June 2011 // Volume 49 // Number 3
Linking to JOE Articles
"Linking to JOE
Articles," explains the many good reasons why JOE
citations should link to the online versions of articles and not to
the printable PDF versions. And "June JOE"
highlights two Commentaries and four articles on livestock and
dairying, barely scratching the surface of another rich issue.
Ozzie and Harriet Never Were: A Century Review of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Changing American Family
As North Carolina FCS celebrates its 100-year centennial, it is time to reflect. For a century, FCS professionals have helped families apply research-based knowledge and principles. This article describes how American families have changed and how we have met those changes in our Extension roles. We also challenge FCS professionals to view the changing trends without bias. Ozzie and Harriet never were a fair representation of family norms, and we must accept the variety of family forms and functions so that our services can be of use to all families, especially those that may not fit the ideal American family.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Ozzie and Harriet Never Were: A Century Review of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Changing American Family"
Strengthening Communities Through an Engaged Citizenry: Opportunities for Extension Programming
Research shows the level and quality of public discourse is a key factor in a community's ability to affect change. Recently conducted Extension research shows that a large proportion of residents do not feel engaged in community decision making. Extension works with a variety of community partners on a daily basis. Targeting programmatic resources in ways that would help improve the level and quality of public discourse could leverage the impact of the many Extension programs we conduct in cooperation with our community partners.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Strengthening Communities Through an Engaged Citizenry: Opportunities for Extension Programming"
Servant Leadership: Guiding Extension Programs in the 21st Century
A new set of leadership skills is required for Extension administrators for the 21st century. Past models and theories are reviewed and discussed. The old "power" model of leadership is no longer relevant. A relatively new model called "Servant Leadership" is reviewed and explained. Seven key practices of servant leadership are outlined, and the model is based on one of the oldest leadership models, Taoism. Five key steps are proposed for Extension administrators who want to lead from a new paradigm. Extension is challenged to adopt servant leadership as its model.
Designing a Competency-Based New County Extension Personnel Training Program: A Novel Approach
Voluntary county personnel turnover occurs for a multitude of reasons, including the lack of job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and job embeddedness and lack of proper training. Loss of personnel can be costly both economically and in terms of human capital. Retention of Extension professionals can be improved through proper training or strategic techniques designed to increase employee critical competencies, socialization, and job satisfaction. The Delphi study reported here explored the perceptions of county extension faculty regarding job satisfaction, training competencies, social connectedness, and optimal training time frames over the first 3 years of hire.
Broadening Extension's Capacity—Comparing Extension Agents' and Environmental Educators' Perceptions of Needs and Barriers
Conservation and environmental education share similar goals with Extension and thus holds partnership potential for Extension. The study reported here compared the needs and barriers faced by environmental educators and Extension agents in West Virginia using a mail survey. Results indicated there were both similarities and differences in the needs and barriers of the two groups. It was also noted that EE groups and Extension agents were unaware of each other's programs and did not view each other as important sources of information. This represents an opportunity for the groups to network and connect in new ways.
Psychosocial Impact of Training and Work Experience on EFNEP Paraprofessionals
Although considerable data has been gathered documenting impact of local EFNEP programs on enrolled participants, little documentation exists concerning the effect of EFNEP on paraprofessionals conducting these programs. The qualitative study reported here identifies types of psychosocial change in paraprofessionals resulting from EFNEP training and work experience. Identified areas of change include skill development, community status, relationships with family/community, ways of viewing others, increased caring for others, and increased self-esteem. Factors contributing to change include paraprofessionals' indigenous status, personal identification with work, training, support, and work experiences. These findings have implications for the hiring, training, and support of paraprofessionals.
Designing Nutrition Education Programs for Somali Audiences: The Role of Cultural and Religious Practices
A focus group of Somali immigrants was conducted as part of a larger study of underserved communities in Minnesota. The goal was to capture Somali women's personal experiences and views on nutrition. This understanding assists Health and Nutrition educators in assessing the quality and effectiveness of current programming efforts and making recommendations for future efforts. Study results indicate that Somali cultural and religious practices define family meal structure, food preparation, and food choices. One important finding was that participants were eager to learn about nutrition and asked specific questions about the nutritional value of foods they eat.
Characteristics and Perceptions of 4-H Participants: Gender and Age Differences Across Adolescence
The study reported here examined 367 adolescent 4-H participants in terms of demographic, psychological, behavioral, and relational characteristics, as well as their perceptions and experiences in 4-H. Overall, participants scored high on all outcome variables except having a diverse population in their club. Older participants were more optimistic, participated in more deviant behaviors, and were more satisfied with their 4-H experiences in comparison to younger participants. In comparison to boys, girls appeared to be healthier in regards to psychological characteristics, positive behaviors, and relationships with peers and other adults and were more satisfied with their 4-H experiences.
Strategies for Obtaining Survey Responses from Extension Clients: Exploring the Role of E-Mail Requests
Extension professionals want to use the Web for conducting surveys, but studies show using the Web alone introduces significant bias. The study reported here compared strategies for obtaining responses that might minimize cost and bias. E-mail and postal invitations to the Web-hosted survey version were compared to the postal mail-only standard. The response rate was highest when using an e-mailed invitation, followed by the traditional mail-only mode and the postal invitation/Web-hosted mode. It appears the best strategy for minimizing the cost of collecting data and maximizing representativeness is to use e-mail invitations when available and postal mail for those without e-mail.
Evaluating Fungicide Recommendations for Vegetable Crops in the United States: Should More Be Done to Limit the Risks of Fungicide Resistance Development?
Fungicides are an important component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs developed for vegetable production. Without fungicides, commercial vegetable production would not be economically feasible in many regions of the U.S. Recommendations for fungicide use in commercial vegetable production are developed and delivered by Extension in state and regional production guides. Efforts have been made by the chemical industry and Extension to increase the awareness of fungicide resistance development. The article reviews fungicide resistance development and management and current progress and areas of needed improvement in fungicide resistance management guidelines developed for commercial vegetable production in the U.S.
Assessing the Need for an On-Line Educational Module for Volunteer Leaders on Bio-Security in Washington State 4-H Livestock Projects
4-H livestock projects present disease transmission risks that can be reduced by the use of bio-security practices. The responsibility of teaching bio-security to youth belongs primarily to volunteer leaders, who may not be aware of the importance of these practices. A needs assessment for an online educational module about bio-security revealed that existing materials are inconsistent, are not directed at this audience, and are not being used by leaders. Although barriers to online education exist, there are many benefits of online education that can be passed from leaders to youth to help reduce the spread of disease in 4-H livestock.
Research in Brief
Wisconsin Dairy Business and Production Survey: Comparison Between Farms Planning to Expand and Farms Not Planning to Expand
The Wisconsin Dairy Business and Production Survey was conducted to provide a comprehensive assessment of Wisconsin dairy operations. Key differences between expanding and non-expanding dairies were highlighted, with additional focus on topics involving dairy expansion. Further priority was placed on maximizing the impact of a concurrent project concerning risk management in dairy production and expansion and the creation of a decision support system. Survey results highlight emerging trends among Wisconsin dairy farms and emphasize areas where further research and Extension programs are needed.
Challenges and Opportunities for New and Beginning Dairy Producers: A Pennsylvania Perspective
New and beginning dairy producers have challenges in building equity and developing strategies for sound succession plans. Dairy farm businesses are capital intensive, and an aging dairy farm owner population means that transition of these operations will be critical in the future. Focus groups with both senior farm owners and new dairy producers were used to better understand these challenges and to enable Extension professionals to create educational opportunities to meet the needs of new and beginning dairy producers. Keys for success that were identified included sound financial planning and purchasing animals as a strategy to grow equity.
Pasture-Based Dairying in Michigan: Farmer Practices and Needs
We report results of a survey designed to assess the information needs of Michigan dairy farmers currently using pasture as part of their management system. Differences were found among farmers in the extent to which they use conserved feed to supplement pasture. Similarities existed among farmers in challenges, information needs, and information sources. Findings suggest several initiatives, including website development, pasture walks, and workshops, that can be used by educators to reach this target audience.
Pilot Evaluation of an Internet Educational Module for Agricultural Safety
An important component of the safe operation of agricultural equipment is the ability to read and understand universal symbols. The Internet educational module is designed to help participants recognize these symbols. The impact of using it was evaluated using a field trial study. Assessment consisted of pre- and post-tests. Youth who had access to it averaged an improvement 29 points higher on the post-test than that of the control group. Overall, the Internet learning environment increased participants' ability to recognize universal symbols faster and more accurately. The study serves as a model for supplementing Extension programming with Web-based educational material.
An Evaluation of Nutrition Education Program for Low-Income Youth
A quasi-experimental design consisting of pretest, posttest, and delayed posttest comparison control group was used. Nutrition knowledge and behaviors were measured at pretest (time 1) posttest (time 2) and delayed posttest (time 3). General Linear Model (GLM) repeated measure ANCOVA results showed that youth who received nutrition education lessons significantly improved their nutrition knowledge and nutrition behaviors compared to those who did not participate in the lessons.
Need For Methamphetamine Programming in Extension Education
The study reported sought to identify the prevention education needs involving methamphetamine through survey methodology. The study focused on a random sample of U.S. states and the Extension Directors within each state, resulting in a 70% response rate (n = 134). Findings revealed that 11% reported they had received methamphetamine user prevention training and 23% had received safety training. Overall, perceived knowledge is low regarding methamphetamine production signs, use, state and federal laws, prevention resources, and identification of methamphetamine education resources. Yet perceived importance of the same topics is high, supporting the need for increased methamphetamine programming.
Ideas at Work
Graduate Students Serve Extension as Evaluation Consultants
In an effort to provide graduate students at a distance with field-based learning experiences and evaluation resources to statewide Extension programs, 24 Master's students participating in a distance-delivered program evaluation course served as evaluation consultants for Extension programs. State evaluation specialists unable to conduct face-to-face trainings with local Extension agents because of budget constraints should consider mentoring and allowing trained graduate students to assist with local program evaluation efforts. The graduate students benefit from an eager audience and a real-world setting in which to apply their evaluation skills, while their clientele benefit by acquiring individually tailored program-specific evaluation resources.
Addressing Nature Deficit Disorder Through Primitive Camping Experiences
Today's youth suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder, a condition that has been connected to ADHD, shortage of creativity, and general lack of knowledge about the outdoors. A team of educators and specialists are addressing this issue with primitive camping. County educators were trained using experiential learning and train-the-trainer techniques. Through these methods, educators are now confident about teaching and leading primitive camping experiences. The ultimate result from the project is 4-H educators taking more youth camping and getting them out-of-doors. Primitive camping experiences can help youth overcome Nature Deficit Disorder and its associated symptoms.
Developing a Farmers' Market Volunteer Team in Lieu of a Paid Manager
Rural farmers' markets unable to justify a paid manager may benefit from the development of a farmers' market volunteer team. This articles looks at sources of farmers' market volunteers, specific duties of such a team, and education and orientation requirements to ensure the success of these volunteers.
Use of Participatory Exercise for Modelling the Adoption of Organic Agriculture
Participatory methods may prove helpful at the exploratory phase of developing a working adoption model for organic agriculture. A study carried out in selected areas of West Bengal, India employed innovative participatory methods for identifying farmers' perception regarding the attributes of organic agriculture and several farm- and farmer-related factors. Analysis of participatory exercises facilitated the development of a potential pool of factors that may be used for developing an effective adoption model for organic agriculture. The process helps develop econometric models that study the transition of chemical agriculture to organic agriculture.
Tools of the Trade
A Comprehensive Process to Identify Issues in Extension
Issue identification is a critical first step in developing program for Extension faculty. The involvement of local leaders, either in person or electronically, is essential to maintain the relevance that Extension is known for. Expanding the scope to include commodity organizations, partners, and stakeholders on a district or regional level strengthens the process even more, creating a more comprehensive approach to needs assessment.
Developing a Roadmap for Excellence in Extension
Trying to figure out the promotion and tenure system is one of the major stressors for new Extension faculty. To help new county-based Extension faculty, their supervisors, committee chairs, and other mentors evaluate progress in the probationary years, a Roadmap with specific guideposts delineating expectations for pre-tenure years was developed. This article describes the evaluation parameters standardized in the role statement and the expectations for new faculty outlined in the Roadmap.
Extension Through Partnerships: Research and Education Center Teams with County Extension to Deliver Programs.
Budget reductions have severely affected resources available to deliver agriculture and natural resource Extension programs in Florida. University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences delivers Extension programming through a unique partnership between research and education centers and county Extension. Science-based information is shared between the research and education center and county Extension who have similar clientele or stakeholders and organizational missions. Extension agents disseminate cutting-edge research information generated by specialists at the center, and the specialists use county agent input to identify local and regional research problems.
The National Board Basics Curriculum Project: A Leadership Capacity Building Tool for Boards
We explain in this article the need for board training in rural America irrespective of industry or government sector. We discuss how an assessment of training needs has led to the launch of a new project called the National Board Basics Curriculum (NBBC) project. In this project, we have identified four key core competencies that every board needs collectively to be a high-performance system. We provide preliminary results of our findings as a tool Extension educators can use with boards in rural communities. Extension educators can use these existing resources and many more developed through the NBBC project.
Exit Surveying of Interns: Demonstrating Impact on Young Professionals
Documenting impact is becoming increasingly important as funding becomes tighter for Extension programs. An exit survey for interns conducted via an online survey tool is an opportunity to collect information on knowledge and skill gains, as well as document changes in intentions and attitudes about future career paths. An exit survey conducted between 2006-2010 demonstrated increases in knowledge and skills related to coastal science. In addition, the internships enabled students to better define their career goals. There are many activities that we routinely participate in that could benefit from this type of impact data collection in addition to routine evaluation.
Obtaining Valid and Useful Evaluations from Immigrant Conference Participants
Obtaining valid and useful evaluations from immigrant farmers at conferences can be challenging, because they need to be culturally sensitive, inexpensive, and easily translatable and to satisfy goals of funders and conference organizers. Evaluations requiring conference attendees to think in terms of degree of satisfaction were too complicated to use. Modified DOTS surveys worked well given enough time for translation, but still presented some problems.
Getting Them in the Door: Strategies for Recruiting Latinos to Family Life Education Programs
Extension has long been successful at recruiting and serving diverse audiences, and with the rapid growth of Latino families across the United States, many Extension professionals are discovering an increased need to recruit and serve Latinos. This article shares successful recruitment strategies incorporated in a project that recruited low-income Latino parents of young children. Strategies included 1.) Knowing your audience and gaining a strong understanding of the Latino culture, 2.) Strengthening relationships with organizations already serving Latino families, and 3.) Building relationships within the Latino community.
What Do Schools Want? Assessing Elementary School Administrator and Teacher Preferences Related to Nutrition Education Program Scheduling
Extension is positioned to provide school-based nutrition education programs as required by the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. To enhance program acceptance and sustainability, it is important to consider school administrators' and teachers' interests and preferences regarding nutrition education programming. The project described here assessed interest in nutrition education, scheduling, and implementation format preferences among 34 elementary school administrators and 45 elementary school teachers. Among administrators and teachers interested in Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service's county educators providing nutrition education programs, the general trend was for in-school student education, consisting of four weekly programs, 30 minutes in length.
Detecting and Addressing Animal Health Concerns of Small Ruminant Producers
This article provides information that Extension professionals can use to help small ruminant producers to understand the importance of identification and prevention of introduction of disease-causing agents (pathogens) into production systems that can affect harvesting, processing, handling, distribution, and marketing of foods, especially animal-derived food and products. The information provided should enhance small ruminant producers' ability to observe and detect changes in the status of animals' health and address health concerns adequately to improve food safety and food security and reduce current vulnerabilities on their farms while enhancing capabilities for providing much safer and more wholesome animal-derived products for consumers.
Turfgrass Management at Your Fingertips: Information Delivered Through "Smart" Phone Technology
Turfgrass managers and Extension professionals often require real-time, in-situ pest diagnosis, management, and recommendations. Advanced "smart" phones have become important tools for industry professionals and allow flexibility while traveling or away from the office. We have developed an application (app) for iPhone® and Blackberry® "smart phones" that allows access to a library of resources in the field. The Turfgrass Management application contains a full suite of weed, disease, insect, and turfgrass species resources. More than 2,500 subscriptions from over 30 countries have been downloaded. We present evidence of the usefulness of delivery of information through this mobile technology.