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The North American Agricultural Advisory Network (NAAAN) Joint Convening Summary December 2022


A series of three country convenings were held between September to November 2022 as part of the next steps in understanding the issues and hearing from stakeholders within the North American Agricultural Advisory Network (NAAAN).  These meetings followed the release of the NAAAN report (published by the USDA) entitled, Feeding North America through Agricultural Extension: a report from the North American Agricultural Advisory Network. A great thanks goes out to the USDA for their willingness and ability to produce this report as part of their in-kind support to the NAAAN. The document was released ahead of the convenings in all three languages of the NAAAN (English, Spanish and French) and can be found on the NAAAN website. The report includes: an opening section with statements from the three ex-officio members and current Ministers and Secretaries of Agriculture from Canada, Mexico and the United States; Acknowledgements; Country Reports written by content experts from each country and covering the historical context, development and current institutional framework for rural advisory services; and the NAAAN Survey report (previously published in October 2021 and translated in this larger report).

Each convening had over 50 registered participants. The United States convening was held in September, followed by the Mexico convening (held in Spanish with English interpretation) in October.  The Canada Convening met in November. These discussions set the stage for future conversations about NAAAN’s work program for 2023 and beyond.

The convenings followed the same format to create parallel conversations across the three countries. Emphasis was placed on hearing from the scientific, academic and public sector experts associated with rural advisory and the delivery of extension services. The purpose was to listen to the stakeholders within the three countries and gain a deeper understanding of how the research, education and extension nexus comes together to meet the needs of each country’s rural advisory services framework. The set of stakeholders and partners varies across the three countries and include unique and interesting frameworks in each.

The United States structure of extension delivery systems is largely a partnership between the land grant university systems (in cooperation with the American Public Land Grant Universities – APLU) and governmental partners such as the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) as part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In Mexico the lead institutional partner for the NAAAN is the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) in Mexico City as well as the Agricultural Offices of the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Within Mexico, another key partnership for the NAAAN is the International Maize and Wheat Center (CIMMYT), a member of CGIAR.[*] In addition, a network of extension experts, universities and government institutions participated and included the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the National Institute of Forestry, Agricultural and Livestock Research (INIFAP) and the Colegio de Postgraduados, among others. The Canadian programmatic participation is made up of a team from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada from Ottawa and the Consulate General for Canada in Denver, Colorado. Other partners and participating institutions within Canada include universities, farmer associations, and key sectoral partners (e.g. the cattle and poultry associations) with responsibility for the delivery of extension and rural advisory services within the provinces/local government networks. Leadership and participation from the NAAAN Steering Committee members and Senior Staff from each of the country teams was very much appreciated and essential to formulate next steps for the NAAAN.

To join each convening, participants filled out a Participant Information Questionnaire to aid in the organization of the convening and help with post convening follow-up. A NAAAN Directory will be prepared and posted on the NAAAN website in early 2023. All participant in the country convenings will receive the directory and it will be posted on the NAAAN website.

Convening Objectives

The convenings set out to accomplish the following:

  • Bring together subject matter experts in each of the three countries of North America (Canada, Mexico and the United States) for a discussion and prioritization exercise to inform the programming activities of the NAAAN.
    • Discuss and expand on the information shared in the USDA report put out for the NAAAN in 2022
    • Identify key areas of programmatic work for the NAAAN and how to add value across the three countries in the rural advisory and extension activities; and
    • Identify future partnerships, collaborative programs and activities for the NAAAN’s programmatic development.

Participants were drawn largely from the respondents to the NAAAN Survey of 2021 and added to by each of the NAAAN country teams. Each convening was three hours in length and held virtually.

Highlights from the Convenings

The three thematic areas of interest for the NAAAN were covered in smaller breakout sessions and included:

  • Biodefense/Biosecurity and Management of Natural Disasters
  • Climate Change: Improving Soil Health and Water Management
  • Building Skills and Career Development: Supporting the next generation of agricultural leaders

A final breakout session covering the topic of Equity, Inclusion and Communication within the Rural Advisory and Extension Systems – Country Perspectives and Hearing from our Communities was moderated by country experts.

This summary captures highlights of key issues and topics discussed during the country convenings along with Actionable Items suggested to the NAAAN as possible next steps.

Biodefense/Biosecurity and Management of Natural Disasters

The role extension and rural advisory services play in addressing events involving biodefense and biological outbreaks varies greatly among the three countries. That said, there are several areas of commonalities that create the chance to converge across the regional areas and where common borders are located.

The groups recommended in the U.S. that the USDA map out available funding and expertise in biodefense and identify how to help transfer and share that information to Canada and Mexico. In doing so, it will remain important to ensure that knowledge transfer is authentic and that there continues to be a two-way exchange of research and information. In the case of the United States, present in the convening were the Coalition for Epi-Response, Engagement and Science (CERES) made up of a group of six land-grant universities focused on protecting the agricultural industry against global health threats by providing innovation for food security. A second group in attendance was the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). EDEN works closely with several agencies in the U.S., including the USDA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). EDEN formed in response to severe floods in Mississippi and Missouri in 1993 and transitioned to a national network in 1998.

In Canada, as the role of governments in extension declined, the private sector and industry capitalized on this transition to create a nimbler and more impactful ecosystem. Examples include public-private partnerships that constantly reinvent themselves to do more with less, as well as issues-driven taskforces, such as those focused on the agricultural supply chains. However, it remains to be seen if this model works well in controlling animal diseases and pests. While there is strong collaboration and participation among producers, industry, and academia, there remains a lack of extension specialists. Inconsistent and overwhelming regulatory requirements between provinces, a lack of oversight, and rising costs were also raised as concerns.

For Mexico, biosecurity and natural disasters have impacted agriculture quite significantly – and are likely to continue (African Swine Fever (ASF), hurricanes, drought, climate change, etc.). Formal proactive planning and preparation for the role that extension might play in managing the impacts of biosecurity episodes and natural disasters has been limited. Lesson learning has not been systematic.  Partnership between agencies within Mexico is critical on these issues – but is relatively undeveloped.  Partnership between the three countries in developing effective agricultural extension capacity to deal with these challenges could prove quite valuable. In particular, significant interest was expressed in exploring the possibility of a stronger partnership between Mexico and the EDEN network – while remaining open to other such partnerships.

A foundational building block common across all three countries is that extension is driven locally. Any top-down imposition of extension would be challenged. It is important to connect the educational institutions across the three countries to help ensure success, replication and uptake of new and innovative programming. Where research is concerned, it too has local and regional implications to effect change and support.

Actionable items:

  • There is a need for greater discussion beyond the land-grant system and with external partners on the impact and importance of extension vis-à-vis climate change and adding to resilience for our farming communities. A North America discussion on these issues could be very fruitful – this is something where NAAAN could play a role.
  • Building a shared international language around extension risk management would be helpful.
  • The NAAAN could create opportunities for heightened information sharing around the border-issues and hold information sessions to address topical issues and dynamic solutions when needed, drawing from the expertise in all three countries.
  • Regional information sharing (among networks and universities located in the border states/provinces) should be activated around Biodefense.
  • There are several models (Climate Hubs, Extension Risk Management Education, Regional Rural Development Centers) that could help play a role in issues surrounding disaster and risk management that could be applied and used in cross-border learning and mitigation of outbreaks.
  • Explore engagement between EDEN and Mexico.
  • It is important to replicate actions taken for reactive events and apply them to proactive files, such as what’s happening now for African Swine Fever and collaborative work taking place on antimicrobial resistance. Early planning, networking, and building partnerships will help prevent being caught off-guard with future outbreaks or natural disasters.

Climate Change: Improving Soil Health and Water Management

Groups discussed the need for sufficient translation of science to make available information for uptake through extension services. There is also a need for tools adapted to climate change to be made accessible in emerging areas of interest, such as reducing carbon emissions and fertilizer and pesticide use. Climate Hubs in the U.S. were discussed as a good model or framework for multi-state collaborations and a way to share information with Canada and Mexico. Within the Canadian context, Living Labs was cited as a similar example. Filling knowledge gaps in extension services, ensuring they are relevant to local conditions, and obtaining buy-in from producers will be important. Specifically, ensuring that universities are equipped with knowledge to assist local producers is essential before trusted outreach takes place. The groups noted that there are other non-higher education extension service providers that are also important actors in planning of the Climate Hubs and delivery.

The Land Grant University System in the United States forms the backbone for research, education and extension and has supported techniques such as no-till, grasslands, perennials, water quality management, cover crops, rangeland grazing management, and rotational grazing. There is a need for additional work in agroecology. Most systems are developed to handle one extreme climate, but not others. For example, parts of the country are prepared for drought, but not heavy rains that result in flooding. Groups discussed the imperative to build more resilient systems that manage a wider range of climate conditions. There is also a need to incorporate the tools that help highlight and expand the use of technology to address climate issues (such as precision agriculture and artificial intelligence (AI)) that could be low-cost investment with higher returns.

As new technologies emerge it is important to ask – who benefits, who is disadvantaged, who can access the technology and how does it impact communities? There is a need to connect extension professionals with the resources that help producers, some of whom are technology savvy, while others feel they are forced to adapt. Another issue discussed is the high turnover of extension professionals and the need to train new leaders. Online micro-credentialing programs help agricultural professional “upskill” including in high-demand fields such as precision irrigation, soil sensing and soil health.  These courses are also available to producers at the high school level. Discussants emphasized that climate change courses need to be core topics taught in school and not serve as an elective.

The Mexico discussion indicated that existing agricultural extension programs have not had technical depth in dealing with soil and water issues. There is a need to develop deeper human capital in extension programs in these areas. This suggests the need to develop in-service training and degree programs for aspiring agricultural extension professionals that provide technical foundations on soil and water management, as well as in on-farm adaptation and mitigation to climate change. The significant geographic and climatic diversity across Mexico requires that plans for strengthening soil and water management (and related training of extensionists) need to be region-specific – and this is something that has not yet been well developed. Further, indigenous practice and knowledge need to be understood and incorporated into extension advice – something which has also not been systematically done. Mexican participants noted that there is a need for much more attention from agricultural extension on operation and management of irrigation – the technology and construction of irrigation infrastructure is well attended to – but the operation and management of the schemes is not (and this is the source of many problems). Irrigated agriculture is important in Mexico – and training in extension should be strengthened on these irrigation-related topics.

Generally, Mexico’s commercial ag sector has a lot of experience and ample resources to manage soil, water, and other natural resource issues at the farm level – but the small farm sector does not have these resources, nor does it receive enough attention (from either private or public sector) on these issues. Formal training on extension’s role in helping farmers with management of soils, water resources (and management of other natural resources) and informal continuing education for extensionists in these areas is needed. Attention by extension to these issues is often constrained by budgets and lack of qualified extension staff.

Issues surrounding data; who owns it and at what stages in development; how farmers have access; and issues of environmental justice were discussed. New and transparent policies are needed for farmers to understand the issues and to help support an infrastructure to expand access to new technologies. This data is essential for making critical investments in the future. In Quebec, farmers are directly involved in data collection, and universities work closely with them to formulate the questions and objectives. To further strengthen engagement and interest, local clubs in New Brunswick organize farm days to showcase new practices and results.

Actionable items:

  • Extension programs have resources covering water issues such as quality, quantity, conservation, but also on emissions reduction, particularly on carbon credits and pricing. The NAAAN can help share those resources (virtually) across the NAAAN countries and GFRAS.
  • Develop a Farmer-to-Farmer program so that producers and communities can learn and interact with one another. Similarly, information sharing on different models, their successes and challenges, would be beneficial across sub-national jurisdictions.
  • Consider how to help early or beginning farmers to be sustainable and increase awareness of best practices to become more climate resilient. There is a need to develop a decision-making framework to assist producers in identifying high impact, low-cost practices that reduce the impact of climate.
  • Review training programs for extensionists in the areas of natural resource management (including soil and water management) in all three countries and consider how the findings might inform how aspiring extensionists are trained in Mexico.
  • Determine types of training resources needed for specific issues and determine how to tap in across existing networks (country level and regional).
  • Discuss with the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service the opportunities for including marketing and capacity building for developing countries. Is this something that can be merged with NAAAN efforts?
  • The connection of natural disasters should also combine with the work of EDEN (and pursue if this could be scaled and applied across the three countries) to form a greater understanding to minimize the resistance to climate change practices due to perceived economic losses.
  • Develop a Climate Ambassador Program with our youth and possibly across the three countries as a program with the NAAAN and GFRAS.

Building Skills and Career Development: Supporting the next generation of agricultural leaders

This topic generated excitement and much discussion across the three countries. The conversations were wide-ranging and contained very actionable and deliberate suggestions for future activities for the NAAAN with partners. In all discussions emphasis was placed on building from what already exists and working within the countries to leverage additional growth and opportunity.

The U.S. Convening discussed the need to leverage digital technologies to connect and engage youth. A focus is also needed on business programs and entrepreneurship for youth/development and agriculture. Discussants saw an opportunity to reframe agriculture as part of the solution to issues that youth care about, i.e. food security, climate change, the environment and stewardship of the land. Students need help to connect the dots between global issues they care about and how agriculture can be part of the solution. Within the Canadian conversation, the point was made that ensuring these programs exist in a rural setting to facilitate enrollment and access is important. Addressing some of these issues will also benefit the next generation in dealing with succession planning on the family farm.

In all three countries, there is a desire to leverage the excellence of 4-H throughout extension’s history to connect to additional youth organizations. Ag in the Classroom was mentioned as a program in addition to Future Farmers of America (FFA). In order to engage youth sooner and as part of their educational journey, there is a need to explicitly encourage students to pursue agricultural careers paths (through early exposure) along with establishing programs where youth can look to agriculture specialists and practitioners as role models and mentors. The groups acknowledged a need to reach out specifically to underserved communities as part of this work. In the U.S. the collegiate program MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences) is recommended as a good partner for the NAAAN.

Cultivating the interest of youth to remain in rural areas and in the agricultural/agribusiness sectors is a pressing concern in Mexico. Development of elements of formal agricultural education in primary and secondary education and beyond (as well as expanded non-formal continuing-education modalities in rural areas) is seen as an important priority. Currently, university-level degrees focused on development of agricultural extension professionals do not exist. There is a need to develop such degree programs to populate expanded agricultural extension activities and establish career paths for youth interested in working in rural areas. Developing agricultural credentials that could be acquired in Mexico and recognized in Canada and the U.S. is viewed by Mexican participants as potentially very valuable.  Modalities for this shared certificate and training across the three countries would need to be developed.

Training trainers for youth-serving organizations is needed to expand interest in agriculture. This could take on specifically orienting youth to the advances in agriculture and how technology is impacting modern farming. Expanding controlled environment agriculture operations can help promote the agriculture tech industry when coupled with education. A program in the U.S., the Global Teach Ag Network (GTAN), is connecting educators to inspire students to help learn about and address agriculture systems. Teacher training should become a priority in agricultural education. Providing professional development at the high school level and capturing interest among students before they reach college-level is essential.

In Canada, different organizations have developed in-person, experiential programs that are dedicated to bridging the gap between current and future farmers. These include more traditional events like science fairs, field days and workshops on farm safety, but also more innovative models such as Farm Management Canada’s partnerships with provincial and territorial governments, commodity groups, private industry, and academics to promote and share available programs, tools, and updates. The Canadian Agricultural Human Rights Council connects students with professionals in the industry through programs such as business case competitions. In concert with the Canadian Association of Diploma in Agriculture Programs, there is also work on skills development, occupational standards, and human resources curriculum and training.

There is a need to better communicate around the types of careers available in agriculture, including extension. In Canada, there are five jobs for every agriculture graduate. The topics range and are increasingly expanding to include community leadership roles, nutrition, mental health, and other issues. The agricultural community needs to advocate more for programs that are in place and help influence early education and agriculture across local and regional audiences. While there are many programs to motivate the younger generation, sustained engagement continues to be an issue. A confluence of factors prevent youth from participating in and remaining in these programs. Examples include location, transportation, salary, affordable housing, lack of understanding and awareness of modern agriculture, among other considerations. The aging population of average farmers across North America range from the early 50s to 60 years old.  The need to establish a secure pipeline of future farmers, extensionists and those responsible for feeding North America is of high importance and should be seen as part of the national security for each country.

Actionable items:

  • Youth programs exist in a wide variety of organizations across the three countries. There is a need to create a cohesive form of communication, information sharing, and focused discussions within and among the countries. The categories include primary education, secondary education, technical non-degree training and college and post-university careers. All categories have useful programs in place for sharing information and creating communities of practice.
  • Ensure university-level degree programs in agricultural extension (or agroecology) are expanded in all three countries.
  • Joint degree programs in agricultural extension between Mexican universities and partners in the U.S. and Canada should be considered.
  • Bi- or tri-lateral exchanges of educators/youth to build trust and form a basis for further relationships between the three countries is needed.
  • There is a need to address both rural and urban agriculture opportunities and demonstrate the connections to food security and career choices both for degree and non-degree focused learning.
  • Organizing conferences that address and bridge the gaps is one solution, coupled with ensuring access to those conferences to ensure inclusivity. If we want to ensure minority voices are included, conferences and sessions must include minority-led leaders and programs.
  • Strengthen organizations like 4-H’s relationship with international reach would help in the work across the NAAAN.
  • Reach youth on platforms where they engage. Create a digital platform to connect youth to food production from “field to table” to understand all the dimensions. This could be a social network or an interactive learning game.
  • Target audiences should include migrant workers, who are critical to food production in our countries. Programs for non-native speakers, urban dwellers, farmworkers and indigenous audiences need to be considered. The NAAAN can help take these issues to a regional level by promoting the training and education programs among existing institutions that are in place.
  • There is a need to bring awareness to the multitude of career opportunities that exist within the agricultural sector from farm to table. There needs to be a push for people to see themselves in agriculture positions, board positions, or leadership positions.
  • Influencers who studied ag or are in careers that support the ag industry could contribute to online media campaigns. Include non-agriculture topics such as business, marketing and graphic design to develop marketing campaigns to bring new talent into the agricultural sector.

Equity, Inclusion and Communication within the Rural Advisory and Extension Systems – Country Perspectives and Hearing from our Communities

This broad ranging and important topic formed the final discussion in each of the three convenings.  The approach of reaching underserved and underrepresented communities differs widely in each country. Before the extension community and agriculture in general can tackle this issue, there is a need to 1) be educated and informed and 2) ensure that the right skill set is being applied – including cultural competencies to create a deeper understanding. In the Canada Convening, it was raised that the importance of ensuring groups feel that they belong and are welcomed and respected cannot be understated. In doing so, it is important to include people from the communities we work with to serve and hear from their own experiences.

We must recognize that there are historic inequities and imbalances in resources and programs available to different groups. Another challenge on the horizon is the turnover of people in the extension organizations, as well as the aging population in agriculture across the three countries. High turnover hinders our ability to be effective. Genuine relationships must be formed with true community leaders (including Elder Councils for the First Nations) to be sustainable.

The Mexican discussion placed particular emphasis on the need for public programs to serve Mexico’s vast array of small-holder farms. Mexico’s large commercial farms enjoy access to very effective agricultural advisory services from the private sector. However, this is not the case for the majority of Mexico’s small-holder farms. Hence priority is needed for public agricultural extension and the challenges and opportunities faced by small-holder farming sector. Given the variety of geographic and cultural settings across Mexico, agricultural extension programs targeting the small-holder farm sector need to be tailored to local conditions. Further, in many settings across Mexico, skills beyond the techniques of agriculture are needed by extensionists if they are to be effective as advisors with small-holder farmers. Skills in communication, in building trust, and in co-creation of evidence-based farm plans and strategies are essential. These people-skills can be rare in public extension staff, and attention is needed to help train and develop such skills. These are skills and capacities that are needed in working with small-holder farms generally – but are also in working effectively with other marginalized groups of people (youth, indigenous people, rural women).

Several participants indicated that work to identify and describe under-represented populations (and their interaction with extension) is missing. Developing such information would be very helpful in developing extension plans that are relevant and effective in working with these populations and will require increased funding from state and local levels. Increasing access to agriculture positions in the underserved communities means they must be able to see themselves in different fields of study and professions, including within extension. We need to tackle this as both an urban and rural issue moving forward and see extension in new ways to reach new audiences and serve new communities. Addressing language barriers and an overall disconnect between the rural and urban populations is essential. There is a desire to ensure that indigenous knowledge is organized from within each country and shared across borders.

Actionable items:

  • People need to first see themselves represented in a variety of roles and leadership throughout the agriculture sector, including extension. Programs to mentor, train, include and foster dialogue towards inclusion and better representation will help create a broader base and expand the dialogue.
  • Agile development and co-creation of solutions within communities is important. Include research and extension agents and faculty in these conversations to represent the local voice. Citizen Science projects are also helpful to ensure “outsiders” are not perceived as coming in with prescribed solutions.
  • Explore the development of stronger links between universities and extension providers in Mexico – to strengthen and systematize continuous training of agricultural extension staff. This could extend to programs in relevant agricultural science and agribusiness issues and provide stronger training for extension staff in skills related to the manner in which they interact with farmers (communication, listening, partnering, building trust, etc.).
  • Develop a more complete understanding of the under-represented populations in rural Mexico (youth, women, indigenous people, smallholder farmers, etc.) as a baseline to guide planning of agricultural extension programs and activities going forward.
  • Engage with the group First Americans Land-grant Consortium (FALCON) in the U.S. to work with the Native Americans and Tribal Colleges.
  • Ensure that indigenous knowledge is respected, organized and cultivated at the country level and then shared across borders. This could be very empowering to help in cultivating the discussion with respect to food security and first nations.
  • The NAAAN could help identify networks and provide a dialogue among the various networks to work with each other and across the three countries. This same discussion feeds into the larger dialogue for GFRAS and the other member networks globally.
  • In addition to access, inclusivity includes “belonging”. Current youth curriculum does not always include the relevant cultural information (i.e. regional or local foods, indigenous practices). Learning materials must be available for distribution in a variety of languages. Other minority groups must be taken into account, such as immigrants, transiting migrants, and the LGBTQ communities (The Cultivating Change Foundation is an organization mentioned in the U.S. addressing these issues).
  • Ultimately, we need to create new stories that change the current paradigm to include food security as a broader, dynamic topic. Engage with social media to include women and to dispel biases or myths. Retention of women, minorities and the younger generation of the workforce is critical to changing trends in academia, government and industry.

Next Steps and Follow-Up Decisions for the NAAAN

  1. The three country convenings were extremely helpful in providing additional information to the baseline informed through the report on Feeding North America through Agricultural Extension (USDA and NAAAN, 2022). In the same light, there is a need to develop the country level organization and collaboration established through these initial conversations and country convenings.
  2. Expanding awareness of the NAAAN is needed and will include further development of NAAAN programming with appropriate country and regional partners. The NAAAN will continue to draw from what is already in place and help further refine and connect content experts across the three thematic areas of the NAAAN.
  3. Information sharing, expanding best practices, and highlighting communities of practice within the countries is an area where NAAAN can help serve a role in sharing information across the three countries.
  4. An option for additional thematic organization is to develop NAAAN “Hubs” at the national level with institutional programs already in place. These hubs could be multi-state or multi-province in their organization and help complement current work, research and educational programs as a starting point for structure and organization. Several activities and programs are listed within the summary and included participants who attended the country convenings.
  5. There is a need to differentiate the NAAAN’s level of involvement based within the construct of the thematic areas. For example, the need to connect initiatives with youth and next generation is in high demand. Activities and partnerships around the other two thematic areas should build first from national and regional initiatives and help connect in the North American experience based on the demand generated from within each country.
  6. For the immediate year (2023), prioritize the organization and international convening with GFRAS with the NAAAN hosting, Building the Next Generation of Leaders in Agriculture. This meeting will elevate and feature youth programs and educational opportunities across the three countries and require budgetary support from the NAAAN partners. A formal request to host the GAM in 2023 has been received from the GFRAS leadership and will be shared with the NAAAN Steering Committee and Sr. Staff for discussion and a vote.
  7. Based on the lists of Actionable Items generated from the country convenings within this report, there is a need for internal country-level discussions to determine priorities. There is a realization that not all items can be addressed in the same timeframe and national priorities will differ across countries.
  8. Country forums are needed to establish priorities and should include the leadership and structures in place, with willing participants who wish to build on the initial convening conversations and serve in leadership roles within the three countries. This work will require resources and should be explored with a lens on priorities within each country.
  9. With respect to the conversation on Inclusion, Equity and Communication: Hearing from our Communities – there are very different priorities and needs within each country. The continuation of this theme should be embedded in the work of the NAAAN and cut across all future programming at the country and regional levels.
















Country Convening Moderator Annex


Biodefense and Management of Natural Disasters Moderators

  • Ragan Adams, Veterinary Extension Specialist, Colorado State University (U.S.)
  • Tom Ball, Governmental Training Officer, Mississippi State University Extension (U.S.)
  • Ivonne Díaz Nieves, Diagnostic Operating Program, National Service of Health, Food Safety, and Food Quality (SENASICA) (Mexico) 
  • Cesar Del Ángel Hernández Galeno, Scientific Researcher, National Institute of Forestry, Agricultural Research (INIFAP) (Mexico) 
  • Alan Rudolph, Vice President for Research, Colorado State University (U.S.) 
  • Paul Thoroughgood, National Manager Agricultural Sustainability, Ducks Unlimited Canada (Canada)
  • Cathie Woteki, Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Visiting Distinguished Institute Professor, University of Virginia (U.S.)


Improving Soil Health and Water Management Moderators

  • Salvador Fernandez Rivera, General Coordinator of Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Mexico)
  • Jason Henderson, Director of Extension, Purdue University (U.S.)
  • Khondokar Humayun Kabir, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Guelph (Canada) 
  • Wallace Ip, Vice-consul, and Trade Commissioner (Agriculture), Consulate General of Canada, Denver, Colo. (Canada) 
  • Gene Kelly, Professor and Deputy Director of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station, Colorado State University (U.S.)
  • Adriana Luna Díaz, Director General, Tierra De Monte (Mexico)
  • Mercedes Pérez Meléndez, Senior Strategic Development Specialist, The International Maize and Wheat Institute (CIMMYT) (Mexico)
  • Kai Sonder, Geographic Information System Unit Chief, The International Maize and Wheat Institute (CIMMYT) (Mexico)
  • Doug Steele, Vice President of Food, Agriculture, And Natural Resources, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) (U.S.) 
  • Gary Allen Thompson, Executive Director of The Southern Region Ag. Experiment Stations, University of Arkansas (U.S.)


Building the Next Generation of Leaders in Agriculture Moderators

  • Shannon Benner, Chief Executive Officer, 4-H Canada (Canada) 
  • Daniel Foster, Associate Professor Agricultural Teacher Educator Global Teach Ag Network Innovation Specialist, Penn State (U.S.)
  • Caroline Henney, Executive Director, Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) (U.S.)  
  • Tracy Kittilsen, Extended Learning Manager, Dalhousie University (Canada)  
  • Carl Larsen, Executive Secretary, Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) (U.S.)
  • Melanie Miller Foster, Associate Teaching Professor of International Agriculture, Penn State (U.S.)
  • Alejandra Nieto-Garibay, Coordinator of the Agriculture Program in Arid Zones, Biological Research Center of the Northwest (CIBNOR) (Mexico)
  • Jelle Van Loon, Mechanization Expert, The International Maize, and Wheat Institute (CIMMYT) (Mexico)
  • Heather Watson, Executive Director, Farm Management Canada (Canada) 


Equity, Inclusion, and Communication Moderators

  • Brodie Berrigan, Director of Government Relations and Farm Policy, Canadian Federation of Agriculture (Canada)
  • Olga Bolden-Tiller, Dean of College of Agriculture, Tuskegee University (U.S.)
  • William Gómez Demetrio, Research Professor, Autonomous Mexico State University (UAEMEX), Latin American Network of Rural Extension Services (RELASER) (Mexico)
  • Caroline Henney, Executive Director, Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (U.S.)  
  • Ernest House Jr., Senior Policy Director, Keystone Policy Center (U.S.)
  • Adriana Luna Díaz, Director General, Tierra De Monte (Mexico)
  • Fernando Manzo Ramos, Research Professor, Postgraduate College (COLPOS), Latin American Network of Rural Extension Services (RELASER) (Mexico)
  • Natalia Palacios Riojas, Corn Quality Specialist, The International Maize and Wheat Institute CIMMYT (Mexico) 
  • Norma Samuel, President of the Board, Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) (U.S.) 
  • Kara Woods, Research Analyst, Alcorn University (U.S.) 
  • Jennifer Wright, Acting Executive Director, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) (Canada)


[*] Formerly called Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research