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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Communiqué September 25, 2013


Featuring the Work of OSUE Field Specialists

Throughout the year we will be spotlighting the work of our field specialists. In this issue we feature Dianne Shoemaker (dairy production economics).

I have really appreciated the opportunity to focus full-time on dairy and farm management as a field specialist. The major project I am working on now is growing the Ohio Farm Business Analysis and Benchmarking program. I’m a little biased, but without farms that understand and implement sound business practices, including business analysis, we’ll have a hard time feeding the world. 

We have had a unique opportunity to partner with the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota and a consortium of land-grant universities from across the country.  Our partnership with other universities opened up grant funding opportunities that allowed us to tap into a network of farm recordkeeping educators to help complete analyses and train our educators to use FINPACK financial analysis and planning software in their county programs.

Revitalizing this program came at a time when dairy farmers had experienced very poor milk prices followed by an extended high feed-price cycle. This helped them see the value of business analysis. Our agronomic crop producers are potentially entering into a similar cycle. Last fall and winter, when I presented the most comprehensive dairy data we have to dairy farmer and industry audiences, it was great to see how excited the attendees were about using this information to improve their farm’s or their clients’ farm’s management. It was a great recruitment tool.

I also work with the Dairy Working Group and the Ag Manager Team.  We are currently revising the 15 Measures of Dairy Farm Competitiveness and we’ll be moving it into the techie age…a spreadsheet, an app; I may still have a flip phone, but we’re trying to move the 15 Measures ahead! We’re also working on a forage school that will roll out this winter.  We constantly look for industry issues we need to address.

I am so pleased we have been able to hire so many new ANR educators in the past two years! Bill Phillips, now retired Mahoning County agriculture educator, was an outstanding unofficial mentor when I was a new ag agent in 1986. Eric Barrett, Mahoning County educator, and I try to find opportunities to get the new ANR educators together at least a couple times a year and provide some mentoring.

Ohio’s dairy industry is pretty unique. We have farms ranging from 20 cows to thousands of cows and many ways to dairy farm profitably. It’s great! The industry also works well together with veterinarians, the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Dairy Division, multiple dairy processors, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Dairy Farmers of America, Farm Credit Mid-America, dairy equipment dealerships, and feed companies. I cannot think of one person or organization that we can’t pick up the phone and talk to and invite to the table to discuss issues or projects that concern the industry. Truly, we are blessed. The opportunities are endless.

If you see or hear of issues or opportunities, please let me know. My contact info is or 330-533-5538.

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Director’s Internal Advisory Committee Meeting

The Director’s Internal Advisory Committee met on September 13. Keith updated the group on the budget situation - including federal, state and county budgets. The group was asked for input concerning the upcoming county commissioner meetings and also the Centennial celebration of Extension in 2014.

Keith asked the group for any other items they wanted to discuss; the new logo standards as well as the performance management system and guidelines were hot topics. Questions were also asked about the Extension hiring process.

The group then shared some of the excellent programs that were occurring throughout the state of Ohio. This included programs relating to:

  • Wind energy
  • Phosphorous studies
  • Standards of behavior for volunteers
  • Upcoming levies
  • Summer food service program
  • EFNEP and SNAP-Ed funding and programs
  • Dining with Diabetes
  • Shale energy
  • An update on the Alber Enterprise Center
  • Pesticide applicator training
  • Conservation Camp
  • Legislative materials and annual reports that are being finalized
  • Ag Days in the county
  • Robotics projects
  • Galaxy Conference
  • Dairy Field Day

This provides us with a handle on what is happening and also the opportunity to have interaction with some of the concerns and suggestions that our people might have to make our organization even better. The next meeting is December 20 at 10:30 a.m.

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Pricing of For-Sale Publications

-Ryan Schmiesing, director, Communications and Information Technology

Communications and Technology (CommTech) in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) has responsibility for the design, editing, production and distribution of OSU Extension and other for-sale publications. As a result of increased costs associated with that responsibility, prices will be increased effective October 1, 2013.

To simplify operations, a one-price system with discounts for various customers will be implemented. As before, the price displayed on eStore is the highest price, intended for direct customers from out-of-state or Ohio customers who want direct delivery. Discounts apply as follows:

  4-H project book  4-H resource handbook or ANR, FCS, or CD bulletin
(using a $15 publication as an example)
Out-of-state residents or Ohio residents purchsing directly through eStore                          $7.50 (no discount) $15 (no discount)
Ohio residents purchasing through county office $6 (advertised price in 4-H Family Guide) $12 (advertised in 4-H Family Guide; all others vary)
County offices purchasing through eStore $4.80 (36% discount*) $9.60 (36% discount)

A 36% discount from the “one price” is the same as a 20% discount from the Family Guide price. There is no change in a county’s percentage share of sales.

In the forthcoming 2014 Ohio 4-H Family Guide, project books will be listed for $6. Other resource guides and bulletins from all program areas will have varying prices. As before, Ohio residents get the best price when they order and pick up their purchases through local county offices. County offices still are able to cover their inventory costs by purchasing materials at a price lower than the one listed in the Family Guide. No portion of this increase goes to program area (4-H, ANR, CD and FCS) cost recovery, which remains unchanged.

Other state 4-H offices and partners who support the development and promotion of our materials also may receive discounts. Those are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Discounts are applied at the time of sale and are not visible until orders are placed. As before, county offices do not pay for shipping.

The price of most 4-H project books has not changed since 2003, and the most recent price increase for 4-H resource handbooks and ANR, FCS, and CD bulletins was in 2010. We appreciate your cooperation as the environment in which we provide print media continues to evolve.

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Extension Committee on Organization and ECOP

The Top 10 Reasons Why Capacity Funding is Essential

Prepared on August 20, 2013 by the ECOP Budget and Legislative Committee.

In 2014, Cooperative Extension (Extension) celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, the founding legislation for Cooperative Extension ( While Cooperative Extension often is referenced as “the envy of the world,” in the United States the purchasing power of federal capacity funding, authorized in the farm bill and distributed via formula to land-grant universities to support Extension programs, has slowly eroded.

Extension translates science for practical applications; engages with the public by providing reliable information leading to positive action; and transforms individuals, families, communities and businesses in rural and urban areas. Capacity funding is essential:

  1. To change lives. See examples of national impact statements as part of the “Case for Federal Capacity Funds” at A comprehensive system of reporting the public value of Extension programming is in process at
  2. To provide rapid response. The Extension Disaster Education Network provides real-time alerts and resources so Extension educators in local communities can respond to urgent needs resulting from hurricanes, floods, oil spills, fire, drought, pest outbreaks, and human, livestock and crop infectious diseases.
  3. To continually engage with the public. Extension helps people acquire the knowledge, skills, and motivation to take positive action. In order to achieve broad adoption, education must be repeated over many years with each new generation of learners in multiple communities in the nation’s 3,000-plus counties.
  4. To leverage state and local funding. Capacity funds, often leveraged three- to four-fold with other public funding, enable the persistent and trusted intervention necessary for transformational learning to take place in agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, and community economic development.
  5. To solidify the legislated partnership with USDA-NIFA. Extension operates through the nationwide land-grant university system and is a partnership among the federal government (through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture) and state and local governments.
  6. To operate as a national system. National program leadership through Extension’s federal partner, USDA-NIFA, and policy guidance through the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) links Extension together, thus making local, state, and regional work more proactive and effective.
  7. To develop partnerships. None of the major societal issues addressed by Extension programs, such as safe food, energy independence, animal and plant production profitability, and obesity prevention can be addressed singularly. Sustained capacity funding creates the infrastructure whereby expertise, resources, and outcomes can occur working together with federal departments in addition to USDA, non-profit organizations, foundations, and the private sector.
  8. To compete in the federal grants environment. In order to engage with time-limited and location-specific competitively funded projects, Extension must have university faculty members and local educators in place to understand the issues, and develop proposals together with researchers, academicians, and community leaders.
  9. To inform research questions and translate science to practice. With Extension’s local presence nationwide, faculty and educators are uniquely available to identify emerging research questions, connect with campus faculty to find answers, and take findings to the field for immediate application. While a few innovators adapt research findings with ease, the majority of the population benefits from the engagement of Extension to solve problems and improve their economic and social conditions.
  10. To reduce expenditures on mandated programs. For example, sustained Extension programs help break the cycle of poverty for families, encourage healthful eating and lifestyle choices, thus reducing health care and feeding programs, and prepare youth for responsible adulthood.

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Extension Annual Conference RFP Deadline Extended to September 30

You are invited to attend and participate in the OSU Extension 2013 Annual Conference on December 4. This year’s conference theme is “Moving Forward, Looking Back: A Celebration of History and Possibility.”

Proposals are due by September 30 at 9 a.m. Proposals may be submitted in one of the following formats: half-session, full-session, or poster.  The annual conference website is

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Update – CFAES HR Leader Search

A college-wide committee appointed by Dean McPheron is reviewing HR functions across the college. At the request of the dean, Extension has put a hold on the hiring process for the Extension Leader HR until there is a decision on how HR will be handled college-wide. The committee is to have recommendations to the dean by the end of the year.  Extension is represented by Garee Earnest and Marge Hall on the committee. Interim OSUE HR leaders Brian McClain and Barb Ludwig continue to work with the Extension HR team.

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