Everybody’s job

John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 25, 2017

Say what you’ll do, do what you say and prove it with numbers. That’s a basic premise of quality management, and it is top of mind as we strive to maintain and improve the quality of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. It’s everybody’s job, in every part of our organization, to create and share the value and impact of our work. So we’re taking action to get better at sharing our story. Did you know?

  • Our updated ISU Extension and Outreach strategic plan will be ready sometime this fall.
  • A steering committee is working on developing one reporting system for our entire organization.
  • We’re developing resources for public value training.

Learn more in this video message about our strategic plan, our reporting system and our public value.

still image from John Lawrence video

County Stakeholder Reports

Each fall we ask county offices to create county stakeholder reports highlighting programs with significant local impact. These reports are a good way to help citizens, stakeholders and decision makers understand how we connect the needs of Iowans with Iowa State University research and resources. Our goal is to have all the 2017 reports completed by Jan. 1, 2018, before the start of the next legislative session. In the meantime, you can review the 2016 county stakeholder reports online.

Need Input on County Fair MOU template

A couple of weeks ago I shared that a committee representing ISU Extension and Outreach, county fairs and FFA is drafting a template/checklist to help local leaders develop their own county fair MOU. We’re sharing one video message with the three groups at the same time about the process underway and we’re asking everyone for input on what the template/checklist should include. If you have input for the committee, please contact one of these ISU Extension and Outreach representatives before Nov. 1:

  • Bryan Whaley, Region 2 Director, bwhaley@iastate.edu, 515-341-6967
  • Joe Sellers, Beef Field Specialist, sellers@iastate.edu, 641-774-2016
  • Nancy Adrian, Washington County Extension Director, nadrian@iastate.edu, 319-653-4811
  • Mandy Maher, Fremont County Program Coordinator, mmaher@iastate.edu, 712-374-2351
  • Annette Brown, 4-H Youth Program Specialist, annbrown@iastate.edu, 515-432-3882
  • Bob Dodds, Assistant VP, County Services, redodds@iastate.edu, 515-294-0013
  • John Lawrence, Interim VP for Extension and Outreach, jdlaw@iastate.edu, 515-294-6675

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

All around the block

John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 18, 2017

At about the time I joined ISU Extension and Outreach as a livestock economist in the early 1990s, Home Economics Extension was transitioning to Extension to Families. The staffing pattern was changing from county home economists to families field specialists. This was part of an overall restructuring in our organization to become more flexible, respond to changing needs and better serve Iowans. When you look at our history in ISU Extension and Outreach, this seems to be the bottom line. We don’t rest on our laurels. We look for better ways to do what we do. So a few years ago, Extension to Families became Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, once again looking for a better way to serve Iowans.

In summer 2014, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach implemented a new “block” concept with specialists working as teams to deliver education. Results of their efforts are coming in, and one example is the Regions 1 and 5 block, served by specialists Lori Hayungs (family life), Jan Monahan (family finance) and Renee Sweers (nutrition and wellness), along with Mackenzie DeJong, human sciences coordinator for O’Brien, Lyon, Osceola and Sioux counties. Did you know?

  • The team was involved in nine collaborative community groups and released a quarterly newsletter featuring upcoming program dates and highlighting past programs.
  • Working together, they reached more people. From last year to this year, they hosted 16 more programs, 25 more sessions and reached 750 more participants. On average, they hosted a face-to-face educational session more than once every other day.
  • Annually nearly 1,800 new mothers in all nine counties receive physical copies of the first month of the “Just in Time Parenting” newsletter, in English and Spanish as needed. All school districts within the nine counties receive the September issue of the “Dare to Excel” newsletter.
  • ServSafe courses are taught throughout the year, helping local businesses meet food safety training requirements and keep customers safe. Iowa State dietetics interns spend time in the region learning about the dietitian’s role within ISU Extension and Outreach. Rising Star interns are trained on food safety and receive guidance throughout their internship. In summer 2017, a College of Human Sciences Heddleson intern delivered nutrition programming in Clay County.
  • Through partnerships and capacity building, eight communities took new action to address public issues.

This is but one example of successful Human Sciences Extension and Outreach programs that result from strong partnerships among county staff, volunteers and specialists – all around the block and throughout the state.

Office Professionals Conference

Registration is open for the 2017 Office Professionals Conference at the Iowa State University Memorial Union. This will be a great event tailored to the needs of the front-line professionals who represent ISU Extension and Outreach to the public every day. We start Wednesday, Oct. 25, with a preconference on the nuts and bolts of accounting and financials, and continue Thursday, Oct. 26, with a full day of workshops and roundtable updates about county delivered programs and best practices for effective office operations. I strongly encourage office professionals to attend, and learn and connect with campus resources and peers from across the state. Check the conference website for details about the workshops and roundtable topics and to register. The conference promises to be an informative and valuable training, and we will have some fun as well. I look forward to seeing you in Ames!

One more thing: Congratulations to Ida County, winner of this year’s CyDAY Friday contest. The ISU Trademark Licensing Office selected Ida County because “they showed their Cyclone spirit and we liked the community involvement.” Ida County hosted a tailgate in front of their office in Ida Grove, featuring photos with Cy, games for youth and local firefighters who brought along their red firetruck. A Cy-cone ice cream machine provided cones for all.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach


More than butts in the chairs

John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 12, 2017

Two sure signs of fall: the leaves start turning … and the manure starts churning. For many in Iowa agriculture, manure hauling waits until harvest is completed. However, for custom applicators the work often starts as soon as an individual field is harvested. There is a lot of manure to apply and a relatively short time to apply it – between harvest and frozen ground. (Liquid manure typically is injected beneath the soil surface.) Our Dan Andersen, @DrManure, estimates that approximately 17 percent of Iowa’s cropland receives manure; that’s about 3.8 million acres. (Dan is an agricultural engineering extension specialist and assistant professor at Iowa State.)

R.K. Bliss noted that Bulletin Extension Agronomy No. 1, published in 1907, addressed the value of manure, how to prevent losses, and economical preservation and application. Today, 110 years later, we still educate on those topics, plus worker safety and water quality. (Watch “Utilizing Manure Value.”) The cornerstone of Iowa manure education is the Manure Applicator Certification program approved by the Iowa Legislature in 1998, directed by Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and developed and delivered by ISU Extension and Outreach. Did you know?

  • Each year we train approximately 550 Iowa commercial businesses and their 2,000+ employees. An additional 30 businesses and 120 employees from surrounding states are trained to operate in Iowa.
  • We educate approximately 2,800 confinement site applicators, farmers who apply manure from their facilities.
  • Many applicators attend one of 60+ scheduled meetings across the state and others watch the presentation on a DVD at their county extension offices. Thanks to our county staff for making the training available and convenient.

However, the MAC program is more than regulations and economics, and it is more than butts in the chairs. Improper manure handling can have deadly consequences, and the MAC program helps farmers learn how to protect themselves, their employees, their livestock and the environment. For example, a Plymouth County farmer was working with her husband to agitate a pit, and when she saw pigs behaving strangely, she knew how to respond. She immediately ran out of the building and lowered the curtains to bring in fresh air. Some of the pigs did not survive, yet Sue is alive because she knew the signs of pit gas poisoning – something she learned from ag engineering specialist Kris Kohl during an ISU Extension and Outreach training session. Watch the video to hear Kris tell the story.

County Fair Memorandum of Understanding

County fairs require many people working together to be successful. With turnover on fair boards, within FFA programs, and in our county offices, good communication and documentation are essential. So last spring Bob Dodds and I started talking with the Association of Iowa Fairs and Iowa FFA to improve and formalize the agreements among our three organizations at the local level. A committee with members from all three organizations is developing a template (or you could call it a checklist) to facilitate local discussions. Watch this video for an overview of our process. We’d appreciate your input over the next few weeks. The committee will meet again by mid-November to consider the feedback and complete the template/checklist by early December. Counties then can use it to review their existing MOU or draft a new one.

A couple more notes:

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

September 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • During the 2017 Iowa State Fair, 121 Iowa 4-H volunteers from 94 counties were inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame, including two volunteers over 100 years of age: Alice Walters of Greene County and Ruth Angus of Ringgold County. All honorees were selected for their service and dedication to 4-H’ers and the 4-H program.
  • More from the Iowa State Fair:
    — Nearly 800 head were exhibited in the 4-H beef show, and 990 head were exhibited the 4-H swine show – both record numbers.
    — More than 100 4-H’ers participated in the Iowa 4-H Awardrobe Clothing Event, showcasing their apparel design and production knowledge, as well as their creativity skills. Some 500 people attended the fashion showcase and closing event.
    — Iowa 4-H held its second annual Global Citizenship Day at the Iowa State Fair. Projects and performances from all over the world were part of the celebration.
  • On Aug. 21 Iowa 4-H, county extension offices, and partner organizations offered more than 75 4-H solar eclipse day camps across Iowa. Nearly 2,000 young Iowans participated.
  • New and potential 4-H volunteers can get information about the Iowa 4-H program from a growing library of volunteer orientation videos online.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Farm management specialists led 89 farmland leasing meetings during July and August across the state, with attendance estimated at 1,800 participants. The program focused on farmland values and leasing outlook for 2018 and improving landlord-tenant communication. Participants also learned about current issues and conservation methods, and being an advocate for the land. Other topics included current survey trends, cost of production, types of lease arrangements and legal aspects of farmland leases. Participants received updated reference materials for leasing negotiations and were directed to other ISU Extension and Outreach resources.
  • Participants in the Iowa Drainage School Aug. 22-24 learned how to design sub-surface drainage, keeping in mind functionality, performance and flexibility. Training topics included unmanned aerial vehicle surveying, laser and GPS leveling, drainage tile size and spacing, soil properties, laws and pipeline safety. Twenty-seven contractors, engineers, farmers and consultants working in teams designed drainage for 24 acres at the Borlaug Learning Center located at the Iowa State University Northeast Research Farm. Survey respondents indicated they would employ the drainage design techniques learned in the school in their installation practices.
  • The Pesticide Safety Education Program recently revised several, category-specific training manuals with input and assistance from university subject matter experts, industry specialists and certified applicators. The revised manuals include the information needed to pass the pesticide applicator certification exam as well as new research. In addition, the Worker Protection Safety train-the-trainer course was developed to be delivered online, increasing access to the material across the globe.
  • The annual Iowa Crop Scouting Competition educates Iowa youth on crop scouting and integrated pest management. Youth teams from around the state are scored on their knowledge of crop-related disciplines — insects, diseases, growth and development, herbicide and spray issues, and weed identification — with a written test and field stations located throughout the Field Extension Education Laboratory, Boone, Iowa. In partnership with sponsor representatives, ISU Extension and Outreach specialists judge the event, taking time to talk with students, answer questions and teach about good pest management practices. Twenty-two junior and senior high students participated in the July 31 event. Watch the highlight video.

Community and Economic Development

  • lSU Extension and Outreach is a sponsor of the third annual Southeast Iowa Nonprofit Summit Sept. 21 in Ottumwa. The summit is designed for board members, staff and volunteers. Topics to be covered include improving organizational culture and attracting and retaining top talent, as well as human resources regulations and board structure and responsibilities.
  • The Office of State and Local Government Programs is participating in the Iowa League of Cities 2017 Annual Conference in Davenport Sept. 27–29. It is the largest training in the state designed specifically for Iowa’s elected and appointed city officials. Local government specialist Mary Beth Sprouse is helping organize the conference, and CED specialists Eric Christianson and Becky Leurs will be presenting workshops.
  • The Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa is a collaboration of service providers, government agencies, religious groups, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions that serves central Iowa’s refugee population. Recently, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines gave the Alliance its 2017 Better Together Award, which recognizes nonprofit organizations, civic groups and individuals who are building social capital in the community. The award included $2,500 to be used toward advancing efforts to make Des Moines a more engaged and networked community. Anindita Das works as a refugee specialist and program coordinator for RACI in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach.

Human Sciences

  • The 2018 Healthy and Homemade Calendar is available via the online store and advance order copies have been delivered. Human Sciences Extension and Outreach sold 279,531 copies of the calendar. The Spanish calendar is sold out online, but the version in English is still available.
  • The Human Sciences Extension and Outreach early childhood team has developed a Mandatory Child Abuse Reporter curriculum. The self-paced, online class will be available to participants 24/7 beginning in October 2017 through the ISU Extension and Outreach Moodle site. Participants completing this training join a dedicated team of more than 20,000 early childhood professionals who serve as “frontline” reporters to protect children from abuse and neglect.
  • Human Sciences Extension and Outreach partnerships in Charles City make a difference for Iowa families. For example, When RAGBRAI passed through Charles City this year, Variety wanted to donate bikes to underserved children as part of the celebration. Variety contacted Big Brothers Big Sisters for help in identifying children; Big Brothers Big Sisters called the human sciences educator in Floyd County to inquire if “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” families might enjoy receiving the bikes. Seventeen children from these families received a bicycle and helmet that day. As another example, a local farmer, the Charles City Chamber of Commerce, and Community Revitalization established a community garden in Charles City three years ago. All three years, five or six “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” participants and graduates have worked in the garden. Through the community partnership and grant funds, the $15 plot fee was waived and seed costs were covered for these individuals. In addition, new gardeners worked with experienced gardeners. One of the “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” graduates who participated the first year is now the volunteer garden manager.

Minding the store

John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 6, 2017

I still remember the first extension publication I authored as a new livestock economist at Iowa State: “Electronic Markets for Feeder Pigs” back in 1992. Think of it as eBay for animals. Maybe it wasn’t pure poetry, but it was good research-based information that farmers could use. We printed a couple thousand copies, which were available from the Extension Distribution Center. Back then it was a warehouse, with extra storage offsite. Every publication was available in print, often by the thousands or tens of thousands. How times have changed! Today there still is some warehouse space with tangible, hard copy publications on the shelf, but most of the inventory is online at the Extension Store. Did you know?

  • Extension’s eCommerce site began in fall 2001 and was primarily text-based with limited details about available publications. Thumbnail images, descriptions, related products and apparel were added in the mid-2000s, after a full time programmer and data architect joined the staff. Enhancements continue today, and the store partners with ISU Information Technology as needed.
  • All of ISU Extension and Outreach’s tangible publications now are warehoused within 4,500 square feet in the Printing and Publications Building on campus. The Garden Calendar (HORT 3027) is the most popular, with approximately 2,500 copies sold each year.
  • The Extension Store has 2,000+ unique digital products from all program areas available for free download. In FY17, those publications collectively were downloaded 1.9 million times worldwide. The Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey (FM 1698) is the most popular digital publication, with 82,500 downloads per year.
  • You can check the Extension Store for new, revised or back in stock titles at any time.
  • The Extension Store also serves as a fulfillment center for several Iowa Department of Public Health divisions, housing more than 200 tangible titles available exclusively to IDPH staff. Annually about 100,000 copies are distributed within Iowa.

The Extension Store’s five fulltime employees have been with ISU Extension and Outreach for 15+ years, on average, but not because they like the fumes from ISU Printing. They are dedicated to getting research-based information to people in Iowa and around the world. The next time you’re on the north side of campus, stop in to say hello and get a tour, and thank them for their efforts.

One more thing: The ISU Trademark Office is sponsoring a contest for county offices for the ISU/Iowa CyDAY Friday on Sept. 8. The county office that shows the most spirit/creativity – AND posts photos to the Iowa State CyStyle Facebook page or emails photos to cydayfriday@iastate.edu – will receive a limited CyDAY Friday prize. Go Cyclones!

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Our Rising Stars

John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 28, 2017

2017 Rising Star interns

Iowa State students returned to campus last week to begin the fall semester – including 15 who now have a better understanding of ISU Extension and Outreach than they did a few months ago. These students, our 2017 Rising Star Interns, spent their summer learning about local food systems, exploring Iowa communities and considering careers as extension professionals.

I first met the interns in the spring. Over dinner at the Gateway, we talked about the exciting work they planned to do. I also had a chance to meet up with a few of the teams this summer as I was out touring the state. A few weeks ago, they all presented their final projects to the extension leadership team, their college deans and regional directors. Did you know?

  • The Rising Stars in Region 1, Leah Brooke, Ruby Hotchkiss and Madison Lapke, developed “Grow! Know! Whoa!” This program for children covered three aspects of local food: how to grow it, the health benefits and how to prepare it.
  • Region 3 interns Erin McDonald, Josephina Matteson and Rui Xie developed strategic plans for Ackley and Latimer, a master plan for the Worth County fairground, a strategic implementation plan for the historic Winifred Hotel, and a strategic plan for educating and serving local foods producers in the region.
  • The interns in Region 5, Emily Bormann, Madison Hemer and Izzy Worrall, focused on serving people “from ages 6 to 80.” They made connections and built relationships with community members through youth programming, food demonstrations and special events.
  • Region 7 interns Rachel Ulven, Shana Hilgerson and Yuanhao “Rory” Wang evaluated Rising Star media platforms, developed intergenerational activities to promote local foods, and promoted Spanish language inclusion at farmers markets.
  • In Region 20, interns Kaitlin Brake, Breanna Burnett-Larkins and Thomata Doe introduced children to new fruits and vegetables during summer lunch programs and rated the effectiveness of visual merchandising and branding on farmers markets. They also worked to increase awareness of local foods as a whole, as well as the role Eat Fresh Southeast Iowa plays in promoting local growers.

From what I can tell, the interns had a fun and rewarding experience this summer. They all deserve our thanks for a job well done. At least a few of them are thinking seriously about a career in ISU Extension and Outreach. Keep that in mind the next time you’re hiring, and encourage them to apply.

One more thing: County fair season is almost over (hang in there, Guthrie and Clay), and it’s time to report county 4-H data. We need to fulfill our state and federal reporting requirements, as well as make our data available to extension councils and the public through Data for 4-H Decision Makers. And we need your help. State 4-H Leader John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas says fewer than half of our county 4-H programs have entered their data, and half of those have entered only partial data. The Oct. 1 deadline will be here soon, so let’s pick up the pace and get that data entered. It’s important for your county, for 4-H, and for all of ISU Extension and Outreach.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

The Faces of Iowa State

John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 21, 2017

It’s time to take a look at the Faces of Iowa State. The exhibit opens today at Iowa State’s Brunnier Art Museum and features 39 portraits painted by Maquoketa artist Rose Frantzen. The Iowa Staters who are featured include students, faculty, staff, alumni and others with close ties to the university. Iowa State commissioned Rose to paint the first batch of portraits during the 2016 Iowa State Fair. She came back to Iowa State last spring and painted the rest. Her work carries on a tradition of Iowa State portraits. Did you know?

  • Since the 1930s, numerous portraits have been commissioned to commemorate presidents, deans, faculty and alumni, and honor Iowa State’s heritage and legacies. ISU departments and colleges continue this tradition today.
  • Three of the Faces of Iowa State have strong connections to ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • Marshall County Extension Council member Mary Giese was selected as an example of our 900 elected council members.
  • Evan Fritz, a 2016 Iowa State graduate, Rising Star intern and former 4-H’er, represents how ISU Extension and Outreach builds skills in young people throughout the state. (That includes leadership skills. Evan now is a Winnebago County Extension Council member.)
  • JaneAnn Stout, retired director of ISU Extension to Families and associate dean in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, influenced countless Iowans through education, outreach and her personal contribution to issues directly affecting their lives.

The exhibit continues at the Brunnier through Dec. 8 and then hits the road, including stops at these locations: Maquoketa Art Experience, Dec. 9, 2017-Feb. 12, 2018; Muscatine Art Center, Feb. 15-April 15, 2018; Pearson Lakes Art Center, April 26-June 23, 2018; Blanden Art Museum, Aug. 4-Oct. 14, 2018; and Harvester Artspace Lofts Exhibit Gallery, Council Bluffs, Nov. 4-Dec. 31, 2018. After the tour, the portraits will join Iowa State’s permanent Art on Campus Collection.

A couple more notes

  • Congratulations to Gary Taylor for completing what must be one of the longer interims on record. He’s now officially director of the ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development program, as well as associate director of the Institute for Design Research and Outreach, and director of Design Extension.
  • Vote for Parkin-A-Punch to win a $50,000 Encore Prize. This Human Sciences project with USA Boxing matches young boxers with older adults who have Parkinson’s disease. As the older adults learn boxing, they become role models, helping their young coaches identify and pursue their goals and dreams. You can vote once per day through Aug. 31 and help this project advance to the final stage of judging.

—John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Wear the brand with pride!

John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 14, 2017

If you’ve seen me out in the state this summer (or if you follow me on Twitter), chances are you’ve noticed the red shirt I’m wearing. It probably had the ISU Extension and Outreach wordmark on it or Iowa State University. Maybe it featured the I-State logo if I was doing something related to Athletics and the Cyclones. The point is, on any given day I wear the appropriate shirt depending on what I plan to do. I show my connection to Iowa State, which matters to our clients.

In 2010 we conducted quantitative and qualitative needs assessments. When Iowans were asked how they would describe ISU Extension and Outreach, the most common response was “unknown” – and these were people who already used our services! However, nearly all were aware of Iowa State and had a positive perception of the university. It was obvious then that we had to connect more strongly to Iowa State to better serve all Iowans.

During the past seven years, we’ve made a lot of progress in building our brand. We need to stay on task, and we are not changing our branding strategy during this interim period. Did you know?

  • Today you’ll find more than a hundred ISU Extension and Outreach branded templates on MyExtension (sign in and check the Advancement tab). If you need to make a brochure, newsletter, stakeholder report or just about anything, you’ll find a template you can use. You also can contact our Advancement team for answers to questions, training and support.
  • Sign in on the Extension Store to find all kinds of organizational marketing items you can order, including pens, pencils, mugs, podium signs, table cloths, posters and banners. There’s even an ISU Extension and Outreach rain gauge for the hopeful among us.
  • Besides branding your events, remember to brand yourself. Order a new name badge via MyExtension (sign in and search for name badge) if you need one, or update your wardrobe with ISU Extension and Outreach branded apparel from the Extension Store. (Sign in and search for apparel.)

There’s no reason for ISU Extension and Outreach to be a best kept secret any more. No matter where you are or what you do, it’s easy for you and your event to be properly branded. All our program areas, departments, units and county offices are part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, a 99 county campus with one well-known, credible brand. Wear it with pride.

One more note: As Interim President Ben Allen states, we must not ignore what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, or pretend it doesn’t impact us. I support his message that hatred, racism and bigotry have no place at Iowa State University, including Extension and Outreach. Please read his message.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

State Fair

John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 7, 2017

They say nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair. While that’s true, I offer this amendment: Nothing compares to ISU Extension and Outreach at State Fair! There’s our 4-H connection, of course. Who hasn’t been to the Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building or the livestock venues during 4-H show time? However, we are all over that fairground. We’re the reason you can stroll through a garden, or stomp grapes or find out what that porkchop-on-a-stick will cost you, calorie-wise. Did you know?

  • State 4-H youth program specialists are expecting nearly 3,600 static exhibits and more than 900 communication entries, which include educational presentations, working exhibits, extemporaneous speaking and Share the Fun performances.
  • Since the mid-1990s, the Polk County Master Gardeners have been the caretakers for the Discovery Garden near the Agriculture Building.
  • In front of the Ag Building by the big pumpkin weigh-in (or inside, if it’s raining), you can find out how well you know your weeds during the Weed ID contest Aug. 11, 9-11:30 a.m.
  • You can visit Grandfather’s Barn Wine Experience for a daily wine stomp, viticulture experts and kids’ activities. You’ll probably find our viticulture specialist Mike White there, and if you show up at 2 p.m. Aug. 11, you can cheer for Cy as he takes on Herky and TC in the Mascot Grape Stomp.
  • You’ll find extension colleagues working at Iowa State’s main exhibit in the Varied Industries Building. “Forever True, Thanks to You” features student clubs and experiences made possible by donor support to Iowa State.
  • ISU Extension and Outreach provides nutritional information for the Iowa State Fair Food Finder App, along with the number of calories associated with the items and the amount of physical activity needed to burn off all that fair food.

I’m looking forward to my time at the fair, and not just for the porkchop-on-a-stick I plan to consume. Aug. 11 is Iowa 4-H Day. I’ll be helping with 4-H alumni and friends registration at the 4-H Foundation tent on the Grand Concourse from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., so stop in and say hello. On Aug. 12 President Ben Allen and I will be showing steers in the Governor’s Charity Steer Show. I’ll be there Aug. 17 for Iowa Department of Land Stewardship’s Century and Heritage Farm event. Six of these family farms include land that is part of our Land Grant Legacy and we’ll be recognizing them during the event. I’ll even be serving as a “celebrity chef” (their term, not mine) at the Iowa Pork Producers’ food venue. For updates on my whereabouts through the fair, follow me on Twitter, @JohnLawrenceISU.

A couple more notes

  • Be sure to take a look at the August program update from the leadership team.
  • Besides learning more about all our programs, we also need to learn more about each other. Watch this short video to get to know Clark Colby, our 4-H arts, communication and design program specialist.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

August 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

  • Data analysis is underway for the engaged scholarship project in Calhoun County, which is exploring the feasibility and effectiveness of virtual singing groups for Iowans with Parkinson’s disease. In 2016 the extension council accepted a proposal from Elizabeth Stegemöller in the Department of Kinesiology, whose research has demonstrated that singing training can significantly improve swallowing and respiratory function for people with Parkinson’s disease. David Brown, a human sciences specialist in family life, is the project’s local leader. Over several months, they selected the Calhoun County site (Rockwell City), recruited participants and collected pre-data. Then Dr. Stegemöller led and recorded eight, one-hour sessions with a singing group in Ames, which were used to facilitate the virtual singing group in Calhoun County in spring 2017. Buena Vista County became interested, so a virtual singing group for people with Parkinson’s disease will be facilitated in Storm Lake in August. Other efforts include developing an introductory curriculum centered on Parkinson’s disease for eventual statewide use.
  • Over the past 11 years, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach has supported 6,822 child care center teachers and their directors with the Better Kid Care program. During program year 2017, a total of 751 child care center teachers from 57 Iowa counties participated in the new staff orientation program. They viewed videos of best practices and completed lessons on 30 topics covering basic health and safety, and child development. Participants showed statistically significant gains in each of 11 learning outcomes. Highest ranked skill improvements included working effectively with other staff, teaching and modeling good health and safety practices, communicating well with a supervisor or director, and feeling more confident about their abilities to teach and care for children. In addition, 89 center directors participated in the director’s online training, with 48 percent in their first year as director. Overall, the directors reported serving approximately 7,035 children. They also reported statistically significant improvements in their skills in each of seven learning outcomes, expressing the highest level of confidence in their ability to effectively identify a staff member’s lack of understanding about a practice or procedure and respond in a positive, supporting manner.

4-H Youth Development

  • Soccer now is part of the Iowa 4-H healthy living program priority. In partnership with Genesis Inc., a Polk County nonprofit serving African immigrant and refugee youth, 4-H has started the 4-H Genesis Club. Entrenched in the youth’s passion for soccer and a successful Oregon 4-H model, 24 K-7 youth have the opportunity to develop new soccer skills while discussing teamwork, positive relationships, and healthy living and nutrition, guided by a set of diverse volunteers including Central College soccer alumni. As Robert, a sixth grade participant, said, “I learned how to dribble better, start looking up, how to keep my handle on the ball better and how to communicate with my teammates.”
  • Older 4-H youth often teach younger 4-H youth. For example, Benton County 4-H’ers Elizabeth Martin, Bobbie Hilmer, Ally Bierschenk and Piper LeGrange volunteered their time as camp counselors at Region 10’s junior camp. This opportunity helped the youth develop citizenship and leadership skills. They also were able to help campers have a great experience and gain a sense of belonging. Elizabeth said, “Helping at the camps is a wonderful experience, which I will continue to encourage others to participate in.” Bobbie said, “Being my second time at the camp helped me understand what works and what doesn’t. I learned by experience.”
  • Sixteen Iowa youth participated in the 2017 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports National Championships held in Grand Island, Neb. Iowa team member Eric Keller placed sixth for daily score in muzzleloader competition. All competitors gained great experiences. Most team members had family members attend the SESS Championship event with them.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Iowa ranks 12th in the nation in milk production. June Dairy Month events increased awareness of Iowa’s dairy industry and offered educational opportunities for the public to learn about the roles of milk and dairy products in a healthy diet. Iowa State University and the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance held open houses and nearly 1,500 people attended each event. The Iowa State open house included an agricultural discovery area with representation of other Iowa commodity groups (corn, soybean, beef and pork) as well as dairy and Iowa Ag Literacy. Nearly 1,000 people attended Breakfast on the Farm at Iowa’s Dairy Center in Calmar. The event included breakfast, a petting zoo, cow milking and a demonstration of robotic milking. Attendees left with positive opinions on the way dairy farms protect the environment, take care of their dairy cattle and modern dairy farming. Approximately 550 nutritionists, consultants and other agri-business professionals participated in the annual 4-State Dairy Conference held in Dubuque. ISU Extension and Outreach collaborated in planning and organizing the conference with the University of Illinois Extension, University of Minnesota Extension and University of Wisconsin-Extension. Conference topics included nutrition and management to improve cow performance, foot health and overall cow health.
  • Many farmers are looking for a fast, easy way to collect and share information with the agriculture community. ANR specialists and teams have joined the conversation through ANR social media, creating an opportunity to influence Iowans with the goal to create a #StrongIowa. To date, 117 ANR accounts reach 62,837 followers and subscribers, which is up 7,232 in the last six months. Notably, Twitter is the most influential platform with 48,100 followers looking for ANR information, followed by Facebook with 12,056 page likes.
  • In July, 118 people participated in five Nitrogen and Water Week events. They learned about water quality research being conducted by Iowa State University, how water quality data are collected and how agronomic practices effect drainage water quality. They also observed research on actual in-field and edge-of-field management practices that impact water quality, and learned about recommendations for nitrogen application rates.

Community and Economic Development

  • Susan Erickson and Abbie Gaffey represented CED at the 2017 Iowa Downtown Conference, offered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. They talked about ISU Extension and Outreach and met with community officials, Main Street directors, Chamber of Commerce directors and members, community volunteers, and retailers. The Iowa Downtown Conference is a statewide annual conference for professionals and volunteers involved in preservation-based downtown revitalization in Iowa and neighboring states.
  • On Aug. 17, Courtney Long will be in Mason City working on a supply chain project. She helps make connections between North Iowa Fresh, producers and business for local food connectivity and procurement.
  • Lynn Adams and Jon Wolseth will facilitate strategic planning for the Latina Leadership Initiative of Greater Des Moines on Aug. 19. The initiative focuses on providing culturally appropriate leadership training for promising Latina women so they are prepared to serve on boards and commissions and in other leadership capacities.
  • Bailey Hanson will be instructing the Essentials of ArcGIS workshop Aug. 24-25. This course is intended for both new and experienced users of geographic information systems and will cover making maps from geospatial data, mapping data from tables, querying a database and selecting features by location, and displaying, projecting and editing data.