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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 others 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 Missouris 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 producers 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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