NCCC9: MWPS: Research and Extension Educational Materials

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Active

NCCC9: MWPS: Research and Extension Educational Materials

Duration: 10/01/2019 to 09/30/2024

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Non-Technical Summary

Statement of Issues and Justification

The mission of NCCC-09 is to enhance the outreach, research, and teaching programs of participating Land-Grant universities by facilitating a learning community that provides a collaborative mechanism for engineers and scientists to exchange knowledge and to cooperate in the development of multi-state/regional educational projects related to feed, food, fiber and energy production systems. 

The need for extension engineers is ever-present. Technologies continue to arise and advance, farms and facilities grow in scale and complexity, crop and livestock biophysical characteristics change, and external factors such as energy prices, climate, and regulations vary unpredictably. At the same time, the human and financial resources available to individual state educational institutions for meeting these needs continue to decline. About 20 percent of the tenured extension engineering FTE in the North Central Region will be retiring in less than five years and many of these faculty members are working in traditional production agriculture topic areas. There are less than two extension engineering FTE across the entire region working in the area of grain drying, handling and storage. Additionally, there are less than four FTE in the high-demand engineering topic area of machinery and precision agriculture. There has been difficulty nationally finding people who are qualified and have the aptitude for extension engineering positions.  Extension engineers need a unique skill set of informal adult education and engineering to be effective. In general, our educational system prepares Ph.D. students to be scientists and researchers, but does not adequately provide students with the skills to thrive as an extension specialist.

With limited human capital, extension engineers need to work with colleagues in other states to effectively leverage the knowledge and resources necessary to develop quality educational materials and implement effective extension programs. NCCC-09 participants benefit from the sharing of expertise that translates research-based knowledge into practice, professional dialogue that occurs with those having research appointments and those from other regions of the country, and the opportunity for support and mentoring for new extension engineers. 

NCCC-09 has a strong history of regional collaboration on both publications and projects. During the previous ten years, NCCC-09 member-led teams produced the following publications in cooperation with MWPS (formerly Midwest Plan Service). The four American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Educational Aids Blue Ribbon Awards highlight the quality of MWPS publications that “contribute to the understanding of agricultural and biological engineering subjects outside of the traditional classroom setting” (Source:

  1. Grain Drying, Handling, and Storage Handbook, 3rd Edition; MWPS-13, 2017 (ASABE Blue Ribbon Award)

  2. Dairy Freestall Housing and Equipment, 8th Edition; MWPS-7, 2013 (ASABE Blue Ribbon Award)

  3. Cattle Feeding in Monoslope and Gable Roof Buildings; AED-60, 2013

  4. Cow-Calf Production in the U.S. Corn Belt; MWPS-66, 2011 (ASABE Blue Ribbon Award)

  5. Private Water Systems, 4th Edition; MWPS-14, 2009 (ASABE Blue Ribbon Award)

MWPS publications are thorough, unique, and widely respected application-focused references. The publications present data and interpretations that enhance both the expert and consumer knowledge bases. Additionally, accumulated NCCC-09 member knowledge serves researchers, extension educators, university faculty, government agencies, and the public by providing guidelines, standards, and models for improved production systems and facilities.

NCCC-09 members have also collaborated on several multi-state research and outreach initiatives that have produced new information and educational materials. National and regional initiatives include:

  • Energy conservation

  • Manure/nutrient management

  • Irrigation

  • Drainage

  • Soil health

  • Grain handling

  • Antibiotics and resistance in livestock production

  • Animal heat stress and mitigation

  • Biosecurity research and outreach projects

  • Ventilation workshops and training

  • Odor and air emission mitigation and setback models

  • Manure pit foaming

  • Climate change mitigation

  • Drought/flood recovery

In summary, NCCC-09 activities meet a continuing need to enhance collaboration among extension engineers to serve the region and nation. The collaborations and resulting projects, publications (in cooperation with MWPS) and programming aim to inform agricultural production systems, improve quality of life, and enhance the economic competitiveness of clientele. At the same time, NCCC-09 takes an active role in enhancing the visibility of extension engineers, providing opportunities for professional development, and supporting the next generation of extension engineers.

NCCC-09 will continue to address a range of topics, including natural resource utilization and conservation, environmental quality, food safety, public health, rural community development and sustainability, non-farm rural residents and the rural-urban interface. For brevity, we hereafter assume ‘agricultural production systems’ to include the production of feed, fiber and energy from natural resources, with consideration for environmental, social and economic implications for the surroundings.


  1. Collaborate to identify, conceptualize and communicate emerging issues for agricultural production systems that necessitate basic and/or applied research to maintain the viability and competitive advantage of U.S. market sectors.
  2. Transform and extend the knowledge base made available through NCCC-09 activities for use by clientele-based media.
  3. Improve extension engineering capacity within the North Central Region through professional development and strategic programming.

Procedures and Activities

NCCC-09 will meet annually as a full committee to discuss program and publication priorities, establish annual goals, investigate funding opportunities through sources such as USDA, DOE, EPA and other federal agencies, industry groups, state and regional funding sources (ex. North Central Risk Management Education Center), explore cooperative agreements, and plan program and publication development to meet prioritized needs. During the year, working groups will use conference calls, e-mail, cloud-based sharing services, and face-to-face meetings as needed to develop programs and products. A portion of the annual meeting will be dedicated to obtaining updates from MWPS publishing staff regarding product development, marketing and sales. NCCC-09 will provide general feedback and guidance. 

The Executive Committee will communicate on a regular basis (bimonthly communication will be the target). This communication (e.g. conference call) will facilitate follow-up on priority committee actions and include a progress report from MWPS publishing staff at least twice a year. The executive committee will focus on identifying collaborative opportunities with other multi-state committees or networks (i.e. North Central Region Water Network or Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center) for webinars and to provide increased extension programming for research based projects.

The Committee has described a lack of Extension Engineers with needed expertise in some states as an issue through a white paper. The reduction in expertise is resulting in those engineers with scarce expertise being overwhelmed at times with requests to provide education and technical assistance in other states. The executive Committee will continue its work on this issue by facilitating communication, professional development, and potential mentorship opportunities to assist early career extension engineers. 

The prototype procedure for addressing an educational need is as follows: 1) Participants will identify and communicate to NCCC-09 educational needs and emerging issues as they arise throughout the year from clients and stakeholders. If the identified needs demand immediate or a short-term response, participants will focus on providing coordinated, consistent information. 2) Longer-term needs that deserve greater attention and development as educational programs will be discussed and prioritized by NCCC-09 members at the annual meeting. If the necessary expertise, interest level and a champion for the necessary effort are available among the Participants and collaborating experts beyond NCCC-09 membership, a working group will form. Participants will also discuss and clarify target audiences for proposed educational programs. Attention will be given to advocating efforts for new, nontraditional audiences.  3) The working groups will function independently to develop Extension programs and educational materials, corresponding as needed with the Executive Committee or MWPS publishing staff. Working groups will be encouraged to seek support, and develop and deliver their respective educational programs in the most effective, expedient and efficient manner. Upon request, NCCC-09 will provide letters of support, advice and technical assistance. 4) Working group leaders will be encouraged to utilize MWPS for publication and distribution of Extension educational materials to the extent that this is feasible. Publication and marketing activities will be coordinated with MWPS staff. 5) Brief summaries of program evaluation information and measures of impact will be shared annually with NCCC-09. Participants will discuss suitability for expanded delivery or adaptation of the program for delivery within other participating states.

Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • Foster one new regional or national initiative each year Comments: At least one new regional or national Extension initiatives will take root each year through the interactions and coordinated efforts of NCCC-09 participants. Resulting projects will demonstrate successful collaboration in obtaining extramural funding, developing educational materials, and meeting the needs of target audiences. Long-term impact will be demonstrated by improved sustainability of the food, fiber and energy sectors
  • New and established clientele have access to peer-reviewed educational materials and expertise Comments: New and established clientele, including policy decision makers and the general public, will be ensured access to peer-reviewed educational materials and expertise. New products will be organized timely and widely disseminated. Relatively recent products will be readily available through MWPS and ongoing Extension programs. Finally, clientele will continue to be able to find material and credible information that are not available elsewhere (e.g. limited availability of expertise) via MWPS.
  • Enhanced methods and mechanisms for increasing extension engineering capacity Comments: NCCC-09 will enhance the methods and mechanisms for increasing extension engineering program capacity, including mentoring the next generation and strengthening ties between research and Extension expertise around key topic areas.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

As a coordinating committee, NCCC-09 will utilize working groups to develop and implement educational plans for specific programs. The educational framework for NCCC-09 in the ensuing 5-year period is as follows: 1) Implement the new objectives, activities and revised procedures as outlined in this proposal; 2) Advance educational program and material development of high-priority needs as described in the prototype procedure in the Procedures and Activities section. Recently prioritized areas, include: ­ Energy conservation and biofuels, Air and water quality, Water management ­Grain Drying and Storage; Livestock and poultry systems 3) Engage participants in assessing and communicating program impacts; and 4) Pursue and facilitate professional development opportunities for participants to increase individual and collective effectiveness as extension engineering specialists. Educational and professional development efforts will be conducted in communication and in concert with relevant parties in our professional society (ASABE), including EOPD208 – ASABE Extension committee.  One developing opportunity involves the Animal Facility Systems community (PAFS-40) within ASABE looking at enhancing training opportunities nationally for engineering graduate and undergraduate students.


While NCCC-09 has its roots and base in the North-Central region, participation is open to Extension engineering specialists from any Land-Grant institution. No limit is placed on the number of participants in NCCC-09, although no more than two representatives from each state are allowed to vote on NCCC-09 business actions. Represented engineering units should determine the desired extent and diversity of participation and negotiate levels of support with the appropriate Extension administrators. Attendance at the annual meetings is highly encouraged and official representatives are expected to attend. The Executive Committee will consist of the Chair, Past-Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary. Each year, a new Secretary will be elected to rotate onto the Executive Committee. Executive committee terms are from October 1, through September 30. On October 1 each year, the Chair becomes Past Chair, the Vice-Chair becomes Chair, and the Secretary becomes Vice-Chair. The Past Chair is responsible for providing guidance, fostering continuity, and assembling candidates for Secretarial elections. The Chair is responsible for conducting meetings and coordinating ongoing NCCC-09 activities. The Vice-Chair is responsible for assisting the Chair and coordinating professional development activities. The Secretary is responsible for taking minutes at the annual meeting, taking notes during NCCC-09 conference calls, and assisting the Chair in communications and submittal of required reports (minutes and SAES 422) through NIMMS. Administrative guidance will be provided by an assigned Administrative Advisor and a NIFA representative.

Literature Cited


Land Grant Participating States/Institutions


Non Land Grant Participating States/Institutions

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