eXtension Honors LPELC as Outstanding CoP and Behnke for Outstanding CoP Achievement

The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Centers Community of Practice was named Outstanding Community of Practice and Andrew Behnke, North Carolina State University, was honored for his individual achievement as a member of the Just In Time Parenting Community of Practice during the eXtension National CoP Workshop on June 29, 2011.

The 2011 eXtension Outstanding CoP Award is presented to Mark Risse, University of Georgia (left) representing the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center by eXtension Governing Committee Chair Jimmy Henning, University of Kentucky.

The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) CoP was approved as an eXtension Community in 2006 and developed its web presence by March 2008. The LPELC is committed to the primary goal of connecting experts on manure with animal producers and their advisers to specifically establish an infrastructure for sustained national outreach and deliver innovative products for on-demand availability to its audience. The CoP has engaged over 100 experts to develop a comprehensive web presence for animal manure issues. The LPELC has attracted a large and diverse audience interested in animal environmental issues. There are currently over 1500 subscribers to its monthly newsletter. Several times each year the CoP identifies days to hold virtual work days using Adobe Connect. The LPELC has cultivated social media connections that have facilitated a more engaged learning environment. The Community has 1182 followers on Twitter, most of whom have agricultural connections and are not subscribers to the newsletter. A recent “Tweetreach” showed that in a given week, messages by the LPELC have the potential to reach 28,000+ people. The CoP has placed a growing emphasis on video delivery through its YouTube Channel where 17 videos can currently be viewed.

Since 2006 the community has produced over 50 webinars featuring more than 140 experts from land-grant universities, private industry, NGOc and agencies. The monthly web casts are view live by more than 100 sites (130 individuals) and 1100 people are viewing the archive library each month. The average viewer reports they influence the environmental management decisions of 136 producers annually. Post-web casts surveys show that viewers used the information in: their own professional development (82%), recommendations to producers (51%), regulatory/policy development (36%), extension programs (28%), and farm management decisions (23%). Assessment and impact content on the community of interest showed that 78% improved their nutrient management plan, 93% said they improved their application of emerging technologies and 93% of the respondents found economic value in information obtained from the LPELC. Their average value placed was $813.00.

The LPELC CoP collaborates with several partners including EPA, NRCS, National Young Farmers Association, the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, Farm Pilot Project Coordination (FPPC) Inc. Most recently, a five-year National Extension grant ($5 million) was awarded that will work on efforts to effectively inform and influence livestock and poultry producers and consumers of animal products in all regions of the U.S. to move animal production toward practices that are environmentally sound, climatically compatible and economically viable.

The 2011 eXtension CoP Achievement Award is presented to Andrew Behnke (left), NC State University by eXtension Governing Committee Chair Jimmy Henning, University of Kentucky.

Andrew Behnke, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in NC State University’s Department of 4‐H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences, personifies today’s cutting edge land‐grant faculty. Andrew is co‐chair of the eXtension Just in Time Parenting (JITP) Core Leadership Team and has personally headed the JITP National eXtension Community of Practice since 2009. He has been a valued member of the JITP Evaluation Team since 2005.

Andrew Behnke’s contributions to the JITP Community of Practice are a reflection of his technological innovation and extraordinary inclusiveness and generosity in sharing his skills and resources at the local, state and national levels. There is a seamless synergy between what Andrew learns as a result of his active role in eXtension and the applications and innovations he is implementing within his state and nation. His ability to creatively collaborate in virtual as well as face‐to‐face environments has been crucial in Just in Time Parenting CoP progress. It is the combination of Andrew’s leadership and technological skills that are so powerful. Andrew spearheaded the cultural adaptation of the online and print resources for Spanish speakers from the first trimester of pregnancy up to age 5 (overseeing culturally appropriate translations of 40 eight‐page newsletter issues).

Andrew co‐chairs the JITP “optimizing the use of social media to engage parents” team. He Tweets, blogs, uses Facebook, YouTube, and other social media strategies to engage parents. Andrew creates webinars for agents and specialists nationwide. Personifying today’s cutting‐edge land‐grant faculty member, Andrew applies eXtension goals and techniques throughout his state, where he directs programs for Extension agents to facilitate their outreach with families in 1) parenting, 2) school involvement, and 3) marriage and relationship enrichment. He works closely with Extension agents and their partners to develop joint educational programs, while simultaneously studying the effectiveness of these programs. Andrew is responsible for a statewide Extension program, Essential Life Skills for Military Families, serving Reservist and National Guard. This program helps military couples and individuals gain relationship, financial, and other life skills to help them thrive under the pressures of military duty and economic strain.

With 30% of his time allocated to teaching and mentoring graduate students, Andrew uses distance education technologies to educate and interact with students across the state, as well as provide guest lectures at NCSU and at other universities nationwide. Andrew’s inclusion of Latino families in nearly all of his research, including the neighborhood and family predictors of academic success, position him as a leader in this field of study.