On Third Generation Extension:

I found one aspect objectionable: the assertion is made that the most effective extension service will be one in which the extension agent's sole role is facilitating farmer research and problem solving. This assumes that the farmer will always have the resources on his farm to solve all problems. A more rational approach is to facilitate two-way information exchange between research resources and the farmer...some of which means more on-farm, participatory research, and some of which will be laboratory based. The author's premise that dependance on an extension service is undesirable is appropriate only when the extension institution is a temporary project, not a permanent connection with an ongoing research institution. This is often the case in the more volatile developing countries...not in North America or Europe. I've spent seven years in farmer participatory research in Africa (national program) and have seen the necessity of both farmer participation in technology development, and access to technology not previously available on the farm (e.g. maize streak virus and downy mildew disease resistance in maize). Simplistic assertions that all answers will be found in farmers' fields by farmers are neither true nor helpful.

Les Everett, Visiting Scientist
University of Minnesota U.S.A.

Third generation extension is what all teaching should be, in my opinion. We can't teach it without "learning " endlessly. "Research" is equally participatory. A little coaching to get more common formats, and where appropriate, more structured designs (but a lot less often than is commonly assumed) is all that is needed to bring the information into the common bank. As for not teaching knowledge in the sense of pouring into someone else, that is clear. Each of us is a facilitator or catalyst for others....

Dick Richardson University of Texas, Austin, TX U.S.A.