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eXtension Selects 8 Projects For Acceleration From Cooperative Extension for 2020-2021


As part of eXtension’s New Technologies for Agricultural Extension (NTAE) Cooperative Agreement with USDA-NIFA, the eXtension Foundation selected 8 projects from 33 competitive nominations across the system for year two to participate in its project accelerator program. The nomination process opened in May 2020 and closed in July 2020. All Land Grant Universities were eligible to submit nominations. The project period is September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021. Requirements included:

  • Projects must be in early stages of maturity and have a high potential for making a significant local impact and providing a model for adoption by other Extension professionals regionally or nationwide. This means the project is likely to have objectives completed, audiences identified, outcomes identified and has had some early stage of implementation. 
  • Each nomination should identify a lead (a Fellow) for the project that will serve as the primary contact.
  • All nominations must have the support of the Extension Director/Administrator.

These projects will receive wrap-around services from the eXtension Foundation to support and amplify the project outcomes. Wrap-around services include:

  • Project/Program advisory support from a Catalyst (current or past senior program or administrative Cooperative Extension Service (CES) personnel).
  • Support to compose a peer-reviewed publication of resources and processes used by the project which might be an eFieldbook or ePub publication.
  • Evaluation support
  • Digital engagement support for digital learning and instructing
  • Leadership support and training for adaptation to a digital environment 
  • Optional Wrap Around Services
    • Market research and messaging
    • Partnership development assistance 

Nominations were reviewed for alignment to the USDA Strategic Goals.  The selected projects are:

  • Community Learning Through Data Driven Discovery: Barriers to Rural Health, Virginia Tech
  • Southern University Jagriculture Emergency Preparedness, Southern University
  • The Juntos Program: Building Common Measures for National Sustainability, North Carolina State University
  • Equipping Western Rangeland Managers to Create Land Management Plans, Oregon State University
  • Oregon State University Extension Fire Program, Oregon State University
  • Wellness In Tough Times Toolkit, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Strengthening Health, Resilience and Farm Vitality through Online Forums, University of Delaware
  • Navigating the Grocery Store Aisle: Understanding Non-GMO Labeling, University of Connecticut

Three of the selected projects that were nominated had incubated their projects through eXtension’s Impact Collaborative program. This includes the Southern University Jagriculture Emergency Preparedness, Wellness in Tough Times Toolkit, and Strengthening Health, Resilience and Farm Vitality through Online Forums projects. eXtension’s Impact Collaborative project incubator program is a professional development experience for Cooperative Extension professionals. It provides learning opportunities geared towards innovation while bringing strategic support and new capacity to the System. These experiences are enhanced with the help of external partners and supporting organizations. Working together, we find new ways to generate visible and measurable local impact. The Impact Collaborative is supported by membership funding and is available exclusively to eXtension members.

Several teams that were not selected as projects for 2020-2021 have been invited to further develop their projects over the next year through eXtension’s Impact Collaborative program to help prepare them for future nomination opportunities. 

eXtension Catalysts providing the program/project advisory support for Year 2 include:

  • Scott Reed, Retired Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement and Director of OSU Extension Service
  • Fred Schlutt, Retired Vice Provost for Extension and Outreach at University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Rick Klemme, Former Executive Director, ECOP
  • Chuck Hibberd, Retired Dean of Cooperative Extension, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

More information about each project will be available in the coming weeks at

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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