Dr Marsha Goetting

Marsha Goetting wins 2017 Western Region Excellence in Extension Award

Montana State University Extension family economics specialist Marsha Goetting has received the 2017 Western Region Excellence in Extension Award from Cooperative Extension (Extension), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The Western region includes Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho and four territories.

Fred Schlutt, Vice Provost, Extension & Outreach and Director Cooperative Extension Service, University of Alaska and Chair, Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), said, “These awards represent the finest examples of the many positive impacts of Cooperative Extension work in the United States.�

Goetting, who began her work with MSU Extension in 1977, was recognized for her visionary leadership, excellence in programming, and positive impact in Montana and beyond. One of her first projects, a study-at-home course called Estate Planning for Every Montanan reached over 50,000 Montanans and was adopted by the Extension Service in Rhode Island, Kansas and South Dakota.

During 40 years of service, she has delivered over 1500 estate planning workshops, traveling thousands of miles annually to directly reach more than 40,000 Montanans in every county and reservation. In addition, during 2016, more than 17,000 copies of her MontGuides (peer-reviewed fact sheets) were distributed.

Goetting’s work in estate planning helps Montanans understand how their property will be distributed at their death. Of those who participate in her classes, 68 percent have incorrect assumptions about Montana law on this topic when they begin. Following her classes, 40 percent have taken action (wrote a will, contacted an attorney, reviewed life insurance, wrote a separate listing of tangible property, etc.) to resolve these issues. Having solid estate plans gives Montanans peace of mind, helps prevent family disagreements over estate issues and reduces the clogged caseload of district courts who deal with probate challenges.

Goetting, who has no plans to stop working to connect resources with Montanans any time soon, says, “law changes and transfer of property continue to be critically important. I’m constantly finding new ways to personalize how I present information for specific groups. There are many ways to avoid probate that weren’t available years ago.� She says, “while sharing information can be done via email, real communicating should be done in person.�

Goetting worked with a team to develop the national, award-winning Alzheimer’s Toolkit for Family Caregivers in 2007. As a result of that work she was appointed to Governor Bullock’s workgroup, whose members developed a Montana plan for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia during 2016-2017.

Also a professor in MSU’s Department of Economics and Agricultural Economics, Goetting has guest lectured for more than 150 MSU classes in Farm Management, Marriage and Family, Teaching Methods, Health, and Nursing. She has assisted with curriculum development for adult education classes at MSU Northern and the University of Montana Western, and her publications have been used as reference materials for students at the School of Law at the University of Montana. Extension professionals from at least 25 states have worked directly with Goetting in educational or outreach capacities.

Goetting has received nearly half a million dollars in grants to support family economics programming. She has been an invited speaker at nine national conferences and has over 125 peer-reviewed publications. She has collaborations with diverse organizations including the Federal Internal Revenue Service, State Bar of Montana and Montana agencies including but not limited to: Governor’s Office on Aging, Board of Medical Examiners, and Departments of Agriculture, Revenue and Health and Human Services. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Branch Bank in Helena, Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, representing the viewpoints of “ordinary� consumers about monetary policy.

Cooperative Extension is coordinated at the national level by ECOP which is the representative leadership and governing body of Extension nationwide. NIFA’s mission is to invest in advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. 

Read more about Marsha Goetting and the MSU Extension Family Economics Program.