Concerns about the relevance of agricultural research and extension in a changing society are complicated. They include funding challenges and a struggle to identify constituents, while adequately meeting their needs. Funding often follows relevance, however, and it may be that the questions of relevance in a modern, information-inundated, technologically-savvy and networked age prove to be the most profound and difficult. If the foundational concept in research and extension history holds—that a person may doubt what they are told but not what they do themselves—then these questions and concerns should explore how it operates in the digital age of social networks, big data, comprehensive modeling and vast visualization capabilities. These are matters to be worked out at the local level, within universities and among communities or constituencies, as well as in the halls of Congress as it debates a farm bill.
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CPEU: 1.0CPE Level: 1Performance Indicators: 3.2, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4
Jonathan A. Coppess
Jonathan Coppess is on faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, director of the Gardner Agriculture Policy Program and author of THE FAULT LINES OF FARM POLICY: A LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE FARM BILL. He has served as Chief Counsel and special counsel for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Administrator of the Farm Service Agency at USDA and Legislative Assistant to Senator Ben Nelson. Jonathan grew up on his family’s farm in Western Ohio, earned his Bachelors’ from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC.
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