Just thought I would add my 2=A2 to the conversation.
As a relatively new Extension Agent I am having a hard time with the
concept that I am merely a conduit for researchers or farmers. Not only do
I run my own sustainable agriculture research program, but I organize and
teach my own class on alternative agricultural systems and present research
papers at local and regional conferences. Because I have the title of
Agent, this does not necessarily mean my position is any less demanding
than other faculty positions - here in Washington we are "Extension
Faculty". I am as well qualified (in my humble opinion :)) as any faculty
member at any institution. And I do feel strongly that often the initial
response by other professionals is that because I am an Agent I can not be
I would like to share an example of this. When I first came to this job
and met with a Department Head and shared with him my intent to start up an
on-farm sustainable agriculture research program, he made the comment "you
know, you can't just collect a few samples and call that research. Have
you ever heard about replications and randomization?" Well, having just
completed my PhD at Cornell (Divergent Selection of Sweet Corn Under Low
and Conventional Nitrogen Environments) and presenting my dissertation at
several national meetings, I was a little taken back that anyone would just
assume that I did not know what scientific research procedure was.
And in my short experience this is a somewhat typical reception that we
Extension Agents have by many other faculty and researchers. Well, I have
vented my frustration and should get back to writing my grant proposal for
On-Farm Research of Sustainable Agricultural Systems.
Carol A. Miles, Ph.D.
Washington State University
Extension Agricultural Systems
360 NW North Street
Chehalis, WA 98532
PHONE 360-740-1295 FAX 360-740-2792