Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team
4-H Youth Development
- The North Central Iowa Youth Beef Conference, “Making the Grade,” is Jan. 27 at the Ellsworth Community College Ag and Renewable Energy Center. The conference is for Iowa youth who want to learn more about beef production. Youth participants will be certified for YQCA (Youth for the Quality Care of Animals).
- State, field, and county staff in youth-serving roles are planning to attend the Cultural Conversations Retreat, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Clover Woods Camp. This retreat will provide experiential learning for 4-H staff through in-depth conversations on reaching new audiences throughout the state – sharing successes, providing networking opportunities and learning from experts.
- 4-H Youth Development is seeking educational workshop proposals for the 2018 Maize Retreat, April 13-15. Maize is a culturally-based youth leadership accelerator. Workshops will relate to healthy living, STEM, citizenship and leadership, and communication and the arts, and often will provide a Latino or Native American perspective.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Pesticide Applicator Training for spring 2018 will involve several programs offered at the county level, including private applicators, commercial ag, certified handlers, ornamental and turfgrass, and seed treatment. Training also will be held in conjunction with organization meetings including Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Aerial Applicators, Crop Advantage Series, Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers, Shade Tree Short Course and Weed Commissioners. These programs will impact an anticipated 18,000+ pesticide applicators across Iowa during the spring programming season.
- The 2017 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll summary report has been released. The 2017 survey collected data on farmers’ experiences with and management of herbicide resistant weeds, actions taken to improve soil health, perspectives on extended crop rotations, and influence of key agricultural stakeholders on crop production and soil and water conservation. The poll was established in 1982 and is the longest running survey of its kind.
- The Iowa State University Integrated Crop Management Conference brings together a diverse range of topics, expert presenters and results of current university research. Participants receive practical, take-home information on current issues and best management practices. The November 2017 conference featured 81 hours of educational programming through 14 concurrent sessions. The 923 participants represented 10 states; 54 percent were below age 46; 63 percent identified as ag retail, industry representative, ag sales or crop consulting, and 10 percent were actively farming. In addition:
–94 percent of those who had attended previous ICM Conferences stated the information was useful for making management decisions on their own or their customers’ operations.
–64 percent of participants estimated this information increased profits by $5 or more per acre.
–509 participants received Certified Crop Adviser CEUs, and 151 received commercial pesticide applicator recertification.
Community and Economic Development
- The fourth annual Community Food Systems Event, Jan. 12 in Ames, highlights best practices across all areas of community food systems from around the region. The Community Food Systems program, developed in partnership with the ISU Community Design Lab, is based on community engagement practices of public interest design, strategic doing and collective impact. It is a multi-phased, multi-year program within the ISU Extension and Outreach local foods and community and economic development programs.
- On Jan. 16, Himar Hernandez, Jill Sokness, Victory Oyervides and Jon Wolseth will be meeting with our partners from Iowa Department of Public Health to plan for this year’s Shop Healthy Iowa initiative in Des Moines, Storm Lake and Denison.
- Extension CED staff will be conducting Navigating Difference training workshops in West Des Moines (Jan. 16, 20 and 30) and Ames (Jan. 31).
- Extension CED specialist Eric Christianson will be conducting Introduction to Planning and Zoning workshops in Pocahontas (Jan. 16) and West Liberty (Jan. 23).
- Suzanne Bartholomae, family finance state specialist and assistant professor in human development and family studies, and co-presenters shared “Findings in Financial Literacy” at the 2017 Federal Student Aid Training Conference in Orlando, Florida, in November. Nearly 1,000 professionals learned about research on the role that financial capability plays in student success. The presentation highlighted the 2017 Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness and also included an overview of the Cooperative Extension System and highlighted the benefits of partnering with extension educators. Watch the presentation: http://gflec.org/research/?item=12569
- The multi-state data analysis for Growing Together is complete. During 2017, teams from the four participating universities – Iowa State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Purdue – agreed on common metrics for multi-state reporting. The results are in: 497 Master Gardener volunteers contributed their time; 542 community partners and agencies cooperated; 101,873 pounds of fruits and vegetables were supplied to 131 food pantries; and 63,595 people with low income were served. Projects leveraged $56,940 in non-SNAP-Ed funds to support the work, and all four universities will continue with Growing Together during the 2018 growing season.
- Dawn Dunnegan, a human sciences specialist in family life, started her employment with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach in January 2017 and focused on learning about and delivering priority programs. She attended class leader training for Powerful Tools for Caregivers within her first month of employment, and since then has co-led multiple series. She had previous experience with the Strengthening Families Program 10-14 and arranged for a facilitator training in southeast Iowa. Dawn called on her network of relationships with community partners to find people willing to become facilitators and to secure financial support. Through her grant application to DECAT, Dawn was awarded $4,483 for a series of SFP 10-14 for Louisa County. She submitted a second application for a series of Powerful Tools for Caregivers and this request for $4,480 also was awarded. Dawn has almost $9,000 to support two priority, multi-session programs that are evidence-based.
- ISU Extension and Outreach has been educating parents and supporting families through the Growing Strong Families program since 1999. The program teaches parents about child development, nutrition, money management, and health and safety, and in 2012 earned the Iowa Family Support Credential from the Iowa Department of Management and Public Health. At that time it was only the 15th Iowa program to earn this distinction and was available in Adair, Fremont, Page, Taylor and Wayne counties. The credential is awarded to programs that go through an external evaluation and are found to substantially adhere to the Iowa Family Support Standards. The credential is valid for five years. Throughout the past year the team worked diligently to become recertified. An onsite review took place in August 2017 after submission of extensive documentation. On Oct. 30, the team received word the program again would be awarded the State of Iowa Family Support Credential, having passed in both policy and in procedures and practice.