Monday, June 30, 2008

Coffeeshop Goal

My father, Kenny, was a dairy farmer in Minnesota. He loved to go to the coffeeshop in town, and that was long before Starbucks was even a twinkle in the eye of Seattle's Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel and Gordon Bowker. Kenny would talk with the patrons about farming, trade fishing stories and in general "solve all the problems of the world." I got to go along once in a while on rainy days, and it's in the spirit of that Waverly, Minnesota coffeeshop that I've created this blog.

This blog is for and about dairy-farm advisers. Some advisers are supported by the government or taxpayers, and you can call the 'public-sector' advisers. Some are supported by companies and others work on their own. These can be called 'private-sector' advisers. No matter which you are, this blog is about you and for you. Some postings will be about the new things I've discovered on the Internet. Other postings will be about ways that we can work together, and make our time spent with the Internet even more effective.

I want to cover new resources available to you in our 'Internet-connected' world. Some of these resources are static, or unchanging resources that are published on the Internet. Others are more exciting, and will change the way we do our work. It's exciting to be working in this field and be a part of the change. My goal for this blog is to not only to be a form to describe how this change occurs, but also to play some small part in helping the change occur. I've had the privilege of playing a part in creating the concept of 'virtual on-line communities' in agriculture, and I hope that I can have a similar privilege with what's going to happen over the next couple of years.

First Resource
The national Cooperative Extension Service system has organized a new effort to utilize the latest Web 2.0 technologies and allow Extension professionals to work across state and county boundaries more easily. This new system is call eXtension, and the national launch was in March of 2008. The focus is on delivering objective, research-based and credible information to the public and stakeholder groups. DAIReXNET was one of the first 'communities' established in eXtension, and that section was launched at World Dairy Expo in 2007. I'm one of the management team for DAIReXNET, so check out the resources that are there, and let me know what you think.

A Bit About Dairy Science Mark
I'm a college professor at the University of Maryland, and one of my responsibilities is to be a technical specialist for dairy farm advisers. I work in one of the 'top-ten' departments in the United States, and you can find out more about the Department or about me at our departmental website. I teach all or most of six courses and I'm also the Undergraduate Coordinator for the Department. We're proud to send over 80% of our undergraduate applicants to AVMA-accredited veterinary schools, which is their goal. Many of them now consider large-animal veterinary medicine as a career due to our program. I was the co-creator of Dairy-L, the first successful Internet-based virtual community in agriculture.