June 2014 // Volume 52 // Number 3
JOE Peer Reviewers
In "JOE Peer Reviewers," I discuss just what the title suggests, our current roster of expert JOE reviewers, and issue an invitation to consider joining their ranks. In "June JOE," I call attention to the three Commentaries, including the third Commentary JOE is publishing this year to commemorate the Smith-Lever Act Centennial, and to two more articles on climate change and three on social media.
Family & Consumer Sciences and Cooperative Extension in a Diverse World
The role of Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) as a program area in Extension dates back before the Smith Lever Act of 1914. As we celebrate 100 years, reaching a new set of audiences poses a challenge to Extension. These audiences include new Americans, new family structures, urban populations, new occupations, and virtual clients from around the world. This commentary examines the role that FCS will play in the next 100 years to face these challenges.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Family & Consumer Sciences and Cooperative Extension in a Diverse World”
Economic Activity Analyses: The Need for Consensus
Extension professionals have shown eagerness and creativity when it comes to providing programming justification. However, the potential for misapplication of two common economic activity analyses requires Extension to standardized economic impact and economic contribution techniques. Readers are introduced to the cornerstones of economic activity analyses and are offered interpretations on the methodology needed to conduct an accurate impact or contribution analysis. Additionally, the authors suggest several other essential considerations that need to be addressed when undertaking any economic activity analysis. Other Extension professionals should look to this article and either show support or critique the proposed interpretations.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Economic Activity Analyses: The Need for Consensus”
Thinking Collectively: Using a Food Systems Approach to Improve Public Health
A nation can only be as healthy as its people. The daily news reminds us that we are overweight and obese and are suffering from preventable chronic diseases and that our country cannot sustain the level of health care costs through the next few decades. Extension professionals have the knowledge and experience to examine our food system closely and carry the momentum to promote healthy sustainable food systems aligned with our national guidelines. The goal is to create linkages among food systems, public health, and sustainable agriculture in order to achieve healthier eating and healthier communities.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Thinking Collectively: Using a Food Systems Approach to Improve Public Health”
Ideas at Work
To Like or Not to Like: Social Media as a Marketing Tool
Social media can be a solid marketing tool for Extension personnel and their stakeholders. It is inexpensive, has the potential to reach many individuals, and can be used to target certain groups. Yet the challenge with using social media is identifying those strategies that work best in the marketing of programs and/or products. To address this challenge for Extension audiences, this article focuses on insights from a rural business' approach to using social media as a marketing tool.
Calculating the "Green" Impact of Online Extension Programs
The environmental and economic benefits achieved by participants in an e-learning event are often overlooked by Extension educators, even though they are easy to calculate based on some basic information often collected from participants. To help make it easier to calculate these benefits, which are referred to as "Green" savings, a "Green" savings model has been developed. This model calculates the sum of savings realized by e-learning participants who do not have to travel to face-to-face events. These savings are based on savings related to e-learning participants' travel, time, and vehicles carbon emissions.
Kentucky's Urban Extension Focus
Defining the success of Urban Extension units is sometimes challenging. For those Extension agents, specialists, administrators, and others who have worked to bring solid, research-based programming to urban communities, it is no surprise that working in these communities brings its own unique and sometimes difficult challenges. Kentucky's Urban Extension Forum was designed to help identify both the structural barriers to urban Extension success as well as possible solutions.
Effective Regional Community Development
Times are changing, and so are Extension programs. These changes affect every aspect of the educational effort, including program development, project funding, educational delivery, partnership building, marketing, sharing impacts, and revenue generation. This article is not about how Extension is restructuring to adapt to changes; instead, it highlights the advantages and disadvantages and will focus on practical, real-world strategies that two Ohio State University (OSU) Extension educators have employed to successfully implement regional community development programs.
The Sponsorship Model: Leveraging Extension Program Funds, Building Local Community Collaborations
Garnering alternative Extension programming funds has become a fact of life. A group of University of Minnesota Extension educators use what they call the "Sponsorship Model" to accomplish this. Selected programs are not marketed to program participants but are marketed to potential local community sponsors. Sponsors pay a flat sponsorship fee and are responsible for participant recruitment and selecting the meeting date, location, start time, and any costs such as meeting facility, refreshments, and meals. This process has resulted in greater participant attendance, less management work for the Extension educators, and the ability to generate revenue to sustain and grow programming.
A Framework for Integrating and Managing Expectations of Multiple Stakeholder Groups in a Collaborative Partnership
The success of collaborative partnerships depends on the integration and management of multiple stakeholder expectations to develop mutually agreeable solutions that lead to desired environmental conditions and social well-being. The North Carolina Sentinel Landscapes Partnership (NCSLP) provides an example of a coalition representing Extension, military, conservation, natural resources, and economic interests to address conservation of forest and farm lands. This article presents a framework for determining the diverse expectations of large collaborative programs and integrating them into an outcome-based decision making model.
OSU Extension Housing Counseling Services: A Comprehensive Program Package
Joining community and statewide efforts to limit the effects of the foreclosure crisis, OSU Extension's Family and Consumer Sciences program has been involved in both early-prevention pre-purchase as well as loss-mitigations programs. The first step was obtaining approval as a housing counseling agency through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After HUD approval was granted, partnerships with the state housing agency were established, and collaboration with a wide range of community partners were strengthened.
The Pesticides and Farmworker Health Toolkit: An Innovative Model for Developing an Evidence-Informed Program for a Low-Literacy, Latino Immigrant Audience
Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are typically Spanish-speaking, Latino immigrants with limited formal education and low literacy skills and, as such, are a vulnerable population. We describe the development of the Pesticides and Farmworker Health Toolkit, a pesticide safety and health curriculum designed to communicate to farmworkers pesticide hazards found in their working environments. Using evidence-informed principles, the Toolkit curriculum for low-literacy, Latino farmworkers and its developmental process described herein serve as an innovative and useful model for Extension programming with non-traditional audiences.
Tools of the Trade
Using Twitter to Deliver 4-H Show Announcements
Twitter, a free social media tool, can be used to help run a large Extension event. In Minnesota, beef and dairy show committees and 4-H participants are using real-time tweets delivered to participants' cell phones to keep state fair livestock shows running smoothly.
Google Search Mastery Basics
Effective Internet search skills are essential with the continually increasing amount of information available on the Web. Extension personnel are required to find information to answer client questions and to conduct research on programs. Unfortunately, many lack the skills necessary to effectively navigate the Internet and locate needed information. Basic search skills are outlined as well as application to Extension.
Maps & Apps: Mobile Media Marketing Education for Food and Farm Entrepreneurs
With an increasing number of consumers using smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to find and interact with local businesses, Ohio State University Extension developed a new curriculum aimed at improving market access for food and farm entrepreneurs. The literature review, curriculum framework, and lessons learned shared in this article can be used by Extension professionals to improve their own online presence, as well as by educators working with entrepreneurs and community leaders.
Virtual Focus Groups in Extension: A Useful Approach to Audience Analysis
As change agents, Extension educators may begin their program planning by identifying the audience's perceived barriers and benefits to adopting some behavior that will benefit the community. Extension professionals and researchers have used in-person focus groups to understand an audience, and they can also administer them as technology-based virtual focus groups. This article discusses the benefits and disadvantages of using this methodology and presents recommended best management practices.
Using iPads for Extension Presentations
Tablet computers like the iPad have numerous potential applications for Extension, one of which is as a wireless device for delivering presentations. The iPad can connect to a projector via a cable or wirelessly through a laptop or directly to a wifi-enabled projector. Using an iPad allows an Extension educator to control the presentation, view notes, and incorporate on-screen annotations. Depending on the presenter's teaching style, these capabilities can both enhance or diminish presentation quality.
Baleage Decision Tool for Beef Cattle Producers
This article describes a bale-wrapping decision tool designed for use by Extension educators, lenders, and beef cattle producers. Use of bale-wrapping machines reduces storage losses and increases nutritional content of stored forages. This software tool allows users to estimate costs of production associated with purchase of a bale-wrapping machine and how the purchase decision affects the potential cost savings for the cattle operation. It is available to interested users in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
Developing a Promotional Video
There is a need for Extension professionals to show clientele the benefits of their program. This article shares how promotional videos are one way of reaching audiences online. An example is given on how a promotional video has been used and developed using iMovie software. Tips are offered for how professionals can create a promotional video and share it with audiences.
Impact of Education on Grandparents’ Actions in Raising Grandchildren
Grandparents raising grandchildren represent a population of adults who confront complex interpersonal and environmental challenges. The intent of this case study was to gather and interpret evaluative data to better understand the impact of a 1-day community education program for grandparents who raise their grandchildren. Extension's philosophy of systematic program evaluation to improve supports for families and communities furnished the framework for the project. Elements felt to be essential for a well-designed, 1-day grandparent education program have been extracted from past evaluation cycles and offered here as recommendations.
Possession, Transportation, and Use of Firearms by Older Youth in 4-H Shooting Sports Programs
Thirty years ago we would think nothing of driving to school with a jackknife in our pocket or rifle in the gun rack. Since then, the practices of possessing, transporting, and using firearms have been limited by laws, rules, and public perception. Despite restrictions on youth, the Youth Handgun Safety Act does afford 4-H shooting sports members certain rights. This Tools of the Trade highlights the relevant laws and explains the strategy used in Oregon 4-H to help its youth responsibly possess, transport, and use firearms for legitimate purposes.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Fair: Using Humor to Decrease Stress and Increasing Productivity
Extension professionals should consider using humor as a tool to reduce stress and increase productivity and job satisfaction. Research has long supported its positive effects in the workplace. The type of humor used is an important factor in determining its appropriateness because humor can be adaptive (positive) or maladaptive (negative). The Humor Styles Questionnaire developed by Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray, and Weir (2003) is a free online survey Extension professionals can use to measure their humor style, which can help the professional make the decision whether or not to say "a funny thing happened on the way to the fair…."
Forestry Professionals and Extension Educators vs. Climate Change: Implications for Cooperative Extension Programming
Extension educators seeking to integrate climate science into programming must respect different perceptions on climate change. We surveyed forestland managers and owners, researchers, and Extension educators nationally to compare perceptions about climate change adaptation and mitigation management in forests (n=576). Despite differences in perception that climate change is anthropogenic, we found the professional groups were often statistically similar in supporting or rejecting specific actions and receptive to learning more about a variety of forest adaptation and mitigation practices. Our findings support a role for Extension in addressing climate change and indicate areas of common ground that can minimize contention.
Agricultural Producer Perceptions of Climate Change and Climate Education Needs for the Central Great Plains
The Central Great Plains Climate Education Partnership conducted focus groups throughout Kansas to gain a better understanding of farmer perceptions and attitudes towards climate change education. Results indicate concern about climatic changes, even if producers are unsure that "human caused climate change" is occurring. Participants indicated they would like access to information through Web-based programs that allow them to manipulate variables relevant to their area and situation. Participants prefer locally relevant information and identified Extension agents as trusted educators. The study provided an expanded understanding of agricultural producer perceptions that will be valuable to individuals or organizations providing climate education.
Expanding the Reach of Extension Through Social Media
With increasing numbers of the public using social media applications, Extension professionals have the ability to apply these same tools to connect with their clients. This article demonstrates how a social media toolset can be employed by Extension professionals by identifying how Extension professionals are currently using social media, illustrating how social media can be integrated into outreach and measured, and describing opportunities and challenges for Extension professionals enhancing their work with social media. With this information, Extension professionals will be better prepared to expand their outreach efforts using social media.
Experiential Learning for Extension Professionals: A Cross-Cultural Immersion Program
As the U.S. population becomes more diverse, Extension is called upon to modify its programming to meet the needs of its changing constituency. Georgia Extension created a professional development curriculum to assist Extension professionals in crafting effective programming for the rapidly growing Latino population. The study reported here explores qualitatively how Extension professionals in Georgia experienced their Cross-Cultural Immersion Program (CCIP). Through an interview-based study, three themes emerged from the data. Extension participants experienced: (1) diverse familial relations in Latino populations, (2) obstacles during programming, and (3) greater personal over professional gains through the CCIP.
Why Work for Extension? An Examination of Job Satisfaction and Motivation in a Statewide Employee Retention Study
Understanding motivation and job satisfaction is important for increasing rates of employee retention within Extension. The purpose of the study reported here was to explore factors positively affecting the motivation of Extension professionals in their careers. An online survey of Extension professionals in Colorado was conducted. Factors such as the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives, variety in daily activities, leave policies, and flexible scheduling were identified as positive motivators, but perceptions of motivators were significantly different between satisfied and dissatisfied employees. Recommendations for improving retention based on what motivates Extension professionals are discussed.
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Commitment Concerning Evidence-Based Prevention Programs: Differences Between Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H Youth Development Educators
We describe the results of a study designed to assess knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes towards evidence-based and other prevention programs among county Extension educators. We examined differences across educators from Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) and 4-H Youth Development. Analyses based on a multi-state sample of educators revealed significant differences such that, compared to their 4-H counterparts, FCS educators were more knowledgeable of evidence-based programs and had more favorable perceptions and attitudes towards evidence-based and other pre-packaged prevention programs. These findings suggest that Extension administrators should work to encourage the use of evidence-based and other prevention programs, particularly within 4-H.
Strengthening 4-H by Analyzing Enrollment Data
The study reported here used data from the ACCESS 4-H Enrollment System to gain insight into strengthening New York State's 4-H programming. Member enrollment lists from 2009 to 2012 were analyzed using Microsoft Excel to determine trends and dropout rates. The descriptive data indicate declining 4-H enrollment in recent years and peak enrollment at grade 5. New members are more likely to drop out than members who have been involved for more than a year. New members who are high school students drop out at the highest rate. Returning members who are high school students drop out at the lowest rate.
Using an Initiative to Focus Programming Efforts: A Case Study of the Ohio 4-H Workforce Preparation Initiative
Extension is facing many challenges, including increasingly complex and changing societal conditions. One method to address these challenges is to implement targeted efforts around programmatic or organizational themes organized as an initiative. We use the Ohio 4-H Workforce Preparation Initiative as a case study to illustrate how the process of focusing and redirecting programming efforts can be an effective strategy for addressing issues important to Extension clientele. We also describe in general the benefits of using a change process or model to organize such efforts and specifically how Kotter's (1996) model fits well with our concept of an initiative.
Using Focus Groups to Assess Educational Programming Needs in Forestry
Extension professionals are continually faced with the challenge of effectively communicating relevant information to an ever-evolving audience with diverse interests. Using focus group data, this article highlights specific educational programming needs of nonindustrial private forest landowners (NIPFs) in Mississippi. Findings indicate NIPFs are more likely to adopt new ideas if educational programming is tailored to their specific needs, consequently indicating the need to group the audience by their interests. Data also emphasize the importance of employing new technology as means for communicating more efficiently.
Agricultural Water Quality BMPs: A Standardized Approach to Financial Analysis
Addressing water quality issues continues to emerge as a challenge to be faced by agricultural interests across the Cornbelt. Agricultural Extension has a role to play in assisting farmers in complying with water quality regulations and adoption of Best Management Practices (BMP) to address water quality impacts. Despite the clear importance of financial information in BMP decision-making, often, published cost assessments are rare and lack transparency. This article provides a framework for Extension personnel who provide water quality BMP cost assessments while also highlighting financial information necessary for creating Extension publications that have transparent and dynamic financial assessments.
Research in Brief
Information-Seeking Practices of County Extension Agents
The purpose of the study reported here was to examine the educational resources used by Montana State University Extension county agents. An online survey was administered to evaluate agents' informational needs. Agents reported client questions (93.8%) and program/workshop planning and presentations (91.7%) as the main reasons for seeking information. When using the Internet, respondents filtered by university, Extension, and other .edu sources. Agents rated trustworthiness and quality of the informational source as the most important factors. The most common barrier was lack of time. Preferences for professional development were budget conscious opportunities, technical subject education, program planning, and research education.
Hydrilla Infestations in Florida Freshwater Bodies: How Results from a Management Needs Assessment Survey Helped Develop Suitable Information Delivery Platforms
Hydrilla is an invasive aquatic plant that is expensive to control and exhibits increasing resistance to commonly used herbicides. Alternative control tactics for implementation in novel integrated management strategies are being investigated, but information needs to be delivered to stakeholders so new tactics can be adopted and used. Here, we report results from a low-cost, Web-based survey that assessed stakeholder access to hydrilla management information in Florida. We highlight the general benefits of needs assessment surveys for project development and exemplify how results from such surveys can be used by Extension professionals to tailor their information platforms to stakeholder-preferred outlets.
U.S. Dietary and Physical Activity Guideline Knowledge and Corresponding Behaviors Among 4th and 5th Grade Students: A Multi-Site Pilot Study
Knowledge of U.S. dietary and physical activity recommendations and corresponding behaviors were surveyed among 4th and 5th graders in five Arizona counties to determine the need for related education in SNAP-Ed eligible schools. A <70% target response rate was the criterion. Participants correctly identified recommendations for: fruit, 20%; vegetables, 19%; whole grains, 23%; and physical activity, 37% of the time. Fruit, vegetable, whole grain, and physical activity recommended behaviors were met by 23%, 37%, 30%, and 64%, respectively. Knowledge and behavior were associated only for fruit. These data confirmed the necessity for nutrition and physical activity education in this population.
An Analysis of the Impacts of the Ready, Set, Go! Program on Program Participants and the Ability to Build Community Capacity
The ultimate goal of community capacity building is that communities will be able to deal with their own problems without relying on resources external to their community. The study reported here examined the impacts of the Ready, Set, Go! training program on building community capacity of its participants. Through a survey administered to 110 participants, survey data revealed that perceived utility correlated to future community involvement while knowledge gained did not determine future community action.
Strengthening Family Members of Incarcerated Youth: A Productive Role for Extension
The challenge to provide incarcerated youth the skills needed to succeed and avoid recidivism has prompted the use of family-systems approaches in juvenile detention centers. A quasi-experimental study was conducted in northern Alabama to determine the impact of a conflict resolution workshop on the family members of incarcerated youth. Results indicated a significant difference in participants' knowledge and anticipated behavior after attending the workshop. It is important to note that this research further supports the use of family-systems approaches in juvenile detention centers.