April 2006 // Volume 44 // Number 2
Spread the Word About JOE Rigor
"Spread the Word" explains
that JOE's increasing rigor is still an unfortunately well-kept
secret and asks your help in spreading the word. "April JOE " points
out that 11 of the 29 articles in the issue deal in one way or another
with economic development, entrepreneurship, or helping business development
and that there is also an article continuing the dialog on scholarship
Is There Justice? Seeking Fairness in Cooperative Extension Programs During
Times of Change
Cooperative Extension Service administrators
on the federal, state, regional, district, and county level will be challenged
in the coming years to provide leadership as their organizations are defined
in a changing society. Recognizing and implementing strategies to ensure
positive perceptions of organizational justice will reap tremendous rewards
in the form of increased satisfaction, commitment, trust, and citizenship.
At the same time, positive perceptions of justice will reduce employee turnover
and workplace aggression issues. This article defines organizational justice,
including its four constructs; raises the importance of the issue; and offers
strategies to address fairness/justice in the workplace.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Is There Justice? Seeking Fairness in Cooperative Extension Programs During
Times of Change"
The Impact of Microenterprise Development Training on Low-Income Clients
The study reported here examined the impact of
microenterprise development (MED) programs on low-income individuals using
a case study of 140 clients of the Vermont Micro Business Development Program
who participated in a statewide telephone survey. The study also examined
variables that are associated with change in client reliance on public assistance.
Outcomes achieved include: access to capital, positive attitude changes,
business start up and growth, job creation, increased household income, decreased
reliance on public assistance, and satisfaction with services. Significant
relationships were found between certain client characteristics and outcomes
and decreased reliance on public assistance.
African Americans' Views on Access to Healthy Foods: What a
Farmers' Market Provides
The study reported here assessed African
Americans' perceptions of a local farmers' market and access to healthy produce
in their community. The majority of respondents were satisfied with several
dimensions of the farmers' market, including location, cleanliness, variety,
price, and quality of produce. Comparing the farmers' market to the local
stores in terms of access to fresh produce, about twice the number of residents
was satisfied with the farmers' market than with the local stores. This study
has implications for Extension in terms of promoting farmers' markets in
low-income minority communities.
The Future of Agriculture in Our Community: A Pilot Program to Increase Community
Dialogue About Agricultural Sustainability
The Future of Agriculture in Our Community is a
program developed to allow Pennsylvania communities to assess and address
the needs of local agriculture. This article describes the program in detail
and provides results from an evaluation conducted of the pilot program. Findings
(n=55) suggest that the program was received very well among participants
and seemed to increase community organization skills, knowledge of local
agriculture, interest in agriculture and in community life, and intentions
to participate in future volunteer efforts. Based on these results, recommendations
are offered for those interested in pursuing similar programs.
Web-Based Communities as a Tool for Extension and Outreach
The Internet has become a common tool for facilitating
business transactions, fostering communication, and aiding for-profit and
non-profit companies and organizations to better compete. An additional benefit
of the Internet is the ability to create sector-specific Web-based communities
that can facilitate outreach and Extension efforts. Communities in general
can be any group with a common interest or goal and can include a number
of actions such as information sharing, real-time dialog, and transaction
facilitation. In this article, we discuss a background of Web-based communities
and forest-sector Web-based communities developed by Cooperative Extension
faculty members at two U.S. universities.
Using CD-Based Materials to Teach Turfgrass Management
Traditional Extension programs are delivered in
face-to-face workshop settings. Recently, educators have used new technologies
for program delivery with increasing frequency. One technique (CD-ROM) has
not been explored thoroughly. Using a turfgrass management curriculum for
Master Gardeners, researchers sought to determine if learning differed between
students taught using CD-based materials versus those taught in traditional
workshops. Using a pre-test/post-test design, 94 participants' turfgrass
management knowledge was measured. CD-based materials were more effective
than traditional settings for teaching turfgrass management topics to Master
Gardener trainees. CD-based materials could increase the number of clientele
reached and enhance their learning experiences.
The Impact of Interactive Multimedia on Nutrition and Physical Activity Knowledge
of High School Students
Creative ways to encourage adolescents to develop
positive lifelong eating and physical activity patterns are needed. The project
described here assessed the effectiveness of an interactive multimedia product,
SyberShop, to increase knowledge and influence behavior change in nutrition
and physical activity in adolescents. SyberShop was effective in increasing
knowledge in students. Students using SyberShop scored 28% higher on a post-test
compared to a control group receiving no nutrition education (p < 0.001)
and 19% higher than a group of student receiving lectures. (p<0.05). Using
multimedia is an effective way to educate young people about healthy eating
and physical activity.
From Water Quality to Riparian Corridors:
Assessing Willingness to Pay for Conservation Easements Using the Contingent
This article reports a survey to elicit
public response to a proposal to fund a purchase of a conservation easements
program to protect an environmentally sensitive riparian corridor. The results
from two versions of the contingent valuation method (CVM)--a payment card
and a referendum--reveal that mean household willingness to pay (WTP) is
$16.80 and $29.16, respectively. Factors influencing WTP include proposed
cost, age of respondent, and individual sense of local environmental priorities.
This type of study represents an important opportunity for Extension educators
to assist local officials as they struggle to make policy decisions regarding
a variety of public projects.
The Scholarship of Application
In the late 1990s, Oregon State University brought
its Extension field faculty into academic departments where they are evaluated
for promotion and tenure. This was intended to promote better collaboration
and integration of research, teaching, and Extension. Research and teaching
faculty, however, continue to respond to the traditional academic reward
and recognition system. Newer faculty members are unclear about the meaning
of our commitment to the threefold mission. Extension field faculty are frustrated
by the apparently incongruent demands of scholarship and public service.
This article provides a brief history of the engagement movement in higher
education and describes current dilemmas.
Catalytic Leadership: Reconsidering the Nature of Extension's Leadership
Extension's role in leading change in communities
must shift from traditional notions of leadership to one of catalytic leadership.
The expertise, programming-driven leadership model of Extension's past
must be replaced with one of activating and convening stakeholders and
facilitating problem-solving processes that address public issues collaboratively.
This article introduces the basic skills of catalytic leadership, offers
two illustrative examples from Extension in Iowa, and connects this leadership
model with Public Issues Education. It concludes with some suggestions
for how Extension units can move toward the catalytic model.
Research in Brief
Internet Standards: How One State's Small Business Web Sites Compare to
Small business owners are increasingly realizing
the importance of establishing an Internet presence. The purpose of the
study reported here was to evaluate a sample of Web sites of small and
often rural businesses and compare how well the Web sites met a set of
40 standards identified in the literature. In general, the Web sites scored
well. The largest area of concern was the lack of variety of ways a customer
could order or get assistance. Suggestions are provided as to how this
information can be used by Extension educators.
Targeted Marketing: Lessons from an Agri-Tourism Enterprise
Marketing is a top concern for many Extension specialists
and for our audiences. Whether we're selling our own programs or helping
producers and growers sell their products, we need to understand marketing
basics and how to apply them in the field. University of Vermont researchers
analyzed marketing methods used by an agri-tourism enterprise to better
understand which marketing methods are most effective in different circumstances.
The results led to a new hypothesis that has the potential to help Extension
personnel identify appropriate marketing methods for specific products.
Lessons from the Draft Horse Industry in East Texas
The purpose of the study reported here was to
determine and understand the variables responsible for the revival of the
draft horse industry in East Texas. The draft horse industry can provide
viable employment for rural entrepreneurs. The authors suggest universities
and Extension rethink their traditional roles of supporting and providing
resources for rural entrepreneurs engaged in agricultural enterprises that
utilize relic technologies.
Survey Results from Participants of a Short Course for Dairy Herdsmen
A survey was conducted by University of California
Cooperative Extension of past attendees of a dairy herdsman short course.
The purpose was to determine to what degree course participants were applying
course material to their respective position as dairy herdsmen. Overall,
41% of the attendees indicated that they had begun to apply information
from the short course on the dairy farm for which they worked. Hispanic
attendees appreciated simultaneous translations of presentations. Results
from this survey demonstrate the need for a dairy herdsman short course
in order for dairy employees to improve their practical skills in dairy
A Successful Collaborative Research Project: Determining the Effects of
Delayed Castration on Beef Cattle Production and Carcass Traits and Consumer
A cooperative, on-ranch study was conducted to
determine the effect of time of castration on ADG, carcass characteristics,
and consumer preference. Sixty-five bull calves were randomly assigned
to three treatments: early castrates (E), weaned castrates (W) and late
castrates (L). Results indicated no differences between treatments for
ADG, backfat, ending live weight, hot carcass weight, or dressing percentage.
Ribeye area and cutability were higher for the L, and marbling score and
yield grade were lower for L. Consumer panelists who ate beef regularly
identified E as more tender, juicy, and flavorful and had better overall
acceptability than W or L.
Clientele Perceptions of the University of the Wyoming Cooperative Extension
Service Livestock Program
The purpose of the study reported here was to
assess the level of satisfaction/perceptions of University of Wyoming Cooperative
Extension Service livestock clientele. The conclusions indicated: (1) traditional
producers had a higher level of satisfaction than non-traditional producers,
(2) clientele did not perceive a difference in single-county or multi-county
programming, (3) the program was beneficial, and (4) opportunity exists
to increase clientele. The recommendations were: (1) maintain present educational
course, but also seek other programming avenues, (2) assess perceptions
of non-user clientele, (3) increase the information available to non-traditional
producers, and (4) increase awareness of educational opportunities.
Consumer Interest in Gardening Topics and Preferred Information Sources
A survey was conducted to quantify what gardening
topics consumers were interested in learning and what sources they used
to learn about these topics. Approximately half of the participants (48.2%)
responded that they were currently interested in a topic. Friend/neighbor/family
members (53.4%), garden center staff (51.0%), and gardening books (48.2%)
were the most popular sources for this information. University Web sites,
Extension offices, and Master Gardener programs were among the least five
sources used. Survey results can help Extension personnel with consumer
horticulture responsibilities provide appropriate information to consumers.
Results can also help provide a measure of Extension impact.
Assessment of a Workplace Program's Capability to Teach Communication and
Low-income individuals' lack of personal skills
can be a barrier to workplace success. Using the Skills for Taking Control
of Your Future curriculum, Extension educators taught communication and
decision-making skills to enhance individuals' workplace competency. Pre/post
assessments were designed to collect data on effectiveness of the curriculum
to increase the use of communication and decision-making skill components
in everyday situations. Using a test of significance for differences in
means, socio-demographic group scores were analyzed for pre-post significant
differences. The outcome was positive for some groups, supporting the use
of the curriculum to teach personal skills that enhance individuals' workplace
Real World Evaluation
We address the challenges of creating evaluation
protocols that serve interests of both researchers and field faculty. WSU
Extension used true and retrospective forms of pretest in evaluations of
100 adults attending the Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth
10-14 Years. We hypothesized that both forms of pretest would show positive
change to posttest and that "Desirable" item types would show greater
change. Both forms of the test indicated significant change in intervention-related
behaviors, with greater change on retrospective tests and socially desirable
items. We recommend using both a true pre-test and retrospective pre-test
to satisfy researchers and practitioners.
Ideas at Work
Using a Contingency Plan to Combat Human Resource Risk
Small business owners spend little time thinking
about human resource risks, although the absence of key personnel can be
devastating to a small business. By leading small business owners through
the process of writing a contingency plan, Extension professionals can
help business owners reduce these risks. A contingency plan helps business
owners identify the best possible risk management strategies and ensure
that risk management dollars are spent wisely.
Golden Rules of New Venture Creation
When assisting stakeholders developing new value-added
businesses, Extension faculty need to direct their attention to market
research and the assessment of their clients' strengths/weaknesses prior
to the development/launch of their product. This article presents two rules, "know
thy customer " and "know thy self," and supporting details
to help in the new venture creation process. The rules were developed based
on two Extension programs in value-added centers. The information will
help Extension agents understand the need to pay closer attention to markets
and management when helping their clientele, and they will be able to communicate
that need to them.
Launch Rules for Small Businesses
The entrepreneurial desire is alive and well
in the U.S., and universities have developed various programs targeted
at helping those embarking on this adventure. From their work with hundreds
of start-up businesses, Extension economists at two such centers have defined
a set of "launch rules" to help new businesses avoid common pitfalls.
These "rules" are highly recommended actions to be taken by entrepreneurs
as they stake their time and resources to a new venture. They will also
provide direction for Extension faculty engaged in helping these entrepreneurs.
Engaging Producers in Risk Management Education
The method of focus groups is used to engage
farmers, crop insurance agents, and lenders in a risk management education
project. Workshop participants were invited to offer suggestions leading
to improvement of potato insurance. However, this necessitated understanding
of the existing program. Participants asked far-ranging questions about
the existing program, creating a teachable moment. Material was also discussed
after the session with someone else, a primary goal of the project.
Tools of the Trade
The Risk Matrix: Illustrating the Importance of Risk Management Strategies
Risk management strategies can enable small business
owners, including farmers, to survive and succeed in spite of unexpected
events. The risk matrix is an effective educational tool to illustrate the
importance of risk management strategies. It is easy to use, easy to explain,
and effective at promoting audience participation during risk management
INVenture: A Software-Based Model for Assessing Entrepreneurial Ventures
Relatively few new entrepreneurs develop
business plans or they go about such planning in a haphazard way that invites
errors and omissions. This article presents a systemized, Web-based venture
planning model that collects appropriate information and assists entrepreneurs
in evaluating new ventures. The model provides self-motivated feedback progressively
over a series of stages. Each stage represents a unique level of analysis
crucial to accepting or rejecting proposed ventures. In the process of completing
the model, a detailed and systematic business plan is created.
Docent Manual Development for the Oahu Urban Garden Center
The staff at the University of Hawaii's Urban Garden
Center on Oahu had become overburdened with the recent opening of the Children's
Garden for tours. In the first 8 months, over 1,700 children participated
in tours of the garden. To release pressure on the staff, volunteers need
to be trained to lead the tours. A docent manual was developed for these
volunteers (docents) as a training guide. It was developed with materials
and ideas from the Urban Garden Center, US Forest Service publications, Ranger
Rick's Trees are Terrific!, and several other publications.
Building Partnerships for Youth: An Online Youth Development Resource Center
Youth development practitioners have a great need
for quality professional development resources. The Building Partnerships
for Youth project is a partnership of National 4-H Council and The University
of Arizona designed to provide research-based, practical, applied resources.
To achieve the project goal, a Web site containing a menu of effective youth
development programs, fact sheets, training opportunities, and other useful
information has been developed. This collection of materials was designed
to be useful to Extension educators, as well as health and education professionals.
Fa⋅cil⋅i⋅ta⋅tion: The Road to Effective Meetings
Feeling frustrated with meetings that take a lot
of time yet accomplish little? In California, a "team" of trained
Extension professionals conducted Essential Facilitation (EF) workshops to
expand this technique among 200 Extension professionals, faculty, and volunteers
throughout California. Visit our Web site at <http://groups.ucanr.org/ANR_Leadership/> to
read five case stories illustrating a wide range of scenarios where EF strategies
make a difference in meeting effectiveness and how they benefit community
efforts. Learn how the Interaction Associates model of meeting facilitation
is rapidly becoming the method of choice for more productive and satisfying
meetings with University of California Cooperative Extension staff.
Conducting 4-H Spring Break Activities to Meet Community Needs
A University of Idaho study showed how important
it is for kids to feel accepted and safe during out-of-school hour activities.
A program called "Jump Into Spring" began to provide something
fun and educational for kids to do during spring break. Classes offered were
2 hours long, and the materials used were from approved 4-H curriculum. This
activity has expanded to include more classes and reach a larger audience
each year. Non-4-H members are attending at an increasing rate, exposing
more youth to 4-H. Families attending appreciate something constructive and
educational for youth to do during spring break.