Turner Named New Leader for Cooperative Extension
By Haven Miller
If it werent
for a bend in the Ohio River, Indiana native Larry Turner would
have been born a Kentuckian. Thats because his fathers
farm near the little town of Rising Sun was only a stones
throw across the water from the Bluegrass state.
would have it, he became a Kentuckian anyway. Twenty-three years
ago Turner moved to Lexington to accept a position with the UK
College of Agriculture and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Last November he was named UKs new Associate Director and
Associate Dean for Extension, meaning he now leads the states
400-agent Cooperative Extension Service. Turners mission
is a vital one for his College and for his state.
Im extremely pleased by the selection of Dr. Turner
to this crucially important leadership position, said M.
Scott Smith, Dean of the College of Agriculture. He has
the experience, the understanding of the issues, the communication
skills, and the vision necessary to lead our states Cooperative
Extension Service into the 21st Century.
joined UK in 1978 as an Extension agricultural engineer and faculty
member in energy management and conservation. Since 1999 he has
chaired UKs Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department,
administering an annual budget of more than $5 million. He views
Kentuckys Cooperative Extension system as the combination
of three critically important parts: people, programs and partnerships.
primary goal should be improving the lives of Kentuckys
people, he said. Our programs for agriculture and
natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H/youth, and
community development are needed now more than ever. Turner
said effective programming requires support for the people who
deliver those programs.
This means supporting our county agents and staff, our specialists
and state staff, and all the people who assist their efforts,
he said. We should clearly define our programs with consensus
from our local councils and other interest groups, and enhance
the development of partnerships.
believes Kentucky Cooperative Extension faces many challenges,
he also believes challenges can lead to unique opportunities.
He said one
of the challenges is making sure Extension has the resources available
to serve its clientele. An example is the recent approval of funding
for the Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL) partnership,
an initiative that will allow Extension professionals to partner
with experts in the UK College of Medicine to improve and support
ongoing health education projects in Kentucky.
HEEL we will have a new level of access to expertise the
Preventive Medicine Department of the College of Medicine
and that will give us the same kind of subject matter support
that weve traditionally had in other areas, Turner
said. With HEEL we have an opportunity for preparing programs
at the state level to address critical health issues and help
people at the local level.
multi-state, multi-disciplinary efforts in development of a swine
growth computer model now used in four states. Under his leadership,
the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department increased
external research and Extension grants from an annual level of
$250,000 in 1999 to more than $4 million in the first quarter
of the current fiscal year.
Turners wife of 25 years, Lois, is a junior high math teacher.
The couple has three children: Molly, 21; Amy, 17; and Clay, 14.
Agricultural Engineering, Purdue University, 1976
M.S. Agricultural Engineering, Purdue University, 1978
Ph.D. Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky,
Extension Agricultural Engineer, University of Kentucky
1980-1981 Vice President, Turner Farms, Inc., and Consulting Engineer,
Turner Engineering, Rising Sun, Indiana
1981-1984 Research Specialist, UK
1984-1989 Assistant Extension Professor, UK
1992-1993 Visiting Scientist, Silsoe Research Institute, Silsoe,
1989-1994 Associate Extension Professor, UK
1994-1999 Extension Professor, UK
1999-2001 Chair, Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering,
2002 Associate Director and Associate Dean for Extension, UK