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SHARED NEWSLETTER DIVIDES EFFORT WHILE EXPANDING REACH AND IMPROVING QUALITY

M.Brew, UF/IFAS Extension Lake County; C. Bainum, UF/IFAS Extension Marion County; Laura Bennett, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter, Pasco, and Hernando Counties; J. Bosques, UF/IFAS Extension Hardee County; C. Cooper, UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County; E. Jennings, UF/IFAS Extension Levy County B. Justesen, UF/IFAS Extension Osceola County; W. Mussoline, UF/IFAS Extension Putnam and Flagler Counties; F. Rivera, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County; K. Taylor, UF/IFAS Extension Volusia County; J. Walter, UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County; T. Wilson, UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County; and J. Yarborough, UF/IFAS Extension Seminole and Orange Counties.

Situation: Members of the Central Florida Livestock Agents Group (CFLAG) have a long and successful history of working together to develop, implement, and evaluate extension programs for livestock producers in Central Florida. Until recently, each of the thirteen members had written their own monthly newsletter, a time-consuming process that did not often yield an adequate return on investment. Objectives: Members of CFLAG recognized that by combining their efforts they could not only reach a wider audience, but they would also be able to each concentrate their writing within their individual areas of expertise thus producing a higher quality, more in depth, product for their clients. Methods: A newsletter format was developed with sections addressing recent events, pasture management, weed management, cattle, horses, and small ruminants/alternative livestock. Articles were assigned by month and topic area based on each agent’s area of expertise and one agent volunteered to serve as editor and compile the articles into a six-page document with accompanying images. The newsletter is distributed across seventeen counties via each agent’s email distribution list, posted on the CFLAG website, and shared on social media. Results: A survey link will be included in the October 2021 newsletter to measure knowledge gain and practice changes that came about because of people having read the CFLAG newsletter over the course of the year. Anecdotal feedback has been extremely positive from both producers and agents with one client going out of their way to call and express how impressed they were with the newsletter. Agents have shared that the new format has freed up a significant amount of time for them to focus on other tasks. Conclusion: By strategically combining efforts Extension agents can expand the depth and breadth of their outreach efforts while at the same time improving the quality of their work products.

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