April 2021 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • Iowa 4-H members participated in virtual interviews for the annual State 4-H Recognition Day on March 27. State 4-H Recognition is the process in which senior 4-H members in grades 9-12 can apply to be selected for special statewide opportunities including awards, trips such as National 4-H Conference, State 4-H Council, Iowa 4-H Reporters Program, and Iowa 4-H Healthy Living Ambassadors. The 2021 award winners are listed by county on the Iowa 4-H website
  • Every other Wednesday State 4-H Council Members offer an inside look at Iowa 4-H through the Iowa 4-H CloverCast, sharing personal insights and stories, as well as talking with professionals and experts. Council members host the guests, share 4-H opportunities, and edit and transcribe the audio for each podcast. This podcast is made possible by a partnership with the Iowa 4-H Foundation and ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development.
  • In partnership with the Iowa Education Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, State 4-H Council members worked together to prepare and sew nine tactile blankets for Iowa youth who are blind or visually impaired. The tactile blankets can be used by infants, young children, and older children who are blind or visually impaired, to help engage them in their cognitive development. Council members were encouraged to take this service project idea back to their own counties and 4-H clubs to help spread awareness and to encourage their fellow 4-H members to participate.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The optimum planting window for Iowa corn has been April 11 to May 18, with a shorter window in the northern part of the state compared to the south. And the risk for a heavy frost (temperature below 28 F) remains above the 50th percentile until about mid-April. This Integrated Crop Management blog post provides more information on planting date considerations.
  • Madeline Schultz, program manager for the farm management team’s women in ag program was recently awarded a $300,000 grant focused on “Enhancing Conservation, Access, and Generational Transition of Iowa Farmland through Women Landowners.” The first part of the project will consist of collecting more data and analytics about women farm ownership. From there, the team will assemble area meetings of women landowners and stakeholders, to discuss and gather concerns. Finally, the team will hold online and face-to-face workshops to deliver information and resources that improve women’s knowledge of land ownership.
  • For 25 years, Ag Decision Maker has provided a decision-oriented agricultural business website designed for farmers, lenders, farm managers, agriculture instructors, and others. Ag Decision Maker is coordinated, written, and distributed by the farm management team within ANR. Since 1996, there has also been a monthly newsletter distributed to provide timely analysis and insight into many of the issues facing modern agriculture. Join us in celebrating 25 great years with such a useful resource to Iowans and beyond.

Community and Economic Development

  • In April Community and Economic Development continues to collaborate with the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Community Development Block Grant technical assistance fund, conducting virtual Rural Housing Readiness Assessment workshops for Glenwood, Malvern, and Pacific Junction. CED is collaborating with Ohio State University to offer RHRA for Noble County, Ohio.
  • CED continues its work to enhance community leadership structures and broaden community engagement through leadership training. During April CED specialists are facilitating Leading Communities: A Place-based Leadership Program for Osceola, Howard, and Wayne counties. The program is designed to promote community engagement and increase capacity among community members for addressing common issues and problems. CED specialists will facilitate Developing Dynamic Leaders in Webster County. This program focuses on leadership skills at the individual level.
  • Navigating Difference cultural competency training enables participants to create a safe and welcoming environment for all learners with activities that respect and support individual learning styles. In April, CED specialists will conduct Navigating Difference with Region 6 Public Health and Centro Latino.

Human Sciences

  • The Science of Parenting team (Lori Korthals, Barbara Dunn Swanson, Mackenzie DeJong, and Mackenzie Johnson) received first place for a single program in the Epsilon Sigma Phi Elevate Extension Talk. Their winning video is posted on the National ESP YouTube Channel.
  • The Van Buren County Extension Council will reimburse 10 businesses who send their staff to ServSafe classes before the end of the fiscal year. Two participants received scholarships for the March 16 class. The council is offering scholarships to other Human Sciences Extension and Outreach educational offerings as well. The council is taking this action as part of their “Reviving the Iowa Economy” priority recovery initiative.
  • During federal FY 2020, the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. app had 2,468 new users and the website had 128,685 total users. Sixty-three percent of users were age 44 or younger; 69% were female. Most users accessed the website in English, but 2,362 used the live translation feature. This is 2.5 times the number who used this feature in 2019: 549 accessed it in Spanish, 304 in Portuguese, and 232 in Chinese. A September 2020 user survey showed that 52% of users access the website or app weekly or daily. Users reported that recipes, meal planning resources, and fresh produce preparation information were the most helpful types of content. Users also reported these top 3 behavior changes they made: cooking healthy recipes (most frequent response), eating more fruits and vegetables, and trying new foods.

March 2021 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Samantha Hendricks, Monroe County office assistant
  • Francesca Reyes, Winneshiek County office manager
  • Logan Doty, Fremont County youth coordinator
  • Kameron Middlebrooks, education extension specialist II, Community and Economic Development
  • Abigail Stanek, education extension specialist II, 4-H Youth Development

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Valerie Jaehrling, Adair County youth coordinator
  • Janell Heater, Louisa County office assistant
  • Kylie South, Guthrie County office coordinator
  • Jada Goddard, Chickasaw County director
  • Jesse Garcia, Muscatine County Latino outreach coordinator
  • Ryan Rawson Van Wyk, education extension specialist I, Human Sciences
  • Kurt Goldsmith, business administrator II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Tyler Weig, partnerships and engagement manager, 4-H Youth Development

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