February 2000 // Volume 38 // Number 1

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Editor's Page

Editor's Page

Feature Articles

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Professionals' Attitudes Toward Sustainable Agriculture
Minarovic, Rosanne E.; Mueller, J. Paul
Conducted in 1995, this study collected baseline data that described North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service professionals' attitudes towards sustainable agriculture. A mailed survey included questions from five categories that defined attitudes toward sustainable agriculture: organizational shared vision; systems thinking; teamwork--interdisciplinary projects and collaborations with organizations outside the university; grassroots involvement; and knowledge of sustainable practices and technologies. This study suggested Extension professionals in North Carolina do not operate using a single, unified definition of sustainable agriculture. More work can be done among Extension professionals to understand all components of a sustainable agriculture system.

The Role of Extension Specialists in Helping Entrepreneurs Develop Successful Food-Based Businesses
Holcomb, Rodney; Muske, Glenn
Business planning has been found to be an important determinant of future business success. Extension specialists often have the opportunity to encourage food industry entrepreneurs to plan and can be of great service in those planning efforts. This paper discusses how Extension specialists can be such a catalyst. Specialists, in addition to providing their own expertise, can often provide local, state and national contacts. They also are excellent outside reviewers of such plans as they are able to bring the combination of basic and applied research as well as real world experience into the review process.

Implementation of a Livestock Systems Environmental Assessment Tool
Koelsch, Rick; Howard, Larry; Pritchard, Steve; Hay, Paul
A self-assessment tool addressing livestock environmental issues was developed and pilot tested. A pilot study evaluated livestock producers response to environmental issues addressed by this tool, identified practices commonly observed to produce a high environmental risk, reviewed alternative delivery strategies, and reported on changes resulting from producer's use of the tool. The resulting Livestock Systems Environmental Assessment was found to be an effective tool for assisting producers in reviewing environmental issues, especially when delivered through local livestock commodity groups.

Farmers' Perspectives of Michigan State University Extension: Trends and Lessons from 1996 and 1999
Suvedi, Murari; Lapinski, Maria Knight; Campo, Shelly
In 1994, Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) reorganized into Area of Expertise teams (AOE) linking county agents and specialists around specific commodity groups' needs. A statewide survey was conducted in 1996 and 1999 to determine agricultural producers' educational needs and perceptions of MSUE. Participation rates among full-time farmers in MSUE programs are high. The number of part-time farmers is increasing, and these farmers are participating less in MSUE programs. Farmers want one-on-one interaction with Extension agents. Marketing, business management and farm economics were named as important educational needs by significantly more farmers in 1999 than in 1996.

Evaluation of a Logger Training and Education Program in Virginia
Wrightman, Aaron R.; Shaffer, Robert M.
Virginia's SHARP Logger education and training program began in late 1995 and consists of three training sessions on logging safety, business management, and harvest planning. Through 1997, 408 loggers had completed the program. A post-training evaluation of the program's impact was conducted in 1998. On-site interviews and observations of 50 sample participants focused on determining changes made as a result of the training. Results indicate that 86% of participants believed that their operation was improved as a result of their training. The harvest planning training was the most effective (95% of the participants reported change[s]), then logging safety (82%), and business management (59%). Ninety-six percent of participants rated the training as being of much (55%) or some (41%) benefit, while 4% felt it was of little or no benefit.

Research in Brief

Pesticide Use and Grower Perceptions of Pest Problems on Ornamental Crops in Hawaii
Hollingsworth, Robert G.; Hara, Arnold H.; Sewake, Kelvin T.
Ninety-five out of 400 growers (23.8%) of ornamental crops in Hawaii responded to a survey about pest problems and pesticide use. Sixty-eight percent of respondents listed either cut orchids or anthuriums as their main crop. Pests considered serious on these crops included thrips, mites and slugs/snails. Pesticide use (excluding fungicides) was heavy on cut orchids and anthuriums, averaged 35.8 and 27.7 pesticide applications per grower per year, respectively. Growers who scouted for pests made far fewer pesticide applications than those who did not. Growers obtained most of their pest control information from government sources, chiefly the Cooperative Extension Service.

Benefits and Values of the Master Gardener Program
Schrock, Denny S.; Meyer, Mary; Ascher, Peter; Snyder, Mark
Current and former Missouri Master Gardeners were asked to respond how strongly they agreed or disagreed with a list of benefits provided by the Master Gardener program. Questions were assigned to one of 6 principal components of volunteer motivation. Respondents most strongly agreed that the Master Gardener program provides benefits related to Understanding. Benefits related to Enhancement, Values, and Protective issues formed the second tier of importance. Benefits related to Career were next, and Social benefits concluded the list. Currently active Master Gardeners volunteers were more likely to respond favorably to benefits provided by the Master Gardener program.

Interaction Analyzed in Traditional and Satellite-Delivered Extension Educational Presentations
Rost, Bob
Although satellite technology for distance-delivery of educational programs has been available for a decade, Oregon State University Extension educators have made limited use of the technology. Many educators seem concerned that separation of instructor and learner in distance-delivered presentations will lead to unacceptably low levels of instructor-learner interaction. This study employed the Verbal Interaction Category System to measure and compare levels of instructor-learner interaction in satellite-delivered presentations and traditionally-delivered presentations. Study participants were adults enrolled in the Master Gardener training program in six Oregon counties. Interaction analysis results indicated relatively small differences in interaction levels of traditional and distance sessions.

Information Transfer In The Illinois Swine Industry: How Producers are Informed of New Technologies
Brashear, Genefer; Hollis, Gilbert; Wheeler, Matthew B.
This study examined how information transfer of new technological advances occurs between university scientists and pork producers. The questionnaire was designed to determine two things: (a) where producers from various swine operations obtain their information about new technologies and (b) how aggressively they implement of these advances. The subjects for this survey were swine producers primarily from Illinois. The survey was mailed to more than 300 swine producers and 127 usable surveys were returned. The results showed that producers have access to on-farm computers, but rely on them and university specialists less as information sources.

Differences in the Solution-Oriented Conflict Style of Selected Groups of 4-H Youth Development Volunteer Leaders
Deen, Mary Y.
Conflict is an inevitable part of life and the 4-H Youth Development program. To determine how to best deal with conflict and design conflict resolution educational workshops a study was conducted to determine if selected groups of 4-H volunteer leaders differed in their solution-oriented conflict style. Three hundred and seventy-one participants responded to a written questionnaire designed to determine their predominant style of conflict resolution. The findings revealed that differences existed in solution-oriented conflict styles of the selected groups by program area and training. Implications indicate a need for a variety of training topics and methods when teaching conflict resolution skills.

Ideas at Work

Creating Agriculture Awareness through an Interactive Learning Experience: Incubators in the Classroom
Meunier, Ryan A.; Talbert, B. Allen; Latour, Mickey A.
The poultry Extension staff at Purdue University has implemented an Extension program for fourth-grade elementary students. The program, called "Incubators in the Classroom", offers interactive experiences by which students can learn about various aspects of agriculture. Interactivity is accomplished through interaction with teachers/educators, CD-ROMs, and other learning materials. The overall programmatic goal is to increase agriculture awareness and enhance education among fourth-grade students. The program was re-vamped in May 1997, and to date has directly reached more than 15,000 students. Presently, the investigators are seeking ways to critically evaluate the program. Critical evaluation is the only objective method of assessing the true impact of this endeavor.

Youth Beef Roundup
Nold, Rosie
An intensive two-day program for youth with an interest in the beef industry was designed with the following objectives: (a) Provide youth with skills and knowledge necessary for more active involvement in the family's farm or ranch; (b) Introduce youth to opportunities in the beef industry beyond production; (c) Familiarize youth with the University faculty and facilities; and (d) Develop leadership skills. An evaluation of the program by the youth indicated they significantly increased their knowledge in all the topic areas covered and that they would use the information in the future.

Grant Program To Increase Wine Grape Production in Ohio
Brown, Maurus
A Vine Grant program has been established through the Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC) in cooperation with the Ohio State University Extension viticulturist to encourage the establishment of new wine grape vineyards in Ohio. OGIC has set aside funds for reimbursement of established vines as an incentive to promote the production of wine grapes in Ohio and provide a more stable source of wine grapes for Ohio wineries on land that is not owned or operated by an Ohio winery. This incentive program covers from 1-to-5 acres per grower each year, with a target of 15 new acres established each year. The Extension viticulturist will inspect and evaluate each vineyard site.

Collaboration Builds A Successful Farm Management Workshop
Zoller, Christopher T.
Farmers realize the importance of farm records in the day-to-day management of their businesses, but for a number of reasons they fail to use their basic records for management purposes. The Tuscarawas County office of Ohio State University Extension, along with two local lenders and the local Career Center, developed a financial records short course to teach farm managers about the basic financial statements. The five- week course included lecture, discussion, and practical hands-on application using a sample farm. Based on a pre-test/post-test, participants indicated an increase in knowledge and stated they could apply the concepts taught in the workshop to their own farm records.

Tools of the Trade

Survey Results from Users of a Dairy Management Web Site
Walker, Robert C.; Holden, Lisa A.
To augment the educational opportunities in a program called Dairy Management and Profitability (Dairy-MAP), a Web site was developed for dairy producers, agribusiness personnel, and educators. The Web site had more than 10,000 users from 1995 to 1998. In 1998, a voluntary survey was conducted on the Web site to gather information about users and educational impact. Less than 10% of the site users completed the survey. Only 26% of the Dairy-MAP program participants visited the Web site. A majority of the users (71%) were from the United States, and nearly half (45%) from educational institutions. About half (49%) of the site users indicated that they frequented the site occasionally. Results of the limited number of users in this survey indicated that the Web site was not an effective way to supplement educational workshop materials for most of the program participants.

Keep It Simple... Use A Supertable
Santos, J. Reynaldo A.; Higginbotham, Billy J.
When used in conjunction with statistical analysis, tables and graphs facilitate value comparisons, help discern trends, and indicate the magnitude or lack of differences between and/or among test variables. Supertables overcome the need for many small tables and/or graphs and presents many comparisons in common, easily understood dimensions. Supertables offer easily comprehensible, bite-sized information to the intended audience without overwhelming them. Used alone, it minimizes the introduction of extraneous data and redundant statistics into any project report or summary. This paper demonstrates the design and construction of a supertable for a typical Extension survey.