Agriculture News

July 22, 2019

Cooperative Extension, public outreach unite to increase funding for agricultural research and education

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Research and education drive the U.S. economy and its agricultural sector. The ability to turn discoveries and innovations into practical applications has been the hallmark of extension and public outreach in every state and U.S. territory.

Unfortunately, public sector investment in extension and public outreach has declined in recent years.

To heighten awareness of this issue, The Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation (RMF) partnered with land-grant institutions, Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture (NLGCA), and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to showcase how turning research into practical applications advances agricultural enterprise, strengthens the nation’s food security and improves the health of residents in every community. Purdue Extension was a lead partner in developing the new RMF publication “Cooperative Extension and Public Outreach: Advancing Agriculture and Improving Lives,” in which the collaborators outline the diverse programs and services extension and outreach offer. 

Wendy Wintersteen, president of Iowa State University and former RMF president, describes the fundamental role extension and outreach play in putting science into practice.

“It happens in many forms and through many collaborations and partnerships. We know it best from our land-grant university perspective and our deep roots — professionally and personally — in the land-grant mission of education, access, research and extension,” she said.

Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity at Purdue University, said extension and outreach provide trusted knowledge that is earned and validated through science.

“Trustworthiness is at the heart of extension and outreach, along with the ability to change with the times, reinventing delivery methods and modes of expertise to match the changing needs of people and their communities,” he said. “From the farm gate to main street – we remain loyal to our commitment of being America’s educational partner for life.”

Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture at Purdue University, emphasized that scientific agricultural research will always be the foundation of extension and outreach.

“We are advocates for the residents of our states, joined in the mission to enhance the quality of life in communities by focusing on education in areas such as mental health access, teaching youth science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills through 4-H, addressing environmental issues, farm and food safety, and workforce preparedness,” she said.

The complete version of “Cooperative Extension and Public Outreach: Advancing Agriculture and Improving Lives” is available at  A brief overview of the complete version is available at


Media contact: Jesica Hollinger,

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head,  

Agriculture News Page

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