The Agricultural Extension Blogs

Sharing is the watchword

I have been inspired by caring people, helpful people, thoughtful people.

It was May 16, 2017. We interviewed our 4H YES scholars (batch 2), 19 out of 24 who are determined to proceed in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. One of the few questions I asked was "how did you manage your allowance?" The answers were heartwarming. I was touched that the money goes beyond meeting their own needs. They have to share it with their siblings who are also having hard times schooling. Some invested in agri-projects so the sharing could go far. I was happy that others had the discipline to save although little so they could lighten the load of their parents.

Theirs was a nourishing and refreshing life which didn't happen with a magic wand. It grows with careful cultivation. The hardships they went through soften their hearts to help, to share, to be a blessing. By sharing, they take the grind out of life. Sharing their blessings shows that while they love the gift, they love the Giver more by sharing the gift.

When we retreated for our "Grace Under Pressure: Taming Our Stress" human resource development program, we ponder on uncluttering our lives to eliminate stress. One uncluttering task is devoting regular time weekly to sorting one's junk - discarding unnecessary items, holding a garage sale or donating to charity. The latter would surely make you and others happy. After all, having much doesn't make us rich.

It's June 14, 2017. Ms. Anna Lea M. Layola and Ms. Shiela Mae T. Sarco, Productibong 4H YES scholars of ATI-RTC 8 graduated with honors in Certificate in Agricultural Science during the Commencement Excercises of the Visayas State University. Each also received a medal and cash incentive during the awarding of exemplary graduates.
 

thank you Mam Zen

The Boholano community was so saddened upon hearing Zenaida Darunday’s passing last April 9, 2017 which was also “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Day of Valor) in the Philippines.

Mam Zen or Insi Zen as she is fondly called by close friends from the cross section of the society was indeed “magiting” (courageous) because she was known to be an active advocate on environmental protection and a practitioner on sustainable agriculture, biodynamic farming, homa farming, nature farming system, homeopathy, permaculture, anthroposophy, Waldorf school, organic farming, bio composting, vermicomposting and Steiner Education.

We at the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in Central Visayas were also disheartened of her demise because she played a big part in the institute as our partner in development. She was with us in the crafting of our first online course on Yummy Yam: Online Course on Ubi Production as one of our Subject Matter Specialist (SMS).

Her contributions to the course as our SMS was indeed an awe-inspiring because she’s into organic ubi farming for almost two decades and with her civic achievements, Mam Zen was one of the pillars of Bohol Ubi Center Foundation, being the co-founder and board member, thus, an impetus to the e-course.

As the course developer, I am so overwhelmed with her astounding knowledge on ubi. She did not settle on the haphazard information limiting only on written sources instead she emphasized that those unwritten traditional and cultural practices among farmers should also be included in the module so that learners will be empowered.

I can still perfectly remember her statement where she said: “It is called a "traditional practice" because its original reason for existence is shrouded in legends and mysticism.”

One of the many examples of these is the rationale why Boholanos kiss the ubi kinampay when it fell – according to her; it is a sign of paying respect to the offended party which is the kinampay. But, the truth of this cultural practice is to prolong the shelf-life of the crop in order to survive in the long distance travel to Spain.

Aside from that, she really put a lot of her skills in the course because she provided some action photos that will supplement in the traditional and cultural practices. It was on November 15, 2009 where ATI officially launched Yummy Yam: Online Course on Ubi Production as a running course until today. You may visit www.e-extension.gov.ph/elearning so you cannot just have an actual peep of the course but at the same time experience firsthand information about ubi production especially on the traditional and cultural practices.

This blog is dedicated to Mam Zen as our humble tribute – and from all of us in ATI-Central Visayas, we would like to say thank you for your courageous contributions and our prayers for your blissful journey back to our Maker.

Don't fly solo

Like the rest of the RTCs, we aren't spared from numbers this year. We have to conduct nth times training and other extension activities. There are things to do in preparation for the ISO 9001:2015. We will be implementing a program for the 22 provinces with high incidence of poverty, and in our region, it's the province of Leyte and the three provinces in Samar Island. We have on-going rehabilitation of our facility. These make our hands full and overflowing.

I like "full and overflowing". It suggests abundance and blessing. It reminds me of sharing, of taking part and of support network. It also reminds me of our dependence on others and much more on God which enables me to handle the pressure over the long haul, over the year and the years to come.

Extension work is never done. Our services are always called for. That's why the need for a team who will share carry the load, enabling us to travel light. A team who will help you bounce back when you get discouraged and frustrated. A team who will help you discover what really matters.

The team spirit was flamed anew in IS limitless.

Limitless. It goes beyond boundaries, beyond what we have now, beyond what we are now. That is ATI. That is IS, nothing less. Talk about creative ideas, innovative activities, excellent information exchange, team that works, contagious laughter and many more. These happened in the 1st KM 2017. I was there soaring high with the teams regardless of colors.

It's the difference that makes the difference

What makes the lotus different? It remains beautiful even in the filthy water of the pond. How about the eagle? It avoids the rain by flying above the clouds. The difference spells the difference between quality and poor services.

We make difference by doing service right the first time every time. We delight customer - we anticipate, meet and exceed customer requirement. We bring the best in others, count our blessings rather than our problems, thank for what we have because someone else has less, blame no one... the list goes on.

At ATI-RTC 8, making a difference is still a work in progress. We instituted the Wall of Innovation and strengthened our human resource development program. There were seminars on frontline services, social graces, social etiquette, facilitation and module delivery. Noteworthy is our Value Restoration Program.

In October 2016, we sent two of our staff to the Value Restoration Program on Organic Value Restoration Officer (VRO) Trainers Excellence Workshop. The two become our VRO who lead us in our weekly value focus. We started with taming the tongue then thankfulness and gratitude. These were followed by transparency, trust, unity, value of work, wisdom, word of honor, accountability, charity, commitment and dedication, concern, concern for the environment, concern for the family, conviction and fear of God...the list continues. Staff picked for his/her assigned value focus, one where he/she excels or comfortable to discuss not where he/she is perfect.

I find the activity refreshing. It starts our week right (we do it every Monday after the flag ceremony). It's not that there would be no 'bumps' during the week but the insights are encouraging and contagious.  Indeed, attitude makes the difference if we are to be different. We need to cultivate in us attitudes that attract. Our quest for excellent character should not be sidelined. It must be our core. That is one thing that we become different.

In our value restoration program, the sharing always ends with a declaration and a prayer. A declaration that we can be the person we are to be and a prayer for God's mercy and grace to be the kind of persons He wants us to be.

Magic 13: Future Farmer-Millionaires

 I was with a group of stakeholders in agriculture. We have a half day free day and decided to do something about it. Majority went to an adventure park, our group went to a farm that is an ATI-accredited Learning Site while another group opted to just sleep and laze the afternoon away. When we all came back, we eagerly shared what we experienced.

I then remembered former Governor Leo Ocampos  of Misamis Occidental telling us that if we want to get rich, we should develop money consciousness. He said that within a day, one must think and do something to improve his financial situation.  Also he said, “talk with people who  are successful for you can learn a lot from them. He said that just by looking at the  things that you usually do, he can tell if you can better your lot in this world or not.

Gov Leo’s food for thought came to mind when  I saw our group picture taken at that particular afternoon. Between a choice of spending our hard-earned money on thrills that will only make us dizzy versus  eating an organically grown veggie salad )with its yummy salad dressing) at the same time discussing farming and business, we have sealed our fate.  We, the magic thirteen (13) who  went and visited Alomah’s Place in Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon are the future famer-millionaires.  Wanna bet?

the liking that sees your efforts

When the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) is trailblazing on the use of social media as an advocacy front of all their training and extension services – a few are adamant on the effectivity of the platform, however, many are delighted because of the usability and handiness of such.

Though, social media is hitting the forefront of the worldwide web especially Facebook (FB) but the challenge of promoting our respective center’s pages is neither easy nor simple.

Defying gravity

I will not be writing about witches here as the title connotes and I will not mention my impression nor appreciation with the phenomenal song "Defying Gravity" from the musical Wicked, composed by Stephen Schwartz, which was originally recorded by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth on May 10, 2003, and released on December 16, 2003, since the song was already a certified hit both here and abroad.

Behind the glamour of Travels and Trainings

 My cousins and friends always tell me that I am very lucky because I get to travel a lot due to my job. I am an agricultural extension worker employed at the Agricultural Training Institute whose main job function is to deliver agricultural extension services to our clients. By clients, it covers all stakeholders in agriculture. It may seem glamorous to those who are confined at their office day in and day out. But it is not as glamorous as it seems.

blended training is the new flavor

Jiddu Krishnamurti’s quote about education touched me. He said: “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

These words reverberates my sanity. It may sound cliché but for me it means a lot. Krishnamurti, who was a speaker and writer on matters that concerned humankind, has a point that he wanted us to ponder.

Hurry...fast!

We remember the story of a man who rode on a horse-drawn cart, settled and closed his eyes to nap for a while. He assumed that the hotel had informed the driver of his destination so he only said, "Hurry and drive fast!" Later he realized they were heading the other way. So, he asked, "Do you know where we're going?" Still driving fast, the driver yelled, "No Sir, but I'm driving very fast!"
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