Survey finds SDSU Extension trusted source
Dunn explains that today's SDSU Extension provides research-based information through innovative and progressive outreach services that strengthen South Dakota's agriculture, natural resources, families and communities.
"SDSU Extension is available where South Dakotans' turn for information," Dunn said.
One of the major enhancements to information delivery that SDSU Extension introduced was to launch iGrow.org, an online learning platform that provides research-based information 24-7.
Although 4-H programming continues to operate at the county level, 4-H programming is now implemented by a focused team of 4-H and youth advisors. All other SDSU Extension programs operate out of regional centers. The faculty who also serve as SDSU Extension specialists still operate from campus here in Brookings or the West River Ag Center in Rapid City.
"With limited resources, we find iGrow.org and the regional model to be a very effective way for our specialists to reach citizens of the state," Dunn said.
Dunn's comments are backed by the SDSU Extension Benchmark Survey, which discovered that not only was SDSU Extension meeting the land-grant mission, but also that changes made to the delivery system through the reorganization were in-line with the evolving needs of South Dakotans.
More and more, South Dakotans are going to iGrow.org for information on everything from crop and livestock production to community gardens, food preservation and nutrition. The survey revealed that awareness and usage of the iGrow.org website tends to increase with the level of education and income of respondents. And a younger demographic, ages 18-49, are the highest user group of iGrow.org.
Connections to Extension
SDSU Extension is best know for its involvement with 4-H and youth development programs. Producers carry this connective experience throughout their careers as farmers and ranchers. For example, 4-H families are more likely than non-4-H families to be aware of and use SDSU Extension services.
The Benchmark study also showed that highly educated, successful producers use Extension. The likelihood that farmers will turn first to SDSU Extension when they need reliable information on ag science or best practices tends to increase with the level of education. And producers with a gross farm income over $250,000 consistently use SDSU Extension services more than other producers.
Since the beginning, Extension has been tasked to bring the land-grant mission of research, education and outreach full circle. And, it continues to accomplish this task through a team of highly skilled specialists who provide research-based information and education, create opportunities and empower individuals, explains Karla Trautman, SDSU Extension Associate Director.
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