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.
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.
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.
- 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.