AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.— In a world of rapid change, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System continues to be a leader of cutting-edge research and problem solving. Alabama Extension Director Gary Lemme said the organization’s educational outreach spans the state.
“Alabama Extension create economic opportunities for residents, provides the latest resources for improving lives and offers practical solutions to real-world problems,” Lemme said.
One in three people in Alabama participate in Extension programs. Alabama Extension programs reached 1.62 million people in 2018 alone.
Lemme observed this level of participation in Extension programs is due in part to issue-focused programming developed with—and for—communities.
“Our professionals work with advisory groups to meet individual counties’ needs,” he said. “Statewide, we work closely with the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association to create programs beneficial to farmers and producers.”
Focused on Return on Investment
Alabama Extension is also committed to delivering programs with a strong return on the investment of public funds and grant dollars.
“We measure our service by your successes and profitability,” Lemme said. “For example, if an Extension program costs $1, but allows beef producers to earn $10 in additional profit, that program has a Return on Investment of 10:1.”
Listed below are a few samples of Return on Investment for specific Extension programs.
- Farmers involved in season-long cotton and soybean insect IPM efforts reported an average economic benefit of $19.74 per acre across a total of 145,111 acres resulting in $2,864,515. ROI = 13:1
- 2,580 adults increased knowledge of banking, credit, financial decision making, and budgeting through family financial management programs.
- Extension personnel responded to 9,000 calls and 20,000 emails while making 400 field visits to assist produce and fruit farmers for a reported economic impact of $18 million. ROI = 67:1
- Stocker cattle operators reported a 19% increase in knowledge and an average economic impact of $6,450 per farm because of Extension programs specifically for this industry sector. ROI = 32:1
- 1,648 who participated in programs promoting employment readiness significantly improved their interview, dress, and job search skills.
- Iron chlorosis on high pH Black Belt soils reduces soybean yields. A variety trial evaluated varietal differences among common soybean varieties. Use of the top varieties would result in an additional $100 per acre in gross revenues across the 11,200 acres of Black Belt soybeans resulting in additional $1,170,400 revenues. ROI = 172:1
- 178,884 total 4-H enrollment (34% minority)
- 675 landowners reduced wild pig damage on 321,000 acres saving $1.6 million in damages to crop and forestlands. ROI = 176:1
- 10,585 young people and adults were educated through Water Wheels Conservation Lab, a mobile water conservation classroom. As a result of water conservation efforts, ninety-seven 60-gallon rain barrels were installed. Participants conserved 350,000 gallons of water. Alabama utility companies charge consumers an average of $32.80 per 5,000 gallons of water, so participants saved an estimated $2,296 in water utility costs. ROI = 44:1
For more information on Alabama Extension and the impact the organization has on the state, visit Alabama Extension online at www.aces.edu/impact.