August 2004 // Volume 42 // Number 4
"August 2004 JOE" focuses on the Tools of the Trade articles in an excellent issue. "Why I Reject Articles" explains that it isn't enough that article submissions have implications for Extension. They must discuss or allude to them.
Latino Outreach Programs: Why They Need to Be Different
As Extension reaches out to first- and second-generation Latinos, changes
must be made in the design and delivery of programs. These changes often cause
concern among existing audiences and some staff who wonder about the need
for them and their impact on programs and Extension's future. Part of the
challenge of Extension outreach includes bringing concerned participants and
staff along to understand the cultural characteristics of diverse community
members and how these affect programming. New approaches do not mean the mission
of Extension has changed; they mean that Extension is becoming more capable
of serving all audiences.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Latino Outreach Programs: Why They Need to Be Different"
From Potluck Suppers to On-line Seminars: The Evolving "Face" of Social Interaction
As our culture evolved, so did the methods used to facilitate social interaction
in adult education. This article highlights what social interaction is and
why it is important. It briefly reviews a few tools that have been used by
educators in the past and highlights new ways to use social interaction with
the emerging availability of on-line seminars.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "From Potluck Suppers to On-line Seminars: The Evolving "Face" of Social Interaction"
Creating Inclusive 4-H Environments for People with Disabilities
The purpose of a 4-year 4-H Inclusion Project conducted in North
Carolina was to create intentionally inclusive 4-H environments and engage
communities to address the needs of people with disabilities. In year one
an experiential curriculum, "Shine Up and Step Out," was developed
for youth ages 9 to 12 years. In the next 3 years, selected counties used
the curriculum and developed training and resource opportunities. A summative
evaluation showed how the county projects were successful and offered recommendations
about the curriculum, statewide inclusion opportunities, program and policy,
community involvement, and ongoing implementation and evaluation.
Profiling Economic Capacity
This article presents a method for creating economic capacity
profiles based on assessing the resources available to support local economic
development. Each profile incorporates four features of the local economy:
entrepreneurship, infrastructure, human resources, and business environment.
These four variables are evaluated through 20 indicators related to location.
Both qualitative and quantitative scoring methods are used for representing
the indicators, which become the basis for creating the profile. The outcome
is a "snapshot" of the economic capacity of the area under investigation.
These profiles are highly useful to Extension professionals wanting to improve
economic development in local areas.
Cooperative Extension Responding to Family Needs in Time of Drought and Water Shortage
This article examines the impact of drought on family relationships
and how Extension has responded to the needs of farm, ranch, and rural families.
Information was based on a literature review and interviews with farmers,
ranchers, and professionals working with rural issues. Rural families who
experience economic hardships have been found to suffer stress and relationship
tensions. However, more research is needed to understand how families cope
in drought conditions. Extension has responded to the drought issue using
various delivery methods to gather and disseminate information to provide
support to farmers, ranchers, and professionals working with rural families.
Enhancing Public Understanding of Water Resources Issues: A Community-Based Short-Course for the Pacific Northwest
A "hands on" 15-hour "community based" water
quality and monitoring short-course was delivered to citizen groups at six
locations in the Pacific Northwest in 2000. The University of Idaho, Washington
State University, and Oregon State University Cooperative Extension Systems,
USDA-CSREES, and the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute (IWRRI) partnered
in design, development, and delivery. This short-course increased participant
understanding, awareness of water issues, and improved water-monitoring skills.
A 17-module guide and an evaluation model were developed. This learning experience
dramatically improved learners' understanding of complex water resource issues
and prepared them to plan, monitor, and assess local water issues.
A Case Study on Marketing the Florida Cooperative Extension Service
This case study focuses on the development of future marketing
opportunities for the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, as seen from
the possible perspective of IFAS Administrative personnel. The case study
focuses attention on the current activities and impacts of IFAS/Extension,
as well as future program focus areas, and uses that information to develop
a marketing plan for growth and public recognition. The data included for
student analysis come directly from IFAS reports and publications. The accompanying
teaching notes are provided to assist readers/users in drawing conclusions
based on the data and information presented.
Targeted Recruitment of 4-H Volunteers Involves Understanding Who Currently Volunteers and Why
Targeted recruitment of volunteers appeals to volunteer managers
who desire to increase both their program scope and the efficiency of their
outreach efforts. This article describes a Pennsylvania study looking at who
currently volunteers to teach youth about natural resources (forestry, wildlife,
and water) through 4-H, for the purpose of better identifying and finding
more volunteers. A telephone survey with 4-H agents and semi-structured interviews
with 4-H volunteers depict the current natural resources volunteers and suggest
three promising groups of potential volunteers. Important characteristics
to look for among the members of these groups and a direct recruitment approach
Looking Beyond the Empirical Data: A Discussion About Out-of-School Youth-Centered Tobacco Prevention Programs
4-H Extension launched an out-of-school smoking cessation initiative
aimed at high-risk youth in Michigan. Adults and youth were given educational
tools and resources to help prevent smoking in their communities, and youth
were offered "hands on" programs to make better decisions about
their use of tobacco products. While there were no significant differences
in youth knowledge from start to end of select pilot programs, programs reached
a large number of people at a relatively low cost and were well received within
communities. Of particular importance were the "lessons learned"
and subsequent discussions about best practices for future programming.
Research in Brief
Measuring Impacts with Young Audiences: Adapting a Life-Skills Instrument for Use with Third- to Fifth-Grade Youth
Capturing the impacts Extension programming has on younger school-age audiences
is often difficult, yet staff are increasingly asked to document program effectiveness.
The limited literacy skills and concrete reasoning of young school age children
make the use of written evaluations challenging, yet observations and interviews
are time consuming and costly for programs. This article discusses how an evaluation
instrument was adapted for use with third to fifth grade 4-H youth. The system
was piloted with 65 youth who attended a 4-H camp. Implications and suggestions
for others adapting written evaluation instruments are offered.
Physical Activity Behavior, Dietary Patterns, and Nutrition Knowledge of Third- and Fourth-Grade Students in Western Massachusetts
Our Extension project assessed physical activity patterns and nutrition behavior
and knowledge in elementary school students in a low-income community. Dietary
patterns were similar to many large-scale studies, which have shown a trend
of lower fat consumption; however, these children were unfamiliar with certain
nutrient terms and categories. Most physical activities were performed in PE
classes; however, community organizations and family played important roles.
This survey provides a basis of children's nutrition knowledge and physical
activity behavior. From this project we plan to develop appropriate nutrition
and physical activity programs for children of similar age and socioeconomic
Illinois Extension's Readiness to Address Children, Youth, and Families at Risk
The study described here evaluates existing preparedness of Extension
unit leaders in one state to meet the needs of children, youth, and families
at risk. Survey findings of a representative sample include how leaders perceive
at-risk audiences and how they assess their own experience, knowledge, and
interest in serving them. We report the specific audiences needing programming
in local communities and the programming that currently exists for them. Findings
also include the programming leaders would like to offer given unlimited resources.
We discuss existing strengths and propose ways to further support these professionals
in areas relevant to at-risk audiences.
Using Focus Group Interviews to Identify Needs for Stepfamily Education
This article describes information on perceptions about stepfamily living
uncovered in several focus groups in Ohio. Focus group participants were asked
seven questions about their stepfamily experiences. Results provide insight
for development of educational programming in an area in which there are few
Refining Outreach to Woodland Owners in West Virginia--Preferred Topics and Assistance Methods
Four hundred and fourteen private forest landowners in West Virginia
responded to a questionnaire assessing their forest management assistance
topics and delivery methods of interest. Logistic regression was used to analyze
39 independent variables in relation to the dependent variables of wanting
a specific topic of forestry assistance or not. Ownership of property for
investment, cultivation of wildlife food crops, and receiving assistance from
the West Virginia State Division of Forestry were recurrent significant variables
characterizing landowners wanting a specific assistance topic. These results
can be used to develop forestry assistance programs that achieve landowner
objectives and good forest management.
Determining Adoption of Integrated Pest Management Practices by Grains Farmers in Virginia
This article describes the results of three integrated pest management
(IPM) surveys of corn, soybean, and small grains farmers in the coastal plains
region of Virginia. Farmers identified their weed, disease, insect, and animal
pests, and the reasons they use (or do not use) IPM practices for those pests.
Factors Contributing to Success of Small Farm Operations in Tennessee
Small farms that are numerous and diverse have been facing various
challenges. There are only few studies examining critical factors that would
promote success in their operations. This article uses survey data from Tennessee
to address this issue. Analysis of the data shows the importance of the following
for success: 1) production strategies based on diversification and cost control;
2) financial plans that keep debt low and good record keeping; and 3) marketing
strategy aimed at achieving the highest possible profit. The results are expected
to be useful for farmers, Extension personnel, policy makers, and groups working
with small farmers.
Ideas at Work
Super Nutrition Activity Program
Children's health, especially related to nutrition, food safety,
and lack of physical activity, has become a national priority. The Oklahoma
Cooperative Extension Service Super Nutrition Activity Program (SNAP) was
designed to increase knowledge and application of proper nutrition, food safety,
and physical activity behaviors among children, grades 3-5. The SNAP program
was effective in improving school-age children, grades 3-5, total SNAP Check
scores and individual question scores.
Development of a "Canons of Practice" Policy at Washington State University
Public policy educators, researchers, and administrators at Washington
State University developed the Canons of Practice to guide faculty and
staff engaging in contentious public issues. The need for such a document became
evident when existing university policies and procedures lacked a suitable mechanism
for resolving external criticism of public policy education and research. The
Canons of Practice sets parameters for involvement in public policy research
and education, provides guidelines for faculty and staff conduct, defines expectations
of citizens and stakeholders, and establishes "due process" as the
core of administrative response.
Intermountain Beef 3910 Workshop--Collaborating with Industry in Extension Education
A 2-day hands-on workshop was developed in collaboration with
industry partners. The objectives are to provide participants with a basic
understanding of the beef grading system and Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)
and to demonstrate how these principles relate to them and the beef industry
as a whole. Each workshop is limited to 20 participants, with sponsorship
from various industry groups, including the Utah Cattlemen's Association.
Participants are taken through various exercises, including live animal and
carcass evaluation and fabrication of carcasses into wholesale and retail
product. Tours and seminars supplement the workshop, with speakers from all
segments of the beef industry.
Clientele Impact for Beef Producers from a Grass-Roots Style of Extension Programming
The Alachua County Master Cattlemen program is developed
for small beef producers to help increase profitability. Because small beef
producers are at a disadvantage in marketing truck loads of cattle and retaining
ownership, educational programs relating to beef cattle management are used
to give producers tools to manage their cattle in order to become more profitable.
As a result of these programs, a small beef cooperative has been formed to
take advantage of marketing alternatives. This cooperative has shown a significant
increase in price per pound received, and this has resulted in a cumulative
economic impact of $42,500.
A Model for Testing New Seed Technologies
Extension specialists from several North Central states recently
proposed a new approach to expedite and facilitate evaluation of new genetically
modified organism (GMO) hybrids through multi-state testing. As an example of
this approach, newly released GMO glyphosate tolerant (GT)
corn hybrids were evaluated at multiple locations across five states in 1999
and nine states in 2001. This cooperative testing effort demonstrated that powerful
sets of data across a range of production environments could be generated with
a minimal amount of input and resource allocation for the individual states.
Development of Educational Programs for Retail Stores That Sell Pesticides
Although homeowners usually purchase pesticides from home and
garden centers, previous surveys have shown that store employees often do
not receive adequate training in pest management and pesticide safety. Educational
programs were conducted for retail store employees in Illinois. Topics included
pest identification, integrated pest management, pesticide safety, pesticide
toxicity, and emergency spill response. Evaluations suggested a high level
of satisfaction with the training. Evaluation comments also indicated concern
over the high turnover of seasonal employees, the wide range of employee understanding
of pest management, and time constraints that may prohibit small retail stores
from participating in educational programs.
Tools of the Trade
Good Intentions, Muddled Methods: Focus on Focus Groups
Are focus groups abused, misused, or overused in Extension? We
responded to the challenge of getting Extension focused on the art and science
of high-quality focus groups through an educational project. This article
describes contemporary challenges of focus group practice and presents the
first phase of an educational initiative, which includes a series of educational
Tips for Designing Publications for Underrepresented Audiences
The article presents a number of practical tips on designing publications
for underrepresented and non-traditional audiences. The process of designing
an effective publication requires the incorporation of cultural preferences
of the target audience. Incorporating design principles that consider culture
in the areas of formatting written content and selecting images, graphics,
and pictures that are representative of the target audience are important.
Other tips, such as using local resources to ensure the product is a quality
publication that incorporates language and images reflective of the intended
audience, are also useful.
Teaching a Forage Crops Course to Extension Agents via Distance Education
An opportunity arose at Louisiana State University (LSU) to teach
a forage ecology and management course over distance education to 30 Extension
agricultural field agents. Many of these agents had not taken a college-level
course in several years. All of the agents performed well in the course. While
the distance education technology worked reasonably well in this course, the
majority of the agents indicated that they would still rather take courses
in a conventional classroom setting. Results of this teaching experience indicate
that distance education technologies provide unique opportunities but that
maintaining direct student-instructor interaction can be a challenge.
The Internet as a Tool for Long-Term Program Evaluation: Locating "Lost" Individuals
Long-term evaluation of Extension programs, including 4-H programs,
can be elusive because of the difficulty of locating former participants.
The Internet is a tool that makes feasible this task of locating former participants.
Guidelines for original record keeping are provided to further later success
in locating individuals. Web sites are identified that were used in one completely
successful search for 168 adults who had participated in a study as children
roughly 25 years earlier. Strategies for using the Web sites are included
because the process of using the Internet is not always straightforward.
A Web Site to Help Farm Families Communicate About Farm Transfer
A Web site was developed to help farm families learn about communication
strategies that can be used when there are sensitive issues relating to farm
transfer. The site, Who Will Get Grandpa's Farm? Communicating about Farm
Transfer, features six scenes filmed on a farm near Delphi, Indiana. The family
members in the scenes include a farmer and his spouse, father, son, and a
brother. Each conversation between family members shows examples of direct
control, indirect control, and no control. An interactive quiz helps users
distinguish between the three communication strategies.
Use of Personal Digital Assistants for Extension Program Record Keeping
This article describes the use of Personal Digital Assistants
(PDAs) in Extension program record keeping, focusing on the recent deployment
of handheld computers by University of Florida IFAS county Extension faculty.
The project aimed to reduce the excessive workload on county Extension agents
due to reporting requirements. A pilot to assess effectiveness in the use
of handheld computers by Extension faculty was initiated in the fall of 2000.
Adoption rate had reached 87% penetration by 2002.