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PILD 2015 a good one (4/29/2015)

PILD Delegates 2015Learning about the federal political process, communicating achievements and networking, interacting with USDA-NIFA leaders and our congressional delegation – all of this and more was experienced during the April 12-15, 2015 Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) conference at Washington DC. Attending this year was Chris Augustin, nominated by NDAAEA; Christina Rittenbach, NDEAFCS; Jan Knodel, ESP; and Karla Meikle, NDAE4-HYW. Ron Wiederholt attended as the group contact (or security agent by the look of his shades). Here’s what they had to say about PILD:

Chris: “PILD was a great experience! We had the opportunity to meet and share ideas with counterparts from other states. On our final day in D.C., we put the new skills-set to work and shared the many success stories of the NDSU Extension Service with Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven, and Congressman Cramer.”

Christina: “This was an informative and eye-opening experience. It was very interesting to focus on Extension from the political side, as well as interact with peers from other states. There was a lot of good networking and ideas bouncing around during the entire conference.”

Jan: “For me, the PILD experience was about learning how our federal partners play a role in our state’s Extension Service and the history behind Extension and “The People’s Colleges.” Federal funding opportunities were discussed for many Extension activities. I also enjoyed learning more about our national organizations, such as JCEP and ESP, and how I can interact. The networking at PILD was remarkable, and I reconnected with one of my Extension colleagues from my NELD training three years ago! The day on the Hill visiting with our senators and congressman was as rewarding as it was memorable.”

Karla: “PILD was a great learning experience! We had the opportunity to network with Extension agents from across the U.S. The National Program Leaders (NPL) panel discussion on Wednesday was very beneficial as 4-H agents visited with 4-H Division Director Lisa Lauxman, NPL Amy Sue McCune and NPL Bonita Williams. Our visits with Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp were full of support for the NDSU Extension Service, and Representative Cramer was also supportive of the work we do back here in North Dakota. I would highly recommend attending PILD if you’ve never attended before.”

If you are an experienced agent or specialist, and this conference sounds like it would be of interest to you, I encourage you to reply to your respective association president’s call for interest next year.

Chris Boerboom, Extension Director

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