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Sheri Dorn and Paula Diane Relf

The Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Master Gardener (MG) Coordinator Manual, a 14-chapter resource book, was developed cooperatively with teams of VCE MGs, coordinators, and agents to enhance coordinators' skills. It includes chapters on risk management, volunteer management, the educational process, current policies, and the volunteer section of the VCE Master Gardener's Handbook. The VCE MG Coordinator Manual was the basis of four local VCE MG coordinator-training sessions in 1998. This evaluation showed that coordinators are using the manual and adapting the suggestions and samples to fit their local programs, despite the fact that more planning time is often required. Those using the manual increased their understanding of VCE goals and the role of the VCE MG and slightly increased their leadership skills. Reading the manual showed a need for information on training VCE MGs to work with agents to design and implement strong horticulture education programs for Virginia communities. Areas for improvement were identified before final publication.

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Anusuya Rangarajan

Both growers and vegetable seed companies have had long-term historic relationships with public agriculture extension educators and faculty to conduct unbiased evaluation of vegetable varieties. Reductions in both the number of vegetable seed companies as well as university human resources has led to questions about the viability and appropriateness of publicly-funded variety evaluation programs. Field based extension educators and regional staff have taken more leadership to evaluate varieties, but this often results in fragmented or repetitive trials with limited long term integration of data. Statewide vegetable extension specialists must provide the leadership in coordinating these trials to enhance the rigor of data collection and analysis. Fundamental to enhancing rigor is improving regional coordination and collaboration. The calculation of stability estimates for new and older varieties is most efficiently and quickly achieved through regional collaborations. Initial efforts should improve uniformity of trials by creating common evaluation methods for yield and qualitative evaluations (e.g., color, appearance), including two standard varieties (one local and one regional, long-term standard), standardizing field establishment practices, and selecting experimental designs and plot sizes to improve labor efficiency. These regionally coordinated trials will improve the ability to publish this type of applied research and demonstrate new levels of efficiency for university administrations. In the long term, carefully designed comparisons of genotypic performance among different environments could suggest new directions for university breeding programs as well as cropping systems research.

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Tiffany L. Maughan, Kynda R. Curtis, Brent L. Black, and Daniel T. Drost

complete the economic evaluation of the net returns to each of the three strawberry production season extension methods, data were collected across 3 years (2011–13) of trials on annual hill strawberry production systems at the Utah State University (USU

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Mike Murray, Mike Cahn, Janet Caprile, Don May, Gene Miyao, Bob Mullen, Jesus Valencia, and Bill Weir

University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisors have conducted applied research to quantify processing tomato [Lycopersicum esculentum (L.) Mill] varietal performance, as a coordinated activity, since 1973. Early and midseason maturity varieties are annually evaluated at four to six locations throughout the state. The test varieties are selected in collaboration with seed companies, processors and growers. The growers and seed companies provide financial support for the tests. Most tests are conducted in production tomato fields and are harvested using commercial harvesters. The results are widely disseminated through an annual report to the funding sources, farm advisor research reports, newsletters, production meetings, the California Tomato Grower magazine, and popular media. The information obtained for fruit yield potential, fruit quality and plant horticultural characteristics is used by processors, growers, and seed companies to make variety selection decisions. This regional extension program has proven to be an effective way to generate well-designed replicated information for making intelligent processing tomato cultivar decisions and has been well accepted by the California industry.

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W.C. Dunwell, D. Fare, M.A. Arnold, K. Tilt, G. Knox, W. Witte, P. Knight, M. Pooler, W. Klingeman, A. Niemiera, J. Ruter, T. Yeager, T. Ranney, R. Beeson, J. Lindstrom, E. Bush, A. Owings, and M. Schnelle

The Southern Extension and Research Activities/Information Exchange Group-27 (SERA/IEG-27) is sponsored by the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. Thirteen universities and the U.S. National Arboretum cooperate with official representatives from extension and research programs. The objective of the group is to identify, evaluate, select, and disseminate information on superior, environmentally sustainable, landscape plants for nursery crop production and landscape systems in the southeastern U.S. Plants are distributed to members responding to a request from cooperators for plant evaluation. Those who agree to cooperate are expected to grow the selected liner to landscape size, then transplant it in a landscape setting. The plant is rated for insect, disease, and cold damage, heat stress, growth rate, ornamental flowering and fruiting, fall color, commercial production potential, landscape potential, invasiveness potential, and insect disease transmission potential. Growth rate is evaluated annually by recording plant height and width. Initial bloom date is reported followed by bloom duration in days. Following evaluation, the group collectively and individually disseminates information gained from the plant evaluation system to a wide variety of audiences.

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Jeffery K. Iles, Steven C. Padgitt, Peggy Petrzelka, and Wendy K. Wintersteen

A survey was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of Iowa State University (ISU) extension programs and services to the turfgrass, nursery, and landscape plant installation and maintenance industries in Iowa. Completed questionnaires were received from 294 individuals (55% response rate). Respondents indicated they have a continuing need for pest identification and management information and that ISU extension is an important source for this information. In general, most respondents said quality of information provided by ISU extension was better than that offered by horticultural consultants or product suppliers; however, only 48% said extension was doing very well delivering programs and information in a timely manner. Demand for on-site visits with extension specialists was greater than that for distance learning opportunities, suggesting that extension must do a better job of marketing and making relatively new communication technologies palatable.

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Glenn D. Israel, Janice O. Easton, and Gary W. Knox

Presented at the annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association, San Diego, CA, November, 1997. University of Florida Florida Agricultural Experiment Stationjournal paper R-06157.The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in

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Abbas Lafta, Thomas Turini, German V. Sandoya, and Beiquan Mou

objectives of lettuce breeders working in these environments. Being a cool-season crop, lettuce is vulnerable to global warming. In this study, we evaluated green and red leaf lettuce germplasm collections for their tolerance to high temperatures to find heat

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P. Diane Relf and David McKissack

A mass media water-quality program aimed at changing lawn and garden fertilization practices of homeowners successfully elicited responses from individuals by using local cooperative extension offices and newsletters. Traditional extension media tools, such as radio and news releases, were less successful in eliciting requests for further information. In addition, the program reached more people by transmitting the information in the form of a calendar than it reached in the first year through videotapes and slide sets created for use in public and Master Gardener training.

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Laura A. Warner, Anil Kumar Chaudhary, and Sebastian Galindo-Gonzalez

the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) extension focuses on encouraging sound irrigation practices statewide. Evaluation is a critical step in extension programming because it documents outcomes and impacts, helps