I have practiced Extension throughout my career, which started in Zambia in 1960 in public sector extension and for the last 35 years in the South African Sugar Industry in private sector extension, so I shall be drawing on these experiences as they relate to the title of my address.
But first, some general comments. All of us, as extensionists, are almost exclusively dedicated to programmes that promote rural stability through agricultural development. Since the birth of many nations, which was based on manís burning desire to reach out to unexplored lands and settle into an agrarian way of life, we cannot say we have achieved widespread agricultural sustainability to any great extent.
Here in the States, I am fascinated by the history of the opening of the west by land hungry settlers, while in my own country of South Africa, the great trek of the white pioneers into the interior three and a half centuries ago, and the migration of black tribes from the north were spurred on by the same visions. The early explorers in many other lands also had much the same expectations as agriculture became a burgeoning way of life, and virgin lands yielded a wide variety of food, fibre and fads such as tobacco and more recently drugs, which have generated considerable wealth world-wide, but to a small percentage of the global population.