September 2021 program update
Agriculture and Natural Resources
- A new study from researchers with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach examines how farmers are responding to the increasing threats of weather and climate change. The researchers analyzed data from the 2020 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll survey of 1,059 Iowa farmers. The study examined changes in five major adaptive management practices. The study also examined whether selected factors were associated with changes in adaptive and maladaptive behaviors. The authors highlight a need for research and extension to help farmers address short-term impacts without causing long-term problems.
- In 2020, the Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology – Survey Research Services at Iowa State University was contracted to conduct an online/mail survey with dairy farmers in Iowa to learn about their current operations, needs and expectations for the future. The survey consisted of 903 Grade A and B dairy producers in Iowa and was part of a research effort coordinated by dairy specialists Jennifer Bentley, Fred Hall, and Larry Tranel, who served as principal investigators on this project. Results provide insight on the current state of the dairy industry in Iowa and will be summarized through reports for educators, industry collaborators, elected officials, and the public.
Community and Economic Development
- Registration is now open for the fall Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute, scheduled for Oct. 6-8 in a virtual format. It’s cosponsored by the ISU Extension and Outreach Office of State and Local Government Programs and the Iowa League of Cities. Each year, MPI provides clerks and finance officers from across the state with training that gives them the basic framework of how municipalities function and assists municipal professionals with their day-to-day duties. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, MPI is delivered in a hybrid format, with two-day virtual sessions in winter and fall and a longer, in-person summer session in Ames.
- CED provides goal setting, strategic planning, and action planning services to help local governments and nonprofits address critical issues, identify priorities, and develop plans to accomplish those priorities. In September, CED specialists will facilitate planning sessions for the Veterans n Agriculture, Linn County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children community leaders, the United Way Great River Region Board, the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation, the Butler County Extension Council, the Central Iowa Business Network, the ISU Extension and Outreach Crops Team, and Linn County extension staff.
- Dr. Elizabeth Stegemöller, Department of Kinesiology, received a $9,000 grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation to support A Journey through Parkinson’s Disease. Human Sciences specialists Sara Sprouse, Cindy Thompson, and Lori Korthals will provide monthly virtual delivery of the three-session program from August 2021 through April 2022. They are implementing strategic marketing efforts of the virtual series for regions of the state. Rural areas are a priority.
- For the last nine months, ISU Extension and Outreach in Polk County has intentionally engaged Iowans to address mental health by providing research-based information and resources through a variety of programs and by including conversations on mental health during events. The Children’s’ Art in the Garden event allowed ISU Extension and Outreach in Polk County to cross program areas and incorporate mental health discussions. Families took a StoryWalk through the garden, which integrated literacy practices in a fun way and encouraged adults to have a kid-friendly conversation about mental health. The featured book, “The Color Monster” by Anna Llenas, focused on emotions and helped kids understand their feelings and how to sort through them. Master Gardener volunteers brought the story to life with garden sculptures that represented characters in the book. Families also received a children’s book focused on mental health and a variety of ISU Extension and Outreach resources to continue the conversation after the event. Over 320 participants attended the event made possible by 50 dedicated Master Gardener volunteers and staff.
4-H Youth Development
- The Iowa Space Grant Consortium and 4-H Youth Development have been awarded a NASA In-flight Education Downlink on Sept. 27. Youth from across Iowa will ask prerecorded questions to the astronauts on the International Space Station, Expedition 65. Astronauts will listen to the videos in space and then respond live on NASA TV during the virtual event. The downlink will provide an extension of learning for participants in 4-H Astro Camps that were hosted across the state this summer.
- Over the past year, 4-H Youth Development has been training facilitators across the state on the revised curriculum for Ricochet: An Extreme Leadership Adventure. As of mid-September, 52 4-H staff and school educators had participated in a two-day training for those new to Ricochet, and 17 staff and educators familiar with the program participated in a one-day refresher training. The training prepares facilitators to deliver Ricochet with fidelity and to provide an effective learning experience for the youth to fulfill the expected outcomes. Curriculum revisions included updated activities and photos to reflect diversity and safety for the youth, inclusion of the Iowa and national core standards for education, and connection to social and emotional learning skills.
- Forty Iowa youth are beginning their new terms as State 4-H Council members. These young leaders will serve as ambassadors for the 4-H Youth Development program, as well as organize and implement the annual Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. They serve at the Iowa State Fair and other Iowa 4-H events and visit counties to share how 4-H members can get involved with state and national 4-H opportunities. The council members also coordinate, promote, and oversee the 4-H’ers for 4-H fundraising campaign.