August 1995 // Volume 33 // Number 4

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Framing the Future
Anderson, Carol L. Bloome, Peter
During 1994, the national Extension system engaged in focused dialogue to position the organization for the future. Defining boundaries or updating the mission, vision, values, and strategic issues occurred through a search for "common ground." Eight challenges were identified and are key to a successful future. Three lessons for how the system might engage the total community evolved: (a) when asked--people respond, (b) create a climate for discussion, and (c) build on evolving changes. A quality product results when stakeholders care about the issues and know that their ideas are valued.

Taking Advantage of New Technology for Education
Levine, S. Joseph
Extension educators must be challenged to effectively use new technology in ways that both take advantage of the unique characteristics of new technology and also create new approaches to fulfilling a person's desire to learn. Rather than selecting new technology based on what it can help us accomplish, we must select it based upon what it will help others--the learners-- accomplish. The needs of the learner are the key to the effective use of new technologies that support learning.

Feature Articles

The Role of Problem Specification Workshops in Extension: An IPM Example
Foster, John Norton Geoff Brough, Elaine
Three idealized models of the Extension process are reviewed. The first model involves top-down technology transfer from researchers to farmers. The second is a farmer first approach, which emphasizes the important role that farmers play in formulating research agendas. The third model is a participatory approach involving researchers, farmers, and other stakeholders. The participatory model is explored with special reference to problem specification workshops for addressing complex pest management issues. The successful use of these workshops by the Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Pest Management, in Australia, is discussed by way of a case study on the biological control agent Trichogramma.

The Role of Cooperative Extension in the Changing Meat Industry
Bailey, DeeVon Bastian, Chris Menkhaus, Dale J. Glover, Terry F.
Extension studies show that the U.S. beef industry will continue to lose market share to poultry and pork. The Cooperative Extension Service's role with the meat industry will change as this industry evolves. Better communication with the corporate level of the meat industry and between Extension professionals is needed to be able to develop relevant educational programs for this industry in the future.

On-Farm Tests as a Tool for Extension Programming
Wuest, Stewart B. Guy, Stephen O. Smith, Larry J. Miller, Baird C.
Farmer-implemented on-farm tests can be very effective for addressing agricultural Extension priorities. Creation of an on-farm test committee has proven successful in promoting the use of on-farm testing by farmers. The use of valid experimental designs in on-farm tests produces a multitude of benefits to farmers, agricultural communities, and society.

Maximizing Program Delivery in Extension: Lessons from Leadership for Transformation
Laughlin, Kevin M. Schmidt, Janet L.
Partnerships, master volunteer programs, information centers, and regional offices were identified as four Extension delivery methods to utilize in situations of shrinking resources. The pros and cons of each of these delivery methods is presented. Matching individual, community, and emerging needs with the right educational methods will be one key to survival for Cooperative Extension programs.

Research in Brief

Leadership Life Skills Development: Perceptions of Senior 4-H Yout
Seevers, Brenda S. Dormody, Thomas J.
The purpose of this study was to determine the predictors of youth leadership life skills development among senior 4-H members in three states. The study further sought to determine the extent to which senior 4-H members participate in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of 4-H leadership activities. The top three activities members identified as contributing the most toward their leadership development was holding office, teaching younger members, and fairs. Members indicated their greatest involvement in leadership activities was in implementing, followed by evaluating, with few members involved in planning leadership activities.

Factors Influencing the Adoption of a Nitrogen Testing Program
King, Robert N. Rollins, Timothy J.
This article describes the adoption and diffusion of a nitrogen testing innovation as a result of an Extension education program. Focus groups and a mail survey provided feedback and information about factors and information sources that described the adoption process. Farmers indicated that Extension agents' attitudes and economic factors impacted their adoption decisions. Results also indicated farmers lacked knowledge and skills to make an informed adoption decision. Future educational programs should include information relating to the economic and technical aspects of an innovation to enhance a farmer's adoption decision.

Adoption of Intensive Grazing Systems
Hanson, Gregory D.
The study focuses on the divergence between recommended and on-farm practices, information sources, the state of characteristic flux in farmers grazing techniques and the unique challenges of Cooperative Extension education efforts with low-tech grazing dairy producers. Recommendations include: (a) establish minimum standards for new technologies, (b) encourage sequential/incremental adoption of technology, (c) provide specificity in addressing production bottle-necks, (d) provide on-going Cooperative Extension education, and (e) acquaint experiment station researchers with the extension challenges of educating the non-expert farmers.

Assessing Producer Awareness of the Impact of Swine Production on the Environment
Richert, Brian T. Tokach, Mike D. Goodband, Robert D. Nelssen, Jim L.
Pork producer's were surveyed about their knowledge of waste production and management to help better focus future Extension educational programs. Results suggest that many producers are not concerned with swine waste as an environmental issue. However, younger producers, who have a better educational background, tend to realize the importance of waste management and adopt management practices to reduce swine waste. Tiered Extension education programs may be a means of delivering information about the importance of waste management to swine producers.

Ideas at Work

Adjusting to Family Change
Keil, Beverly J. Kelbaugh, Beverly M. Wilson, Carolyn S.
When changes occur in families due to divorce, death, or relocation, children often feel frightened, insecure, and confused. The "Adjusting to Family Change" program provides 4th and 5th grade children the skills needed to cope with these changes through better self-esteem and communication. Teacher response indicates that student behavior improves as children begin to express their fears and concerns. Through this program, children find out their feelings are normal and find solutions through improved communication skills.

Point Counterpoint--A Method for Teaching Critical Thinking
Boggs, Joseph F. Chatfield, James
Extension clientele deal with multifaceted issues and require assistance that provides multiple perspectives on these issues. In the line of "teaching them how to fish" rather than simple fact-feeding, the example of teaching critical thinking through a Point--Counterpoint technique is described. By demonstrating in classroom and written formats that there is often more than one equally correct answer to a question, the many facets of specific issues are demonstrated in an educational context.

Home Composting Program Reduces Landfill Costs
Morales, Barbara
An interagency team consisting of two University of Idaho Extension Educators and the consumer educator for a regional landfill worked together to design, promote, and deliver a home composting program that included distribution of 900 compost bin kits. The program was aimed at residents of a six county area in Southern Idaho which joined forces to build a new Subtitle D Landfill. Results in a follow-up survey of participants indicated that 2.8 cubic yards of waste per compost bin was diverted from the landfill. By reducing the amount of waste hauled, avoided costs for hauling over a one year period will be $51,975.

Using Satellite Technology in Traditional Programs
Staats, Lewis J.
Since 1992, Cornell Cooperative Extension has used satellite technology to deliver a traditional program that was previously accomplished with several live one-day seminars held throughout New York. Replacing the former series of meetings with a one-day satellite broadcast has reduced the specialists' travel costs, preparation, and delivery time. Audience potential has expanded beyond New York's boundaries into other states and Canadian provinces with the use of the new technology, and evaluations indicate a high satisfaction exists with program quality. Of additional benefit, videotapes of the satellite broadcast become available as reference material and for subsequent program use.

Improving Independent Living for Older Americans
Kirby, Sarah D., Ph.D. Douglas, Edwina, M.S.
This article describes the evaluation results of a housing educational program that focused on major and minor safety and design changes that can be made in the homes of older persons to increase independent living. Survey results from participants revealed that those changes that are less complicated or costly to make such as checking facilities, removing items, or rearranging items, are more likely to be implemented. Changes that require installation and renovation are more likely to be considered for a future home and not implemented in their current home. The specific changes made by the participants are also described.

Parvis e glandibus quercus "Great Oaks From Little Acorns Grow"
Hudkins, Stephen J.
This unique mentoring program involves volunteer Master Gardeners, specially trained in horticultural therapy, interacting with youth-at-risk students between the ages of 11 and 14. Students participating in the program exhibited increased self-esteem, self-confidence, pride in their accomplishments, enthusiasm, and a positive change in attitude. Truancy has decreased and grades have improved among the students participating in the program. As a result of the program, increased funding has been received from traditional and non- traditional sources and has led to the establishment of an additional youth development position in the county.

Tools of the Trade

Water Activities for Kids
Filchak, Karen K. Welch, Mary Ellen
Water Activities for Kids is a reproducible series of fact sheets and games on individual and household water consumption and water quality for children ages seven to 12. The series has games and exploratory activities which children can perform alone or with adult guidance. Data sources include the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the American Water Works Association. These materials are designed for youths in elementary schools, 4-H clubs, camps, and school age child care programs.