February 2015 // Volume 53 // Number 1
JOE By the Numbers 2014
In "JOE by the Numbers 2014" I report on the 2014 submission and readership rates and announce JOE's current acceptance rate: 20.2%. I also highlight the Top 50 Most Read Articles lists, pointing out that there are seven new entries on the list. And "February JOE" mentions three articles touching on the issue of climate change, two articles having a national perspective on the Master Gardener program, and the third and final installment in the "Going the Distance" series.
Embracing the Climate Change Skeptic
Climate change is a controversial subject that is rife with skeptics. Educators and researchers should look at skeptics as sounding boards offering questions that we need to find the answers to. The technique described in this article is designed to bring skeptics into the conversation, and gain valuable insight into our practice.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Embracing the Climate Change Skeptic”
Scientific Consensus as a Foundation for Extension Programming
Given the commitment of Cooperative Extension to science-based programming, it is important to be able to ascertain whether, and to what degree, consensus exists among expert scientists on issues relating Extension programming. This Commentary provides insights into what scientific consensus means, how it develops, and how to recognize when it exists. An example—anthropogenic climate change—is presented. However, the importance of distinguishing scientific consensus from conjecture cuts across many areas of Extension programming agriculture and natural resources, including GMOs, pesticides, environmental protection, and others.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Scientific Consensus as a Foundation for Extension Programming”
Ideas at Work
The First Nationally Unifying Mission Statement and Program Standards for Extension Master Gardener Programs at Land-Grant Universities
Started in 1973, by 1996 the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program had been independently established in all 50 states. It was not until 2006 that an Extension Master Gardener National Committee was formed to facilitate cooperation, communication, and collaboration among EMG programs. In response to requests from EMG coordinators, a task force was appointed to develop nationally relevant resources and a set of national program standards to support and guide EMG Programs. Here we report on the development and adoption of national program standards and a unifying mission statement for EMG Programs in the United States.
Community Mentoring: A Tool for Successful Communities
Mentoring occurs in an ad hoc and largely invisible manner in communities. This mentoring happens through modeling, storytelling, and asking open-ended questions. If Extension specialists and agents were more conscious and intentional about teaching community members and leaders about community mentoring, we would also likely be more successful in resolving community problems and creating prosperous communities with strong economies.
Extension and the Maker Movement
Involvement in the Maker Movement is growing across the nation. Extension has an opportunity to engage with new audiences by applying the existing skills and knowledge found in the Cooperative Extension System. Utah State University Extension has found success in engaging with the Maker Movement in a variety of ways.
Responding Quickly to an Issue: A Collaborative Approach to Drug Residue Prevention
Responding to current issues requires Extension educators to quickly react and collaborate. The Washington Department of Agriculture requested help developing and conducting outreach programs on dairy cattle drug residue prevention as a result of a new program announced by the US FDA. Curriculum focused on causes of residues and improving treatment records. Five face-to-face sessions with over 180 farmers and veterinarians and 360 views of an online program indicated interest. Over 65% of attendees intended to review their treatment protocols. A concomitant reduction in residue violations from dairy animals in the state was seen after the programs.
Pick it! Try it! Like it!: A Grocery Store-Based Approach to Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
Grocery stores can serve as a location to promote increased fruit and vegetable consumption. Pick it! Try it! Like it! is a collection of resources providing information on 43 different fruits and vegetables that can be grown in Midwestern climates, being used in grocery stores as point-of-purchase education. An evaluation of individuals who shopped in grocery stores where materials were being used showed program recognition increased before and after implementation. Information obtained regarding shopping and food preparation habits will allow for further refining of materials. These materials, in addition to materials targeting youth and seniors, promote fruits and vegetables community-wide.
Pre-Gas Drilling Drinking Water Testing—An Educational Opportunity for Extension
The increase in shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania has resulted in thousands of landowners receiving pre-drilling testing of their drinking water. Landowners often have difficulty understanding test reports resulting in low awareness of pre-existing problems. Extension and several partners developed a program to improve understanding of pre-drilling water tests. Educational workshops with various companion publications and websites were used by 79% of participants, and follow-up evaluations found that nearly all were able to understand their test reports and that 80% had taken actions on their water supplies. The program represents an emerging educational opportunity for Extension in shale gas drilling regions.
The Carbon Cycle: Teaching Youth About Natural Resource Sustainability
The carbon cycle was used as a conceptual construct for organizing the curriculum for a youth summer camp on natural resource use and sustainability. Several studies have indicated the importance of non-traditional youth education settings for science education and understanding responsible natural resource use. The Sixth Grade Forestry Tour, a long-standing youth natural resource education summer camp in Idaho conducted by Extension, was used to test the efficacy of this approach in 2013, with positive results that suggest continued development of this concept for future years and in other settings.
Tools of the Trade
A Review of Extension Master Gardener Training Manuals from Around the United States
Extension Master Gardener Volunteers (EMGVs) are recruited and trained to answer questions and diagnose gardening problems for the public. Most states have developed an EMGV Manual for use in the initial training. Thirty-two EMGV Training manuals from across the United States were reviewed for form and content. While many of the manuals have common themes, climate and cultural differences are reflected in regionally specific subject areas. There are a wide variety of manuals to meet the varying needs of EMGV Training programs.
Collaborating with Your Clients Using Social Media & Mobile Communications
Many Extension educators are still learning how to effectively integrate social media into their programs. By using the right social media platforms and mobile applications to create engaged, online communities, Extension educators can collaborate with clients to produce and to share information expanding and enhancing their social media and mobile efforts, while meeting their outreach goals more efficiently. This article demonstrates techniques Extension educators can employ to allow clients to become producers of information using social media and mobile tools.
Facebook Groups Improve Volunteer Communications
Communicating with volunteers is often challenging in today's fast-paced world of high-tech communication devices and social media. The growing number of Facebook users makes Facebook Groups a useful communication tool for Extension volunteers. Facebook Groups provide a closed space for small groups of people to communicate about shared interests. This article provides examples from three Facebook Groups demonstrating how this tool improves communication while also providing education, sharing, and socialization among its members.
Enhancing Food Safety: Reaching a Large and Diverse Population Through Online Certification
Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a program designed to educate U.S. beef producers on best management practices to ensure production of a safe, wholesome beef product and humane animal care. The program must be sufficiently nimble to rapidly incorporate the demands of an ever-changing food system. Animal Care Training, an online system <www.animalcaretraining.org>, was developed by The Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University to deliver BQA training and certification to U.S. beef producers via distance. The program has grown to over 16,000 users, with training modules delivered in English and Spanish, to beef producers throughout the U.S.
Online Leader Training Course: Nebraska Equine Extension Leader Certification
The Nebraska Equine Advancement Level Leader Certification Program is an online learning tool that clarifies principles of the Nebraska 4-H Equine Advancement Programs. Through an online Moodle course through eXtension.org, 4-H leaders and Extension educators are able to fulfill the certification requirement from any location before allowing youth to progress through the Equine Advancement Levels. Participants of the course must read required materials, watch informational videos, and complete short assessments prior to being awarded certification. Participant survey results of the online course verify the course's accessibility and feasibility and its ability to train equine leaders and educators at a distance.
Campus Partnerships Improve Impact Documentation of Nutrition Programs
Partnerships with other campus college units can provide ways of improving Extension's impact documentation. Nutrition programs have relied upon knowledge gained and people's self report of behavior change. Partnering with the College of Nursing, student nurses provided blood screenings during the pre and 6 month follow-up of a pilot heart risk reduction program. Using blood screenings for diabetes, heart disease, and other nutrition programming would provide reliable documented behavior change when it occurred. Screenings could strengthen Extension's value to the community and assist in improving programming.
WSU Meat Animal Evaluation, Analysis, and Technology Team Adding Value to Meat Products from Farm to Table: A Model of Successful Extension Programming
Meat animal (Beef, Lamb, Pork, and Poultry) 100, 200, and 300 programs are comprehensive educational programs that educate participants from farm to table targeting the learning needs for beginning, intermediate, and advanced producers. Topics include production management, animal evaluation, nutrition, carcass quality, quality targets, marketing, current issues, and consumer demands. As a result of these programs, a high percentage of participants indicated, not only increased knowledge, but also large increases in application outcomes.
Designing a Mobile Farmers Market to Meet Low-Income Consumer Preferences and Needs
Mobile farmers markets are an innovative approach to addressing food insecurity. This article reports the results of a survey exploring what fruits and vegetables appeal to low-income consumers, their current shopping habits, and the likelihood they would use a mobile farmers market. Findings suggest most consumers would use a mobile farmers market once a week and that they would be more likely to make purchases if they could use their SNAP benefits. The results from the survey should also be used to develop mobile farmers markets that offer the fruits and vegetables low-income consumers desire.
New Atlas Features Corn Belt Farmers' Perspectives on Agriculture and Climate
The Farmer Perspectives on Agriculture and Weather Variability in the Corn Belt: A Statistical Atlas is a new publication available online at <http://www.sustainablecorn.org>. The atlas includes maps and tables that make it easy for readers to gauge farmer perspectives within the US Corn Belt. Topics covered include farmer beliefs about climate change, attitudes toward actions in response to increased weather variability, risk perceptions, and experiences with weather extremes. This region-specific information on farmers' climate change and risk beliefs is designed to help Extension personnel tailor the climate adaptation and education programming they offer in their region.
Website? Video? Facebook? Mobile App? One Group's Experience Developing and Comparing Urban Landscape Water Conservation Digital Outreach Resources
The Center for Landscape Water Conservation, a resource for homeowners and industry professionals in New Mexico and west Texas, features a primary website, a portal, with unique content on YouTube, iTunes U, Picasa, Facebook, and a mobile app. The portal was evaluated on content, usability, interactivity, and marketing. The final survey indicated a high user-satisfaction rate. The portal has 2,100 unique visitors, and the YouTube channel, at a third the cost, has 55,000 views. The mobile app has 6,500 downloads. The cost-benefit outcomes are instructive in guiding Extension educators on how to best reach their target audience using digital-based resources.
Growing Green Energy: A Review of Extension's Role in the Development of Advanced Biofuels
The development of advanced biofuels is expanding the possibilities for purpose-grown energy crops. Growers, producers, and other stakeholders will need a reliable source of information to assist with decision-making regarding renewable fuel supply chains. This review examines Extension's role in the innovation of advanced biofuels by documenting and summarizing Extension work in existing biomass-derived energy programs. This review highlights strategies used by Extension programs that help make renewable energy innovations successful.
Extension Sustainability Camp: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation
Sustainability Camps provide an opportunity for Extension educators to be in the forefront of sustainability outreach and to meet the growing demand for sustainability education. This article shares development, implementation, and evaluation of an Extension Sustainability Camp for youth, grades 4-6. Camp impact was measured via daily pre- and post-journaling activities, changes in camper lunch waste produced, and a retrospective post-then-pre household evaluation follow-up. Significant awareness and behavioral changes were documented with sustainability topics ranging from land conservation to renewable energy. The camp structure and evaluation design could serve as a model for Extension educators interested in sustainability outreach.
The 4-H Club Meeting: An Essential Youth Development Strategy
The club meeting has served as a key delivery method for 4-H programming across the United States throughout its history. A survey of WV 4-H community club members reinforces the body of evidence that the 4-H club meeting is an effective vehicle for delivering positive youth learning opportunities within the umbrella of the Essential Elements of 4-H youth development programming. This article discusses the findings of the West Virginia study and addresses the delivery of effective 4-H club programming that incorporates the Essential Elements.
The Impact of Livestock Exhibition on Youth Leadership Life Skill Development: Youth Agricultural Organizations
A quantitative ex post facto survey design was used to determine what, if any, difference exists in youth leadership life skill development between livestock exhibitors who participated in youth organizations and those who have not. Findings include a lack of statistical difference between those exhibitors who had participated in 4-H and FFA compared to those who had not. Recommendations include youth programs evaluating livestock programs to ensure the ultimate goal of life skill development is occurring and made known to the public.
Using IMPLAN to Evaluate the Economic Contribution of 4-H to Colorado and Individual Counties
Current economic conditions have made it essential for Extension programs such as 4-H to justify continued public investments. Past studies have examined the positive youth development aspects of 4-H, but do not look at the economic contributions of the program. Using individual record book data for the state of Colorado, the study reported here analyzes the contribution of 4-H to both the state economy and individual counties. We find that Colorado 4-H contributes over $45 million dollars and 242 employees to the state economy.
Creating a Model for Successful Microenterprise Development (MED) Programs
Communities seek to offer effective financing programs to encourage entrepreneurs and support the growth of microenterprises. Community economic development strategies have changed in recent years from traditional industrial recruitment to microenterprise development (MED), which is considered to be as a more viable, long-term strategy to create jobs and grow local economies. This article provides a framework for an effective microenterprise financing program based on the model created by a rural community in Ohio and offers suggestions as to how this framework may be used by researchers and practitioners to identify best practices in the microenterprise financing realm.
Extension Education Drives Economic Stimulus Through Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers (TAAF) is a national multifaceted USDA program that provided technical and financial assistance to farmers and fishermen adversely affected by import competition. This article describes how Extension was successfully mobilized to deliver the TAAF program to 10,983 producers across the nation using innovative education technologies to achieve program objectives and improve the economic well-being of participating farmers and fisherman. The innovative technologies included online curricula and business planning, the use of personal business planning consultants, and linking Extension education outcomes to financial assistance payments that producers used primarily to invest in their business.
Evaluation of On-Farm Food Safety Programming in Pennsylvania: Implications for Extension
Penn State Extension conducted on-farm food safety workshops statewide to train fruit and vegetable growers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). These workshops were evaluated using pre- and post-tests to assess the impact of the training on participating growers. Results indicate overall increases in produce growers' knowledge, attitudes, confidence, and intentions on GAP-related activities. However, few respondents (20%) intended to seek third-party certification (TPC) for their farms. Future evaluations should collect information on the challenges that growers face in implementing GAPs on their farms. Extension should tailor its food safety programs to meet growers' GAPs needs.
Research in Brief
Formative Evaluation of EFNEP Curriculum: Ensuring the Eating Smart • Being Active Curriculum Is Theory Based
The project reported here served to assess a curriculum for EFNEP to ensure theory compliance and content validity. Adherence to Adult Learning Theory and Social Cognitive Theory tenets was determined. A curriculum assessment tool was developed and used by five reviewers to assess initial and revised versions of the curriculum. T-tests for differences in mean responses from initial review to follow-up for each tenet and Cronbach's α for internal consistency of each tenet were conducted. Reviews found that the Eating Smart • Being Active curriculum successfully incorporated tenets of both theories and content remained true to Dietary Guidelines.
Going the Distance Part 3: Teaching an Extension Course Using a Combination of Distance-Delivery Methods
Extension could rely more on distance education to expand its outreach with deflating budgets. In Alaska, where people are few and far between and even inaccessible by road, opportunities for distance-delivered outreach are particularly significant. In this article, we explore the efficacy of a mixed-method teaching approach that combined three distance-delivery methods: Elive, Blackboard, and teleconference. We share course impacts, completion rates, and satisfaction. We surmise that providing more than one way for students to participate in a distance course increases student satisfaction.
In the Field: Increasing Undergraduate Students' Awareness of Extension Through a Blended Project-Based Multimedia Production Course
Undergraduate students at land-grant institutions across the country are often unaware of the depth and breadth of Extension services and careers. Agricultural communication students collaborated with an Extension programmatic team in a blended and project-based course at Purdue University to develop online videos about small farm agricultural topics. Student journaling and post-interviews showed working within a real-world context increased their awareness of Extension, the roles and potential careers in Extension, and video production skill development. The authors present details of the course design, student perceptions, and the implementation benefits and challenges of blended project-based learning within an Extension context.
Evaluating Impacts of School-Based Extension Garden Programs from a Child's Perspective
Minority children and adolescents living in rural areas, below poverty guidelines, are less likely to engage in healthy food choices or a healthy lifestyle, and this contributes to obesity issues. Providing children with the skills and knowledge to lead healthy lives is a way to combat this epidemic. Focus groups were conducted at three Extension school-based gardens to determine participants' perspectives on the impacts of participation. It was determined that Extension school-based gardens provide children with the opportunity to engage in learning about healthy eating and food production, while engaging in activity outside of the classroom.
Energy Education Incentives: Evaluating the Impact of Consumer Energy Kits
Measuring the energy and environmental impact of residential energy education efforts is difficult. The E-Conservation residential energy management program uses consumer energy kits to document the impact of energy-efficient improvements. The consumer energy kit provides an incentive for individuals attending energy education workshop, helps consumers identify simple energy-saving technologies, and provides consumers with accessible energy-saving actions. As a result of consumers installing the compact fluorescent light bulbs and low flow showerheads in the energy kits, measureable savings in terms of annual energy savings, kilowatt hours, gallons of water used, and CO2 reduction are achieved.
Effects of Colony Creation Method and Beekeeper Education on Honeybee (Apis mellifera) Mortality
The two-part study reported here analyzed the effects of beekeeper education and colony creation methods on colony mortality. The first study examined the difference in hive mortality between hives managed by beekeepers who had received formal training in beekeeping with beekeepers who had not. The second study examined the effect on hive mortality between hives that were initiated as nucleus or package colonies. Colonies created from package bees were more likely to survive for 1 year than nucleus colonies. Colonies managed by beekeepers who had received formal education also exhibited better survival rates than those managed by non-educated beekeepers.
An Assessment of Estate Planning Among Older Adults in Alabama
Doubling of the older adult population and the lack of estate plans throughout the United States have prompted Extension to focus on increasing Americans' awareness of the importance of estate planning. A descriptive research study was conducted throughout Alabama to determine the status of and barriers to estate planning among older adults. Results indicated a significant difference in estate planning and being exposed to information on estate plans relative to ethnicity. African Americans were far less likely to have received information on estate planning than Caucasian Americans. Barriers to estate planning indicated several misconceptions in both groups.