Category

Extension Education

Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: A Phenomenological Inquiry to Understand Ugandan Farmers’ Experiences Using Fertilizers

Chandler Mulvaney, Kathleen D. Kelsey, Nicholas E. Fuhrman, & Ronald Lemo
This article examines factors influencing Ugandan subsistence farmers’ adoption or rejection of mineral fertilizers using the theory of planned behavior as a theoretical lens (Ajzen, 2011). We conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 Ugandan farmers in-situ. Participants were criterion selected based on their rate of adoption of fertilizers and membership in farmer groups. We analyzed the interviews following phenomenological research design. Four themes emerged, they were (a) we are better together, working in farmer groups improves outcomes, (b) behavioral change begins within the family and farmer groups, (c) farmers need greater access to agricultural production knowledge and inputs, and (d) changes in farmers’ knowledge leads to intentional behavior changes. The themes were summarized to generate the phenomenological essence of climbing Jacob’s ladder. The factors that influenced fertilizer adoption included being a member of a formally recognized and registered farmer group…

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A Qualitative Analysis of the Challenges and Threats facing Cooperative Extension at the County Level

Lendel Narine, Amy Harder, & Priscilla Zelaya
The Cooperative Extension Service faced many challenges and threats over its history. Persistent internal challenges affecting Extension are communication with stakeholders, high employee turnover, and a marketing deficit. Common external threats included reduced funding, increases in non-traditional audiences, and inadequate facilities. Guided by a needs assessment framework, this study sought to identify the challenges and threats facing the [State] Cooperative Extension Service at the county level. Using a basic qualitative research design, the final reports from the 2016 county program reviews were used as the primary source of data. Results were consistent with the literature and showed persistent challenges facing Extension were staff limitations, marketing and communication ineffectiveness, limited program coverage, inadequate volunteer recruitment, and lack of funding…

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Resiliency and Leadership of Tobacco Producers in Greene County, TN: A Qualitative Study

Melody Rose, Carrie Stephens, Ralph Brockett, Christopher Stripling, & Baylee Jarrell
The purpose of this study was to identify the perceptions of current Greene County burley tobacco producers in a declining global tobacco industry. The central research question was “How have you maintained your leadership and resilience in burley tobacco production in Greene County?” Ten Greene County producers participated in this study through an interview conducted utilizing a series of 33 questions aimed at determining specific themes regarding resiliency in their communities, as well as the individual producers’ adaptive leadership styles. Data collected from interviews were synthesized to correlate perceptions of current tobacco production in Greene County from the inception of the tobacco program to present-day regarding cultural norms and economic impact, while simultaneously providing…

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Evaluating Public Perceptions of Agricultural Water Use by Regions to Guide Extension Programming

2018 Outstanding Article
Alexa J. Lamm, Peyton N. Beattie, & Melissa R. Taylor
Agricultural water use accounts for a large portion of water withdrawal in the United States (U.S.). The agricultural industry has recently come under public scrutiny as increased droughts across the nation has led to competition for water. The added pressure has led to an increase in policy aimed at curbing agricultural water use in many parts of the U.S. At the same time, public perception of agricultural water use was at an all-time low with little recognition that agricultural water needs differ depending upon geographic location. The purpose of this study was to evaluate public perceptions of water use across the nation to assist extension educators in the development of programs focused on educating about diverse agricultural water needs. The findings revealed respondents generally trust farmers when it comes to water use and believe farming practices have a positive effect on the natural environment…

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4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program: A Qualitative Study in Career Exploration

Ronnie L. Cowan, Carrie A. Stephens, Christopher Stripling, Craig Harper, Baylee Jarrell, & Shelby Brawner
Previous studies have documented the Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) builds life skills of 4-H participants. Furthermore, youth education and development of life skills are enhanced through 4-H educational efforts that provide hands-on learning projects and concepts that ultimately assist in career development (Bandura,Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 2001; Bourdeau, 2004. The purpose of this study is to describe WHEP participants’ perceptions of careers in wildlife management after the completion of the annual program. The centralresearch question guiding this study was how do 4-H members view careers in wildlife management after participating in WHEP? A focus group comprised of nine WHEP participants was conducted at the Tennessee 4-H Wildlife Judging contest to determine participants’ perceptions of careers in wildlife management after completion of the annual program…

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Impact of a Poultry and Egg Food Safety Education on 4-H Youth

M. Beaty, J.C. Ricketts, & S. Godwin
This study sought to evaluate a poultry and egg food safety education intervention for 4-H youth. Materials developed and shared with students were infused with key content stemming from microbiological research findings associated with this project and a content analysis of other key findings in the field that consumers ought to know and apply to reduce instances of food-borne illness and death. With financial support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the Poultry and Egg Education Project (PEEP) accomplishes this goal for families and communities by evaluating knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and intentions of implementing lessons learned during a workshop on poultry and egg food safety. Among a convenience sample of 4th-6th grade 4-H youth attending various 4-H camps (n = 190), post-test knowledge scores were significantly higher than pre-test scores…

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A Reason to Reason: Motivations Influencing Youth Participation in 4-H State Horse Judging

Jamie Brianne Putnam, Alexa J. Lamm, & Brittani G. Kirkland
Assessing the motivational factors driving youth to become engaged and devoted to a state 4-H horse judging program will assist in allowing extension professionals to better facilitate programs geared towards promoting higher levels of achievement, life and career readiness, and professional success. Using the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as the theoretical framework, this study used a questionnaire administered to a purposive sample of the 2016 Colorado, Florida, and Texas state 4-H horse judging contestants facilitated by Colorado State University, the University of Florida, and Texas A&M University (n = 71). Intrinsic motivation was found to be the highest motivator followed by extrinsic motivation and perceived confidence. The top four intrinsic items that most strongly influenced respondents were wanting to learn something new, liking horses, being interested in learning about horses, and desiring to gain more confidence speaking in public.

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Needs Assessment for Prospective Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers

Baleshka Brenes Mayorga, Robert L. Williams, Leah Wickersham, & Teresa Duch-Carvallo
The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the needs and interests of prospective Hispanic farmers and ranchers in the target counties in order to improve outreach programs. The results will help outreach programs to mitigate the barriers identified by study participants and focus on the needs of Hispanic farmers. The methodology used was basic qualitative research using focus group interviews, observational analysis, and literature review of previous studies. Three focus group interviews with 6-14 people in each group were used for data collection. Interviews were conducted in Spanish and recorded. Comparisons were made within groups and among groups. The information was analyzed to identify patterns or trends in discussion. The categories found included family support, education, culture, communication, economic stability, immigration status, services, agriculture, fear, language, vision and opportunities, how to start and maintain a business, and community opinion leadership.

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4-H Members’ Motivating Factors for and Deterrents to Participation in an International Experience Program: Development of the 4-H International Experience Program Questionnaire

J.C. Bunch, Melissa Cater, & Shelli D. Rampold
As transportation and communication systems evolve, the ability of youth to participate in international experience program (IEP) improves. However, not all youth will choose to participate in an IEP even if an IEP is readily available. Understanding the motivating factors for participation in an IEP and deterrents to participation in an IEP can assist program developers better market available experiences. In order to assess factors that inhibit or promote participation in an IEP, valid and reliable instruments are needed. This study describes the development and initial validation of the 4-H International Experience Program Questionnaire, an instrument designed to measure 4-H members’ motivating factors for participation in an IEP and deterrents to participation in an IEP.

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Beliefs and Attitudes of 4-H Agents About Global Agriculture Issues

Sara D. Hurst, T. Grady Roberts, & Amy Harder
It is increasingly urgent for 4-H youth to be prepared to enter careers that will provide solutions to complex agricultural challenges including global food security, climate change, and renewable energy resources. Are 4-H agents ready and willing to lead programs that incorporate global concepts and content? According to a national survey of randomly selected 4-H agents nationwide, overall, 4-H agents had favorable personal beliefs and positive attitudes about what youth should learn. They also had a wide variety of personal experiences, but agent beliefs and attitudes did not vary based on those experiences. Results indicate conditions are conducive to agents leading globally-oriented programs. Future research should examine the actual behaviors of 4-H agents.

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