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Casey brings Extension message

By Janet Kubat Willette

jkubat@agrinews.com

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Extension dean and director Charles Casey is talking to people throughout Minnesota to see how the Extension Service is meeting community needs.

In all, Casey said he will have 23 meetings in every corner of the state. He'll meet with Extension staff, county commissioners, legislators and county Extension committees to discuss what's working and what's not in the new regional delivery model unveiled Jan. 5. Casey declined to say what issues have came up so far, preferring to wait until he finishes the last third of his visits to make statements about what he's hearing.

"I think things are going pretty well," Casey said.

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A year ago at this time there were a lot of questions about who would be where, Casey said. Now, the conversations are about programs. His task is to make sure the system is as effective as possible at getting University of Minnesota research from campus to the people through campus faculty, regional educators and county Extension advisers.

The regional centers are about strengthening ties with the main campus, Casey said. The Extension service just hired four new livestock specialists who are tied to a department on campus, he said. The specialists work in Mankato, Hutchinson, Morris and Grand Rapids. Three crops specialists were also recently hired. They are stationed in Albert Lea, Worthington and Hutchinson. Regional educators are turning into what the former campus specialists used to be, Casey said. They travel whenever the need is to deliver programs.

The regional Extension model evolved from a move to regional Extension educators and then, regional Extension offices, which opened Jan. 5, 2004.

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