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New Davis ag dean has Cooperative Extension roots

Helene Dillard
The newly appointed dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, Helene Dillard, has served as director of Cooperative Extension at Cornell University since 2002, according to a news release by Pat Bailey of UC Davis News Service.

Dillard is a California native. She earned a bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley in 1977. She continued her studies at UC Davis, earning a master’s degree in soil science in 1979 and a doctoral degree in plant pathology in 1984.

She recalls that her passion for Cooperative Extension began when, as a graduate student, she worked with Salinas Valley growers and extension specialists on solving the problem of “lettuce drop,” a disease caused by the fungus Sclerotinia minor, the release said.

In a video posted with the news release, Dillard comments specifically about Cooperative Extension. She said modern Cooperative Extension has a key role in providing accurate, unbiased information to industry.

"There’s lots of information on the Internet, there’s information overload," Dillard said. "Where Cooperative Extension comes in, being able to provide the research-based, evidence-based information, stuff that has been proven and tested, and being able to provide that to stakeholder groups."

Dillard suggests that Cooperative Extension can help inform policymakers make decisions.

"It’s not our decision to make," she explains. "What I mean by that, especially in New York, we’ve had lots of discussion about fracking and drilling for gas. What we’ve been able to do is provide information around what we know is true so far and where we don’t have information. And then leaders in those communities decide what their approach will be. And I think moving forward, Cooperative Extension will be so important to be out there as an unbiased source of information so everyone will know the facts and be able to act accordingly on whatever issues they face."

Posted on Monday, November 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Tags: Helene Dillard (4)

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