Rumble, J. N., Lamm, A. J. & Gay, K. D. (2018). Identifying extension agent needs associated with communicating about policies and regulations. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(4), 72-87. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2018.04072
The Cooperative Extension Service has performed the role of educator and change agent for more than a century. Changes occurring during this period caused Extension to extend its influence beyond the farm and traditional roles. Today, Extension faces controversial public issues and unparalleled levels of policy and regulation impacting agriculture and natural resources. As the needs of our changing society evolve, regulation increases, and response to public opinion becomes more complex. Extension must expand its role in providing education related to public issues and acting as facilitators and change agents to ensure viable actions are taken. This study was conducted to determine the level of preparedness of Florida Extension agents in dealing with policies and regulations. An emailed survey of all Florida Extension agents utilized questions regarding frequency of addressing policies with their clientele and their knowledge of said policies. Results indicated a low frequency of agents of all types addressing most policies with their clientele and a need for increased knowledge about the policies. In particular, there is an opportunity for all agent types to improve interactions with clientele on the topic of Immigration Reform as well as knowledge of related policies.