April 2020 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Janet Beranek, Floyd County office assistant.
  • Julie Christensen, Allamakee County office coordinator.
  • Shirley Grimm, Muscatine County office manager.
  • Tammy James, Union County CACFP program coordinator.
  • Krista Regennitter, Muscatine County director.
  • Kristin Olsen, extension program specialist III, Iowa Pork Industry Center.
  • Terry Maloy, program coordinator III, County Services Support (retirement).

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Katrina McCarty, Muscatine County youth coordinator.
  • Brittany Moore, Jackson County youth coordinator.
  • Lauren Nerad, Muscatine County office assistant.
  • Elizabeth Siepker, Winneshiek County K-12 program coordinator.
  • Lauren Carter, graphic designer I, Advancement.
  • Marsha Peterson, budget analyst IV, Human Sciences.
  • Rachel Sweeney, program coordinator I, 4-H Youth Development.
  • Peggy Lockhart, extension program specialist I, Human Sciences.

May 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Two new video series are helping gardeners grow their skills, along with fresh produce. The Sow, Grow, Eat, and Keep series will be produced weekly and packages information about the garden, food preparation or food preservation. The series is a combined effort of ANR and Human Sciences, involving horticulture specialists and nutrition and wellness specialists. The Gardening While Isolated series is shown weekly on the ISU Extension and Outreach Facebook page and is produced by ISU Extension and Outreach horticulture specialists.
  • Safe mushroom foraging workshops are being offered online for anyone interested in learning more about identifying and foraging local mushrooms. The first workshop was May 5; the second will be held in the fall. Participants in this virtual workshop will discuss proper identification traits, foraging safety, distinguishing between edible and non-edible varieties, and best harvesting practices including how to avoid any potential post-harvest contamination.
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact agricultural markets and supply chains, ISU Extension and Outreach has resources that can help farmers manage their finances. A full listing of resources can be found through ISU Extension and Outreach, and includes farm financial associates, Ag Decision Maker, and members of the farm management team.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment helps communities self-assess their housing needs and guides them in the decision-making process when addressing those needs. It guides communities in considering options that ensure existing and potential residents can find safe, secure, and quality housing that meets their needs and fits within their budgets. The assessment checklists aid in creating a local housing policy that is appropriate for the needs and desires of a community. CED specialists have developed a way to deliver the program virtually, and Abbie Gaffey will conduct Workshop 1 for Ida Grove on May 20. Workshop 1 will be conducted for Keokuk sometime in May as well.
  • Goal setting, strategic planning, and facilitation are more important than ever for nonprofits and local governments. CED has moved this type of programming to a virtual format. Kam Middlebrooks and Himar Hernández will facilitate an online goal-setting session with CoSI (Community in Support of Immigrants) in Grinnell sometime in May.
  • More CED virtual offerings: CED local government specialists created a virtual version of the Introduction to Planning and Zoning for local officials and offered the training in late April and early May. CED specialists will deliver Leading Communities virtually for Mount Pleasant (Henry County) and for Centerville (Appanoose County) in May. CED specialists will present a virtual version of Grant Writing 101 for Madison County on May 21. A session for Linn County and a statewide workshop also are planned.

Human Sciences

  • Iowa Department of Public Health reached out to AnswerLine’s Beth Marrs and asked for suggestions on reaching Latino communities in Iowa to share information regarding COVID-19. In response, Dr. Kim Greder, family life state specialist, asked several extension program specialists to share with IDPH what they know is happening in specific Latino populations. This sharing will help IDPH build a plan to reach these populations.
  • Virtual education has begun for SNAP-Ed and EFNEP educators. So far, 15 lessons have been delivered to date to individuals as well as co-residing groups. Staff are using phone calls and video chat to deliver lessons.
  • The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. team has mobilized a response to the concerns COVID-19 has raised for families, including:
    — Two Facebook Live events per week (one individual exercise opportunity on Wednesdays at noon and a family activity every Friday at 10 a.m.).
    — A cooking or food prep video every Monday.
    — Building a library of video content to release over social media in the coming weeks. Videos include simple recipes, kitchen organization/management ideas, cooking with youth, and tours of the website.
    — A revised blog schedule. Bloggers are highlighting skills that are useful during this time through personal blogs about their own meal planning and cooking.

4-H Youth Development

  • The Iowa 4-H At Home Learning webpage offers online educational opportunities for youth created by Iowa 4-H professionals. The webpage has received approximately 8,500 views over the past month.
  • Registration is open for the 2020 Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition on July 30 for youth in grades 7-12. An in-person competition is planned. If state guidelines do not allow in-person meetings by July 30, it will be an interactive distance competition. The planning team is creating a list of strategies for how youth teams can study and engage with materials over the summer while practicing appropriate social distancing.
  • A new online STEAM academy has been created through a partnership between Iowa 4-H and the Iowa Space Grant Consortium. Each week a new STEAM challenge for youth in grades 4-12 is released online. These challenges also showcase a tie to NASA work and STEM professions.

Creating a volunteering culture

John Lawrence’s email message from April 27, 2020

Today, Gov. Reynolds announced that the State Public Health Emergency Declaration would continue until May 27, 2020. The Governor’s proclamation loosens social distancing measures in 77 Iowa counties effective Friday, May 1 and continues other restrictions until 11:50 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2020. We will be reviewing the proclamation and determining what it means for ISU Extension and Outreach.

One thing the COVID-19 pandemic did not stop is the need for volunteers in Iowa communities. 4-H members, families and friends are making masks. Master Gardeners are planting donation gardens. County offices are helping connect volunteers to local food pantries. As they volunteer their time to help others in whatever way they can, Iowans are stepping up to the challenge.

People volunteer when they feel attached to and supported by their community. This is one of the key findings reported in “Volunteering in Iowa Small Towns: Fostering participation in local projects.” David Peters, extension rural sociologist, reviewed data from the 91 communities in the 2014 Iowa Small Towns Project and from other sources. He says a community that has a comprehensive volunteering plan, which identifies and addresses barriers to participation, has a better chance of getting more people involved in local projects. Did you know?

  • The top cited reasons people had for not volunteering were that no one asked them to volunteer, they didn’t have time to participate, they thought volunteers weren’t needed, and they weren’t interested in getting involved.
  • People are more likely to volunteer when they feel confident about their community’s future and when there are strong community expectations that everyone needs to volunteer.
  • Volunteering is not driven by population size, wealth and local economic conditions. Instead, what matters more are positive community social interactions and quality of life.
  • Small towns have the power to create a volunteering culture by investing in the social infrastructure of their community.

More notes

  • Extension IT has released the new Extension Staff Directory. It replaces the previous directory and the URL remains the same, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/staffdir/. The new directory pulls in information from Workday and ADIN, and if your staff photo is in SmugMug, it is included in your profile. It’s possible to edit some of the information in your profile. Learn more about the new directory and what you can and can’t change on the Extension Staff Directory page in MyExtension.
  • The County Benefits Conversation with Councils archive recording from April 18 is available on the University Human Resources website.
  • Jane Walter, with University Human Resources, will host an ISU-Paid Employee Retirement session on Wednesday, May 6 at 3 p.m. To participate, go to https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/benefits. The session will be recorded.
  • Advancement will offer a webinar for all staff at 10 a.m., May 1 on Did You Know? Tips to Improve Your Virtual Meetings. The link for the webinar is https://iastate.zoom.us/j/94890021945.
  • Congratulations to Donna Donald and Barb Wollan, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, who received 2019 Professional and Scientific Council CYtation Awards. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the annual CYtation Awards breakfast ceremony, originally scheduled for this spring, has been postponed until September.
  • Help shower Terry Maloy with retirement cards. Terry is retiring as Iowa Extension Council Association executive director effective April 30. Show your appreciation and celebrate Terry’s work by sending a card to Terry Maloy, Monroe County Extension Office, 219 B Ave. W, Albia, IA 52531.
  • The North Central Cooperative Extension Association is offering three online speed meetings about mental/behavioral health (April 30), entrepreneurship (May 1), and rural community development (May 6). All speed meetings begin at 12 noon Central time. For more information and to pre-register for each session visit the NCCEA speed meeting series webpage.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Taking care of ourselves

John Lawrence’s message from April 20, 2020

As we enter our sixth week of working remotely, we still do not know how long we’ll need to remain physically distant from each other or from our partners, volunteers or all Iowans we serve. But we do know that we must remain socially connected and take care of ourselves – so that we are able to help others.

Last week during Second Monday Live, David Brown shared some approaches for managing stress and improving our work/home balance related to COVID-19. David is our behavioral health state specialist and says it’s important to understand what we can and cannot control. For example, we can’t control the guidance we receive from President Wintersteen or Gov. Reynolds. We have to trust that our leaders are making decisions in our best interests. But we can develop programs online or find ways to communicate virtually. We can stay connected via social media, texts, video chat or phone calls. We can use these connections as an opportunity to reach out to others, to share experiences or just talk.

We have to take care of our bodies, too. Exercise, eat healthy, take deep breaths and try to get some sleep. Get outdoors when you can, at a safe “social distance.” And don’t watch too much news coverage.

You can learn more about this topic – as well as what to do if you are quarantined – by watching the archive of David’s Second Monday Live presentation.

10,000 masks and counting

WOW! Congratulations! Thank you! On Wednesday, April 8, Iowa 4-H challenged members, volunteers, alumni and staff to make and donate 10,000 face masks to the people and organizations in their local communities who need them. In only nine days, the Iowa 4-H family met their goal. Now 4-H is expanding this project to encourage sewing of surgical caps and making face mask connectors.

More notes

  • Goodbye … and welcome, March 2020: Please review this list of individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach in the past month, as well as those who have joined our organization.
  • Terry Maloy is retiring April 30, so we are seeking a new executive director for the Iowa Extension Council Association. This is an important role in coordinating the 100 extension councils and aiding communication between councils and ISU Extension and Outreach administration. Please share this job announcement with qualified candidates. It is a 60% FTE position.
  • May 15 is the deadline to apply for tuition assistance from the summer 2020 Vice President for Extension and Outreach Tuition Assistance Program. County-paid and ISU-paid extension employees may apply for the program, whether taking credit courses from Iowa State, a community college, a private institution or other accredited public institution.
  • Remember to check our Professional Development website for eLearning resources, including upcoming and archived webinars and other learning opportunities from our Professional Development team, Iowa State and Cooperative Extension.
  • Advancement has created several branded Zoom virtual backgrounds (listed under “electronic” templates) to use if you are speaking with clients and would like to keep your home office location private.
  • A new video PSA promoting Iowa Concern is available. Please share as appropriate. The video complements an audio PSA and newspaper ad that were created earlier this month.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

March 2020 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Sarah Blunt, Buchanan County local foods coordinator.
  • Cortney Garrington, Warren County extension director.
  • Lindsay Stecher, Muscatine County youth coordinator.
  • Cindy (Stuve) Hopton, secretary III, Community and Economic Development (retirement).

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Amy Leaman, Floyd County office assistant.
  • Alexandria McIntyre, Winneshiek County office assistant.
  • Phyllis Van Gelder, Sioux County K-12 program coordinator.

Happy ISU Extension and Outreach Week

John Lawrence’s message from April 13, 2020

While many things have changed drastically for Iowans in recent weeks, one thing that has not changed is ISU Extension and Outreach’s commitment to serving all Iowans. I am so proud of all you as you’ve stepped up during this crisis. Office doors may be locked, and events may be canceled, but you have been finding ways to continue engaging Iowans with research-based information and education. Neither working remotely nor physical distance nor anything else will stop us from building a #STRONGIOWA together!

Did you know? “Change is the only constant in life.” That quote might be from an ancient Greek philosopher or a cereal box, depending on the results of your internet search. (Note: My searches have said it was Heraclitus.) We don’t know yet what additional changes the COVID-19 pandemic will bring here in Iowa, throughout the country or around the world. But we do know that time and again, ISU Extension and Outreach has been there to help Iowans and their communities during a crisis.

Dealing with COVID-19 isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. ISU Extension and Outreach will continue serving Iowans online, over the phone, through email and text messages, whatever way we can. And when we get the “all clear” from our government and health officials, we will be serving Iowans in person and face to face once again. That’s something Iowans can count on – during this immediate crisis, during recovery and long beyond. Because we are always serving Iowans. Have a happy, safe and healthy ISU Extension and Outreach Week!

MyData update

  • Pilot participants have through June 2020 to test the MyData reporting system. (For those in the pilot, this is an ideal time to focus on MyData features and provide feedback on user-friendliness.)
  • Three online training modules are being developed to help staff and faculty understand MyData’s value to ISU Extension and Outreach, how MyData is organized, and users’ roles and responsibilities. After staff and faculty have successfully completed online training, they’ll receive their MyData license along with training on the practical details for using the system.
  • Rollout of MyData will be staggered across program units and county services during 2020–2021. Given the unpredictability related to our current state of physical distancing, all timeframes are tentative: November 2020, county services (regional directors); December 2020, human sciences; January 2021, community and economic development; March/April 2021, agricultural and natural resources; and September/October 2021, 4-H youth development. Additional rollouts will be set for ISU Extension and Outreach administrators and regional county staff.

Benefits and retirement sessions

  • Jane Walter, with University Human Resources, will be hosting a County Benefit Conversation with Councils on Saturday, April 18 at 10 a.m.
  • Jane also will host an ISU-Paid Employee Retirement session on Wednesday, May 6 at 3 p.m.
  • To participate in either session, go to https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/benefits. Both sessions will be recorded.

NCCEA speed meeting series

The North Central Cooperative Extension Association is offering three online speed meetings about mental/behavioral health (April 30), entrepreneurship (May 1), and rural community development (May 6). The series will highlight programs, success stories and partnerships in these key areas that have been identified as regional issues. Gain ideas and find others who you may be able to partner with on future programming. All speed meetings begin at 12 noon Central time. For more information and to pre-register for each session visit the NCCEA speed meeting series webpage.

PPSI fellowship opportunity

The Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute is seeking a qualified individual to fill a fellowship position supporting the development of the National Behavioral Health Extension Network. The NBH E-Net’s primary goal is to improve community prosperity and quality of life by increasing access to proven programs and services designed to enhance youth and family behavioral health and to prevent substance misuse. The fellow will provide expertise of relevance to the development of infrastructure and resources as part of the NBH E-Net Hub Organization, in collaboration with eXtension. For more information, review the position timeline, description, roles and responsibilities.

One more note

Remember to check the new homepage in MyExtension to find what you need to know about issues affecting our organization.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Building value and building trust

John Lawrence’s message from April 6, 2020

When we implement Structured for Success July 1, it will be a new beginning. To continue the preparation, Andrea Nelson met with our county and regional directors in late March. The event was called Building Value and Building Trust. A committee of county and regional directors has been meeting and discussing that topic since last fall. I want to thank RaeAnn Gordan, Adriane Carlson, Carter Oliver, Rich Wrage, Cindy Gannon, Sherry Ford, Donovan Olson and Katharinna Bain for working with Andrea for all of us and for our system.

My wife often accuses me of selective hearing, but I heard three important messages in Andrea’s opening comments about building value and trust. Did you know?

  • First, County Services is a large unit, with 900 council members, 484 county staff, 19 regional directors and two accountants. It accounts for 40% of the nearly 1,200 faculty and staff who are part of ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • Second, the success of the County Services unit and, for that matter, our entire organization, depends on the success of all our people.
  • And, third, we have to stop creating silos. Whether part of County Services or the rest of our organization who create content and support operations, we are all on the same team.

Each of us plays a different position, but we all wear the same jersey: ISU Extension and Outreach. Let’s pull together as a team to make our transition successful. Look upon this new beginning as a chance to refresh existing relationships with teammates and look for new ways to grow as individuals and as an organization. (And if your “jersey” is a bit worn, you can order new extension apparel from http://www.ISUExtApparel.com. You also can access the site through My Extension. The new site is not part of the Extension Store.)

I am extremely proud of our team. We have a legacy of service to Iowans, not just during a crisis, but every day. We provide research-based information, we are embedded in the communities and we are here for the long haul. We will help Iowans solve today’s problems and prepare for a thriving future.

Defining our success

How we define success varies across the span of our careers and as our accomplishments accumulate. In this video from Annual Conference some of our colleagues share their perspectives on success and how it is defined.

More notes

  • A recording of Our Virtual Annual Conference and several of the resources are available from MyExtension.
  • President Wintersteen’s April 3 COVID-19 update discusses planning for reduced campus operations and impact on frontline staff.
  • The Rising Star Internship program for summer 2020 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will announce plans for the summer 2021 program this fall.
  • Please review the April program update from the leadership team for current examples of what is happening across our programs.
  • Our next Second Monday Live is 10 a.m., April 13 at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/isueo/. David Brown, behavioral health state specialist, will discuss managing stress and mental health – because working remotely can be stressful. The isolation, lack of work/home boundaries, and simple anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic can impact our wellness. This short program will review tips and tools to manage stress and help improve our wellbeing in a remote working environment.
  • The archive of the April 1 county benefits webinar is available: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/pc8iszgj6i71/.
  • The county website transition committee has announced the first three counties to transition to the new website platform. You’ll understand why they won the contest when you watch the videos from Shelby County (first), Dallas County (second) and Linn County (third). We’d like to thank all the counties who entered the contest, and we look forward to seeing all the new county websites.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

April 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • A collection of online educational resources for K-12 youth audiences is available on the 4-H At Home Learning Resources webpage. These engaging educational resources from the local, state and national 4-H program are available for all youth and their families to further explore project area learning virtually. 4-H Youth Development also will provide new educational content online on a focused topic of learning each week to further engage youth. In addition, many county 4-H programs are providing interactive, online learning opportunities for youth.
  • In March, 125 youth participated in State 4-H Recognition Day interviews. The interviews were conducted using video teleconferencing as a result of social distancing recommendations from Iowa State University due to COVID-19. State 4-H Recognition is the process in which 4-H members in grades 9-12 can apply to be selected for special statewide opportunities such as State 4-H Project Awards, State 4-H Council, Shooting Sports Ambassadors and Iowa 4-H Reporters, and to attend National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference. 4-H youth complete written applications and participate in interviews with a panel of adult evaluators. The event was made possible with the support of 150 adult volunteers from across Iowa who reviewed and scored 4-H award applications, as well as interviewed the youth participants virtually using one or more new technology platforms.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Linn and Marshall County Master Gardeners received Search for Excellence honors for their commitment to food and nutrition for their local communities. Master Gardener volunteers from both counties worked to educate and empower adults and youth to grow and consume fresh healthy produce in 2019. Learn more about the projects in both counties.
  • The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has waived the deadline for pesticide applicators to meet recertification requirements. The waiver allows Iowa pesticide applicators who were certified as of Dec. 31, 2019, to retain their status through Dec. 31, 2020, and temporarily allows commercial certified pesticide applicators to continue to operate under a current company license without having to immediately submit proof of training or testing. Learn more about the pesticide applicator training requirements.
  • With field days and in-person gatherings currently canceled, Iowa Learning Farms is supplementing its regular monthly webinar series with additional webinars each Wednesday. These additional webinars will allow timely education on issues related to water, soil, wildlife and other conservation topics. ILF webinars can be found here: www.iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars.

Community and Economic Development

The CED office closed on March 17 and will remain closed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Community development specialists on campus and in the field are working from home and providing assistance to clients by phone, email and virtually when possible. Meanwhile, CED staff are exploring options to deliver programming virtually.

  • The 2020 Community Visioning Program canceled the transportation assets and barriers focus-group workshops in five communities. Visioning program staff will use data collected through a mailed transportation survey to assess transportation in these five communities. ISU program staff and Trees Forever field coordinators will be discussing options for delivering the program remotely in April and May. ISU program staff also will meet virtually with landscape architects contracted to provide services in visioning communities to explore options for providing design services remotely.
  • The Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshops have been canceled and CED local government specialists are exploring options to offer the training virtually.
  • Certified Professional Guide Training workshops that were scheduled in three Iowa locations have been canceled.
  • CED and the Iowa League of Cities will deliver Part III of the Municipal Leadership Academy scheduled for April and May 2020 using a virtual format.

Human Sciences

Human Sciences response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes:

  • Human Sciences is updating the Finding Answers Now webpage to reflect the current situation.
  • Iowa Concern Hotline has increased staffing and trained three human sciences specialists in family life to answer 2-1-1 calls related to COVID-19
  • Iowa has been approved to deliver the 90-minute Powerful Tools for Caregivers program online. Malisa Rader, human sciences specialist in family life, has been asked by the national organization to assist in providing virtual training for class leaders across the nation.
  • Iowa has received approval from program owners to shift the existing Question. Persuade. Refer. program (suicide prevention training) to online delivery.

Working differently, inspiring each other

John Lawrence’s message from March 30, 2020

Welcome to week 3 of working remotely. As we continue to adapt to an ever-changing situation, we continue to engage Iowans with research, education and extension experiences. However, did you know? We also inspire each other.

“We’re working differently,” says Janet Smith, director of Region 20. “I couldn’t be more excited and proud of the innovative, virtual education that our staff are trying, social media posts, the professional development that’s occurring and the virtual meetings. I couldn’t be prouder of the innovative, can-do spirit that’s going on. Staff are playing with the cards they were dealt, and even staff who have been hesitant to try new technology are jumping in. We really are ‘open’ for business — but in a different way.”

I agree with Janet 100 percent! I am inspired by every example of extension professionals finding new ways to serve Iowans during this pandemic. A friend and colleague in North Dakota shared a Charles Darwin quote and said that he thought it also applies to extension: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” I agree. Our people are adapting and taking care of ongoing business, innovating to solve problems and creating new ways to engage and educating Iowans.

Only the doors are closed on our offices. ISU Extension and Outreach is open for business, just a bit differently. By the way, Advancement has posted some new sign templates on MyExtension so everyone understands that we are continuing to serve Iowans.

Internal Communications update:

Last week we launched a new homepage in MyExtension where you will find what you need to know about issues affecting our organization. This is in response to a recommendation from the Internal Communications Task Force. The task force recommended we develop a centralized (internal) website or “front page” for leadership communications. Here you will find links to my daily updates, announcements, other news for staff, newsletters, and (coming soon) meeting agendas and notes from the Leadership Team.

More notes

  • County staff who are considering ISU benefits programs should review the new County Extension Benefits webpage for more information. There also will be an optional benefits webcast 1 p.m., April 1 for interested county staff.
  • April 15 is the last day you can order computers and have them billed for this fiscal year. This allows EIT time to receive the computer from Dell, set it up and complete the billing. You can still order a computer after April 15, but EIT cannot promise that it will be billed this fiscal year.
  • Advancement is launching a new Did You Know? staff training video series. Three videos are now available on MyExtension, and more will be added in the coming weeks. Advancement also will offer a webinar for all staff at 10 a.m., April 3 on Did You Know? Creating Videos for Facebook. It’s a deeper dive into the lessons in one of the new videos, and will include suggestions for additional tools and equipment, as well as Q&A. The link for the webinar is https://iastate.zoom.us/j/344060951.

I look forward to “seeing” you at our virtual Annual Conference on Wednesday.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Time for good news

John Lawrence’s message from March 23, 2020

Because we all could use some good news in these trying times, I’m sharing some examples from our 2019 county stakeholder reports. Did you know?

  • Calhoun County’s Beginning Farmer Peer group set a goal to meet three times per year to discuss emerging issues, technology trends and farming practices. One participant stated, “Knowing that others have the same questions I have, gives me a sense of not being alone.”
  • Buchanan County staff are members of ICE-T (Independence Community Enhancement Team) and Cedar Valley Regional Food and Farm Network, and are part of the City of Independence’s visioning project.
  • In Warren County, 27 professionals maintained their licenses by achieving certification, including a childcare nutrition workshop and ServSafe courses. Twenty youth learned about food safety in BBQ School.

Take a look at the rest of the stakeholder reports and you’ll find more good news. Although I don’t know exactly what will be included in the 2020 reports, I do know this: ISU Extension and Outreach will report how we found new ways to serve Iowans through challenging times, because that’s what we do!

More good news: New Apparel Vendor and Website

ISU Extension and Outreach has contracted with a new vendor and has a new website for all our branded apparel. Effective immediately, Sigler Companies Inc. will handle and fulfill apparel orders for extension professionals and council members. Sigler will offer the same full line of extension apparel at a significant cost savings. To order extension apparel, go to the new apparel website, http://www.ISUExtApparel.com. You also can access the site through My Extension. The new site is not part of the Extension Store.

Apparel is now more affordable, but there are some trade-offs. Sigler will accept credit and debit cards, but not checks, and will offer refunds only for an order error or product defect. You can have your order shipped directly to your home or office (and pay the shipping cost). After the Extension Store’s Distribution Center resumes normal face-to-face operations, you also will have the option to avoid shipping costs and pick up your order from the store. For the time being, on-campus employees can choose to have their items delivered through campus mail via EDC for no charge.

Polo shirts will continue to be the “go to” item for most situations, such as working with partners or providing education. However, due to popular demand, we also will now offer T-shirts. T-shirts may be appropriate when working outdoors at fairs or field days, in potentially messy situations (such as 4-H craft projects), or for other uses determined by your supervisor or council. Keep in mind, T-shirts may need to be replaced more frequently due to wear.

Advancement will have a “sample closet” of extension styles and sizes in the future when normal services resume. For more information about the samples or for answers to other apparel questions, contact your advancement specialist.

Although we won’t be meeting with the public face-to-face for awhile, you still can wear your branded apparel for webinars and online events. This may be a good time for many of us to reassess our wardrobes and add some new branded apparel. I will be visiting the new apparel website soon, and I encourage you to check it out as well. No one is required to wear extension branded apparel. But no matter where you are or what you do, as an extension professional or council member, it’s easy for you to be properly branded when working with the public in an official capacity.

More notes

  • The Annual Conference website has been updated with current information about our online conference. You can still register, at https://www.regcytes.extension.iastate.edu/eac/. Remember to cancel any conference-related hotel reservations you may have made.
  • Our Professional Development team will be posting online learning opportunities and resources on the Professional Development website as available. Plan to check the site regularly for updates.
  • County staff who are considering ISU benefits programs should review the new County Extension Benefits webpage for more information. There also will be an optional benefits webcast April 1 at 1 p.m. for interested county staff. If you have specific questions you would like answered during the webcast, email those questions to Mica Redenius, redenius@iastate.edu, by March 30.
  • Be sure to check MyExtension and review EIT’s technical notes for working remotely.
  • Check my COVID-19 Information for ISU Extension and Outreach page for my daily updates, answers to questions we receive, and other information for council members, staff and faculty.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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