Extension Philosophy and Experience
Extension is a critical component of agriculture, and I am committed to this aspect of the Land Grant mission. Transfer of information from researchers to growers and other stakeholders plays a fundamental role in making applied research impactful. Equally as important, growers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders have valuable information about what industry problems are most relevant and they can guide the prioritization of applied agricultural research. Open dialogue between researchers and industry stakeholders will guide development of relevant research studies and inform best management practices in the field. Extension programs are an essential part of maintaining this cooperative dialogue.
In my current position at MSU, I work directly with growers to set up studies on their farms. Developing and maintaining strong working relationships with growers allows us to conduct research under industry relevant conditions. These relationships are strengthened through one on one meetings and larger formal extension meetings where we share research findings and provide recommendations for pest management and improving crop pollination.
A major component of our USDA-NIFA funded Pollinator Health project is to set up regional pollinator health teams to identify opportunities for tackling region-specific pollinator health challenges.
These pollinator health teams are composed of a diverse set of stakeholders who are invested in promoting pollinator health in Michigan, and include growers, beekeepers, master gardeners, chemical company representatives, land managers, and conservation advocates. Through productive discussions with stakeholders we have built lists of top pollinator health priorities in Michigan. These priorities have allowed us to target region specific problems with our research, as well as create relevant extension and education initiatives. These meetings are the beginning of an ongoing conversation and we plan to continue to grow these relationships with stakeholders.