June 2012 // Volume 50 // Number 3
JOE Resources Online
"JOE Resources Online" reminds readers and especially prospective authors of the online resources that provide information about JOE and help for authors. "June JOE" calls everyone's attention to an article that should help prospective authors ensure data quality in their research and evaluation studies and highlights several noteworthy articles in an issue that is full of them.
Disaster Preparedness and the Cooperative Extension Service
This past decade has recorded an increase in catastrophic events that have led to dramatic changes for Americans. The wake of these disasters has resulted in many lessons being learned. These lessons have been captured by Homeland Security in the First Edition of the National Preparedness Goal. Extension is uniquely positioned to assist with community disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response efforts as outlined in the National Preparedness Goal. This article captures examples of Extension's involvement in the disaster realm and encourages additional work in the many aspects of community emergency preparedness.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Disaster Preparedness and the Cooperative Extension Service"
Emergency Exercise Participation and Evaluation
Extension is uniquely positioned to participate in emergency exercises, formally or informally, with the goal of engaging community members in emergency and disaster preparedness. With their knowledge of community needs, Extension personnel are valuable resources and can assist emergency managers in the process of identifying local risks and vulnerabilities as well as identifying capabilities that should be tested and strengthened through the process of exercises. By facilitating, participating in, or evaluating exercises, Extension professionals can help communities better prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from disasters.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Emergency Exercise Participation and Evaluation"
Ideas at Work
A Conceptual Process Model for Improving Youth Science Comprehension
Improving youth science comprehension in the United States is imperative to reverse current trends in student achievement and to meet an expected shortage of scientists in the future. This lag in achievement scores and need for future scientists is a problem. One challenge is to link inquiry-based learning and experiential education with curriculum designed to improve understanding, skill development, and reasoning abilities to achieve the broader impacts of improved science comprehension. The authors propose a conceptual process model for delivering Extension programs designed to enhance youth achievement in the sciences.
Parallel Volunteer Learning During Youth Programs
Lack of time is a hindrance for volunteers to participate in educational opportunities, yet volunteer success in an organization is tied to the orientation and education they receive. Meeting diverse educational needs of volunteers can be a challenge for program managers. Scheduling a Volunteer Learning Track for chaperones that is parallel to a multi-day retreat for teens, addressed this need. Authors discuss the need for the learning track, implementation, evaluation, and program impact. Taking opportunities to meet adult educational needs during youth events can be an effective and efficient use of volunteer time at local and state levels.
Robotics Competitions: An Overview of FIRST© Events and VEX© Competitions
Robotics competitions generate excitement and raise the profile of a robotics program. This article provides an overview of robotics competitions, concentrating on those sponsored by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and RECF (Robotics Education and Competition Foundation). FIRST® LEGO® League and VEX® robotics competitions are the most well-known robotics competitions that these organizations sponsor. Equipment, costs, timelines, and funding are presented.
4-H and Forestry Afterschool Clubs: A Collaboration to Foster Stewardship Attitudes and Behaviors in Youth
The University of Minnesota Extension's 4-H and Forestry Afterschool program combined the 4-H structure and various forestry curricula to foster positive attitudes towards the environment and stewardship-related behaviors as these may serve as precursors to later choices that benefit the environment. Evaluation of third through fifth grade club members revealed statistically significant changes in attitudes and behavior. Recommendations for implementing this model are provided.
Building Partnerships: Connecting Communities, Master Gardener Volunteers, Industry, and Extension Through Tree Surveys
Extension, Master Gardener volunteers, and industry professionals can partner in order to provide a significant benefit to a community. The result of this partnership and subsequent tree inventory provides communities with an essential street tree management tool at a substantial cost savings. In addition, there is a greater awareness among the partners regarding their assets and abilities that can lead to a positive impact on a community.
Business Management Coaching: Focusing on Entrepreneur's Current Position and Aims
One-to-one business coaching over 6 months was provided to nine clients in Hawaii to help them acquire business transition skills. The STARS model was used to determine the individual business situation and to explore suitable leadership strategies to move forward. Systematically, each client developed a business model, business strategies, a marketing plan, and financial and production plans. Follow-up evaluations 6 months after coaching showed positive effects on the clients. Clients became more aware of their business situations and were able to apply appropriate strategies to increase their chances of success.
Tools of the Trade
Ensuring Data Quality in Extension Research and Evaluation Studies
This article presents a checklist as a guide for Extension professionals to use in research and evaluation studies they carry out. A total of 40 statements grouped under eight data quality components—relevance, objectivity, validity, reliability, integrity, generalizability, completeness, and utility—are identified to ensure that research carried out by Extension professionals is credible, followed research protocols, was conducted in an ethical manner, and can withstand the test of scrutiny by reviewers. Researchers and Extension professionals can use the checklist to identify the areas that are methodologically sound and the areas that need improvement.
The Cornell Cooperative Extension Statewide Data Collection System: An Online Data Collection Tool for Parent Education Programs
The Statewide Data Collection System for Parent Education Programs is an online tool for collecting statewide data on Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) parenting education programs. The process of the development and use of this data collection tool are provided as a guide to Extension systems. Results for data entered between March 2009 and July 2010 from participants in CCE parent education programs indicate significant improvements on eight out of 10 measures of parenting attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge, and highlight the value of this online tool for assessing the impact of parent education programs in New York State.
Farmland Assessment Through Multiple Regression Analysis
Farmland owners and agricultural producers often require accurate measures of the market value of agricultural parcels. However, there are a number of complicating factors that make estimation difficult. We demonstrate how multiple regression analysis may be used to estimate the market values while controlling for property differences and minimizing human error. We provide an example that uses a set of 545 farmland sales in Minnesota from 2009. Further, we demonstrate how the analysis can be easily replicated by Extension educators for regional farmland price estimation.
Estimating Retail Development Capacity: Gap Analysis in Action
This article discusses one method for converting retail trade gap data into estimates of retail real estate development capacity using both public and proprietary data sources. This information is useful to Extension agents and economic development professionals interested in downtown redevelopment and targeted retail business recruitment.
Making the Case for Demographic Data in Extension Programming
Understanding one's community is essential for effective Extension programming across all program areas. The use of current and reliable demographic data is crucial for Extension to develop effective education and programming to track change and to uncover hidden community characteristics. We discuss what demographic data are, present examples of programming applications using demographic data and their importance for communities, and detail how to access demographic data.
Tracking Online Data with YouTube's Insight Tracking Tool
YouTube users have access to the powerful data collection tool, Insight. Insight allows YouTube content producers to collect data about the number of online views, geographic location of viewers by country, the demographics of the viewers, how a video was discovered, and the attention span of the viewer while watching the video. This article reports on the viral capacity of a video over a 24- month period.
Tea Time: Raising Awareness and Support for Extension
In a time of reliance on electronic media for information, chaotic programming environments, and declining public resources, Extension workers need to find unique ways to connect with stakeholders to maintain and increase support for programming. To address this need, we developed, conducted, and evaluated a series of stakeholder teas. We found this method of communicating with stakeholders builds social, political, and fiscal support for Extension programming.
Extension Facilitated Scenario Planning to Direct a Preferred Agriculture Future
One role of Extension is to challenge clientele about what the future of a given industry may look like. Developing a scenario is a well-established process to help frame the question, "What might we need to do?" and guide future planning and decision-making. To develop a plan for a preferred future, clientele can be instructed on what futures are and challenged to think through potential factors that can influence the future. From this discussion, a scenarios framework outlining plausible, probable and preferred futures can be developed. This article incorporates the methods and outcomes of a scenario workshop.
The Financial Education Tool Kit: Helping Teachers Meet State-Mandated Personal Finance Requirements
States are recognizing the need for personal financial education and have begun requiring it as a condition for high school graduation. Responding to teacher requests to help them meet state-mandated financial education requirements, FCS educators in the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service developed a financial education tool kit. This article describes the contents of the tool kit and its many uses.
How Do You Successfully Start Out in a County Position?
Agents may find themselves working in a new location by choice or due to economic necessity. When changing counties, it is good to remember five basic steps; organize, meet, plan, produce, and balance to help get established in your new community.
The Nature of Organizational Learning in a State Extension Organization
Our complex and rapidly changing world demands a more nimble, responsive, and flexible Extension organization. The findings from a study involving interviews across a state Cooperative Extension Service paint a picture of organizational learning in Extension. Four key dimensions of learning surfaced. Of particular importance are the application of a model for organizational knowledge creation and the characteristics of transformational organizational learning for innovation. Recommendations focus on actively supporting organizational learning, developing ways to tap the vast knowledge and skills of Extension professionals, and institutionalizing means to transfer learning.
Home on the Range-Health Literacy, Rural Elderly, Well-Being
The demographic and socioeconomic impacts of the baby boomer generation turning 65 in 2011 will be magnified in rural areas where elderly are already disproportionately represented. The overall goal of a collaborative, community-based project was to improve the health literacy, health outcomes, and overall well-being of rural elderly in four small, rural communities. The methodology involved implementing four documented interventions working with Extension agents, senior center directors, librarians, and public health nurses in the communities. Extension can play a critical leadership role working with other key community stakeholders in improving health literacy, health and well-being of rural elderly.
Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies and Practices in Family Child Care Homes in Oregon: Baseline Findings from the Healthy Home Child Care Project
Baseline findings from the Healthy Home Child Care Project include data from Family Child Care Providers (FCCPs) in Oregon (n=53) who completed assessments of nutrition and physical activity policies and practices and BMI data for children in the care of FCCPs (n=205). Results show that a significant percentage of FCCPs failed to meet child care standards in several areas and that 26.8% of children under the care of FCCPs were overweight or obese. These data supported the development of an Extension-delivered intervention specific to FCCPs in Oregon and highlight areas of concern that should be addressed through targeted trainings of FCCPs.
Jump Into Action
Jump Into Action (JIA) is a school-based team-taught program to help fifth-grade students make healthy food choices and be more active. The JIA team (physical education teacher, classroom teacher, school nurse, and parent) work together to provide a supportive environment as students set goals to improve food choices and increase activity. Following the program, students demonstrated increased self efficacy and knowledge of health behaviors. Students also reported, 1) drinking less soda and sugar added drinks, 2) spending more time being physically active, and 3) consuming four servings of dairy products more frequently.
Extension Newsletters and Individual Counseling: Equally Effective in Changing Worksite Wellness Participants Dietary Intakes
The Affordable Care Act provides impetus for Extension efforts in worksite wellness. The study reported here examined the influence of two worksite wellness interventions, newsletters and individual counseling. Surveys examined dietary and physical activity behaviors of participants pre- and post-intervention (N=157). Descriptive statistics, paired samples t-tests, and repeated measures ANOVA identified change in nutrient intakes; McNemar's Test evaluated physical activity participation. Both interventions significantly increased fruit/vegetable servings, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber while decreasing total fat, saturated fat, percent fat, and dietary cholesterol. There is opportunity for Extension in worksite wellness programming and research to strengthen evidence-based practice.
Identifying and Measuring Food Deserts in Rural Ohio
The purpose of our article is twofold. First, we introduce a framework for U.S. Extension educators to measure the extent of food access at any scale when information about food carried by retailers is limited. Second, we create a baseline for the Ohio Food Policy Council so that work to increase food access in rural areas will have a benchmark to measure success. Three broad aspects of food accessibility—physical, economic, and healthful—are considered. Lack of larger supermarkets, lack of competition, and high concentrations of nearby fast food alternatives are three issues that deserve attention in rural Ohio.
In Vermont, Se Habla Español: Using Occupational Spanish to Help Dairy Farmers Manage a Changing Workforce
Hispanic workers are an important part of the agricultural labor force in the United States. In the past decade the geographical range of this largely Spanish-speaking workforce has expanded into areas, such as the state of Vermont, where few farmers speak Spanish. In order to safely and productively manage these new workers, methods to teach farmers how to communicate with this changing labor force are needed. This article reports on the use of an intensive occupational Spanish program designed to efficiently improve communication between Vermont dairy farmers and their Hispanic workers.
Evaluation of a Sustainable Green Living Expo Event: Attendees' Reports of Satisfaction, Learning, and Behavior Change
This article presents the evaluation of the Sustainable Big Bend Green Living Expo and Education Fair, which targets participants with a variety of learning opportunities. Evaluation was carried out using onsite surveys along with follow-up surveys and phone interviews. Results indicate that a 1-day sustainability event is a meaningful way to reach individuals and that they have high levels of satisfaction, learning, and self-reported behavior change. The study concludes that Extension has a critical role to play in sustainable living issues and that systematic evaluation can be valuable for program improvement as well as documentation of outcomes.
SWAT (Student Weekend Arborist Team): A Model for Land Grant Institutions and Cooperative Extension Systems to Conduct Street Tree Inventories
SWAT (Student Weekend Arborist Team) is a program affiliated with Cornell University and Extension founded to conduct street tree inventories in New York State communities with 10,000 residents or fewer, a group of communities underserved in community forestry planning. Between 2002 and 2010, SWAT conducted 40 inventories, and data from these inventories has been used to create community forestry management plans for inventoried communities. SWAT's inventory methodology and the program's success provide a model for other land-grant institutions and Extension systems to inventory publicly managed street trees and support community forestry planning in smaller communities throughout the United States.
Assessment of Bio-Security Risks Associated with 4-H Animal Science Exhibition Practices in California
Bio-security related to animal agriculture is a high priority issue, and recent incidents demonstrate the potential for disease transmission and proliferation involving animals exhibited at public venues. Data collected at the California State Fair and eight county fairs in the north central region of California were used to assess existing bio-security risks associated with 4-H project animals. Outcomes revealed disease transmission risks associated with exhibition practices including housing and visitor contact and highlight the need to develop and provide relevant education resources to 4-H youth, volunteers, and staff.
Research in Brief
The Value in Evaluating and Communicating Program Impact: The Ohio BR&E Program
Assessing program impact can provide useful program evaluation data. It also provides a basis for program development, marketing, and justification. This article discusses recent impact evaluation efforts and findings of a long-time Extension program; referred to as Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E). How such information can be communicated to existing program underwriters and prospective program partners is also described.
Extension Professionals' Strengths and Needs Related to Nutrition and Health Programs
We report results of a Web-based nationwide survey of nutrition and health Extension specialists representing 42 states. Survey items (n = 36) assessed five areas: curriculum review, nutrition and physical activity, professional training, communication, and evaluation. An internal curriculum review was common, but few states shared their criteria or process on-line. The majority of respondents reported discussing physical activity, and over half lead physical activities. Most favored on-line professional development training and a one-stop website for sharing information and resources. Evaluation data were most commonly collected for food safety, healthy eating and physical activity, and food resource management.
Factors Influencing Perceptions of Service Quality in Cooperative Extension Workers
The authors examined the direct and indirect impact of empowerment on service quality as perceived by Extension staff. Using a sample 283 respondents, the results revealed that along with empowerment, constructs such as job satisfaction and organizational identification positively affected service quality. Undoubtedly, each of these variables contributes in explaining how employees perceive their service performance, together with elements of customer orientation.
Participation in Volunteer-Driven Programs and Their Effects on Homeowners' Landscaping Practices
Based on responses from a regional survey, Master Gardeners are more likely to report changes in yard landscaping and fertilizer and chemical use practices than are non-participants. Water quality monitoring volunteers are more likely to report changes in uses of fertilizers and other chemicals and in yard irrigation. Water resource protection group participants are more likely to report changes in all types of yard management practices examined. Respondents' demographics, place of residence, environmental attitudes, and news sources are also correlated with reported changes in behavior. We employ these factors to control for systematic factors related to participation on these programs.
The Need for Accurate Prediction Equations for the Carcass Lean Content of Pigs
Prediction equations for pork carcass lean percentage are widely used in Extension, teaching, and research. Prediction equations using carcass or live animal measurements are used in carcass contests, live animal evaluation, and marketing. Fat–free lean gain is used to estimate the daily lysine requirements for pigs in swine nutrition guides. The use of inaccurate equations has substantial economic impact. Extension specialists must make the effort to confirm the accuracy of the equations they recommend for use. Standards of prediction accuracy and biases must be developed to assure that accurate equations are developed and recommended for industry use.
Assessment of Pork Producer Educational Needs for Adoption of Group Sow Housing
Pork producers in Michigan and several other states are mandated through regulation or legislation to house gestating sows in groups. Focus groups with Michigan pork producers were completed to determine their educational needs to transition from individual housing to group sow housing. Pork producers indicated that their strategic education needs were: retrofitting existing facilities, feeding systems, employee training, new construction, genetics, and production scheduling. Regarding implementation, producers indicated that education would be needed on defining a sow group, stockperson training, medical care, and feeding and watering. Depending on the topic, producers indicated different educational media preferences for program delivery.
Factors Considered When Making Corn Foliar Fungicide Application Decisions in Illinois
Foliar fungicide use on corn in Illinois has increased drastically beginning in 2007. In an effort to better understand the factors considered in corn fungicide application decisions, attendees of a series of meetings in Illinois were surveyed. Results indicate that disease pressure was the most important factor considered by the greatest percentage of survey respondents (38%). Factors not related to disease or disease risk were considered the most important factor for 23% of the respondents. These results indicate that additional Extension programming is needed to teach the importance of considering disease and disease risk when making a fungicide decision.
The Changing Interest in Organic Agriculture in Texas and Its Implications for Texas AgriLife Extension Service
The study reported here sought to determine the level of demand Texas AgriLife Extension agents are receiving for information on organic agriculture and their interest in training on organic agriculture. A majority of agents perceived the interest in organic agriculture was low to moderate in their respective counties, but was increasing. Agents indicated they had not received much formal training in organic agriculture but expressed an interest in training and noted traditional information resources and Extension workshops would be the most useful.