Our Impact in Agriculture and Natural Resources


University of Illinois Extension work on agriculture and natural resources issues is a close collaboration between the Agriculture and Agribusiness (AAB) and Natural Resources, Environment, and Energy (NREE) program areas.  

Contact Dr. Shibu Kar, Assistant Dean for Natural Resources, Environment, and Energy (NREE team, Illinois Indiana Sea Grant, Energy Education Council)

Contact Dr. Travis Burke, Assistant Dean for Agriculture and Agribusiness (Commercial agriculture, local foods and small farms, and horticulture teams)


Through its Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) programs, University of Illinois Extension supports the economic viability and environmental sustainability of natural and managed landscapes and productive lands in Illinois.  

Initiative areas

Our work on food and agricultural production and a safe and accessible food supply focuses on field crop production, livestock production, specialty crops, small farms, urban food systems, safe food production and handling, food access, and forestry.  

In the areas of natural resources and home and community landscapes, our areas of focus include water quality, energy strategies, invasive species, native plants, sustainable home and community landscapes, green industry, and managing environmental impacts from agriculture.


ANR works throughout Illinois, with 42 educators, 45 program coordinators, and many campus-based specialists and other faculty. ANR Educators work on teams focused on Commercial Agriculture; Local Foods Systems and Small Farms; Horticulture; and Energy and Environmental Stewardship.  


ANR works with producers, Illinois residents, and other stakeholders, including commercial field crop producers and livestock producers, Certified Crop Advisors and other agriculture professionals, specialty growers, local and urban food system participants, natural resource stakeholders, gardeners, youth, special populations, and other community members.


One mission—different needs—many pathways and resources.  ANR programs use a range of strategies  to develop knowledge and transform lives by developing economic viability and environmental sustainability of natural and managed landscapes and productive lands in Illinois.  These include:

Direct education.  Online training, conferences, seminar series, presentations, field days, demonstrations, volunteer service activities.
Expert Assistance.  Analytic reports, certifications, phone, email, and in-person consultations; answer desks; hotlines; web-based answer services
Resources and services.  Webpages; videos; fact sheets; manuals; calculators and apps; community gardens
Outreach.  Blog posts; social media; television and radio appearances; newspaper columns; newsletters
Partnerships.  State and local agencies; community organizations; industry groups; not-for-profits; convening stakeholder networks
Applied Research. Formal research; trials; scouting

Partner with us!  

Ways an Extension Educator can help

•    Educators can work with you to identify audiences that can use your research, as well as identifying effective channels for the target audience.   
•    Educators can keep you informed of the issues of critical interest to targeted stakeholder groups, and any research needs identified by stakeholders.
•    Want to work an outreach component into a grant?  Extension educators can partner on developing relevant material and dissemination.
•    Educators can help facilitate collaboration with stakeholders in priority areas.
•    Extension can help coordinate citizen science collaborations through its Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs

What is an Extension Educator and what do they do?

•    An Extension Educator has a Ph.D. or Master’s degree and uses their specialized expertise to develop educational and research programming in a targeted content area.  Most Educators are based in field units and work on state and local priority programs and goals.  
•    Educators are experienced in translating research through a variety of effective channels to provide evidence-based education relevant to stakeholder/audience needs.  
•    Educators stay in touch with audience needs through needs assessments; collaboration with state and local councils and stakeholder groups; individual consultations; and other outreach activities.  
•    Educators may conduct applied research to provide evidence of effective approaches for stakeholders.

More information

ANR overview
ANR At a glance for state and community partners
ANR At a glance for campus partners
ANR Impacts:  Training volunteers for meaningful impact
ANR Impacts:  Partnering with state and federal agencies
Five Facts about Extension’s Ag and Natural Resources programs