June 2019 // Volume 57 // Number 3
The Reading–Writing Relationship and June JOE Highlights
In the first section of the Editor's Page, "The Reading–Writing Relationship," I express a straightforward insight that can help anyone improve his or her scholarly writing. In "June JOE Highlights," I describe articles in the issue related to the concept of community and note some of the wide-ranging program-area topics that are covered as well.
Public Value and Partnerships: Critical Components of Extension's Future
The future path of Extension will be heavily influenced by our willingness to engage in communities in ways that reframe who we are, what we do, and for whom we do it. The best opportunities lie in the areas of public value and partnerships. As Extension professionals, we must define our organization's most important public value, embrace the development of partnerships and coalitions, and make organizational decisions that support rather than stifle innovation. Success in these areas will increase Extension's visibility and value as a community asset.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Public Value and Partnerships: Critical Components of Extension's Future”
Linking 4-H to Linksters
Advances in communication technology and associated social changes have provided opportunities as well as challenges for 4-H. Historically, the 4-H club model was predicated on a community's coming together to provide youth members opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of their respective projects. The paradox is that as communities have become more connected through cell phones and social media, face-to-face, person-to-person interaction has decreased. To stay relevant for the next hundred years, 4-H must adapt to this circumstance. This article explores the importance of leveraging technology to bring young people together, foster a sense of community for them, and instill self-efficacy within them, all through the 4-H club model.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on “Linking 4-H to Linksters”
Ideas at Work
Addressing Scientific Literacy in Oklahoma: The STEMist Program
Scientific literacy is essential for success of youth and adults in the 21st century. In 2017, Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development initiated a fellowship program to address scientific literacy throughout Oklahoma: the STEMist program. Through this program, college students with a background or interest in science are recruited, trained, and sent to teach science workshops to youths at various educational events during the summer months. In its inaugural year, the program reached over 2,000 youths. The program addresses scientific literacy, aids in career readiness, and promotes 4-H to audiences previously unaware of the positive impact it can have on today's young people.
Gray for a Day: Implementing a Curriculum to Promote Empathy for Older Adults
Gray for a Day educates participants on age-related sensory and functional challenges through simulations that reflect daily routines, simple tasks, and social activities. Participants are introduced to healthful living concepts and means for promoting optimal aging and challenged to adopt healthful and empathic practices that will improve sensory, functional, and emotional wellness. The curriculum has been successfully pilot tested with a wide variety of Extension audiences, including 4-H youths, students, those who work with older adults, and intergenerational groups. A rationale for the program and a description of the curriculum and its materials are provided.
Idaho 4-H Teen Conference Engages Students in Going On to Higher Education
The Idaho 4-H Teen Conference program provides youths with opportunities to develop leadership skills and confidence, explore options for after high school, and work with adults as partners. The conference has been modified to include subject matter and experiences that encourage teens to "go on" to postsecondary education. Recent evaluations of participants show that the changes emphasizing choices after high school have been well received by attendees. Teen Conference is a premier teen event of the Idaho 4-H Youth Development Program, and conference planners continue to adjust its focus to ensure that it will meet the needs of Idaho teens well into the 21st century.
Goat Yoga: Preliminary Implications for Health, Agriculture, and 4-H
Goat yoga, an event that combines yoga and interactions with goats, may serve as a cross-initiative program that can promote both health and agriculture. This article describes the potential impact of goat yoga and the results of a pilot program. Adult attendees of the pilot event completed a questionnaire assessing knowledge of and intentions to be involved with yoga, goats, and 4-H. Participants increased their knowledge of each area and indicated intentions to use goat products and to visit the goat barn at the county fair. Future work is needed to establish effects of goat yoga within Extension, and, if successful, embed these practices at a large scale.
Tools of the Trade
Public Scholarship: A Tool for Strengthening Relationships Across Extension, Campus, and Community
Higher education resources are increasingly limited due to declining budget revenue and other challenges. Thus, it is vital for Cooperative Extension to synergize efforts of disseminating education to the public. Promoting public scholarship in and beyond Extension is a promising initiative that can foster collaborations by leveraging existing resources in advancing the Extension mission. We highlight a new program aimed at encouraging a culture of public scholarship across academia. The program is intended to increase knowledge about public scholarship and awareness of its benefits to stakeholders, identify barriers to public scholarship, and provide concrete examples of ways Extension and non-Extension faculty can collaborate on research and programming efforts.
Inclusive Scholarship: Extension Program Participants as Poster Coauthors
The poster is a promising mechanism for inclusive scholarship. Inclusive scholarship provides direct opportunities for inclusion and representation. Community partner and youth participants in an urban gardening program were engaged in program-related scholarship via involvement in creation of a poster and its presentation at a community engagement conference. This article explains how including partners and youths as coauthors and copresenters helped Extension professionals reach a wider audience while deepening relationships, empowering youth participants, and improving data quality.
Use of a Timely Topics Web Tool to Enhance Research-Based Extension Program Impact
Developing creative, impactful methods for delivering research-based Extension educational material is often challenging. However, options have increased as technological advancement has made online learning accessible to stakeholders, producers/farmers, and the general public alike. An interactive timely topics web tool (TTW) can enhance interaction with a program home page to aid Extension professionals in effectively disseminating relevant information to users. Use of an equine program TTW broadened the reach of programmatic resources to national and international scales and increased new and repeat contacts with the educational website. Providing opportunities for interactive web-based learning may enhance implementation of recommended practices and reportable outcomes within Extension programs.
Assisting Food Processors with Food Safety Modernization Act Compliance
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Human Food Audit Checklist was developed as a tool for assisting food processors with implementation of FSMA. This 70-page checklist incorporates Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1 Subparts H (Registration of Food Facilities) and O (Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food) and 21 CFR 117 (Preventive Controls for Human Food Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls and Current Good Manufacturing Practices) with hints, comments, and definitions. The checklist was reviewed by Food and Drug Administration experts and food company personnel to validate its usefulness. It can be modified to fit any food processor or regulation.
Effective Communication of 4-H Program Essentials to 4-H Families
Youths and parents in the California 4-H program have reported issues with communication and challenges in understanding the program. As a result, we developed a family handbook and other supporting documents to help youths and parents navigate the California 4-H program. This article addresses the development, dissemination, and reach of the handbook. Additionally, the article discusses future directions and implications for other Extension programs.
Collaborating Across State Lines to Leverage Cultural Competency Expertise
A statewide need for Latino cultural competency training for Utah State University (USU) Extension personnel was identified. The solution involved the collaborative efforts of our team of two USU Extension faculty members and one Washington State University (WSU) Extension faculty member on adaption and customization of a needs assessment tool and a training program originated at WSU. Our collaboration leveraged important limited resources such as subject-matter expertise, training materials, time, and funding while providing a venue for feedback and ideas to improve, update, and enhance an existing program. Garnering administrative support from the start is key to successful cross-state collaborative work and implementation of specialized training to expand Latino outreach capacity in Extension.
Using a Blog and Social Media to Market Extension
Extension professionals at all levels can use popular social media platforms to increase awareness of Extension. This article explores how our team of Extension professionals has used a blog in combination with Facebook on a weekly basis to better market Extension and our work. Every Extension professional can easily become part of a deliberate effort to more actively connect with stakeholders by using these tools.
Creating Group Norms by Using Full Value Commitments in Experiential Education Programming
The Full Value Commitment is an essential tool for facilitators that defines how members of a group of adults or youths operate while moving toward the group's goals. This article outlines what goes into establishing a Full Value Commitment and provides an overview of samples that are easily replicated. Through establishing group members' verbal and/or written commitments to learning and safety at the beginning of their time in a learning environment, Extension professionals can promote the occurrence of social and emotional learning alongside citizenship and leadership skill building.
Asynchronous Volunteer Engagement in Online Continuing Education Using Virtual Communities
The Wisconsin Master Gardener Program team used the Google+ Community platform to provide an engaging online discussion forum for asynchronous continuing education experiences. Applications of such a tool for volunteer online education have numerous benefits, including the capacity for asynchronous posting, ease of posting, privacy options, wide availability, and the potential for internal troubleshooting.
Inclusion of Youths with Disabilities in 4-H: A Scoping Literature Review
The Journal of Extension serves as a conduit for the dissemination of current research and practices within Extension and 4-H. We conducted a review of Journal of Extension articles published since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Our purpose was to determine what practices, programs, and studies have occurred regarding inclusion in 4-H of youths with disabilities or special health care needs. The review resulted in detailed examination of 16 articles and revealed information about Extension professionals' attitudes toward inclusion, strategies and program approaches related to inclusion, and specific areas that need to be addressed further to increase inclusion.
A Multiple Indicators, Multiple Causes Analysis of Farmers' Information Use
A multiple indicators, multiple causes, or MIMIC, modeling framework can be used for analyzing a variety of farmer decision-making situations where multiple outcomes are possible. Example applications include analyses of farmer use of multiple information sources, management practices, or technologies. We applied the framework to analyze use of multiple information sources by beef cattle farmers. We provide measures of how farmer demographics, farm characteristics, and risk attitudes influenced farmer use of information from Extension, producer groups, popular press, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Internet, and other farmers. Education and greater willingness to take risk positively influenced information use among the farmers we studied. Our process has implications for broader use within Extension.
Economic Impact of a Large-Scale, Collaborative Forest Health Project: A Model for Making a Difference
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension, and the Mississippi Forestry Commission partnered on the Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Project, a collaboration on forest health. MSU Extension provided educational outreach to a wide audience of forest landowners and screened applications for the project's tree-thinning cost-share program. From 2006 to 2016, the collaboration spent $4.5 million on educational outreach and cost sharing. Using IMPLAN, we estimated the project's economic contribution to the state at $60.2 million, a value representing a benefit–cost ratio of 13:1. Collaboration is an effective means for agencies to leverage resources, and impact analysis is a useful tool for evaluating Extension program effectiveness.
Promoting Farmers' Markets: Preferences of Farmers' Market Leaders
Extension professionals across disciplines are involved with farmers' markets, and reports have indicated an increase in the number of farmers' markets across the country. We explored perspectives of farmers' market leaders regarding topics and data of interest and capacity and willingness to collect data related to market promotion. The purpose of our work was to provide Extension educators with information that may guide programming around farmers' markets. We collected data through an online survey of Wisconsin farmers' market leaders in spring 2017. Market leaders were most interested in learning how to encourage word-of-mouth communication between customers and engage in other low-cost strategies, such as having partners help promote a market.
Research in Brief
Evaluating Promotional Efforts for Driving Traffic to an Extension Outreach Website
As online communication becomes more important to Extension professionals, understanding how promotional strategies affect the number of people accessing online content also becomes more important. We tracked website visits resulting from four different promotional efforts to understand relative effectiveness of these efforts. Each effort was unique in cost, efficacy, and efficiency. We found that using multiple promotional approaches to drive traffic to educational content can increase engagement over time and allow for reaching larger audiences.
Assessing New England Family Forest Owners' Invasive Insect Awareness
Family forest owners in the United States have underscored the need for forest insect pest (FIP) information, and numerous Extension programs have been developed to meet pest information needs. We developed the Pest Awareness Index to illustrate the heterogeneity of familiarity, knowledge, and experience regarding three FIPs (hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, Asian long-horned beetle) in four New England states. Using mail survey data of family forest owners, we calculated an index from three components and provided comparisons based on region and actual insect presence. The differences in the index across these domains have implications for measurement and delivery of Extension programs.
The Family Mealtime Study: Parent Socialization and Context During Family Meals
Research on the family mealtime has shown its importance for youths' dietary attitudes and behaviors. Youths who have more frequent family meals often have more healthful dietary behaviors. However, little is known about the context and processes related to how family mealtimes affect youths' dietary behaviors. To address this gap, we examined the context of family mealtimes and parent socialization that occurs during family meals through mealtime observations and interviews. Family mealtimes are valued by parents, and our findings can be useful to Extension professionals in educating parents and families regarding shaping of family mealtimes, feeding strategies, and nutrition.
Variables Affecting First-Time Parents' Feeding Behaviors
After deciding whether to breastfeed or formula feed, parents must determine when to introduce solid foods. We examined feeding behaviors of 131 first-time parents, applying the theory of planned behavior to our investigation. Results indicated that parents' attitudes influenced infant feeding behavior at 6 months old. Therefore, Extension professionals should consider providing programming and materials to encourage healthful attitudes, in addition to focusing on general nutrition information. Moreover, our sample relied heavily on health professionals, friends and family, and books or videos for infant feeding information, so Extension professionals should consider targeting other influential groups in addition to targeting parents directly.
Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program
The Oregon Master Beekeeper Program has been educating beekeepers since 2012. We surveyed program participants to evaluate the effectiveness of the training on beekeeping knowledge, confidence, and community involvement. The survey results showed positive changes in beekeepers, especially due to hands-on training by volunteer mentors, an integral component of the program. We also found areas for program improvement, such as providing more local contact with volunteers and addressing mentor-mentee scheduling issues. The insights gleaned from our survey could be used by those involved with other master beekeeper programs or similar Extension programs to strengthen educational offerings.
Psychological and Physical Benefits of Interactions with Horses
Although much research exists concerning how horses can benefit people with specific debilitating impairments, relatively few studies have pursued what benefit horses offer people in the way of stress relief and improved quality of life. Study participants interacted with horses by grooming them and leading them through an obstacle course. Data were gathered through pre- and postinteraction surveys. Results suggest that interaction with horses offers a variety of benefits that may improve quality of life, such as increased confidence, lower stress, and an increase in caloric output. Implications exist for Extension programming.