February 2004 // Volume 42 // Number 1

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page
"JOE by the Numbers" reports on our submission, acceptance, and readership rates for 2003, and discusses two significant numbers for 2004: "10" and "40." "February 2004 JOE" makes mention of some of the articles published in this month's issue and of what they have in common.


On Line and In Touch: Meeting the Challenges of Communication for Extension Professionals
Shaklee, Harriet; Archer, Tom; Glaze, Jr., J. Benton
Ten years ago the Journal of Extension moved to an electronic format to better serve Extension professionals. A survey of recent JOE authors showed strong support for the Web-based format of the journal. Authors lauded the searchability of the database, the ease of the manuscript submission process, and their ability to reach their field-based audience through the electronic format. Some authors raised concerns about the credibility of Web publications like the Journal of Extension and about slow manuscript review turn-around times. The Journal of Extension has instituted changes to address these concerns.

Co-Authoring Papers in Research Teams: Avoiding the Pitfalls
Enfield, Richard P.; Lee, Faye C. H.
In many states, both county-based and campus-based Extension staff are expected to conduct research and publish in both academic journals and practitioner publications. More Extension professionals are now experiencing the struggles associated with the sticky issues of authorship that faculty have long experienced. We set the stage with several true stories and present several points that can be used to avoid the common and difficult pitfalls of authorship that create ill will, even among close colleagues. By using the guidelines presented, it is possible to have professionally rewarding co-authoring experiences and to avoid the quagmire that results from either unthinking or unethical behavior.

Feature Articles

Leadership Styles of Agricultural Communications and Information Technology Managers: What Does the Competing Values Framework Tell Us About Them?
Parker, Kimberly L.
The study described here compared the leadership styles of managers of agricultural communications, information technology, and combined units among USDA-CSREES state partners. A Web-based survey was used to collect data from 94 managers in 48 states and USDA-CSREES. The survey collected demographic information and also included the Competing Values Instrument: Self-Assessment, which was used to measure leaders in eight manager roles. Conclusions from the study include: 1) managers are more similar in their styles than dissimilar, 2) managers can benefit from training to strengthen and balance their skills, and 3) state partners can diversify and improve their leadership by including more women.

ORIGINS: A Valuable Web-Based Resource for Community Economic Development
Barta, Suzette; Woods, Michael D.; Dauffenbach, Robert; Wallace, Jeff
This article describes a successful partnership among Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Together they maintain an electronic database containing a wide range of Oklahoma-specific data. The Internet has made this bulletin board, called ORIGINS, incredibly easy for the average person to use. Recently, the biggest complaint regarding ORIGINS is that it almost has too much data. Educators at the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service at OSU have taken their wireless computer lab on the road to try to teach community leaders about the Internet, about ORIGINS, and about other tools available to help develop local economies.

Pond Management: An Evaluation of Web-Based Information Delivery
Kraft, Clifford
This article evaluates the effectiveness of Web site use in improving pond management practices within New York and as a resource for improving pond management information delivery. Using inquiry statistics generated by the Pond Management Web site, we identified and addressed specific seasonal information needs. Based on email survey results, more than half of the Web site users reported making some pond management changes as recommended in the Web site. This Web site clearly provides an improved ability to understand and address user needs in a changing environment.

Micro Business Use of Technology and Extension's Role
Muske, Glenn; Stanforth, Nancy; Woods, Michael D.
Information and communication technology (ICT) has changed the way many firms operate, but little is known concerning ICT use by micro businesses, businesses employing 10 or fewer people. This article reports a study investigating ICT use by 193 Oklahoma micro business owners. These businesses actively used computers and the Internet. Many owners had Web pages, and those pages often generated a profit, although typically very small. The findings can help Extension professionals understand micro businesses better and assist them to develop programs focused on helping owners use current technology to enhance productivity and improve efficiency.

Educational Interests of Extension Agents: Implications for the Delivery of Educational Programming at a Distance
Edwards, M. Craig; McLucas, Bryan; Briers, Gary E.; Rohs, Fredrick R.
How interested are Extension agents in receiving education at a distance? Are agents focused on earning a graduate degree via distance, or are they inclined to pursue a certification, or even enroll for a single course? Do agents perceive they possess sufficient competence to learn effectively on-line?  What do agents believe are significant barriers preventing them from furthering their education via distance? If sufficient interest exists, what steps should colleges of agriculture take to meet the needs of this audience? This article reports responses from 238 Extension agents in Georgia to questions about their interest in learning at a distance.

Research in Brief

Using Technology to Link Researchers and Educators: Evaluation of Electronic Conferencing
Futris, Ted G.; Adler-Baeder, Francesca; Dean, Katherine J.
Extension Educators' effectiveness in the field is enhanced by the desire and practice of keeping current in the research related to their work. They often rely on conference attendance to learn first-hand from researchers in their field. This article reviews the development, implementation, and effectiveness of a 5-day electronic conference that connected educators in the field and from multiple states with top researchers in a selected area of study. Evaluation data showed that e-conferencing can serve as a cost-effective educational approach for communicating information and stimulating program and professional development. Recommendations for conducting on-line seminars are offered.

Educational Needs of Beginning Farmers as Perceived by Iowa Extension Professional Staff
Nelson, Dan R.; Trede, Larry D.
A survey of local and state Extension professionals in Iowa and implications for Extension and beginning farmer education are discussed. Professional groups differed slightly in their ratings, but perceived educational providers to be useful overall. They rated the Internet as the most useful media and gave low ratings to radio and newspaper. This contrasts with earlier opinions of beginning farmers. The groups supported using input from farmers and problem-solving methods, but disagreed when rating distance education for program delivery. The topics perceived to be most important were in the business area.

School Enrichment: An Investigation of the Degree, Impact, and Factors for Success in Colorado
Tochterman, Suzanne M.; Carroll, Jan B.; Steele, Douglas L.
School enrichment is efficient for 4-H in reaching diverse youth in large numbers. But to what degree are agents utilizing school enrichment efforts? What is the impact of these efforts? And what are the factors for success? This article describes a sample of school enrichment activities occurring across the state of Colorado. The research represents the experiences of 20 Extension agents who conduct school enrichment programs. Recommendations for further study are proposed.

Identifying What 4-H'ers Learn from Community Service Learning Projects
Hairston, Jewel E.
The article reports a study determining what 4-H delegates learned from community service learning projects conducted at Virginia's 4-H Congress. Four hundred and fifteen 4-H delegates participated and completed open-ended reflection instruments to address the research question. Delegates indicated they learned: (a) the importance of helping youth and the community, (b) new skills and information, (c) the significance of teamwork, (d) project ideas, and (e) resources to assist with project implementation. Additionally, their feedback helped identify project experiences that were ineffective. This information will ultimately assist program developers to successfully integrate community service learning programming into Virginia's 4-H curriculum.

Youth Perspectives on Food Safety
Guion, Lisa A.; Simonne, Amy; Easton, Janice
Many 4-H and Family and Consumer Science educators are interested in educating 4-Hers about the importance of food safety and preventing foodborne illnesses. Before planning a food safety program, it is important to ask questions that will yield such information as what food safety topics interest 4-Hers and how they want to receive this information. Such questions, as well as others, were asked of 285 4-Hers in an exploratory study. The study's findings provide some guidance to Extension specialist and county faculty who design and deliver food safety education to 4-H youth in their state/county.

Agricultural Biotechnology Training for Extension Educators
Fritz, Susan; Ward, Sarah; Byrne, Patrick; Harms, Kristyn; Namuth, Deana
Public acceptance or rejection will be important to the future of genetic modification technology. Given that the public reports itself to be poorly educated about the subject, there is an education opportunity for Extension educators. Pre- and post-tests measuring awareness and attitudes were administered to 55 participants (46 Extension educators) in a biotechnology workshop. Respondents' predict farmers will accept biotechnology as a practice sooner than consumers will. Biotechnology workshop topics in reduction of pesticides, benefits to the environment, control of released genes, safer food, harming the environment, added nutritional value, and risk compared to pesticides were recommended for consumers and farmers.

Ideas at Work

Developing a National Web-Based Learning Center for Natural Resource Education
Jackson, Samuel W.; Hopper, George M.; Clatterbuck, Wayne K.
The National Web-Based Learning Center for Private Forest and Range Landowners is being built to be a "virtual natural resource education center" to provide interactive online instruction for the target audience of all private forest and range landowners and managers. Content for the Center is being developed by land-grant universities across the nation. Content modules will contain timely information on a particular topic relating to natural resource management and utilize interactive Web features to enhance the learning experience of the user. The Center will provide increased access to accurate information on natural resource management to forest and range landowners.

An Effective One-Hour Consumer-Education Program on Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior Toward Functional Foods
Killackey-Jones, Brenda; Lyle, Roseann; Evers, William; Tappe, Marlene
An education intervention was designed by Purdue Extension to improve functional food knowledge of Indiana residents. A questionnaire was created to examine the ability of the intervention to change participants' knowledge, attitudes, and dietary behaviors regarding functional foods. A 31-slide PowerPoint presentation, accompanying script, and additional handouts were created for this intervention. In this sample, a 1-hour functional food intervention significantly improved consumers' knowledge regarding functional foods immediately after the intervention and 6 weeks later. Participants' consumption behaviors increased significantly at 6 weeks.

Rediscovering the Potential of In-Depth Training for Extension Educators
Ferrer, Millie; Fugate, Anne M.; Perkins, Daniel F.; Easton, Janice
In exploring in-service training methods, Extension shouldn't forget the potential of in-depth, face-to-face in-service training for facilitating the integration and application of more complex knowledge and skills. The Florida Innovators Program (FIP) is a 2-year professional development program for Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H agents during which participants develop a program for at-risk audiences. After program workshops, agents implement their projects with the help of a seed grant and evaluate and report on the results. Evaluation indicates that FIP's approach is building the participants' capacity to implement community-based programs and highlights program characteristics that enhance the value of face-to-face in-service training.

4-H Site-Based Youth Development Programs: Reaching Underserved Youth in Targeted Communities
Skuza, Jennifer A.
The very youth in most need of programs are often left outside the programming circle. Reaching underserved youth is the impetus behind this article. The purpose is two-fold: a) to discuss the reasons why many youth programs fall short in reaching underserved youth and to offer practice-oriented recommendations and b) to describe the site-based youth development program--an innovative delivery method--and its effectiveness. Sources of data include summative and formative program evaluations from Urban 4-H Youth Development programs in Minnesota and supporting secondary research.

Tools of the Trade

Learning in Place Using "Common and Comfortable" Technology
Coppernoll, Susanna; Stone, Barbara
Diminishing travel budgets, time constraints, and the demand for up-to the minute information require constant creativity in training and development. Using familiar technology, you have all the tools you need to deliver practical and to-the-point learning opportunities for Extension professionals.

Innovative Tools in Public Education and Technology Transfer for an Emerging Offshore Aquaculture Industry
Reid, Timothy H.; Bridger, Christopher J.
Although principally the same as other aquaculture operations, the details involved in raising fish in cages several miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico can be hard to imagine--for both the general public and aquaculture practitioners. The Offshore Aquaculture Consortium (OAC) turned to technology innovation and to industry and university partnerships as "Extension tools" to educate these stakeholder groups. The OAC established Cage Cam to provide real-time Internet feeds of the offshore operations, an aquarium exhibit for conceptualization, and a "How-to" feature on our Web site for logistics transfer.

Creating an Interactive Home Food Preservation Tutorial in Flash
Nummer, Brian A.
Many people would agree that they prefer to learn with interactivity, rather than by just reading documents or watching videos. A Web-based learning activity is available online 24/7/365. Macromedia Flash™ is a good authoring option for learning sites, especially where interactivity is desired. A tutorial, Food Preservation Basics, was created using Flash™. The tutorial is basically an elaborate, interactive slideshow. Graphics, text, interactivity, and animation were used to communicate science-based principles in an entertaining manner.

Agriculture Environmental Management Information System: An Online Decision Support Tool
Harrison, John D.; Kanade, Shreyas S.; Toney, Aditya H.
This article describes an enterprise information system, The Agriculture Environmental Management and Information System (AEMIS), which provides efficient and accurate access to the latest information about manure management theories, methods, and tools for the livestock and poultry industry.

NASD: The National Agricultural Safety Database--An Important Tool for Safety Programming
Lehtola, Carol J.; Nelson, Jeffrey S.; Brown, Charles M.
The National Agricultural Safety Database is an important and heavily used Web resource. We describe NASD and report the results of a user survey taken in 2003.

A Web Site to Help Farmers Decide If They Can Afford to Retire
DeVaney, Sharon A.
Because many farmers are concerned about whether they can afford to retire, a Retirement Estimator for Farm Families was developed for use on the Internet. Farmers are advised to consider life expectancy and think about how income and expenses could change in retirement. Farmers can use the site to enter their information on income and expenses in retirement and obtain feedback on whether they can afford to retire. Links to other resources such as the Social Security Administration and a life expectancy calculator are featured on the site.

Strengthening Programs to Reach Diverse Audiences: A Curriculum to Planning and Implementing Extension Programs for Ethnically Diverse Audiences
Guion, Lisa; Chattaraj, Samantha; Lytle, Stephanie Sullivan
This article provides the description, theoretical framework, scope and organization, and usage of the newly developed Strengthening Programs to Reach Diverse Audiences curriculum. The curriculum was developed by a multi-state, multi-university, multidisciplinary team in order to increase the knowledge and skills of Extension professionals and paraprofessionals on how to design more effective programs to reach ethnically diverse audiences. Information on how to obtain the curriculum is also provided.