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University President Eric Kaler joins Bev Durgan, Extension dean, at the 2011 Farmfest in southwest Minnesota.

From the Dean

This is a time of great change and opportunity for our University community and the communities we work with across Minnesota.

The forces of change that impact all of us—demographic shifts, rapid advances in technology, increased competition, limited public and private funding—are here to stay and increase the need to be strategic, adaptive and focused while responding quickly. Extension helps Minnesotans respond by using research and education to improve the future of Minnesota.

The University is also experiencing another exciting change and opportunity: new leadership. Eric Kaler, who was named the University's 16th president in December, took office this summer following the retirement of President Robert Bruininks.

"The University of Minnesota is our state's glowing gem," says President Kaler, a University of Minnesota graduate. "We must fight to preserve its statewide role, its national rankings and its ability to prepare young Minnesotans to be the best and smartest they can be. We are a collection of people, places and programs with a tradition and a spirit that must flourish, and not be allowed to wither away."

This issue of Source highlights many ways Extension furthers the tradition and spirit of using research and education to create a better future. Read how Extension educators teach farmers about agroforestry and the benefits of healthier soils, water conservation and increased crop and forest yields. Discover how Extension's 4-H prepares youth to excel in college, careers and communities by teaching them lifelong skills, including communications, problem-solving, decision-making and coping. And learn how Extension joins forces with other state agencies to move the farm to school agenda forward in Minnesota, making locally grown fruits and vegetables available in school lunchrooms across the state.

During these dynamic times, Extension remains committed to innovating for a brighter future.

Sincerely,

Beverly R. Durgan
Dean, University of Minnesota Extension

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