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Iowa Extension VP Accepts Ohio Dean Position

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The Iowa State University Extension was the first extension program in the U.S. and has more than a hundred years of history in working with producers.

Six years ago, Cathann Kress joined on as Vice President of the Extension, starting off when there were major budget cuts.

When she joined, they decided on new ways to serve Iowans, like expanding their online presence joining sites like youtube and twitter.

Last year, there were more than 5 million significant interactions with people online, which could be anything from watching a webinar to downloading extension documents.

Kress says, while engagement is important, critical issues in Iowa is an extension priority, "If extension and outreach isn't at the table, as Iowans face these critical challenges, things like avian influenza last year, Nutrient Reduction Strategy and things like that, then we've really missed the boat on being able to serve our citizens. And I'm really proud to say that in almost all of the critical issues you see in the state of Iowa, extension and outreach is at the table."

Early in March, Kress accepted a position at the Ohio State University as vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Kress will begin her appointment on May 1, 2017.

Looking forward, Kress' goal as a leader in agriculture education is promotion, "The understanding of the issues of agriculture I think have really decreased, so we have a great responsibility to educate our citizenry and our consumers so that they support agriculture and support agricultural research."

Kress says there's a good opportunity at Ohio State to go further in agriculture and education, particularly in multidisciplinary research.