Recently in Part II: The Minnesota Response Category

Needs Assessment and Market Research

A key to successful outreach programs is addressing relevant issues in a timely fashion.  Chapter 8 outlines the differences between traditional needs assessment and market research. 


Benefits and Costs to Counties

Counties continue to be an important part of the Minnesota regional/county model, even though the relationship between Extension and counties has changed in fundamental ways.  Chapter 6 outlines the benefits and costs to counties of the new model.  Further, it provides data that shows employment in the field is probably higher than it would have been under the old system.

Comments or Questions:  What questions about the benefits and costs to counties in the Minnesota model are not answered in this chapter?  How do the number of local positions in counties in your state compare to the numbers in Minnesota counties as shown in Tables 6.3 and 6.4? 



Specialized Extension Educators

Chapter 5 defines specialization for field extension educators as:  "A specialized Extension Educator concentrates on an area of expertise, provides leadership on a statewide program team that develops and delivers outreach programs for a community of interest, and contributes to the scholarship related to outreach education." (The Minnesota Response, 2009, p. 99).

Empricial results are presented on six features of Minnesota Regional Extension Educators (REEs), with comparisons before and after the implementation of the regional/county system.  For example, 47 percent of all REEs now have statewide program responsibilities compared to only 9 percent before the changes in 2004. 

Comments:  If your state has a regional delivery system of some sort, what are the system features that encourage specialization by field educators?   What features discourage specialization? 

What Readers Are Saying



Here is what readers are saying about "The Minnesota Response".....


"As land-grant universities seek to rebuild programs based on "best practices," this book contributes valuable, experienced-based insights into the choices available as Extension programs continue to evolve and respond. The Minnesota model as presented here should prove informative to many others." Michael V. Martin, Ph.D. Chancellor of Louisiana State University and Cooperative Extension's 2007 Justin Smith Morrill Memorial Award winner.


"This is important work at a critical time for land-grant universities and 
cooperative extension services. George Morse chose to release the information 
about Minnesota's response to the crises they face quickly through iUniverse 
rather than through the slow process of a university press...This book is timely,
 carefully researched, and well written." Cornelia Butler Flora, Ph.D. Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University, in Rural Sociology, 75 (2), June 2010. Available as an ejournal through most university libraries. 
"We always hear about the "teachable moment." George Morse's book 
The Minnesota Response is released at the "Extension moment." Most states 
are currently experiencing a severe money crisis and are or will be facing the 
crisis Minnesota Extension faced in 2004. In my opinion, this is a must read 
for all extension workers in states facing a budget crisis and/or
considering restructuring." Gerald Doeksen, Regents Professor, Oklahoma State University

"Morse's book is very interesting and well-crafted. I haven't read the whole

thing cover to cover, but my copy is getting quite dog-eared." Robert Sams, Director and Chief Information Officer, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

"I'm quite impressed by the thought that went into the changes you've made,
and equally impressed (and thankful) that you took the time to document
your lessons." Timothy W. Kelsey, Ph.D., State Program Leader, Economic & 
Community Development, and Professor of Agricultural Economics, Penn State 

"I've been using your book with my students and in Extension work here at

Virginia Tech. Thank you documenting some important insights about the

changing nature of Extension." Nancy K. Franz, Ph.D., Professor, Extension Specialist Program Development, Virginia Tech


"I really enjoy your book and the questions you ask about our entire 
extension system." William C. Kleiner, Regional Director - Southeast Region, 
Penn State Cooperative Extension
"We are reading with interest your recent book on Minnesota's Cooperative 
Extension system." Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., Hazel E. Reed Professor of Human 
Development, Cornell University, Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach, 
College of Human Ecology

Public Value, Essential to Extension Funding

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Public value of an extension program is defined as the value which accrues to program non-participants.  

Private value of an extension program is defined as the value which accrues to people who directly participate in an Extension program.

A key part of the Minnesota external relations strategy has been helping each program be able to identify and articulate the sources of their public value as well as their private value.

Nearly all taxpayers are non-participants of some, or even most, Extension programs.  When public budgets are under stress, everyone starts to ask what the payoff is for public investment in specific programs.  With 80 to 90 percent of all Extension funding coming from public funds, an understanding of public value and being able to articulate this is very important. 

While most Extension staff can clearly describe the private value of their programs and often have empirical estimates, many can not name the public value aspects.  Without a clear understanding of private value, it is hard to attract program participants.  Without a clear understanding of public value, it is hard to maintain public funding. (Is that why funding is declining nationally?) 

Best Blog and Training:   One of my Minnesota colleagues, Dr. Laura Kalambokidis, has the best blog and training program on public value.  You can link to these at:

I have used her training program with four groups of 40 individuals and one with 325.  The smaller sessions were 2 hours long and the larger group was an more indepth session of four hours.  I highly recommend both her training program and her blog.  




About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Part II: The Minnesota Response category.

Part I: The Crisis and A Solution is the previous category.

Part III. Preliminary Results is the next category.

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