Category Archives: NASCOE

April 26, 2017 Update from NASCOE President

Please see the NASCOE update on several important issues from our NASCOE consultant, Hunter Moorhead below. I know many of you are concerned about a possible government shutdown and I want you to know that NASCOE is staying on top of all the hot issues and wants to keep you informed. Help us do that by subscribing to our email database (if you haven’t already). It is easy to do just follow the link below.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Tr6Dw-t0yG4XqGdX4yRwztR7sRX87VKOksIGrQYo-P0

We will be updating membership through the database as important events unfold. We will also use the NASCOE website and encourage you to click on the follow button on the NASCOE.Org site, this will also trigger an email when important information is posted. For those of you on Facebook please like the NASCOE news page.

Respectfully submitted by,

Wes Daniels
NASCOE President


Good morning – We want to provide an update regarding Washington’s hottest topics.

As expected, Governor Perdue is now Secretary Perdue. He is officially the Secretary of Agriculture. A total of 11 (highest ever) Senators voted no on the nomination.

Senators voting NO:

Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harris (D-CA)
Markey (D-MA)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Reed (D-RI)
Sanders (I-VT)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

With the Secretary now official, he and his team will soon announce specific candidates for political positions. This will be a lengthy process with many folks requiring Senate confirmation. At this point, we are unaware of any decisions regarding treatment of FSA employees or county offices.  If that changes, you all will be the first to receive any confirmed information/documents.

House and Senate negotiators are working to finalize the fiscal year 2017 appropriations bills. Remember, the current continuing resolution expires on April 28. The Administration has stated that wall funding is not required for any final agreement. We believe that statement clears the way for negotiators to finalize the package and avoid any government shutdown.

On Tuesday, the White House announced the agricultural/rural America Executive Order. Please see the fact sheet below. We will make sure our NASCOE priorities get before the appropriate White House officials.

 Executive Order Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America

  • Our farmers deserve a government that serves their interests, and empowers them to do the hard work they love so much. That is what today’s executive order is about.
  • With this order, the President is directing Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to work with other members of my Cabinet to identify and eliminate unnecessary regulations that hurt our nation’s farmers and rural communities
  • This order also establishes the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, to be led by Secretary Purdue.
  • With this order, we continue our relentless effort to make life better for hardworking Americans—including our farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

Background

  • Over the last two decades, the rural portions of the United States have fallen behind economically. Rural residents often lack access to the educational and technological opportunities available in more urbanized areas. Overregulation of rural industries, such as agriculture, is also a significant problem.
  • Executive Order 13575, issued by President Obama in 2011, established the “White House Rural Council” to examine ways to improve conditions in rural America. But, the Council largely focused on work the administration was already doing and promoted initiatives already underway. Most of the work of the Council was informal, and we have not been able to locate any records of its meetings.
  • This executive order revokes executive order 13575 and replaces President Obama’s Rural Council with a new multi-agency task force with a new mandate.
  • The new task force will be headed by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue and will examine issues related education, overregulation, taxation of family businesses and farms, approval of crop protection tools, such as pesticides, export opportunities for American agricultural goods, permitting for the use of public lands, and other matters important to agriculture and economic development in the rural United States.
  • In 180 days, the task force will submit a report to you through the Domestic Policy and National Economic councils proposing specific legislative, regulatory, and policy changes based on its findings.

2017 NASCOE Convention Raffle Tickets Available

Attached is a copy of the raffle tickets for the 2017 NASCOE Convention in St. Charles, MO.  Please consider purchasing a raffle ticket to support our national convention held in Missouri this year.  If you are interested in buying tickets, send your check (made out to MASCOE) to Liz Ludwig at 629 N 11th Street, Suite 8, Montevideo, MN 56265. I’ll send you a copy of the ticket made out in your name and then submit them for the drawing.

 

Image of the NASCOE Convention Raffle Ticket

Don’t Forget!! January 1 – Scholarship & Award Deadline!!

With colder weather moving in it is a reminder that a new calendar year is coming quicker than many of us would like to admit.  I would like to remind our membership that January 1, 2017 marks the deadline for both scholarships and distinguished service awards (DSA).  There has been a lot of information posted on the MNASCOE and NASCOE website on how to apply for the scholarship or nominate someone for the distinguished service awards so if you have questions, those are great resources. The 2017 Awards and Scholarship Handbook has all the information needed to determine eligibility and how to apply.  However, in one more attempt to try to get scholarships and award nominations, here are a few simple steps on the process:

Scholarships:

1) Look at the NASCOE website https://nascoe.org/ under the “Forms and Downloads” then “Awards & Scholarship Applications” https://nascoe.org/forms-downloads/awards-scholarship-applications/ and determine which scholarship you would like to apply for/meet eligibility.  As a reminder, there are six different scholarships available this year and MNASCOE also offers one $1,000 scholarship for anyone who will be entering their first year of college through their fourth year.  By applying for the NASCOE scholarships those individuals that meet the eligibility criteria are automatically applying for the MNASCOE scholarship.

Here is the direct link to the application  https://goo.gl/forms/ObCh1tVHKQ89VUaO2

2) Simply follow the instructions on the NASCOE website and complete the online application form.  Two things that are important to note.

  • Pay attention to the suggestion about working on your answers to the scholarship questions in word.  The online application doesn’t allow you to save in the middle so once you start you must finish.  So, if you complete the responses in word first then you can copy and paste your answers into the online application once you have all of them completed.
  • Minnesota has for the last three years required the applicant to write an essay.  NASCOE is now requiring all applicants to respond to an essay question and Minnesota has decided to use the same question.
    By completing the online application, including the listed essay in its entirety, it is automatically meeting all the Minnesota application requirements.   

3)  Make sure you complete the application and hit submit.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nathan Peterson by email at .

It is that easy!

Distinguished Service Awards (DSA’s)

In the recent newsletter, I also challenged our membership to submit at least 5 individuals for a Distinguished Service Award.  The process to nominate is extremely easy!  Once again go to the NASCOE website under the “Forms and Downloads” then “Awards & Scholarships Applications”.  Determine which of the three awards best fit your nominee, scroll down to the bottom of the page, click on the online application, complete it in its entirety and click submit.  It really is that easy so there are no excuses not to nominate an individual!

Here is the direct link to the nomination form https://goo.gl/forms/VjTuRhrfRFbtxSl93.

If you have any question on either process, please do not hesitate to contact Nathan Peterson via email at 

Distinguished Service Award Nominations Open

Distinguished Service Award Nominations

We all know someone who has goes above and beyond in their job, with MNASCOE/NASCOE or in their community.  The NASCOE Distinguished Service Awards program encourages members to recognize NASCOE members who make outstanding contributions in the Areas of:

  • Service to NASCOE
  • Service to FSA-Agriculture; or
  • Service to Community.

Any member of the Association may make a nomination for this competitive awards program. A State approving official of the State Association is REQUIRED to certify to the eligibility of the person being nominated.  Members of the NASCOE association in good standing, members serving under a permanent appointment, and members voluntarily retired during the current year are eligible to receive these awards.

All nominations shall be electronically submitted NO LATER THAN JANUARY 1.
The nomination form should furnish the following information:

  • Name, address, email address, and telephone numbers of the nominee and nominator.
  • Certification by an officer of the State Association that the nominee is serving under a permanent appointment and is in good standing.
  • Award being recommended.
  • Nomination information should be brief, factual and specific.

Nominations are available at www.NASCOE.org under Forms and Downloads – Awards & Scholarship Applications

Distinguished Service Awards Flyer

Scholarships Available! Deadline: January 1, 2017

NASCOE Scholarship Applications Due January 1, 2017!

2017 NASCOE Scholarship Applications are available online at the NASCOE Website under Forms and Downloads – Awards and Scholarships.  Applicants from Minnesota must choose the link under the Midwest Area to submit your application.  Please review the Awards and Scholarships Handbook found on the website for more information.  Brief descriptions of the available NASCOE scholarships are below.

Traditional Scholarship

This award may only be used to defray expenses for a graduating high school senior or first-year college freshman enrolled as a full time student with a minimum of 12 hours at an accredited college, university or trade school. Applicants must be a NASCOE member’s child, or a member’s legal dependent.

Open Continuing Education Scholarship

This award may only be used to defray expenses for a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student continuing their education at an accredited college, university or trade school while carrying 6 or more credit hours per semester. Applicants must be a NASCOE member, member’s spouse, member’s child, member’s legal dependent, or member’s grandchild who has previously won the Grandchildren’s Scholarship.

Member Continuing Education

The applicants must be a NASCOE member continuing their education at an accredited college, university or trade school.

Continuing Education for Adult Children of Members

This award may only be used to defray expenses for a Member’s adult child continuing their education as required or encouraged through their employer for 5 or less credit hours a semester. Applicants must be a member’s child, member’s legal dependent, or member’s grandchild.

Grandchildren Scholarship

This award may be used to defray expenses for a student continuing their education enrolled at an accredited college, university or trade school while carrying 12 or more credit hours per semester. Applicants must be a member’s grandchild.

Associate Member Scholarship

This award may only be used to defray expenses for an associate member, an associate member’s spouse, an associate member’s child, grandchild or legal dependent enrolled as a student with a minimum of 6 hours of enrollment at an accredited college, university or trade school.

 

NASCOE Scholarships Available

2016 NASCOE First Timer’s Contest

First Timer's Contest Logo

Enter the NASCOE First Timer’s Contest to win a $500 scholarship to attend your first national convention! One scholarship will be awarded to a NASCOE member from each area,
for a total of 5 scholarships. Applicants must submit a one-page essay of 500 words or less
explaining why they want to attend the convention.

E-mail essays to by April 1, 2016 for your chance to win!

Official Contest Rules

 

NASCOE News Flash: Creditable Service for Retirement

NASCOE Logo

NASCOE News Flash

Please take time to read this important email update. This is one of the most important legislative/management issues we have faced during the current Administration. To begin, NASCOE leadership has been working to reverse the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) decision and will continue until this decision is reversed. The information below has been obtained through multiple channels and provides the most updated information. In summary, a certain lawyer at OPM has declared that Public Law 85-568 (enacted July 1960) no longer applies to FSA’s county office workers. In effect, this means temporary time no longer counts toward retirement benefits. In addition, it appears that the Department of Agriculture is moving forward with OPM’s interpretation based on information obtained from FSA State offices. Please see the related documents below.

As recently as this morning, NASCOE President Wes Daniels visited with Administrator Dolcini about the impact of OPM’s decision. Administrator Dolcini and other USDA officials are working to rectify this situation. We are now significantly expanding our outreach and will work toward reversing this unjustified decision.

Creditable Service for Retirement Eligibility and Annuity Computation Purposes

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has recently reviewed and re-interpreted Chapter 20 of the CSRS/FERS Handbook to exclude temporary/non-deduction time with the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) as creditable service for retirement eligibility and annuity calculation purposes, even if a deposit application has been submitted and the deposit paid in full.

Chapter 20 of the CSRS/FERS Handbook states the following with regard to Creditable service:

“Public Law 85-568, enacted July 1, 1960, declared employees of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation (ASC) county committees to be Federal employees as of July 10, 1960, for retirement purposes. This law covered all ASC county committee employees except those specifically excluded by law or regulations (such as temporary and intermittent employees). However, an employee who separated before July 10, 1960, cannot receive credit for that service.”

Q and A:

What is non-deduction service?
Non-deduction service is service performed for which retirement deductions were not taken from your pay.

Who should I contact with questions about my temporary/non-deduction service?
Employees should feel comfortable contacting either their employee association or John Palmer with questions or concerns related to their temporary/non-deduction service.

Who has been made aware of OPM’s interpretation?
It is our understanding that the USDA’s Office of General Counsel (OGC), FSA’s Human Resource Division (HRD), FSA Administrator and Deputy Administrator Offices, as well as the employee associations (WASCOE/NASCOE) are aware of OPM’s interpretation. Further, we understand that OGC is actively pursuing a favorable re-interpretation of the law to include temporary/non-deduction time as creditable for retirement eligibility and annuity calculation purposes.

Who is affected by OPM’s interpretation of the CSRS/FERS Handbook?
OPM’s interpretation, as stated above, applies to individuals under the FERS retirement system with ASCS temporary/non-deduction service performed prior to January 1, 1989 (FERS employees were not previously allowed to pay a deposit for temporary/non- deduction service performed after 01/01/1989 – this period of service remains ineligible for a deposit). OPM’s interpretation would also apply to individuals under the CSRS/CSRS-Offset retirement system with temporary/non-deduction service with ASCS (pre or post 01/01/1989).

What do I do if I am planning to retire in the near future or think I might have temporary/non-deduction time with ASCS?
At this time, the Wisconsin FSA Human Resource Team is asking that you review your service history for such periods of temporary/non-deduction time that were previously considered creditable (pre 01/01/1989 for FERS employees and all non-deduction service for CSRS/CSRS-Offset employees). If you have these types of service you can contact John Palmer, Administrative Specialist, to review your service history with/for you in an effort to help you understand the full impact of OPM’s determination. If an employee does not meet retirement eligibility without including temporary/non-deduction service, HR is advising that you do not retire until such time that an official determination (re-determination) is issued by OPM or retirement eligibility thresholds are met without including temporary/non-deduction service with ASCS.

What if I paid a deposit and OPM has accepted the deposit and issued a “Paid-in- Full” invoice?
At this time, it is our understanding that OPM accepting your re-deposit does not entitle you to service credit for the non-deduction time. This determination would be made by OPM when finalizing your retirement annuity. If OPM upholds their current interpretation, it is HR’s understanding that you would be allowed an opportunity to request a refund of your service credit deposit. OPM would refund your deposit paid with annually compounded interest from the date of deposit. At this time we are not recommending that you request a refund of your paid deposit in case OPM’s interpretation would be reversed.

What will happen to those individuals who have already retired and who have temporary/non-deduction service with ASCS?
We are not sure yet how the pension will be affected for those individuals who have already retired and who have temporary/non-deduction service with ASCS.

What happens if I retire and it is later determined that the temporary/non-deduction service with ASCS is creditable for retirement purposes?
Upon retirement OPM becomes your servicing personnel office. We encourage you to track this issue via employee associations, news outlets, OPM website, etc. Contact OPM when/if any development occurs. In addition, your Wisconsin FSA HR Specialist will be manually tracking the names and Civil Service Annuity numbers for all individuals who retire who have temporary/non-deduction service. If OPM’s determination is reversed the HR Specialist will provide this information to OPM in an effort to have the annuity re-calculated.

 

15 days remain for NASCOE Convention Early Bird Registration!

What are you doing today? Add register for the NASCOE Conventions to your To Do List!http://www.nascoe.org/Pages/NationalConventions.aspx

Posted by 2015 National NASCOE Convention in Milwaukee on Saturday, May 30, 2015

 

Wisconsin is cordially inviting you to the 2015 NASCOE convention in beautiful Milwaukee, Wisconsin August 12, 2015 through August 15, 2015.

You will be staying in Milwaukee’s newest luxury hotel for less than a third of the price non-convention goers have to pay!  The views are amazing and the rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated.  The Potawatomi Hotel, Casino and Convention Center offers gaming, nightlife, multiple restaurants, and ample meeting rooms to conduct our NASCOE business, all under one roof!

An added benefit to the convention attendees is the hotel offers free parking, free shuttle service to and from the Milwaukee airport (General Mitchell – which offers fantastic prices for flights in and out of Milwaukee), and will also provide the free shuttle service to our guests that want to venture to the historic 3rd ward and other popular destinations for shopping, dining, nightlife, museums, and so much more!  Please visit the NASCOE website (www.nascoe.org) under the “national conventions” link to check out the links we have provided for the hotel and Visit Milwaukee.  You may also book your room(s) now using the registration code listed on the WASCOE website.


We have fantastic tours planned for all of you on Wednesday, August 12, 2015.

The Farm Tour takes you Koepke Dairy Farms Inc, Growing Power and Serenity Farm of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Industry tour boasts two national manufacturers that are known worldwide and home-based in Wisconsin – Case IH/New Holland in Racine WI, and Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee.  Lunch will be served after the tour at CaseIH tour in the morning.

The third tour package is our Wisconsin Brewery Tour! We’ll start you off at the historic Pabst mansion (sorry! No free samples of beer on this tour).  Then you will head to Miller/Coors and see one of the largest breweries in the world – and yes, you will also get to sample along the way!  Lunch will be provided at Lakefront Brewery.  Lakefront is a craft brewery that has many award winning brews you can sample.  They still use the line to bottle the beer that was made famous with the glove on the bottle during the intro to the Laverne and Shirley show.  Finally we will change gears a bit and take you to the only distillery in Wisconsin – the Great Lakes Distillery. There you will learn the art of a world class distillery, and get to sample some of the finest spirits ever made!


Evening activities include our welcome to all of you on Wednesday evening with the taste of Milwaukee dinner followed by a sock hop – dress up in your favorite 50’s outfits!

Thursday evening will be the NASCOE scholarship auction followed by non-stop fun provided by Lucille’s Dueling Pianos!

Friday evening will be the awards banquet followed by an entertaining performance provided by the Red Hot Horn Dawgs!

The youth committee has each day packed with events for your children/grandchildren that will leave them good and tuckered out each evening!  There are some fantastic events planned for the kids, including a trip to an indoor waterpark and an indoor campout/movie night!   Other events include video games in real life, Milwaukee Public Museum, Discovery World, the Milwaukee Zoo, to name a few.

The tours will book up quickly, so please complete your registration form early to ensure your spot on the tour of your choice!

If you have any questions or issues completing the registration form or booking your room, please contact Tom Oasen at or Deb Esselman at

http://www.nascoe.org/Pages/NationalConventions.aspx

 

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