Spotlight on Rick Klemme: Executive Director, ECOP

By: Shelley Swearingen #yourlandwoman | July 30, 2020

Not many of us are lucky enough to work in a field we’re passionate about. Purdue alum, Rick Klemme, is among these fortunate few. He serves as the executive director of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) in Washington D.C.

Executive Director of ECOP

Rick spent his childhood on a farm in east-central Illinois. He attended Illinois State University to earn his bachelors in Economics and Mathematics in 1976 and received a master’s & doctorate in agricultural economics from Purdue University in 1980. Shortly thereafter, he began his career in extension as an agricultural economist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Extension bridges the gap between the agricultural industry, academic community, and local residents. It extends agricultural education to all societal members. In nationwide 4-H programs, children are able to participate in agricultural and economical activities to understand how these are intertwined. Community outreach programs work to educate farmers, producers, ranchers, and foresters on best practices and conservation techniques. Educators participate in extension programs to better instruct their students. Families learn how to help their community grow and learn as a cohesive unit.

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Rick’s close familial ties are what enable him to do what he does so well. A part of extension is family involvement, and Rick believes in this strongly. He has a firm belief in work-life balance and makes sure he leaves time for his wife, children, and grandchildren. He understands the value of family and how that plays a role in community success & development.

In the Midwest, agriculture is king. Many family’s lives revolve around farming, ranching, forestry, and conservation. To learn more about how you can get involved local extension programs, visit the Purdue extension website here:

To learn more about your land and what it’s worth, contact #yourlandman, Johnny Klemme, at (765) 427 – 1619 or

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