MSU Extension 2019 Legislative Impact Report

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88 MSU Extension agents and 54 specialists serving local needs in 56 counties and 7 reservations with 1 mission: to improve the lives of Montana citizens by providing unbiased, research-based education and information that integrates learning, discovery and engagement to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of individuals, families and communities.

MSU Extension in Ravalli County has partnered with teams of MSU College of Nursing students from the Missoula campus to encourage residents to increase their physical activity. The teams have created community walking maps for Hamilton and Stevensville, and soon Darby. They created a May/June health incentive program called Bike, Walk, Roll and Win, and another incentive program called WINter Wellness. Local foundations and businesses have donated over $2,000 in prizes to encourage participants. In the summer, 74 participants in Hamilton logged 1,221 miles collectively. Participants reported significantly improved balance, stamina and mental health.

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In Valley County, risk from narrowleaf hawksbeard infestation prompted MSU Extension agent Shelley Mills to become a leading expert in management strategies. Following her workshops, 48 participants completed surveys indicating they were managing 109,350 cropland acres (of 189,900) they owned or managed. They estimated that without the management techniques taught by Extension they would have experienced an estimated loss of $63/acre, representing a total potential loss of revenue to hawksbeard of more than $6.1 million. For her effort, Mills was recognized by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents as an Excellence in Crop Production Award winner.

MSU Extension agent Jennifer Anderson helped in founding the Community Foundation of Northern Rosebud County in 2008 to help fund local projects. Since then, the foundation has accumulated an endowment of more than $500,000, and more than $125,000 has been reinvested back into community projects including a hospital helipad upgrade, children’s swim lessons, and technology for use in public school classrooms

Stephanie Davison with the Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development and a team of partners from MSU Extension, ILX Lightwave and the Pretty Eagle Catholic Academy in St. Xavier have provided advanced STEM education opportunities for youth in grades 5-8. The students have used computer-aided design software to design and build doghouses for the resident dog, a shed for the football team’s gear and race cars. They have worked with staff to map weeds and plan to build a pedestrian bridge at Chief Plenty Coups State Park. The team is funded thorough a Children, Youth, Families at Risk (CYFAR) grant from USDA-NIFA.

ou live in Montana, we live near you.

More than 3,500 4-H leaders provide volunteer

Strengthening social, economic and environmental well-being across generations, across Montana.

Long distances to health care facilities and a shortage of medical providers makes staying healthy a priority for Montanans.

hours in excess of $2 million while teaching and mentoring

Many MSU Extension offices offer health

youth through 4-H programs. 75% of youth who participate in 4-H leadership programs also have leadership roles in school, church and other community organizations.

19,000 Montana youth participate annually in 4-H clubs,

In addition to helping grow food,

afterschool programs, camps and other activities to learn life skills such

MSU Extension improves access

as public speaking, critical thinking, goal setting, planning and organizing;

to healthy food and nutrition

and complete over 40,000 science, technology, engineering and math

education. Extension administers

(STEM) projects in fields such as robotics, bioscience, livestock, food and

Montana’s Expanded Food and Nutrition

nutrition, plant sciences and engineering.

Education Program (EFNEP) and Supplemental

programming to increase and enhance strength and flexibility, better manage diabetes, create connections among neighbors and allow individuals to remain independent longer.

Nutrition Assistance Program Education As local community leaders, MSU Extension agents often

(SNAP-Ed). These programs reach over 8,000

partner with others to build and grow community foundations. They

youth and adults annually with programs in

provide workshops on grant writing and fundraising, increasing

food safety and preservation, planning menus

leadership abilities, improving relationships and engaging

and healthy shopping, improving knife skills,

community members, and more.

and more as needed.

Extension economics education helps Montana families budget, plan for the future and make informed financial decisions. Annually, around 2,500 Montanans participate in Solid Finances and estate planning classes. Extension works extensively to support horticulture needs for lawns and gardens. Annually, nearly 700 Master Gardeners provide

rigorous testing of seed lots. For pulse acres to continue to increase, pest management is critical, as pulse crops are susceptible to a lot of diseases.

program provides support for family caregivers who have increased rates

Adding pulse crops into rotation can help

of depression and anxiety, and vulnerability to health problems.

improve soil health while diversifying the market and increasing the bottom line.

Montana State University Extension is an ADA/EO/AA/Veteran’s Preference Employer and Provider of Educational Outreach.

Mental health concerns consistently rank in the top three in local, county and state health assessments. To address the need for more

changing resources and shifting economies. MSU Extension’s Local Government Center offers 120+ affordable training opportunities to more than 6,000 local government officials who manage nearly $2 billion and 11,000 employees.

resources, MSU Extension partners with schools and other community organizations to provide or support

Education, outreach and research by MSU Extension and the Montana Ag Experiment Station has contributed to more than doubling pulse acreage, making Montana the nation’s top pulse producing state, while continuing to rank third for wheat production.

programming in mental health literacy and suicide prevention. These include Mental

During the 2017 drought in some

Health First Aid, Youth Aware of Mental Health

counties, as much as 30% of

(YAM), Thrive (an online depression intervention

forage was determined to be

study), and Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR)

toxic. Extension outreach

suicide prevention.

and education helps increase the number of

Forest Stewardship workshops produce forest

producers doing soil, water and

owners who have increased knowledge of

forage testing, and helps with

forest ecology and a management plan to

solutions to balance rations

guide them in sustainably managing forest recreation and other uses.

pathogen-related decline in yield through

significant increase in pulse crop acreage.

to manage shrinking or growing populations,

acres for health, wildlife, fire resilience, range,

to increase pulse crop pathology by reducing

$12.97/hour). MSU Extension’s Powerful Tools for Caregivers

of more than $230,000 in services.

manage 1.2 million family-owned acres. The

crop pathogen diagnostics. The lab’s goal is

transformed in the past decade to include a

Urban and rural communities need leaders

Forestry Stewardship programs

only laboratory exclusively dedicated to pulse

110 million hours of care to loved ones at a value of $1.4 billion (based on

school gardens, etc. at a value to local communities

forested land, and participants of Extension

Pathology Specialist Mary Burrows is the

Montana’s agricultural economy has been

in boulevards and parks; providing education at farmer’s markets; creating

one-fifth of Montana’s 25 million acres of

Laboratory started by MSU Extension Plant

Montana has an estimated 118,000 unpaid caregivers providing

12,000 volunteer hours managing community gardens and vegetation

Family forest owners own and manage

The Regional Pulse Crop Diagnostic

and manage herds to reduce

If you live in Montana, we live near you.

impacts, including livestock death, and increase profitability.