December 2006 // Volume 44 // Number 6
JOE Is a Journal with a Web Site
"JOE Is a Journal with a Web Site" talks about the wealth of information about JOE and the wealth of help for JOE authors available on our site. "December JOE" talks about just what you'd expect it to and includes reference to three really nice Tools of the Trade articles.
Extension's Role in Homeland Security: A Case Study of Washington County, Utah
As experience shows, Extension has a pivotal role to play in community disaster preparedness. The need for Extension offices to provide current, accurate emergency information and services is critical in helping mitigate loss to communities in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. Results from a survey conducted following a natural flood disaster in Washington County, Utah can provide knowledge that may be used in formulating effective services for your community.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Extension's Role in Homeland Security: A Case Study of Washington County, Utah"
How Farm Workers Learn to Use and Practice Biosecurity
Biosecurity is any practices, policies, or procedures employed on a farm to prevent and/or control disease entering a farm, or moving around a farm. Using Grounded Theory methodology, the study reported here investigated biosecurity use among workers at finfish recirculation aquaculture facilities in the U.S. and Canada. Farm workers learned to use and continually practice biosecurity through a three-phase, step-wise process of orientation, routine, and thoughtful approach. Certain elements in the work environment and different characteristics of the individual worker influenced the worker's practice of biosecurity on a farm. The findings are relevant to biosecurity practice in all livestock-farming industries.
Managing Agricultural Risk: Examining Information Sources Preferred by Limited Resource Farmers
The study reported here explored limited resource farmers' perceptions of the usefulness of selected sources of risk management information using survey data collected among small and limited resource farmers in north Alabama. The rationale is to understand the information needs of this group of farmers and to customize outreach programs to address their needs. The results suggest that farmers' characteristics are correlated with their perceptions of the sources of information they consider valuable. Another key finding was that sources such as computerized systems and marketing clubs are the less preferred information sources.
Voluntary Environmental Improvement Programs: Teaching Them to Fish or Providing a Professional Guide
Many Extension programs are built upon the parable of teaching people to fish rather than giving them fish. The lesson is that the impact will be longer lasting and clients will be self sufficient if they are taught to fish. Two separate voluntary environmental improvement programs (the Livestock Environmental Management System Pilot Project and Iowa Livestock External Stewardship Pilot Project) with similar goals yet different educational approaches were evaluated. For our fish analogy, LEMS taught them to how to fish, and WILESPP provided them a professional guide. This article looks at the accomplishments and attitudes of the participants.
Attitudes of Extension Professionals Toward Involvement of Special Needs Youth in 4-H Programs
With the passage of the of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the question now becomes "Are today's Extension agents prepared to identify and provide for the needs of special needs youth in their programs?" The study reported here surveyed agents to examine the attitudes of Extension professionals toward involvement of special needs youth in 4-H programs. Although Extension professionals were generally supportive of special needs youth in 4-H programs, there is clearly a need to provide educational opportunities to improve their competency and ability to adapt current 4-H programs and projects for special needs youth and to showcase successful implementation.
Opening Doors: A Qualitative Evaluation of the Waterbury Youth Leadership Project
This article describes efforts to evaluate the impact of the Waterbury Youth Leadership Program (WYLP). Although the program meets five criteria for effective youth development programs as identified in previous research, quantitative evaluation efforts have been disappointing. Because of the small number of program participants, the researchers held a qualitative focus group interview, which yielded impressive results. The contents of the program are outlined, as well as the qualitative methods and results. Implications for qualitative evaluation methods and recommendations for future efforts are discussed.
Generating Self-Organizing Capacity: Leadership Practices and Training Needs in Non-Profits
Capacity building is a major goal of today's organizations (Senge, 1990). The complex problems that organizations face along with conditions of uncertainty require increased capacity to effectively respond. We propose a self-organizing capacity framework (organizational identity, information flows, and interdependent relationships) and link it to 18 leadership and organizational practices. We find that visioning, mobilizing resources, technology, and building teamwork are self-identified key training needs. Visioning and mobilizing resources are central to organizational identity; technology is necessary for information flows; and building teamwork contributes to interdependent relationships. These are shared leadership skills that build capacity within the organization.
The Ability to Relate: Assessing the Influence of a Relationship Marketing Strategy and Message Stimuli on Consumer Perceptions of Extension
Extension professionals are encouraged to market their programs and their organizations, but one of the most important marketing resources--their relationships--could be overlooked. The exploratory study reported here assessed the influence of a relationship-oriented marketing strategy and specific message stimuli on consumer perceptions of a statewide Extension service. A set of two focus groups, comprised of members of the general public, was utilized. Probability samples were generated using a predetermined sampling frame based on demographic variables. Results of the study showed that the user-focused marketing concepts resonated with participants, providing support for a message strategy focused on a two-way communication approach.
Research in Brief
Looking Back, the Impact of the 4-H Camp Counselor Experience on Youth Development: A Survey of Counselor Alumni
The study reported here looked at the long-term impact of being a counselor at a 4-H residential camp. Alumni counselors were asked about their experience and how it related to personal development, the development of skill for working with children and groups, and life skill development. Results showed that being a 4-H camp counselor had significant impact on the participants, particularly in leadership, citizenship, sense of contribution and teamwork. In addition, analysis revealed differences in perceived skill development between younger and older alumni. Overall, the study presents one of the first looks at the lasting impact of 4-H camp counselor programs.
Exploring the Adolescent Life Skill Outcomes of State 4-H Congress Participation and the Different Outcomes of Gender and Race Groups
Research suggests residential 4-H programs enhance life skills. The study reported here explored the life skill outcomes of a 4-day residential State 4-H Congress. Participants were youth ages 14-18. A retrospective pre test and post test were used to evaluate life skills development. Paired sample t-tests indicated significant differences among all of the pre-test and post-test gain scores. Analysis of variance comparisons indicated males and females differed on some life skill items. The study supports the importance of purposeful planning for positive outcomes, as the greatest gains were related to Congress components that were designed to enhance specific life skills.
Attitudes of 4-H Participants About 4-H Competitive Events
The study reported here sought to determine attitudes about 4-H competitive events as perceived by 4-H participants. A total of 182 4-H participants responded to a two-section survey that contained 29 statements and program and demographic information. Overall, 4-H participants perceived that 4-H competitions was very valuable to them in terms of teaching responsibility, building self-confidence and self-worth, and preparing them to face challenges in a competitive world. Participants disagreed that 4-H competitions promote aggressive behaviors, cheating, and unethical practices and inhibit teamwork. Significant relationships existed between program and demographic characteristics and perceived attitude about 4-H competitions.
University of Minnesota Horse Owner Survey: Building an Equine Extension Program
The University of Minnesota conducted a statewide survey of 1,008 Minnesota horse owners to characterize their preferences for education on equine topics. The mail survey engendered an excellent response rate (67%) and clearly identified the need for a statewide horse program in Minnesota. The majority of horse owners currently obtain information from equine magazines, other horse owners, veterinarians, trainers, and farriers. When asked how they would like to obtain horse-related information, horse owners preferred short publications, the Internet, and evening seminars. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first survey conducted to determine the educational needs of horse owners.
Continuing Education Interests of Master Gardener Volunteers: Beyond Basic Training
Knowledge of client preferences is important when designing continuing education programs. Extension professionals surveyed 131 Master Gardener volunteers in El Paso County, Colorado to guide future programs. Results showed they are highly interested in continuing education events, especially in improving diagnostic skills. Master Gardeners are also interested in learning about local ecology, home gardening skills, and home landscapes through lectures, field trips, and hands-on activities. One-time or regular monthly events held on weekday mornings and afternoons are most popular, especially October through May. When these guidelines were used to design continuing education classes, actual attendance was similar to predicted attendance.
Relationship of Dairy Producer Management Styles to Overall Return on Assets
Management ability is likely one factor influencing both the day-to-day operation as well as the potential for improved profitability in dairy farm businesses. For Extension educators developing farm management educational programs, understanding more about management style of dairy producers could be beneficial in program development. The goal of the study reported here was to assess the linkage between management style and farm profitability. Data was collected on-farms using am interpersonal style survey instrument. No correlation was found between management style of the producer and profitability of the dairy business.
IDA Financial Education: Qualitative Impacts
This article reports qualitative impacts of a 16-hour Extension financial education program for Individual Development Account (IDA) participants. IDAs are matched savings accounts designed to help limited resource individuals save for goals that enhance long-term financial security. The reported here study provides evidence that a measure of program success, beyond IDA savings deposits, is providing learners with skills to make sound financial decisions. Six key themes emerged from participants' anecdotes: (a) increased financial awareness, (b) participant empowerment, (c) specific behavior changes, (d) increased personal control, (e) impacts on participants' family, and (f) evidence of financial education classes as a social support mechanism.
Ideas at Work
Jumpstart Your International Extension Experience with Farmer-To-Farmer
Extension is increasingly being called upon to internationalize. But how can Extension personnel gain valuable overseas experience given the constraints of time, finances, and the language barrier? The USAID Farmer-To-Farmer (FTF) program offers a practical first step. This article provides an overview of the FTF program and includes links to the eight implementing agencies.
Using a Multi-Phase Community Assessment to "Chart the Course" of Communities in Southern Ohio
Extension must be responsive to the communities it serves in order to remain relevant. A multi-phased community assessment process was designed to acquire a holistic understanding of communities and perceptions of residents regarding broad issues within 16 counties in southern Ohio. This process has helped us better understand these communities and has served as a conduit to increase community awareness of Extension, build stronger and more efficient Extension teams, foster new and enhance existing partnerships, and stimulate positive change.
Encouraging Youth Participation Through Children's Garden Consulting
Developed as a new model for youth engagement, the Children's Garden Consultant Program aimed to encourage youth voice and involve youth to the fullest extent possible in the design and programming of children's gardens. Seven youth attended a 3-day event in which they explored approaches to children's gardens and made recommendations to an adult audience of children's garden experts and youth development specialists. Surveys, focus groups, and interviews with youth and program organizers illustrated the ways youth benefited from this event. Adults who work with youth can apply the lessons learned to garden-based learning and other settings.
Experiential-Based Learning and Peer Teaching Boost Elementary Students' Calcium Intake
This article describes a nutrition education project that exposed students to experiential-based learning activities and peer-teaching models to improve their knowledge and dietary behaviors related to dairy foods. The students engaged in hands-on activities like milking cows, measuring portions, and the Dairy Detective Adventure at the county fair. 4-H club members were included in the project as peer-teachers. Dairy Food Frequency Questionnaires (pre and post program) indicated that students made significant changes in the variety and frequency of dairy food consumed. Upon completion, close to 90% of the students were consuming at least three dairy servings each day.
Extension's Role in Developing "Choice" Food Pantries in Southwest Ohio
Extension can play a key role in developing "choice" food pantries. Choice food pantries differ from traditional pantries in that they allow families to choose food items based on preference and need rather than have food "handed" to them in a box or bag. Extension programs, such as Ohio's Family Nutrition Program, can help families who go to choice pantries make healthy food choices and improve resource management skills in order to foster long-term health and food security. Extension educators can also play a role in developing a "point" system to allow choice based on nutrition principles.
Potato Disease and Forecasting Information Delivery Harmonized Across International Borders with IMMPACT
International cooperation for managing the devastating disease, potato late blight, was accomplished with IMMPACT (International Maine Maritime Potato ACtion Team). This groundbreaking cooperation has fostered improved communication among information providers. Forecasting and information delivery to clients was harmonized. Delivery of real-time information to clients, whether end users or advisors, has occurred. With the close proximity and similar production area, frequently what occurs on one side of the production area affects the other side of the production area. In this case, each side of the production area happens to be in different countries. IMMPACT has led to increased international cooperation.
4-H Animal Welfare Assessment: Does it Work?
Contained in this article are results of a pilot 4-H equine welfare assessment contest. The results were used to examine the success of the first equine welfare assessment contest for 4-H members. Knowledge of equine welfare concerns was assessed, along with opinions about those concerns. Enhancement of awareness of equine welfare issues occurred by the conclusion of the experience. Additional contests, incorporating multiple species, would be beneficial for 4-H youth.
Tools of the Trade
Developing Culturally Appropriate Evaluation Instruments for Hispanics with Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a major health problem among Hispanics in the United States. This article describes the process of developing a Spanish-language version of an evaluation instrument of Hispanic seniors who participated in a diabetes education program. Content, face validity, and reliability are also discussed. A team of Extension educators, evaluation experts, diabetes educators, and community partners representing the Hispanic community contributed to the success of the process. The process can be used with other non-English speaking groups with diabetes. Recommendations for other methods of data collection are discussed.
Evaluation Tool for Community Development Coalitions
Assessing the impact of community development coalitions over time is relevant to Extension professionals who may wish to measure success and lessons learned. We describe an evaluation tool in which coalition members and key informants assess community goals before the existence of the community coalitions and after the coalitions have been operating, utilizing a retrospective pretest. The responses of coalition members are posted, and a facilitated discussion allows members to change their ratings. Key informants are then interviewed using the same questions. The responses of informants and coalition members are compared, resulting in a comprehensive yet quick evaluation.
Enumeration and Valuation of Horses: Methodological Innovations and Results from a Connecticut Study
As more statewide horse surveys are undertaken, continuous improvement of methodology is needed. We surveyed veterinarians to determine the number of horses in Connecticut. We also questioned horse owners regarding willingness to sell at fair market value. We estimate that there are 43,059 horses in Connecticut. Of horse owners, 80% would not be willing to sell at fair market value. Surveying state veterinarians as opposed to horse owners may be a more reliable method in determining horse numbers. Refinement of survey instruments and survey of a wider population may be necessary to establish the true social value of horses.
Anger Management Toolbox for Parents
It's Monday morning, Mom and Dad are tired, their children aren't cooperating, and this is adding tension to an already stressful day. Before they react to their children with anger, parents can try reaching for the Anger Management Toolbox. Or, it could be that their three-year-old has not yet learned how to share her toys with others and this is causing quite a problem within the family. What can they do? The Anger Management Toolbox can help. This novel parenting tool gives positive strategies for handling "hot button" issues that often occur when raising children.
Training and the Needs of Adult Learners
Research on learners has shown that adults learn differently from younger students. Adults have special needs as learners and these needs should be taken into consideration when planning training for adults. By using combinations of adult learner techniques and strategies, Extension educators can create training experiences that will enhance the learning of participants. When adults participate in a positive learning experience that follows the six assumptions of andragogy presented in this article, they are more likely to retain what they have learned and apply it in their work environment.
Listening to the Youth Voice in Planning Leadership Development Programs
Information on youth was collected in a leadership development conference to provide tools for educators to use when incorporating a leadership activities into various programs. Teens perceived that in sessions where audience participation and interactivity was encouraged, knowledge gain was greater. However, youth did feel that session length played a role in their ability to engage fully in the topics and more time than 50 minutes was needed to develop deeper understanding. Recommendations include engaging youth in all areas of Extension programming and placing youth on program planning and advisory boards to ensure programs are relevant to youth.
The Center for TMDL and Watershed Studies: Creating Resources and Tools for Watershed Management
The Center for TMDL and Watershed Studies (the Center) is committed to improving the quality and effectiveness of watershed planning processes, including total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). The Center conducts basic and applied research, and provides educational programming tailored to the specific needs of stakeholders, government personnel, and technical professionals. Personnel associated with the Center provide expertise on scientific, engineering, sociological, economic, and policy issues related to watershed management and the TMDL process. The Center is actively involved in developing TMDLs and TMDL implementation plans in situations where the methodology and guidance to develop such deliverables are not well defined.