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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dean's Column (Oct. 2014)

Dear Extension retirees,

One of the highlights of my summer is connecting with Extension retirees at the annual retiree luncheons. On June 12, 26 retirees met in Detroit Lakes, and on July 23, 64 retirees met in Roseville. Guest speaker Marla Spivak, Extension entomologist, joined us in Roseville to share information about her research and outreach on bees.

I continue to be amazed at the energy and generosity of our Extension retirees who are active in their communities and carry Extension messages in many capacities. So many of you continue to extend our shared mission throughout Minnesota as volunteers, donors and even some who return to work for Extension after retirement!

I wish you a healthy, bountiful fall, safe winter travels and I look forward to hearing about your adventures when we meet again!

Bev Durgan

Continuing your legacy through endowment funds

Planting seeds for gardening success: Pam Hartley has created a new endowment fund at the U of M Foundation to support educational programming for the statewide Master Gardener volunteer program. In addition, she has included this endowment fund as part of her estate planning. Pam has served as a dedicated Master Gardener for nearly two decades in Anoka and Ramsey counties, educating residents in sustainable gardening practices. Read more about Pam’s fund.

The John “Jack” Morris Livestock Judging Fund is being established to to honor Jack’s longtime legacy with the Minnesota 4-H Livestock Judging Program. Jack’s career with Extension began in 1965 in Pope County as an agricultural educator, yet he always found time for one of his passions–working with 4-H livestock judging teams. Critical thinking, problem solving and public speaking were important skills being developed by 4-H youth, many of whom have gone on to successful careers. This endowment will recognize volunteers, program coordinators and judging coaches who work with the 4-H judging programs through new and innovative ways to recruit volunteers and increase participation.

The Jean W. Bauer Fund: Jean Bauer (1944-2012), U of M family social science professor and Extension specialist, was a highly respected leader and mentor. Her innovative research and resolute leadership benefited low-income rural families and furthered academic knowledge. “Greater Minnesota was her classroomshe loved being out in the counties, studying how families could make ends meet,” says her husband Marvin Bauer. This fund supports Extension program initiatives in family economics including basic financial literacy programming, public policy education regarding families struggling with limited incomes, development of online resources, and Extension staff professional development in family economics. Marvin has made a generous pledge of support to start fundraising for this fund, and to encourage others to contribute.

For more information about these funds, or to contribute, please contact Jane Johnson, Extension development officer, at or 612-626-3717.

Epsilon Sigma Phi

Are you an Extension retiree who wonders how you can keep up your Extension connections, or has lost touch and are wondering how to reconnect? If so, consider Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) life membership as a way to maintain or rebuild your network.

One of ESP's goals is to provide that on-going connection to Extension that has meant so much to so many of us. Becoming an ESP life member will keep you connected to the University and your former co-workers through a retiree newsletter, regular ESP newsletters of current activities by the membership, and a way to help you connect with informal retiree groups that meet periodically around the state.

A lifetime national membership is a one-time fee of $250.00.

Chuck Schwartau
ESP-Pi Chapter Past President

Farm bill education vital to Minnesota producers and landowners

The 2014 farm bill was passed last February. Over the next several months, an estimated 60,000 Minnesota producers and 30,000 non-farming Minnesota landowners will need to make enrollment decisions or lose program benefits. Educating producers and landowners is crucial: the program options are new, the decisions are complicated and the enrollment decisions could have major financial impacts for Minnesota farmers for the next five years.

Extension is partnering with the USDA Farm Service Agency to deliver education and information to help producers and landowners make informed decisions. Over the next few months, more than 80 workshops will be delivered in Minnesota along with webinars and online training. Information about the workshops, as well as fact sheets that provide an overview of the farm bill, are available on Extension's agriculture business management website. Additional fact sheets specific to landowners will be available soon. The training will be led by the Extension ag business management team with help from members of the dairy team and local county educators.

Find Source in your inbox and share it with someone you know

Source magazine landed in your mailbox and your email inbox earlier this month. If are using Gmail and you didn't see it in your primary inbox, look for it in the "Promotions" tab. If you did not receive Source via email, that means we may not have your current email address and you are invited to subscribe online.

This issue of Source showcases creative research-based solutions Extension brings to today's challenges.
  • Pollinating new ideas highlights ways Extension connects research to education so everybody can be a part of the solution for bee population decline.
  • While 4-H has been a part of the fabric of our communities for more than 100 years, 4-H is also opening new doors for newer residents across the state.
  • As horse ownership grows, Extension is helping horse owners meet their need for education on horse health, nutrition, care and pasture management.
Help spread the word about Extension's work throughout Minnesota, and take a moment to share the email or print version with your friends and family.

Retirees are getting social on Facebook

Extension retiree membership on the Retiree Facebook page are growing. Now 72 members strong--up 22 percent from a year ago. Connect with your colleagues and keep informed about what’s happening in Extension by joining the Extension Retiree Facebook page.

Minnesota State Fair 2014

The 2014 Great Minnesota Get-Together was a success and Extension was involved in many ways! On August 31, U of M day at the State Fair, President and Mrs. Kaler visited with 4-H youth at the 4-H building. Extension also featured two exhibits in the U of M building, with a 4-H Science of Agriculture poultry project, and Master Gardener plant diagnostics.

In addition to the more than 6,000 4-H exhibits and performing arts shows, Extension had faculty, educators and volunteers on hand to provide research-based information and to answer questions. This year’s expert topics included honey bees, with Gary Reuter, Extension entomologist; woody invasive plants with Gary Wyatt, Extension forestry educator; invasive insects in yards and gardens with Jeff Hahn, Extension entomologist; and weather and climate, with Mark Seeley, Extension climatologist.

Extension announces photo contest winners

Nearly 230 photos were submitted in the first Extension photo contest, "My Flowers Rock," which invited Minnesotans to enter their favorite photographs of flowers and pollinators. More on the contest, including the winners and a link to an album featuring the honorable mention entries, is available online. All entries are published on Extension's Facebook page.

Awards and Accomplishments (Oct. 2014)

Extension dean's awards were presented at the 2014 Extension program conference in Bloomington to the following teams and individuals:

University of Minnesota Tax Management Office, Kelly Farmer, director; Heather Broneak, assistant tax director; and Kirsten Muller, assistant tax director

Sally Noll, Extension animal specialist - turkeys

Jody Horntvedt, Extension educator, community vitality

Tim Arlt, Extension program leader, EFANS

Diversity and Inclusion Shared Learning Cohort, Center for Youth Development, Planning Committee: Josey Landrieu, Kathryn Sharpe, Judith Conway, Anita Harris, Jacquie Lonning, Ann Walter. 2013-14 Cohort members: Darcy Cole, Joe Rand, Anna Gilbertson, Joanna Tzenis, Carolyn Dingfelder, Joshua Kukowski, Krista Lautenschlager, Amie Mondl.

Institute for Ag Professionals, Leaders: Jochum Wiersma, director, and David Nicolai, coordinator. State Faculty: Jeff Gunsolus, Jeff Coulter, Seth Naeve, Ken Ostlie, Robert Koch, Ian MacRae, Dean Malvick, Madeleine Smith, Dan Kaiser and John Lamb. Regional Educators: Lisa Behnken, Liz Stahl, and Ryan Miller. IPM Educators: Bruce Potter and Fritz Breitenbach. Administrative Support: Larisa Jenrich. Technical Support: Brad Kinkaid, Doug Miller, Steve Quiring, Jim Cameron, Tom Hoverstad, Jodie Getting, Tom Warnke and Mike McClellan.

New Retirees (Oct. 2014)

Welcome new retirees:

Margaret (Peggy) Cooney, Extension support staff, retired on February 14 after 28 years of service in Nicollet County. Peggy’s work included support to 4-H families, agriculture clients, and nutrition educators.

J. William Craig, Extension educator and a member of the agriculture business management team since its inception, retired on August 25 after 14 years of contributions to risk management strategies and crop insurance programs.

DeeAnn Leines, Extension educator, will complete her 34 year career on November 3. She has worked as a county-based educator with 4-H youth development and family development programs, and more recently as a health and nutrition educator in the northwest region.

Bret Oelke, Extension educator in agriculture business management, retired on June 30. During his 20-year career, he was known for outstanding teaching and insights on commodity marketing and farm management, conducting workshops from the local level to international audiences.

Richard Stone, Extension educator and housing technology bioproducts and biosystems engineer, retired on June 30 after eight years of service with Extension’s Housing Technology Team.

Ann Walter, Extension educator in youth development, retired on June 30. Her 22-year career impacted thousands of youth and volunteers by her contributions to cultural competency, youth program quality and youth worker training.

In Memoriam (Oct. 2014)

Edith Elaine Anderson passed away on June 21 in Cedar, MN at age 95. Edith earned a B.S. degree in home economics from the University in 1942, and worked as an Extension educator in Beltrami and Anoka Counties for many years until retirement in 1991.

Ronald D. Seath, age 88 of Austin, MN, passed away on September 24. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Minnesota in 1949 and master’s degree from Colorado State University in 1966. He served as a 4-H educator for Mower County for 29 years.

Media Moments (Oct. 16, 2014)

Generous gift worth over $4 million to 4-H
A beautiful story was shared on KARE-11 in June on love and loss and Curt Chergosky's generous gift worth over $4 million to 4-H. His gift supports 4-H programs statewide and in southwestern Minnesota, as well as a scholarship in memory of his late fiancée, 4-H program coordinator Andrea Ruesch. If you have not already shed a tear over this story, please take a few minutes to watch what KARE-11 called a gift for the ages.

Weeds resistant to herbicides challenge farmers
Herbicide resistance in weeds is far from a new concept to Extension agronomists, who have been conducting research and education on it for three decades. But it is an increasingly challenging issue for crop producers. Recently, Star Tribune reporter Tom Meersman spent several hours with Extension weed scientist Jeff Gunsolus to better understand science behind the problem, and on Aug. 2, published this story.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dean's Column (June 2014)

Dear Extension retirees,

The Extension retiree lunch events are coming up soon. I look forward to these annual events to hear what is happening in your lives, to share the latest Extension news and initiatives and to gain insight from your unique perspectives. Last year we held the luncheons in two locations to reduce driving time for retirees in the northern regions. We will follow the same format this year:
  • Thursday, June 12, 12-2 p.m., The Fireside Restaurant, Detroit Lakes, 1462 East Shore Drive, Detroit Lakes 56501

  • Wednesday, July 23, 12-2 p.m., Midland Hills Country Club, Roseville, 2001 Fulham Street, Roseville 55113
Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit, Extension development office, at (612)624-7971 or with your name and the lunch location you will be attending.

I look forward to seeing you at one of these events.

Bev Durgan

Smith-Lever centennial celebration continues

In 1914 the Smith-Lever Act created the national system for Extension. Special events to mark this centennial anniversary have included:
  • A video about Extension in Minnesota was created to celebrate the 100-year anniversary.  Check it out: "Extending knowledge, changing lives."

  • Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), was in Minnesota to speak at an international conference on food and science.  On April 30, Extension faculty and staff in northeast Minnesota hosted him at the Cloquet Forestry Center where he  learned  more about University of Minnesota Extension.

  • On May 8, the date of the actual signing of the Smith Lever Act, a national centennial convocation was held in Washington, D.C.  Bev Durgan, Dean;  Aimee Viniard-Weideman, assistant dean of communications and public relations; and David Werner, chief financial officer, participated in the national celebration.

  • Throughout 2014, National Cooperative Extension is celebrating the centennial with a project called "Extension Reconsidered." The project engages 13 land-grant universities, including University of Minnesota, to reflect on and envision Cooperative Extension's role and relevance in higher education across the U.S. In Minnesota, we will hold conversations in a variety of settings.
More information about the Smith-Lever anniversary is available on the Cooperative Extension website.

U-Lead Advisory Academy

The U-Lead Advisory Academy (ULAA) is a leadership program for friends of Extension, like you, who are ready to strengthen their ability to provide leadership in their communities. The program will also help you discover Extension's innovative programs through site visits, speakers and activities. This year, ULAA will explore the theme of Leadership for Healthy, Livable Communities. You will gather insights, experiences and resources on this important topic as you learn, connect with fellow participants, and visit communities.

The six month cohort experience will allow you the opportunity to learn, to connect with others around topics of community leadership, to visit the City of New Orleans and learn about their community revitalization efforts after Katrina, and to apply what you learn with support from a network of others who can be trusted colleagues. After your ULAA experience, the Extension Leadership and Civic Engagement team will offer continuing education experiences, and will even offer a chance for an international tour that will support Minnesota's effort to support the global economy.

Scholarship applications are being taken until May 30th, and registration will open on June 2nd. Visit the ULead Advisory Academy website for additional program and registration information.

Center for Small Towns Symposium

The Extension Center for Community Vitality is a collaborating partner for the 2014 Center for Small Towns Symposium, to be held June 4-5 at the University of Minnesota Morris. This event has a long tradition of helping rural Minnesota consider its opportunities and issues. The focus this year is "Understanding rural migration: Myths, trends and opportunities." Speakers will present research that unpacks migration trends, flows, and economic impacts, and will also explore practical strategies to recruitment and retention of residents in rural Minnesota.

Ben Winchester, Extension research fellow, is the symposium's keynote speaker, presenting his research about rural Minnesota migration. Ben's research goes beyond the overall trends, examining specific data that, for example, monitored the trend of 30-49 year olds moving into rural places. Extension faculty and staff, partners, stakeholders and others who are concerned about the future of rural Minnesota are invited to attend. For more information and to register, visit the event website.

Mary Page Community-University Partnerships Fund

The Mary J. Page Community-University Partnerships Fund has been established to provide support to Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP).  Mary J. Page (1934-2013) was a voice for rural Minnesota. As a commissioner for Renville County, mayor of Olivia, a U of M Regent, and in many other leadership roles throughout the state, she carried the concerns of outstate  Minnesota to important policy-making circles. Mary helped to create, and then served on, the founding board of the West Central RSDP from 1999-2007, and gave vision and leadership to RSDP until 2009.

It is in honor of Mary's commitment to rural communities and RSDP that this endowment has been created, beginning with a founding gift and a matching gift from members of the Page family, which will leverage additional donations. Donors can give online, or contact Jane Johnson, Extension development director, 612-626-3717 or to learn more.

Estate planning survey

A survey on estate planning to support Extension programs and 4-H will be going out to Extension retirees in phases over the next several months. Coordinated by the University of Minnesota Foundation, the survey asks participants about charitable planned gift intent, provides info on the Heritage Society of the U of M President's Club, and seeks out interest in additional information on charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, testamentary bequests and other forms of estate planning. Thank you in advance for taking the time to participate in the survey.

4-H Golf Classic event

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation Golf Classic will  take place on Monday, June 23, at the Medina Golf and Country Club, 400 Evergreen Road, Medina, 12:30 p.m., shotgun start. This annual event provides an opportunity for businesses and individuals to help Minnesota youth see their potential by providing support for the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.

In addition to meeting 4-H youth and learning about their projects, additional featured activities include playing on a 18-hole private golf course, silent and fund-a-need auctions, lunch, on-course beverages and a hearty dinner. Reserve tickets through the Minnesota 4-H Foundation. Reservations should be made for golfers as well as non-golfers who want to attend the banquet and silent auction. For information, contact Erin Kelly-Collins at 612-624-7971 or email Please make your reservations by June 13.

Awards and Accomplishments (June 2014)

Mark Seeley, Extension climatologist, is one of three honored recipients of the Siehl Prize for 2014. The prize, awarded annually by the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, honored the Siehl Prize laureates at a ceremony in McNamara Alumni Center on the university campus on Thursday, May 22. Other honorees are Richard Magnusson (production agriculture) and Tom Rosen (agribusiness).

Retiree Updates (June 2014)

Welcome new retirees:

Janet Bloomquist, administrative secretary, Watonwan County. Her 29 years of service and commitment to youth development, county work, and helping others was appreciated and recognized on March 17.

Bev Swenson, 4-H program coordinator in Kittson County , retired on April 30 after 16 years of service. She delivered new after-school programs and aquatic robotics to youth in Kittson County.

In Memoriam:

Rueben Myrum BoxrudRueben Myrum Boxrud, resident of Slayton, MN, and graduate of University of Minnesota, passed away on May 20.  He was an Extension agriculture agent for five years in McCloud County and Extension director for Murray County, 1958-1985.  Rueben was 89.

Sara Elvira Cina, 104, died April 24, in LaQuinta, CA. A 1933 University of Minnesota graduate with a bachelor of science degree in home economics, Sara worked as a home demonstration agent for Extension in Grand Rapids and Hennepin County. In 1944 she moved to California and served as a nutrition educator, taught cooking in schools as well as offering classes on television. She was member of the Home Economics Hall of Fame.

Ada D. SchroederAda D. Schroeder worked as an Extension home agent from 1935-1968 in Beltrami, Fairmont, and Pipestone Counties where she organized and taught 4-H clubs. Ada passed away on March 5 at age 103.

Media Moments (June 2014)

After a long winter, Minnesotans were eager to get out in their farm fields and home landscapes, but a cold spring brought more challenges. Throughout the state, Extension helped viewers understand and cope. For example, in this WCCO-TV report Dave Nicolai, crops educator, talked with WCCO-TV's Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield about "rush hour in the countryside" as farmers try to plant their crops before it's too late. And in this report on Minnesota Public Radio, Gary Wyatt, forestry educator, gave homeowners advice about protecting trees from hungry animals. Extension's horticulture educators, like Julie Weisenhorn and Sam Bauer, can be heard on Smart Gardens Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. on WCCO-AM, taking questions from listeners.

Do you have a question about your spring-summer landscape? Ask a Master Gardener is an online tool that lets you put your question on a simple web form (you can even attach a photo!) and receive a research-based answer from a volunteer Master Gardener within 48 hours.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dean's Column (Feb. 2014)

Dear Extension Retirees,

I look forward to seeing you and hearing about your latest adventures each year at our luncheon for retirees. It is a great time to catch up with each other and remember the positive impact each of you have had through your work with Extension.

To make this more convenient, we will once again have an event in Greater Minnesota and in the Twin Cities. Please mark your calendars for either of the luncheons:
  1. Thursday, June 12 at The Fireside Restaurant in Detroit Lakes

  2. Wednesday, July 23 at the Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville.
An invitation with directions and RSVP information will be sent in April. I hope to see you this summer, when the weather is warm and the snow has melted!

Bev Durgan

University of Minnesota Retirees Association

The University of Minnesota Retirees Association (UMRA) has added some new features and links:

  1. UMRA's members gather at 11:30 at the Campus Club, Coffman Union, on the fourth Tuesday of each month, for lunch, good fellowship and speakers. The next event will be on Tuesday February, 25. After the luncheon, they will host a workshop featuring four UMRA members who are working internationally. The four panelists are Karen Lilley, who just returned from work at a Uganda orphanage; Vincent Hunt, who worked in many countries with the world Health Organization (WHO); Josef Mestenhauser, who, after 50 years of devotion to the University's international activities, continues promoting greater internationalization in learning; and Robert Patterson, who has done consulting and human rights work all over the globe. Ron Anderson, UMRA's past president, will moderate the discussion. You are welcome to attend this free workshop from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. whether or not you attend the luncheon.

  2. University Retirees Volunteer Center (URVC) is dedicated to connecting volunteers with service opportunities within the University and in the surrounding community. Started in 1987, it was the first of its kind and remains today the sole service organization of a higher education institution. The URVC acts as a referral center, matching organizations that need help with willing volunteers of all ages who are seeking meaningful and rewarding experiences. Their office is located in the  McNamara Alumni Center, Room 263, Phone: 612-625-8016 or email:

  3. The University of Minnesota announces a new and perhaps unique digital journal, The Journal of Opinions, Ideas and Essays (JOIE). Through the assistance of the Provost and the University Digital Conservancy (UDC) the journal will be managed by UMRA. As the title implies, it will be a vehicle for the publication of a broad variety of high-quality articles on a wide assortment of topics that may not be typical for conventional scholarly journals. It will include reviews, short stories, poems, photographic essays, essays on scholarly topics, opinion pieces, and discussions of pedagogical and curricular issues.

SNAP-Ed Funding

A new five-year Farm Bill and the President's 2014 budget have passed the U.S. House and Senate. Both restore most of the funding for the national SNAP-Ed program. We are pleased to see this support for SNAP-Ed and will use any additional funding to add staff to our new regional model.

However, we do not expect to receive all of the funding outlined in the Farm Bill and the President's budget. While funding is authorized in the Farm Bill, the actual appropriations are determined each year and may be less than what is authorized, based on national budget realities. In addition, Minnesota's SNAP-Ed funding is scheduled to be reduced by at least 10 percent each year for the next four years as part of a national effort to redistribute the SNAP-Ed funding across the states. And, the SNAP-Ed grant is administered by the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, which contracts with Extension to deliver the nutrition education to SNAP eligible participants. As with all grants, we cannot assume the funding is recurring. This is why we are committed to our new regional model that will allow us to expand and contract based on the actual funding.

Smith-Lever Anniversary

2014 is the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act. This federal act established the Cooperative Extension Service, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and land-grant universities to extend research-based knowledge through outreach education. University of Minnesota was ahead of the curve, establishing Extension in 1909, five years before the 1914 federal act which established a state-by-state national network to improve the lives of families, youth, farmers, communities and businesses. While we celebrated Extension's centennial in 2009, we will observe the federal anniversary in 2014. Watch for more information about how you can participate in the national social media campaign and other opportunities to support the anniversary.

Watch for Spring 2014 Source Magazine

Watch your mailboxes and email for the Spring 2014 issue of Source magazine. This issue of Source highlights several stories of the ways Extension remains relevant in our ever-changing world:

  1. Extension's 4-H youth program stimulates kids' interest in science, creating the next generation of scientists needed for 21st century industries. Meet two 4-H alumni now studying at the University of Minnesota.

  2. Investments in agricultural research continue to pay back by helping agriculture producers make informed decisions that benefit both farm businesses and the environment.

  3. Rural communities receive much needed access to retail trade analysis, leadership development and other community research and education through Extension, helping them prepare for the challenges and opportunities presented by changing economies, demographics and technologies.

You will also learn how Extension helps parents keep their children front and center, during and after divorce; read the story beyond the numbers to discover what the wine industry means to Minnesota and how it can stay healthy; and find out how Extension's honey bee program, established in 1918, suggests steps we can take to care for these vital pollinators.

Watch this! Discovering Science: Minnesota 4-H builds the next generation of STEM leaders

A new 2 ½-minute video about 4-H STEM puts a spotlight on young people who are getting excited about science through 4-H. Jobs in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) are growing three times faster than other industries, but only 5 percent of U.S. students get their undergraduate degree in science and engineering. This video shows that hands-on experiences in 4-H STEM set Minnesota youth on a path to continued learning in college--often at the University of Minnesota--and careers.

Visit Extension's YouTube channel for more videos.

Awards and Accomplishments (Feb. 2014)

Sharon (Sherri) Wright was honored in October by being inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame for her lifetime of Extension work and specifically as the national program leader for the USDA's Children Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) Program.

She worked tirelessly for the inception and development of CYFAR. During her tenure, she directed grants to land-grant universities for community programs that benefited more than 27,000 at-risk, low-income youth and families. The 4-H Hall of Fame is sponsored by National 4-H Council. Visit the Hall of Fame for more information.

Retiree Updates (Feb. 2014)

Welcome new retirees:

Rosemary Heins retired on January 31 after a 31-year career as an Extension educator in family development/family resource management. She worked in Redwood, Nicollet and Anoka Counties, and at the Regional Office in Andover.

Kathleen A. Johnson retired in September after 14 years as Extension 4-H program coordinator. She provided leadership and learning opportunities in Dakota County.

Cindy M. Petersen, a family development/family resource management regional educator for 37 years, worked in Renville and McLeod Counties, and most recently at the Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center in Minneapolis. She retired January 31.

Jeffrey K. Reneau, professor, Extension animal scientist and Extension program leader, retired on December 31. His 35-year career earned him the distinction of being one of the nation's leading authorities in dairy management.

Susan Shegrud, Clearwater County Extension support staff, provided support to the county 4-H program, agriculture and natural resources programs, Master Gardeners and the Clearwater County Fair for 23 years. She retired on January 24.

Maryann Woeste, office manager and payroll specialist, retired in December after 43 years of service for the Todd County Extension Office. Her work supported programs in health and nutrition, 4-H, agriculture, Master Gardeners, and county Extension committees.

In Memoriam:

Richard Brand.jpg
Richard W. "Dick" Brand passed away December 2, in Long Prairie, age 93. His B.S. and M.S. degrees focused on dairy production, economics and journalism. He started his Extension career as a summer assistant in Houston County. Later he worked in Carlton and Todd Counties and retired in 1982 after 33 years of service.

Engelstad-Hazel1 (2).jpg

Hazel M. Engelstad, 92 and a longtime resident of the Kasson area, died on February 3.  She attended the University and was a 4-H Club agent in Dodge County for many years.

Carroll Fredrick Giesler- larger photo.jpg

Carroll Fredrick Giesler, resident of Hibbing was 82 when he passed away on October 28. He received his B.S. degree in agriculture from the University and retired as county Extension director for St. Louis County.

DorisHagedorn (2).jpg

Doris Marie Hagedorn, 72 and resident of Blue Earth, died on January 26. She worked for 34 years at the Faribault County Extension office.

Harlund Routhe.jpg

Harlund G. Routhe (Hal) was passionate about the University, where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees studying agricultural education, economics and farm business management. His leadership positions during his 35-year career included state leader of Extension programs, program leader for agricultural production and associate director of Extension. He passed away on January 29 at his home in Falcon Heights, age 87.

Gerald Wagner.jpg

Gerald Wagner, Roseville, died October 19, age 83. He worked for Extension from 1970-1998, during which time he conducted numerous dairy and beef tours in the U.S. and led 26 international tours to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Europe.

William Wilcke.jpg

William F. Wilcke, 59, passed away on November 18. His background and degrees in agricultural engineering were well utilized when he joined the University in 1989. In addition to his teaching and research, he served as regional director for the North Central Region-Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education Program until he retired in 2010.

Media Moments (Feb. 2014)

Did you see the great 4-H story in the Star Tribune? The Star Tribune profiled a Hennepin County 4-H club that meets in the Franklin Library in Minneapolis. Most of its members are of Somali heritage; their recent efforts include making a video about the rich diversity of their neighborhood.

Did You Know?

This section includes updates on the activities Extension retirees are involved in since their retirement. Share your own personal stories by sending them to Gwen Gmeinder at

Sharon Rezac Andersen's book "The Burden of Knowing" was published in 2013 by WheatMark Press, Tucson, Arizona. The book details Sharon's study in Nicaragua to determine "accurate information" and the search for truth examining a variety of sources--social media, U.S. administration and human rights advocates. She will be using it as a historical textbook when teaching at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Irene Ott volunteers weekly at Vadnais Heights Elementary School as a reading coach with first graders. She enjoys the excitement of helping students increase their self awareness and develop into good readers. On an international level Irene is involved with Common Hope to provide financial support for a 6th grader in Guatemala and a Ph.D. student from Turkey who is completing her research in the area of child abuse and trauma through the University's Family Social Science Department.

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