Catching Up with CALS — Jan. 10, 2018
Dean's Message — Spring Semester
Classes began this morning. Seeing the hallways swell with the crowds of students is a welcome sign that spring is not far away.
The new foyer outside the Agricultural Sciences Auditorium 106, which was made possible in part by the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, is complete. We are waiting for the furniture that will make it fully functional, but the new eastern entry is truly a welcome improvement.
Along with the resumption of classes, the Idaho Legislature is back in session. CALS economists Garth Taylor and Ben Eborn did a great job with their annual report that tracks the agricultural sector’s financial performance.
“The Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture: 2017” projects that sales of crops and livestock generated cash receipts projected at $7.4 billion, a 5 percent increase from 2017. That reversed a two-year slump.
More important, Idaho’s net farm income rebounded by 15 percent to $1.92 billion, again reversing three straight years of decline.
Taylor did a fine job of helping the legislature’s Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee understand the forces affecting agriculture during a presentation Friday.
I will present to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee Jan. 24 to outline the college’s funding request.
With no new buildings in Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s budget this year, we may have to seek an alternative route to firm up financing for the new germplasm seed potato facility on campus that is critical to the state’s most famous crop. It is worth noting that potato sales posted a strong performance last year, jumping 13 percent to lead all Idaho crops with $955 million.
That success is built on the industry’s recognition that potato science in CALS is important to growers. And that is why the new facility is supported by the potato industry and others.
The new facility will improve our research and sanitary capabilities to produce disease-free plantlets and mini-tubers that protect Idaho’s potato yields and its reputation for high quality potatoes.
Consolidating existing efforts into a modern, dedicated facility that will ensure production of the best quality material. The laboratory also will include classroom space to prepare students for future jobs supporting the industry.
MICHAEL P. PARRELLA
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
$2.526 billion, $1.834 billion and $955 million — milk, cattle and potatoes — the projected sales and the top products tell the big story of Idaho agriculture. The largest 3 sectors accounted for $5.315 billion, 71.3 percent, of the state’s total cash receipts of $7.448 billion. Potato sales gained 13 percent from 2016 to 2017, leading the trio. Milk sales gained 7 percent, and cattle and calves gained 5 percent. Beans posted the top percentage gain of 33 percent on sales of $83 million. Other livestock, sheep, goats, etc., gained 13 percent to $226 million. Wheat and sugarbeets suffered sales slumps of 7 and 10 percent respectively. Overall, Idaho ag’s cash receipts rose 5 percent and snapped a 2-year string of sales declines, according to UI Extension and CALS economists Ben Eborn and Garth Taylor. Their annual publication, “The Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture: 2017,” had better news for farmers’ and ranchers’ bottom lines: net farm income jumped 15 percent to $1.92 billion. That jump snapped a 3-year run of red ink.
Our Stories — Method Tracks Economic Ripples in Communities
Toss a pebble into a pond and ripples spread in familiar ways. Toss more pebbles and the overlapping patterns become more difficult to detect.
Tracking the effects of economic development efforts on the complex relationships in communities large or small challenge the best plans to assess which strategies worked, and which didn’t.
That challenge led CALS economist, rural sociologist and UI Extension specialist Lorie Higgins and colleagues to try a different approach to tracking the results of community development efforts.
Their approach, ripple effects mapping, focuses on charting changes that reach beyond the initial impact to develop a broader accounting.
Higgins and her colleagues Debra Hansen and Rebecca Sero of Washington State University Extension, Scott Chazdon of University of Minnesota Extension and Mary Emery of South Dakota State University developed the approach.
“A Field Guide to Ripple Effects Mapping,” published recently by University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing details the methods community development professionals can use to gauge their success.
The team won several national awards in recent years from extension and community development organizations. Higgins won a U of I Excellence in Outreach and Engagement Award last year for her efforts.
The Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, invited Higgins to its Doing Democracy Around the World learning exchange in 2016 and its New Centers for Democratic Practices Initiative in 2017-2018. The New Centers program brings together people from across the country to find ways to improve public life in communities and beyond by encouraging citizen participation and advancing knowledge of democratic practices.
Her role includes sharing ripple effects mapping and the Idaho Community Review program innovations she led, including how to enhance public deliberation of community problems through the community review process.
This month, Higgins co-authored with U of I colleagues and other researchers a report in the journal Community Development. In it, they analyze data from 16 years of community reviews.
The work showed Idahoans were most happy with the strengths associated with social and cultural bonds and least happy with education and job opportunities.
The community reviews and ripple effects mapping rely on open-ended questions that encourage community members to think and talk about their communities.
“Ripple effects mapping takes a story telling approach to mapping. It engages participants and they end up leading where the evaluation goes,” Higgins said.
“What we’re interested in identifying is the chain of effects,” she said. “We have an intervention and then what happens? And what happens after that?”
Following the ripples from those stories and those efforts can be difficult to track and harder to anticipate.
“The way it works is you bring people together in a focus group setting,” she said. Participants conduct interviews in pairs and then we create a mind map of the ripples on butcher paper and in computer software simultaneously. By the end they are able to see the many ways the program or project has impacted the community and lives of its residents.
“It’s very powerful for the participants to see all they have accomplished and for the evaluator to capture detailed impact stories,” she said.
The analysis focuses on the positive effects that happened and why those positive effects happened, Higgins said.
The researchers ask community residents to identify the root causes of strengths and positive outcomes, how to harness them to create more positive outcomes.
“We find when we focus on what’s missing, what’s lacking, what didn’t work, it’s really demoralizing. Instead, we ask them, “What’s one thing you’re really proud of? What’s one success?”
Faces and Places
Joey Peutz won the Continued Excellence Award at the National Education Association of Family and Consumer Sciences meetings in Omaha last fall.
The Eat Smart Idaho team’s “Long Live Idaho! Let’s get healthy together” received first place Western Region Winner and State Winner, 2017 in the Marketing Package division at National Education Association of Family and Consumer Sciences meetings in Omaha last fall. Team members include Joey Peutz, Bridget Morrisroe-Aman, Annie Roe, Kristin Hansen, Elizabeth Comer, Nicole Telford, Shelly Johnson, Julie Buck and Rhea Lanting.
The Idaho 4-H Food Smart Families team won an Excellence in Healthy Living Programming Award last fall. The team took first place in state, 1st Place Western Region and were national winners from National Association of Extension 4-H Agents. Team members include Grace Wittman, Maureen Toomey, Shelly Johnson, Joey Peutz, Rhea Lanting, Julie Buck, Donna Gillespie, Surine Greenway, Liliana Vega, Annie Roe and Bridget Morrisroe-Aman.
- Jan. 9-12 — Idaho Range Livestock Symposium, various locations
- Jan. 16-17 — PNW Animal Nutrition Conference
- Jan. 16-18 — Idaho Nursery and Landscape Association pre-license training by UI Extension and Idaho State Department of Agriculture for professional applicators in urban settings. Register online at http://www.uidaho.edu/extension/ipm, Boise Centre, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Jan. 16-18 — Eastern Idaho Ag Expo, Holt Arena, ISU, Pocatello
- Jan. 17-18 — 50th annual University of Idaho Extension Potato Conference, Idaho State University Pond Student Union Building
- Jan. 23-24 — Western Idaho Ag Expo, Caldwell Events Center, Caldwell
- Jan. 24 — U of I presentations to Idaho Legislature Joint Finance - Appropriations Committee, Boise
- Feb. 6-8 — Spokane Ag Expo, Spokane Convention Center, Spokane
- Feb. 16 — UI Extension 4-H Know Your Government 30th Anniversary Reunion, Red Lion Downtowner, Boise
- Feb. 17-19 — UI Extension 4-H Know Your Government, Boise
- Feb. 19 — CALS Advisory Board, Red Lion Downtowner, Boise
- Feb. 19-20 — Larry Branen Ag Summit, Red Lion Downtowner, Boise
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