Community and Economic Development
- Ten Iowa communities have been selected to participate in the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program in 2023: Denison, Dysart, Gilmore City, Glenwood, Independence, Marquette, McGregor, Slater, Vinton, and West Burlington. This award-winning program integrates technical landscape planning and design techniques with sustainable community action to assist community leaders and volunteers in making sound and meaningful decisions about the local landscape. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation in partnership with Iowa State University Landscape Architecture Extension and Trees Forever, an Iowa-based nonprofit environmental advocacy organization.
- Sara Shonrock and Toni Veldhuizen conducted the fall Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute in a virtual format October 5-7. Each year, MPI provides clerks and finance officers from across the state of Iowa 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.
- Double Up Food Bucks has been promoting “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” Double Up Food Bucks promotes fresh produce purchases among SNAP participants. For every $1 a shopper spends on fresh fruits and vegetables with their SNAP EBT card, they receive $1 in Double Up Food Bucks. Double Up Food Bucks kicked off a monthly e-mail to customers participating in the program in mid-September. The e-mail prominently highlighted the “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” website and app. We are thankful for our continued partnership with the Healthiest State Initiative and Double Up Food Bucks.
- More than 100 people in Shelby and Jasper counties participated in the “OUCH! that Stereotype Hurts” educational offering. Intentionally planning how to create an inclusive workplace that is free of comments, actions, and decisions based on stereotypes begins with learning to speak up. Research has shown it takes only one person speaking up to make an impact. In “OUCH! That Stereotype Hurts,” participants learn six techniques to respond to difficult situations and promote feelings of inclusion.
4-H Youth Development
- The 2022-23 Plant the Moon and Plant Mars Challenge begins this spring. It’s a global science experiment and learning activity with a project-based challenge: Who can grow the best crops using lunar or Martian regolith simulants? Iowa 4-H will be supporting 15 youth teams through funding from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium and the ISU Integrated Pest Management Program. The program kicks off in January, with experiments being conducted February through April. Teams must prepare and submit a report for NASA scientists by the end of April, and a closing symposium and awards ceremony is held in May.
- When young people learn how to use their voices for leadership, they can change the world. That was the message of the “Youth Voice in Action!” 4-H Summit Sept. 20 at Upper Iowa University. During the day-long event, 75 youth from 11 northeast Iowa schools developed action plans for change in their community. Participating youth were from schools in Allamakee, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Clayton, Chickasaw, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek counties. The annual summit has helped grow young leaders in local communities, connected ISU Extension and Outreach to schools for further learning, and opened the door for youth to discover how powerful their voices in action can be.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
- County professionals partnered with farm management specialists to successfully deliver farmland leasing and management workshops this summer with in-person programs held in 77 locations and two webinar options. These annual workshops cover trends in farmland rental rates, land values, and costs of crop production in addition to legal considerations and tips to improve communication between leasing parties. Intended for farmland owners, tenants, and agribusiness professionals, issues impacting rental rates going into the next year are addressed as well. The issue of cybersecurity was new this year, prompting attendees to assess weaknesses in their home and farm operations that may leave them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Attendance included 1,250 individuals at in-person sessions, plus an additional 100 attendees at the virtual sessions. Initial responses to the evaluation show 95% of attendees are better prepared to communicate regarding farmland leasing and 96% showed an increase in knowledge regarding trends and issues impacting cash rental rates.
- Producers, ag lenders, and suppliers can get a look at current market conditions and expected trends in crop and livestock income potential during the annual Pro Ag Outlook and Management live webinar series, Nov. 7-10, from noon to 1 p.m. Central time. Programs will be available for on-demand viewing the day following each live broadcast. Topics include an update on carbon markets, transportation logistics, and supply chain issues, as well as crop and livestock market outlooks by extension economists.