• Volume 18 Number 2
    Spring 2009


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Steve Cain, BS ’76
 Wolcott, Ind.  •  Profiled: Fall ’94

Disaster assistance expert

A small-town Indiana boy at heart — he lives just a stone’s throw from where he grew up near Wolcott, Ind. — Steve Cain Steve Cainhas taken the long road to get back home again.

An agricultural writer with Indiana Prairie Farmer and Successful Farming magazines after his graduation from Purdue, Cain also directed the 1980 and 1981 Farm Progress Shows for the publications.

He joined Purdue Agricultural Communication as an Extension specialist in 1987. “After that, I was invited to consult for a school that ran a national farm show in Estonia,” Cain says. “The Eastern European countries were rebuilding after the fall of the Soviet empire, and I became a part of that effort. In the decade of the ’90s, I volunteered a total of about one year teaching marketing and communication in Estonia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Russia, as well as in Uganda.”

About the same time, the nation’s Extension programs organized a network of experts in various disciplines from across the U.S. to share and develop resources to minimize the impact of natural and unnatural (terrorist) disasters. It’s now known as the Extension Disaster Education Network, is a Homeland Security project, and Cain is its director.

So how does Cain’s agricultural communication background help him help people preparing for and recovering from disasters?

“My communication and marketing skills were essential to my overseas consulting, and they are still important with my disaster work. I’m now a co-teacher of Indiana’s Public Information Officer course for emergency managers. To this day, I still pull from things I learned in college.”

Cain is still on the staff of Purdue AgComm, and he was recently elected president of the Indiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, which means Cain will be staying close to his Indiana home for some time.