Volume 4, Issue 3, August 2022
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Special Issue on Extension Education and Teaching: Part 2
Guest Editors: Kynda Curtis, Amy Hagerman, and David Ripplinger
Tori L. Marshall, Amy D. Hagerman, Hannah E. Shear, Kenneth H. Burdine, and Becca B.R. Jablonski
Posted online: July 19, 2022
Abstract: This paper is a retrospective summary of the varied ways agricultural economics and agribusiness programs have approached recruiting and training interested graduate students for a career in Extension. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for graduate student recruitment and training. Extension systems vary by state, and departments have different levels of Extension involvement. Aptitude in research and teaching, while critical, should be complemented by skills needed to establish successful Extension programs. We propose a customized approach to Extension career training for graduate students that is adaptable to the Extension presence in the department and college and flexible to meet graduation requirements. This flexible approach will enable faculty graduate advisors, graduate coordinators, and department and Extension leaders to better prepare graduate students for future careers in Extension, furthering the land-grant mission.
Keywords: Extension education, graduate student training, mentoring
Amy D. Hagerman, Tori L. Marshall, Martha J. Sullins, and Kenneth H. Burdine
Posted online: July 25, 2022
Abstract: Mentoring is a key element in the success and retention of Extension faculty, but one that has not often been explored in the literature and in practice. This paper uses a semi-structured interview process to obtain feedback from early career Extension faculty about their experiences with mentoring, how mentoring could be improved to make them more successful, and specific challenges for which mentoring would be especially helpful early in their careers. While a great deal of variation existed among participants concerning formal mentoring programs within their departments, almost all indicated they used and valued mentors as part of their professional development. Departmental mentoring programs seemed to be largely focused on helping faculty members navigate the promotion and tenure process. Interviews revealed several areas where mentoring would be especially valuable to new Extension faculty as they developed their Extension programs. These areas included evaluating Extension programs, obtaining grants and program funding, building stakeholder networks, balancing appointments, feeling valued, incorporating ongoing personal development, and improving time management. Almost all interview participants indicated a willingness to serve as mentors for new faculty as they progress in their careers.
Keywords: Extension education, faculty retention, mentoring, semi-structured interviews
Charley C. Martinez, S. Aaron Smith, Tyler Mark, and Paul Goeringer
Posted online: July 28, 2022
Abstract: Extension programs are the link between producers, applied research, and policy. Additionally, Extension educators are often the initial point of contact for producers when new agricultural markets emerge. Emerging markets provide opportunities and challenges for all producers. However, developing an Extension program to assist producers can be difficult due to limited production information (or process clarity), a lack of infrastructure, uncertain marketing channels, and uncertain policy direction. During the emergence of new commodities or markets, the development of Extension programming is necessary to aid producers and other agricultural stakeholders in clarifying the risks and rewards of entering or participating in the market. A further complication is a bimodal distribution of clientele ranging from those operators new to agriculture to established operators.
The development of carbon and hemp markets in the United States highlights the difficulties in providing producers with timely information when a highly uncertain policy and regulatory environment exists. This paper discusses how to develop an Extension program to address producers’ needs for emerging markets effectively. Specifically, we highlight the benefits of collaboration, obtaining grant funding, program development, and identifying research topics. Finally, the program development discussed can be utilized by Extension educators when developing programming for future emerging markets.
Keywords: Carbon markets, Extension, hemp, new markets, programming
Claudia Schmidt, Lisa Chase, Carla Barbieri, Ellie Rilla, Doolarie Singh Knights, Dawn Thilmany, Stacy Tomas, Lori Dickes, Sarah Cornelisse, R. David Lamie, Rachael Callahan, Holly George, and Penny Leff
Posted online: August 10, 2022
Abstract: Agritourism is a critical farm diversification strategy for farmers to enhance income and profit potential with benefits related to rural community development, increased awareness of sustainability practices, and local heritage preservation. For rural community and economic development professionals, agritourism has become an important strategy to develop local tourism, grow small businesses, and enhance regional economic diversification. We propose that the agritourism ecosystem would arguably benefit from more robust Extension programming and network development. A discussion of two state case studies, Vermont and California, provides an overview of the critical elements necessary to build a statewide agritourism program. The role of Extension in rural development and tourism underscores the opportunity to utilize agritourism as a broader development strategy. Finally, we make recommendations for growing the role of Extension in agritourism. More robust training and education for Extension professionals, stronger connections to state tourism departments, and more robust advocacy with university and state-level decision makers on the value of agritourism investments are all highlighted as crucial next steps.
Keywords: Agritourism, Extension, Community Development
Melissa G.S. McKendree and Mykel R. Taylor
Abstract: Early career Extension economists seeking advice on Extension and research program development and mentorship have fewer places to turn due to the declining number of Extension economists in the profession. As such, we conduct a survey of Extension economists that ask about research and Extension integration, funding models, challenges to the profession, mentorship of graduate students, and philosophies of developing Extension programs. We find that networking with stakeholders to design research and Extension programs is viewed as a key element to a successful career. We also find that there is an insufficient level of formal mentorship and training occurring for preparing graduate students for Extension work. In the authors’ opinion, results of the study suggest that formal mentoring programs that teach networking and communication skills to graduate students would greatly benefit them in their professional pursuits in Extension.
Keywords: Career advice, Extension, graduate students, mentorship
Christopher Bastian, Hernan Tejeda, Patrick Hatzenbuehler, Kate Binzen Fuller, John Hewlett, Ashlee Westerhold, and Shannon Sand
Posted online: August 22, 2022
Abstract: We present a new, research-based Extension program on the topic of negotiation for the agricultural community. This endeavor draws on the expertise of Extension faculty from several western U.S. states and responds to ongoing needs of Extension clientele looking to improve business outcomes and relationships. The content currently consists of seven informational guides, one worksheet, and five online learning modules that include instructional video presentations, quizzes, supplemental learning materials, and interactive activities designed to build knowledge and skills in negotiation within an agricultural context. The relatively new online programming has been well received, and opportunities for content expansion remain. The website and content design offer possibilities for both on-site teaching and self-guided learning for Extension clientele, as well as for potential use in agribusiness education.
Keywords: Adult education, agricultural negotiations, bargaining, Extension pedagogy