Botany and Plant Pathology Seminar Series
Speaker: Dr. Bob Kemerait - Department of Plant Pathology - University of Georgia
Topic: Extension, Disease Management and Agronomic Crops: In defense of “relevance”
When: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm in WSLR 116

Next year (2014) marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. government’s Smith-Lever Act which directly resulted in the formation of Cooperative Extension programs around the country.  Cooperative Extension has been, and continues to be, an important component in the success and technological advancement of American agriculture. Though the Cooperative Extension system is widely respected in the world today, its relevance, value and impact at home have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years.  Dwindling academic budgets, an increasingly urban population and wide-availability of Extension information on the Internet are but a few of the reasons that the existence of Cooperative Extension, at least in its present form, is threatened.  The objective of this presentation is to provide graduate students with a glimpse into the unique role Cooperative Extension plays in the discipline of plant pathology and the challenges faced daily by Extension specialists.  Many of these challenges require solutions for which graduate students may be poorly prepared to address.  Through examples drawn from an Extension program in Georgia and international work in Guyana and Haiti, a defense will be made for the absolute importance of Cooperative Extension to American agriculture and to the discipline of plant pathology.  In conclusion, it will be argued that while implementation of new technologies is critical to the continued success of Cooperative Extension, the tradition of personal contact and trust between specialists, county agents and growers will remain the foundation of the institution. 

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