The University of Illinois Extension is addressing expertise needs by adding positions on the Urbana-Champaign campus, the head of Extension reported at the recent Illinois Specialty Crop Conference, Springfield.

Sharon “Shelly” Nickols-Richardson, associate dean of Extension in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), noted a variety of needs will be addressed with the additions.

Nickols-Richardson outlined several positions and their responsibilities.

Two program leader positions were created -- one in agriculture for commercial agriculture, agribusiness and horticulture, and the other in natural resources, environment and energy. The natural resources person will also address agritourism topics, she noted. However, both program leaders will coordinate efforts for the state Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.

The Agricultural and Consumer Economics Department is adding two positions, both will have a 40% Extension appointment. One position will focus on policy and trade and the other will work on marketing and outlook.

The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering has hired Josie Rudolphi as an agricultural safety specialist with expertise in farm stress and mental health issues. A second position in that department should be filled by the summer, Nickols-Richardson noted.

Two faculty were hired in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. They will also work with issues of family stress, farm stress and mental health.

The Animal Sciences Department will add a specialist in livestock management.

Two searches will be conducted for positions in the Crop Sciences Department. This will include a new horticulture and specialty crops position with expertise in entomology. “We heard you want more research and application,” Nickols-Richardson told the growers. “We hope by early summer or Aug. 15 to have in place (an entomology specialist) with 40% Extension.”