NASCOE/SEA is putting together a Fundraiser Cook Book and they are asking for your recipes.
Megan Kennedy in Georgia is working hard putting together a Southeast Area Cookbook that will be used as a Rally fundraiser. She desperately needs every state to submit recipes so she can get the cookbook finished, printed, and distributed so we can start raising funds.
It’s really easy and won’t take but a couple minutes of your time. The best recipes and cooks are in the south and we are asking that each of you send Megan a few good recipes.
Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida are hosting a memorable SEA Rally this year.
Set for April 6-9, 2016 in Savannah, GA this year, it promises to be an event not soon forgotten.
There’s much to be done to prepare for this fun event. Things like buying raffle tickets to support the Georgia Children’s Hospital, sending in your own personal recipe for the SEA Cookbook that’s in the making, making your reservations at the Hyatt Hotel in Savanna, GA, and sending in your registration to attend.
Wow! And that’s not all!
TASCOE is now offering a First Timers Award (TASCOE members only) for Southeast Area Rally in Savannah GA April 6-9, 2016. The Deadline to apply is January 31, 2016. (Contact Nancy Niedergeses for an application.) Reminder; the DEADLINE IS January 31, 2016 to apply.
For LOTS more info that will tease you relentlessly, check out our SEA Rally Page.
Attached is a Registration Form for the 2016 SEA Area Rally in Savannah, GA. Please help make sure this gets distributed far and wide. As you can see from the registration form, this is going to be an awesome rally and we want to make sure everyone knows about it. Also, don’t forget that we all need to be buying and selling raffle tickets for the cash prizes. Hope to see you in Savannah!
Southeast Area Legislative Chair
Southeast Area Executive CommitteePerson
Comments Off on Santa Extends NASCOE Scholarship Deadlines!
Santa has come early! Extended deadlines for scholarship applications and DSA nominations have been announced.
Please note that for THIS YEAR ONLY, deadlines for submission of scholarship applications and DSA Award nominations have been extended to the following:
February 1 to state chairperson
March 1 to area chairperson
March 20 to national chairperson
Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Ella York, CED
From SEA Awards & Scholarship Chair, Ella Abshire:
Please note that there are new scholarships available…
Open Continuing Scholarship,
Members Continuing Scholarship,
Adult Children Continuing Education
AND Grandchildren Scholarship.
The Traditional and both Continuing scholarships will pay at the Area and National levels. The other two will pay at the National level only.
The below link contains the new scholarship application forms as well as an updated handbook . It has detailed information about each scholarship.
The DSA nomination guidelines and the Scholarship applications are all together on the Forms & Downloads page under Awards & Scholarships.
Please note that the deadlines for submission are January 1 to State Chairpersons, then February 1 to Area Chairpersons. I will submit the area winners to Micki Crider for national judging by March 1. Micki will notify us of the national winners by April 1.
Please take time to read through the handbook and applications prior to sending out information to your state. Let us know if you have questions.
SEA Awards & Scholarship Chair
By now I hope everyone has had an opportunity to read Denise’s blog about her experience at the NASCOE SEA Rally in New Orleans, LA. She digitally recorded most of the speakers, and with their permission, has posted those recordings to the TASCOE website. I encourage you to take a look and any feedback or questions that you may have, please send those my way. This was my first time to experience New Orleans and I believe (actually I know) I returned toting a few extra pounds on the airplane (I’m not talking about souvenirs either.) The food was amazing as well as the fellowship with other NASCOE members from across the southeast. I would like to say a HUGE thank you to MACOE and LAPOE for planning an outstanding rally. Also, I want to say THANK YOU to all of you who purchased SEA Rally Raffle Tickets. Your contribution went a long way to insure that the SEA Rally was well funded. Unfortunately, no one from Tennessee took home the money.
SEA Rally General Sessions Speakers
The following paragraphs are a snapshot of the meeting and discussion we had with FSA leadership. In addition to the FSA leadership from Washington speaking, we heard some great words of encouragement from the Mississippi SED and Louisiana SED. It was especially refreshing to hear Louisiana SED, Craig McCain, speak. He began his FSA career in the county office, like us, and has made his way through the ranks to become SED. He truly has a passion for NASCOE, FSA and the customers we serve. Also, our very own Mike Mayfield made announcement while in New Orleans. He will be running for alternate Southeast Area Executive this year. I wish him the best of luck in his pursuit for his position.
Administrator Val Dolcini was unable to attend the rally as previously planned due to an illness in his family. Greg Diephouse, Deputy Administrator for Farm Operations, traveled in his place and reported on FSA happenings in D.C. and across the nation. He made 4 specific points about challenges that FSA is currently facing. First, Mr. Diephouse commented on the great job our county offices are doing providing customer service with limited resources. Just in the last few months, FSA has serviced over 1.8 million farms. In addition to the number of farms serviced, there are several other clients that our county offices service by providing information that may not be collected through our various programs software. The 2014 Farm Bill contained law that we are to provide/offer a Receipt for Service to all clients. The first phase of RFS has been initiated as we already know. RFS will demonstrate a more accurate number of the clients we service on a day to day basis in addition to the program numbers we already have. The clients could be requesting information about NRCS, RD, Farm Loans, Tennessee Department of Agriculture or UT Extension. It was stressed over and over by not only Mr. Diephouse, but also NASCOE leadership, the importance of RFS. As most of you may have seen by now, there has been a report generated showing how many RFS’s have been completed by each county office. This will continue to be observed even more closely as a new workload model is to be established. The new workload model is to be completed by September 2015 and then reviewed by a third party with recommendations submitted by the following September according to Mr. Diephouse.
The second challenge facing FSA is employee morale. Since 2013 there has been a 5% cut in our ceiling. This can really have a negative effect on the employee morale. Thankfully, for 2015, cash awards and spot awards were brought back. COFs are receiving new computers and monitors. “Happy employee = Happy Customer”, stated Mr. Diephouse. The third challenge he mentioned was Workforce Transition. He highly encouraged each state to have a succession plan in place. According to Mr. Diephouse, a state can advertise and fill positions above their current ceiling as long as they are back to their ceiling by the end of the first quarter of fiscal year 2016. This is a tool that we may need to be taking advantage of here in Tennessee. The fourth and final challenge facing FSA is Modernization/Mission. We need to be able to justify our staff. This may be providing extra resources, sending customers to the correct agency and ACRSI. As discussed previously, RFS can help FSA paint a better picture of what is going on in the COF. ACRSI is the Acreage Crop Reporting Streamline Initiative. This will give producers an opportunity to report their crops to the agency of their choice. FSA is the agency of records and NASCOE feels that when given a choice, producers will choose to report their crops to FSA as long as FSA has the resources.
Mark Rucker, FSA Deputy Administrator for Management, spoke briefly about his job duties and responsibilities. He reminded everyone that he is not a political appointee so he will be here long after the political appointees are gone. Leasing was mentioned during the question/answer session. He said he realized our needs in the COF were different so please send him the waivers and he will sign off on them as long as they are reasonable. Mark is also the chair of the Space Utilization Council. There was a lot of concern expressed about the ability or lack of ability of ARS/WebTA data in determining staffing levels. An example was given of a Mississippi County with a heavy workload and only 2 employees on staff. The 2 employees have been getting the job done, however they have had much help from other county office employees being temporarily detailed to their office. The efficiency of the office is deceiving due to the detailed employees’ ARS data being collected and directed back to their official duty station and not the office where they are detailed. ARS data will show that the 2 person office is getting the job done with fewer employees due to this discrepancy.
Kim Graham, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, spoke about the new programs implemented with the 2014 Farm Bill. She mentioned a taskforce reviewing the regulations of the FSFL program and forth-coming changes. Specifically, the Agency would like to reduce paperwork and streamline the loan making process for loans less than $50,000, as well as add portable handling and drying equipment. The second phase of ARCPLC training will be web based and not face to face.
There were several more items discussed I know I am failing to mention. Again, please take a look at those videos posted by Denise. They can be viewed from the TASCOE website at www.tascoe.com . There you can get the real story. In conclusion, don’t forget to mark your calendars for TASCOE Convention, which will be held at the Downtown Marriott in Chattanooga September 17-19. TASCOE Convention is a great opportunity to visit with colleagues from across the state, learn more about what NASCOE and TASCOE are doing for you, and hear comments from our Tennessee FSA Leadership. Of course there are always folks there to assist you in preparing for retirement as well. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or email. My personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my cell number is (731)-695-1333. I look forward to seeing everyone in September!
The TN TASCOE Bunch at the SEA Rally 2015
Clint H. Bain
Comments Off on SEA Rally In New Orleans: SUCCESS!!
I, Denise Bradberry, PT at Knox/Anderson/Campbell Co. FSA, was truly honored to receive Tennessee’s first “SEA Rally First Timer’s Award” to attend an area rally. With receiving that award came the responsibility to come back to Tennessee TASCOE and share about the experience. I have MUCH to share indeed and I’ve been chomping at the bits to do just that!
The Rally was held in New Orleans, LA. Who can’t get excited about such a lively place?! LAPOE and MACOE did a mighty fine job hosting the rally.
Ok, Let’s back up a bit. I’m so excited, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I talked my son, Kris into going with me on this trip. Since he lives 350 miles from me, it was an ideal time to catch up and visit. I laughed and said he was going to be my body guard in N’orleans.
Wednesday morning we stood in line to board our plane at the Nashville Airport, along with all the other passengers headed to New Orleans. I looked over and found an orange NASCOE T-shirt standing right next to me. “Hey! Looks like we’re going to the same rally!” I said. Come to find out, there were four more, all from Kentucky, heading to the rally.
Once we arrived in New Orleans and got checked into the Marriott, we had an opportunity to venture out into the city.
We really enjoyed the extra time on Wednesday to enjoy roaming on our own. Plenty of tasty restaurants in a city steeped with history and its own style.
Thursday morning we boarded the bus to take us to the Swamp & Bayou Tour. Oh that was really awesome!
Some went on the French Quarter Walking Tour, but we sorta did that on our own on Wednesday. Those who did go on it returned with fascinating stories of how they enjoyed it.
Thursday afternoon we boarded another bus for the Katrina Tour. It’s been ten years since that horrible hurricane and the tragedies that followed. So much has been rebuilt, yet so much is still left to do. It was a heartbreaking tour to see some of the devastating sights. It is common for businesses to mark (permanently paint) where the water reached on their buildings. The rescue markings are still on many houses. So many houses were built on a concrete slab and when the water gushed in, it swept away entire houses. Others have been torn down. Everywhere there are bare, concrete slabs, where a house used to be. We also got to see the Brad Pitt Houses in the lower 9th Ward. 150 houses helping to rebuild the lower 9th.
Meet you in the Alley
Thursday evening the SEA Rally got off on a great start when we all gathered at the Fulton Alley Boutique Bowling Alley. This was a most unique “Meet & Greet” in a very relaxed atmosphere. Plenty of food, drinks and friends. When we registered we had to option to purchase the Rally T-shirt. It was so fun seeing so many of the shirts at the alley!
Friday morning it was time to get down to business.
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Friday evening was filled with a delightful list of activities. The Silent Auction was ongoing throughout the Rally and the Live Auction was a thrill after a tasty dinner. Oh! and least I not forget to mention, Dillard’s The Price Is Right! Game! I was called up to participate in that game. I learned right quick not to listen to Donny Green. Hahaha!
Click on Photo to enlarge.
The Price is RIGHT!
The Price is RIGHT!
The TN TASCOE Bunch
Saturday Morning Business issues too center stage once again.
Lunch at the Riverwalk outlet mall and then it was back to biz once again.
Saturday afternoon and evening was spent just enjoying a bit of down time with Kris, as well as others at the rally that were doing the same thing. It had been a wonderful rally and we all seem to be enjoying some relaxation before heading home. Some flew out Saturday, but we flew out Sunday, savoring our trip to New Orleans just one more day.
I cannot begin to express my appreciation toward LAPOE & MACOE for pulling off a such a amazing, fun-filled and informative rally for the south eastern states.
So, what’s up next? Well, we’ll let Deb Esselman tell you:
Upcoming SEA Rally in New Orleans, LA April 15-18, 2015.
Updated SEA rally info:
All of the information is posted on NASCOE’s Southeast Area page. Visit www.seanascoe.org for forms.
Flat rate cab fare from Airport to hotel is $33.00 for (2) people, additional $14.00 for each person; The airport shuttle is $20.00 for (1) person but makes multiple stops before reaching your destination; Cab fare from Amtrak terminal is approximately $15.00 to hotel.
Thursday Tours: Grayline Shuttle for Swamp & Bayou tour departs hotel lobby at 9:00 a.m. Minimal walking on Swamp tour. Enjoy the ride! Grayline shuttle for the French Quarter historical walking tour departs hotel lobby at 9:15 a.m. Wear comfortable shoes! Grayline Shuttle for Hurricane Katrina Tour departs hotel lobby at 12:00 noon. Minimal walking required. Enjoy the ride!
Additional rooms have been added for Wednesday night. If you had to make your reservation outside of the block for Wednesday (only) at $259, call now and change it to within the SEA NASCOE block for $151.00. Call 800-305-6342.
There will be no extra charge for additional occupancies unless a rollaway bed is requested and then it’s $30.00 more a night. The rollaway cannot be placed in a room with 2 double beds. They are only able to fit in King rooms. Plan accordingly when booking.
You can view the tour descriptions on the tour link, but the “purchase ticket” icon for the tours will not work on the gov’t computer. Forward it to your home computer to purchase tour tickets online. Or, complete the tour registration form and mail it directly to Grayline NOLA Steamboat Company, along with a check. Deadline for tour registrations is March 31st.
Meet us in the Alley! Thursday evening is a fun meet & greet social at a posh bowling boutique close to the hotel. We need 4 teams with 8 players each. You can plan a team in advance or join a team when you arrive. We have a nice social area reserved for drinks and appetizers for everyone else to visit, and enjoy watching the bowlers. This event is free with an advanced purchase of our 2015 Southeast Area Rally Jazzin’ Up NASCOE t-shirt.
Friday we have national FSA key-note speakers and benefit provider training. Friday night is our group dinner and dance with scholarship auctions. Please plan to attend to help us meet our hotel minimum food and beverage charges and support the scholarship fund!
Saturday we have NASCOE & NAFEC speakers and meetings. Saturday evening is the requested Ghosts & Spirits tour. Please purchase tickets in advance through Grayline Steamboat link or registration form. Our Ghosts & Spirits tour departs from the Grayline info desk on the 1st floor of the Jax Brewery, Toulouse St. entrance. Please arrive by 7:15 p.m. wearing comfortable shoes.
Parking at our hotel is $38.00 (including tax) per day with in and out privileges. Another option is The Fulton Parking garage (covered) for $ 20.00 a night (currently) one block away with no in and out privileges. You will not need your car in the city. A car in the city is more of a burden than an asset. Parking is difficult.
Don’t forget to check the Amtrak routes and fares for traveling to New Orleans from your area. There is also the Megabus in participating cities.
The hotel is located in the vibrant Arts/Warehouse district in downtown New Orleans and housed in a renovated 19th century cotton mill. Fulton St Square offers a newly revitalized entertainment area of chic restaurants, retail establishments, and cozy music clubs. The one block long pedestrian-only Fulton Street Mall area offers visitors an exciting night out on the town within very close proximity of our hotel.
Enjoy nearby famous restaurants like Drago’s, Manning’s, Mulate’s, Ruth Chris Steak House, and Ernst Café. Harrah’s Casino is close by. The Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk is across the street for shopping and an affordable food court with riverfront dining that will be perfect for our lunch breaks.
There is a convenience store within the block and a Starbuck’s in the hotel.
We are about 10 blocks away from the French Quarter . It’s about a 3 minute walk to the nearest streetcar access (Riverfront streetcar) which runs every 15 minutes. It will take you to the FQ in about five minutes. The streetcar is $1.25 for a one-way fare or you can get a 3-day pass for $9.00; or $8 per person cab ride to the FQ; or $5 per person pedi-cab ride for the first 6 blocks, $1 per person for each additional block; or a 10-15 minute walk to the French Quarter.
Email the application to me by the February 20th deadline so I can forward it on to the Area chair by March 1.
If you have questions you can email me or go to the NASCOE webpage and look at Awards.
Please visit the NASCOE website – not only for the awards process but to learn more about the organization (benefits, membership, publicity, etc).
Listed below are the deadlines for the awards process – don’t worry; we still have time.
February 1 – All nominations to the State Chairs February 20 – State Award Winners selected (send to me by March 1) March 15 – Area Winners forwarded to National Chair April 1 – Area winners notified April 15 – National winners selected May 1 – National winners notified.