November 2022 program update

Human Sciences

  • The four-hour Your Money, Your Goals training helps professionals to increase their capacity to help individuals and families build their financial security and stability. The training was offered in partnership with the Iowa Department of Human Rights. The 94 participants in 46 counties included professionals with the FaDSS program and additional participants from several community action agencies. After the program, 97% of participants agreed the training was effective, 93% found the content relevant, and 99% felt prepared to use the materials afterward.
  • At the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children Fall Institute, the early literacy team presented information about Human Sciences programs offered in Spanish, including Small Talk and Our Bookshelf. The presentation was offered in Spanish and 18 Spanish-speaking childcare providers attended and were engaged in the session. Another presentation featured Building Resilience with Storybooks with 60 participants. They were encouraged to seek out the training locally.
  • Five members of the EFNEP and SNAP-Ed team participated in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

4-H Youth Development

  • Youth in grades 8-12 from across Iowa have been participating in the year-long 4-H Career Pathways Academy program. They are exploring opportunities for higher education and careers in education, healthcare, agriculture, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), skilled trades and entrepreneurship. The academy kicked off in June at the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference on the Iowa State University campus. Since then, 40 youth participants from across Iowa have been engaging each month in the college and career exploration program.
  • Fifty-eight caring adults (18 Iowa 4-H and extension staff and partners plus 40 others from 15 states) participated in the virtual mindfulness facilitator training. This brings the total of trained, caring adults to over 300 in the last few years.
  • Several Iowa 4-H professionals were recognized by the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals for their impactful contributions to Iowa youth.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic has welcomed two new diagnosticians who will help diagnose plant and insect issues found in Iowa. Zach Schumm is an insect diagnostician and Chelsea Harbach is a plant disease diagnostician. Learn more about the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic and the services it provides.
  • “Together We Lead” is the theme of the sixth annual Women in Ag Leadership Conference November 29-30 in Ames. Farmland management, discovering your leadership strengths, and gaining and sharing wisdom through mentoring are a few of the topics to be covered.
  • The ISU Extension and Outreach dairy team will host its annual Dairy Discussions Seminar on Thursday, December 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office in Orange City. This year’s focus is on cybersecurity issues for food producers including farmers, manufacturers and processors.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment helps communities self-assess their housing needs and guides them in the decision-making process when addressing those needs. CED continues its collaboration with the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Community Development Block Grant technical assistance fund, and in November is conducting RHRA workshops for Fairfield, Albia, and Waukon.
  • Iowa League of Cities Budget Workshops review important factors that affect city budgets while helping attendees understand the state requirements for completing and filing the budget. The workshops are designed for city administrators, city clerks, and finance officers, but are open to all city officials. CED specialist Erin Mullenix will be an advanced track speaker for workshops in Harlan, North Liberty, Humboldt, Charles City, West Des Moines, and virtually.
  • The Iowa’s Living Roadways annual celebration was November 3 in Ames. Community concept designs for the 2022 Community Visioning Program were on display, while the recently selected 2023 visioning communities participated in a local geography mapping session.

October 2022 goodbye … and welcome

In October, we said goodbye to the following individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach:

  • Melinda Paulsen, Johnson County BBBS specialist
  • Alesha Roll, Woodbury County grant director/nutrition educator

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Heather Craig, Woodbury County communications coordinator
  • Joselyn Abell, Keokuk County 4-H youth outreach educator
  • Jade Goergen, Sioux County youth coordinator
  • Kris Snyder, Buena Vista County office assistant
  • Luzmila Sanchez-Torres, Sioux County K-12 educator
  • Katie Greenfield, Hamilton County 4-H program assistant
  • Linda Wilcox, event coordinator III, Conference Planning and Management
  • Logan Kinyon, extension specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Sara Hunter, Region 3 director, County Services
  • Sally Shaver DuBois, program specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Rebecca Bowen, business administrator I, Agriculture and Natural Resources; Farm, Food, and Enterprise Development
  • Naomi Meinertz, program specialist II, Human Sciences
  • Sam Franzen, event planner II, Conference Planning and Management
  • Amanda Sawyer, event planner II, Conference Planning and Management

October 2022 program update

Community and Economic Development

  • Ten Iowa communities have been selected to participate in the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program in 2023: Denison, Dysart, Gilmore City, Glenwood, Independence, Marquette, McGregor, Slater, Vinton, and West Burlington. This award-winning program integrates technical landscape planning and design techniques with sustainable community action to assist community leaders and volunteers in making sound and meaningful decisions about the local landscape. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation in partnership with Iowa State University Landscape Architecture Extension and Trees Forever, an Iowa-based nonprofit environmental advocacy organization.
  • Sara Shonrock and Toni Veldhuizen conducted the fall Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute in a virtual format October 5-7. Each year, MPI provides clerks and finance officers from across the state of Iowa with training that gives them the basic framework of how municipalities function and assists municipal professionals with their day-to-day duties. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, MPI is delivered in a hybrid format, with two-day virtual sessions in winter and fall and a longer, in-person summer session in Ames.

Human Sciences

  • Double Up Food Bucks has been promoting “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” Double Up Food Bucks promotes fresh produce purchases among SNAP participants. For every $1 a shopper spends on fresh fruits and vegetables with their SNAP EBT card, they receive $1 in Double Up Food Bucks. Double Up Food Bucks kicked off a monthly e-mail to customers participating in the program in mid-September. The e-mail prominently highlighted the “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” website and app. We are thankful for our continued partnership with the Healthiest State Initiative and Double Up Food Bucks.
  • More than 100 people in Shelby and Jasper counties participated in the “OUCH! that Stereotype Hurts” educational offering. Intentionally planning how to create an inclusive workplace that is free of comments, actions, and decisions based on stereotypes begins with learning to speak up. Research has shown it takes only one person speaking up to make an impact. In “OUCH! That Stereotype Hurts,” participants learn six techniques to respond to difficult situations and promote feelings of inclusion.

4-H Youth Development

  • The 2022-23 Plant the Moon and Plant Mars Challenge begins this spring. It’s a global science experiment and learning activity with a project-based challenge: Who can grow the best crops using lunar or Martian regolith simulants? Iowa 4-H will be supporting 15 youth teams through funding from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium and the ISU Integrated Pest Management Program. The program kicks off in January, with experiments being conducted February through April. Teams must prepare and submit a report for NASA scientists by the end of April, and a closing symposium and awards ceremony is held in May.
  • When young people learn how to use their voices for leadership, they can change the world. That was the message of the “Youth Voice in Action!” 4-H Summit Sept. 20 at Upper Iowa University. During the day-long event, 75 youth from 11 northeast Iowa schools developed action plans for change in their community. Participating youth were from schools in Allamakee, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Clayton, Chickasaw, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek counties. The annual summit has helped grow young leaders in local communities, connected ISU Extension and Outreach to schools for further learning, and opened the door for youth to discover how powerful their voices in action can be.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • County professionals partnered with farm management specialists to successfully deliver farmland leasing and management workshops this summer with in-person programs held in 77 locations and two webinar options. These annual workshops cover trends in farmland rental rates, land values, and costs of crop production in addition to legal considerations and tips to improve communication between leasing parties. Intended for farmland owners, tenants, and agribusiness professionals, issues impacting rental rates going into the next year are addressed as well. The issue of cybersecurity was new this year, prompting attendees to assess weaknesses in their home and farm operations that may leave them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Attendance included 1,250 individuals at in-person sessions, plus an additional 100 attendees at the virtual sessions. Initial responses to the evaluation show 95% of attendees are better prepared to communicate regarding farmland leasing and 96% showed an increase in knowledge regarding trends and issues impacting cash rental rates.
  • Producers, ag lenders, and suppliers can get a look at current market conditions and expected trends in crop and livestock income potential during the annual Pro Ag Outlook and Management live webinar series, Nov. 7-10, from noon to 1 p.m. Central time. Programs will be available for on-demand viewing the day following each live broadcast. Topics include an update on carbon markets, transportation logistics, and supply chain issues, as well as crop and livestock market outlooks by extension economists.

September 2022 goodbye … and welcome

In September, we said goodbye to the following individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach:

  • Brenda Fuller, Buchanan County office assistant
  • Melissa Drzycimski, Linn County PEC assistant to facilitator
  • Ann Schoenrock, Plymouth County program and youth coordinator
  • Katelin Pagel, Franklin County youth outreach coordinator
  • Zoe Trager, Johnson County BBBS marketing and event coordinator
  • Alicia Schmitt, Keokuk County youth coordinator
  • Sara Sorensen, Tama County office assistant/bookkeeper
  • Kimberly Vance, Floyd County 4-H and youth/office assistant
  • Bethany Nutting, extension specialist II, Human Sciences
  • Valyn Bodensteiner, marketing specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Suzanne Tanner, extension program assistant II, Human Sciences
  • Lori Oh, budget and finance specialist II, Finance
  • Jasmine Tappin, event planner II, Conference Planning and Management

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Dawn Lero, Henry County program specialist
  • Krownkawee Pansotthee, Henry County intern
  • Zuleima Jimenez, Henry County after school program coordinator
  • Rheannon Carlson, Bremer County office assistant
  • Erica Svuba, Pocahontas County marketing and program assistant
  • Karmen Plunkett, Story County office/program coordinator
  • Belinda Kimsey, Fremont County office assistant
  • Andrea Fleck, Woodbury County human sciences and youth nutrition educator
  • Julie Carstens, Polk County youth nutrition associate educator
  • Jacqueline McCracken, Henry County EC-PBIS consultant/coach
  • Caroline Savage, Adair County youth coordinator
  • Harriet Fowler, Henry County family support specialist
  • Leah Ten Napel, extension specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Erica Holliday, extension specialist II, 4-H Youth Development

September 2022 program update

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • USDA’s National Organic Program has provided support for an Iowa State University research farm to be featured in a video highlighting organic inspection. Neely-Kinyon Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm, located in Greenfield, is the featured farm, and ISU Extension and Outreach staff will showcase the farm’s Long-Term Agroecological Research experiment.
  • Fifteen Iowans have been named New Voices in Water Quality for their commitment to advancing conversations, taking action, and advocating for water quality improvements that benefit all Iowans during the past 10 years. The winners will be recognized at an awards luncheon hosted by Iowa State’s Conservation Learning Group in October.
  • The Iowa Drinking Water Survey shows a stark risk of exposure to potentially unhealthy drinking water. Risk profiles were compiled based on recent testing, use of reverse osmosis filters, and use of supplemental water sources. The survey was conducted by the Conservation Learning Group and the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Iowa League of Cities is hosting its Annual Conference and Exhibit September 28-30 in Waterloo. CED local government specialist Erin Mullenix will be staffing/facilitating and moderating this in-person and virtual event. CED will have an informational booth in the exhibit hall.
  • CED now offers their Grant Writing 201 training for experienced grant writers who want to hone their skills. It’s a follow-up to CED’s Grant Writing 101, a workshop for beginners. CED staff piloted Grant Writing 201 workshops in Greene County in November 2021 and in Webster County in May 2022. A third workshop, sponsored by the ISU Extension and Outreach offices in Dallas, Polk, and Story counties, is scheduled for September 27 in Adel. In September Grant Writing 101 will be offered in person for Montgomery County and virtually for Dallas, Story, and Polk counties.

    CED specialists do not recommend scheduling Grant Writing 201 as a stand-alone program. Rather, county offices and other organizations should schedule the more advanced workshop shortly after hosting Grant Writing 101. The sponsorship fee for a Grant Writing 201 workshop is $1,500. In addition to identifying when and where the workshop will be presented, the sponsor of the workshop can decide whether/how much to charge participants to recoup part or all the sponsorship fee. The sponsorship fee for a Grant Writing 101 workshop is $750.

Human Sciences

  • Iowa Concern Hotline partners with several Midwestern states to answer calls from their residents as part of a grant award. In Wisconsin, Iowa Concern is called the Farmer Wellness Helpline. The value of this service was recognized in an unsolicited testimonial shared on the “Women in Agriculture” Facebook group: “Between prices, drought and death loss we’ve been having a heck of a year. It’s been really tough on me. … We can’t afford counseling in town … I called this line looking for help. It’s the first time I’ve felt like I might be able to get some tools to deal with the stress and pull myself out.”
  • Three Mental Health First Aid training programs were provided to 72 Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa staff across 20 counties in July and August.
  • A pilot collaboration with Amerigroup provided Latinos Living Well (LLW) to Latinos residing in seven select counties. The team delivered five LLW offerings from Fall 2021 through June 2022. Thirty individuals completed the four-week program. Participants reported making lifestyle changes (90.3%), making LLW recipes at home (74.2%), and being more physical active (80.6%). The potential health care savings over a three-year period for those who completed LLW is $39,270.

4-H Youth Development

  • Forty Iowa youth are beginning their new terms as State 4-H Council members. These young leaders will serve as ambassadors for the 4-H Youth Development program throughout the state and in their local counties this year.
  • This year, 24 youth from across Iowa showcased their innovative ideas during InventSTEM at the Iowa State Fair. Developed in partnership with Alliant Energy, InventSTEM has provided an opportunity to meet the rising demand for future professionals in science, technology, engineering, and math, helping young people improve their skills as they explore the importance of STEM in everyday life.
  • With funding from Google.org, National 4-H Council will increase the reach of the Computer Science Career Pathways program for students from rural and under-resourced communities who have had minimal computer science education. The new grant will help teach young people through in-person 4-H programs and online resources.
  • This year at the Iowa State Fair 213 youth from 63 Iowa counties participated in ISU Extension and Outreach skillathons for dairy, meat goat, sheep and swine. Skillathons teach youth life skills like decision making, critical thinking, and communication, as well as animal husbandry and the science and math involved with raising an animal.

August 2022 goodbye … and welcome

In August, we said goodbye to the following individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach:

  • Teena Paxton, Polk County office assistant
  • Christina Griffiths, Scott County K-12 educator
  • Alexis Richter, Hancock County youth coordinator
  • Stefanie Daniels, Story County staff member
  • Evelyn Ganfield, Adams County youth coordinator
  • Karen Hostetler, Bremer County office assistant
  • Stephanie Erpelding, Sac County youth coordinator
  • Craig Chase, senior manager programs, Farm, Food and Enterprise Development, Agricultural and Natural Resources (retirement)
  • Joel DeJong, industry extension specialist IV, Agricultural and Natural Resources (retirement)
  • Brian Perry, program specialist III, Community and Economic Development (retirement)
  • Mary Krisco, education extension specialist II, Human Sciences (retirement)
  • Haley Jones, program specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Shelley Oltmans, extension specialist II, Community and Economic Development
  • Heather Peterson, accountant II, Finance
  • Deb Tootle, associate professor and extension specialist, Community and Economic Development (retirement)

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Emma Duff, Dallas County youth outreach educator
  • Michele Wagner, O’Brien County youth coordinator
  • Linda Clark, Guthrie County assistant bookkeeper
  • Billie Shahan, Franklin County K-12 youth coordinator
  • Karen Ackerman, Wapello County nutrition educator and child care
  • Brittany Belles, Scott County youth program assistant
  • Cammie Wuthrich, Davis County office and program coordinator
  • Stephanie Harrington, Polk County natural resources program coordinator
  • Rebecca Beckner-Goodrich, Henry County EC-PBIS master consultant
  • Katherine Mackenzie, Story County ANR outreach coordinator
  • Alex Burke, communications specialist II, Farm, Food and Enterprise Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Greg Mackey, customer relations coordinator III, Extension Store
  • Dan Nieland, program specialist II, Farm, Food and Enterprise Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Elaine Phompheng, program specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Tom Keinert, extension specialist II, Human Sciences
  • Todd Stevens, extension specialist II, Human Sciences

August 2022 program update

4-H Youth Development

  • Planning and promotion continue for the upcoming youth-adult mindfulness and mental well-being retreat September 23-25. Dr. Dzung Vo will lead a short virtual workshop at the retreat. Dr. Vo is the author of “The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time” (the book our 4-H Mindful Teen program is based on) and is an adolescent medicine specialist at British Columbia Children’s Hospital and clinical associate professor with the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine.
  • The State 4-H Council wrapped up their 5th annual Pop Tabs for Jacy collection at the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. Jacy McAlexander was a former State Council member who passed away from cancer in 2018 at the age of 17 while serving on the 2017-18 Council. This year’s council had a goal to collect 1,000 pounds or 10 pounds from each of the 100 extension county districts in Iowa. With the help of the counties, the State 4-H Council collected nearly 2,700 pounds of tabs, which equals just over $1,000. All of these tabs will go to the Ronald McDonald Houses in Iowa where Jacy and his family spent over 300 nights and support Jacy’s passion for serving others and giving back.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Attorneys and professional tax preparers can get an update on the latest agricultural law and tax changes at this year’s Agricultural Law Seminar and Farm Tax Workshop, to be held in person and online Sept. 21-22. The Agricultural Law Seminar includes a look at what lies ahead for agriculture, rural property and zoning updates, foreign ownership of farmland, legal issues impacting livestock production, a pipeline update, and more. The Farm Tax Workshop will cover the taxation of conservation payments, retiring a farm partner, charitable contribution options for farmers, a legislative and regulatory update, and more.
  • The recent spread of African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic emphasizes the importance of foreign animal disease preparedness, including proper biosecurity measures to aid in reducing the risk of introducing a foreign animal disease. The Iowa Pork Industry Center, ISU Extension and Outreach, and Iowa Pork Producers Association have teamed up to provide five workshops throughout the state. The Foreign Animal Disease Preparation for Pork Producers workshops focus on the “next steps” in FAD preparedness at the farm level. Five workshops are set in August and September.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshop is a three-hour session designed to introduce the basic principles of land use planning and development management to elected officials, planning and zoning officials, and board of adjustment members without formal training in the subjects. During August CED specialists will be conducting workshops at Fairfax, Bettendorf, and Wahpeton.
  • The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment helps communities self-assess their housing needs and guides them in the decision-making process when addressing those needs. CED continues its collaboration with the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Community Development Block Grant technical assistance fund, conducting RHRA workshops for Albia, Columbus Junction, and Wapello. CED specialists will also introduce representatives from Emmetsburg to the RHRA process in August.
  • Essentials of ArcGIS Pro explores the new, easy-to-use features in Esri’s ArcGIS Pro software suite. ArcGIS Pro is an all-in-one solution for the editing, visualization, query, analysis, and management of maps and spatial data. This two-day course is intended for both new and experienced users of geographic information systems. Experience using Windows-based applications is highly recommended. During August CED specialists will teach this workshop in Ames.

Human Sciences

SNAP-Ed healthy food access specialists support food pantries in making healthy choices easier for their shoppers, including helping to secure funding. In April, Judy Dittmar shared an Iowa DNR grant opportunity with her partner pantries that struggle to keep perishable foods on hand due to storage limitations. These food storage capacity grants (up to $8,000) typically are used to buy refrigerators, freezers, and shelving. Two of her partner pantries received funding.

  • Ridgewood Apartments in Akron (Plymouth County), an income-based complex for older adults and individuals with disabilities, offers an on-site pantry for residents. They partner with Food Bank for Siouxland for food but had no cold storage except a small refrigerator/freezer in the community kitchen. This was limiting ability to store frozen meat and protein items that provide vital nutrients for older adults. They received funding and now have an energy-efficient freezer to hold pantry foods.
  • Together, Inc., a Council Bluffs Pantry (Pottawattamie County) was awarded $8,000 for the purchase of additional shelving and freezers. The shelving provides space to display fresh produce in a way that is attractive and within reach of all clients. Energy-efficient new freezers will increase storage capacity, decrease waste, and ensure reliability.

July 2022 goodbye … and welcome

In July, we said goodbye to the following individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach:

  • Kimberly Booth, Franklin County after school coordinator
  • Mackenzie Keller, Clarke County office assistant
  • Abby Sorensen, Mills County director
  • Kalsa Parker Browning, Polk County natural resources program coordinator
  • Kelsey Wiese, Carroll County youth coordinator
  • Kelli Anders, Wapello County local foods program coordinator
  • Janea Blomquist, Pocahontas County program coordinator
  • Alexis Shelley, Adair County office assistant
  • Colleena Johnson, Union County youth coordinator
  • Ellen Brennan, event planner I, Conference Planning and Management
  • Fallon Reicks, program specialist I, 4-H Youth Development
  • Kraig Tweed, regional director, County Services
  • Gary Taylor, director, Community and Economic Development (transferred out of ISU Extension and Outreach)

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Teena Paxton, Polk County office assistant
  • Dustin Winkelman, Mahaska County youth coordinator
  • Lasey Handeland, Hardin County office assistant
  • Coley Reed, Appanoose County Pick a Better Snack coordinator
  • Kris Baldwin, instructional technology specialist II, Professional Development
  • Solomon Funchess, program assistant II, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Krista Smith, agriculture and natural resources extension specialist I, Farm, Food, and Enterprise Development

June 2022 goodbye … and welcome

In June, we said goodbye to the following individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach:

  • Michelle Brown, Wayne County parent educator
  • Emily Velisek, Jones County youth coordinator
  • Mari Melvin, Davis County program coordinator
  • Cicely Lawrence, Monroe County NEST coordinator
  • Nicole McCreedy, Monroe County NEST child care provider
  • Marisa Bloom, Scott County families program assistant
  • Johanna Rahbusch, Linn County bookkeeper/office assistant
  • Katey Thompson, Davis County child care provider
  • Michaela Van De Berg, Story County media and ANR program coordinator
  • Nancy Kincaid, Monroe County NEST coordinator
  • Trece Lonneman, Hancock County office administrator
  • Donna Donald, senior manager education extension, Human Sciences
  • Kimberly Anderson, industry extension specialist III, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Sindy Perez, extension program assistant II, Human Sciences
  • Lauren Carter, graphic designer I, Advancement
  • Tyler Weig, manager programs, 4-H Youth Development
  • Paola Trujillo Lopez, extension program assistant II, Human Sciences
  • Sarah Larkin, customer relations coordinator II, Extension Distribution Center

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Abi Henderson, Jackson County youth coordinator
  • Jennifer Schipper, Sioux County office assistant
  • Megan Stille, Floyd County youth educator
  • John Buntsma, Sioux County Master Gardener assistant
  • Amy Decker, Dubuque County K-12 education coordinator
  • Kaitlyn Deahl, Wayne County youth coordinator
  • Caylin Brommel, Carroll County youth coordinator
  • Brittany McNeeley, Monroe County office assistant
  • Katelyn Herzberg, Emmet County youth coordinator
  • Tony Mensing, industry extension specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Mauree Haage, program specialist III, North Central Regional STEM Manager, Vice President for Extension and Outreach
  • Alex Brent, business systems analyst II, Extension Information Technology
  • Antoinette Veldhuizen, program specialist I, Community and Economic Development

July 2022 program update

Human Sciences and Agriculture and Natural Resources

Growing Together Iowa has received $20,000 from Amerigroup, a leading managed care company. This gift marks the second year of support for Growing Together Iowa provided by Amerigroup. The gift is supporting this statewide initiative that will provide approximately 90,000 pounds of fresh produce to area food pantries. Growing Together Iowa combines extension expertise in nutrition education, horticulture, and food safety with a network of ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener volunteers to develop community donation gardens throughout the state. Fresh fruits and vegetables are grown, harvested, and donated to local food pantries.

Human Sciences

  • An Iowan who works at a nonprofit shared their motivation for taking the Remote Work Certificate Course: “Throughout the pandemic, our staff learned how to be flexible working from home. However, when the office opened up and staff started returning to work, it became clear that we needed to set some guidelines for staff who choose to work remotely. Our [supervisor] suggested that staff who want to continue to have the flexibility to work from home would need to complete the [Remote Work Certificate] course. Because of this course, I will be able to work a hybrid schedule where I will have the ability to work in the office as well as at home.”
  • The “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.” program helps individuals with limited incomes build skills and knowledge to make healthy choices easier. A Linn County nutrition educator worked with teachers of English as a Second Language at Kirkwood Community College to integrate the nutrition lessons into their English classes. The students were able to learn and practice new words and phrases about food and health. They enjoyed the opportunity to talk about food and how many of their favorite foods could be part of a healthy diet. This partnership resulted in enrolling 46 participants, with 26 completing and graduating from the program.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • 4R Plus, a science-based framework designed to guide improved nutrient management among farmers, is promoted by a coalition of more than 50 public and private agricultural stakeholders and non-governmental conservation organizations. A recent report from the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll indicates that the initiative is having a positive impact. The approach is called 4R Plus because its core principles all start with the term “right”: the right source of fertilizers, applied at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place.
  • A Life Cycle Assessment is a holistic approach to analyzing the cumulative environmental impacts of different phases of swine production, in a manner that’s easily understood by producers and consumers. A new fact sheet from the Iowa Pork Industry Center and ISU Extension and Outreach looks at three LCAs for the U.S. swine industry, focused on carbon emissions, land occupation, and water usage.
  • Nearly 360 women landowners in Iowa shared their experiences on owning and operating farmland in a recent survey by ISU Extension and Outreach. A majority of women are interested in information about landowner responsibilities, the economics of farmland ownership, crop production costs, and determining the right rental rates.

4-H Youth Development

  • The SWITCH program just wrapped up its sixth year in 41 schools reaching over 2,500 youth in grades 4-8. Schools highlight how the resources and support from Iowa State University and 4-H Youth Development have helped them advance school wellness changes to enhance the well-being of their students and the learning environment of their schools. New program resources are being added this year that will focus on heart health, oral health, mental health, and school staff wellness.
  • The inaugural Career Pathways Academy launched during the Iowa 4-H Conference June 28-30 with approximately 65 youth in grades 8-11 from 26 counties registered. The youth participated in a combination of activities and workshops with other state conference delegates, as well as participating in Career Pathways Academy-specific experiences. Following a virtual workshop later this summer, in-person Find Your Spark Workshops will be held monthly in various regions throughout the state in partnership with a job site or a two-year or four-year college/university and supported by 4-H AmeriCorps members. Youth will have the opportunity to discover, explore, and engage in experiential learning experiences related to agriculture, education, entrepreneurship, healthcare, skilled trades, and STEAM.

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2021 Community Visioning Program is entering the design phase of the process, having completed community assessments in spring. In July, Stanton and Farragut will work on goal setting. The two communities also will participate in design workshops, as will Riverside, Aplington, and Shell Rock.
  • CED provides goal setting, strategic planning, and action planning services to help local governments and nonprofits address critical issues, identify priorities, and develop plans to accomplish those priorities. In July, CED specialists will conduct strategic planning for the Wayland Community Childcare Board and the United Way Great River Region board members and staff in Keokuk.
  • The annual Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute and Academy will take place July 18-21 and July 27-29, respectively. This is a targeted training for more than 200 city clerks, finance officers, and other city staff to further professionalism, knowledge, and efficiency in Iowa cities. All training in this venue qualifies for certification in the International Institute of Municipal Clerks as well as the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association certification program. MPI and MPA are coordinated by CED and the Iowa League of Cities, and several CED specialists will be teaching courses.

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