421 Commonalities of Australian Public Extension Programs

in HortScience
Mike MurrayFarm Advisor & County Director, University of California Cooperative Extension, P. O. Box 180, Colusa, Ca. 95932

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A 1995/96 sabbatical leave in Australia was conducted to elucidate trends in public extension programs related to technology transfer or information delivery. Interviews with imore than 500 extension providors and users in seven states or territories were conducted. Based on these discussions, 12 commonalities or recurring themes were identified. These were the delivery of public extension programs through State Departments of Agriculture that also have regulatory responsibilities; decreased public funding for extension programs; clear separations between applied research and extension functions; adoption of purchaser/provider funding models; poor communication or collaboration between extension and universities; an emphasis on group facilitation programming; difficulties related to extension staff recruitment or retention; diminished clientele support for public extension programs; an emphasis on the sociological aspects of agricultural enterprises; the development of audio-visual educational materials; a movement to assist inefficient producers exit agriculture and; trends toward the privatization of, or cost recovery for, public extension programs.

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