Farming has changed greatly in the 100 years since the beginning of Extension in the United States. In the past quarter century, the rate of change has greatly accelerated, with globalization driving farm consolidation and emphasis on production efficiency. At the same time, local food movements have renewed interest in farming on a small scale in peri-urban and urban environments. These shifts in production paradigms, along with global climate change, an apparent upswing in invasive plant pathogens and new emphasis on food safety have brought about new challenges in plant health management. Further, the communications technology revolution of the last 25 years has changed the way Extension clientele accept new information. Stakeholders now have access to large amounts of sometimes questionable information on the internet and other venues. The discipline of plant pathology must meet the challenge, in an era of reduced government support, to generate knowledge to solve plant health problems and convey that knowledge effectively to those who need it. To be successful, the next generation of Extension plant pathologists must be well-versed in modern technology for research and communication, and be able to adapt to changes that will continue to unfold at a rapid pace. Our students must also have a working knowledge of social science concepts to thrive in a participatory environment in which farmers and other stakeholders are active contributors.