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agricultural economics, extension


Multidiscipline agricultural research and extension provide special challenges to natural and social scientists. Each discipline, including agricultural economics, has unique strengths which can contribute to the effectiveness of multidiscipline programs. Each also faces special challenges and difficulties in such endeavors. This paper is intended to convey some of the major roles and challenges concerning involvement of agricultural economics in multidiscipline research and extension. It ls hoped that a better understanding of these roles and challenges will enable agricultural economists and their col leagues in other agricultural disciplines to more effectively work together. Thus, the intended audience for this paper includes economists, natural (biological and physical) scientists, other social scientists, and administrators. Although much of the paper's discussion is in the context of U.S. Land Grant universities, most of the "lessons" which are offered also apply to multidiscipline research, extension, and technical assistance in other settings, including ones in developing countries. The unique value of multidiscipline research and extension programs derives from the ability of such programs to address complex, real-world problems in a more complete and realistic way than is generally possible in single-discipline efforts. Various agricultural disciplines provide different perspectives and information in multidiscipline efforts to understand and explain the real world. (See more in text)


Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

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