The 6-month student intern program offered by the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University assists rural and urban Iowans in home food production through extension programs, mass media, and community projects. Advanced undergraduate horticulture students are granted internships at the county/area level and receive credits and a salary for their work. An extension horticulture associate based in the department provides the overall leadership and coordination.
Intern training sessions concentrate on the type of questions to expect and problem diagnosis methods. More than 50% of homeowner concerns are related to home food production. The intern program has been received enthusiastically and has reduced the summer workload of county staff and state specialists.
The national eXtension Initiative officially launched its public web site on 21 Feb. 2008 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Outlook Forum in Washington, DC. Work on this initiative has been ongoing for several years. In 2005, eight
In response to a national increase in the consumption of triploid (seedless) watermelons, seedless watermelon production in Delaware has increased to 43% of the total watermelon acreage. Cultural practices for triploid watermelon production are similar to seeded (diploid) types. However, poor seed germination, high seed costs, erratic performance, and inadequate varieties limited their adoption until the early 1990s in Delaware. Univ. of Delaware Cooperative Extension has worked with Delaware growers to develop a “recipe” for successful triploid production. Extension programs, such as on-farm demonstrations, research trials, educational seminars, and one-on-one consultations, have enabled producers to provide high-quality fruit and yields. Intensive management and marketing are the keys tosuccess as Delaware producers have become leaders of triploid production in the Northeast region. As demand for triploid watermelon continues to increase, extension will remain a vital part of the $4.5 million industry. Growers continually deal with marketing issues in a supply and demand-driven market. As more seedless are on the market and profits lessen, growers will have to be diligent in their marketing and management practices.
With the development and implementation of best management practices (BMP), extension educators are facing a new and unexpected combination of challenges and opportunities. Because the BMP mandate requires a combination of research, demonstration, and outreach, it may affirm the relevance of the land grant mission in the 21st century, engage universities in interagency alliances, and help rediscover the wonders of the proven extension method. The extension approach to water and nutrient management needs to shift from “pollute less by applying less fertilizer” to “pollute less by better managing water.” Applied research is leading to advances in areas such as nutrient cycles and controlled-release fertilizers. At the same time, universities need to walk a fine line between education and regulation, address perennial issues of overfertilization, and consider the reformulation of recommendations that are now used in a quasi-regulatory environment. A combination of education, consensus, and novel approaches is needed to adapt the rigor of research to a multitude of growing conditions and risks of nutrient discharge in order to comply with U.S. federal laws and restore water quality.
Studies by academic, extension, and private foundation think tanks have reaffirmed the land-grant philosophy as an important component of American society in the twenty-first century. Successful land-grant systems will have more closely integrated educational, research, and extension programs characterized as more accessible, affordable, and accountable than current models. The World Wide Web (Web) will play a key role in this transformation. Web technology is evolving rapidly, necessitating continuous and rapid adaptation by information providers (Lineberger, 1996a, 1996b; Rhodus and Hoskins, 1996). The availability of low-cost, user-friendly Web access through home TVs promises to upset the existing paradigms of extension information delivery through county offices and undergraduate instruction exclusively in the campus classroom. Some land-grant professionals have adopted Web technology as a tool to deliver educational programs and coursework; however, most have not, citing as justification the very steep learning curve and time involved in formatting materials for electronic delivery. We have emphasized the need for lifelong learning to our clientele and students; we must heed our own advice. Faculty must develop the ability to integrate appropriate technology into their own programs, since it is clear that land-grant systems of the future will not provide them with the support personnel to do it for them.
Plastics that selectively reduce the transmission of far-red light (FR, 700 to 800 nm) reduce extension growth of many floricultural crops. However, FR-deficient (FRd) environments delay flowering in some long-day plants (LDPs), including `Crystal Bowl Yellow' pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams). Our objective was to determine if FR light could be added to an otherwise FRd environment to facilitate flowering with minimal extension growth. In one experiment, plants were grown under a 16-hour FRd photoperiod, and FR-rich light was added during portions of the day or night. For comparison, plants were also grown with a 9-hour photoperiod [short-day (SD) control] or under a neutral (N) filter with a 16-hour photoperiod (long day control). Flowering was promoted most (i.e., percent of plants that flowered increased and time to flower decreased) when FR-rich light was added during the entire 16-hour photoperiod, during the last 4 hours of the photoperiod, or during the first or second 4 hours after the end of the photoperiod. In a separate experiment, pansy was grown under an FRd or N filter with a 9-hour photoperiod plus 0, 0.5, 1, 2, or 4 hours of night interruption (NI) lighting that delivered a red (R, 600 to 700 nm) to FR ratio of 0.56 (low), 1.28 (moderate), or 7.29 (high). Under the N filter, the minimum NI duration that increased percent flowering was 2 hours with a moderate or low R:FR and 4 hours with a high R:FR. Under the FRd filter, 2 or 4 hours of NI lighting with a moderate or low R:FR, respectively, was required to increase percent flowering, but a 4-hour NI with a high R:FR failed to promote flowering. Pansy appears to be day-neutral with respect to flower initiation and a quantitative LDP with respect to flower development. The promotion of reproductive development was related linearly to the promotion of extension growth. Therefore, it appears that in LDPs such as pansy, light duration and quality concomitantly promote extension growth and flowering, and cannot readily be separated with lighting strategies.
1 Associate Professor, Dept. of Horticultural Science. 2 Associate Professor, Extension Specialist Educational Programs, North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service. 3 Associate Professor, Dept. of Economics and Business. Paper no. 206 of
Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.), blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.), and juice grape (Vitis labrusca L.) growers in selected Michigan counties were surveyed to determine the major sources of technical information used in their decisionmaking for seven production practices; whether a common pattern of information sources exist among the seven technologies within each grower group; and whether patterns of information sources among different grower groups are similar within each technology. Major information sources averaged across the seven production practices in order of importance to each grower group were: apple growers—Michigan State Horticultural Society (MSHS) annual meetings, local growers, Cooperative Extension Services (CES) agents, CES bulletins, and agribusiness representatives; blueberry growers—Michigan Blueberry Growers Association (MBGA) members-MBGA representatives, MBGA handbooks and local growers, and independent blueberry growers-CES agents, local growers, and CES bulletins; grape growers—National Grape Cooperative (NGC) members-local growers, CES agents, NGC newsletters and NGC representatives, and, independent juice grape growers—local growers and CES agents. Information sources used by growers for each practice were discussed. Chemical-requiring technologies, such as fertilizer use, weed control, pest control, growth regulator use, and disease control had similar ranking patterns for information sources within each industry.
During the past 10 years, the Florida strawberry growers, through the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, have made a serious commitment to fund university research on strawberries. They have purchased equipment and donated monies for facilities at Dover. They have also helped support a new faculty position in breeding and genetics. During this same period, the University of Florida has made an equally strong commitment to support strawberry research and extension. These commitments are beginning to pay significant dividends for industry and the University. Cultural and pest management information has been generated that is saving the industy money, and the breeding program is developing new cultivars that will keep the industry competitive in the marketplace. The University has benefitted through the acquisition of new facilities, equipment, and faculty and graduate student support.
Today's fast paced and technology-enriched lifestyles require that many traditional educational seminars and workshops be transformed into “sound bites” of “edu-tainment” if Extension is to keep pace with clientele needs for specific and timely information that's useful and straight to the point. To remain a viable source of timely research-based information, Extension can stay ahead of this curve by utilizing today's technology to inform and educate the public on current issues or outbreaks. This presentation will highlight two such cases where technology delivery systems were utilized to maximize audience size and create an informed public in as short amount of time as possible. Public Service Announcements (PSA's) televised over New Jersey's Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), New Jersey Network (NJN), addressed water conservation and landscape issues during the recent northeastern drought. The potential viewing audience is over eight million people, including all of New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and Connecticut. The second case study will highlight a fully interactive CD-ROM on the Asian Long Horned Beetle (ALB) that was created within 12 months of the pest's discovery in Jersey City, N.J. This CD-ROM, containing curricula, PowerPoint presentations and evaluative tools, is currently being used throughout the northeast and in Canada for the most recent infestation of ALB. Filming for both Rapid Response efforts was done with a Sony DSR-500 DV Cam Camcorder and a Canon XL-1 Camcorder. Digital editing was completed on an Apple G4 running OS X with Avid Express Meridian Non-Linear Editing Software version 4.5 with 3D effects, Apple Final Cut Pro 3.0, Adobe After Effects 5.5, and PhotoShop 7.0. Stills were taken with a Sony Mavica and Nikon CoolPix digital cameras.