As I reflect on my first year with AgriLife Extension, the initial thought is something like, “Wow! I didn’t see THAT coming!” It’s been a unique year, for sure, but I’m very happy to be a part of AgriLife Extension. You, everyone in the agency, have absolutely made the best of the unique circumstance, maintaining a focus on serving Texans throughout the pandemic. You’ve figured out how to use technology to reach people effectively. You’ve modified programs from in-person formats to streaming or some other digital approach. You’ve helped to distribute PPE, medical equipment, etc. to keep our communities safe and healthy. You’ve done so much! I am very proud to tell your story within the Texas A&M University System, to our elected officials and partners, and to anyone else who’ll listen.
Legislative Appropriations Request
Because you have been flexible and effective in addressing needs, we are hopeful that our state budget will be made whole through an exceptional item request.
This past week, we submitted our Legislative Appropriations Request with a 5% budget reduction, as required by state leadership. With that was also a request for a “return to base” exceptional item, which would move us back to a level consistent with the funding that was approved for the ’19-’21 biennium. We also included a second exceptional item that would add to our ability to broadly support digital engagement in ways that we currently can’t do. I remain hopeful on the budget front that we will be fully funded if the state has the funds to do so.
Meanwhile, we continue to move forward with strategic planning for the agency. At an upcoming webinar, I will share more details with you about the feedback (internal and external) that we have received and where we are going based on that feedback.
After a year of observing AgriLife Extension and the context in which we operate, I’m truly excited about our future. The pandemic has reinforced the fact that Texas needs AgriLife Extension so we must take action to position ourselves to serve Texans for decades to come. The strategic plan is an important step in doing that.
While the past year was full of curveballs, I am truly pleased and proud to work with you as part of AgriLife Extension! We have handled difficulties well while positioning ourselves for long-term success. Thanks to each of you for the role that you have played in our collective success.
COVID-19 Guidance Updates
Updated COVID-19 guidelines regarding face to face meetings and travel are now available. AgriLife Extension values its statewide network of agents and specialists across 254 counties. Following these parameters will be helpful while taking into account local health data.
State Employee Charitable Campaign
The Texas State Employee Charitable Campaign, SECC, kicked off September 1st and runs through October 31, 2020. SECC gives each of us an opportunity to support various charities across the state of Texas. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Now More Than Ever’. The SECC is the only time state employees are asked for charitable contributions.
Donations of all size are accepted, greatly appreciated and will make a difference.
Donating is quick and easy using payroll deductions in single sign on (SSO). Within SSO you also have the option to make a one-time, online donation. Just click on the SECC Enrollment button once you are logged in and the Authorization Form will come up. One-time cash or check gifts are welcome as well. Additional information about the SECC is available here.
Extension 2020-21 Agency Calendar
The 2021 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Calendar is now available in print on demand format. As in years past, the calendar includes the 2020 months of September through December. The extra months serve an internal purpose to assist with program planning going into the new year. The lists of activity/event dates are located in the back of the calendar. Please remember the dates and locations are subject to change amid COVID-19. The most current calendar listings can be found here. If you have a program event for listing, please enter those requests on our Calendar Event Suggestions page.
Superior Service Awards
We are pleased to announce that the nomination period for the Superior Service Awards, the highest employee honor conferred by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is now open. The SSA recognize Texas A&M AgriLife Extension faculty and staff members who provide outstanding performance and service to the organization and to Texans. For more information or to make a nomination please click here.
Extension Online Calendar
To stay up to date on upcoming virtual, face-to-face programs and other agency activities statewide, follow the AgriLife Extension LiveWhale calendar .
To submit an event, fill out the submission form on the Extension Employee website at https://extensionemployees.tamu.edu/calendar-event-suggestions/.
We encourage you to share this with your colleagues as we want to make the agency calendar an extensive tool for keeping engaged with agency activities across Texas.
Rosson named associate department head for
Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries
Parr Rosson, Ph.D. was recently named associate department head for Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management. Rosson has held many other positions including interim director of AgriLife Extension, interim department head for agricultural economics and director of The Center for North American Studies at Texas A&M.
In his new role, Rosson will provide program and education development for different audiences, drawing from Extension personnel within the department. He will also oversee the financial obligations of the Extension Unit inside the department.
McLellan receives TSCRA award for beef education
Shane McLellan, Ph.D., McLennan County Extension agent, was recently recognized by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association as this year’s Outstanding County Extension Agent – Beef. The award is presented each year to a county Extension agent who has stood out as the most dedicated and effective local educators in bovine production.
“We’re grateful for the tremendous efforts by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the invaluable work they do on behalf of our members,” said Robert McKnight, TSCRA president. “Shane McLellan is a leading example of that, working hard to make sure his programs are beneficial and timely.”
AgriLife Extension Personnel Updates
Check out the latest Individuals to join the agency network statewide.