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Abstract

Cooperative extension has prided itself on being the outreach of the land grant university. However, with changes in the structure of the population, the economy, and agriculture in particular, extension has had to change as well. Increasingly, extension service providers are reminded that they cannot be all things to all people. There is also increasing competition from other campus units that feel they have an outreach mission. As traditional base funding sources decline, decisions must be made regarding the role and function of extension within the university system. This paper explores these issues using historical data, reports, and six case studies. The case studies provide insights into the ways different extension services have collaborated and partnered in university outreach. The case studies demonstrate that the role of extension reflects such things as past experiences, the level of support for extension, the administrative structure of extension and the university, and the vision of those within and without the extension system.

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