The implications of recent trends in the delivery and financing of agricultural extension services are assessed. The economic consequences of the introduction of charges and the increased reliance on private consultants to deliver extension services are considered in terms of their efficiency and distributional consequences. It is concluded that there is a strong efficiency case for charging for most extension activities. The presence of externalities or non-rival consumption properties in some extension activities does not establish that subsidised provision would be justified from an efficiency perspective. The impact of the price elasticities of demand for extension services and rural output on the distributional consequences of alternative funding options is considered.