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A perspective on the extension of research-based information to orchard management decision-makers: Lessons learned and potential future directions

Gadino, Angela N., Brunner, Jay F., Chambers, Ute, Jones, Wendy E., Castagnoli, Steve, Jones, Vincent P.
Biological control 2016 v.102 pp. 121-127
biological control, extension education, industry, landscapes, orchards, outreach, scientists, specialty crops, stakeholders, tree fruits
A central element of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) on ‘enhancing biological control in western orchards’ was to disseminate research-based information generated by the project for adoption and implementation by decision-makers. As the landscape of publicly supported extension and outreach has been changing, our goal was to employ effective and timely strategies that would provide a legacy of project information at relatively low costs. We used various approaches to develop a regional outreach program spanning three states, four institutions, and three crops. Guided by an advisory panel of stakeholders and scientists, our approaches included a simulcast short course, interactive workshops, online media, as well as presentations and print articles. Inevitably, we had to overcome certain challenges and here we share our perspective on the successes, constraints and lessons learned during development and implementation of the project’s outreach program. Finally, we consider future directions and strategies that will aid Cooperative Extension in continuing to meet the needs of western tree fruit and nut industries while optimizing available resources.