December 2008 // Volume 46 // Number 6
Remove Personal Information for Review & Quicker Review Results!
"Remove Personal Information for Review & Quicker Review Results!" discusses the paramount importance of removing personal information from submission files, gives instructions for doing so, and announces that, starting in 2009, authors are going to be receiving review results electronically. "February Issue Heads Up" points to the redesign we're rolling out with the February 2009 issue. "Keyword Offer" repeats an offer I've made before. "December JOE" highlights, among other great articles, the Commentary on "Extension's Response to the Housing Crisis" and anticipates more submissions on ways you're responding to help our clients through the current financial crisis.
Extension's Response to the Housing Crisis
Extension needs to react quickly to the current housing crisis. Rising mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures negatively affect the families and communities where we work. Extension is well placed to meet the needs of individuals and families as they weather the economic downturn. We need to respond by providing information, resources, and programs on financial and stress management. Working with local partners, we can help families and stabilize the communities we serve.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Extension's Response to the Housing Crisis
Keeping our Charm: Residents, Growth, and Quality of Life Issues in a Small but Growing Texas Coastal Community
The study reported here assessed residents' perception of small, fast-growing coastal community on issues of quality of life, conservation, and growth. Data for the study were collected from an on-site survey in Aransas County, Texas from 2006 to 2007. Results show that the residents are concerned about preserving their natural resources, maintaining a small town atmosphere in their community, and ensuring citizens' involvement in future planning efforts, especially with tourism. The implications of the study are discussed for Extension professionals and residents, suggestions for future research are provided.
Understanding Community Impacts: A Tool for Evaluating Economic Impacts from Local Bio-Fuels Production
The popularity of public investment in local bio-fuel production as a rural development initiative is growing. An important consideration in determining the level of public support for a plant's development, however, is accurately measuring public benefits resulting from plant activity. The purpose of the research reported here was to first develop a set of community multipliers associated with various bio-fuel plant configurations and then to develop an easy-to-use tool that allows local communities to measure potential benefits based on varying levels of plant activity.
Layered Community Support for Sustainable Dairy Farming
Environmental, community, and economic sustainability of dairy production has important support layers based on production system characteristics, farm size, locational variables, age, and grazing system amenities. Advanced pollution control technology is key to the sustainability of especially large confinement dairies. Grazing dairies are positively viewed, and nearly 70% of respondents are willing to pay a $0.50 premium for milk from grazed cows. Study findings, based on analysis of 600 telephone survey responses from 28 Pennsylvania counties, indicate strong support for dairy farm sustainability, especially when compared with industrial development, which points to critical opportunities for future Extension education programming.
Living Well: National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences National Media Campaign
In 2000, a benchmark survey gathered information from the 18-44 age general urban population about where that group seeks Extension information and the level of the group's awareness of the Cooperative Extension Service. The information was used to develop a Family and Consumer Sciences media public relations campaign that allowed all FCS Extension agents in the U.S. to make a programming impact using the same logo, slogan, and items. The campaign has been heavily used by Extension Family and Consumer Sciences educators to educate the public about Cooperative Extension. The results have application for all components of Cooperative Extension.
Obesity Prevention and Health Promotion: How Family Life Educators View Their Role
Parenting and family life educators should be part of the multi-disciplinary solution to childhood overweight. Their ability to work in a preventative capacity to facilitate healthy family practices around eating and activity can help alter one of the key social contexts in which children develop. This article shares the results from a survey of parenting and family life educators that explored their current efforts and understanding regarding childhood overweight, willingness to increase future involvement with the issue, barriers to addressing the issue, and need for Extension support.
Use of County Tax Rolls for the Creation of Mailing Lists for Extension Programming
The Extension forestry programs at Mississippi State and Cornell use county tax rolls for developing county landowner mailing lists. The use of these mailing lists, when combined with traditional past program attendee mailing lists, has increased the visibility and activities of both programs by reaching out to a larger clientele base, including uderserved landowners.
Landowner Characteristics Associated with Receiving Information About Invasive Plants and Implications for Outreach Providers
Based on a survey of woodland owners in West Virginia, we examined the possibility of differences in the characteristics of those who had and had not received information about local invasive plants and implications for outreach providers. Findings suggest that landowners who farmed on their property, held recreation objectives, and lived in the local area were significantly more likely than their counterparts to have received information. A majority of landowners with these characteristics, however, had not heard or read such information. Implications for expanding awareness through both traditional and non-traditional information channels are presented.
Research in Brief
Short-Cut Estimates for Annual Hog CAFO Production: Relationship Between Hog CAFO Inventory and the Annual Production
The increasing numbers of hog CAFOs has become a pressing issue around the country, yet estimating the annual hog CAFO production can be a daunting task for local communities. Current accessible information about hog production levels is either complicated or not useful for most interested parties. This article aims to provide a straightforward calculation of annual hog production adjusted to the full-grown hog equivalent based on available inventory data. The calculation could then be applied to the state, county, or farm level, and results easily compared among same-level study areas.
Marketing Local Foods to Gourmet Restaurants: A Multi-Method Assessment
The study reported here examines the gourmet restaurant market for local agricultural products in Nevada. A multi-method assessment was implemented to collect data for the study. Study results indicate that both local producers and gourmet chefs lack appropriate information concerning production possibilities and gourmet chefs' needs and preferences. Chefs indicated preferences for high-quality products and viewed quality and freshness as positive aspects of purchasing locally. Chefs desired small quantities of unique and specialty products. The impacts of the study have been positive, in that gourmet restaurant purchases of local products expanded in both the Reno and Las Vegas markets.
Using Focus Groups to Evaluate Youth Development Program Direction
Focus groups are an efficient and effective assessment tool for youth development practitioners with limited time and resources. This article examines the practical use and limitations of focus groups to assess a county 4-H program's response to a changing demographic profile. A complete description of the process is followed by a report of results and implications for program direction.
Do Workshops Work for Building Evaluation Capacity Among Cooperative Extension Service Faculty?
A case study used survey design (pre-test, satisfaction, and post-test) to determine if a 1-day workshop affected participants' skills and self-efficacy in regard to conducting evaluation and if workshop participants applied evaluation skills afterwards. Findings indicate that the workshop was effective in building self-efficacy; however, it did not sustain evaluation practice. Formal training may be necessary to develop skills such as logic modeling, data collection and analysis, and reporting findings to solidify evaluation competencies among participants. It is recommended that Extension faculty engage in continuing education in program evaluation as part of a career development ladder to build evaluation capacity.
The Difference Between Physical Activity and Nutrition Attitudes and Behaviors Among Maine High School Students
A study was conducted to estimate physical activity and fruits and vegetable behaviors, perceptions, and attitude among Maine high school students (n = 765). Over half (57%) reported participating in physical activity for >40 minutes per day. Only 6% reported eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. However, nearly half of the students (49%) reported eating enough fruits and vegetables "Always/Most of the time." A significant positive relationship was found between environmental indicators and daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Results highlight the need to promote fruits and vegetables consumption among high school students.
Using Risk Management Tools and Training to Protect Youth and Adults in Overnight Settings
Providing a safe environment for youth is an essential element for effective youth development programs. This article describes the Louisiana 4-H Youth Development Program's efforts in attaining this essential element through the Overnight Chaperone Program. Derived from a mixed-model, 33-item survey, results indicate that 98% of program participants gained information on how to create a positive environment for youth. Of those, only 31% indicated that they had received any related training previously. Multi-faceted approaches that include screening and training are critical to providing safe environments for youth as well as increasing satisfaction among volunteers.
Influencing Consumer Awareness Through the Missouri Chestnut Roast
Results are presented from a longitudinal study conducted during the Missouri Chestnut Roast Festival in 2003, 2004, and 2006 assessing participants' familiarity with and essential knowledge about chestnuts. Familiarity with chestnuts increased over time. Compared to first-time visitors, repeat visitors revealed an increase in frequency of consumption, familiarity with roasting chestnuts, and an increase in knowledge. The likelihood people would buy chestnuts more often and eat them roasted or in recipes also increased. Results demonstrate the positive impact of the event on participants' knowledge of, familiarity with, and interest in chestnuts. Thus, Extension professionals can use community festivals as an effective educational tool.
Ideas at Work
Using Local Farmer's Markets to Promote Extension Programming
A booth at the farmers' market was set up in Bozeman, Montana during 2007 to promote Extension activities at Montana State University. This was a highly effective, low time-input and cost-effective method of promoting Extension activities to an audience that is often not aware of the resources available from Extension programs. It is recommended that other states use this as a model for promoting Extension programming in their communities.
Incorporating Special Needs Youth into 4-H
The Winning 4-H Plan provides Extension professionals, volunteers, parents, and youth with hands-on activities to improve their understanding of special needs youth and to promote inclusion of these youth in traditional 4-H programs. The program emphasizes acceptance by peers through an educational 4-H plan. When using appropriate project materials that follow a step-by-step progression, the end result will be a positive judging experience. The Winning 4-H Plan creates a 4-H environment where youth with disabilities can reach their fullest potential as capable, competent, caring, and contributing citizens.
Eastern Idaho Teens Learn Table Etiquette
University of Idaho Extension Educators developed Manner Mishaps to teach teenagers skills for familial, social, and professional dinner settings. Through the use of PowerPoint® slides, demonstrations, the video Etiquette Hotline, and an interactive game, the students learned proper table settings and the use of tableware. Of the 1,086 participants, 97% agreed or strongly agreed that the program was interesting and that participating in the program would be helpful in their future. Student knowledge of etiquette rules and behaviors increased from an average of 65.9% on the pre-test to 95.0% after completing the course.
Cooperative Effort Leads to the Development of Tools to Assist Pork Producers in Evaluating Structural Soundness of Replacement Gilts
The objective of the project described here was to develop and deliver new visual tools to assist pork producers to evaluate the structural and reproductive soundness of replacement gilts within their sow herds. The development and distribution of the posters demonstrates how Extension, industry commodity groups, industry partners, and business media can work together to deliver the tools needed to have a positive economic impact at the farm level. Ideas like these are needed to meet the increasingly complex educational needs of modern agricultural industries like the U.S. pork industry.
Pond Appeal Series: Teaching Community Stakeholders to Manage Pestiferous Aquatic Midge Emergences from Storm Water Retention Ponds
Saint Lucie West (Florida) residents living adjacent to storm water retention ponds complained about the emergence of large swarms of pestiferous aquatic midges. Pond Appeal is a program developed by the Saint Lucie County Cooperative Extension to educate residents about pond best management practices that would result in a reduction in midge emergences. One hundred and fifty people participated in the program. All participants indicated they increased their understanding of pond management techniques and adopted practice changes that enabled them to better manage these ponds. This resulted in a reduction in pestiferous aquatic midges and improved quality of life.
Tools of the Trade
Recommendations for Engaging Undergraduate Students in Community-Based Extension Field Experiences
The first author and youth program leader for the Cornell Garden-Based Learning Program created a multi-tiered approach to providing real-world Extension experience for Cornell undergraduate students while simultaneously gathering essential data for an online curriculum. The second author served as the project evaluator. Eight Cornell University undergraduates enrolled in a two-semester course sequence, in which they learned the knowledge required to create a living sculpture project with youth-adult teams at three New York State sites. This article addresses the factors we discerned that lead to effective student engagement in field experiences, and generalizes our findings for others.
Safety "Pays" for Hispanic Employees, Company Owners, and Extension Professionals Active in Urban Agriculture Industries
The landscape industry and other urban agriculture industries are dangerous, and many of the workers in these industries are Hispanic. The financial, emotional, and social costs of workplace injuries are substantial. Extension personnel, business owners, and all workers benefit when safety trainings are held in Spanish. The impact, benefits, and ease of conducting safety trainings in Spanish for Hispanic workers in urban agriculture industries are discussed.
Team Approach to Pesticide Applicator Training, Testing, and Recertification in Four Central Florida Counties
A regional team approach to pesticide training and certification improves clientele opportunities to comply with regulations and requires less time per agent to implement the program. Agents in central Florida identified pesticide licenses with high public demand and developed education opportunities for this group. Program success was measured by comparing exam results from clients taking exams immediately after pesticide training with the results from clients who took the exams without training. Attendees realized a 21% increase in passing percentage. Agents can stretch limited resources and expand quality programs by reaching across county lines in a regional team approach.
Financial Simulations for Young Adults: Making the "Real World" Real
Simulations are a useful tool for teaching personal finance concepts. Keys to a successful simulation experience are easy to replicate materials, realistic scenarios, clear instructions for participants, and a thorough debriefing where students discuss their experiences and what they learned. Simulations provide an opportunity for students to appreciate the economic impact of a post-secondary education and to practice financial management skills such as check writing and budgeting. In addition, they are interactive, which makes learning fun. This article provides Extension educators with brief summaries of a "toolkit" of 11 simulation products that teach personal finance concepts to young adults.
Auto-Responders: An E-Mail List Productivity Tool
Shrinking budgets and growing demands require Extension to become as efficient and effective as possible. An auto-responder is an online service built to automate much of the effort required to maintain and use an e-mail list. Auto-responders have many features and benefits that could help Extension reduce staff time and become more efficient.
How to Make a Multidisciplinary IPM Guide for Growers Using Adobe PageMaker® Templates
Constructing a multidisciplinary IPM guide can be overwhelming. This article provides the backbone for developing a guide using a publication produced at the University of Florida as a model. A crucial step in creating these guides is to build a network of qualified professionals who can contribute to the writing. By providing authors with instructions and templates for their section, the guide can be more consistent. Examples of these instructions and Adobe PageMaker® templates are available for free on the UF/IFAS IPM Florida Web site. Disseminating of the final product is critical, and we found that Web delivery was very efficient.
Midwest Grape Production Guide
The Midwest Grape Production Guide (OSU Extension Bulletin 919) is a joint publication with The Ohio State University and Purdue University and a comprehensive guide on commercial grape production. There are 155 text pages in the bulletin, with 121 color pictures, 22 diagrams, and 18 tables. Sales of this publication have reached a total of more than 2,300 copies in 32 states, with the highest number of copies being sold in Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, New York, and South Dakota. This bulletin would make an excellent resource guide for Midwest grape growers and Extension educators.