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BrownfieldAgNews reports:

A new Ohio State University leader wants to see OSU Extension expand services in rural communities and wants to help agriculture tell its story.

Dr. Cathann Kress is the new Dean of the Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

"We have a real opportunity to broaden what Extension can bring and what resources of the University can be brought to local county programs. And particularly in some of the public health and health arenas, it's endless what that kind of partnership could look like," says Kress.

Ohio has been one of the hardest hit states with opioid addiction and Kress says she'd like to see OSU Extension address the growing epidemic.

"The concerns of rural Ohio are the concerns of Extension. So I think that's very appropriate and anything I can do to be supportive as they look at ways they can be of service in that area I think is important," says Kress.

As she looks ahead to her new role, Dr. Kress says one of her goals is to help agriculture better tell its story. She says a growing number of bloggers write about food and food issues daily.

"And yet with very little understanding of the issues they're talking about whether it's anti-GMO's or, like in Iowa a few years ago we had the whole 'pink slime' issue. We have not done a very good job of making sure they really understand that whole supply chain of food and the ways that it impacts them," says Kress.

She tells Brownfield even local food production can be impacted by global trends saying a recent ISU study looked at the number of resources a particular local food company needed to produce one product.

"There were 40 different countries where supplies were being provided to that manufacturer in Iowa to produce that one food item. That's the reality these days. And I think a lot of our consumers don't understand how intertwined and how global all of this has become," says Kress.

Kress says her role in helping the public and elected officials understand production agriculture will continue to be critical.

Kress will begin at Ohio State May 1st.

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