Applying research, knowledge, and resources to meet the issues and needs of Washington County.
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Upcoming Events
Icon of small group of volunteer waving with text: V.I.P Training, Volunteer In Preparation Training. January 7th 6:30pm, January 19th 6:30pm
4-H Virtual Volunteer in Preparation Training: Welcome new adult volunteers.  4-H takes steps to ensure a safe and healthy environment for youth and encourages safeguards for adult leaders. Each new volunteer is required to attend one session of new volunteer orientation. Volunteers who have not enrolled in the last five years must also be retrained.  Learn More or Register
Group of Agricultural Images. Text: Farm Ready Research, view tops and register for the winter webinar series.
Join in Farm Management Fridays at 11am
Navigating Your Farm Business Through 2021- January 8, 2021. This webinar will feature Extension specialist discussing economic factors and considerations for the best path forward for your business while navigating the future.

Are you in it for the long haul? Cash flow during a crisis- January 15, 2021. Planning your cash flow is essential, and challenging during uncertain times of the ongoing covid19 crisis.  Kevin Bernhardt, Extension Farm Management Specialist/UW Platteville Professor and Heather Schlesser, Marathon County Extension Ag Educator will discuss important cash flow analysis considerations, concerns and tools to help. 

Farm-gate Economic Outlook Forum - January 22, 2021. This webinar will focus on farm scale economic outlook and actions for farms in 2021 with a panel discussion by Extension Farm Management Specialist: Paul Mitchell, Ag and Applied Economics & Renk Agribusiness Institute, Mark Stephenson, UW Center for Dairy Profitability, Brenda Boetel, UW River Falls, and moderator Jim Versweyveld, Walworth County Extension Ag Educator.

**Farm Ready Research is Extension’s agriculture winter webinar meeting series for farmers and ag professionals. Join upcoming webinars to learn the most up-to-date information on topics from dairy and livestock production to farm management resources. Sessions run through April 2021.**

Person typing on laptop in background. Text: "Coffee Chats, Tax preparation Issues and Concerns, featuring Gary Sipiorski, Owner Gary Sipoiorski Consulting, LLC. Jan 11, 10-11am Virtual.
Heart of the Farm "Coffee Chats": Tax Preparation Issues and Concerns will be held January 11, 2021 at 10am. During this virtual session, Gary Sipiorski, will be speaking on Tax Preparation Issues and Concerns. As we all know, the month of January often brings thoughts of taxes and tax preparation. Gary will focus on issues specific to farm tax returns so those listening may gain a better understanding of what to think about regarding farm tax preparation and be able to ask better questions with their tax advisor. Learn more & Register for this session
Encouraging Financial Conversations Promotional Image

Encouraging Financial Conversations is a program designed for case managers, social workers, and other frontline staff to help empower clients to achieve their financial goals and manage their money. Participants will learn techniques and strategies to help their clients create a financial goals action plan, build and maintain good credit, pay off debts, develop a spending and savings plan, and protect themselves from fraud and identity theft. Participants will also learn coaching strategies that capitalize on a client’s strengths and resources in coming up with solutions. Register online for Encouraging Financial Conversations

3 Week Virtual Program runs All Tuesdays & Thursdays

January 12th to January 28th 2021

11am to Noon

Are you ready to "Rent Smart"? The Rent Smart program strives to guide and inform participants so they may:
• Learn new skills to build positive relationships with landlords and neighbors.
• Gain confidence in their ability to find and maintain affordable housing.
• Understand the application and screening processes used by landlords.
• Learn the responsibilities and rights of tenants and landlords.

Register Online for this Free, Virtual Program:

4-H Conversation Corner, Creating Better Bylaws. Youth and adult leaders welcome! Choose one of the following sessions. January 14th 7-8pm, January 27th 7-8pm. Register here:

Join us each month for a different Conversation Corner topic! 4-H Educators Tracy, Jayna, and Amy invite all 4-H club and project leaders from Fond du Lac, Ozaukee and Washington Counties to join them for these one-hour (optional) Zooms. These conversations are an opportunity for leaders to ask the Educators questions, brainstorm with other leaders, and share ideas!

4-H MEETINGS REIMAGINED: USING ZOOM TO LEAD A FUN AND ENGAGING 4-H MEETINGS (ROUND 2)  This training is for anyone who missed the December training or anyone who would benefit from seeing the information again at a slower pace.  ATTENTION YOUTH AND ADULT LEADERS: Would you like access to a Zoom Pro Account for your club or project? Want to learn interactive ways to keep your club and/or project members engaged virtually? Join us for "4-H MEETINGS REIMAGINED."   Bonus: This counts as your club/group's annual leader training!  Thursday, January 28th, 2021 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Held via Zoom  REGISTER HERE:

Attention youth and adult 4-H leaders: Want to learn interactive ways to keep your club and/or project members engaged virtually? Would you like access to a Zoom Pro Account for your club or project meeting?

Training led by 4-H youth and adult leaders (some from Washington County!) who have used and led 4-H Zoom project or club meetings! This is an exciting opportunity…hope to see you there!

Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity
Cover image of the Rural Voices for Prosperity: A report of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity

On Jan. 22, 2020, Governor Tony Evers announced the creation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity. The Commission has gathered public input on current and future challenges in rural Wisconsin and submitted a plan to the Governor on how to invigorate rural communities and businesses.

This report reflects the entirety of these conversations between the Commission and rural stakeholders providing recommendations from the commissioners; these are big picture steps that the commissioners involved believe are critical to advancing rural prosperity in Wisconsin.

UW-Extension rises to the top of many lists as recommendation and an essential contributor to advancing rural Wisconsin prosperity.

For more information, please view the entire report.

Nutrition Education Training
Picture of Kelly Hackett


Kelly Hackett

          In her third month, Kelly focused on completing FoodWIse training courses. Over most of December, she dove into food science, food cost and resource management, food safety and preparation, and teaching and working with the full spectrum of FoodWIse participants. The practice with lesson planning and tailoring content and delivery to specific learners and contexts will be important as she begins co-piloting nutrition lessons and planning programs with community partners in January. Kelly also learned how to record videos for virtual lesson delivery that can be linked with content created statewide, to increase lesson options for county partners in the coming months. 
          Besides nutrition courses and virtual delivery, she attended further Extension onboarding meetings, the Extension all-colleague conference, and connected with more county partners. It has been a wonderful first three months, and she is looking forward to starting FoodWIse projects and programs in the new year!

Measuring Longer-Term Organizational Development Outcomes

Picture of Paul Roback

Community Development

Paul Roback

          In 2020, Paul provided Organizational Development programming to seven organizations (nonprofits and local governments). End of year evaluations were conducted and six responses were received.   As a result of working with Paul, 100% responded that their organization had been strengthened, 83% had been more strategic in fulfilling their mission, and 100% had an increased capacity to address community issues and opportunities. One participant commented that “Paul's expertise, professionalism, and amical personality makes the chore of Strategic Planning a pleasant one. He stimulates important conversations and helps us to obtain a clearer view of our organization.” Planning processes were also initiated with an additional three organizations, but were postponed due to the pandemic. 
          Paul also hosted six virtual networking events from April to July where twelve nonprofit leaders discussed their responses to COVID-19, shared funding strategies, and identified resource needs. One participant commented “I am just glad to be able to talk to local people and learn what everyone else is doing!”
4-H Meetings Reimagined
Picture of Amy Mangan-Fischer

4-H Youth Development

Amy Mangan-Fischer

           This year many 4-H meetings are being held virtually. To support our youth and adult leaders with this new format, 4-H educators from Fond du Lac, Ozaukee and Washington County created the training “4-H Meetings Reimagined: Using Zoom to Lead a Fun and Engaging 4-H Meeting.” This training was facilitated by Extension educators, youth leaders, and an adult min to find something, mentimeter, google sites, background, kahoot, zoom attendance, ice breakers, all ideas, pets, polls, flippity, google slides, gooseneck mount, dial in, breakout rooms, whiteboard
          The training introduced volunteers to the features of Zoom and other forms of technology that youth and adult leaders could incorporate into a Zoom. Some of these resources included Kahoot, Mentimeter, Google Slides/Docs, and Flippity. Most importantly, the training included examples of how to use technology to engage youth of all ages. At the end of the training we asked participants to share what they will use from the meeting. The word cloud below shows the answers that we received. The larger the word, the more popular the response.
'Tis' the Season for Planning 2021
Picture of Ron Jakubisin

Positive Youth Development

Ron Jakubisin

          Ron facilitated a session at the 4-H Educator’s training “4-H Meetings Reimagined” (conducting meetings using Zoom). He has promoted PYD workshops with school administration and social workers at Kennedy Middle School and Germantown High School for the upcoming 2021 semester. 
          December has been a ‘short’ month as schools and youth-serving agencies wrap up their year and prepare for holiday break. With partners focusing inward on their own programming and less on PYD opportunities, Ron also directed his time on end-of-the-year wrap up activities such as Extension’s 2rd quarter reporting, 3rd quarter planning, and professional development.  
          Ron sought evaluation from partners where he has done educational sessions (i.e. Boys/Girls Club) as well as planned activities for 3rd quarter meetings (i.e. Youth Future’s youth committee mtgs.). Ron participated in plenary and workshops sessions at the statewide 'All Extension Virtual Conference' with offerings over 3 days in December.

Building Partner Organizations' Resiliency in the Time of COVID-19
Picture of Carol Bralich

Human Development & Relationships

Carol Bralich

          Building Your Resiliency in the Time of COVID-19 is the third phase of a professional development offering for partners from community serving agencies to provide a space to reflect on changes during a pandemic, try out new resiliency strategies, and network with others.  The program was organized around the Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook: A Tool to Help You Build Resilience During Difficult Times (supported by JAMMA International). This resource provides information to understand how unhelpful thinking patterns impact our anxiety related feelings and tools to then help manage that anxiety. Participants created their own resilience action plan during the final session as a culminating activity. Managing life’s challenges in healthy ways allows participants to take better care of themselves and therefore, others in their care.
         Carol co-facilitated this eight-week virtual program series from September 29 - November 17. Over 20 partner organization participants were engaged from Washington, Fond du Lac, Dodge and Winnebago counties, with over 100 direct contacts throughout the series. As a result of participating in the program series, one attendee stated: "I started a gratitude journal, I use the breathing techniques and I am using the and-instead-of-but idea. Very helpful." Another attendee stated how this professional development series has been helpful:  "I have had a clearer mind. I find myself more fully present. This has been a gift in my life, thank you."
Addressing Difficult Topics for Farms
Picture of Steph Plaster


Steph Plaster

          The final Eastern WI Farm Management Update was held on December 10 on 2020 Tough Talk: Difficult Conversations, COVID-19, and Taxes.  Stephanie developed and presented “Making the Connection: Reframing Conversations for Success” with a colleague.  One hundred and twenty-three Image to the right of adult man & woman talking, left text: The role of reframing. We can't change their mind...We can change the context so they can "reframe" or {shift the perspective} of the help them move forwardpeople logged on to the webinar.  As a result of attending this meeting, participants (n=58) felt they are more comfortable responding to a difficult conversation (+4.0 based on a 5 pt Likert scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree),  they have a better understanding of how the basic recommendations for COVID-19 may be difficult in a farm setting and how to address these challenges (+4.2),  and they are better prepared to make final year-end financial decisions that may impact my/my clients’ tax burden (+4.2).  One hundred percent of participants agreed this was a good use of their time.  After the meeting, a participant messages me and commented “going through those scenarios was very helpful in understanding the concepts”. 
As part of the UW-Madison Division of Extension, we provide knowledge and resources to engage people and their communities in positive change where they live and work.
An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming including Title VI, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requirements

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