Communiqué January 22, 2014


Featuring the Work of OSUE Field Specialists

The Communiqué has been spotlighting the work of our field specialists; in this issue we feature Larry Gearhardt (taxation).

I started as a field specialist in taxation on January 2, 2013. I have been on an extremely steep learning curve since then, and it if wasn’t for the incredible help offered by many generous people throughout the year, it would not have been manageable. I have received a very warm welcome to Extension and thank you all for that.

My main responsibility when hired was to be the director of the OSU Tax Schools. This consists of conducting two-day tax schools designed for tax professionals at eight different locations around the state. Most tax professionals attend the schools as part of their continuing education requirements. The schools cover a myriad of tax subjects, with the hottest topic this year being compliance with the Affordable Care Act. The interest in this new topic was so high that it was included as a double session.

One of my biggest concerns is the declining attendance at the two-day tax schools. Attendance has been declining steadily over the past dozen years, with current attendance at approximately half what it was 10 years ago. Several reasons for this declining attendance include the increasing age of tax practitioners and the competition from online and home-study courses. Please forward any suggestions that you may have about how we may reverse this trend.

In addition to the two-day schools, OSU Extension conducts a special one-day session specifically on agriculture and natural resource tax issues. The one-day session differs from the two-day schools in that it is broadcast to nine different locations all on one day. We used a new Carmen Connect webinar format for this year’s ag issues tax workshop. Although this new format created some new logistical challenges, the increased attendance made it worth the effort.

With the 2013 tax schools now behind me, I am now setting my sights on developing a curriculum for 2014. My goal is not only to expand the tax programming for tax professionals, but also to develop programs that are understandable, useful and timely for our clients. One of the many things that former assistant director Don Breece taught me is to think of the payment of taxes as a risk management tool, similar to crop insurance or commodity marketing. Because we think of paying taxes as a necessary evil, we tend to delay consideration of the tax consequences until year-end. Instead, every decision throughout the year should include tax considerations, thereby reducing taxes and increasing one's bottom line.

David Marrison of Ashtabula County is already doing some good work in relation to the tax consequences of the shale oil development in eastern Ohio; and both he and Chris Bruynis of Ross County have excellent programs on retirement and transition planning. Beyond that, developing the tax programs is wide open and will be in response to the needs of county Extension offices. I want to become a valuable resource of tax information for those of you in the field. Of course, the new Affordable Care Act will remain at the top of the list. Other topics high on the list include depreciation, under what form of business entity a farm should chose to operate, the new net investment income tax, and tax planning for small or part-time farms.

In addition to the focus on income tax that OSU Extension has had in the past, one of my goals is to expand the focus to other taxes, such as sales tax, real property tax and the commercial activity tax.

I am impressed with the depth and breadth of knowledge at OSU Extension. If you don’t know the answer to an issue, one doesn’t have to look far to find someone who does. I am proud to be part of Extension and thankful for the opportunity.

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Regional Director Updates

-Keith L. Smith, associate vice president, agricultural administration and director, OSU Extension

I am pleased to announce the following administrative positions/adjustments for OSU Extension.

  • Regional director, Central Region (Heart of Ohio EERA)/Urban Metro – Julie Fox
  • Interim regional director, Southwest Region (Top of Ohio EERA) – Barbara Brahm
  • Interim regional directors, Southwest Region (Miami Valley EERA)
    • Preble, Montgomery, Greene, Fayette counties – Jackie Kirby Wilkins
    • Butler, Warren, Clinton, Hamilton, Clermont counties – Bev Kelbaugh
  • Interim regional director, Northwest Region (Maumee Valley EERA) – Don Breece, pending approval by the Ohio State Office of Academic Affairs
  • Interim regional director, Northwest Region (Erie Basin EERA) – Jackie Kirby Wilkins

All of these appointments are effective on February 1. Also, per previous announcement – Bev will serve as regional director for the Southeast Region, which includes the Buckeye Hills and Ohio Valley EERAs. Jackie will serve as regional director for the Northeast Region, which includes the Crossroads and Western Reserve EERAs.

Northwest regional director search results – OSUE administration is in negotiations. Keep in mind that appointment at this senior rank will require a number of weeks to complete reviews and approvals.

The search committee for the Southwest regional director was announced last Friday, and the committee will move forward quickly. We are grateful and pleased for the assistance of the above well-qualified individuals for accepting these critical positions.

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Cooperative Extension Centennial – 2014

Information about the 2014 Cooperative Extension Centennial is posted online at You will find information about:

  • National Centennial News
  • Ohio Centennial Activities – including Ohio Centennial logo files
  • County Centennial Celebrations
  • Memories and Milestones of OSU Extension

Keeping the information on these pages up to date will be a group effort. If you have any additions, questions or corrections to the content on these pages at any time, contact Cheryl Buck (; 614-292-4880).

OSU Extension Centennial Logo Use
CFAES Communications has gotten permission from Ohio State to use the OSU Extension Centennial logo during 2014 only, including on our email signatures. We must follow the Ohio State brand guidelines at all times when incorporating the Centennial logo into print or other marketing items.

The Ohio-specific logo is done in black because, per Ohio State’s branding guidelines, any affiliate logo, etc. used (even for a short term) must not compete with the red of Ohio State’s logo/brand. Whenever the OSU Extension Centennial logo is used in an email signature, it must be used in black, so it does not compete with the Ohio State logo already in the email signature.

The larger size file of the OSU Extension Centennial logo to use on print or other promo pieces has been created in black only. This is also in accordance with the Ohio State branding guidelines. IF you have something that you really feel should include the OSU Extension logo in a color besides black, contact Suzanne Steel ( directly with your request BEFORE you develop the print piece or promo item.

The national Centennial logo is posted at this link. If you have something on which you want to use the national Centennial logo in black, green or white, you also need to follow the Ohio State brand guidelines for placement near the Ohio State logo, etc.

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Memories and Milestones of Ohio State University Extension Now Available

Memories and Milestones of Ohio State University Extension 1905-2013 is now available as a professional reference for all OSU Extension employees and for sale to other interested individuals.

Each OSU Extension employee will receive one copy of the book as a professional development tool. If you did not pick up your copy of the book during the OSU Extension Annual Conference last week, it will be sent to you by year-end via county or campus mail.

Drs. Marilyn R. Spiegel and the late Jo M. Jones began work on Memories and Milestones of Ohio State University Extension in 2004, personally interviewing more than 100 former and current OSU Extension professionals and surveying a variety of other Extension professionals about their career experiences.

Drs. Charles W. Lifer, Linda M. Kutilek, and Nikki L. Conklin, OSU Extension emeriti, served as the editorial team in 2013 to finish the project. The historical information and personal stories Marilyn and Jo collected were updated, expanded and enriched with input from the editorial team, the OSU Extension assistant directors, and the leaders of our Extension professional organizations.

You can also review the summer 2013 OSUE Director’s Short Report (8:30 minutes) introducing the book. Copies of the book are available for purchase online via eStore – $10 per book, plus shipping. To purchase copies of the book, visit the eStore.

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Annual Diversity Leadership Symposium – February 7

The College of Food, Agricultural,and Environmental Sciences, along with university partners, is hosting the third annual Diversity Leadership Symposium – In-Reach to Outreach: Fostering Cultural Engagement through Awareness, Reflection, and Action – February 7 from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center. Read more and register at

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10th Annual Tri-State Diversity Conference – February 20-21

Early bird registration ends tomorrow! Participating in this conference is a great way to work toward some of the goals and initiatives of our OSU Extension strategic plan. You can also apply for professional development support funds ( to support your attendance at the conference.

Conference Goal: To network and link resources to help integrate diversity into programs, policies, and practices for creating community well-being. The Extension programs at Kentucky State University, University of Kentucky, The Ohio State University, and Purdue University collaborate to offer this award-winning conference.

Celebrating Our Journey — From Awareness to Action is the theme. Keynote speaker Dr. Shakti Butler will use documentary film, dialogue and education to address the deep complexities of race and racism. A variety of diversity initiatives will be addressed through specially selected workshops on topics such as: 

  • Cracking the codes: understanding the system of racial inequity
  • The Skill of Implementing Cultural Competence
  • Working with Individuals with Developmental, Psychiatric, and/or Behavioral Needs
  • When it Seems Like Your Wellness Provider is Speaking a Different Language: Raising Awareness and Appreciating Our Unique Traits
  • Recruitment and Retention of Latino Clientele – What Does it Take?
  • Nutrition from the Ground Up: Grow Your Program Through Integration and Partnership
  • Preparing Culturally Responsive Educators: Start Where You Are, But Don't Stay There
  • LGBT Rights: Nothing To Be Afraid Of
  • Cincinnati, Ohio Meets Kurdistan, Iraq: Cultural Connections through Web Conferencing
  • Love Your Neighbor: Religious Power and Social Engagement
  • Courageous Conversations - Using the Race Matters Toolkit

A pre-conference workshop on February 19, Cultural Competence Training, by Dr. Roger Cleveland, will enhance attendees’ ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Additional information on concurrent workshops and registration can be found at:

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Public Issues Leadership Development Conference (PILD) April 6 - 9

The PILD Conference Registration site is now available. An informational brochure is also posted online. Note: when early bird registration closes, the hotel block also closes. After March 7, the hotel conference rate/room block is not available.

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Cultural Intelligence Center – April 22-23

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, in partnership with the OSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), is bringing the Cultural Intelligence Center to Columbus to provide Cultural Intelligence Level 1 Certification Training. The training will take place April 22-23 at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center. The regular fee for this training is $2,100 per person; through funding via the CFAES Diversity Catalyst Team and ODI, we are able to sponsor 10 slots from the college (including OARDC and ATI) to participate in this training. A brief application needs to be completed.

ALL faculty and staff are encouraged to apply; CFAES would like to have representation from all positions on the Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Team. As a college, we will begin to offer CQ training to our faculty, staff, and students. In addition, ODI hopes to work with Ohio State-trained facilitators to offer the program university-wide. More information about Cultural Intelligence is available online at

The training is 1.5 days. Each attendee will become a certified level 1 CQ facilitator. The registration fee includes training materials, meals, CQ Multi-rater Assessment and, upon completion, access to the CQ assessment at a discounted rate for Ohio State faculty, staff, and students.

If you are interested, contact Kathy Lechman, program director and leader, Diversity Development, CFAES ( Submit your completed application to by February 15.

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Ohio Beef Checkoff Voting to be held in County Offices

Andy Londo, assistant director, agriculture and natural resources

County Extension offices are designated as voting locations for the upcoming Ohio Beef Checkoff Referendum. The voting will take place now through March 20. Attached are four important files that require the attention of county Extension directors. Extension offices may start getting calls from people requesting ballots to vote by mail. County offices are also instructed to print ballots as needed for on-site voting. The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will be mailing large envelopes to county offices to send completed ballots directly to the Ohio Department of Agriculture at  the close of business on March 21.

Call the OCA office at 614-873-6736 if you have additional questions concerning voting procedures. The executive director of OCA, Elizabeth Harsh is available at

You can also contact Teresa Funk at the OSU Extension ANR state office (614-292-4077) if there is an issue.

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She Said, He Said, What? Gender and Communication (online) – February 5

Have you ever heard the saying: Men are from Mars and women are from Venus? Women and men communicate differently; and to co-exist successfully, we need to be aware of each others' styles of communication (non-verbal and verbal) to avoid miscommunication. 

Ever wonder why men prefer not to ask for directions? It is because men communicate to compete and women communicate to collaborate. So, a man asking for directions is admitting to losing. During conversations, women tend to nod their heads to indicate they are listening. A man observes the nodding and assumes that it means that the woman is agreeing with what he says. By learning how men and women communicate, you will be able to improve your personal and working relationships.

Participants in this workshop will:

  • Gain an understanding about how men and women communicate differently.
  • Develop skills and tips for working more effectively with men and women.
  • Learn why women and men communicate.

Beth Flynn is facilitating this workshop from 9 to 11 a.m. on February 5. The fee is $60 to register; visit

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Navigating Difficult Conversations – February 6

All professionals encounter conversations that are regarded high in stakes from time to time. These high stakes dialogues can become pivotal in one’s effectiveness if handled correctly. In this workshop, “Navigating Difficult Conversations,” participants will learn what conversations fit the context of “difficult” and how to effectively confront them. They will leave the session with a toolkit of knowledge to best handle these conversational situations they may face in the workplace and beyond.

Participants will be guided in navigating a difficult conversation through an interactive session that will engage them in group discussion, role playing, and direct facilitation by the presenters.  Other aspects that will be covered in this seminar are the key skills needed to handle a difficult conversation and how to determine an appropriate response. This content will be extremely focused on professional development and specific to building effective communication. Role playing various situations (including those of participants) will be a part of the workshop.

At the end of the workshop, participants will be equipped with the knowledge and fundamental skills necessary to navigate their own difficult conversations successfully. More specifically, participants will:

  • Learn how to approach difficult conversations and navigate them successfully.
  • Gain strategies in confronting work-related conversations.
  • Develop a personal understanding and evaluation of self when facing a difficult situation.

Jeff King and Kayla Oberstadt will facilitate the workshop on February 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in room 105 of the Agricultural Administration building. Jeff brings a wealth of experience in leadership and administrative roles for nearly 30 years. Jeff is an associate professor at Ohio State. He is director of the OSU Leadership Center, an Extension specialist, and teaches leadership undergraduate and graduate classes in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership (ACEL). Kayla is a graduate student in ACEL working as a part of the team funded by the Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership. She has experience facilitating programs with community and educational organizations.

The fee is $135 per participant and includes lunch and refreshments; register online at

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