Condensing the 2008 accomplishments of Kentucky Cooperative Extension into a small package is a challenge, but it is an exercise that generates appreciation for the dedicated county and campus personnel who bring excellent programs to your doorstep and computer screen.
Some of our 2008 accomplishments include:
❚ County administration of KARE (Kentucky Agricultural Relief Effort), for which $8 million in new tobacco settlement monies was awarded to help our growers recover from the 2007 drought.
❚ The Science, Engineering, and Technology Initiative in 4-H and the appropriation of $2 million (beginning in 2009) for renovation of our four 4-H camps.
❚ Putting legs (literally) on our health and wellness program with the infectious success of Second Sunday, a day in October on which more than 70 Kentucky counties showed that communities can use infrastructure already in place to encourage exercise.
❚ Finally, within a few months of this report, the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association should reach the $1 million mark in funds it has raised for ovarian cancer research.
In 2008 we also began to work through what can be called Re-Envisioning II. I call it issues flow, a process through which leaders and agents talk about what is needed at the county level. We have been very careful to maintain the ideas generated across the state, building programming in response to what we have heard.
One very important new program arising from this effort is our Moneywi$e Web site at http://ces.ca.uky.edu/moneywise/, where you can find our best resources for dealing with economic challenges.
Constant conversation, including this issues flow, is a dialogue made possible by our presence in 120 counties. It is powerful, and it enables Kentucky Cooperative Extension to stay relevant and of value to our stakeholders.
It is our pledge to use this conversation to maintain programs that address the right issues so we can make a positive difference for your farms, families, and communities.
Grants, gifts, & contracts include:
Extension made more than
❚ More than $22 million in additional income was documented for Kentucky farmers who adopted new practices taught in extension programs, with the total impact likely as much as three times that amount.
❚ The Master Cattleman program was conducted in 49 counties, with 402 producers completing the program and making production improvements affecting more than 71,000 head of cattle and 73,000 forage acres.
❚ Extension agents supported 133 farmers markets in 93 counties, generating more than $5.8 million for local producers.
❚ Efforts of the Cooperative Extension Service to address home garden and landscape issues were strengthened by 1,064 extension-trained Master Gardeners, who contributed 33,357 volunteer hours.
❚ 18,763 members of the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association reported donating 520,279 hours of volunteer time to their communities, valued at more than $8.36 million.
❚ Extension assisted 468 individuals and businesses in 40 Kentucky counties in developing marketing tools to promote local enterprises and communities through agritourism programming efforts. More than three-fourths of those counties showed increased sales due to cooperative marketing with other local agritourism operations and the development of relationships with local or statewide tourism agencies.
❚ The 4-H Jump into Foods and Fitness (JIFF) program resulted in 7,388 youth in 52 counties adopting at least one new health or nutrition practice. JIFF educational contacts increased 16% over the previous year.
❚ The Master Grazer program was offered in 51 counties, with 668 Kentucky livestock producers completing the certification requirements and implementing forage and pasture management strategies over the past three years.
❚ As part of extension programming, 233,423 youth were involved in 4-H/Youth Development programs, 28.03 percent of eligible youth. Some 195,660 youth received six or more hours of instruction. Youth in 4-H programs were supported by 17,435 adult and youth volunteers, a 13.4-to-1 ratio.
❚ 13,111 youth participated in 4-H camp at one of the four camping centers, supported by 2,011 adult leaders.
❚ Weight: the Reality Series was offered in 60 counties, with more than one-third of participants succeeding in losing 5% or more of their initial weight during the program. Overall, extension helped 50,626 Kentuckians make lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, etc.) for the purpose of improving health.
❚ The 4-H Livestock Certification Program trained an additional 77 individuals, bringing the state total to 466 certified volunteer leaders in 105 counties. 2,006 4-H members completed six or more hours of livestock training curriculum.
Additional successes reported this year:
❚ 7,043 agricultural producers used new marketing opportunities.
❚ 20,402 agricultural producers adopted new production practices.
❚ 18,947 Kentuckians took steps to reduce debt or increase savings.
❚ 20,926 individuals adopted practices that ensure safe water.
❚ 58,025 Kentuckians gained leadership and communication skills necessary to address community needs through extension educational programs.
❚ 24,205 adults and youth are involved in addressing significant community issues, with 3,843 4-H youth planning and implementing community service projects.
❚ Extension is involved with 2,054 ongoing coalitions with the goal of improving the capacity of communities to identify and address issues impacting the lives of their citizens.
❚ Responding to current issues affecting Kentucky families, extension increased its efforts in energy conservation by 16%, resulting in an increase of 127% in educational contacts over the previous year.
Traveling Toward Good Health
The Winchester Traveling Trail was not even an idea two years ago — just a fleeting thought that the Clark County town needed a place where people could exercise outdoors, safely and serenely.
Now, the trail is a reality — a nearly-mile-long circular route on scenic farmland that dozens of people enjoy every week, some of them with dogs in tow.
The trail was a community effort coordinated through the Clark County Activity Coalition.
Clark Regional Medical Center, the local hospital, provided the property for the trail, which has benches for resting and even a dog waste station. Parks and Rec for Winchester-Clark County keeps the trail mowed.
Kentucky’s communities are beginning to see promoting exercise as a civic duty, and the Winchester Traveling Trail is an example of what can happen when local leaders band together.
Kentucky Cooperative Extension, through its agents, specialists, and faculty members in family and consumer sciences, is a big part of this push. Last year, it sponsored a statewide conference to talk about how sidewalks, streets, parks, even shopping malls (the “built environment”) affect how much Kentuckians exercise.
In October, Kentucky celebrated Second Sunday, a day on which counties across the state used that built environment to encourage physical activity.
This year’s Second Sunday promises to be even bigger, as Kentucky’s communities, with extension leadership as a strong partner, encourage exercise on that Sunday and every day of the year.
4-H Military Style
It could have been any 4-H cooking club, any group of loud and happy kids in the kitchen poring over recipes, pulling out the measuring cups, stirring the pot.
But this wasn’t just any club. It was a 4-H club at Fort Knox — a place that’s home for these kids this year but maybe not next, where kids send e-mail to Iraq or Afghanistan, where many of them wait for a soldier named Mom or Dad to come home.
It is a life of change, of anticipation, but it is still a kid’s life. And, with the help of a USDA grant, Kentucky 4-H fills a need while parents serve their country.
“This program gives children who are moving a niche at a new installation,” said Toni Riley, Christian County 4-H agent, who works with the Fort Campbell program. “It offers continuity. The kids can work on and build confidence.”
About 350 young people at Fort Campbell take part in 4-H activities. At Fort Knox, about 175 youth are 4-H’ers in some fashion. Civilian employees who already work with kids on base are trained to be 4-H leaders.
Christian County Cooperative Extension has a program assistant dedicated to working with Fort Campbell. It uses the USDA grant to provide scholarships to 4-H camp, give military kids opportunities to mingle with civilian kids at conferences, and teach robotics.
At Fort Knox, the money is used to support 4-H clubs and in-school activities. Marla Stilwell, the 4-H agent in Hardin County, where Fort Knox is located, says the program enables military kids to “gain a lot of skills they might not get anywhere else.”
Kaylyn Humecky, one of the club’s members, put it this way:
Saving Energy in the Barn
It costs a lot to heat, ventilate, and light the 3,500 poultry “houses,” or barns, in Kentucky. In fact, after barn mortgages, energy is the second highest expense for Kentucky’s more than 850 poultry growers. Just as gas prices can rise suddenly, energy costs have risen rapidly for these growers, and the increase threatens to erase their profits.
Last year, the UK Cooperative Extension Service began working with the Kentucky Poultry Federation to help the growers save on energy. The work is being done through a grant to the federation from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board.
The grant supports statewide educational programming, led by Tony Pescatore in animal and food sciences, to make sure growers have the information they need to operate cost effectively. It also supports on-site energy audits of some poultry houses.
Doug Overhults in biosystems and agricultural engineering is spearheading this evaluation service.
“We try to evaluate farms that represent the different types of barns out there,” Overhults said. Findings will be disseminated widely, so that all growers can obtain useful information from the sample evaluations.
Overhults evaluates some building features, such as lighting and attic insulation, by eye, but he also uses some sophisticated equipment. With a thermal camera, he can determine if barns have air leaks or deteriorated insulation that might cause excessive heat loss or cold, drafty spots around the birds.
He also uses a mobile device called a Fan Assessment Numeration System, which measures the airflow output and power requirement of a barn’s ventilation fans.
“We evaluate what they have and pull together cost estimates for potential improvements,” Overhults said. “We estimate fuel savings for each improvement and calculate a simple payback.
“The grower can take that information and make a decision about whether or not to spend the money,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to find cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs while maintaining optimum production.”
A Nutritious Way to Read
Tommy Carr, age 7, has flipped pancakes, made salsa, cooked up some turnip fries, and made a low-fat milkshake, all in the name of good nutrition and good reading.
It all happens once a month at E.P. Ward Elementary School in Wallingford, when one of Fleming County’s LEAP (Literacy, Eating, and Activity for Primary Youth Health) sessions takes place.
First comes the reading — a book read aloud to the kids and their parents by Gwen O’Cull, who works with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.
“I like to hear Miss Gwen read,” Tommy said. “She has a nice voice. Sometimes she makes it high, and sometimes she makes it low.”
Every book Miss Gwen reads has some connection to a healthy food or physical activity.
Along with a book, O’Cull brings her blender, range-top stove, or griddle so that after the storytelling, children and parents work together in an activity that builds on a healthy food or exercise they’ve just heard about.
The night Tommy’s group read Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky, the kids made a blueberry smoothie and a blueberry spread. The milkshake came with Rodeo Ron and His Milkshake Cows by Roland Clifford. The turnip fries? After The Gigantic Turnip by Aleksei Tolstoy.
A related activity or exercise tops off each session to reinforce the health message of the book.
At most recent count, more than 22,000 Kentucky kids have taken part in LEAP, which began in 2004. It was developed by UK Cooperative Extension, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and the Kentucky Department of Education as a way to help combat Kentucky’s obesity and lack of physical activity among kids and head off the low literacy that besets 40 percent of the state’s adults.
If Tommy Carr is any indication, the program is working. His favorite food is strawberries out of the family garden, he likes salsa (if it’s store-bought), and he and his mom read together every night.
Programing with Personality
Mike and Laura Kalfas of Campbell County understand communication is key to a healthy marriage, successful parenting, and forming positive working relationships.
So when Kate Vaught, family and consumer sciences agent with the Campbell County Cooperative Extension Service, offered to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to members of their couples’ Sunday school class, the Kalfases jumped at the opportunity.
“I think it’s good for any group of people that needs to work together for a common goal,” Mike Kalfas said.
The Myers-Briggs uses a series of questions to assess an individual’s personality style. Understanding these multi-faceted styles can help individuals break down communication barriers with others.
Vaught developed her passion for the assessment during graduate school and became certified in administering it. Since joining the Cooperative Extension Service, she has offered it to educational professionals for personal enrichment and team building in addition to the couples’ Sunday school class. Plans are in the works for her to offer it to students at Highlands High School as a form of career exploration.
“I like the Myers-Briggs because it’s a practical application that allows you to actually talk about the skills that you can work on in your life,” Vaught said.
Some would also consider the Kalfases to be passionate about the assessment. This was their third time taking it, and each time, they found it to be useful and applicable to many aspects of their lives.
This is just one instance of how the Cooperative Extension Service’s marriage education programs have enhanced the lives of Kentuckians. Several family and consumer sciences agents are planning marriage education efforts in their counties this year.
Also, UK’s Department of Family Studies in the School of Human Environmental Sciences is working through the Bluegrass Healthy Marriage Initiative to help community leaders equip couples to identify and improve relationships.