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New Purdue Extension Director Excited to Return to Indiana


Homecoming for new Extension Director

Jason Henderson has been appointed associate dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture and director of Purdue Extension by Dean Jay Akridge. Henderson begins May 28th and says it’s like a homecoming given his Master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue.

He is currently a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City leading their agricultural and rural outreach and research programs. He tells HAT becoming director of extension should be a natural transition.

“At the bank I was responsible for their version of extension programming in their district and so I’ve engaged a lot with various groups ranging from farmers to Fortune 500 company CEO’s and executives. So that ability at the Federal Reserve to reach out to the community, reach out to business and community leaders to collect information on the economy I think has trained me well and given me a unique perspective on extension in a different type of organization.”

Henderson adds the Purdue opportunity is a chance to be part of an extension service with a solid foundation.

“From the specialists to the educators out in the county it’s just one of those premiere spots and I’m just honored and thrilled to be leading us. I’m going to take some time, learn about what Purdue does very well and think about what are some of the opportunities to take extension beyond its heritage of ag and rural roots. How can we reach into urban communities but also build on the excellence that Purdue has in cooperative extension and how can we be even greater in the future?”

Henderson replaces Chuck Hibberd, now the dean of Extension at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since his departure the interim director has been Jim Mintert.

Akridge said he won solid support during the interview process from the search committee and Extension specialists and educators.

Purdue is hosting a workshop Wednesday at the Beck Ag Center entitled Financial Health of Farming and Land Values and the keynote speaker happens to be Henderson. He’ll explore agriculture’s current prosperity and whether it can be maintained. Can it?

“Yes I think you’ll  hear in the near term that agriculture profitability is expected to remain strong in 2013, but I think we’re on the verge of a transition period.”

Hear more in the full HAT interview:Intro to Jason Henderson

(above photo courtesy USDAgov photostream)

Purdue Release:

Jason Henderson, a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City vice president who leads the Bank’s agricultural and rural outreach and research programs, has been appointed associate dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture and director of Purdue Extension.

Henderson, who earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue and served on the College of Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Council, will begin his new role at his alma mater May 28. He replaces Chuck Hibberd, who became dean of Extension at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in October.

The appointment was announced Tuesday (March 27) by Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture.

“Purdue has one of the strongest Extension programs in the country, and we were looking for a leader who could build on our momentum and strong state support,” Akridge said. “We found that person in Jason Henderson. He has been instrumental in shaping the outreach programs of the Omaha Branch of the Federal Reserve, he is one of the country’s leading voices on agricultural and rural community issues, and he generated widespread support not only from our search committee but also from our Extension specialists and educators during the interview process.”

Henderson, who joined the Bank in 2001, has been Omaha Branch executive of the Federal Reserve of Kansas City since 2006 and vice president of the Kansas City Fed since 2007.

Henderson is responsible for outreach programs in the state of Nebraska for the Kansas City Fed. In this role, he engages a broad group of stakeholders who include business leaders, elected officials and agricultural and youth audiences.

He also leads efforts of the Kansas City Fed and the Federal Reserve System to track economic conditions of agricultural and rural economies, including the quarterly publication of the 10th District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions and the Federal Reserve System’s Agricultural Finance Databook. He also manages the Main Street Economist, a bi-monthly publication covering economic issues affecting rural areas.

Henderson serves as regional research coordinator at the Kansas City Fed, with research interests focused on agricultural and rural development. He is a nationally recognized expert on rural economy issues and speaks more than 60 times per year on the topic.

Henderson, who was raised on a family farm in northeast Iowa, said Purdue Extension is uniquely positioned to develop skills in community leaders and provide the technical knowledge and insights they need to build a vibrant agricultural sector and healthy rural and urban communities.

“Growing up on a dairy farm during the 1980s, I learned that healthy rural communities are those that provide economic opportunities both at the farm gate and on Main Street,” he said.  “I am passionate about building healthy, vibrant agricultural and rural communities and using the resources of Extension to expand our impact in urban areas.

“Purdue has an exceptional team of on-campus specialists and county educators, and I am very excited about working with this group to make an even bigger difference for the people of Indiana.”

Henderson previously held the positions of economist and senior economist at the Fed of Kansas City for five years. He also served as a research associate and assistant economist for two years.

Henderson obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from Central College in Pella, Iowa in 1994. He received his master’s degree in 1996 and doctorate in 2001 from Purdue.

Source: Purdue Ag Communications