On December 8-9, 2016, 27 members of Communities of Practice (CoPs) convened at the Detroit Renaissance Center Hotel to participate in an eXtension Designathon in preparation of launching the first eight projects in the new Community Issue Corps. eXtension’s signature Designathon event is a high-energy workshop that guides Issue Corps members through the creation of concept maps for their Issue-Corps projects, supported by one-on-one mentoring from expert key informants.
Local Issues, National Application
The eight Community Issue Corps projects are led by Extension teams representing 30 institutions. Each project addresses an issue that is shared by members of the sponsoring Community of Practice (CoP). Following are summaries of the projects as refined by the Designathon held on December 8-9, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. More on the Designathon…
eXtension developed the Issue Corps program in order to identify innovative thinkers in the Cooperative Extension System and catalyze their work through a variety of efforts. The Issue Corps program also seeks to amplify the local impact of these teams by sharing, and encouraging them to share, their efforts on a national scale so that other Extension professionals can integrate innovative approaches into their programs. More on the Issue Corps…
Poultry Training for Small Animal Veterinarians
CoP – Small and Backyard Flocks
Team Members – Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky; Tony Pescatore, University of Kentucky; Brigid McCrea, Delaware State University; David Frame, Utah State University
Audience – Veterinarians
Issue – Beginning January 2017, owners of small poultry flocks will no longer be able to buy the antibiotics they need for their flocks over the counter. They will need to get prescriptions from veterinarians who may not have served or treated small flocks in the past.
The project is to create a training program to acquaint veterinarians with the new requirements and serve a growing small poultry flock population.
Developing Tools for Extension’s Role in Agricultural Law Enforcement Training
CoP – HorseQuest
Team Members – Carissa Wickens, University of Florida; Kathy Anderson, University of Nebraska; Karen Waite, Michigan State University; Scott Cotton, University of Wyoming; Elaine Bailey, University of Maryland Extension-Calvert County; Colleen Brady, Purdue University; Kris Hiney, Oklahoma State University
Audience – Law Officers
Issue – Many law enforcement and government agencies have dedicated law enforcement and animal control officers who respond to horse welfare complaints reported by members of the public concerned about the treatment of a horse or conditions at a local horse facility Yet, most officers are not sure what to look for and what questions to ask. These people are in need of training to improve their knowledge and skills in assessing and addressing animal welfare situations and to facilitate documentation and submission of incident reports.
The project is to develop equine welfare training and reference resources for agriculture law and animal control officers.
Developing and Testing Mobile Delivery of Health Insurance Information
CoP – Financial Security for All
Team Members – Elizabeth Kiss, Kansas State University; Virginia Brown, University of Maryland; Mary Jo Katras, University of Minnesota; Joan Koonce, University of Georgia; Ken Martin, Ohio State University; Dena Wise, University of Tennessee
Audience – Millennials, initially
Issue – Many people with health insurance don’t know or are misinformed about many of the requirements and benefits of their coverage, particularly regarding financial issues and prevention and wellness benefits. Could their health insurance literacy be expanded through a steady flow of quick, easy-to-understand “content bites” delivered frequently through mobile methods that are already part of their daily habits, such as texting, Snapchat or Facebook?
The project is to lay the foundation for a multi-year effort by conducting audience research, pilot projects in different areas, and particularly message testing, working toward the ultimate goal of making Extension a leader in providing health insurance literacy for the nation.
Making the Tough Calls at Organized 4-H Horse Events: Biosecurity
CoP – HorseQuest
Team Members – Colleen Brady, Purdue University; Chris Skelly, Michigan State University; Rebecca Wilkins, Purdue Extension-Harrison County; Tom Guthrie, Michigan State University- Jackson County; Janelle Stewart, Michigan State University-Lenawee County; Kathy Anderson, University of Nebraska; Elaine Bailey, University of Maryland-Calvert County
Audience – County Agents, Educators, and Volunteers
Issue – Horse show participants sometimes arrive at 4-H shows with unwell or injured animals that should not be at the show for the sake of themselves, the other animals present, show attendees and the facility. Most Extension county agents and educators are not large animal professionals. Many feel that they lack the expertise or authority in these situations to identify symptoms and initiate conversations with the youth and family involved to persuade them to demonstrate ethical behavior and remove the horse from the premises.
The project is to develop a face-to-face workshop for agents and others working at 4-H horse events that will give them the skills to identify symptoms confidently and to initiate the often difficult conversations required to remove the affected horse and protect the biosecurity of the event.
Women Farmers’ Leadership and Empowerment Training
CoP – Women in Agriculture Learning Network
Team Members – Beth Holtzman, Mary Peabody, and Debra Heleba, University of Vermont Extension; Carolyn Sachs and Patricia Neiner, Penn State University; Karen Funkenbush, University of Missouri Extension; Janie Simms Hipp, University of Arkansas School of Law; Nadia Navarette Tindall, Lincoln University; Madeline Schultz, Iowa State University; Sabrina Joy Milbury, Just Dancing Gardens & Greenhouses, Williston, VT;
Lorilee Schultz, farmer, Orangeville IL; Heidi Secord, farmer, New Tripoli, PA; Tasha Hargrove, Tuskegee University; Odessa Oldham, farmer, Lander, Wyoming
Audience – Women in Farming and Ranching
Issue – Women are one of the fastest growing demographics in farming, now comprising nearly 30 percent of the farmers in the United States. Without access to appropriate leadership development education, women farmers and ranchers often struggle to develop the critical communication, decision-making, management skills, and confidence, they need to be effective in relationships with family members, employees, vendors, consultants, customers, and regulators. While many women are eager to pursue leadership training, they often find many of the existing offerings hard to access because of cost, time, or geographic barriers.
The project is to pilot a leadership training program specifically oriented to the needs of women farmers and ranchers. The program will be piloted with the Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network. It will draw from relevant, existing leadership training programs, and develop training specifically for women based on challenges identified through research. Training will incorporate ongoing online networking and mentoring opportunities. Participants will develop individual action plans, which the project team will draw on to support participants and to monitor impact.
Disaster Preparedness: An Equine Community Effort
CoP – HorseQuest
Team Members – Kris Hiney, Oklahoma State University; Kathy Anderson, University of Nebraska; Carissa Wickens, University of Florida; Betsy Greene, University of Arizona; Elaine Bailey, University of Maryland Extension-Calvert County
Audience – Horse Owners and Disaster Response Agency Personnel
Issue –Throughout the country, there are “high-level” disaster-response agencies in nearly every community, state, and region to address nearly every possible disaster event–tornados, hurricanes, fire and more. Many horse owners do not know how to evacuate and protect their horses during such a disaster. Also needed is a greater mutual familiarity of disaster preparedness needs and procedures between the equine community and the other disaster-response organizations in a community. Such co-learning can promote response efficiency and also awareness of the special handling needed by horses to maximize safety for everyone.
The project is to develop a blueprint of resources and training that can be customized and applied in any county to establish communication and coordination between equine and other large animal owners, and local disaster-response agencies to strengthen disaster preparedness.
Foundations of Practice in Community Development: Strengthening the Curriculum that Strengthens America’s Communities
CoP – Enhancing Rural Community Capacity
Team Members – Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman, Cornell University; Sharon Gulick, University of Missouri; Debra Hansen, Washington State University Extension; Jane Haskell, University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Lorie Higgins, University of Idaho; Lisa Hinz, University of Minnesota Extension; Stacey McCullough, University of Arkansas Extension; Mary Peabody, and Ellen Rowe, University of Vermont Extension; Rachel Welborn, Southern Rural Development Center, Mississippi State; Taylor Fabus, Michigan State University
Audience – Local Economic Development Professionals, Nonprofit Agencies, and Associations
Issue – Competency training for community economic development professionals has been offered online for more than 10 years. It is now time to review and update this curriculum where needed, to expand the modes of delivery and to create additional professional development offerings for teaching the foundations of practice and to ensure that practitioners have a common base of knowledge and skills.
The project begins with tackling the revenue needed to revisit the online legacy competency training resources and begin building additional online professional training. Additional goals are to reach new audiences and to add face-to-face instruction to the online offerings, including internships, practice mentorships, train-the-trainer programs, and partnerships with competing economic development professional training programs.
Community Gardens across the United States: Value, Food Insecurity, and Food Access
CoP – Extension Master Gardener Coordinators
Team Members – Terri James, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Extension; Mike Maddox, University of Wisconsin; Sheri Dorn, University of Georgia; Lynn Khadiagala, USDA; Susan DeBlieck, Iowa State; Lucy Bradley, North Carolina State; Lori Brewer, Cornell; Pam Bennett, Ohio State; Jay Jayaratne, North Carolina State; Gail Langellotto, Oregon State
Audience – NIFA, Extension Master Gardener Task Force, and State Master Gardener Programs
Issue – Each year, Extension Master Gardener Programs (EMGs) across the country are required to report the impact of their programs to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) which produces an annual report on the public value of EMGs to justify their national funding support. The information NIFA collects to compile national data is well defined: for example, the number of hours, participants, contacts, the amount of produce donated from gardens, etc. However, at present, there are no standards for how EMGs collect metrics or report them. In particular, there are no standards for how the questions are asked to collect the data. The dilemma is that the data is being captured at the local level, but it is not going up the reporting levels efficiently.
The Project is to create national standards for reporting to be used by all state EMGs at all levels so that this critical information is captured and reported uniformly, with maximum transparency and impact. The project team will work across its audiences to develop and obtain consensus on standardizing the data collection and reporting requirements.