Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” This issue of The Ag Magazine, with its Partners for Progress theme, focuses on the many effective relationships the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has built with individuals, organizations, and governments throughout the state. These are research and outreach collaborations with life-changing potential in wide-ranging areas such as health and nutrition, farming production systems, natural resources, and businesses that harness the power of our state's finest minds. Sometimes, it all makes me sit back and marvel at the great good our faculty and staff are doing on so many levels and with so many colleagues.

Without Cooperative Extension, we wouldn't be the University for Kentucky. Family and consumer sciences agents are on the front line in the battle to restore good health to many Kentuckians. By collaborating with professionals from local health departments and hospitals and UK colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, we are teaching people about the benefits of good nutrition, exercise, and regular medical checkups. We work with private companies and governments to provide their employees with the benefits of a subscription to a CSA, community supported agriculture.

We guide new farmers in safe food production and teach them how to market the products they grow. We work with community leaders to help towns and counties restore their local economy by encouraging out-of-the-box thinking.

In this issue we focus on just a few of our many coalitions. “Allies in the Battle of the ‘Bulge’” shows how committed Cooperative Extension staff and faculty partnered with the UK College of Public Health to fight the daunting obesity problem in six counties to great success. The story “Blue Water Farms” focuses on our field-scale evaluations of nutrient retention being conducted by UK extension soil scientist Brad Lee, in cooperation with a Western Kentucky farmer and three other organizations. On the other side of the state, the college's Department of Forestry and Natural Resources is working with the Forest Health Research and Education Center (itself a collaborative effort) and the American Chestnut Foundation among others to do something that has never been done before—bring a species back from ecological extinction.

On these and so many other projects, we rely on volunteers to lift us up. 4-H'ers give back to their communities through countless service projects every year. The new Kentucky Master Naturalist program joins the established Extension Master Gardener and Master Clothing Volunteer programs to enrich lives through outreach and education. And of course, we could do none of these things without national, state, and private funding. These contributing entities recognize what Ben Franklin knew, that “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

We can no longer rely on old answers to 21st century problems. When we all put our heads together, college and communities in concert, we can and do come up with innovative solutions that I believe will result in Kentucky reaching its greatest potential.

Nancy Cox
Dean, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment