August 2015 // Volume 53 // Number 4
Make Sure You Get Review Results!
In "Make Sure You Get Review Results!" I have an important message for authors of submissions that are currently in JOE Review to help ensure they get their review results. In "August JOE," I call attention to 13 of 34 great articles in another rich issue.
Timberline Manifesto: Seven Concepts Linking Extension and Engagement
Though positioned within universities, Cooperative Extension Services don't have a history of linking effectively to other institutional missions. Extension's emergent role in engaging the entire university provides an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by growing a culture of engaged scholarship and involving matriculated students in Extension work. Other innovative connections can create or strengthen robust relationships between sources and applications of knowledge. This commentary reflects the views of 45 participants at an event designed to look forward toward Extension's second century.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Timberline Manifesto: Seven Concepts Linking Extension and Engagement”
Evaluating Horticultural Site Visits and Individual Teaching Activities in Extension
Horticultural Extension professionals spend much time and effort on one-on-one email, telephone, office, and on-site consultations. This group has expressed challenges in evaluating the many landscape site visits and other individual consultations they conduct and may report these activities as only participatory contacts even when they result in greater levels of outcome. Time constraints and diversity of individual contact teaching are major barriers to evaluating this activity, while building cooperative relationships and demonstrating environmental and financial outcomes are major benefits. This commentary emphasizes the importance of focusing on evaluating this area and provides recommendations for practice and further resource development.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Evaluating Horticultural Site Visits and Individual Teaching Activities in Extension”
Ideas at Work
The Case for a Paradigm Shift in Extension from Information-Centric to Community-Centric Programming
Since its establishment through the Smith-Lever Act, the Cooperative Extension Service has sought to use non-formal education programs centered on community needs to provide research-based information. However, the onset of the information age has transformed the way knowledge is shared and as a result altered the way people access information. Based on observations and program evaluations clients are more interested in the development of communities than passive dissemination of information from traditional Extension programs. Consequently, we assert that the current Extension paradigm of information-centric programming is no longer adequate and Extension should move toward one that is community centric.
Partnering with Private Industry—Ground Rules for Working Together
Extension has a history of partnering with private industry to support critical programs and research projects. However, these partnerships have the potential to present both actual and perceived conflicts of interest at the institutional and individual levels. A recent project in Ohio established a shared funding partnership arrangement among university, local government, and private industry to support a local survey project. To minimize conflicts of interest, an Ohio State University Extension team developed a one-page partnership document to guide the research project. This simple process helped to protect the integrity of Extension, and the credibility of the research project.
Developing a Community-Designed Healthy Urban Food System
Learning About Food in Urban Communities is a comprehensive guide with Extension resources for Food Production, Food & Business, Food & Family, and Food & Community. This publication emerged as part of a 2-year community-planning project. An interdisciplinary OSU team worked with the Weinland Park community, in the central Ohio University District, to explore how food could be a catalyst for urban neighborhood development.
Minnesota 4-H Youth Program Quality Improvement Model
The University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development made an organizational decision in 2011 to invest in a system-wide approach to implement youth program quality into the 4-H program using the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) tool. This article describes the four key components to the Minnesota Youth Program Quality Improvement model, the reasons for investing in this work, and recommendations for other states that may build youth program quality improvement models.
Food Challenge: Serving Up 4-H to Non-Traditional Audiences
This article describes a novel approach for introducing 4-H to non-traditional/diverse audiences using 4-H Food Challenge. Set in a low SES and minority-serving rural school, Food Challenge was presented during the school day to all 7th grade students, with almost half voluntarily participating in an after-school club component. Program design supported school-level STEM enrichment and career development priorities. Topics addressed ranged from food handling/safety to nutrition and cost analysis. Conclusions include a summary of student outcomes and recommendations for school and adult partnerships. Implications for reaching non-traditional 4-H audiences through non-competition formats are discussed.
Fish Farm Challenge Provides STEM Design Experiences for Youth
In 2014, Monsanto Corporation partnered with National 4-H Council to help inspire and develop professional skills among young agriculturalists. The Ohio State University created Fish Farm Challenge, which engaged more than 8,000 youth across eight states. Youth were taught about worldwide food insecurity and the importance of aquaculture. They were then asked to create a prototype of a fish food distribution system using standard materials within a small-group teamwork setting and guidance provided by trained teen leaders. Survey results indicate that one-third of the youth were more interested in science and agriculture after participating in the 90-minute activity.
4-H Southern Swines Feral Hog Challenge
Estimates indicate that the population of feral hogs may exceed 500,000 in Florida. They have proven difficult to manage. Land managers in Florida reported that feral hogs were a significant problem that needed to be addressed. The UF/IFAS St. Lucie County Cooperative Extension conducted the 4-H Southern Swines Feral Hog Challenge to help land managers reduce feral hog populations in a cost-effective manner. This activity was conducted in 2013 and 2014 and resulted in the removal of one hundred and twenty three feral hogs weighing 18, 393 lbs. from the Florida environment.
Evaluation of an Interactive Workshop Designed to Teach Practical Welfare Techniques to Beef Cattle Caretakers and Decision Makers
The purpose of the project was to evaluate the use of an interactive workshop designed to teach novel practical welfare techniques to beef cattle caretakers and decision makers. Following training, respondents reported being more likely to use or recommend use of local anesthesia for dehorning and castration and were more inclined to use meloxicam for pain management. Respondents also reported improvement in performing all skills taught in the workshop. These results suggest instructional techniques used to teach practical concepts/techniques relevant to beef cattle welfare led to improvements in both perceived competency and estimated likelihood that the material will be used.
Tools of the Trade
Issues in Health Reform: Using a Blog to Inform Professionals and the Public
This article describes a blog designed to be a source of unbiased information about the ACA for the general public and as a tool for Extension educators to help them understand the intricacies of the ACA so that they could be more conversant about ACA's opportunities and challenges in their communities. Some current blog posts, including the recent Supreme Court decision, Medicaid Expansions decisions, and a reflection on the first 5 years of the ACA, are noted to showcase how the blog is being used to inform about ongoing policy issues.
Developing Effective Educational Materials Using Best Practices in Health Literacy
Health literacy is emerging as a leading issue affecting U.S. consumers' health. It has been shown to be a stronger predictor of a person's health than age, income, employment status, education level, or race. To best meet the health literacy needs of consumers, Extension educators can use best practice guidelines for improved health communications to develop effective educational materials, which include getting to know the target audience; sending clear, actionable message(s); and using appropriate formatting with meaningful visuals. Extension educators can apply these best practice guidelines to better promote health-related behaviors and communicate science more effectively to consumers.
The Social Media Marketing Map (Part 1): A Tool to Empower the Digital Leaders of Extension
To date, Extension still lacks a strong social media presence. By now the majority of Extension professionals understand the importance of social media in advertising their programs, but don't know where to start. The Social Media Marketing Map (SMMM) provides guidance, helping busy Extension professionals design and implement a social media strategy to engage audiences and connect them to online or face-to-face Extension events.
Using Commitment as a Tool to Promote Behavior Change in Extension Programming
Social marketing is an approach used to encourage behavior change among a specific target audience. Social marketing offers a number of tools, and Extension programming that targets behavior change could improve outcomes by incorporating the commitment tool. Commitment has been effective in natural resources campaigns that encourage sustainable behavior change. This article discusses the concept of commitment and different ways that this social marketing strategy can be used to promote behavior change through Extension programming.
Making ResourceFULL™ Decisions: A Process Model for Civic Engagement
Many public issues are becoming more complex, interconnected, and cannot be resolved by one individual or entity. Research shows an informed decision is not enough. Addressing these issues requires authentic civic engagement (deliberative dialogue) with the public to reach resourceFULLTM decisions—a decision based on diverse sources of information and supported with resources (including human), competence, and commitment. The University of Minnesota Extension has developed a research-informed Model for Civic Engagement as a tool to describe a process for authentic civic engagement and support educational outreach. This article describes the Model and its applicability to educate on civic engagement.
Industry and Extension Partnership to Enhance STEM and Agricultural Education
STEM education has become essential in the United States, and agriculture allows for a great opportunity to teach STEM education in a fun, hands-on manner. The Virginia Southern Piedmont Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SPAREC), in partnership with King Arthur Flour, has created a program that reinforces what is taught in the classroom while also adding in new lessons in citizenship. This program has been very successful and serves as an excellent model for future partnerships between industry and Extension.
Using Dice Games to Teach Hazards, Risk, and Outcomes in HACCP Classes
This article describes the incorporation of a dice game (piggy) to teach food safety hazards and risk in an engaging way in HACCP classes. Each player accumulates points by rolling two dice, but loses points in a turn when rolling a 7, or all accumulated points when rolling two consecutive doubles. This game helps explain the difference between a concrete event, a hazard (number 7) and risk of that hazard occurring (the probability of rolling number 7). Two consecutive doubles inflict a more severe loss and can help explain the variability in outcomes of food safety hazards.
Weed Garden: An Effective Tool for Extension Education
A weed garden was constructed to quantify and improve identification skills among clientele. The garden was planted with over 100 weed species based on surveys on problematic weeds. The weed garden proved useful for introducing additional hands-on learning activities into traditional lecture-based seminars. Through seminar and field day attendee feedback, data were gathered on weeds commonly misidentified. The data reflected the need to continue focusing education efforts on weed identification and to increase training on weeds commonly misidentified. Through continued use of the weed garden, Extension specialists can enhance clientele identification skills and aid in developing effective weed management strategies.
Soil Health Educational Resources
Soil health and cover crops are topics of interest to farmers, gardeners, and students. Three soil health and cover crop demonstrations provide educational resources. Demonstrations one outlines two educational cover crop seed displays, including the advantages and disadvantages. Demonstration two shows how to construct and grow a cover crop root and shoot display. Demonstration three offers several soil health websites, bulletins and books, and videos on growing and managing cover crops. These educational resources may be used to educate Extension clientele on soil health concepts.
Hands-On Precision Agriculture Data Management Workshops for Producers and Industry Professionals: Development and Assessment
Three Precision Agriculture Data Management workshops regarding yield monitor data were conducted in 2014, reaching 62 participants. Post-workshop surveys (n=58) indicated 73% of respondents experienced a moderate to significant increase in knowledge related to yield monitor data usage. Another 72% reported that they planned to utilize best management practices presented or would expand their current practices based on knowledge gained. One-year post-workshop survey (n=14) results indicated that far less (36%) were able to implement some of the techniques presented. However, comments indicated that accessible follow-up material would be beneficial in successfully integrating learning topics into data management systems.
Food and Nutrition Extension Programs: Next Generation Impact Evaluation
Grassroots stakeholder input results in relevant and timely Extension programs, but presents a challenge for performance measurement using common indicators. A balanced approach to program evaluation and reporting that is adequately valid and reliable while honoring the Extension culture of service is most likely to be successful. This article reviews recent advances in evaluation methodology of food and nutrition programs. It further describes how this evidence base informs the current set of national Extension program outcomes and indicators. Evaluation work is an essential step in documenting the public value of Extension programs.
Farmers' Engagement with Community Food Insecurity: Approaches, Perspectives, and Implications for Extension
Hunger is an issue of growing concern nationwide, and farmers can play a critical role in helping individuals and families gain access to healthy, fresh, locally produced food. In 2011, we conducted interviews with 12 Vermont farmers who provide local food to low-income Vermonters through a wide array of activities including sale, donation, or other means. By better understanding how and why farmers work to address hunger in communities, Extension professionals can better support them to achieve the dual goals of food security and farm viability.
Low-Income Mothers' Perceptions of Barriers to Using Farmers Markets: A SNAP-Ed Initiative to Understand Access Points to Local Foods
The study reported here describes a Virginia Family Nutrition Program's target population's perceptions of barriers to using a farmers market to access local foods. Mothers from a rural county photographed their shopping experience. Using a photo elicitation process to develop themes related to food access, the mothers identified barriers to shopping at farmers markets. The results can provide guidance to agents, program assistants, and farmers market coordinators on promoting use of farmers markets by low-income populations. The development of experiential learning opportunities to overcome barriers is critical if farmers markets are encouraged as an avenue for promoting healthy eating.
Assisting Small and Mid-Size Farmers to Increase Their Access to Markets: A Case Study of an Extension Program to Facilitate Food Hubs in Georgia
This article provides a case study on how Extension can facilitate the creation of food hubs and connect farmers and suppliers with these hubs. To accomplish this, we conducted two surveys: a baseline survey of food hubs in Georgia and a needs assessment survey of farmers. Survey results were then translated into a web-based resource consisting of an interactive map, regional resources, and contact information for personalized assistance in order to facilitate stakeholder communication and connect growers to food hubs. Extension personnel can use this model in other locations where connections between food hubs and farmers are not readily apparent.
Parents' Calcium Knowledge Is Associated with Parental Practices to Promote Calcium Intake Among Parents of Early Adolescent Children
The study reported here aimed to identify the relationship of parents' calcium knowledge with diet-related parental practices and determinants of calcium knowledge. A cross-sectional survey was conducted measuring parental practices, calcium knowledge, and demographics. A convenience sample of 599 racially/ethnically diverse parents of children 10-13y completed questionnaires. Higher education and having a daughter were associated with higher calcium knowledge; being Asian or Hispanic and born outside the U.S. were associated with lower calcium knowledge. Parents with greater calcium knowledge were more likely to engage in healthy parenting practices. These factors may be important considerations for Extension educators in nutrition education.
The Use of Focus Groups to Evaluate the Volunteer Conference of Southern States
Round table focus groups were used to evaluate the 2013 Volunteer Conference of Southern States. All 144 conference attendees were randomly assigned to one of 18 different round tables. A series of seven questions were discussed by the focus groups, which were moderated by a member of the Southern Region 4-H Volunteer Advisory Group. A recorder captured the discussion on a Mac Notebook. The responses from 18 networked were assimilated into a Word document, grouped by question. Qualitative data were analyzed by three raters as outlined by Culp & Pilat (1988). Input received was instrumental in planning the 2014 conference.
College Transition Study Shows 4-H Helps Youth Prepare for and Succeed in College
Many young adults enter college without the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed. The purpose of the study reported here was to determine if 4-H helps develop life skills needed for the transition to college and overall college success. An online survey was sent to college-attending 4-H alumni and a comparison group, with a final sample size of 268 students. Results showed 4-H alumni rated significantly higher than the comparison group on six life skills constructs. These findings can be used to show 4-H program impact and how 4-H participation helps young people prepare for and succeed in college.
Impact of a 4-H Youth Development Program on At-Risk Urban Teenagers
Dynamic programs that integrate science literacy and workforce readiness are essential to today's youth. The program reported here combined science literacy (gardening and technology) with workforce readiness to assess the impact of program type, prior program participation, and behavior/punctuality on knowledge gain. Findings show that past participation in a similar program positively impacted knowledge gain. Further, the results indicate that behavior/punctuality also increased knowledge gain. Of particular interest to Extension educators, this article discusses the implications of examining only mean scores to assess program effectiveness, especially where prior programs have been attended by students.
The Dollar Game Curriculum: Inspiring Wealth Creation in Rural Communities
Rural wealth creation and local entrepreneurship are emerging economic development approaches that bring back a sense of self-determination to rural communities. However, their potential is often greatly diminished by preconceived and opposing notions within the community on what drives economic growth. The Dollar Game is an innovative curriculum where participants collectively build an understanding of how innovation, income distribution and export affect their communities. Teams play different scenarios, starting with an island economy isolated from grants, subsidies, and trading opportunities and builds to a connected economy where they eventually lose ownership of the local value-chain.
Using Facebook Advertising to Connect with Extension Audiences
There is considerable interest in using social media to reach Extension audiences. The study's main objective was to assess the effectiveness of Facebook promotion and event advertising on creating new client contacts as measured by "Likes." The results show the fan base for each county increased slowly prior to and following the Facebook ad, while it increased more rapidly during the advertisement period. Thus, Facebook advertising appears to be an effective tool to increase awareness of Extension Facebook pages. Extension professionals should consider investing in Facebook advertising to expand their fan base.
Research in Brief
Maximizing the Nutritional Value of Produce Post-Harvest: Consumer Knowledge Gaps, Interests, and Opinions Regarding Nutrition Education Strategies
Although many consumers perceive locally produced, fresh fruits and vegetables to be healthier, they might not have the knowledge and skills to retain optimal nutritional quality following harvest or purchase. We surveyed Ohio farmers market consumers' and managers' knowledge and interests related to maximizing nutritional value of produce. Consumers and managers lacked knowledge but were interested in the topic. Respondents were concerned about chronic health conditions and how foods and nutrients might prevent them. The perspectives and knowledge gaps of the target audience will assist the development of educational materials and strategies.
StrongWomen® Program Evaluation: Effect of Strength Training Exercises on Physical Fitness of Participants
The StrongWomen® Program (SWP) is a nationally disseminated group strength-training exercise and nutrition education program delivered by Extension. The study reported here examined the effect of strength training exercises in SWP on improvement in physical fitness of program participants. Senior Fitness Test was used to collect data. Upon analysis of paired t-tests, significant differences were found between pre-test and post-test across all the six fitness measures. Overall, SWP helped participants to improve their body strength and physical fitness and decreased risk of falls and fractures, which indicates the increased independence and quality of life among older adults.
Perceived Effects of Community Gardening in Lower Mississippi Delta Gardening Participants
This article describes the perceived physical and psychological health impacts of community gardening on participants in the Mississippi Delta. Themes identified include the use of gardening as an educational tool and as a means to increase self-efficacy and responsibility for personal and community health. Additional benefits of gardening as identified by the study include exposure to new types of healthy foods, increased physical activity, and the building of a legacy. Incorporation of gardening into school curriculum could equip young residents with gardening skills and improve the likelihood that community gardens will be maintained.
The Factors That Influence the Involvement of Youth in Pennsylvania 4-H Extension District 16 Livestock Programs
The study reported in this article determined the factors that influence the involvement of 4-H members in Pennsylvania 4-H District 16 livestock programs. The study used a descriptive research design. A survey was distributed to all 4-H livestock club (beef, sheep, swine, and goat club) members within the counties that comprise Penn State Extension District 16 (Adams, Franklin, and York counties). The major findings of the study align with previous research as parents were found to be the most significant influence in their children's involvement with 4-H. The financial cost of participation was the biggest limitation of involvement.
Linking Agricultural Landowners with Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Interior Northwest: Resources for Extension
Ranchers and family forest landowners face complex challenges, including competing land uses, pressure from environmental regulations, and low profitability. Landowners may benefit from growing demand for ecosystem services associated with working landscapes. Payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs can be very complex, and landowners need information and support from known, trusted sources like Extension. Extension personnel in our study area had limited involvement with PES. We developed educational resources for Extension to help landowners navigate PES opportunities. The resources are based on research into the potential of PES to enhance prosperity for ranchers and forest landowners in the Interior Northwest.