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Northeast Agenda Case Study

How can two regional organizations, each advocating for 17 distinct Land-grant universities in the northeastern United States, collaborate to formulate a shared vision for the region's future?


The leaders of the Association of Northeast Extension Directors (NEED) and the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA) embarked on the challenge of envisioning the convergence of the region's people, communities, economies, and ecosystems.

PIVOT helped them accomplish this goal.


What are your pain points?

Since the founding of the Land-grant University system nearly 150 years ago, the two essential arms of the LGU system (Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Research) have been tasked to work in collaboration to move us toward a regenerative, livable, vibrant Northeastern United States.

Over the past century and a half, these two critical organizations have drifted apart in their mission, vision, and priorities. Leadership from both the Association of Northeast Extension Directors (NEED) and the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA) embarked on the task of developing a shared vision and set of regional priorities for Northeast's people, communities, economies, and ecosystems.


Our plan for the Northeast

PIVOT Creative & Consulting was engaged to:

  • Galvanize the partnership of NEED and NERA

  • Unify NERA and NEED under a collaboratively developed set of guiding principles and priorities.

  • Create a roadmap for greater impact in the Northeast.

  • Develop a print-ready document, and supporting collateral to share our new collaborative agreement and goals.

To do this, PIVOT embarked on an initiative to:

  • Define unique attributes of the Northeast

  • Define who NERA and NEED are, how they work together, and how there is strength in their collaboration.

  • Define the purpose, vision and mission of “The Northeast Agenda” including shared programmatic/organizational strengths

  • Identify critical obstacles facing the Northeast

  • Prioritize key strategic opportunities and areas of focus within the “Northeast Agenda”

  • Develop a cohesive and collaborative set of priorities

  • Establish a focused and cohesive direction for outreach


NEED and NERA members worked purposefully - supported by PIVOT's planning and expert facilitation - to establish a mission, vision, and purpose that inspires Agricultural Experiment Station research, education, and Extension collaborations to create vibrant communities, resilient food systems, and working lands in the Northeast.


Northeast agricultural research stations and Extension professionals continue to work collaboratively to advance the Land-grant mission to improve lives and the environment in the Northeastern United States. We acknowledge the investments that will be required and look forward to undertaking the work that will move us toward our ultimate goal: a regenerative, livable, vibrant Northeastern United States.


Achieved outcomes

PIVOT worked with leaders of NEED and NERA - and other leadership across the 17 represented Land-grant universities - to develop The Northeast Agenda.  This document honors and builds upon the Land-grant legacy of finding local solutions for local issues. Many issues outlined in this Agenda are not unique to a single state and climate; problematic pests and systemic issues do not care about political boundaries. With this agenda, we identify key common issues and needs we must and can address together.

The Northeast Agenda is a living, evolving document that identifies numerous challenges affecting the Northeast region and the research and Cooperative Extension efforts.


The Northeast Agenda is also a call to action. Under the umbrella of the three key priorities we’ve identified in the report are suggested actions we hope will galvanize our regional institutions, colleagues, and community to create a prospectus of collaboration and investment opportunities.

The Northeast Agenda is currently being used to operationalize the stated key priorities areas and ensure cross-institutional priorities are worked on in collaboration. 

Read the full Northeast Agenda here, or the Executive Summary here

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Northeast Agenda Report + Executive Summary + Presentation Slides

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Northeast Agenda Report + Executive Summary

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Presentation Slides

PIVOT Consulting transformed two of our regional and national projects into brand creation and awareness successes.  The team at PIVOT was instrumental in guiding us from inception to implementation with unparalleled expertise. Their high-touch, high-care approaches work!  


Erica, many thanks, we’re grateful for your contributions! 

Rick Rhodes, Executive Director, Northeastern Regional Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA), a proud member of agInnovation

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