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Mission, Vision, Priorities!


An Abraham Lincoln quote comes to mind, who I thought you might like to have quoted at this point..πŸ˜‰

β€œThe dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.  The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion.  As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”

Annual Message to Congress-Concluding Remarks, December 1, 1862

Developing our Mission, Vision, Priorities helps us rise with the challenges in front of us.  They help us lean into, even embrace, the opportunities we've created.  Some discovery and comparison can help.


  1. Describe what only your area of responsibility can provide, based on your location in the larger organization.  The best are totally exclusive & probably fit on a t-shirt!
  2. Start with a Verb!
  3. Assure your statement supports & aligns with everything above it.  What capability of the higher is supported by the lower?
  4. Describe the scope/environment in which you work/support.
  5. When written right, you should be able to establish a concise list of priorities from it


Here are some from around Cooperative Extension.  Using the color code above, identify each unique aspect of the statements below and a couple possible priorities your team can identify.

  • USDA - United States Department of Agriculture

Provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition & related issues based on public policy, best available science & effective management.

  • NIFA - National Institute for Food & Agriculture

Invest in & advance agricultural research, education & extension to solve societal changes.

  • APLU - Association of Public & Land Grant Universities

Expand access & improve student success to deliver the innovative workforce of tomorrow. Educating leaders.

  • CES - Cooperative Extension System

Empowers farmers, ranchers & communities of all sizes to meet the challenges they face, adapt to changing technology, improve nutrition & food safety, prepare for & respond to emergencies & protect our environment.

  • ECOP - Extension Committee on Organization & Policy

Strengthen CES at national, state & local levels.

  • Extension Foundation

Help extension professionals generate a more visible, measureable local impact. Issues, Innovation, Impact.



U.S. Government (from the Constitution)

Provide for the common defense and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Department of Defense

Provide the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of the United States.

U.S. Air Force

To deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests--to fly, fight & win in air, space & cyberspace.

U.S. Air Force Academy

To educate, train and inspire men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead the U.S. Air Force in service to our nation.

From #3 on the "how to" list, you can follow these mission statement connections like this...

Provide for the common defense connects with deter war and protect connects with deliver sovereign options for the defense connects with become officers of character, motivated to lead.

You can see how they each support the ones above it thereby maintaining alignment.


Here's an outside resource from Mind Tools on Mission Statements and Vision Statements: Unleashing the Power of Purpose

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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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