AAU, CSU build on Extension conference in China

An expanding relationship between Anhui Agricultural University (AAU) and Colorado State University will take another step forward in the coming weeks as a CSU delegation will return to China to work on issues surrounding university-based Extension and technology transfer. The January trip comes on the heels of the First International Conference on Modern Agricultural Extension and Technology Transfer, which was hosted by AAU in Hefei, Anhui Province, China, Oct. 15-17. The conference included representatives from 39 Chinese agricultural universities.

CSU Provost Rick Miranda welcomed the audience of more than 100 participants to the conference. Keynote speakers included Cheng Beijiu, president of Anhui Agricultural University; Wan Xiaochun, secretary of the party committee, AAU; Liu Yan, China Ministry of Agriculture; Lei Zhaozi, China Ministry of Education; and Zhang Lanfang, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Mechanization Sciences. Other Colorado State University representatives included Lou Swanson, Alan Rudolph, Raj Khosla, Kathay Rennels and Lee Sommers.

The CSU delegation also met with AAU to discuss plans for research collaboration via the Joint Institute for Agricultural Extension and Economic Development.

University-based Extension in China

“Anhui Agricultural University’s enhancement of university-based Extension is a high priority for the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and Anhui Province,” said Swanson, vice president for engagement and director of Colorado State Extension. “CSU is honored to be a partner with AAU’s initiative to advance a pragmatic and nationally scalable model for university-based Extension, which includes more effective and efficient transfer of agriculture and food system technologies.”

The AAU partnership is part of CSU Extension’s focus on cross-disciplinary issues such as community and economic development and the food system value chain.

2+2 program

CSU and AAU will continue to work closely on a variety of other topics, including general education, research as well as student, Extension staff and faculty exchanges. The CSU delegation met with AAU students, part of a new “2+2 program” in the Department of Ecosystem Sciences and Sustainability, who plan to attend CSU for their final two years of undergraduate training. “Clean air and water, the effective management of our soils, and the preservation of biological diversity are critical aspects to services that ecosystems provide,” said Professor John Moore, head of the department. “Environmental education informs choices for people, businesses and governments. We see the establishment of this degree program as the first of many within this environmental framework.”

Agricultural business development potential

“The establishment of rural development institutes at the 39 participating Chinese agricultural universities – in partnerships with their respective county counterparts – is an important first step,” said Rennels, associate vice president for the Office of Engagement. “Cross- cultural agricultural business development and modernization will benefit China and Colorado State University. This could lead to advanced technology transfers, creating opportunities for both China and the U.S. Colorado State University is pleased to be at the forefront of this effort.”

AAU is one of CSU’s 15 global strategic partners for international research and scholarship initiatives – the highest designation for CSU’s international strategic university partnerships. Anhui is a province of 60 million people in southeast China. Agricultural production is the dominant industry in the province.