report having been injured on the job in their lifetime. Farmworkers have a 20% increased risk of developing symptoms of Heat Stress.

Furthermore, farmers and their families are also exposed to stressors that may affect their life. Harvest and planting seasons may add tension to the family’s dynamic as well as stressors related to farming, such as, uncontrollable weather, exposure to pesticides, variable crop prices, and machinery breakdowns.

Consequently, there is a need to provide educational programs to promote preventive behaviors among farmworkers, farmworkers' employers, and their families to improve agriculture workforce health and safety. This is essential for the farm economy, but also the quality of life of much of our rural community.

The Farmworkers Health and Safety Comprehensive Program addresses the need by developing a program model where the farmworker, his/her family, growers, crew leaders, Cooperative Extension, Philip Morris International, and the community work together to enhance the quality of life of the farm community. Furthermore, the program has offered NCCE an effective mechanism to connect and engage with the farmworkers community.

The Farmworkers Health and Safety Education Program is based on the belief that everyone involved in the agriculture industry, which includes farmers/producers, crew leaders/contractors (“farmworkers’ employers”), farmworkers, and their families are exposed to risk factors, stressors, and educational needs that call for an education program that recognizes and includes all of them. The program builds and strengthens relationships between all parties involved as well as community partners in order to enhance the well-being of the Farm Working Community. The program has six primary components:

  1. Improve communication between farmers, farmworkers, crew leaders, contractors, and Extension agents about important safety and health practices on the farm.
  2. Provide health and safety training on pesticide, heat stress, green tobacco illness to farmers, crew leaders, contractors, farmworkers and their families.
  3. Serve as a resource to growers as they work to provide a healthy work environment on their farm.
  4. Promote the development of a stakeholders’ network to identify educational needs and opportunities for farmworkers and their families.
  5. Connect farmworkers and their families with other Extension resources such as youth development, nutrition and food safety programs, as well as with other community resources.
  6. Serve as a resource to farmworkers' employers to meet EPA Workers Protection Standard and U.S. Tobacco Agriculture Practice farmworkers training requirements, i.e. annual mandatory training for workers and record keeping of worker training.

NC Cooperative Extension has successfully implemented this model for educating farmworkers’ employers, farmworkers, and their families through grant funding. In 2012, through a partnership with AmeriCorps SAFE Program and Pender County Extension, 892 farmworkers were training on pesticide training, 295 received training on heat stress, and 20 José Aprende trainings were conducted. In 2015, through a partnership with the NC Farmworkers Health Program, 192 workers were trained on WPS, Heat Stress, and Green Tobacco Illness in Ashe and Alleghany counties. Since 2014, through an ongoing partnership with Philip Morris International, 2133 workers have been trained on WPS, Heat Stress, and Green Tobacco Illness in Wayne County, 475 community members including the families of farmworkers were educated on pesticide safety through community events, and 500+ participants attended the First Farmworkers Health and Safety Festival. Additionally, 115 workers were trained on WPS, Heat Stress, and Green Tobacco Illness through a partnership with Universal Leaf, 205 workers were training on WPS through a partnership with GAP Connections, and 275 workers were trained on WPS through collaboration with Ashe and Alleghany Farmworkers Safety Day.

In addition to on-farm training, our bilingual educators have become integral members of the local extension offices and are essential team members in the work to find innovative solutions and approaches to improving the lives of NC Farmworkers.

Employee Feature – Joanna Lelekacs

Joanna Massey Lelekacs has been leading North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s (NCCE) Local Food Flagship Program since 2013. Joanna started her work with NC State Extension in 2010 with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, facilitating a train-the-trainer model to build NCCE’s capacity to develop and initiate the growth of community-based food systems. She continues to collaborate across disciplines to build capacity and mobilize resources to support Extension and stakeholder efforts that improve local food systems statewide. She brings a systems perspective and design thinking to this work, as well as experiential understanding based on her involvement with her small family produce farm.

In 2015, North Carolina launched two program teams that would build statewide capacity in a transdisciplinary issue area. Joanna has co-led the development of the Local Food Program Team. This 80 county and campus person team is designing and developing training, curriculum, and other resources to build the capacity of agents across the state to support local food systems development. The goals of the team are to improve health outcomes, increase food security, facilitate regional economic development, and foster vibrant, resilient, viable food and farming systems in North Carolina.

Joanna also continues to develop training materials to build the capacity of NC Cooperative Extension educators and other professionals including non-profits, other state agencies, and private sector employees working on local food system development. These trainings will help them work with and educate growers, processors, distributors, buyers, and community members in the development and facilitation of high performing local food systems. She and her team are soon releasing an online training program, Overview of Local Food Systems. The online training includes a focus on foundational core competencies, identified by a national group of local food systems leaders (NAFSN, 2017) as necessary to support high functioning and sustainable local food systems development.

Joanna has a BS in biochemistry and an MLA in landscape architecture from NC State University, an MS in environmental sciences and engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the Extension team, she gained experience as a community development and project manager and served as a designer and consultant for farmers’ markets, small new farms, and community gardens, and numerous other community-based projects.

Joanna is driven to support local food systems as a means of raising awareness of communities and consumers about the value of our farmers and our local farmland; improving the visibility and profitability of farmers; and supporting local food system leaders to bring communities together to create access to food system opportunities for all people. She strives to foster support for all the passionate stakeholders making those impacts reality for people across North Carolina.

Grant Connections

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture AgriAbility Grant Program

Deadline: April 30, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced support for the Assistive Technology Program for Farmers with Disabilities (AgrAbility). Through the combined dedication and expertise of the Cooperative Extension System and nonprofit disability organizations, the AgrAbility program helps thousands of determined individuals overcome the barriers to continuing their chosen professions in agriculture. It supports farmers and ranchers with disabilities through farm safety education, assistance, and support, and addresses their specialized needs on national, regional, state, and local levels.
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USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Support for Specialty Crops, and Local Food Sector, and Agricultural Marketing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced nearly $89 million in available funding to support specialty crop growers, strengthen local and regional food systems, and explore new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. USDA helps fund projects that bolster rural economies across the country.
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2018 Seeding Solutions: Addressing Challenges in Food and Agriculture

Deadline: April 18, 2018

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) seeks to encourage the development of unique partnerships to support innovative and potentially transformative research. FFAR anticipates funding at least one meritorious proposal in each of our seven Challenge Areas through the Seeding Solutions funding opportunity.

To be considered, proposals must address and provide solutions to an intractable problem and/or accelerate innovation within FFAR's Challenge Areas. Proposals may be new projects or expansions of ongoing projects. If a request is to expand an ongoing research project, the request must adequately explain why additional funding will enhance innovation or accelerate the project.
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Job Announcements

Associate Dean for Extension/Assistant Director for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Extension Programs, Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Auburn University

Deadline to Apply: April 1, 2018

The College of Agriculture (COA) at Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) are seeking applications for the position of Associate Dean for Extension and Assistant Director for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Extension Programs. This 12-month administrative position will be located within the COA at Auburn University and fits within the organizational structures of COA and ACES. The Associate Dean/Assistant Director position reports jointly to the COA Dean and the ACES Associate Director. The position is classified as a tenure-track Extension Specialist with a COA and ACES administrative appointment. This position is a five-year appointment, subject to review. The Associate Dean/Assistant Director will be a member of the COA administrative team and a member of the ACES System Program Team to bring into alignment the programmatic visions and directions of the COA and ACES.
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Program Evaluation Specialist, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

Deadline to Apply: April 13, 2018

The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service seeks a Program Evaluation Specialist to provide innovative and creative leadership to evaluate programs throughout the state and report impacts to a broad range of audiences. The Specialist will develop resources that highlight the significant impacts of Extension programming and the public value of OCES.
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Public Issues Leadership Development Conference: Arlington, VA

April 8-11, 2018

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2018 National Health Outreach Conference: Bloomington, MN

May 2-4, 2018

The Conference will be held on February 15th & 16th, 2018 in Hebron, Kentucky with the theme “Intentional Connections: Education and Application in a World of Differences”. This conference is hosted by five land grant universities from Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. It is designed for administrators, faculty, and staff from Cooperative Extension, research, and academic programs; private and public university representatives; K-12 educators; community outreach leaders, etc. Proposals for presentations are being invited for the 2018 conference on best practices, curriculum models, research, professional development training, and success stories for implementing diversity initiatives in a variety of settings as it relates to this year’s conference theme areas: Immigration, Social Justice, Inclusion, and Engagement.

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2018 Northeast Agricultural and Resource Economics Association: Philadelphia, PA

Call for Papers: Deadline February 16, 2018

The 2018 Northeast Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA) Pre-Conference Workshop, co-sponsored by the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, will be held on June 9-10, 2018, prior to the main conference on June 10-12. This pre-conference workshop seeks to highlight recent advances in the economic analysis of food systems in the U.S. as well as globally. They seek papers that address individual impacts and causes as well as papers that examine system-wide interactions within the food system, including production, distribution and consumption linkages.

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Community Development Society’s Annual International Conference: Detroit, MI

July 22-25, 2018

Conference Theme: Engaging in a Culture of Health: Making Waves in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Goals of the 2018 National Health Outreach Conference: fostering a culture of health through community-based strategies; encouraging health equity; creating improvement in health through disruptive change and innovation; promoting co-creation with communities to ensure relevance and reduce barriers to positive change.

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National CRD Indicators Webinar:

Evaluating Community Development Impacts Using Qualitative Indicators

April 23rd, 2018 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

Southern CRD Webinar Series: 

The Opioid Epidemic: Considering Extension's Role and Virginia's Multi-Faceted Approach

March 20th, 2018 @ 10:00am CT/11:00am ET

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Southern CRD Webinar Series: 

February: Creating a Sense of Community through the 5 C's of Social Capital and Cultural Competency

Webinar Recording

January: How Can I Be of Service? Determining the Best Role for Community Engagement

Webinar Recording

December: Starting a Rural Library Hotspot Lending Program

Webinar Recording

November: Crowdfunding Your Startup: Capital for Today’s Entrepreneur

Webinar Recording

October: The Role of Arts in Cooperative Extension

Webinar Recording

August: Choosing the Best Legal Structure for your 21st Century Small Business

Webinar Recording

National CRD Indicators Team Webinar Series:

Estimating the Economic Impact of Programs: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

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Developmental Evaluation for Cooperative Extension Community Development Programs

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Other Great Webinars:

Reaching Urban Veterans through Urban Horticulture

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The Impact of Latino-Owned Business on Local Economic Performance

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Improving the Health and Safety of NC Farmworker: Connecting Community

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Florida’s Urban Extension Strategic Plan

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Submit Announcements

Job announcements and other items of interest may be sent to Katherine Spiering for possible inclusion in future issues.

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