In the Midst of Declining Budgets- OSU Dean of Ag Tom Coon Calls 4-H His Top PrioritySat, 18 Feb 2017 13:24:04
The Dean of the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Tom Coon, was a featured speaker at the 2017 American Farmers and Ranchers convention on Saturday in Norman. Dr. Coon talked about the good things going on within DASNR since the start of the school year, including the largest enrollment ever for the College of Agriculture. He also pointed to the success of the Livestock, Equine and Meat Judging teams, the 20th Anniversary of the Food and Ag Products Center, the very successful Wheat Breeding Program led by Dr. Brett Carver and national recognition of both Dr. Damona Doye and Dr. Derrell Peel.
He also addressed the budgetary worries that have especially hit the extension and research sides of the DASNR Triangle. Dr. Coon told AFR attendees that these two parts of the Division of Ag have seen 19% of their budget dollars from the state disappear over the last two years- and that it is very possible a further cut may be coming in the coming fiscal year. Because of the shrinking resources- he talked about how things will have to change compared to years gone by. He did pledge that his priority in the budget scheme is to do what he can to safeguard the 4-H program- in fact he called it his top priority.
After his presentation, Dr. Coon talked with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about what a leaner extension may look like- saying where it is possible, a local 4-H agent will continue to be a part of the local county office- but that personnel to service the agricultural community will look different than the old traditional model of an all purpose local County Agent. The Dean sees technology helping get needed information out to farmers and ranchers- videos, interactive fact sheets on demand, Apps for smartphones and more. He also believes that experts on a particular subject may be in an area office serving multiple counties- able to get out on the farm or ranch but also use technology to make sure relevant information can be pushed out to those that want and need it.
To hear Dean Coon and Hays- click on the LISTEN BAR below.
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