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2014 Year in Review

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As we 2014 quickly comes to a conclusion, it is time for me to share with you the educational accomplishment of the Agricultural and Natural Resources plans during the year. For 2014, there were 3 outcome plans that I will share with you during the following weeks.

2014 Hopkins County Youth Science of Agriculture
Developed by Dr. Mario A. Villarino, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hopkins County, Texas

Relevance: As today’s youth are further removed from farming, their understanding of the importance of agriculture and how it impacts their daily lives diminishes.  This Science of Agriculture (Ag Literacy/Awareness) program targets 4th grade students and teachers in Rains, Hopkins, Delta, Wood and Franklin Counties. The plan provided the following educational components:  Educational support materials on Science of Agriculture, field trip to the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center, pre- and post-evaluation and information about 4-H opportunities for the participants and parents. During 2014 the plan included educational presentations in cattle milking, products and byproducts of the beef industry, dairy foods, 4-H, horse care, wildlife, small grains and cotton, poultry production, bee keeping and water conservation. This program targeted 908 4th grade students in Rains, Wood, Delta, Franklin, Fannin and Hopkins Counties.

 

Response:

 

To address the needs of agricultural education to school grade youth, this plan conducted the following activities:

Ag in The Classroom Volunteer Meeting (October 2013): A working meeting after the 2013 educational event was held with presenters. Recognition for their support was expressed and comments/suggestions were taken. A definitive date was scheduled for 2014.
Organizational Meeting for 2014 Ag in the Classroom (March 25, 2014). County extension agents from Hopkins and Rains Counties met to provide leadership for topic selection, volunteers and programmatic needs for the 2014 event.
Ag-in-the-classroom program planning with Ag in the classroom committee (May 2014). A meeting with participant volunteers and presenters was conducted to describe the differences and adjustments to the 2014 program.
Marketing/Promotion to Schools. An invitational letter to all elementary schools in the region was drafted and mailed to school superintendents and principals. A description of the program including the benefits for the children on their participation was included.
A pre-event evaluation consisting of 18 questions was given to 50 participants attending the Sulphur Springs Elementary School during September 2014.
Ag in the Classroom Event Implementation (949 attendees) (908 youth). The program consisted in a field trip to the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center Arena. The arena was set up in 11 stations with different agricultural topics on each one. The students were welcome at the same time and The Mobile Dairy Classroom session was delivered to the group. After the first session, smaller groups were divided into each station and 8 minute programs were delivered to the groups.
Science of Agriculture Teacher/Student Packets. A package of information was prepared and delivered to the teachers to use as reference material for their classroom. A teacher evaluation ranking the different topics (1 to the best, 12 to the last) was provided to each teacher as part of the packets.
A post-event evaluation consisting of 18 questions was given to 50 participants attending the Sulphur Springs Elementary School during November 2014.
Plan Summary. Activities accomplished during the plan were summarized in a two page document.
Science of Agriculture Interpretation. Interpretation of the plan was compiled and distributed to key leaders of the community, media and the community in general.

During the delivery of the program, several volunteer groups provided student instructions, moving teaching display and caring for live animal part of the exhibits and teaching sessions.

Evaluation Strategy: An evaluation instrument (pre and post approach) was utilized to measure knowledge gained after the students participated in the program. A sample (50 students) was selected from the Sulphur Springs Elementary School to fill out the surveys before and after the educational event. Student survey result  comparisons were conducted using an unpaired t-test.  Teacher evaluation rankings were analyzed using ANOVA.

Results: Survey results indicated that the Science of Agriculture plan provided significant (P=0.0002) (Unpaired t-test t=4.11 df= 4) The program provided an educational benefit to the 4th grade students in Hopkins, Rains, Delta, Franklin, Fannin and Wood Counties.  Student evaluations showed a significant knowledge gain after they experience the field event (Mean 9.72 before the event Vs 12.93 after the event). Statistically significant differences between stations topics was found (P=0.0001) with the horse presentation having the highest ranking (Table 1).

 

Acknowledgements: The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Office in Hopkins County would like to recognize the support of Hopkins-Rains Farm Bureau, Hopkins County Master Gardeners, Southwest Dairy Farmers, North East Texas Beef Improvement Organization, Hopkins County Master Gardeners, Shannon Pickering and the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center for their support during the implementation of this plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1.Teacher evaluations of different topics presented during 2014 Ag in the Classroom

 

 

 

 
Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D.

Hopkins County Extension Agent for Ag and NR

1200B Houston Street

Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482

903-885-3443

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