Extension and Ag Research News


NDSU Extension Teams Recognized for Work

Extension teams are honored for their work in nutrition, communication and beef breeding education.

Three North Dakota State University Extension Service teams have been honored for their work with a Program Excellence Award.

One team developed a program to evaluate the sustainability of beef cattle breeding systems. The program provides beef producers with information on incorporating estrous synchronization and artificial insemination into their operations to allow them to make informed decisions and optimize their herd management.

A cow’s ability to give birth and raise a healthy calf until weaning is the most critical production area for profit potential in commercial cow-calf operations, according to team member Carl Dahlen, Extension beef cattle specialist.

The educational effort included meetings and Extension personnel visiting program participants’ operations.

Surveys indicated that all of the participants have shared information or experiences from the program with others, 88.8 percent have implemented AI in their operations and 88.9 percent have made changes to their operation unrelated to breeding, including making sure cow herd nutrition is appropriate and keeping more detailed records.

Another team developed a program called Savvy Shopping. The program provides grocery store tours to low-income families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in Grand Forks County. The tours help participants identify economical ways to purchase fruits and vegetables, and learn about healthful and low-cost protein options, comparing unit prices and food labels, and identifying whole grains on food labels.

The tours were helpful because buying nutritious food on a limited budget can be difficult, says team member Linda Kuster, an Extension nutrition education assistant in Grand Forks County. Those difficulties can lead people to buy inexpensive but calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods, which increases their risk of developing obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Following the tours, 95 percent of the participants said they have stated comparing unit prices to find the best deals and 92 percent are comparing food labels to make healthful choices.

The third team developed Communication Camp, a three-day, intensive program to prepare groups of three to five Extension educators to focus on developing key messages and using new communication tools to create a communication strategy, including news releases, online content and a video, for a specific issue in a program area.

Communicating the right information in the right way, at the right time and in the right place is important to affecting people’s behavior, says team member Bob Bertsch, a Web technology specialist in NDSU’s Agriculture Communication Department.

Participants said they’ve changed their communication practices, including starting a blog for the county newspaper, providing informational tidbits for social media interaction and adding visual elements to social media postings. Also, Agriculture Communication has received a $20,000 grant to fund the development of a national virtual communication camp.

The teams received their award Wednesday at the joint NDSU Extension and Research Extension Center conference in Bismarck.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - Oct. 16, 2015

Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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