October 2008 // Volume 46 // Number 5

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Editor's Page

Teach Your Students Well
"Teach Your Students Well" discusses the responsibility teachers have to ensure that graduate students understand what's required in preparing and submitting articles to refereed journals. "Keyword Reminder" repeats an offer I made in the August issue. "October JOE" highlights an excellent Commentary on the increasingly important topic of emergency preparedness, the third of a three-part series on virtual communities of practice, and a very timely article on predatory mortgage education.


A Kansas and Alaska Example of Extension Opportunities in Emergency Preparedness
Brown, Stephen C.; Ploeger, Jennifer
Emergency preparedness and management show great potential as growth areas for Extension programming. This Commentary examines two such programs. In Brown County, Kansas, Extension's decision to get involved in emergency management resulted in significantly increased funding, a renewal of faith by local county government, and a successful response to the 2007 ice storm. In Alaska, the decision to begin teaching emergency response officials and the public how to use Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers resulted in a large new audience in a previously untapped program area outside of 4-H.

Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "A Kansas and Alaska Example of Extension Opportunities in Emergency Preparedness "

Feature Articles

Virtual Communities of Practice: A 21st Century Method for Learning, Programming, and Developing Professionally
Sobrero, Patricia M.; Craycraft, Carla Gale
Cooperative Extension can build on use of virtual Communities of Practice (CoP) to enhance educational programs and professional development. This article examines the way virtual CoPs can support the Extension mission and build on our heritage of integrity and innovation. Literature about virtual CoPs reports on successful implementation of these communities by the volunteer sector, eXtension, and by formal education to support professional development and content and program development. Cooperative Extension may benefit from the study of virtual communities of practice and their applications across the national system.

Principles of Effective Behavior Change: Application to Extension Family Educational Programming
Pratt, Clara; Bowman, Sally
Principles of effective behavior change are described in terms of their implications for Extension educational programming. These principles are drawn from evidence-based models for child, youth, and family programs. Examples include: build specific behavioral skills; increase environmental conditions that support desired behaviors; modify behavior sequentially; train in naturalistic conditions; teach specific cognitive principles to guide behavior; practice the desired behavior; higher dosage leads to greater response; facilitate supports for behavior; and attribute success to the individual. Implications include offering more multi-session classes, maintaining model fidelity, and utilizing evaluations to assess readiness for behavior change.

Improving Agricultural Profitability Through an Income Opportunities for Rural Areas Program
Hancharick, Amber Lockawich; Kiernan, Nancy Ellen
Significant changes in the landscape of the south central region of Pennsylvania have created new challenges and demands for Cooperative Extension and the agricultural community. Extension developed a program to help both experienced and new farmers recognize and implement new value-added and marketing opportunities. The Income Opportunities Program offered conferences, educational workshops, and one-on-one consultation by an Extension educator specifically hired for this program. Results from the formative evaluation indicated that program participants started 154 new enterprises, created 44 new part and full time jobs, increased profitability, and invested almost $1 million back into the local economy.

Using Workshops to Educate Landowners About Developing Natural Resource Enterprises to Diversify Income on the Family Farm
Jones, W. Daryl; Jacobs, Katherine M.; Yarrow, Greg K.; McPeake, Rebecca
Enterprises based on the natural resources available on farm and other private lands, such as fee-access hunting and fishing, agritourism, and wildlife watching, can provide opportunities for supplementing and diversifying income. Workshops featuring a combination of presentations and field tours were implemented throughout the southern U.S. to educate landowners on the benefits, considerations, and management of these enterprises. Participants were surveyed regarding workshop quality and future land management activities. Most landowners reported that the information gained at these events would increase revenues collected on their properties and that they expect to modify their current land use practices as a result.

Youth Program Risk Management: A Case Study of the 4-H PetPALS Program
Miller, Lucinda; Schmiesing, Ryan J.
Risk management has been an especially important topic in the 4-H youth development program over the past 15 years. Traditional programs face challenges as risks are identified and new programs are under increased scrutiny to ensure that youth and volunteers are in a safe environment. 4-H PetPALS serves as an example of a program designed and implemented with risk management strategies incorporated throughout the process. In this article we describe the risks associated with this type of program and the management strategies that must be considered and implemented in order to ensure that a positive learning environment is achieved.

Methamphetamine Prevention Education: Extension Responds to a National Issue
Astroth, Kirk A.; Vogel, Mike
Methamphetamine is quickly becoming one of the nation's most dangerous drugs, affecting people of all socio-economic categories and geographic locations. In response to this emerging crisis, MSU Extension specialists developed a range of research-based programs and materials, in collaboration with key state agencies, to combat rising meth use in one rural Western state. The materials have been widely distributed and results indicate that the materials are having positive effects on meth use, production, and awareness. As a result of this cooperative effort, valuable lessons have been learned that can help other states deal with critical social issues.

Local Foods: Estimating Capacity
Timmons, David; Wang, Qingbin; Lass, Dan
While local food is enjoying new interest in much of the country, data revealing the extent of local food production and consumption are typically lacking. This lack of data has made it difficult to set local food goals and assess progress toward such goals. This article describes two methods for quantifying local food consumption and presents estimation results using national and state data. The local food indicators presented in this article can be easily estimated with publicly available data and represent low cost indicators of local food use that Extension professionals can use to assist clientele.

Ag Resource Tools & Media Coverage: A Study of Newspaper Coverage of Cotton in Texas
Vinyard, Ashlee; Akers, Cindy; Oskam, Judy; Doerfert, David L.; Davis, Chad
Many Extension professionals work with journalists in order to get their message out to various stakeholders. Some develop agricultural resource tools for the media. The study reported here examined coverage of cotton articles from 534 Texas newspapers following the dissemination of the CottonLink© media resource tool. An overall increase was found in the number of articles, newspapers, and circulation size after the dissemination of the CottonLink© media resource tool, while a decrease was found in the number of judgment sentences during the study. Additional research is recommended.

Research in Brief

The Need for Predatory Mortgage Education: Expert Views
Erickson, Luke V.; Delgadillo, Lucy; Piercy, Kathleen W.
This article describes the results of an exploratory study of predatory mortgage lending. The purposes were to gain insights into the salient characteristics of victims of predatory mortgage lending and identify the most effective means of victim protection in order to guide Extension efforts to educate consumers. Twelve mortgage-lending professionals were interviewed in-depth. They identified educational efforts by Extension educators and other nonprofit organizations as the best and most effective means of reducing the losses caused by predatory mortgage lending. Study findings can help Extension staff identify target audiences and the most effective educational strategies concerning predatory mortgage lending practices.

Increasing Entrepreneurship in Agriculture in an Economically Depressed Region
Campbell, Tom; Barrett, Hilton
The article describes the purpose, conception, development, implementation, and evaluation of a series of workshops to support small/medium farms in a five-county area of northeastern North Carolina. Each of the workshops had a variety of topics to interest small and medium-sized farmers or those entering agriculture or agribusiness fields. The workshops, under a grant by the Golden Leaf Foundation, were to spur entrepreneurship within a rural, economically depressed region and implemented by an alliance of the Pasquotank County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and the School of Business & Economics at Elizabeth City State University.

Economics of Variety Selection for Cotton Cultivars in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas
Ribera, Luis A.; Cattaneo, Manda
The study reported here compared the net income of cotton cultivars grown in the Lower Rio Grande Valley using simulation techniques to incorporate yield and price risk. The data comes from field plots north of Weslaco, Texas from 2003 to 2005. Four cotton cultivars were used, two Delta and Pine (DP 444 BG/RR, and DP 555 BG/RR) and two Fibermax (FM 832, and FM 989 RR). DP 555 BG/RR had the highest average net income, $386 per acre, followed by DP 444 BG/RR, FM 832, and FM 989 RR, with $334.95, $284.31, and $278.21 per acre, respectively.

Better Extension Programming Through Statistics: Using Statistical Analysis of Program Evaluations to Guide Program Development
Taylor, Gary D.
Evaluation can not only inform changes in content and delivery, but also help Extension educators tailor future programs to specific target audiences. This article focuses on post-program evaluation of the Iowa Planning Officials Academy and describes how statistical analysis of the results yielded valuable information related to the skills and educational needs of the various groups of program participants. The experience suggests that collecting the right background information on the evaluation instrument and using statistical analysis to look for distinctions between participant subgroups can provide rich information for improving future programming efforts and targeting specific Extension clientele.

Expanding the Latino Market Niche: Developing Capacity and Meeting Critical Needs
Behnke, Andrew
As Extension competes to secure a place in serving Latino populations across the nation, it is critical to assess its overall capacity to serve Spanish-speaking clients. Extension must also evaluate how well current educational programming is meeting the needs of this population. This article describes a statewide assessment of 97 North Carolina counties via online surveys and 12 Spanish-language focus groups. Survey respondents noted the need for bilingual staff in their county offices, and specific types of Spanish-language materials. Focus groups with Spanish-speaking clients, demonstrated the need for hands-on training, collaboration, marketing, and improved delivery of critical information.

Ohio Township Trustees' Land Use Planning Knowledge and Practices: A Statewide Survey to Better Target Programmatic Resources
Civittolo, David; Davis, Gregory A.
To better meet the educational needs of local officials charged with land use planning, a statewide survey of Ohio township trustees was conducted in fall 2005 to identify: gaps in knowledge; continuing education participation habits; preferences for training and training providers and; familiarity with Extension programs in the area of land use planning. On average, 50% of trustees indicated more knowledge was needed. Nearly 80% had not attended land use planning related training in the past 2 years. As a training provider, Extension was ranked third, and two in 10 respondents were familiar with Extension programs.

Ranch Management Practices of Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) and Non-BQA Certified Producers in Montana
Duffey, Lisa; Paterson, John; King, Marc; Rolfe, Kelsey
The beef cattle industry continues to provide a safe, quality, and consistent product to consumers while addressing animal health and food safety issues. The study reported here sought to determine Beef Quality Assurance educational needs for record keeping, health management, marketing strategies, and perceptions of industry issues to inform and prepare Montana beef producers for changes. BQA and non-BQA certified producers had varying management strategies for animal identification, record keeping, and vaccination programs, while implant programs and marketing strategies were similar. The results of the survey will be used to determine the BQA educational needs of Montana cattle producers.

Effect of Age-at-Weaning and Post-Weaning Management on Performance and Carcass Characteristics of Charolais-Angus Cross Steers
Grimes, John F.; Fluharty, Francis L.; Turner, Thomas B.; Zerby, Henry N.; Lowe, Gary D.
Recent developments in beef marketing have created more opportunities for producers to reap greater financial rewards based on the carcass merit of the animal. Increased premiums are being offered for animals that excel in the USDA's Quality or Yield Grade scoring systems. There is an increasing focus on beef tenderness with today's consumer. Producers need to understand how on-farm production practices can affect feedlot performance and carcass merit. The study reported here used 74 Charolais x Angus cross steers to determine the effects of age-at-weaning and post-weaning management on performance and carcass characteristics.

Perceptions of Retinal Imaging Technology for Verifying the Identity of 4-H Ruminant Animals
Howell, Brian M.; Rusk, Clinton P.; Blomeke, Christine R.; McKee, Renee K.; Lemenager, Ronald P.
The purpose of the study reported here was to determine the perceptions of 4-H members and volunteers regarding the retinal imaging process as an innovative method to verify the identity of 4-H animals. Participants were surveyed to determine the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the retinal imaging process and to determine whether participants consider retinal imaging to be beneficial to the Indiana 4-H program. Retinal imaging was perceived to be an accurate and efficient method of livestock identification by both 4-H members and adult volunteers. Volunteers determined that their ability to capture a retinal image requires skill and practice.

Ideas at Work

A Workshop About Land-Use Decision-Making in the Context of Community/Societal Values
Lee, Brian D.; Kew, Barry W.
Community based land-use decision-making is often left to an oligarchy who are familiar with the planning process. Stakeholders are frequently under-represented, possibly because of their unwillingness to participate due to the unfamiliarity with the process. The workshop described here develops participants' understanding of a land-use planning process and the complexity of socio-economic values using individual reflection and shared perspective through writing, model-making, presentations, and discussions. Using consensus-building strategies, along with a documentary film, participants engage in several hands-on group activities. Shared values in combination with new community perspectives are realized through a series of workshop activities.

Family and Consumer Sciences--A Valuable Resource to Public Schools in Parent and Community Engagement
Rodman, Jean; Sheppard, Connie; Black, Janet
By working with the Parent Involvement Committee of P-16 Leadership Council, a Family and Consumer Science Extension agent was able to help facilitate building community capacity through networking and collaboration to support and educate parents through family engagement. Implementation of these goals incorporated parent involvement research components of collaborated community services, providing support and services to families, parent and child rearing skills, shared information and resources, and encouraging support of children's learning. Specific information on the role of the Extension agent is included.

Farming Together: Developing the Next Generation of Management
Ehmke, Cole; Miller, Alan
Farming Together is a long-running workshop at Purdue University that assists farming families in developing a son, daughter, or partner in becoming a future manager in the business. The workshop provides information and work time to develop answers to common questions and begin making decisions together.

Measuring Impacts in Risk Management Education--The Beehive Master Beef Manager Program
Chapman, C. K.; ZoBell, D. R.; Godfrey, E. B.; Feuz, D.; Banner, R. E.
The purpose of Extension risk management education is to assist clientele by helping them make better management decisions. The results of this effort can sometimes take months or years to be expressed. It is difficult for Extension faculty to wait for this interval because administrators and funding entities demand results for programs usually within the space of one year. Curriculum-based programming enables faculty member(s) to develop enough data about attitude changes and knowledge transfer over several workshops to demonstrate statistical changes, compared to single workshops. Using multiple evaluation instruments, Extension faculty can show implementation patterns that further demonstrate program value.

SERVE Model: A Hands-On Approach to Volunteer Administration
Whitson, Kimberly S.
There is an increasing need for Extension professionals to understand the needs and expectations of present and future volunteers. The SERVE Model for Volunteer Administration represents a good starting point to begin to understand the purposes, needs, and positions of volunteers. The model has seven stages that allow volunteers and volunteer administrators to move freely from stage to stage according to the needs of the organization. SERVE, an acronym for strategize/search, educate/energize, recruit/resource, volunteer/volunteer administrator, and evaluate, is designed to help volunteers and volunteer administrators work hand-in-hand on various projects to fulfill one another's needs.

Tools of the Trade

Enhancing Extension Employee Coaching: Navigating the Triangular Relationship
Franz, Nancy; Weeks, Robin
Coaching Cooperative Extension employees is not easy but provides invaluable results. All three parties in the triangular coaching relationship--the coachee, the coach, and the organization--develop and grow from the process, in turn improving and sustaining the organization. The coaching process helps employees get to know themselves better, be more conscious about their way of being in the world, and contribute more fully to the work around them. This article addresses the importance of coaching employees, characteristics of good coaching, coaching risks, and tips for successful coaching of Cooperative Extension employees.

Evaluating Board Leaders
Barnes, James; Hatch, Dora Ann; Dixon, Glenn
Evaluating the performance of leaders is critical to the development of organizations and communities. Evaluation means measuring performance by defining a set of metrics. But which performance metrics should be used? From a review of the work by Collins (2001), we developed a tool that provides one way to measure the performance of leaders. We apply this to the case of leaders of boards. Clearly defining leader performance expectations is one of the most critical steps a board can take to prevent misunderstandings and therefore hedge against the emergence of unresolved conflict among board members and their respective leader.

Using a Pre- and Post-Test to Assess 1-Day Learning of Agricultural Producers Participating in an Educational Program
Fishel, Fred
Documenting programmatic results is essential for success of Extension professionals. A 2-year program conducted by University of Missouri Extension evaluated the short-term increase in knowledge of agricultural producers of grain crops. The program consisted of 1-day classroom events at 16 locations and focused on teaching integrated pest management (IPM) technology relevant to grain production. Pre- and post-test scores indicated that this group significantly heightened their short-term knowledge of the program's instructional content. Using this type of evaluation technique is valuable to those in Extension because it documents change, is simple to implement, and is relatively easy to interpret results.

Program Review--Intentional Harmony: Managing Work and Life
Hughes, Leah Y.; Fetsch, Robert J.
Intentional Harmony: Balancing Work and Life, a program developed by the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension, is designed to address the effects of work stress on the employee, partnerships, parenting, friend and family relationships, and personal health. The program is comprehensive, concise, and research-based. There is some empirical evidence of the effectiveness of the parenting unit. Additional research with random assignment of participants to experimental and control groups is recommended. An evaluation instrument is provided.

Stakeholder Education About the Designation of Coastal Zones for the Protection of the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris): The Manatee Awareness and Protection Resource (MAPR) Web Site
Swett, Robert; Coffin, Alisa; Sidman, Charles; Fann, David
In Florida, boaters often have close encounters with Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris), a protected marine mammal. Manatee protection zones are established to regulate boating traffic in coastal areas where manatees may be at risk of injury. Public debate over the demarcation of the zones is acrimonious. The Boating and Waterways Management Program of Florida Sea Grant created the Manatee Awareness and Protection Resource (MAPR) Web site to promote stakeholder education and awareness surrounding the designation of manatee protection zones. The Web site includes an interactive map that allows visitors to visualize some of the factors involved in delineating manatee protection zones.

Adapting Publications for Local Audiences: Learning from Focus Groups and Community Experts
Yancura, Loriena A.
Many Extension professional rely on publications such as brochures and fact sheets to communicate with members of unique populations. This article describes the process of adapting existing publications for local audiences, with examples from a project adapting brochures for custodial grandparents in Hawaii. Benefits of this process include more effective publications that have been tailored to local populations as well as increased communication with such populations.