This summer has not necessarily gone the way most of us might have envisioned it back in the spring. You remember spring? When temperatures hovered in the 70’s? Craig Hill, President of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, says they planned this past week’s Agriculture Economic Summit with the idea that we’d be talking about a bumper crop of corn and managing prices. As Harrison, Clinton, and Muscatine counties planned their 100th anniversary celebrations, I’m guessing they weren’t expecting the temperature to match or surpass the number of years of county extension work being celebrated. And on a personal note, I can tell you that I had other plans for the funds I’m now paying for repairing my old AC unit and keeping up with my electric bills.
As Sherry Glenn and I traveled across the state in the last couple of weeks, we heard a lot about the impact of the summer’s weather on our friends and neighbors. All of us in Extension and Outreach are attempting to respond as quickly and efficiently as possible. Extension and Outreach has been steadily assisting Iowans as they deal with this year’s drought conditions.
• Joel DeJong reported that more than 250 people attended an emergency meeting that ISU Extension and Outreach organized in Le Mars on July 19 to receive updates on crop production, livestock feeding, and crop insurance from extension specialists and government crop programs from Farm Service Agency personnel. That same day in Davis County more than 60 people came to another emergency meeting, bringing their questions on chopping corn, baling soybeans, grazing cover crops, and more. Mark Carlton noted that the meeting had not even been advertised – clients heard through word of mouth. Extension field specialists are holding additional local meetings in stressed areas throughout the state. This year’s farmland leasing meetings are covering drought issues as well.
• At least 11 locations hosted the July 20 webinar covering fruit, vegetable, lawn, and tree issues. The archived sessions are linked from the Dealing with Drought Web page, http://www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/recovering-disasters. Thirty-six sites hosted the crop and livestock issues webinar on July 25. The archived segments from that webinar also are linked from the drought Web page.
• Questions and answers from the webinars as well as answers to other frequently asked questions received from clients will be added to the Dealing with Drought Web page. Check the page frequently for resources to help Iowans deal with drought and other natural disasters. Iowans will find materials related to crops, livestock, dealing with stress, home and yard, financial concerns, and tips for businesses.
• Lee County Extension Council member Steve Newberry and his wife, Linda Newberry, hosted U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack and FSA Executive Director John Whitaker on Saturday, July 21, for a tour of parched fields. See http://www.thehawkeye.com/story/loebsack-072212 for a story from The Hawk Eye.
ANR Extension hotlines, Families Answer Line and Iowa Concern hotline are responding to calls and emails on drought related issues. The Iowa Concern Hotline is available 24/7 to provide assistance.
Our Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) is scanning communities to determine water rationing policies and potential impacts on manufacturers.
We’re reaching out to Georgia Tech and Texas A&M, both partner institutions and requesting materials which were useful during their droughts and which may have utility in Iowa.
Faced with a situation that demands leadership, Extension and Outreach faculty and staff are ready. We bring our mission to educate and our unwavering belief that education best prepares our citizens to recognize change is inevitable and that there will always be challenges. An educational perspective allows us to see the opportunities and benefits in taking risks and learning from past mistakes. It encourages us to constantly reflect on our actions and beliefs and think about the results and consequences of each and it best prepares us to make good decisions for the future. See you there.
P.S. You can share your comments about this message on the blog, at http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/seeyouthere/.