Reaping the Digital Return: Enhancing Communities through Modern Extension
Embracing digital innovation in extension offers three key benefits, whether in the United States or abroad. First, it offers a chance to aggregate vast, complex agricultural information on a scale previously unachievable and then customize it for individual farmers to use at their convenience. Second, digital innovation allows information to reach further—to more remote and marginal areas. In the age of Skype and Twitter, the number of farmers a single agent can reach in the span of a day by car or motorcycle will be a historical constraint. Third, digital innovation can help contain or reduce overall costs, especially when it comes to reaching new farmers. Not only can digital technology scale at lower costs, it can also provide new and adaptive means of accounting for the time, effort, and success of extension agents and their programs, allowing public resources to be spent more efficiently with better performance data.