John Lawrence’s message from Oct. 29, 2018
Making educated decisions is a whole lot easier when you have the information you need. In our Agriculture and Natural Resources programs, one of the ways we help Iowans make decisions is through Ag Decision Maker. It’s a decision-oriented agricultural business website designed for farmers, lenders, farm managers, agriculture instructors and others. From July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, the website averaged 7,451 visitors per day. Did you know?
- Since October 1996 when the “premier” newsletter was launched, Ag Decision Maker has been providing analysis and insight into many of the issues facing modern agriculture. Today more than 15,000 users receive monthly updates highlighting the materials on the Ag Decision Maker site.
- Economists (including yours truly) and farm management specialists at Iowa State and other Midwest universities and institutions provide the content. (In fact, a check of the archives – thank you, Ann Johanns – shows that I wrote the lead article for the “official” volume 1, issue 1 newsletter published in November 1996, addressing the new CME Lean Hog Contract.)
- Overall, downloads of Ag Decision Maker information sheets and decision tools reached 1.26 million for FY2018, while more than 240 information files, decision tools, voiced media and teaching activity files were added or updated on the site.
- The AgDM Twitter feed promotes materials and events throughout the month to more than 1,900 followers.
Given the uncertainty in the farm economy, we need to do all we can to help Iowans with their decision-making, and foster profitable and resilient farms and thriving rural communities. Here are two more resources to keep in mind:
- Farm Financial Planning is ISU Extension and Outreach’s farm financial analysis program. The confidential, free service consists of one-on-one financial counseling, a computerized analysis of the farm business and referral to other extension programs or outside services that may be useful. Five farm financial management associates are available to help Iowans understand a complete picture of their farm’s financial situation.
- On the Human Sciences side, Iowa Concern provides access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics. With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge.
- You still have the opportunity to sign up for Community Conversations with the Internal Communications Task Force: Nov. 5 in Ames and Nov. 9 in Garner. (To claim one of the remaining spots, register online at http://bit.ly/ictf11409.)
- Congratulations to Sarah Francis, associate professor and nutrition and wellness extension state specialist, who has been appointed to serve on the USDA National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board.
- On Oct. 26, the University Committee on Disabilities sent a letter of support recognizing ISU Extension and Outreach’s commitment to improving digital accessibility. The committee said, “We appreciate your commitment to equity and inclusion, and we thank you for equipping your team with the resources to be innovative. … We are grateful for your leadership, and we look forward to the lessons we will learn as a result of this path you have paved for the rest of the university.”
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach