April 1997 // Volume 35 // Number 2

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page

Feature Articles

Skills and Competencies in 4-H Curriculum Materials
El Sawi, Gwen Smith, M. F.
A stratified national sample of 4-H curriculum materials was analyzed to determine the extent to which workforce related skills and competencies were present in the objectives and activities. The materials examined showed fewer instances than expected of the life skills 4-H promotes (that is, decision making, problem solving, leadership), little evidence of interpersonal skills and competencies (that is, teamwork, works with diversity, negotiates), and a great emphasis on knowledge acquisition skills. The study raises questions about program plausibility and suggests a need to check curriculum integrity in all parts of the curriculum from goal setting to program development to implementation.

Expansion of the Gaming Industry: Opportunities for Cooperative Extension
Borden, George W. Harris,Thomas R. Fletcher, Robert R.
The phenomenal growth of legalized gaming over the last 10-to-15 years has generated a great deal of discussion at the national, state, and community levels. All but two states have some form of legalized gaming. In 1992, a national gaming survey conducted by the Center for Economic Development at the University of Nevada, Reno found that many states perceive legalized gaming as part of their economy. However, no formal Cooperative Extension educational programming is being conducted that addresses the wide array of issues surrounding legalized gaming. Is there an opportunity for Cooperative Extension to provide educational programming addressing issues specific to legalized gaming?

Training in Evaluation of Parent Education Programs Using the National Extension Parent Education Model (NEPEM)
Duncan, Stephen F. Goddard, H. Wallace
Increasingly, Extension educators and their community collaborators are being held accountable for results. They need to know how to evaluate their programs and effectively communicate the results to stakeholders. This article reports the design and results of a statewide training in parent education evaluation in Montana, using the National Extension Parent Education Model (NEPEM). It provides a useful example of how an evaluation training can be conceived, carried out, and evaluated by Extension professionals.

Research in Brief

Using Distance Education to Teach the New Food Label to Extension Educators
Struempler, Barbara Jelinek, Suzette M. Brown, Amanda H. Sanders, Laura G.
Purpose of this study was to determine the ability of Extension educators to increase their knowledge of the new food label through distance education. Instruction was provided via an Extension satellite program to 97 county agents and 67 female program assistants. The participants completed pre- and post-tests; responses were analyzed by Student's t test to determine change in knowledge about "Nutrition Facts." County agents' mean post-test score was significantly higher than the mean pre-test score. Program assistants scored lower than county agents, yet were knowledgeable about the food label with a significantly higher mean post-test score than pre-test score. This study supports satellite programs to increase the knowledge base of Extension professionals in preparation for consumers' queries on emerging issues.

Survey of Dollar Value and Importance of Farm Visits to Eastern Vermont Dairy Farmers
Calderwood, Louise H.
Farm visits have formed the basis for agricultural Extension education. However it is becoming difficult to justify the time and expense involved. A postcard survey of 77 eastern Vermont dairy farmers was used to evaluate the dollar value and importance of farm visits to farms grouped by herd size. Visits were rated as moderately to extensively important by 90% of respondents. Seventy percent of farmers responding felt that farm visits improved their profitability. Extension agents should recognize the value of farm visits and maintain them as an educational method

Ideas at Work

Internet Childhood Safety and Health Resource Guide
Freeman, Steven A. Whitman, Scott D. Tormoehlen, Roger L. Embleton, Karla M.
Purdue University's Agricultural Safety and Health Program, historically a paper-based directory of childhood safety and health resources, is now available on the World Wide Web (WWW). Advantages to WWW publication include: widespread availability, continuous updates, and low distribution costs. Disadvantages include: lack of acceptance by some Extension clientele, loss of portability, and initial difficulties in finding the publication's WWW location. The use of on-line resources has been moderate to date. However, a significant increase in utilization is expected as Internet access becomes less expensive and Extension educators and external clientele become more accustomed to using on-line resources.

Serving the Continuing Education Needs of Crop Insurance Agents
Gustafson, Cole R.
This article describes a general educational conference that has evolved into a targeted program of continuing education for crop insurance agents. The annual fee-based program, now in its fourth year, draws more than 200 agents from Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The paper describes the need for the program and describes key features of program structure, scheduling, and adaptive planning that have lead to success.

Ohio Pasture for Profit Schools: Designing a Successful Format for Grazing Courses
Bennett, Mark L. Penrose, Christopher D. Bathlolomew, Henry M.
Improved grazing systems offer a profitable sustainable alternative for livestock producers in Ohio. In 1994, Extension agents and state specialists formed an Integrated Forage Management Team and designed regional "Pasture for Profit Schools" for Ohio. Ten teaching outlines were developed that included text and scripts to present in a series of two to three classes. Notebooks and fact sheets were developed, and an on-farm case study would be provided. Twenty-five schools from 1994-96 have been attended by over 700 participants providing an instructor to student ratio of 1:15. Several states have requested the program for implementation.

A Method of Effective Communication Between 4-H and FFA Programs At The Local Level
Spoto, Kenneth
Effective communication goes beyond the meeting place. The junior livestock association is a method of effective communication among parents, leaders, FFA advisors, 4-H agents, and youth involved in parish (county) 4-H and FFA programs. Since the association in my parish organized thirteen years ago, monthly association meetings continue to be ideal situations where people with a common interest meet to discuss livestock management, share information on current show dates, and trends, offer assistance in feeding, grooming, or travel, learn about each other, and forge new friendships.

Tools of the Trade

An Investment In The Future: Employee Wellness
Oliveri, Cindy S. Tribe, Deanna Collins, Elaine Culbertson, Rebecca Jackson, Daney Williams, Treva Merkowitz, Rose Fisher Gerber, David Howard-Dresbach, Sereana
The Take Charge of Your Health Conference gave employees in one Ohio Extension district access to a major medical facility and also helped develop a partnership between the University Medical Center and Extension. As a group, employees were found to be at risk due to mean values outside the ideal range for total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Diastolic Blood Pressure, and Body Mass Index. Wellness programs such as this one can demonstrate an organization's commitment to employee's mental and physical well-being.

A System's Approach to Professional Development
Stone, Barbara Boltes
The Texas Agricultural Extension Service has made a significant commitment to competency development in order to prepare Extension educators for the future. This article describes how the concept of competencies can be introduced, implemented, and leveraged in order to improve individual performance and make an organizational impact.