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The NAAAN Report: A first-time look at Extension across Canada, Mexico and the United States

"Feeding North America through Agricultural Extension" An image of a tractor plowing a green field and the Canada, Mexico and US flags across the bottom of the image.
Cover of the NAAAN Report.

Agriculture is a knowledge and information-intensive industry. Nowhere is this more evident than in North America. Science-based expertise and innovation have driven agricultural progress across the continent—from the wheat breakthroughs of the Green Revolution in Mexico to the mechanical and biological intensification of farming across the fields of northwestern Mexico, the United States, and Canada.  

The North American Agricultural Advisory Network (NAAAN) was formed in 2020 as a Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) network to heighten the discussion among the Extension communities within Canada, Mexico, and the United States. In the summer of 2021, to develop baseline information for the NAAAN’s activities, a qualitative and comparative overview of the agricultural advisory service systems in Canada, Mexico, and the United States was conducted. The survey reviewed characteristics of the publicly supported agricultural advisory services in each country and described and compared the institutional landscapes. In addition to the country surveys, teams of experts wrote chapters for the three countries to tell the unique story of the evolution of extension services.

The information in the “Feeding North America through Agricultural Extension: A Report from the North American Agricultural Advisory Network (NAAAN)” publication is a first-time collective contribution from North American farming, research, and extension communities of practice. It examines extension in Canada, Mexico, and the United States in English, Spanish and French. Each country chapter examines challenges facing extension, including publicly supported extension programs and the emergence of private advisory services​, the evolution of extension as farming communities change​, and unique programs within the countries. The country reports also examine the need for extension to address new global challenges and topics such as adaptation to climate change, diversity and inclusion, and more effective biosecurity measures. The information within the NAAAN Report and country chapters will inform future NAAAN programming and the work we will do collectively across the three countries.

This report, created in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, includes a history of extension in North America and information gathered in the 2021 NAAAN survey. The full report and three country chapters capture supported agricultural extension efforts from the perspectives of the content experts and demonstrate contrasting programs in the three North American countries. Much can be learned from the contrasting experiences chronicled in the report and its country chapters. 

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