August 2016 // Volume 54 // Number 4
Manuscript Preparation Aid and August JOE Highlights
Knowing that preparing a manuscript for journal submission can be daunting, I created a resource to help prospective JOE authors with their manuscript development efforts. I describe this resource in the "Manuscript Preparation Aid" section of this Editor’s Page. In "August JOE," I draw attention to articles about reaching nontraditional audiences, achieving quality programming, and ensuring that both Extension clients and Extension personnel make the most of emerging opportunities and technologies.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Effective Community-Engaged Outreach Practices with Immigrant Communities
Generic outreach approaches are commonly used to target as many individuals as possible in a cultural community to achieve a greater response rate. However, this one-size-fits-all tactic is rarely effective. Community-engaged outreach practices have been successful with immigrant communities in Minnesota's Twin Cities. When practitioners, clinicians, and scholars engage in these practices, they not only build trusting relationships with cultural communities over time but also achieve mutual benefit, reciprocity, and the leveraging of institutional resources.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "One Size Does Not Fit All: Effective Community-Engaged Outreach Practices with Immigrant Communities"
Ideas at Work
Third Thursday Thing: A Success Story for Reaching Underserved Clients
Kentucky State University has been conducting a monthly field day known as the Third Thursday Thing for many years. This program has been successful in reaching limited-resource, minority, and underserved clients. The success of the program has indicated that a nontraditional approach can be successful when working with nontraditional clients. The program also strives to offer topics that focus on interests of those operating small farms and to have specific months dedicated to specific topics. Departing from some of the traditional meeting scheduling protocols has proved to be successful and continues to attract new clients to the program.
Developing a Marketing Mind-Set: Training and Mentoring for County Extension Employees
Marketing the county Extension program is a critical responsibility of the entire county staff. This article describes a unique peer-to-peer training and mentoring program developed to assist county Extension staff in improving marketing skills and successfully developing and implementing a county Extension marketing plan. Data demonstrating success of this program are presented. Additionally, best practices for states wishing to create a similar peer-to-peer program conclude the article.
Hybrid Teaching in Extension: Learning at the Crossroads
Extension clients' learning preferences are changing, with many increasingly going online for educational content. In response, Oregon State University Extension pilot tested a training program for Extension educators to explore hybrid teaching—a methodology that could provide more flexible access to a wider audience. Hybrid teaching offers a powerful blend of online and face-to-face instruction that could attract Extension educators—and administrators—to this pedagogical approach. The pilot training revealed both the promises and challenges of hybrid teaching.
Collaboration of Extension and Grape Industry Members to Create a New Extension Publication
Collaboration is an important part of the interaction between Extension and industry. Successful sharing of workload can provide benefits for both parties. A project to create a workbook to address vineyard sustainability was initiated by members of the Oklahoma grape industry with assistance from land-grant university Extension. Productive interaction between Extension workers and industry members included quick turnaround of rough drafts, praise and constructive criticism, give-and-take on ideas for content, active listening relative to problems and suggestions, and offering of advice when needed. The collaboration led to incorporation of new perspectives in a helpful final publication.
Implementing Good Practices Programs to Encourage Production of High-Quality, Safer Produce in Mississippi
Fifty-four growers/producers attended four 1-day good agricultural practices (GAP) and good handling practices (GHP) workshops at four locations in Mississippi. Pre- and postworkshop survey data indicated that the participants' food safety knowledge increased by 15%. Furthermore, the workshops helped producers develop their own food safety plans. The workshops also trained the producers to be prepared for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) GAP and GHP audits. To assist producers in preparing for these audits, two mock audits were conducted after the workshops. As a result of the program, several producers became ready to be audited, and at least one producer became USDA GAP certified.
Livestock Judges Training Provides Hands-On Experience
The judging of a market animal at a fair is the highlight of a youth-owned livestock project. Livestock judges are hired to evaluate youth projects at fairs. They are critical ambassadors for agriculture and influence countless youths and adults. Judges must be knowledgeable about current animal evaluation methods that support youth development. The circle of knowledgeable individuals qualified to evaluate animal projects is limited in the Intermountain West, making it difficult to find skilled judges. This necessitates hiring unqualified or untrained judges, limiting the educational experiences for participating youths. The Intermountain Livestock Judges Training was developed to train and update youth livestock judges.
Tools of the Trade
Program Standards and Expectations: Providing Clarity, Consistency, and Focus
The effort described in this article resulted from requests for clarity and consistency from new and existing Extension/4-H educators as well as from recommendations by university auditors. The primary purpose of the effort was to clarify standards for effective county-based 4-H youth development programs and to help focus the roles of 4-H professionals in developing and maintaining effective programs that contribute to the 4-H mission and highest priority statewide needs. Five major categories of expectations for all county 4-H programs were identified on the basis of a related model for 4-H program delivery. The approach described may be useful across Extension for achieving improved program quality, program transformation, and effective dedication of resources.
Strategies for Accommodating Extension Clients Who Face Language, Vision, or Hearing Challenges
Extension services nationwide seek to equalize access to university resources for all learners. In this article, we focus on accommodation as a tool of our trade. We discuss findings and implications from a study that documented approaches used by one state's Extension professionals to accommodate clients who face language, vision, or hearing challenges. We also explore constraints, criteria for effectiveness, appropriate goals, and roles and responsibilities relative to using various accommodations to provide full access for all who participate in Extension programming.
Participatory Data Collection Technique for Capturing Beginning Farmer Program Outcomes
This article describes an innovative evaluation plan we employed to capture outcomes of a multiyear beginning farmer program and, specifically, highlights the facilitation technique we used to document short-term and intermediate goals of the program that matched U.S. Department of Agriculture grant requirements and Extension administration priorities. Developing a comprehensive, two-phase evaluation plan based on a well-conceived logic model was a key factor in the success of the New FARM program. Our midterm and end-of-program evaluations addressed often sought, but sometimes difficult to obtain, intermediate goals from the logic model and demonstrated program effectiveness to a variety of funders.
Extension Resources for International Trade
With the opening of additional trade partnerships, the reduction of global transportation and communication costs, and the increase in demand for U.S. agricultural products and services, international trade is an area of great importance to more and more Extension clients and stakeholders. This article provides information about the primary organizations and agencies that have state offices that can assist Extension educators. Links to comprehensive online resources with customizable worksheets and tools are also furnished.
New Approach to School Health Initiatives: Using Fitness Measures Instead of Body Mass Index to Evaluate Outcomes
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service provided elementary school students with a program that included a noncompetitive physical activity component: circuit training that combined cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility activities without requiring high skill levels. The intent was to improve fitness without focusing on body mass index as an indicator of fitness. Youths (111) in grades 3–5 underwent President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition testing at baseline and program completion. Significant improvements were observed in average fitness measures among youths who participated in the circuit training. Extension professionals looking for new tools to use with school-based physical activity programs may consider circuit training as a noncompetitive means of improving youth physical fitness and fitness measures as more appropriate outcome indicators.
Locating Tests and Measurement Instruments for Assessment
Extension educators, staff, and specialists need to use surveys and other measurement instruments to assess their programming and conduct other research. Challenges in locating tests and measurement tools, however, include lack of time and lack of familiarity with techniques that can be used to find them. This article discusses library resources Extension staff can use for locating assessments along with search techniques and tips.
Organizing to Use Facebook Advertisements: A Planning Tool for Extension Professionals, Businesses, and Communities
The purpose of this article is to explain how Extension professionals, businesses, and communities can use Facebook advertisements effectively. The article is a planning tool that introduces Facebook's Advertiser Help Center, explains some applicable key concepts, and suggests best practices to apply before launching a Facebook advertising campaign.
A Review of Extension Master Gardener Program Record-Keeping Systems
Record-keeping systems (or volunteer management systems) were identified as a capacity-building tool for Extension master gardener volunteer (EMGV) programs. Not all states have or use such systems, and there are differences among existing systems. A survey was conducted in June 2015 to document and compare record-keeping systems for EMGV programs nationally. Survey results indicate that EMGV programs are still hours-focused in reporting and data collection and that EMGV record-keeping systems offer time-saving benefits for state coordinators, agents, and volunteers. Record-keeping systems also offer potential for further engaging Extension master gardeners in Extension outreach and demonstrating educational impact in communities.
The New FARM Program: A Model for Supporting Diverse Emerging Farmers and Early-Career Extension Professionals
As early-career Extension educators challenged by societal, structural, agricultural, and fiscal trends, we designed a multiyear educational program to support the diverse needs of emerging specialty crop producers in northwest Michigan. This article presents outcomes of that program. We explore how Extension professionals can develop impactful programs that address the varied needs of the next generation of agricultural producers. We provide an overview of the New FARM program, addressing the rationale, program objectives, program logistics, evaluation results, and implications. We hope the New FARM program will serve as a useful model for early-career Extension professionals.
Getting Growers to Go Digital: The Power of a Positive User Experience
Using web-based applications is an innovative approach for delivery of Extension resources. For example, myFields.info is a mobile-friendly application focused on directing stakeholders to information at the field level. Acceptance and diffusion of such applications depends on initial experiences resulting from traditional face-to-face interactions with Extension personnel. We found that crop school participants involved in an Extension training event for a web-based sampling plan showed increased willingness after the training to incorporate sampling plans in their management decisions and share relevant data with others. Specifically, our study demonstrated the value of providing hands-on experience when attempting to encourage stakeholders to accept technologies.
Accommodating Extension Clients Who Face Language, Vision, or Hearing Challenges
A survey-based study explored approaches used by one land-grant university to meet the needs of Extension clients who face language, vision, or hearing challenges. In attempts to serve such clients, the greatest gaps existed for clients whose main language was Spanish, followed by those who had vision impairments and then those who had hearing difficulties. Extension professionals surveyed recommended that use of resources to meet the needs of such clients be prioritized as follows: accommodating clients who face language challenges (those whose main language is Spanish), using contractors to adapt materials or provide live assistance, and providing applicable technology or equipment.
Using Youth Participatory Evaluation to Improve a Bullying Prevention Program
We conducted a youth participatory evaluation of a bullying prevention curriculum before the curriculum was implemented in communities. We partnered with youths from a young women leaders' program to reduce the number of lessons in an existing curriculum and determine which activities were likely to have the greatest impact. To evaluate the curriculum, we used star-sticker surveys and written feedback provided by the youths and observational field notes recorded by adults. We found that the youths endorsed activities involving active learning approaches, we should include summaries at the beginnings of lessons, and we should include wording alternatives for implementers to use to improve understanding of complex ideas. We also reduced 26 lessons to eight lessons.
Preferred Knowledge Sources for Beginning Farmers: The Case of Kentucky
This article presents an analysis of preferred knowledge sources for beginning farmers and differences in knowledge networks between "heritage" and "nonheritage" farmers. The purpose of the analysis is to support the reassessment of training, technical assistance, and other needs of beginning farmers to be able to develop more precisely targeted training and educational programming for them. Data were drawn from a series of six listening sessions conducted across Kentucky from January through July 2013. We present three concluding recommendations for enhancing the relevance of Cooperative Extension by emphasizing its role as a "connector" of available resources to beginning farmers.
Research in Brief
Inside the Black Box—An Implementation Evaluation Case Study
The case study presented in this article is an example of an implementation evaluation. The evaluation investigated significant components of the implementation of a long-term environmental educational program. Direct observation, evaluation-specific survey data, and historical data were used to determine program integrity as identified by adherence to original expectations, dosage, quality of delivery, participant responsiveness, and differentiation from other programs. The evaluation provided key information for replicating and expanding a successful program and exploring areas in which positive changes can be made. The article illustrates how the evaluation methodology that was applied can be useful for other Extension programs.
Adolescent Healthful Foods Inventory: Development of an Instrument to Assess Adolescents' Willingness to Consume Healthful Foods
Interventions to increase adolescents' healthful food and beverage consumption often fail to demonstrate change. An alternative is to measure a shift in willingness to consume these items as an indicator of movement toward change. A survey was developed to estimate willingness to consume a variety of foods and beverages. Twenty items were identified from five focus group interviews with adolescents. A survey of 234 youths indicated their willingness to consume each item. Exploratory factor analysis resulted in lists of high-fat/sugar-rich items and more healthful foods. Extension educators can use the survey instrument to demonstrate early positive participant change as they strive to deliver programs that meet mission mandates.
Rural Hispanic Youths' Perceptions of Positive Youth Development Experiences
An exploratory study examined rural Latino youths' perceptions regarding positive youth development (PYD), particularly related to aspects such as the definition of PYD, potential benefits of PYD, and motivations for participating in PYD activities. A total of 28 self-identified Hispanic youths participated in focus groups. Findings suggest that participants identified key components of PYD (e.g., skills gained through participation) that are generally consistent with broader research on the topic. Youths' motivations for participating in PYD programs included familial encouragement, availability of the programs, and the engaging/enjoyable nature of the programs. Potential implications for Extension professionals are discussed.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in the Mid-Atlantic States: Assessing Grower Perceptions, Economic Impact, and Progress
Attendees at mid-Atlantic grower meetings were surveyed in 2012 and 2014 regarding their knowledge of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and its impact. Responses to individual questions were paired and analyzed for independence between survey years. Despite a large-scale effort by Extension to inform growers and others about BMSB, there remains a clear need for more training on the identification of BMSB nymphs. Respondents also want more information on effective chemical options, scouting methods for BMSB, and BMSB biology, and they prefer to receive this information from Cooperative Extension.
Utility of the Living (Well Through) Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise Program as a County-Delivered Extension Program
Rural-residing older adults are not participating in regular physical activity. Extension is in an excellent position to fill this programming void through transdisciplinary programming such as the Living (well through) Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise (LIFE) program. Qualitative evaluation was conducted to assess the LIFE program's utility as an Extension-delivered program. Nearly all LIFE program managers were satisfied with the program and were likely to recommend it to others. Best liked program features and attributes were the ready-to-use curriculum, corresponding training, and intergenerational and rural focuses. These results suggest that the LIFE program is viewed as appropriate for delivery by Extension.
Evaluation Strategies in Financial Education: Evaluation with Imperfect Instruments
Program evaluation often suffers due to time constraints, imperfect instruments, incomplete data, and the need to report standardized metrics. This article about the evaluation process for the Wi$eUp financial education program showcases the difficulties inherent in evaluation and suggests best practices for assessing program effectiveness. We analyzed the stated behaviors of 125 Wi$eUp survey respondents, finding that debt education produced a greater change in behavior than savings education did but that survey questions related to savings did not reflect the material in the associated module, potentially lowering scores. Longer evaluation periods and better matching of evaluation questions to the content delivered may improve the evaluation process.
Understanding Life Skills Gained from and Reasons for Youth Participation in the Tennessee 4-H Sheep Skillathon
The high number of U.S. youth exhibiting at-risk behavior points to a lack of life skills development. We determined the effects of participating in one state's 4-H sheep skillathon on youths' life skills development and the youths' reasons for participating. The target population was 2014 Tennessee 4-H Sheep Skillathon participants (N = 153), and we obtained a 90% response rate. Participants perceived that they had a moderate gain in their life skills development, and a majority identified nine reasons for participation. Recommendations include informing parents/guardians of the benefits of skillathon participation and ensuring that skillathon participants have an opportunity to process and generalize content knowledge and life skills acquired through skillathon participation.