April 2006 // Volume 44 // Number 2

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Editor's Page

Spread the Word About JOE Rigor
"Spread the Word" explains that JOE's increasing rigor is still an unfortunately well-kept secret and asks your help in spreading the word. "April JOE " points out that 11 of the 29 articles in the issue deal in one way or another with economic development, entrepreneurship, or helping business development and that there is also an article continuing the dialog on scholarship in Extension.


Is There Justice? Seeking Fairness in Cooperative Extension Programs During Times of Change
Schmiesing, Ryan J.; Safrit, R. Dale
Cooperative Extension Service administrators on the federal, state, regional, district, and county level will be challenged in the coming years to provide leadership as their organizations are defined in a changing society. Recognizing and implementing strategies to ensure positive perceptions of organizational justice will reap tremendous rewards in the form of increased satisfaction, commitment, trust, and citizenship. At the same time, positive perceptions of justice will reduce employee turnover and workplace aggression issues. This article defines organizational justice, including its four constructs; raises the importance of the issue; and offers strategies to address fairness/justice in the workplace.

Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Is There Justice? Seeking Fairness in Cooperative Extension Programs During Times of Change"

Feature Articles

The Impact of Microenterprise Development Training on Low-Income Clients
Schmidt, Michele Cranwell; Kolodinsky, Jane M.; Flint, Carol; Whitney, Bruce
The study reported here examined the impact of microenterprise development (MED) programs on low-income individuals using a case study of 140 clients of the Vermont Micro Business Development Program who participated in a statewide telephone survey. The study also examined variables that are associated with change in client reliance on public assistance. Outcomes achieved include: access to capital, positive attitude changes, business start up and growth, job creation, increased household income, decreased reliance on public assistance, and satisfaction with services. Significant relationships were found between certain client characteristics and outcomes and decreased reliance on public assistance.

African Americans' Views on Access to Healthy Foods: What a Farmers' Market Provides
Suarez-Balcazar, Yolanda; Martinez, Louise I.; Cox, Ginnefer; Jayraj, Anita
The study reported here assessed African Americans' perceptions of a local farmers' market and access to healthy produce in their community. The majority of respondents were satisfied with several dimensions of the farmers' market, including location, cleanliness, variety, price, and quality of produce. Comparing the farmers' market to the local stores in terms of access to fresh produce, about twice the number of residents was satisfied with the farmers' market than with the local stores. This study has implications for Extension in terms of promoting farmers' markets in low-income minority communities.

The Future of Agriculture in Our Community: A Pilot Program to Increase Community Dialogue About Agricultural Sustainability
Brasier, Kathryn J.; Collins, Timothy; Kelsey, Timothy W.; Lenihan, Martin H.; Whitmer, Walter
The Future of Agriculture in Our Community is a program developed to allow Pennsylvania communities to assess and address the needs of local agriculture. This article describes the program in detail and provides results from an evaluation conducted of the pilot program. Findings (n=55) suggest that the program was received very well among participants and seemed to increase community organization skills, knowledge of local agriculture, interest in agriculture and in community life, and intentions to participate in future volunteer efforts. Based on these results, recommendations are offered for those interested in pursuing similar programs.

Web-Based Communities as a Tool for Extension and Outreach
Kallioranta, Sanna M.; Vlosky, Richard P.; Leavengood, Scott
The Internet has become a common tool for facilitating business transactions, fostering communication, and aiding for-profit and non-profit companies and organizations to better compete. An additional benefit of the Internet is the ability to create sector-specific Web-based communities that can facilitate outreach and Extension efforts. Communities in general can be any group with a common interest or goal and can include a number of actions such as information sharing, real-time dialog, and transaction facilitation. In this article, we discuss a background of Web-based communities and forest-sector Web-based communities developed by Cooperative Extension faculty members at two U.S. universities.

Using CD-Based Materials to Teach Turfgrass Management
Mayfield, Chyrel A.; Wingenbach, Gary J.; Chalmers, David R.
Traditional Extension programs are delivered in face-to-face workshop settings. Recently, educators have used new technologies for program delivery with increasing frequency. One technique (CD-ROM) has not been explored thoroughly. Using a turfgrass management curriculum for Master Gardeners, researchers sought to determine if learning differed between students taught using CD-based materials versus those taught in traditional workshops. Using a pre-test/post-test design, 94 participants' turfgrass management knowledge was measured. CD-based materials were more effective than traditional settings for teaching turfgrass management topics to Master Gardener trainees. CD-based materials could increase the number of clientele reached and enhance their learning experiences.

The Impact of Interactive Multimedia on Nutrition and Physical Activity Knowledge of High School Students
Dunn, Carolyn; Thomas, Cathy; Green, Claudia; Mick, Julie
Creative ways to encourage adolescents to develop positive lifelong eating and physical activity patterns are needed. The project described here assessed the effectiveness of an interactive multimedia product, SyberShop, to increase knowledge and influence behavior change in nutrition and physical activity in adolescents. SyberShop was effective in increasing knowledge in students. Students using SyberShop scored 28% higher on a post-test compared to a control group receiving no nutrition education (p < 0.001) and 19% higher than a group of student receiving lectures. (p<0.05). Using multimedia is an effective way to educate young people about healthy eating and physical activity.

From Water Quality to Riparian Corridors: Assessing Willingness to Pay for Conservation Easements Using the Contingent Valuation Method
Blaine, Thomas W.; Smith, Ted
This article reports a survey to elicit public response to a proposal to fund a purchase of a conservation easements program to protect an environmentally sensitive riparian corridor. The results from two versions of the contingent valuation method (CVM)--a payment card and a referendum--reveal that mean household willingness to pay (WTP) is $16.80 and $29.16, respectively. Factors influencing WTP include proposed cost, age of respondent, and individual sense of local environmental priorities. This type of study represents an important opportunity for Extension educators to assist local officials as they struggle to make policy decisions regarding a variety of public projects.

The Scholarship of Application
McGrath, Daniel M.
In the late 1990s, Oregon State University brought its Extension field faculty into academic departments where they are evaluated for promotion and tenure. This was intended to promote better collaboration and integration of research, teaching, and Extension. Research and teaching faculty, however, continue to respond to the traditional academic reward and recognition system. Newer faculty members are unclear about the meaning of our commitment to the threefold mission. Extension field faculty are frustrated by the apparently incongruent demands of scholarship and public service. This article provides a brief history of the engagement movement in higher education and describes current dilemmas.

Catalytic Leadership: Reconsidering the Nature of Extension's Leadership Role
Morse, Ricardo S.; Brown, Paul W.; Warning, Jeanne E.
Extension's role in leading change in communities must shift from traditional notions of leadership to one of catalytic leadership. The expertise, programming-driven leadership model of Extension's past must be replaced with one of activating and convening stakeholders and facilitating problem-solving processes that address public issues collaboratively. This article introduces the basic skills of catalytic leadership, offers two illustrative examples from Extension in Iowa, and connects this leadership model with Public Issues Education. It concludes with some suggestions for how Extension units can move toward the catalytic model.

Research in Brief

Internet Standards: How One State's Small Business Web Sites Compare to Expectations
Muske, Glenn; Yu, Hong; Khoo, Chia-Ling
Small business owners are increasingly realizing the importance of establishing an Internet presence. The purpose of the study reported here was to evaluate a sample of Web sites of small and often rural businesses and compare how well the Web sites met a set of 40 standards identified in the literature. In general, the Web sites scored well. The largest area of concern was the lack of variety of ways a customer could order or get assistance. Suggestions are provided as to how this information can be used by Extension educators.

Targeted Marketing: Lessons from an Agri-Tourism Enterprise
Chase, Lisa C.
Marketing is a top concern for many Extension specialists and for our audiences. Whether we're selling our own programs or helping producers and growers sell their products, we need to understand marketing basics and how to apply them in the field. University of Vermont researchers analyzed marketing methods used by an agri-tourism enterprise to better understand which marketing methods are most effective in different circumstances. The results led to a new hypothesis that has the potential to help Extension personnel identify appropriate marketing methods for specific products.

Lessons from the Draft Horse Industry in East Texas
Hynes, James W.; Lindner, James R.
The purpose of the study reported here was to determine and understand the variables responsible for the revival of the draft horse industry in East Texas. The draft horse industry can provide viable employment for rural entrepreneurs. The authors suggest universities and Extension rethink their traditional roles of supporting and providing resources for rural entrepreneurs engaged in agricultural enterprises that utilize relic technologies.

Survey Results from Participants of a Short Course for Dairy Herdsmen
Higginbotham, Gerald E.; Kirk, John H.
A survey was conducted by University of California Cooperative Extension of past attendees of a dairy herdsman short course. The purpose was to determine to what degree course participants were applying course material to their respective position as dairy herdsmen. Overall, 41% of the attendees indicated that they had begun to apply information from the short course on the dairy farm for which they worked. Hispanic attendees appreciated simultaneous translations of presentations. Results from this survey demonstrate the need for a dairy herdsman short course in order for dairy employees to improve their practical skills in dairy herd management.

A Successful Collaborative Research Project: Determining the Effects of Delayed Castration on Beef Cattle Production and Carcass Traits and Consumer Acceptability
Heaton, Kevin; Zobell, Dale R.; Cornforth, Daren
A cooperative, on-ranch study was conducted to determine the effect of time of castration on ADG, carcass characteristics, and consumer preference. Sixty-five bull calves were randomly assigned to three treatments: early castrates (E), weaned castrates (W) and late castrates (L). Results indicated no differences between treatments for ADG, backfat, ending live weight, hot carcass weight, or dressing percentage. Ribeye area and cutability were higher for the L, and marbling score and yield grade were lower for L. Consumer panelists who ate beef regularly identified E as more tender, juicy, and flavorful and had better overall acceptability than W or L.

Clientele Perceptions of the University of the Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service Livestock Program
Schafer, Stephen R.
The purpose of the study reported here was to assess the level of satisfaction/perceptions of University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service livestock clientele. The conclusions indicated: (1) traditional producers had a higher level of satisfaction than non-traditional producers, (2) clientele did not perceive a difference in single-county or multi-county programming, (3) the program was beneficial, and (4) opportunity exists to increase clientele. The recommendations were: (1) maintain present educational course, but also seek other programming avenues, (2) assess perceptions of non-user clientele, (3) increase the information available to non-traditional producers, and (4) increase awareness of educational opportunities.

Consumer Interest in Gardening Topics and Preferred Information Sources
Kelley, Kathleen M.; Wehry, Rebecca H.
A survey was conducted to quantify what gardening topics consumers were interested in learning and what sources they used to learn about these topics. Approximately half of the participants (48.2%) responded that they were currently interested in a topic. Friend/neighbor/family members (53.4%), garden center staff (51.0%), and gardening books (48.2%) were the most popular sources for this information. University Web sites, Extension offices, and Master Gardener programs were among the least five sources used. Survey results can help Extension personnel with consumer horticulture responsibilities provide appropriate information to consumers. Results can also help provide a measure of Extension impact.

Assessment of a Workplace Program's Capability to Teach Communication and Problem-Solving Skills
Ferry, Natalie M.
Low-income individuals' lack of personal skills can be a barrier to workplace success. Using the Skills for Taking Control of Your Future curriculum, Extension educators taught communication and decision-making skills to enhance individuals' workplace competency. Pre/post assessments were designed to collect data on effectiveness of the curriculum to increase the use of communication and decision-making skill components in everyday situations. Using a test of significance for differences in means, socio-demographic group scores were analyzed for pre-post significant differences. The outcome was positive for some groups, supporting the use of the curriculum to teach personal skills that enhance individuals' workplace effectiveness.

Real World Evaluation
Betz, Drew Lenore; Hill, Laura Griner
We address the challenges of creating evaluation protocols that serve interests of both researchers and field faculty. WSU Extension used true and retrospective forms of pretest in evaluations of 100 adults attending the Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 Years. We hypothesized that both forms of pretest would show positive change to posttest and that "Desirable" item types would show greater change. Both forms of the test indicated significant change in intervention-related behaviors, with greater change on retrospective tests and socially desirable items. We recommend using both a true pre-test and retrospective pre-test to satisfy researchers and practitioners.

Ideas at Work

Using a Contingency Plan to Combat Human Resource Risk
Marshall, Maria I.; Alexander, Corinne
Small business owners spend little time thinking about human resource risks, although the absence of key personnel can be devastating to a small business. By leading small business owners through the process of writing a contingency plan, Extension professionals can help business owners reduce these risks. A contingency plan helps business owners identify the best possible risk management strategies and ensure that risk management dollars are spent wisely.

Golden Rules of New Venture Creation
Johnson, Aaron; Holcomb, Rodney B.
When assisting stakeholders developing new value-added businesses, Extension faculty need to direct their attention to market research and the assessment of their clients' strengths/weaknesses prior to the development/launch of their product. This article presents two rules, "know thy customer " and "know thy self," and supporting details to help in the new venture creation process. The rules were developed based on two Extension programs in value-added centers. The information will help Extension agents understand the need to pay closer attention to markets and management when helping their clientele, and they will be able to communicate that need to them.

Launch Rules for Small Businesses
Holcomb, Rodney B.; Johnson, Aaron
The entrepreneurial desire is alive and well in the U.S., and universities have developed various programs targeted at helping those embarking on this adventure. From their work with hundreds of start-up businesses, Extension economists at two such centers have defined a set of "launch rules" to help new businesses avoid common pitfalls. These "rules" are highly recommended actions to be taken by entrepreneurs as they stake their time and resources to a new venture. They will also provide direction for Extension faculty engaged in helping these entrepreneurs.

Engaging Producers in Risk Management Education
Gustafson, Cole R.
The method of focus groups is used to engage farmers, crop insurance agents, and lenders in a risk management education project. Workshop participants were invited to offer suggestions leading to improvement of potato insurance. However, this necessitated understanding of the existing program. Participants asked far-ranging questions about the existing program, creating a teachable moment. Material was also discussed after the session with someone else, a primary goal of the project.

Tools of the Trade

The Risk Matrix: Illustrating the Importance of Risk Management Strategies
Alexander; Corinne; Marshall, Maria I.
Risk management strategies can enable small business owners, including farmers, to survive and succeed in spite of unexpected events. The risk matrix is an effective educational tool to illustrate the importance of risk management strategies. It is easy to use, easy to explain, and effective at promoting audience participation during risk management programs.

INVenture: A Software-Based Model for Assessing Entrepreneurial Ventures
Ehmke, Cole; Boehlje, Michael
Relatively few new entrepreneurs develop business plans or they go about such planning in a haphazard way that invites errors and omissions. This article presents a systemized, Web-based venture planning model that collects appropriate information and assists entrepreneurs in evaluating new ventures. The model provides self-motivated feedback progressively over a series of stages. Each stage represents a unique level of analysis crucial to accepting or rejecting proposed ventures. In the process of completing the model, a detailed and systematic business plan is created.

Docent Manual Development for the Oahu Urban Garden Center
Hardy, Christi; Nagano, Steven Y.; Robotham, Michael
The staff at the University of Hawaii's Urban Garden Center on Oahu had become overburdened with the recent opening of the Children's Garden for tours. In the first 8 months, over 1,700 children participated in tours of the garden. To release pressure on the staff, volunteers need to be trained to lead the tours. A docent manual was developed for these volunteers (docents) as a training guide. It was developed with materials and ideas from the Urban Garden Center, US Forest Service publications, Ranger Rick's Trees are Terrific!, and several other publications.

Building Partnerships for Youth: An Online Youth Development Resource Center
Tepper, Karen Hoffman; Roebuck, James
Youth development practitioners have a great need for quality professional development resources. The Building Partnerships for Youth project is a partnership of National 4-H Council and The University of Arizona designed to provide research-based, practical, applied resources. To achieve the project goal, a Web site containing a menu of effective youth development programs, fact sheets, training opportunities, and other useful information has been developed. This collection of materials was designed to be useful to Extension educators, as well as health and education professionals.

Fa⋅cil⋅i⋅ta⋅tion: The Road to Effective Meetings
Rilla, Ellie; Paterson, Carole; Manton, Linda; Day, Pat
Feeling frustrated with meetings that take a lot of time yet accomplish little? In California, a "team" of trained Extension professionals conducted Essential Facilitation (EF) workshops to expand this technique among 200 Extension professionals, faculty, and volunteers throughout California. Visit our Web site at <http://groups.ucanr.org/ANR_Leadership/> to read five case stories illustrating a wide range of scenarios where EF strategies make a difference in meeting effectiveness and how they benefit community efforts. Learn how the Interaction Associates model of meeting facilitation is rapidly becoming the method of choice for more productive and satisfying meetings with University of California Cooperative Extension staff.

Conducting 4-H Spring Break Activities to Meet Community Needs
Gillespie, Donna R.
A University of Idaho study showed how important it is for kids to feel accepted and safe during out-of-school hour activities. A program called "Jump Into Spring" began to provide something fun and educational for kids to do during spring break. Classes offered were 2 hours long, and the materials used were from approved 4-H curriculum. This activity has expanded to include more classes and reach a larger audience each year. Non-4-H members are attending at an increasing rate, exposing more youth to 4-H. Families attending appreciate something constructive and educational for youth to do during spring break.