January 2023 program update

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • CropsTV returns for a third season in 2023. This educational program delivers crop production information directly to farmers and agribusinesses and provides the convenience of crop production education at home, in the office, or anywhere there is an internet connection. All episodes will be available for on-demand viewing, providing flexibility for busy viewers. The Season Three program features 33 episodes covering a variety of crop management, pest management, nutrient management, and soil and water management topics.
  • More than 14,000 people, including school-age youth, visited Iowa State University’s Research and Demonstration Farms in 2022. Nearly 70 field days were held across the state, with topics that pertained to corn rootworm, forage management, tar spot, nitrogen management, turfgrass management, specialty crops and livestock production.

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2023 Community Visioning Program is moving into the community assessment process. Participating communities are Denison, Dysart, Gilmore City, Glenwood, Independence, Marquette, McGregor, Slater, Vinton, and West Burlington. During January ISU program staff will be conducting transportation focus groups with students in Marquette, McGregor, Glenwood, and Denison. ISU program staff also will be conducting training in focus group facilitation and bioregional assessments for Trees Forever field coordinators and private-sector consultants.
  • In January CED specialists will be conducting Township Trustee training for Floyd, Johnson, Madison, Howard, Pottawattamie, and Mitchell counties. The township clerk and the township trustees are the locally elected officials who are responsible for seeing that these services are delivered effectively and economically. Their job is important, and they represent the heart of local government for township residents. Yet many trustees and clerks assume their jobs with little or no training and experience. CED’s Office of State and Local Government Programs offers township trustee and clerk training upon request for township trustees, township clerks, and elected and appointed county officials.

Human Sciences

  • In fall 2022, the ACT Raising Safe Kids series was presented virtually via Zoom to Iowa parents and caregivers. The series is an interactive violence prevention program developed by the American Psychological Association Violence Prevention Office. The goal of the program is to strengthen families and improve parenting skills and practices. ACT Raising Safe Kids reached a diverse group of mothers, fathers, foster parents, grandparents, and guardians. Average attendance during the 9-week series was 29 participants. Program evaluation included pre- and post-instruments, and participants demonstrated improvements in areas such as paying attention to what they do in front of their children, limiting violence their children see in media, calming themselves down when angry, and controlling their anger when having difficulties with children.
  • Human Sciences reached 694 children in grades K-5 in three counties and 43 high school age youth in three counties with direct nutrition education. Evaluation data show that 68% of K-2, 86% of 3-5, and 62% of 9-12 youth improved their diet quality. Human Sciences also reached 1,178 adults with EFNEP and SNAP-Ed direct education. This reflects a rebound to pre-pandemic service levels. Evaluation data show that 92% of participants in “Buy, Eat, Live Healthy” and 81% of those in “Plan, Shop, Save, and Cook” improved diet quality.

4-H Youth Development

  • Iowa 4-H works with States’ 4-H Exchange and IFYE (formerly known as International 4-H Youth Exchange) to create opportunities for 4-H’ers and alumni to travel abroad. Cultural immersion is a hands-on way to learn and understand a different culture or viewpoint quickly and meaningfully. The 2023 Iowa States’ 4-H Exchange program is seeking host families for 12 Japanese youth delegates who will visit Iowa this summer.
  • Eighteen youth in the Career Pathways Academy and five AmeriCorps members participated in “Find Your SPARK” workshops in December at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa and Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon focused on learning about education and career pathways in the skilled trades. College staff and faculty provided a tour, engaged youth in an activity, and shared information about specific programs such as manufacturing, construction, machine technology, welding, and ag science. AmeriCorps members led a STEM Sparks lesson about circuits. Youth also joined AmeriCorps and staff for a virtual workshop to continue learning about college and career opportunities.

December 2022 program update

4-H Youth Development

  • New 4-H Club Officer Resources are ready-to-use resources for promoting and onboarding club officers. For each officer role, this series includes a short video introducing the role, a revised guidebook, and worksheets available in multiple formats for accessibility and ease of use. For example, the club reporter position has a news release template, a worksheet for taking notes for an article, and a list of action verbs to use in writing. This series provides youth with exciting new resources to practice leadership.
  • In November, 50 educators and extension partners came to campus to learn about the upcoming SWITCH program, which begins January 23. They participated in creative heart lessons from Iowa Heart Foundation, mindfulness/mental health practices, SWITCH Cooking School, Soccer for Success lesson ideas, physical activity integration in the classroom, and brain break dances. The new focus for 2023 is integrating more mental well-being for school staff. 4-H is partnering with the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative with their Make It OK Campaign. As a part of SWITCH in 2023, schools will participate in a Make It OK workshop for their staff. Make it OK helps to reduce stigma by starting conversations and increasing understanding about mental illness.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Women landowners, farmers and ag retailers will have the opportunity to meet again this winter to learn more about agronomy and related agricultural topics through distance-learning sessions. The goals of Agronomy in the Field are to strengthen agronomic skills for women that allow for better decision-making, provide a better understanding of inputs for crop production, see and understand different conservation practices, and increase confidence in communication with a spouse, farming partner, ag retailer, or tenant.
  • Military veterans who are interested in a career in agriculture and food production are encouraged to apply for registered apprenticeship with the Iowa-based Veterans in Agriculture. This nonprofit is also seeking farmer and agribusiness mentors who are interested in hiring apprentices and offering the corresponding training and instruction to employees. Mentors can be from the fruit and vegetable industry, conventional crop, livestock agriculture, or agribusiness, but the business must be based in Iowa. Veterans in Agriculture is partnering with ISU Extension and Outreach, as well as Iowa Microloan and Ag Ventures Alliance, with a grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. It is a simplified, visual, open-source tool, which is user-friendly, hands-on, and a step-by-step guide for future direction. At its most basic level it is a canvas divided into nine individual rectangles representing the building blocks of all small business and nonprofits. In December Victor Oyervides is serving as a trainer for three Business Model Canvas virtual workshops, in partnership with the Small Business Solution Center of the Evelyn K. Davis Center for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
  • CED offers goal setting and strategic planning to help local governments and nonprofits address critical issues, identify priorities, and develop action plans to accomplish those priorities. An effective board or council is one that works together toward common goals. In December CED specialists are facilitating strategic planning sessions for the ISU College of Design Department of Community and Regional Planning, an action planning session for Marshall County, and a futuring workshop for the ISU Parks Library.

Human Sciences

Mental Health First Aid teaches people how to offer initial support until appropriate professional help is received or until the crisis resolves. Participants also learn about risk factors and warning signs of mental health concerns, gain an understanding of their impact as first aiders, and receive an overview of common treatments. More than 2 million people across the U.S. have received Mental Health First Aid training, and in Iowa over 50,000 have been trained.

Recently 18 detention officers participated in Mental Health First Aid training at the Polk County Jail in Ankeny. These officers manage more than 1,000 inmates at the facility. Pre-training and post-training survey and test data showed an increase of knowledge across all areas covered; 100% of the participants reported the course was informative and helped them be better prepared for their work. After taking the course: 95% stated they have moderate or high knowledge about mental health; over 60% said they would very likely have a supportive conversation with an adult experiencing signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge or crisis; and 72% reported they were very likely to use the action plan to connect an adult experiencing signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge or crisis to appropriate help.

November 2022 program update

Human Sciences

  • The four-hour Your Money, Your Goals training helps professionals to increase their capacity to help individuals and families build their financial security and stability. The training was offered in partnership with the Iowa Department of Human Rights. The 94 participants in 46 counties included professionals with the FaDSS program and additional participants from several community action agencies. After the program, 97% of participants agreed the training was effective, 93% found the content relevant, and 99% felt prepared to use the materials afterward.
  • At the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children Fall Institute, the early literacy team presented information about Human Sciences programs offered in Spanish, including Small Talk and Our Bookshelf. The presentation was offered in Spanish and 18 Spanish-speaking childcare providers attended and were engaged in the session. Another presentation featured Building Resilience with Storybooks with 60 participants. They were encouraged to seek out the training locally.
  • Five members of the EFNEP and SNAP-Ed team participated in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

4-H Youth Development

  • Youth in grades 8-12 from across Iowa have been participating in the year-long 4-H Career Pathways Academy program. They are exploring opportunities for higher education and careers in education, healthcare, agriculture, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), skilled trades and entrepreneurship. The academy kicked off in June at the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference on the Iowa State University campus. Since then, 40 youth participants from across Iowa have been engaging each month in the college and career exploration program.
  • Fifty-eight caring adults (18 Iowa 4-H and extension staff and partners plus 40 others from 15 states) participated in the virtual mindfulness facilitator training. This brings the total of trained, caring adults to over 300 in the last few years.
  • Several Iowa 4-H professionals were recognized by the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals for their impactful contributions to Iowa youth.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic has welcomed two new diagnosticians who will help diagnose plant and insect issues found in Iowa. Zach Schumm is an insect diagnostician and Chelsea Harbach is a plant disease diagnostician. Learn more about the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic and the services it provides.
  • “Together We Lead” is the theme of the sixth annual Women in Ag Leadership Conference November 29-30 in Ames. Farmland management, discovering your leadership strengths, and gaining and sharing wisdom through mentoring are a few of the topics to be covered.
  • The ISU Extension and Outreach dairy team will host its annual Dairy Discussions Seminar on Thursday, December 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office in Orange City. This year’s focus is on cybersecurity issues for food producers including farmers, manufacturers and processors.

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. CED continues its collaboration with the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Community Development Block Grant technical assistance fund, and in November is conducting RHRA workshops for Fairfield, Albia, and Waukon.
  • Iowa League of Cities Budget Workshops review important factors that affect city budgets while helping attendees understand the state requirements for completing and filing the budget. The workshops are designed for city administrators, city clerks, and finance officers, but are open to all city officials. CED specialist Erin Mullenix will be an advanced track speaker for workshops in Harlan, North Liberty, Humboldt, Charles City, West Des Moines, and virtually.
  • The Iowa’s Living Roadways annual celebration was November 3 in Ames. Community concept designs for the 2022 Community Visioning Program were on display, while the recently selected 2023 visioning communities participated in a local geography mapping session.

October 2022 program update

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.

Human Sciences

  • 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.

September 2022 program update

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • USDA’s National Organic Program has provided support for an Iowa State University research farm to be featured in a video highlighting organic inspection. Neely-Kinyon Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm, located in Greenfield, is the featured farm, and ISU Extension and Outreach staff will showcase the farm’s Long-Term Agroecological Research experiment.
  • Fifteen Iowans have been named New Voices in Water Quality for their commitment to advancing conversations, taking action, and advocating for water quality improvements that benefit all Iowans during the past 10 years. The winners will be recognized at an awards luncheon hosted by Iowa State’s Conservation Learning Group in October.
  • The Iowa Drinking Water Survey shows a stark risk of exposure to potentially unhealthy drinking water. Risk profiles were compiled based on recent testing, use of reverse osmosis filters, and use of supplemental water sources. The survey was conducted by the Conservation Learning Group and the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Iowa League of Cities is hosting its Annual Conference and Exhibit September 28-30 in Waterloo. CED local government specialist Erin Mullenix will be staffing/facilitating and moderating this in-person and virtual event. CED will have an informational booth in the exhibit hall.
  • CED now offers their Grant Writing 201 training for experienced grant writers who want to hone their skills. It’s a follow-up to CED’s Grant Writing 101, a workshop for beginners. CED staff piloted Grant Writing 201 workshops in Greene County in November 2021 and in Webster County in May 2022. A third workshop, sponsored by the ISU Extension and Outreach offices in Dallas, Polk, and Story counties, is scheduled for September 27 in Adel. In September Grant Writing 101 will be offered in person for Montgomery County and virtually for Dallas, Story, and Polk counties.

    CED specialists do not recommend scheduling Grant Writing 201 as a stand-alone program. Rather, county offices and other organizations should schedule the more advanced workshop shortly after hosting Grant Writing 101. The sponsorship fee for a Grant Writing 201 workshop is $1,500. In addition to identifying when and where the workshop will be presented, the sponsor of the workshop can decide whether/how much to charge participants to recoup part or all the sponsorship fee. The sponsorship fee for a Grant Writing 101 workshop is $750.

Human Sciences

  • Iowa Concern Hotline partners with several Midwestern states to answer calls from their residents as part of a grant award. In Wisconsin, Iowa Concern is called the Farmer Wellness Helpline. The value of this service was recognized in an unsolicited testimonial shared on the “Women in Agriculture” Facebook group: “Between prices, drought and death loss we’ve been having a heck of a year. It’s been really tough on me. … We can’t afford counseling in town … I called this line looking for help. It’s the first time I’ve felt like I might be able to get some tools to deal with the stress and pull myself out.”
  • Three Mental Health First Aid training programs were provided to 72 Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa staff across 20 counties in July and August.
  • A pilot collaboration with Amerigroup provided Latinos Living Well (LLW) to Latinos residing in seven select counties. The team delivered five LLW offerings from Fall 2021 through June 2022. Thirty individuals completed the four-week program. Participants reported making lifestyle changes (90.3%), making LLW recipes at home (74.2%), and being more physical active (80.6%). The potential health care savings over a three-year period for those who completed LLW is $39,270.

4-H Youth Development

  • 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 throughout the state and in their local counties this year.
  • This year, 24 youth from across Iowa showcased their innovative ideas during InventSTEM at the Iowa State Fair. Developed in partnership with Alliant Energy, InventSTEM has provided an opportunity to meet the rising demand for future professionals in science, technology, engineering, and math, helping young people improve their skills as they explore the importance of STEM in everyday life.
  • With funding from Google.org, National 4-H Council will increase the reach of the Computer Science Career Pathways program for students from rural and under-resourced communities who have had minimal computer science education. The new grant will help teach young people through in-person 4-H programs and online resources.
  • This year at the Iowa State Fair 213 youth from 63 Iowa counties participated in ISU Extension and Outreach skillathons for dairy, meat goat, sheep and swine. Skillathons teach youth life skills like decision making, critical thinking, and communication, as well as animal husbandry and the science and math involved with raising an animal.

August 2022 program update

4-H Youth Development

  • Planning and promotion continue for the upcoming youth-adult mindfulness and mental well-being retreat September 23-25. Dr. Dzung Vo will lead a short virtual workshop at the retreat. Dr. Vo is the author of “The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time” (the book our 4-H Mindful Teen program is based on) and is an adolescent medicine specialist at British Columbia Children’s Hospital and clinical associate professor with the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine.
  • The State 4-H Council wrapped up their 5th annual Pop Tabs for Jacy collection at the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. Jacy McAlexander was a former State Council member who passed away from cancer in 2018 at the age of 17 while serving on the 2017-18 Council. This year’s council had a goal to collect 1,000 pounds or 10 pounds from each of the 100 extension county districts in Iowa. With the help of the counties, the State 4-H Council collected nearly 2,700 pounds of tabs, which equals just over $1,000. All of these tabs will go to the Ronald McDonald Houses in Iowa where Jacy and his family spent over 300 nights and support Jacy’s passion for serving others and giving back.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Attorneys and professional tax preparers can get an update on the latest agricultural law and tax changes at this year’s Agricultural Law Seminar and Farm Tax Workshop, to be held in person and online Sept. 21-22. The Agricultural Law Seminar includes a look at what lies ahead for agriculture, rural property and zoning updates, foreign ownership of farmland, legal issues impacting livestock production, a pipeline update, and more. The Farm Tax Workshop will cover the taxation of conservation payments, retiring a farm partner, charitable contribution options for farmers, a legislative and regulatory update, and more.
  • The recent spread of African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic emphasizes the importance of foreign animal disease preparedness, including proper biosecurity measures to aid in reducing the risk of introducing a foreign animal disease. The Iowa Pork Industry Center, ISU Extension and Outreach, and Iowa Pork Producers Association have teamed up to provide five workshops throughout the state. The Foreign Animal Disease Preparation for Pork Producers workshops focus on the “next steps” in FAD preparedness at the farm level. Five workshops are set in August and September.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshop is a three-hour session designed to introduce the basic principles of land use planning and development management to elected officials, planning and zoning officials, and board of adjustment members without formal training in the subjects. During August CED specialists will be conducting workshops at Fairfax, Bettendorf, and Wahpeton.
  • The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment helps communities self-assess their housing needs and guides them in the decision-making process when addressing those needs. CED continues its collaboration with the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Community Development Block Grant technical assistance fund, conducting RHRA workshops for Albia, Columbus Junction, and Wapello. CED specialists will also introduce representatives from Emmetsburg to the RHRA process in August.
  • Essentials of ArcGIS Pro explores the new, easy-to-use features in Esri’s ArcGIS Pro software suite. ArcGIS Pro is an all-in-one solution for the editing, visualization, query, analysis, and management of maps and spatial data. This two-day course is intended for both new and experienced users of geographic information systems. Experience using Windows-based applications is highly recommended. During August CED specialists will teach this workshop in Ames.

Human Sciences

SNAP-Ed healthy food access specialists support food pantries in making healthy choices easier for their shoppers, including helping to secure funding. In April, Judy Dittmar shared an Iowa DNR grant opportunity with her partner pantries that struggle to keep perishable foods on hand due to storage limitations. These food storage capacity grants (up to $8,000) typically are used to buy refrigerators, freezers, and shelving. Two of her partner pantries received funding.

  • Ridgewood Apartments in Akron (Plymouth County), an income-based complex for older adults and individuals with disabilities, offers an on-site pantry for residents. They partner with Food Bank for Siouxland for food but had no cold storage except a small refrigerator/freezer in the community kitchen. This was limiting ability to store frozen meat and protein items that provide vital nutrients for older adults. They received funding and now have an energy-efficient freezer to hold pantry foods.
  • Together, Inc., a Council Bluffs Pantry (Pottawattamie County) was awarded $8,000 for the purchase of additional shelving and freezers. The shelving provides space to display fresh produce in a way that is attractive and within reach of all clients. Energy-efficient new freezers will increase storage capacity, decrease waste, and ensure reliability.

July 2022 program update

Human Sciences and Agriculture and Natural Resources

Growing Together Iowa has received $20,000 from Amerigroup, a leading managed care company. This gift marks the second year of support for Growing Together Iowa provided by Amerigroup. The gift is supporting this statewide initiative that will provide approximately 90,000 pounds of fresh produce to area food pantries. Growing Together Iowa combines extension expertise in nutrition education, horticulture, and food safety with a network of ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener volunteers to develop community donation gardens throughout the state. Fresh fruits and vegetables are grown, harvested, and donated to local food pantries.

Human Sciences

  • An Iowan who works at a nonprofit shared their motivation for taking the Remote Work Certificate Course: “Throughout the pandemic, our staff learned how to be flexible working from home. However, when the office opened up and staff started returning to work, it became clear that we needed to set some guidelines for staff who choose to work remotely. Our [supervisor] suggested that staff who want to continue to have the flexibility to work from home would need to complete the [Remote Work Certificate] course. Because of this course, I will be able to work a hybrid schedule where I will have the ability to work in the office as well as at home.”
  • The “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy.” program helps individuals with limited incomes build skills and knowledge to make healthy choices easier. A Linn County nutrition educator worked with teachers of English as a Second Language at Kirkwood Community College to integrate the nutrition lessons into their English classes. The students were able to learn and practice new words and phrases about food and health. They enjoyed the opportunity to talk about food and how many of their favorite foods could be part of a healthy diet. This partnership resulted in enrolling 46 participants, with 26 completing and graduating from the program.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • 4R Plus, a science-based framework designed to guide improved nutrient management among farmers, is promoted by a coalition of more than 50 public and private agricultural stakeholders and non-governmental conservation organizations. A recent report from the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll indicates that the initiative is having a positive impact. The approach is called 4R Plus because its core principles all start with the term “right”: the right source of fertilizers, applied at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place.
  • A Life Cycle Assessment is a holistic approach to analyzing the cumulative environmental impacts of different phases of swine production, in a manner that’s easily understood by producers and consumers. A new fact sheet from the Iowa Pork Industry Center and ISU Extension and Outreach looks at three LCAs for the U.S. swine industry, focused on carbon emissions, land occupation, and water usage.
  • Nearly 360 women landowners in Iowa shared their experiences on owning and operating farmland in a recent survey by ISU Extension and Outreach. A majority of women are interested in information about landowner responsibilities, the economics of farmland ownership, crop production costs, and determining the right rental rates.

4-H Youth Development

  • The SWITCH program just wrapped up its sixth year in 41 schools reaching over 2,500 youth in grades 4-8. Schools highlight how the resources and support from Iowa State University and 4-H Youth Development have helped them advance school wellness changes to enhance the well-being of their students and the learning environment of their schools. New program resources are being added this year that will focus on heart health, oral health, mental health, and school staff wellness.
  • The inaugural Career Pathways Academy launched during the Iowa 4-H Conference June 28-30 with approximately 65 youth in grades 8-11 from 26 counties registered. The youth participated in a combination of activities and workshops with other state conference delegates, as well as participating in Career Pathways Academy-specific experiences. Following a virtual workshop later this summer, in-person Find Your Spark Workshops will be held monthly in various regions throughout the state in partnership with a job site or a two-year or four-year college/university and supported by 4-H AmeriCorps members. Youth will have the opportunity to discover, explore, and engage in experiential learning experiences related to agriculture, education, entrepreneurship, healthcare, skilled trades, and STEAM.

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2021 Community Visioning Program is entering the design phase of the process, having completed community assessments in spring. In July, Stanton and Farragut will work on goal setting. The two communities also will participate in design workshops, as will Riverside, Aplington, and Shell Rock.
  • 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 July, CED specialists will conduct strategic planning for the Wayland Community Childcare Board and the United Way Great River Region board members and staff in Keokuk.
  • The annual Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute and Academy will take place July 18-21 and July 27-29, respectively. This is a targeted training for more than 200 city clerks, finance officers, and other city staff to further professionalism, knowledge, and efficiency in Iowa cities. All training in this venue qualifies for certification in the International Institute of Municipal Clerks as well as the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association certification program. MPI and MPA are coordinated by CED and the Iowa League of Cities, and several CED specialists will be teaching courses.

June 2022 program update

Community and Economic Development

  • CED’s Guide Training and Certification program is designed for staff and volunteers who lead guided programs at Iowa’s tourism attractions, including but not limited to museums, nature centers and conservation areas, historic sites, science centers, and agritourism. Participants learn methods and techniques for creating and delivering dynamic guided programs focused on adult visitors, including the unique needs of motorcoach and other travel groups. Those who complete the workshop have the option to receive Professional Guide Certification from Iowa State University. Certification is completed during a one-hour session at each individual’s place of work or an Iowa location of his or her choice. During June, tourism specialist Diane Van Wyngarden will conduct Interpretive Guide Certification at the Mamie Eisenhower Birthplace, Boone; the Carnegie Library Museum, Perry; the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, Johnston; the Villages of Van Buren County; National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Museum, Knoxville; the Fossil and Prairie Center, Rockford; Visit Pella; and Council Bluffs.
  • Each summer, the Iowa League of Cities hosts Small City Workshops across the state. The topics and information presented at these workshops are geared toward the specific needs of Iowa’s small cities, although anyone is welcome to attend. This year’s workshops will be led by Iowa State University faculty who have been working with a group of small towns in Iowa to understand more about what makes people happy living in their rural communities and what efforts seem most successful at keeping people positive about quality of life and optimistic about the future. Erin Mullenix, Biswa Das, and Jennifer Drinkwater will be leading virtual sessions June 16, 22, and 27.

Human Sciences

  • A partnership with Sioux City’s Rosecrance Women and Children’s Center provided 32 individuals the opportunity to participate in Money Smart – Prioritizing Bills, Protecting Credit, and Managing Debt. Rosecrance is a leading provider of behavioral health services with a nationally recognized addiction treatment program. This effort included providing free national literacy tools. Materials sustain participants’ financial knowledge to prioritize expenses, develop short-term spending plans, and take consumer actions for bills they cannot pay in full or on time. Eighty-eight percent of the participants reported improved financial knowledge and skills.
  • On April 25, the first series of ¡Salir Adelante! Pathways to Our Future in Black Hawk County ended. The six-week series, for middle school youth and their families who speak Spanish, is focused on helping youth purse their educational goals. Each week, parents and youth meet separately for an hour and then together for an hour. Childcare and a meal are provided each week. Eight adults and eight youth (and many younger siblings using childcare) participated.
  • The ISU SNAP-Ed team participated in a USDA management evaluation May 2–11 with USDA’s Midwest Regional Office. The evaluation included a financial audit, program observations, partner gatherings, and review of program policies and procedures. Such evaluations happen every few years. The review team found no deficiencies and had no concerns. They complimented the partnerships that are behind our work, the efforts to increase service in rural areas, and the quality of our direct education. County employees from Story, Marshall, and Cerro Gordo were observed teaching as part of the review. They also complimented how well prepared our team was for the review.

4-H Youth Development

  • Iowa State’s College of Design, in collaboration with 4-H Youth Development, offers an immersive summer experience that provides youth with a sense of what it is like to be a student in the college. Design Dimensions, June 19-24 on-campus, focuses on 2D, 3D, and 4D thinking across disciplines. The camp is appropriate for students interested in all programs offered by the college: architecture, studio/fine arts, community and regional planning, graphic design, interior design, industrial design and landscape architecture. The camp is for students entering grades 9-12, as well as 2022 high school graduates.
  • The Iowa AmeriCorps 4-H Outreach program is accepting host site applications for the 2022-2023 program year until June 10. Government, faith-based, nonprofit, or community-based organizations that focus on youth programming are encouraged to apply. Iowa AmeriCorps 4-H service members build capacity, helping their host organization bring new youth curriculum to their community or deliver current programming to new youth audiences. They spearhead community and organizational efforts to provide youth with positive development experiences through youth-adult partnerships and research-based experiences.
  • Nineteen youth from five teams participated in the State Wildlife Habitat Education Program Competition on Saturday, May 21, at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge east of Des Moines. 4-H members tested their wildlife knowledge in a friendly competition, working in teams of three to four. This year’s competition focused on the tallgrass prairie and urban ecoregions and species.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Nine new summary reports from Iowa State’s Research and Demonstration Farms are now available. The reports can be downloaded from the Extension Store and are also available at research farm field days and association meetings. They contain summary articles about crop and livestock research, including row crops, small grains, forages, specialty crops, and other research being conducted across the state. The information is used by farmers, seed companies, veterinarians, and nutritionists – essentially anyone who is involved with agriculture.
  • This fall Master Gardener training will be offered in 66 counties. Iowans wishing to complete Master Gardener training register with their county extension office, participate in online learning modules, and attend at least four in-person training sessions organized by their county office. After completing the course, Master Gardener interns complete a 40-hour internship in their training county, sharing their knowledge and skills with the community. Applicants have from June 3 until July 8 to apply for the fall session. Training begins August 22.
  • The most recent annual survey of cash rental rates for Iowa farmland showed that rates increased an average of 10.3% in 2022, to $256 per acre. This is the third consecutive and largest uptick in cash rents since 2013. The survey was based on 1,401 responses from farmers, landowners, professional farm managers and realtors, agricultural lenders, and others with knowledge of cash rents for farmland. They supplied information based on their best judgments about typical cash rental rates for high, medium, and low-quality cropland in their counties, as well as for land devoted to production of hay, oat, and pasture. Information about rents for individual farms was not collected.

May 2022 program update

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • ISU Extension and Outreach has recently partnered with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Dairy Extension and Alltech to develop a free, online dairy training program that is available in both English and Spanish. “The Bilingual Training and Education Program to Improve Practices That Affect Milk Quality” has been designed to help dairy farm employees better understand the how’s and why’s of handling and milking cows.
  • Farm operators need to drive defensively and remain alert every second they are on the road. Steven Freeman, professor in agricultural systems and bioengineering, offers important safety information for moving farm equipment on public roads. Additional information is available in the ISU Extension and Outreach publication “Safely Sharing the Road with Farm Vehicles.”
  • The Conservation Learning Group recently published “What to Expect: Establishing Prairie Vegetation on Your Farm,” an infographic for farmers and landowners about the process and benefits of creating perennial vegetation areas that aid in soil health and water quality improvement and offer habitat for a diversity of wildlife. A key message of this infographic is to encourage consultation with one of the many experts in Iowa who understand the process and timeline for prairie establishment.

Community and Economic Development

  • To better support diversity, equity, and inclusion needs from clients, CED has expanded its menu of options to include programs that will provide cultural competency education and coaching. For this effort CED has chosen the Intercultural Development Inventory, the world’s premier cross-cultural assessment program. The objectives of IDI are to help participants and organizations understand the importance of cultural competency; to assess participants’ levels of cultural competency and help them learn the skills needed to be able to be part of their own organization’s DEI goals in a confidential way; and assess the organization’s levels of cultural competency and determine how to set measurable goals for growth that will translate in higher efficiency and better communication. CED will facilitate an IDI group session for the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation on May 19.
  • The 2022 Community Visioning Program completed community assessment work in April and local steering committees are reviewing the assessment data provided by the ISU research team. In May, assessment reviews were conducted in Dunlap and Logan.

Human Sciences

  • During federal FY 2021, the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. mobile app had 2,510 active users and the website had 116,560 total users; 64% of website users are age 18-44 and 66% of website users identify as female. Most users access the website in English. However, 1,260 used the live translation feature, with most translations to Chinese and Spanish. Forty-two percent of users access the website via a mobile device.
  • Dr. Catheryn Hockaday led a four-day Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 facilitator training with South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence board members and staff. Drs. Hockaday and Doug Coatsworth also presented to the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use about universal prevention programs that work with SFP 10-14 in South Africa.
  • The Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal selected Dr. Suzanne Bartholomae as the 2021 recipient of the Best Paper in Personal Finance and Consumer Economics for her article, “Rural healthcare providers’ perceptions of patient financial well-being and integrating financial capability services.” She will be honored at the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Annual Conference June 25-27 in Orlando, Florida.

4-H Youth Development

  • For the past five years, people across Iowa have been collecting the tabs off their pop cans to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House and honor former 4-H member Jacy McAlexander, who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer in 2018. The 2021-22 State 4-H Council is continuing this statewide service effort, called Pop Tabs for Jacy. The goal is to collect 1,000 pounds of pop tabs or 10 pounds from each Iowa county extension district by the 2022 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, June 28-30. Anyone wishing to donate pop tabs on Jacy’s behalf can drop them off at their ISU Extension and Outreach county office or deliver them to any of the three Ronald McDonald House locations in Iowa.
  • 4-H state STEM specialist Sara Nelson is serving as interim director of the NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium, part of NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. The consortium supports aerospace research, education, and outreach activities for all Iowans with NASA internships, fellowships, and scholarships, competitions for grants within higher education members, as well as informal education grants with outreach affiliates.

April 2022 program update

4-H Youth Development

  • Iowa 4-H members practiced and tested their leadership, communications, and college and career readiness skills as they participated in the annual State 4-H Recognition Day interviews March 27 at Iowa State University. This statewide event, held each spring, is the culmination of the year’s recognition process.
  • 4-H Youth Development is seeking 13 Iowa families to host 12 Japanese youth delegates and one Japanese adult chaperone this summer as part of the States’ 4-H Exchange program. This program is designed to focus on daily life in Iowa households. Through 4-H International Programs, youth and adults have opportunities to build global citizenship as they connect with others from around the world.
  • During the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa, 398 junior and senior high-school students from across the state competed for prizes, awards and scholarships valued at over $75,000. Winners are now listed on the SSTFI website’s awards page. The competition for youth in grades 6-12 addresses the Next Generation Science Standards’ call for students to create scientific research using the practices of science and engineering, including critical thinking and communication skills.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The 2022 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey includes 122 responses and nearly 3,400 custom rates for tasks related to tillage, planting and seeding, spraying, harvesting, farm labor, and more. Most custom rates saw an increase of 3-10%, and the cost for labor increased almost 14%, according to Alejandro Plastina, associate professor in economics and extension economist, and an author of the report. Plastina said the survey information is meant to be a starting point for farmers and agribusiness to engage in conversations and negotiations.
  • Rob Davis, the new water quality measurement coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach, will help with the ongoing effort to make the data and other resources of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy more interactive and available online. Progress made toward the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals has been reported by the strategy management team since 2014. To facilitate public access to data, a web-based dashboard went live in 2021. Three additional measurable indicators – inputs, human, and water – will be implemented in 2022 and 2023.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Municipal Leadership Academy provides elected municipal officials with a curriculum to assist them in effectively meeting the requirements of their office. The program offers a comprehensive overview of Iowa municipal government and is presented by the Iowa League of Cities and Community and Economic Development. Topics covered during the series include city finance and budgeting, meeting procedures, municipal law, economic development, ethics and fraud prevention, nuisance abatement, personnel issues, and land use and zoning. Part three of the training is designed for those looking for more in-depth information on the challenges facing cities. Like any MLA session, this training is appropriate for newly elected or veteran city officials as well as appointed city officials. In April MLA Part Three is being offered in Iowa City, Emmetsburg, Red Oak, and Des Moines, as well as one virtual session on April 21.
  • A statewide Guide Training Workshop, April 26 in Johnston, features practical tips and techniques for creating and delivering dynamic guided programs, with a focus on adult visitors. This program was designed especially for staff and volunteers who lead guided programs at Iowa’s diverse attractions, including parks and conservation areas, museums, downtown walking tours, historic sites, agritourism, retail and industry tours, and city leaders who provide community tours to prospective new residents.

Human Sciences

  • Farm and Ranch Wellness: Meeting Local Needs is a collaborative project between ISU Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, funded by USDA. This project was developed to strengthen local outreach consultations to individuals engaged in farming and their advocates regarding available key stress assistance programs. Since October 2021, this project has provided 1,142 on-to-one direct consultations to agribusiness related organizations and 4,487 indirect group consultations and has distributed 10,575 farm stress related resource publications.
  • ISU SNAP-Ed helps Table to Table, a nonprofit food rescue in Iowa City, fund increased service during the growing season to increase access to fruits and vegetables in Southeast Iowa food pantries. During this past growing season, Table to Table partnered with 9 farms, 30+ gardeners, and 40 businesses to collect 555,102 pounds of fruits, vegetables, and dairy. ISU SNAP-Ed was a partner in the launch and scale-up of their gleaning initiative, which represents 37,000 pounds of this harvest. Table to Table is confident they can now sustain the increased produce rescue during the growing season without funding support from SNAP-Ed. In 2022, the partnership will transition to support training for emergency food service organizations on creating supportive, respectful environments for shoppers.

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