December 1994 // Volume 32 // Number 4

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Feature Articles

What Cooperative Extension Should Know About the Americans with Disabilities Act
McBreen, David
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), states that its purpose is to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities, to provide enforceable standards, and to ensure that these standards are enforced. Cooperative Extension may be particularly vulnerable because their venue is usually coordinated at a wide variety of sites, many of which may be judged as marginal or unsuitable for the inclusion of disabled clientele. By becoming familiar with government guidelines, regulations, and procedures, Extension can affirm their commitment to all citizens by improving facilities, marketing, decision making, faculty awareness, resources, policies, and evaluation.

Designing Meaningful Satellite Programs: The Many Faces of Homelessness Project
Greer, Edrie Ziebarth, Ann
Satellite videoconferences require careful program planning and instructional design to be effective, especially for non-traditional Extension topics. The article addresses how the program planning team for a particular satellite program on homelessness successfully met design challenges. The results of the program evaluation are discussed. The success of the videoconference suggests that distance learning programs should be integrated with overall Extension programs, and specific program planning guidelines for videoconferences in general are recommended.

The Magic Years: Parent Education by Spanish Language Radio
Cudaback, Dorothea Marshall, Mary K. Knox, Josephine
The Magic Years is a series of 40 three- to four-minute Spanish language radio spots on parenting infants and toddlers. Of the 224 women who signed-up to listen to the series on Spanish language radio, 154 completed both pre- and post-series interviews on their parenting beliefs. At post-program interviews, these women expressed appreciation for the series and, compared to their pre-program answers, were significantly more likely to give correct responses to a number of the parenting questions.

Agents Contribute to Statewide Program Designs in Yardwaste Management
May, James H. Simpson, Thomas W. Relf, Diane
Composting as a waste management tool can play a major part in recycling efforts. Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) was contracted to conduct a study for the Department of Waste Management to determine the feasibility of a statewide yardwaste composting program. Due to their firsthand knowledge of yardwaste compost, Extension agents were surveyed to ascertain their perceptions on uses and users of this material. The results of the survey were used to recommend needed public educational programs and pilot projects for the state. As a result of the feasibility study, several bills were introduced in the General Assembly and funds were authorized for VCE to prepare the Virginia Yardwaste Management Manual.

Perceptions of Large-Scale Cornbelt Farmers: Implications for Extension
Musser, Wesley N. Patrick, George F. Ortmann, Gerald F. Doster, D. Howard
Participants in an Extension workshop were surveyed with respect to their perceptions of factors influencing their farm business and their views of future management problems and opportunities over the next ten years. Changing market conditions, enterprise profitability, and family relationships were most expected to influence their businesses. Personnel, finance, and environmental issues were perceived as their most important management problems. Expanding the business, marketing opportunities, and lowering costs of production were their most significant management opportunities. These results suggest some, although not radical, changes are necessary in management education.

Research in Brief

Communication Needs In Extension
Weigel, Daniel J.
How well does information flow between field staff, state specialists, and administrators? State, area, and county staff completed a questionnaire about the amount of information they received, information they needed to receive, and sources of that information. Staff wanted more communication about job performance issues, decision making processes, and future developments in Extension. Strategies are presented which can improve communication, build morale, reduce misunderstandings and conflicts, and help Extension respond more quickly to public needs.

Evaluation of Dietary Guideline Bulletins Revised for a Low Literate Audience
Achterberg, Cheryl L. Van Horn, Barbara Maretzki, Audrey Matheson, Donna Sylvester, Gina
In this study, print material written at an advanced reading level was revised for low- to mid-literate individuals. The purpose of the study was to compare changes in knowledge for low- to mid-literate adults that resulted from reading revised vs. unrevised material. Participants (n = 295) were randomly assigned into treatment or control groups. A 35-item multiple choice test was administered immediately before and after reading the materials. Results show increased knowledge overall but the revisions had an insignificant effect. We recommend that materials for low-literate audiences be developed from scratch and not revised from pre-existing material.

Ideas at Work

Baby's First Wish: A Successful Monthly Newsletter
DelCampo, Diana S. Hamilton, Wendy V.
"Baby's First Wish" is an age-paced parenting newsletter that fits the criteria for county Extension programming while also targeting the needs of an at-risk population. In one year, the program has reached parents in almost every county in New Mexico by using efficient agent training techniques and a "user friendly" format. Achieving success in this program renewed a sense of hope in the system's ability to accomplish its goals with the limited resources available in the 90s.

Turning Regulation Into Education
Hogan, Mike Simeral, Ken
This Ideas at Work article features a tool (pesticide management log) which was developed to reinforce the management benefits of record keeping. Using new federal pesticide record keeping regulations as the "hook," the log is used by farm managers to record data required by the new law and other data useful for making management decisions. An evaluation of 101 users of the log indicated that managers are using the log to make management decisions regarding the use of pesticides.

Producer Involvement in Watershed Management
Ward, Barry W. Pittman, Mark I. Amos, Roger Bauer, Gary
Improved watershed management by farmers is a goal sought throughout the country to improve water quality in our lakes and streams. The Upper Vermilion Watershed Project enabled producers to become involved in managing their watershed by developing and employing Manure Nutrient Management Plans and Best Management Practices. Producers surveyed indicated that their understanding of water quality issues increased as a result of this project and they used the Manure Nutrient Management Plans to make informed decisions about their fertility programs.

Tools of the Trade

Take the Mystery out of Media
Brown, H. Dennis
The right kind of publicity can help raise visibility of your educational efforts. "Take the Mystery Out of Media: Make Your Publicity Newsworthy," a book by Lorraine B. Kingdon, former president of the Agricultural Communicators in Education, offers practical advice on how to get publicity and survive in the media jungle. (A book review by Dennis Brown, Washington State University Cooperative Extension.)

Seasonal Price Patterns for Crops
Flaskerud, George Johnson, Demcey
This article describes how seasonal price patterns based on levels of new crop supplies can be used when developing a marketing plan, the analytical techniques used in the study, the seasonal price patterns derived, and examples of applications. The study included cash and futures prices for a number of commodities during the period of 1978 through 1992. Results indicated that seasonal price patterns can be used as a guide for developing a marketing plan when they are examined along with supply and demand information and other marketing concepts.

"Sell What You Sow!"
Kolodge, Craig
"Sell What You Sow! The Growers Guide to Successful Produce Marketing," is a very informative book appropriate for helping farms or gardening enthusiasts choose better produce varieties, be award of regulatory conditions, pricing, and diversifying. The book offers a wealth of knowledge to achieve greater marketing ability by listing addresses for services, suppliers, books, periodicals, associations, conferences, and databanks. It also offers tips on post harvest technology, selling to restaurants and retail markets, mail order, subscription selling, and more.