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					       Mercer County

  Extension Program Plan




          2000-2003

          June, 1999

Mercer County Extension Council
                               Mercer County Extension Council
                                                     Ron Bickel - Chairperson                                       Virginia Higgins - Secretary
                                                     Lou Greene - Vice                                              Barbara Berry - Treasurer
                           Chairperson




"KNOWLEDGE WORKING FOR MISSOURIANS"                                                                                                                 102 South Broadway
                                                                                                                                                      Courthouse Annex
                                                                                                                                              Princeton, MO 64673-1107
                                                                                                                                                         (660) 748-3315
                                                                                                                                                   FAX - (660) 748-3180

        June, 1999

        Mercer County Citizens
                 The Mercer County Extension Council is pleased to share our University Outreach and Extension
        Program Plan for 2000-2003. This plan, with which we begin the new millennium, describes the priority
        extension educational programs that will be implemented in the county during the next four years. The county
        extension council will review and update the plan annually.
                 The county extension council, with assistance of the extension staff serving our county, involved 125
        citizens in the county in deliberative group sessions to help identify the issues of major concern to them. With
        this information in hand, the county extension council reviewed and discussed the socio/economic trends
        occurring in Mercer County and reviewed the extension programs that have been offered in the county during
        the past four years.
                 On the basis of the above information and discussions, the council identified five major areas to be
        addressed in the coming four years. The specific programs and objectives associated with each program are
        described in this plan.
                 We hope you will take the time to become familiar with the educational programs that will be provided
        by University Outreach and Extension in Mercer county in the coming years. For those who have access to the
        World Wide Web, you can see an updated calendar of events and activities and descriptions of coming
        programs at http://outreach.missouri.edu/mercer.
                 University Outreach and Extension programs are provided through a partnership of the University of
        Missouri, Lincoln University, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Mercer County Extension
        Council.

        Sincerely,



        Ron Bickel
        Chair, Mercer County Extension Council




    University of Missouri, Lincoln University, U.S. Department of Agriculture & Local University Extension Councils Cooperating
                             University Extension does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age,
                                               disability or status as a Vietnam-era veteran in employment or programs
MERCER COUNTY PROGRAM PLAN

Introduction

Mercer County citizens are eager for a future that includes a solid and
stable rural community based on agriculture and healthy youth.     This
future has an economic base that provides employment opportunities and
incomes above the poverty level for all our citizens.     Our Extension
programs are designed to help farms, small businesses and individuals
compete in the global economy, have healthy families, and develop
effective and progressive leadership.

The population of Mercer County is at present 3,969. The population has
grown about 6% in the last ten years and continued growth is expected,
because of economic opportunities that were not present in the 1980s.
The population is almost entirely white but we are beginning to see the
influx of Hispanics because of the jobs that exist in the hog industry.
The population is also about 25% elderly with almost two-thirds of that
population still living on their own. One of the most dramatic changes
in Mercer County has been the increase of women working outside the home.
 Currently about 70% of women work outside the home as opposed to 34% in
1980.

The state of children in Mercer County is also of great concern. The
youth population is 909 and 20%live in poverty and 11.3% live with only
one parent. Even more alarming is that youth requiring mental health
services has more than doubled in the 1990s.      In addition youth law
violations have increased almost five times. These facts have combined
to create an appreciation for quality day care services. Currently there
are only licensed slots for 30 youth and the need is much greater.

Unemployment is at an all time low of about 2.7%. The largest employer
in the region Premium Standard Farms cannot find enough labor to meet its
own demands.   Part of the problem is the shortage of housing in the
county. This shortage causes employees to live and drive great distances
to their jobs. This situation causes strain on the employees and their
families, causing turnover and increasing training costs for the company.
  At the same time, over one-third of the households in Mercer County
have incomes of less than $10,000.

Mercer County is an agricultural county. It had over 11 million dollars
in crops in 1997 with soybeans and corn leading the way.       Livestock
production is about ten times that amount but those figures are inflated
by the corporate hog operation.    Without the corporate farm figures,
livestock still accounts for about 20 million dollars in sales. There
are 539 farms with 247 of them full time. Of these 31 or 5.8% are having
annual sales of over 100,000 dollars. About one-fourth of the farms are
between 100 and 200 acres.

Mercer County Program Priorities

After looking at the priorities expressed by the 40 citizens who
participated in the deliberative sessions, an analysis of the socio-
economic trends of the county, and a review of the current Extension
programming available in the county, we have chosen to focus our time and
resources on five major program themes: community leadership development
and community building, healthy families, youth programs, business
development and agricultural profitability.


Program Theme # One: Leadership Development
1.   EXCEL: Experience in Community Enterprise and Leadership. Community
     leadership is perhaps the single most critical need in rural
     Missouri. EXCEL has been proven to be capable of producing a group
     of informed and effective new leaders, ready to analyze and respond
     to the challenges facing their communities. The idea is to develop
     the means for meaningful community action partly by enhancing the
     individual skills of local citizens. EXCEL is designed to include a
     broad spectrum of community members representing the entire
     community and all its diversity. Participants are by selection with
     each community choosing its own criteria. A local committee will
     develop the program special to Mercer County that will meet the
     leadership needs. This committee will plan content, raise funds,
     recruit and select participants.

     Measurable Objectives:

          1.    An EXCEL program will be established, delivered and
                evaluated for at least 15 participants.
          2.    Participants will report increased leadership roles
                within the community.
          3.    A sustainable plan will be in place to support the
                program.

     Indicators and baseline data:

     A participant pre-program survey of community knowledge and
     involvement will serve as baseline data. A follow-up survey with
     participants will be used to determine community impact. Indicators
     of progress include:
           A.   Participant satisfaction with program curriculum and
                instruction.
           B.   Longitudinal follow up to identify later community
                involvement.
           C.   Local initiatives supported by participants.

2.   Youth Leadership.    Perhaps the most under used resource in our
     society today is the talent and abilities of our youth.        Their
     energy, enthusiasm and sense of place are assets we cannot afford to
     lose. With leadership training young people can be encouraged and
     given the skills to have an impact on their communities.

     Measurable objectives:

          1.    A youth leadership program will be established and
                delivered.
          2.    Youth will be more effective in leadership and
                organizational roles.

     Indicators and baseline data:

          A.    A participant pre-program survey of community knowledge
                will serve as baseline data. A follow up survey will be
                used to determine impact. Indicators will include:
          B.    Participant satisfaction with program
          C.    Youth involvement in community issues.

3.   Building Social Capital. The fabric that allows all communities to
     function their best is the way the local citizens relate to each
     other and work together. This relationship is often called social
     capital.    This cooperative ability is what makes people and
     organizations effective.
     Measurable Objectives:

          1.    Local resources will be developed and the ability to use
                those resources will be enhanced.
          2.    Opportunities   for  community   interaction   will   be
                increased.

     Indicators and baseline data:

          A.    New coalitions and active collaborations will be
                created.
          B.    Issues will be framed in the most effective manner.
          C.    Board trains will be conducted to enable boards to be
                more effective
          D.    Organizations will have annual plans including fund
                raising.

4.   Local Governance. Local governments, both at the city and county
     levels, are confronted with issues that they are not equipped to
     deal effectively. Outreach and Extension is uniquely positioned to
     help these bodies of government make the best use of the resources
     thy have.    Six areas have been identified by the Community
     Development Governance subgroup. They are: planning and zoning,
     public finance, citizenship, environmental issues, relations and
     migration patterns.

     Measurable Objectives:

          1. Local governments will make better long term plans to meet
          infrastructure needs.
          2. More proactive strategies will be used in planning and
          zoning issues.
          3. Citizens will be more aware, informed, and engaged in the
          process of local government.
          4. Local governments will make better decisions concerning
          the wise use and conservation of resources.
          5. Local governments will be more aware of effective ways to
          deal with conflict and resolve complex issues.
          6. Local governments will be aware of migration inflows as
          well as outflows and how they effect local resources.

     Indicators and baseline data.

          A.     Local governments will develop the information,
          organization and public support to implement sound management
          B. Planning and zoning will become a tool to impact growth.
          C. Local issues will be better received and supported.
          D. Local government will have recycling efforts and will work
          with local business and industry to be more environmentally
          friendly.
          E. Issues will be framed in a manner that leads to solutions.


Program Theme # Two: Business Development

1.   Business and Industry Extension Program. Only three employers in
     Mercer County have more than twenty employees. University Outreach
     and Extension has training materials and programs to help people
     gain the skills they need to start a business and keep that business
     healthy and successful.

     Measurable Objectives:
     University Outreach and Extension will provide high-quality,
     effective assistance to at least five small businesses and assist at
     least five people that want to start a new business.

     Indicators and Baseline Data:

     Through interaction with local groups and organizations information
     will be maintained that clarifies the needs of clientele in Mercer
     County.

          A.    Number of new business formations.
          B.    Numbers of individuals starting a new business.
          C.    Numbers of individuals not starting a new business after
                counseling.
          D.    Business plans developed.
          E.    Sales and taxes generated.
          F.    Number of jobs created.

2.   Retention and Expansion of Existing Business.      A comprehensive
     approach to community economic development is essential for long
     term success. An important part of any such effort is an organized
     program to support local businesses. Research shows that 40-80% of
     all new jobs come from existing business. The effort to work with
     them also creates the business climate that allows an area to
     recruit and locate new business. A formal Business Retention and
     Expansion (BR&E) program will provide the organization and
     implementation of such an effort in Mercer County.

     Measurable Objectives:

     Organize and implement a Business Retention and Expansion program in
     Mercer County to:
           1.   Improve relations between community and local firms.
           2.   Help solve problems local firms are having
           3.   Help firms become more competitive
           4.   Build   community   capacity   for   community   economic
                development

     Indicators and baseline Data:

     The outcomes of organizing and implementing BR&E program will be
     determined by monitoring the following in Mercer County:

          A.    Number of firms participating
          B.    Change in employment levels of participating firms
          C.    Change in assessed evaluation of commercial property in
                community.
          D.    Change in level of citizen participation in local
                community economic development activities.

3.   Home Based Business Development. Every year more and more Americans
     are working from home and with the technology available today this
     is a realistic source for creating income for rural Missourians. To
     be able to compete people need to be able to create a business plan
     and be able to handle the financial analysis required.

     Measurable Objectives:

          1.    Ten people will be assisted in writing a business plan.
          2.    Ten people will be assisted in securing financing.
          3.    Ten people will be assisted in marketing their service
                or product.

     Indicators and baseline data:

          A.    Individuals wanting to start a home based business have
                identified a product.
          B.    Individuals have determined their own capacity to run a
                business.

4.   Providing Better Day Care. The lack of decent, safe and affordable
     day care has been identified as a need in Mercer County. This lack
     of adequate people and facilities keeps capable people out of the
     work force and causes unnecessary strain on others. Enabling people
     to develop this line of business is an opportunity for Mercer County
     residents, which then in turn allows others to seek better
     employment.

     Measurable Objectives:

          1.    A program will be developed and implemented to help
                individuals obtain the license to provide day care
                services.
          2.    Annual training will be provided for five individuals.

     Indicators and Baseline Data:

     Baseline economic data will be created from employment figures,
     KidsCount data, and public input.

5.   Safe and Affordable Housing.      The lack of safe, decent and
     affordable housing , both to buy and rent, has been cited as a weak
     link in the economy of north Missouri.      The housing stock has
     deteriorated and new construction has not kept pace with need.
     Mercer County currently has low unemployment but cannot house all
     who want to live near their job.

     Measurable Objective

          1.    A Home Ownership Made Easier: series will be presented
                to help people but their own home.
          2.    A home maintenance series will be presented to help
                people better take care of all property.

     Indicators and baseline data:

          A.    Ten people will go through the HOME program.
          B.    Ten people will go through a home maintenance program.

Program Theme # Three: Healthy Families.

1.   To build strong families is one of our basic missions in Extension.
      Research and deliberation in Mercer County has shown clear needs
     regarding job preparation, parenting and sound financial planning.
     The stress of working long hours (especially by mothers) and
     balancing job and work is an area of new and special concern.


     Measurable Objectives:

          1.    Programs    will   be   developed   to   help individuals and
                       families          successfully        balance      family        and      work
                       responsibilities.
               2.      Programs will be developed to help individuals and families
                       demonstrate change behavior in successfully managing family and work
                       responsibilities.
               3.      Programs will be developed to help identify strengths
               4.      Programs will be developed to help communication between family
                       members.
               5.      Programs will be developed to help manage stress
               6.      Programs will be developed to help build self-esteem
               7.      Programs will be developed to help individuals and families make
                       sound financial management decisions which improve their quality of life.
               8.      Programs will be developed to help individuals and families have the
                       skills needed for making sound financial management decisions.

       Indicators and Baseline Data:

               A.  10% decreased # of latch key kids.
               B.  10% fewer juvenile law violations
               C.  10% decreased incidence of spouse/child abuse.
               D.  10% decreased in absenteeism in the workplace.
               E.  10% decreased # of worker compensation claims.
               F.  Mercer County Citizens have a clear idea of day-to-day roles.
               G.  Mercer County Citizens support each others welfare.
               H.  Mercer County Citizens make use of available help.
               I.  Mercer County Citizens report more active communication.
               J.  Mercer County Citizens will identify activities that reduce stress.
               K.  Mercer County Citizens will expect developmentally appropriate responsibilities &
                   encourage independence and autonomy.
            L.     Success will be determined if healthy families are shown to be developed.
            M.     Mercer County Citizens will use growth and retirement funds.
            N.     Mercer County Citizens will have reductions in tax burdens.
            O.     Mercer County Citizens will increase use of discretionary funds.
            P.     Mercer County Citizens will development specified saving plans.
            Q.     Mercer County Citizens will have utilization of spending plans.
            R.     Mercer County Citizens will have savings and investment plans.
            S.     Mercer County Citizens will have estate plan in place.
            T.     Mercer County Citizens will have decreased credit card balances.
            U.     Mercer County Citizens will have utilization of accounting systems.
            V.     Mercer County Citizens will fill out the Decision Making Grid when making
                   decisions.
Program Theme # Four: Youth

1.     The 4-H mission is to create environments where young people are valued and are contributing
       members of the community. The youth of Mercer County rank among the highest in the state in terms
       of out of home placements and juvenile law violations. The need for positive activities and
       meaningful involvement in the community have never been more needed.

       Measurable Objectives:

               1.      Mercer County youth will be more effectively involved in their communities.
               2.      Mercer county youth will have better life skills to function as productive adults.

       Indicators and Baseline Data:

               A.      More youth will participate in community organizations.
               B.      More youth will participate in Character Counts program.
               C.       More youth will participate in Career Day.
               D.       More youth will participate in Achievement Day.

Program Theme # 5. Agriculture Profitability:

       According to the 1997 Census of Agriculture, there are 539 farms in Mercer County, up 54 farms from
       1992. Farms with sales under $10,000 numbered 293. Only 72 out of 539 farms had sales over
       $50,000 in 1997. Three hundred-eight operators reported working off-farm, 232 of these for over 200
       days. These data indicate a large number of small farms that are supported by off-farm income. These
       small farm operators may or may not have the time, interest, capital, or management skills necessary to
       compete with full-time farmers. Mercer County faces the challenge of providing educational programs
       for these two distinct types of farm operators.
       Of the 246 farms with over $10,000 in sales, 103 were crops, 16 were other crops such as hay, and
       127 were livestock with 121 of these beef cattle. Excluding hogs, livestock sales during 1997 totaled
       nearly $7 million. Crop sales totaled nearly $11.5 million led by soybeans, corn, and hay, silage and
       field seeds. Major educational, research, and demonstration efforts need to remain for these
       enterprises. On-going educational efforts relating to beef cattle production include nutrition (ration
       formulation, hay testing), management, genetics (performance testing and the Show-Me-Select
       Replacement Heifer program), and pasture/forage management (grazing systems, forage variety
       selection, etc.). Educational efforts are in the form of demonstrations, personal consultations, news
       releases, newsletters and meetings. Assistance in other areas such as agronomy, economics, and ag
       engineering are also needed to support the agriculture community in Mercer County. We also must
       retain the capability to handle horticulture issues as they arise. The proximity of Mercer County to the
       University of Missouris Thompson Farm near Spickard, MO, the Forage Systems Research Center
       near Linneus, MO and the Hundley-Whaley Research Farm at Albany, MO presents additional
       educational opportunities for producers. At the Thompson Farm, field days highlighting research in
       beef cattle reproduction and nutrition are being planned for upcoming years. Extension specialists
       have been involved with demonstrations of forage management practices that reduce winter feeding
       costs by extending the length of the grazing season. These demonstrations have been ongoing for the
       past several years, utilizing different classes of beef cattle. The research committee at the Thompson
       Farm is supportive of the continuation of these demonstrations, especially as they relate to replacement
       heifer development programs. These efforts by extension specialists are also supported and
       encouraged by the Agriculture Experiment Station and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural
       Resources at the University of Missouri. In addition to these on-going programs, the deliberative
       group sessions identified several areas to be addressed including:

1.     Agriculture Marketing. Much of the agricultural production in Mercer County is in the form of
       traditional commodity products, with little value-added processing. Examples of opportunities that
       may exist for producers to increase income are retained ownership of beef calves, growing alternative
       or specialty crops, cooperating to form production, marketing or purchasing cooperatives, or gaining
       skills with marketing alternatives other than local cash markets. There are many other marketing
       options as well. Additional emphasis on production and financial record keeping systems will
       enhance producers abilities to make appropriate business decisions.

       Measurable Objectives:

       1.      A commodity marketing program will be established, delivered and evaluated for at least 10
               participants.

       Indicators and baseline data:

               A.       A pre-program survey will determine knowledge of alternative marketing strategies.
               B.       A follow-up survey will determine the impact of the program on the finances of the
                        farming operation.
               C.       The possibility of marketing clubs will be explored within the group.
     Measurable Objectives:

     2.      Computerized agricultural production and financial record keeping programs will be
             demonstrated to at least 10 participants.

     Indicators and baseline data:

             A.      A follow-up survey to determine if computers are being used to make production and
                     business decisions.
             B.      Personal consultations and interpretation of production and financial information.

     Measurable Objectives:

     3.      The formation of marketing and/or purchasing cooperatives will be assessed.

     Indicators and baseline data:

             A. The number of producers that attend an informational meeting.
             B. Formation of marketing and/or purchasing cooperatives.
             C. Financial impact of these arrangements for cooperating producers.

     Measurable Objectives:

     4.      Information on alternative marketing programs for beef cattle and alternative and specialty
             crops will be provided through news releases, newsletters and meetings.

     Indicators and baseline data:
            A.      Producer requests for further information in these areas.
            B.      Contact with producers involved with alternative marketing or production alliances or
                    systems.

2.   Environmental Issues and Sound Resource Management.                 Corporate agriculture plays a
     prominent role in Mercer County. Environmental concerns for air and water quality exist. Sound
     management efforts are needed by all farmers in Mercer County to assure air and water quality
     remains high. Mercer County farmers also share in the role of promoting stewardship of resources to
     the public at-large. Included in this effort is responsible use of natural and synthetic fertilizers,
     pesticides and herbicides. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contributed over $800,000 to
     farm income in Mercer County in 1997. Approximately 35,000 acres in Mercer County are enrolled
     in CRP. There is concern about how this land will be utilized when CRP is discontinued.
     Measurable Objectives:

     1.      Pesticide Applicator License training for new licenses and renewals will continue to be
             offered on an as-need basis.

     Indicators and baseline data:

             A.      License renewal lists provided by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
             B.      Requests for new licenses.

     Measurable Objectives:

     2.      CRP Management Field Day will be held in cooperation with the Missouri Department of
             Conservation, the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Mercer County Soil and
             Water Conservation District.
Indicators and baseline data:

       A.      Attendance at the field day.
       B.      Data from NRCS indicating acres with changes in CRP management.
       C.      Requests for information relating to forage management on CRP land.
       D.      Requests for information concerning converting CRP land to crop production.

Measurable Objectives:

3.     Managing livestock wastes, farm chemicals and fertilizers to reduce environmental impact.

Indicators and baseline data:

       A.      Providing training sessions to Premium Standard Farm employees as requested.
       B.      10 producers use global positioning technology to monitor yield, fertility
               requirements and weed pressures within field grids.
       C.      Conduct a household hazardous waste pick-up program in Mercer County.

Measurable Objectives:

4.     Reduced soil erosion will improve water quality in Mercer County.

Indicators and baseline data:

       A.      Number of cost-share practices implemented through the Mercer County Soil and
               Water Conservation District.
       B.      Number of acres treated and tons of soil saved by these practices.

Measurable Objectives:

5.     Water quality issues will be addressed as needed.

Indicators and baseline data:

       A.      Requests for information regarding sewage systems, drinking water testing and
               treatment, surface application of animal waste, pond management for recreation and
               livestock water and other water quality related issues.

				
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