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Blippity BLOPs: Goals, information, uncertainty, and trust in Extension adoption problems
Neil McRoberts: University of California-Davis
<div>Extension problems in agriculture are Bi-level Optimization Problems (BLOPs) in which actors (i.e. extension agents and farmers) operating at two different scales have overlapping but not identical goals. Standard economic approaches for optimizing goals routinely fail to work for BLOPs resulting in economic inefficiency and social costs. Newer methods for solving BLOPs point to the key roles that information flow, uncertainty, and trust among actors within and between scales play in the likelihood of satisfactory outcomes. Even without formal quantitative analysis, framing extension problems as BLOPs helps us to see these points and develop ways to incorporate them into extension practice. Many of the issues involved in achieving satisfactory outcomes can also be considered from the social network perspective, and by considering the ways in which the study of BLOPs might be undertaken we begin to characterize the analytical toolkit for future extension scientists and the means by which extension can be revitalized and given higher priority by policy makers.</div>

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