An Ohio State University Extension educator has been named president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
Mike Hogan, who is also an associate professor with OSU Extension and a sustainable agriculture coordinator, was recently elected president of the national professional extension organization. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
The 5,784-member association, which is based in Illinois, works to strengthen and support the work of extension educators and to promote and support the agriculture industry. As president of NACAA, Hogan said he plans to mark the organization’s 100-year anniversary in 2015 by reflecting on where the organization has come from and what advances it can continue to make.
“We want to recognize our past and springboard our organization to the future to expand how we can continue to be vital to famers, including how we broaden our membership and use technology to continue to advance the work that we do in extension,” he said. “That’s one of the many benefits that we have as an organization.
“Being able to network with extension professionals nationwide allows us to gain new insight and new ideas that we’re able to bring back home to the benefit of the constituency that we serve. We’re able to bring those new ideas to famers and producers by developing new programing for all the agricultural issues that we address.”
The association works with extension professionals who work in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, natural resources, 4-H youth development, community development, administration, aquaculture and Sea Grant.
Hogan, who also serves as the Ohio coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program, works to promote several agricultural issues including alternative agriculture, direct marketing, local foods systems and urban agriculture.
For the past three years, Hogan has led an effort to develop a comprehensive education plan for urban local food production in the Weinland Park neighborhood, near Ohio State’s Columbus campus. As part of the project, the Ohio Master Urban Farmer program, which works to help urban farmers become food and crop producers within city limits, was developed and piloted this spring in Weinland Park.
Hogan also works to promote and expand the national Farm to School program, which in Ohio is led by OSU Extension and is supported by numerous agencies, foundations and industry organizations. Farm to School works to connect farmers and school districts interested in providing fresh local foods for the school lunch program.
In addition, Hogan is a member of Ohio State’s Sustainable Agriculture Team, which works to help people consider economic sustainability, the environment and social consciousness when farming.
Hogan has an extensive background in agriculture, with 28 years’ experience as an extension educator and 27 years as a county director. Before coming to OSU Extension, Hogan was a faculty member in agriculture at West Virginia University, where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees.