August 1999 // Volume 37 // Number 4

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page


Implications of Increased Alternative Revenue for the Cooperative Extension System: Present and Future Strategies for Success
Barth, Judith Ann; Stryker, Barry W.; Arrington, Larry R.; Syed, Syraj
As the next century approaches, alternative funding sources will increasingly contribute to a diversified portfolio of resources for the Cooperative Extension System. The Personnel and Organizational Development Committee (PODC), of ECOP (Extension Committee on Organization and Policy), has identified several issues associated with alternative revenue acquisition and use and suggests guiding principles and associated strategies to address the major personnel and organizational development implications.

When to Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
Jackson, Daney G.; Johnson, Linda
Extension organizations are increasingly seeking funding from sources other than traditional county, state and federal sources. The increased focus on grants, contracts, and user fees is an issue that will change the future of Extension organizations. If funding is allowed to drive programming direction, planning for the future will be less important than reacting to present opportunities. This article identifies some critical questions to be asked before seeking or accepting new sources of resources.

Feature Articles

A Research Based Approach to the Development of Educational Programs for Extension Clientele: A Case Study on Land Use Issues in Ohio
Hudkins, Stephen; Blaine, Thomas W.
In response to concerns expressed by clientele, Extension educators working in Portage County, Ohio initiated a series of surveys of public attitudes regarding land use. The results revealed that respondents were deeply concerned about preserving farmland and rural character, but did not believe they had adequate knowledge as a community to make prudent land use decisions. Use of these results assisted Extension personnel in developing educational programs designed to acquaint clientele with an array of land use tools and farmland preservation methods that might be adopted in the future.

Building an Asset-based Program for 4-H
Perkins, Daniel F.; Butterfield, Judith R.
The aim of this study is two-fold: (a) to identify strong and weak assets of youth in Duval County 4-H; and (b) to design an asset-based programming focus. The data for this study were collected through a survey administered to 151 4-H'ers from eleven 4-H clubs in Duval County. Using the Search Institute's Attitudes and Behaviors survey, baseline information about assets was analyzed to provide direction for programming. Implications from this study are discussed in terms of creating positive youth development programs that focus on increasing the assets of young people.

Research in Brief

Increasing the 4-H Participation of Youth from High-Risk Environments
Hobbs, Beverly B.
A study was conducted to learn how 4-H agents might facilitate the participation of youth from high risk environments in the 4-H program. Eight family service consultants serving three rural Oregon counties were interviewed to learn of their experiences in trying to successfully involve high-risk youth in community-based youth organizations. This article identifies some of the barriers to participation encountered by high-risk youth and also identifies some of the actions 4-H agents might take both within the 4-H program and more generally within the community to foster the successful participation of these youth.

An Evaluation of an Agricultural Innovation: Justification for Participatory Assistance
King, Robert N.; Rollins, Timothy J.
This article describes and assesses the adoption of a nitrogen testing innovation as a result of an Extension education program. Focus groups and a mail survey provided feedback concerning factors, variables and technology transfer strategies associated with the adoption of this innovation. Farmers indicated that economic factors and information sources impacted their adoption decisions. Results indicated that a more holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to and understanding of the decision-making processes of farmers may have improved the outcome of the educational program. Adoption of this innovation may have been improved if farmers had participated in the research, development and introduction of this innovation.

Florida Master Gardener Mentor Program: A Case Study
Phillips II, William; Bradshaw, Joan
The Master Gardener Mentor Program study was designed to determine if volunteer mentors would help reduce trainee drop out during basic training, and to determine what component(s) of the program were most important to trainees. Data were gathered from the Master Gardener Program without a mentor program (1995, 1996, and 1997) and with a mentor program (1998). The drop out rates without the program were 26%, 17%,and 27%, respectively, while with the program it was only 2%. This low percentage could have been influenced by the smaller class (1998) however differences in the resulting data were quite large. Survey results focus on friendship gained from the program as the most important factor.

A Methodology for Determining Extension Constituent Needs: A Case Analysis in the Forest Products Industry
Bowe, Scott; Smith, Robert; Massey, Joseph; Hansen, Eric
This paper details a methodology for determining Extension constituent needs. The forest products industry was surveyed in Minnesota, Virginia, and Oregon through a collaborative efforts of the states' Extension programs.the respective states. The objective was to identify educational and training needs and to evaluate the current training methods. A mail survey was used to gather data from the primary and secondary forest products companies. The results found that marketing and management subject areas ranked higher in need that most production subject areas. Despite differences between the forest products industries in each state, few significant differences in educational needs were found between states.

Globalizing Extension Professionals
Ludwig, Barbara G.
The article reports the results of a study of all Extension professionals in a midwestern state to identify activities and attitudes relative to incorporating global perspectives into local programming. The implications related to professional development of Extension professionals to understand local events in a global context are significant. Results indicate over 60% of Extension professionals are interested in incorporating an international perspective into programming. Lack of time, uncertainty that globalizing is a programming priority and lack of expertise or information were the primary barriers identified to adding a global perspective to domestic programming.

Ideas at Work

Extension Disaster Education Network Helps CES Prepare, Communicate
Koch, Becky
The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) helps Cooperative Extension System faculty and staff share information related to emergencies. The informal organization is a model for Extension to develop other interdisciplinary topics across state lines to meet needs with minimal investment of time and money. States are invited to join EDEN, and staff and the public are welcome to use the information offered through the cooperative Web site.

Are Open-Ended Questions Tying You in Knots?
Santos, J. Reynaldo A.; Mitchell, Diann; Pope, Paul
Customer surveys are the mainstay of the Extension Service and have always served as conduits for collecting feedback about planned, ongoing, or concluded projects. While it is most desirable to design survey questions where respondents can categorically indicate their preferred answers, there are instances when a researcher wants to capture unbiased, unconstrained, and thoughtful responses via open-ended questions unavailable by any other means. Unlike structured questionnaires, which are easily handled by most statistical software, responses to open-ended questions seem to defy programming logic and are usually treated as ordinary character strings by computer programmers. This paper shows a possible technique for dealing with open-ended question responses without the time-consuming collation associated with them.

Union Park Action For Safe Families
Ferrer, Millie; Chambers, Janet
Union Park Action for Safe Families is a community growth initiative composed of neighborhood school and community leaders, parents, and various agencies. Its mission is to support the stability of families and safety to unsupervised children. Collaborative efforts among various agencies are providing educational programs and services that are family focused and neighborhood based. After two years, there was a 64% increase in youth participating in supervised collaborative programs. Also, the 230 4th and 5th graders receiving self-care education in three elementary schools had a 25% increase in knowledge of personal safety as measured by a pre- and post-test. Seventy-one percent of the families participating successfully achieved the goals they set in the participation plan. Because of its accomplishments, the collaborative received an additional three year contract.

A Skin Cancer Prevention Program for Farm Youth
Parrott, Roxanne; Stuart, Tricia; Lewis, Dawn
This paper discusses the importance of teaching children good skin cancer prevention behaviors and offers a model for Extension agents to use in potential programs. The model, formulated and practiced by the Georgia Harvesting Healthy Habits project group, provides cognitive and behavioral rehearsal of three key skin cancer preventative strategies--use of sunscreens, wide brimmed tightly woven cloth hats, and skin self exams. The program has been used for four consecutive years at a Farm Safety Camp held at Abraham Baldwin College. The program is one easily adapted for 4-H meetings and other Extension settings. Adults, too, may benefit from a similar program and the opportunity to try these recommended skin cancer prevention practices.

Tools of the Trade

Ag Science Fairs: The Next Wave in Agricultural Literacy
Blackburn, Demaris A.
The majority of the U.S. population can be classified as ignorant about agriculture. Ag Science Fairs are a way to combat agricultural illiteracy. Ag Science Fairs give children the opportunity to learn about agriculture outside of the classroom, while allowing the community to teach what agriculture has to offer. Ag Science Fairs are one-time experiential learning events that show case many aspects of agriculture using specially designed curriculum.

New England Integrated Pest Manual Scouting Guide for Poinsettias
Pundt, Leanne
New England Integrated Pest Management for Poinsettias - A Manual for Growers and Scouts, is available for $10.00 per copy (U.S. funds) from the University of Connecticut, Office of Communications and Information Technology, U-35, 1376 Storrs Road, Storrs CT 06269-4035. The 30-page reference manual covers scouting for key insects, diseases and nutritional disorders. It was designed for use by growers, scouts, and Extension agents in the field. Two summary tables provide an overview of the scouting process. Sample scouting forms and a listing of New England diagnostic laboratories are included.

Cost-Benefit Impact Statements: A Tool For Extension Accountability
O'Neill, Barbara; Richardson, John G.
As recipients of public funding, Extension faculty are accountable to government leaders and stakeholders for reporting program impact. Increasingly, they are being asked to document specific impacts of programs on constituents' lives and compare them to financial investments in a program. The article describes cost-benefit analysis as a technique for comparing program outcomes to inputs to demonstrate accountability. It also illustrates the cost-benefit concept with two specific examples.