Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team
Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Iowa Farm Safety and Health Week, “Putting Farm Safety into Practice,” was Sept. 17-23 in conjunction with National Farm Safety and Health Week. News releases on the farm safety website (with 205 unique page views) and radio interviews increased awareness and reminded farmers to discuss safety with and educate family members and workers. During the past year, ISU Extension and Outreach’s set of Safe Farm publications has been downloaded more than 10,000 times from the ISU Extension Store, often duplicated and distributed to program audiences, increasing awareness of this important topic.
- The Iowa Beef Center Feedlot Short Course provided beef feedlot managers and employees with hands-on and classroom instruction on a variety of feedlot topics including nutrition, animal health and welfare. Thirty people from across Iowa and other participants from Indiana, Utah and Canada representing more than 1 million head of cattle participated in the three-day event. They toured the Iowa State beef nutrition research farm, a local feedlot and other Iowa State facilities. Sessions included a feed mixing demonstration, chute-side safety, and the opportunity to network with industry leaders and other producers.
- More than 200 beef producers from four states and two countries participated in an August bus tour featuring some of Iowa’s successful grazing and confinement cow operations. The tour was a component of the Cow Systems Project, created to evaluate management practices among operations ranging from extensive grazing systems to year-round confinement. The primary goal of the program is to help increase producer profitability and determine how to better use production and financial records to develop best management practices.
- ISU Extension and Outreach Horticulture Program field days educate Iowans. The 2017 Horticulture Fruit and Vegetable Field Day attracted 175 participants, including growers, extension staff, county horticulturists, students, and representatives from state and federal agencies. The event provided research-based information on a variety of topics including high tunnel pepper production, tomato grafting, peach production, grape cultivar trial, integrated vegetable and poultry production, and insect management in cucurbit crops. The Iowa Turfgrass Field and Demo Day attracted more than 200 professionals from the sports turf and golf course industry, providing information on turf and pest management, as well as equipment demonstrations. The Master Gardener program organized several home demonstration field days at various university research farms. Nearly 300 people attended, gaining up-to-date information about ornamental and vegetable crops.
Community and Economic Development
- The Office of State and Local Government Programs is taking the Municipal Professionals Institute “on the road” with courses on budgeting, exams and accounting for municipalities throughout October. Courses were set for Denison, Pella, Fayette, Iowa City and Algona.
- Extension CED co-sponsored the Refugee Summit Oct. 6-7 at the Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines. Community development specialist and refugee coordinator Ani Das assisted in planning and helped facilitate the event. Community development specialist Jon Wolseth discussed community supports and structural barriers for refugees in rural Iowa, and Sandra Oberbroeckling provided information on CED during the event.
- Several CED staff members participated in the 2017 Upper Midwest Planning Conference in Dubuque Oct. 4–6. Courtney Long presented with the City of Dubuque about design of public edible landscape. Deborah Tootle and Brian Perry are promoting the work of ISU Extension and Outreach in helping Iowa communities navigate changing social and economic conditions. Program Director Gary Taylor and community development specialist Eric Christianson also attended.
- “Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14” has been selected by the state of Michigan as one of their multi-pronged approaches for combating the opioid crisis. Michigan received more than $16 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the prevention and treatment of opioid addiction. SFP 10-14 master trainers have begun conducting statewide trainings in Michigan.
- The application for 2018 SNAP-Ed funding has been approved. This program will receive $785,641 for use between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018. Funding supports the “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” program in nine counties, the “Growing Together Iowa” healthy food access projects and a social marketing campaign to promote use of “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” The budget includes 5.33 FTE of campus staff time, which involves part-time work from two undergraduate and two graduate students and $201,000 in contracts to Iowa counties.
- On Oct. 18, 2017, Suzanne Bartholomae will present “Research on the Role that Financial Capability Plays in Student Success” as part of the webinar “Financial Capability for College and Career School Students” sponsored by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission. Bartholomae is presenting data from the 2017 Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness, a multi-institutional survey of more than 28,000 college students administered by Ohio State University. A collaborator on the project, she also will provide an overview of the Cooperative Extension system and the value of extension as a resource. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission was established under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. The commission was to develop a national financial education website (MyMoney.gov) and a national strategy on financial education. The commission is coordinated by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Financial Security. The Secretary of the Treasury chairs the commission, which is included the heads of 19 additional federal agencies.
4-H Youth Development
- 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. Activities included simulating an eclipse, learning how to be safe in the sun, making special viewers to safely view the solar eclipse, making solar ovens and using a sun dial. Youth comments included: “This is so awesome!” “I see it! I see it! I see it!” “Look, I knew the shadow would move this way (referring to the sun dial).” “It feels cooler outside and look, the street lights came on.”