Backyard Poultry Program Sheds Light on Community Needs in Hardee County
Bosques, J. UF/IFAS Extension, Hardee County, Wauchula, FL.
Situation: The Hardee County Extension office has been without an agriculture agent for nearly seven years. One of the most important tasks of the Agriculture Agent is to research and deliver needs-assessment based educational opportunities to a community in need of relevant and practical education. Methods: The Hardee County Backyard Poultry Seminar was programmed with the intention of building relations with the community as well as researching their interest as well as their willingness to apply information provided by UF/IFAS Extension Hardee County Faculty. Results and Findings: This program was attended by 26 participants. One hundred percent completed the event evaluation (n=26). All 26 participants expressed the information received was useful. Seventy two percent (n=18) were first time attendants to an Extension program. Most people in the audience became aware of the program by word of mouth (36%; n= 9) and program flyers distributed at local businesses (32%; n = 8). Only a small portion of the attendants found out about the program through social media (16% n = 4) and newspapers (16%; n = 4). Program participants ranked the top three practices they would implement for the improvement of their flocks. Coop construction was ranked at the top followed by egg washing and a tie for third place for the topics of biosecurity, biology of egg production and chick care. Identified future programming needs for the community include: vegetable gardening, aquaponics and hydroponic vegetable production, livestock and forage production, and resource management associated to soil and water. Conclusion: Effective program delivery is the cornerstone of the Cooperative Extension System. Re-introducing Cooperative Extension programming to the community can be tedious, but investing in attractive programs and accurate marketing makes a difference in rural counties such as Hardee.
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