Recently in Part III. Preliminary Results Category

Extension's Money Crisis Continues

"The Minnesota Response" documents the fiscal pressures which Extension has seen over the past several decades (pages 4 to 6 and more on pages 280 to 290).

A recent report by the Center on Budget and Policies Priorities suggests that 2010 and 2011 will also be rough years for many state governments.  While this article did not address Extension funding, state's are the largest source of funding for most states.

The article is entitled:

"Recession Continues to Batter State Budgets; State Responses Could Slow Recovery" by Elizabeth McNichol and Nicholas Johnson, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, updated December 18, 2009.  (

The article reports that 48 states have shortfalls for 2010 of about 28 percent of their state budgets - "the largest gaps on record."   The budget gaps for 2011 could be another 16 percent of their budgets. 

State by state shortfalls are reported for both 2010 and 2011.

At least over the next several years the pressure on Extension is not going to diminish.

Chapter 13 in "The Minnesota Response" tells how regionalization and specialization has influenced public support at the county and state levels after they lost 18 percent of their budgets in FY2002 through FY2004.  It also discusses the ways that regionalization and specialization enhances the ability to generate alternative revenues. 


Productivity of Extension State Specialists

New Article:


Jeremy D. Foltz and Bradford L. Barham. 2009. "The productivity Effects of Extension Appointments in Land-Grant Colleges." Review of Agricultural Economics. (31:4), pp. 712-733.


The authors measure output as "journal articles, extension bulletins, presentations to extension audiences, presentations to academic audiences, and masters and PhD students produced." Then they examine how the number of journal articles changes as a function of years of experience, the percentage of appointment in Extension, and six disciplinary groups. They conclude that state specialists in the range of 30% Extension appointments are productive in both research and extension. The authors recognized, however, that the measures of Extension output are not very complete. 


The authors use the term "specialization" in a different way than it is used in book: The Minnesota Response.  Foltz and Barham refer to a faculty member as "specialized" in either research or extension.  For example, faculty members with a high percentage appointment in extension are "specialized" in extension.  


In The Minnesota Response,  a field educator is defined as specialized as follows:


 A specialized Extension Educator concentrates on an area of expertise, provides leadership on a statewide program team that develops and delivers outreach educational programs for a community of interest, and contributes to the scholarship related to outreach education.


How does having specialized field extension educators affect academic productivity (journal articles, extension bulletins, M.S. and Ph.D. students)? This was not addressed in this article. While Chapter 11  in The Minnesota Response provides some rudimentary evidence on this question, examining this question in detail needs to use a multi-state data in a multivariate analysis similar to the regression analysis used by  Jeremy Foltz and Bradford Barham. 


Do you have examples of ways that specialization of the field staff might influence the productivity of campus faculty, either in research, extension, or campus-teaching?  If so, send these to me at  




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