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information received from a local person who lives in the same situation as her neighbors and which has proved valuable to her, may often be more acceptable and usable than that received directly from the specialist.
Fourth, the extreme use of the local-leader method tends to develop situations in which the county agent is merely an “instigator of events" and local people may grow to view the services of the agent as negligible in comparison with those of the specialist.
However, the values that have proved effective in developing strong programs of work by the local leader method, and its practically universal adoption as a distinctive aid in extension teaching leaves no doubt of its continued use in home-economics extension.
Chapter VII.—Results of Smith-Lever Work
A brief study of the results of project work in agricultural subjects serves to emphasize the extent and relative emphasis that characterize the various projects in the entire group of States. Attention is called to the large number of recorded demonstrations, local leaders, and adopted improved practices. It is apparent that those projects that concern production practices in both crops and livestock have received more attention and have been much more widely developed than have those economic and social projects of more recent emphasis, namely, outlook, material, prices, marketing, forestry, and rural community organization.
Inasmuch as county programs largely reflect local demands and the more apparent immediate needs of the various communities, it may be concluded that the people themselves are either more concerned with the production of commodities than with their distribution and are more interested in the earning of incomes than with the spending of them for such social and personal advantages as are afforded by recreation, education, civic improvements, and home beautification. On the other hand, the emphasis upon the immediately practical may be due to reliance of the Smith-Lever organization upon traditional viewpoints that emphasized production or it may be due to failure to exercise leadership in directing the attention of rural people to economic and social relationships.
The past 9-year period of economic stress in agriculture has rapidly brought to the front the desire for more knowledge of price movements, causes of price fluctuations, cooperative marketing, cost of production factors, and for general dissemination of economic material relating to farm production and distribution and also to the purchasing power of agriculture as related to other industries.
Quite naturally the extension emphasis has been largely upon economical production of farm products. The producer is an individual with an investment of capital and labor in enterprises the choice and management of which lie largely within his control. Until recently, as measured in terms of fundamental changes of an industry, there was little cooperation among producers centered upon the ownership and management control of their selling agencies. Furthermore, market prices, supply and demand, surplus control, relative purchasing power, and similar elements in his individual
business were very difficult, if not impossible, to apply in any such practical manner as were production practices and changes that are within his experience and his control. As a matter of fact, many people still insist that improvement in the producer's financial and social progress and development must come largely from economy of production rather than through economy in selling.
However that may be, a desire and an insistent demand are being manifested increasingly on the part of producers for more emphasis upon economics, sociology, and those subjects that concern the group selling of their products and their relationships with other people.
The record of activity achievement in junior work is impressive. Large numbers of result demonstrations and a great variety of projects have been participated in by many farm boys and girls. Here again the emphasis has been placed upon improved methods of production of commodities and so often upon the basis of award as to raise the question of a lack of balance in the program.
In the projects in which awards have been granted wholly on the basis of yield or quantity without regard to cost of production or quality of product or its marketability, emphasis needs to be redirected to these factors. Likewise the tendency has been to center so much attention upon the award for special achievement as to lose sight of the teaching of the “ why” or the science underlying the production process and to overstress the mechanics or "how" of the process.
Many administrators of club programs are studying methods of affecting changes in emphasis in the program so as to develop in the minds of rural boys and girls the more fundamental economic and social meanings of their project work. This should mean less objective and narrowly confined requirements for earning honors for achievement.
There is room for improvement in increasing the proportion of enrollments in club work that finish the year's work. In some projects only 50 per cent complete the year's work, in others 75 per cent is a very high return. In many lines of work close to 100 per cent is possible and within the practical range of accomplishment in most States.
The quality of junior teaching might be greatly improved by placing more emphasis upon values of mind and character training. These matters are not usually stressed by extension workers. Four-H club work should be used to supplement other educational activities of the members and to whet the desire for continuing some form of resident education. From this great group of rural boys and girls should be recruited outstanding prospects for education in agricultural colleges and other institutions of higher learning.
The mass effect of a year's work in extension can not be adequately measured in terms of numbers of people concerned or practices
changed or counties reached, but some idea of the volume of work under way and of the extent to which local volunteer leadership has contributed to extension achievement may be indicated by a summary of statistics (Table 31) for all lines of work, as reported by the United States Department of Agriculture for 1927.
TABLE 31.-Summary of some phases of all lines of extension work, 1927
Table 32 presents some of the important measures of results by agricultural projects in the work with adults and with boys and girls. Attention is called to the large number of “action " results in terms of improved practices adopted on farms in those activities dealing directly with production problems. It is also significant that a relatively large amount of emphasis is being given to marketing problems, attested by more than 400,000 instances of recorded practice.