Extension's role in conflict resolution and consumer education

M. M. Schutz, J. S. Ayres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The role of Extension dairy, poultry, and livestock educators is evolving rapidly, and to be relevant, we must continue to provide science-based information to an ever-broadening clientele. Campus-based specialists have remained insulated from this shifting paradigm longer than field-based staff who often facilitate disputes involving agriculture. Examples of conflicts involving animal agriculture include disagreements over manure or odor regulations, animal welfare, animal cloning, and food safety (for example, sales of raw milk or food irradiation). Several models of conflict escalation and public issues management help those of us in the Cooperative Extension Service understand how to be relevant in addressing public issues. As livestock, dairy, or poultry Extension specialists, our best opportunity is to be involved and to provide science-based solutions or alternatives before the conflict begins to spiral out of control. Once communication stops, even science-based information may be misinterpreted as advocacy. We must also develop an appreciation of the skills needed for dispute resolution and conflict management, though we need not all become skilled facilitators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-413
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Poultry Research
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Conflict resolution
  • Consumer education
  • Extension
  • Public issues
  • Public issues management

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