Public Issues Leadership Development Experience


As President-elect of the Nebraska Agricultural Agents Association, I had the opportunity to participate in the Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) ConferenceIMAG3313 in April of 2014.  The goal of PILD is professional development and public issues education.  I never had the opportunity to visit D.C. that time of year before and the cherry blossoms were just opening when the group of us from Nebraska arrived. By the time we left they were in full bloom-just beautiful with an amazing fragrance! Our delegation was Monte Stauffer (representing 4-H), Patricia Jones (representing Food/Nutrition), Diane Vigna (representing community development), and myself along with our Dean and Director Dr. Chuck Hibberd.

For me, these conferences are about networking and people and I truly enjoyed seeing my Ag Extension colleagues from across the U.S.  The conference was very much focused on celebrating 100 years of Cooperative Extension and the challenges/opportunities Extension faces in the next 100 years.

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Presentation on the History of Cooperative Extension by a North Dakota State University alum where he does charcoal drawings as he speaks.  I had seen this at an NACAA conference in the past; he is so talented!

Sessions included discussing how to determine public value of what we do and the debate continues to be how do we extrapolate information and who gets the credit.  I think Nebraska is on track with much of what we do in this area as we’ve had many similar discussions here.  There were also discussions about the relevance of Extension and the need to share information several ways; again, I think we have people in Nebraska leading the way in this effort.  But it is critically important for ALL of Extension to be repackaging our information several ways to reach our customers where they view information.

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John Wilson presented on the Missouri River Flood in a panel discussion regarding controversial issues in Cooperative Extension. He did a great job as always!  Additional controversial issues included fracking and the oil boom in other states.

We had the opportunity to interact with National Institute of Food and Agriculture program leaders to express the critical needs for the people we serve in hopes of influencing where research and extension initiatives should be focused in future grant releases.  We also spent a large portion of time discussing different bills of importance to all of our States and determining the key messages we wished to share on the Hill with our Congressmen and Senators.

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Wednesday was the highlight for me.  On Wednesday, each State visits their Congressmen and Senators on the Hill. The Ag Section rep typically sets up the visits, so I was thankful for my experiences in organizing CWF trips! We began the morning at the Nebraska Breakfast and had the opportunity to visit with Senator Fischer immediately afterward. We had the amazing opportunity to meet with all of our representatives  and/or their  staffers that day: Congressman Smith, Senator Johanns, and then Monte and I split up so he visited Congressman Terry’s Office while I visited Congressman Fortenberry’s Office. In between we also had a Capitol tour and visited the Senate Gallery as Monte and Pat had never experienced that before. It was a wonderful day with great visits sharing the great things Extension has done and continues to do for the people of Nebraska! Our Senators and Congressmen also supported the Smith-Lever bill for recognizing 100 years of Cooperative Extension, so we were happy about that!

Night tour of Memorials and Monuments the first evening.  Pat was gracious in listening to all the tidbits I shared from my CWF experiences.

Lincoln Memorial during night tour of memorials and monuments the first evening-always neat to see.

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We had an amazing seafood supper during one of the evenings with Dr. Hibberd who graciously paid for our meals. 

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It was an honor to represent the Nebraska Ag Agents at the 2014 PILD Conference and I thank our Ag Section and Dr. Hibberd for paying my expenses for this trip! This photo is of cherry blossoms with the Washington Monument in the background.

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on November 5, 2014, in Event, Professional Development, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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