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Showing posts from 2017

Dean's Column (Nov. 2017)

Dear Extension Retirees,

It was a pleasure to see so many of you this summer during our annual retiree luncheons.

In October, I did one of my favorite duties as dean, honoring our employees and friends with the Distinguished Dean’s Awards at the annual Program Conference. It is an honor to recognize the work, dedication and impact of our colleagues and friends.

Please join me in congratulating the award winners! You can learn more about the 2017 award winners on our website (

Campus-based faculty
: Krishona Martinson, Extension equine specialist and livestock program leader

Field-based faculty: Amy Rager, Extension educator, fish, wildlife and conservation education

Diversity: Ryan Allen, associate professor, leadership and civic engagement, Extension Center for Community Vitality

Outstanding leadership: Dorothy McCargo Freeman, associate dean, Extension Center for Youth Development

Team: Deep Winter Greenhouse team, Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partner…

Source magazine fall issue available and ready for sharing

Here are some of the highlightsSource Fall 2017 edition:
Gardening with class features schoolyard gardens that plant seeds for better health and active learning. Even if you’ve read it before, visit online for a heartening video that has just been added.Take five steps for a stronger Minnesota helps you make your community an attractive place to live, where people can find work and quality of life.4-H alumni: Where are they now? features 4-H alumni who brought lessons from 4-H into their communities and careers. Please share the Source stories with your friends, family, community members and anyone you think would be interested in this work.

Transition for Minnesota 4-H Foundation

On Jan. 31, 2018, the Minnesota 4-H Foundation will dissolve and all 4-H fund development activities will be coordinated by Extension’s development office and the University of Minnesota Foundation. This change is designed to maximize fundraising potential for 4-H throughout the state, benefiting more youth in every Minnesota county and tribal nation.

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation board of trustees has considered this opportunity for many months, and voted unanimously in June 2017 to continue to move forward with dissolution.

Our staff and Foundation board, along with leadership from the Center for Youth Development, Extension and the University are working to make sure this is as seamless a transition as possible.
Donor intent in all contributions and bequests, past and future, will be honored.Endowment holders will still receive annual reports showing the financial standing of their investments with the University of Minnesota Foundation.Gifts made payable to the Minnesota 4-H Foundat…

Events (Nov. 2017)

Minnesota 4-H Celebration of Agriculture, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, Hilton Bloomington, 3900 American Blvd W. Social hour 6 p.m., dinner and program at 7 p.m.
Mark your calendar to share in a night when 4-H alumni, parents, volunteers and staff celebrate 4-H’s involvement in growing true leaders through 4-H agriculture programs. Tickets are $100 each; proceeds go to support 4-H agriculture programs. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Contact the Extension development office, 612-624-7971.

For snowbirds: University of Minnesota Alumni Association MinneCollege will be taking place In Naples, Fla., on Jan. 20 at the Hilton Naples; and Scottsdale, Ariz., at Marriott McDowell Mountains on Feb. 10.
Registration for both events starts at 12:30 p.m. with a program at 1 p.m. A program of cutting-edge topics featuring University faculty speakers is planned for both locations. More information will be posted soon on the UMAA website.

Awards and Accomplishments (Nov. 2017)

Aquatic Invasive Species Detectors program was featured in the story Guardians of the Waterways. The volunteer program was recently launched by Extension and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Read the story in University of Minnesota Foundation’s Legacy magazine, Summer 2017 and on Extension Highlights.

Jeff Coulter, Extension agronomist, St. Paul campus, received the Editor’s Citation for Excellence by the editorial board of Crop Science. These awards recognize the outstanding professional commitment and dedication of volunteer reviewers and editors who, through their insights and comments, have helped maintain the high standard and quality of papers published in the journal.

The Center for Farm Financial Management (CFFM) was awarded the 2017 Distinguished Extension Program Group Award by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. Team members include Robert Craven, Dale Nordquist, Kevin …

Welcome new retirees (Nov. 2017)

Fritz Breitenbach, associate Extension professor, entomology department and integrated pest management specialist, retired Sept. 30. Fritz’s 36-year career and proactive approach to solving problems of new invasive species and herbicide resistance benefited many farmers, crop consultants and the Minnesota agriculture industry.

Patricia Combs retired Oct. 10 after 28 years of dedicated service as a finance professional in the Extension Center for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Patti, with her knowledge and understanding of University policies, procedures and operating systems across the institution, provided valuable skills to the Extension finance team.

David Fluegel served as executive director of the Extension Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships since 2012. During his career, he built relationships throughout the region and worked to see that the projects reflected the people and places of the region. He retired Aug. 5.

Karl Foord, Extension educator, Exte…

In Memoriam (Nov. 2017)

Christine M. Moen, Roseville, passed away Oct. 5. She served as the Extension fiscal officer for more than 36 years. As an ardent believer in the value of education, she created a scholarship foundation and actively supported that cause until her death.

Irene D. Peterson
received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota and enjoyed a career with many Extension positions: Extension agent in Stearns and Douglas counties, and later served on the Senior Citizen Pilot Project with the Governor’s Council. In 1970, she became supervisor for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program. In 1971, Irene received the National Distinguished Award for her commitment and service to the elderly. She passed away July 27, age 86.

Margaret Eleanor Rosendahl, age 97, passed away June 15. After graduating with a bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota, she became the first Extension home demonstration agent in Marshall County in 1947. In 1988, after more than 50 years of…

Retirees in retirement: Sharing your story (Nov. 2017)

Melvin J. Baughman, Extension forester who retired in 2011, planned a “fabulous retirement,” according to a story on, a blog about retirement and volunteerism. Blogger Mary Anne Casey writes that Mel created “the most deliberate retirement plan of any retiree I’ve interviewed” and yet remained flexible when some of his plans didn’t work out the way he’d planned.

Sandra Becker, prior to her retirement in 2005, was a communications specialist, Extension operations and support on the St. Paul campus. Her recent activities include serving as a board member and volunteer coordinator at Minnesota Bach Ensemble; volunteer at “Walkin’ in Circles” horse shelter (New Mexico); and choir member at House of Hope Church in St. Paul.

Kim Boyce, former Extension educator in the Extension Center for Community Vitality and regional director for Hennepin and Ramsey counties, retired in 2015. He now teaches leadership a few days a week and facilitates meetings for public and nonprofit org…

2017 Dean's Distinguished Faculty Awards

2017 Faculty award recipients     Campus Faculty 
Dr. Krishona Martinson, Equine Extension Specialist and Program Leader

Krishona Martinson built the internationally recognized and highly successful Equine Extension program. The program provides relevant information to horse owners and professionals while embracing a spirit of entrepreneurialism. She is a leader in using technology to provide information on management and care of horses and also maintains a successful research program securing over $1.2 million in grant dollars for collaborative research between agronomy and equine science. Krishona boldly embraces the Extension mission by pushing herself and her team to use innovative technology to share timely and researched-based information.

Field Faculty
Amy Rager, Extension Educator, Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Education

Amy Rager, statewide director of the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program (MMNP), has been instrumental in leading the program to sustainability and strength.…

Dean's Column (June 26, 2017)

Dear Extension retirees,

Please consider joining me at a summer Extension retiree luncheon to reconnect with old friends, share news and learn about what’s happening in Extension. There are two summer luncheons coming up. I hope you can make it to one of them!

Northwest Minnesota: Tuesday, July 11, noon-2 p.m., The Fireside, 1462 East Shore Drive, Detroit Lakes; RSVP by July 4. Special guest speaker will be Linda Kingery, executive director, Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.

Twin Cities: Thursday, July 27, noon-2 p.m., Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham St., Roseville; RSVP by July 20. Special guest speaker will be Mary Hockenberry Meyer, professor and Extension horticulturist. Her focus will be 10 Plants That Changed Minnesota.

Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit, Extension development office, at 612-624-7971 or with your name and the luncheon location you will attend.

Bev Durgan Dean

4-H Golf Classic a success in its 19th year

4-H friends and alumni, along with their families and business associates, gathered at Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville for a fun afternoon of golf on June 19. Participants supported Minnesota 4-H youth programs with their registration fees and by talking with 4-H members about projects that are making an impact on their lives. Even Goldy Gopher was available for photos during the event! I want to thank UnitedHealthcare, our presenting sponsor, as well as the other sponsors, golfers, volunteers and 4-H’ers that made this a successful event. While we are still sorting through funds received and outstanding expenses, we anticipate the event this year will net almost $47,000. Thanks to everyone who gives of their time and other resources to support Extension research and education that creates a stronger Minnesota.
Jane Johnson Director of Development

May kicked off schoolyard garden planting

Several students at Crossroads School and Vocational Center in St. Francis took science class outside on May 24 to plant their garden during the week Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed as Schoolyard Gardens Planting Week. More than 150 Minnesota schoolyard gardens have been developed in recent years to allow for hands-on outdoor learning experiences that align with Minnesota PreK-12 academic standards. Extension Master Gardener volunteers serve as the local connection in the community and work with partners who make schoolyard gardens possible. Read more in Extension Highlights.

Shaping Somali youth and family success

Educators working with immigrants and refugees in other states are paying attention to Minnesota, which has the highest number of refugees per capita in the United States. Minnesota is also the home of the nation's largest Somali-American community. Read the story in Extension Highlights to learn how the work done by 4-H and health and nutrition educators is being shared with professionals across the country.

Awards and Accomplishments (June 2017)

Extension Dean's Distinguished Awards: The following were recognized at the 2017 Extension Staff Conference on May 18 on the St. Paul campus:
Nutrition Educator Award: Donna Anderson, SNAP-Ed educator, Hubbard and Becker countiesField Staff Award: Judy Leibfried, executive administrative specialist, Marshall Regional OfficeCampus-based Staff Award: Maggie Frazier, communications specialist, Extension Center for Agriculture, Food and Natural ResourcesProgram Staff Award: Jose Lamas, community program assistant, Nobles County
Kathy Draeger, statewide director of Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, is one of seven collegiate winners of the President's Community-Engaged Scholar Award, the highest award the University of Minnesota bestows for scholarship conducted in partnership with external communities. She’s featured in this video.

Brad Heins,
Extension dairy specialist, received the Outstanding Graduate Faculty/Staff Award in May from the University of Minne…

Welcome new retirees (June 2017)

Faye Sleeper, associate director, Water Resources Center and program leader of the Extension Water Resources Team, retired April 10. Her leadership roles also included serving as a representative to the Board of Water and Soil Resources and the North Central Regional Water Network.

Deb Zak, Northwest Regional Director, is retiring after 40 years with Extension in the Crookston Regional Office and the Pennington County office. A retirement party will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the Bede Ballroom at the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

In Memoriam (June 2017)

Malcolm “Mac” Barlass, Stillwater, passed away on April 9, age 81. His passion for learning, teaching and giving began with early involvement in 4-H and continued as an Extension county agent first in Illinois and then Minnesota.

Warren Y. Gore, active in 4-H clubs for many years, also taught communication in the Rhetoric Department on the St. Paul campus. He passed away Jan. 17 in St. Paul, age 93. He was honored by the University of Minnesota College of Agriculture in 1992 with the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award.

Robert Morrison, faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine for 31 years and a member of Extension’s livestock team, was killed in an auto accident in the Czech Republic on May 2. He was an international leader in the swine industry both in the United States as well as in China.

Roy L. Thompson’s professional career was devoted to agriculture in numerous areas of the world. He served as an agronomist with Rockefeller Foundation in Colombia, Extension, and was …

Retirees in retirement: Sharing your story (June 2017)

Shirley Anderson Porisch, former regional Extension educator, family resource management, Marshall and Lyon counties. Since her retirement in 2011, she has been assisting older adults in making insurance decisions for Medicare Part D and now started volunteering as an adult basic education ESL tutor. Shirley also works part-time as a financial counselor at Project Turnabout in Granite Falls in the gambling addiction program.

Joe Conlin, dairy specialist, animal sciences, retired in 2009 and resides in Columbus, Wis. He serves on the Columbus School Board as treasurer and is a founding member and past president of Columbus Area Endowment Board. The board makes monetary grants for worthy community causes. Joe also keeps busy renovating home and outbuildings on his family farm and raising apples for local markets.

John Cunningham, 2004 retiree in farm management and county Extension director. John is a board member of Minnesota Viewers Association and has served as an accredited ditch view…

Media Moment (June 2017)

Bill Svensgaard, Extension educator in 4-H and youth development until he retired in 2002, has been involved in many community art projects over the years. Now working in collaboration with Minneapolis Police Department, he helps inmates make Super Bowl artwork. Watch his story, aired June 6, 2017 on WCCO TV.

See Extension at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair!

If you go to the "Great Minnesota Get-Together," visit with Extension colleagues, volunteers and participants. There will be 4-H’ers in the 4-H building and barns, Master Gardeners in the Ag-Hort building and Extension faculty and educators on the DNR stage. Master Gardeners will share their schoolyard garden experiences at the U of M building on Aug. 30. Watch Extension’s Facebook page for detailed information to come out in early August. You can also check the 4-H State Fair website for information about shows and other scheduled 4-H events.

Send us your news

Do you have news or a story you'd like to share with fellow Extension retirees? Are you a part of a group of Extension retirees from a specific program that meets regularly and would like to invite new retirees to join? Share the news! Send submissions to Gwen Gmeinder at

Dean's Column (March 2017)

Dear Extension retirees,

Nearly every week, I’m reminded of how fortunate Extension is to have such a vital and active network of retired employees. You are strong advocates, partners and volunteers as well as generous donors and supporters of Extension research and education.

This summer, I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at our annual luncheons; they will take place on Tuesday, July 11 at the Fireside Restaurant in Detroit Lakes and on Thursday, July 27 at the Midland Hills Country Club here in St. Paul. Both luncheons are from noon to 2 p.m.

I also hope to see many of you at this year’s edition of Minnesota Sparks, a collaboration between Extension and the University of Minnesota Alumni Association that highlights the latest in U of M research and outreach. The first 2017 event will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 at the Minnwest Technology Campus in Willmar. More Sparks events are planned for next fall and the spring of 2018, so please watch for updates.


Extension at the Capitol

Seventy key stakeholders from across Minnesota came together Jan. 25 to learn about advocacy and legislative visits on Extension Legislative Action Day. The morning began with President Kaler’s legislative briefing breakfast, followed by updates from Dean Bev Durgan and J. D. Burton, special assistant to President Kaler, and a panel discussion.

In the afternoon, those who went to the Capitol to meet with their state legislators included members from Citizens Advisory Committee, Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Public Issues Leadership Development and County Extension Committees, as well as regional directors and 4-H youth ambassadors.

On Feb. 23, Extension joined the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) in presenting to the House Agriculture Finance Committee. The hearing provided an opportunity to speak with legislators on how Extension, CFANS and CVM serve Minnesota and the agriculture community…

Celebration of 4-H

4-H friends and alumni, including several Extension retirees, attended the annual Minnesota 4-H Celebration on Feb. 18 in Brooklyn Center. The event celebrates the special and lasting impact of 4-H. Attendees enjoyed music by a 4-H Arts-In performer, Minnesota-grown food and conversations with 4-H youth. The keynote speaker was Sheryl Doering Meshke, co-president and CEO for Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), a 4-H alum from Blue Earth County. They also heard from Logan Johnson, A Traverse County 4-H alum and recipient of the 2015 David E. Pace and Valerie Halverson Pace Leadership Scholarship. (Logan, David and Valerie are pictured with Dorothy McCargo Freeman, Extension associate dean for youth development.)

David Pace began working in Extension 4-H youth development in 1970 and retired in 2002 as associate professor emeritus. If you are interested in making a gift in support of 4-H scholarships or other Extension programs, please contact Jane Johnson at 612-626-3717 or johns350@…

Sarah Butler helps inmates find financial freedom

Sarah Butler, Dakota County financial empowerment Extension educator, was recently awarded a $1,000 grant to continue teaching Dakota County Jail inmates how to achieve financial stability as they re-enter society. Sarah was recognized in a Driven to Discover story last year for this work. “I love helping people discover within themselves the power to change their financial situations and to meet their goals, and this grant means I can keep doing just that,” she says. Read the story on the Family Development blog.

RSDP publishes Fresh Produce Toolkit

The Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) have published a new Fresh Produce Toolkit. This suite of resources provides information to help small grocery settings handle fresh produce and incorporate locally grown foods. Toolkits were mailed to rural grocers around the state and are available for download on RSDP's rural grocery resource page.

Gordon and Lillian Shafer 4-H Endowment for Youth Leadership and Service

As a tangible expression of their commitment toward ensuring youth in northwest Minnesota have access and opportunity to develop and practice authentic leadership and service beyond self, the Gordon and Lillian Shafer 4-H Endowment for Youth Leadership and Service has been established through a gift from Gordy and Lill. Their family, friends and colleagues have also contributed to the fund. This fund will support innovative programs and approaches designed to engage and prepare youth to lead, serve and make positive change in their communities.

Discover stories on new Extension Highlights website

As an Extension retiree, you know so much more happens in Extension than ever gets told. We want to do better! That’s why we are excited to introduce the new Extension Highlights website, where you will find stories you can share about Extension programs, participants and impacts around the state. Extension research and education take place in all 87 counties of Minnesota, and we hope to eventually have stories from every county. We are launching the site with nearly 100 stories, categorized by topic and region. Thanks for being a part of Extension’s story during your time working here and in your retirement. We invite you to share these stories in your social networks.

Source magazine spring issue available and ready for sharing

Source magazine arrived in mailboxes and on email in mid-February. The Spring 2017 issue shares stories about Extension volunteers, participants and community partners. Here’s a glimpse at what’s inside:
Raising their hands for young people features 4-H volunteers and the 4-H program coordinators who lead, train and support them (cover story).Improving agriculture together tells the story of Extension's role in sharing research with professionals who advise farmers.Thriving in times of change presents innovative initiatives in three Minnesota communities planning their futures.

Awards and Accomplishments (March 2017)

Congratulations to the following Extension faculty and staff receiving awards in the past six months:

Rob Holcomb received the 2016 College of Continuing Education (CCE) Distinguished Educator Award. Rob’s contributions to CCE over the past five years included serving as faculty director, content specialist and instructor for the income tax short course. Rob was also involved in developing the online version of the course, which has gained national visibility.

Krishona Martinson, equine Extension specialist, was awarded the merit award at the 2017 American Forage and Grassland Council conference in Roanoke, Va. This award is presented to individuals who have made superior contributions in some phase of forage and grassland agriculture, and who have earned recognition among their colleagues for work and productivity in research, teaching, Extension, production or industrial development.

The Master Naturalist team received the Carol Mortenson Award for Team Achievement for their significa…

Welcome new retirees (March 2017)

Carolyn Dingfelder, Extension 4-H program coordinator for 14 years in Winona County, retired Nov. 10. She served youth and families with her dedication to quality learning environments. She led efforts to form a State 4-H Lama Committee, develop curriculum and resources, and deliver programs to underrepresented audiences.

Douglas Malchow, Extension educator, water resource management and policy, began his Extension career in 1999 as a leadership and civic engagement educator. Doug’s focus moved to natural resources and environment and he served as the outreach coordinator for the southeast Minnesota wastewater initiative until he retired in December.

Catherine J. Nelson retired on Dec. 9 after 35 years as dedicated Steele County support staff.

Betty Wistrom’s 28-year career as a SNAP-Ed educator in Lake and St. Louis counties, was built on collaborative teamwork and sharing her knowledge of food and feeding families in practical and inexpensive ways. She retired on Jan. 5.

In Memoriam (March 2017)

Lowell D. Hanson passed away on Dec. 3, age 89. With a doctorate in soil sciences from the University of Minnesota, he entered a 30-year career as a professor and Extension agent, pioneering techniques for precision farming, highlighting environmental concerns and working to reduce herbicide dependence.

James B. Stordahl, Extension educator, agriculture production systems in Clearwater and Polk Counties, passed away on March 7, age 61. Jim’s 21-year career produced numerous programs covering dairy, beef, horticulture, small farms/local foods and crops.

Retirees in retirement: Sharing Your Story (March 2017)

This issue highlights Mel Baughman, Ann Bosch, Arthur Frame, Marilyn Grantham, Richard Krueger, Jim Lewis, Phyllis Onstad, Bob Sopoci, Patricia Stumme, Bill Svendsgaard, Kent Thiesse

Mel Baughman serves on the Sawyer County Search and Rescue Team. He helps build and maintain the North Country National Scenic Trail through Wisconsin and occasionally consults with communities or businesses regarding recreational trail design. He was recently featured in the "meet your neighbor" column in the Sawyer County Record Newspaper, which provided a synopsis of his life, reasons for moving to Hayward, his interests and volunteer activities. Mel served as an Extension forestry program leader on the St. Paul campus.

Ann Bosch, former Extension educator and county Extension leader, Kandiyohi County, provides volunteer office support for the Humane Society of Kandiyohi and Meeker counties and assists with special needs clients at the Willmar Area Food Shelf.

Arthur Frame, retired Extension edu…

Media Moment (March 2017)

Extension health and nutrition education continues to receive recognition. Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed January as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Month. EatRightTV, the YouTube channel of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recently featured Andrew Doherty, an Extension SNAP-Ed educator, in this inspiring video.

Learn about new changes and projects in SNAP-Ed in the Family Matters blog.