Purdue Extension Shares Impactful Stories from 2020

(UNDATED) – Purdue Extension has released its 2020 annual impact report sharing the many ways Extension served Hoosiers as an educational partner during the past year.

During a year filled with challenges, Purdue Extension found innovative ways to reach Hoosiers in all of life’s stages. Extension trains tomorrow’s leaders through the Indiana 4-H Youth Development program. From hosting its first Indiana World Changers 4-H Hackathon for teens to partnering with the U.S. Soccer Foundation on a research-based curriculum that integrates soccer play with nutrition and youth development, Indiana 4-H successfully hosted in-person and virtual events to keep youth engaged and safe.

Senior Lawrence County Rabbit Club members teach showmanship skills to younger club members.

Extension builds on these skills with a wide range of workforce development training for Indiana residents, preparing people for their first job or their next opportunity. In a partnership with the Heartland Career Center in Wabash, Indiana, for example, Extension developed a two-year Precision Ag Program that prepares students to enter the workforce or college with an understanding of digital agriculture.

Marguerite Bolt, Purdue Extension’s first hemp production specialist, is guiding Indiana farmers into commercial hemp production. Bolt has brought her expertise to over 50 in-person field days across Indiana and the Midwest since she was hired. Because of COVID-19, she has transitioned to webinars as well as one-on-one calls. She started an email newsletter that reaches 500-600 people and worked to redesign the Purdue Hemp Project website to be more intuitive for specific grower questions.

Extension also helps Indiana’s agriculture producers discover ways that digital agriculture can make their operations more efficient, productive, and sustainable. Throughout the year, Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics delivered online webinars, podcasts, and information to address timely topics related to commercial farming, the livestock and packing industry, supply chains, and more.

Digital agriculture make operations more efficient.

In the same manner, Extension educators and specialists shared how to grow food and strengthen local communities through urban gardens and farmers’ markets. From training Master Gardener volunteers online to offering the new video series “Tips for First Time Gardeners,” Extension reached audiences who suddenly had more available time.

Urban garden in Marion County

Purdue Extension plays a key role in the mental and physical health of its communities, offering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses and community-based opioid prevention education. Extension helps people identify and capitalize on their greatest assets while increasing digital access across Indiana. With assistance from Purdue Extension’s community development team, Perry County developed an award-winning campaign to highlight its benefits as a place to visit, live or work. Fayette County is addressing community health through development of public spaces and Purdue partnerships facilitated by Health and Human Sciences Extension.

Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and senior associate dean of Purdue’s College of Agriculture.

 “Purdue Extension delivers practical, research-based information that transforms lives and livelihoods, and we’ll continue our work to make life better for Indiana’s residents. Purdue Extension is your educational partner for life,” said Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and senior associate dean of Purdue’s College of Agriculture.

Read the full 2020 Purdue Extension impact report here.

Information Abby Leeds, 765-494-7817, mayer36@purdue.edu.