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.
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.
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.
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.
The Mental Health First Aid team, led by David Brown and Demi Johnson, receive frequent requests to offer private Adult or Youth Mental Health First Aid classes to local organizations and groups. So far this fiscal year, classes have been offered to the Polk County Jail, Iowa Childcare Resource and Referral, ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, Hawkeye Community College, ISU Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Muscatine County Sheriff’s Department, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, University of Northern Iowa Center for Urban Education, and Polk County/Regional fire and police dispatchers. As a result, 168 participants are newly certified in Mental Health First Aid and are better prepared to respond to individuals struggling with mental health or substance use issues.
Dawn Dunnegan, family wellbeing specialist in southeast Iowa, provides Question, Persuade, Refer training for multiple audiences and reports two recent successes. Fourteen individuals with the Washington County Police Department were trained. While several indicated their knowledge of facts concerning suicide and local resources as “low” before the training, all reported their knowledge as “medium” or “high” after the training. ISU Extension and Outreach Jefferson County staff found a supporter to help fund their training, with 27 individuals from Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, and Davis counties in attendance. The participants included teachers, faith-based leaders, health care workers, courthouse employees, 4-H volunteers, Boy Scout volunteers, law enforcement, licensed therapists, and parents.
4-H Youth Development
Junior and senior high-school students from across the state will compete for prizes, awards, and scholarships during the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa on March 24-25. The event is the largest STEM competition for youth in grades 6-12 and will be hosted in person at Hilton Coliseum on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. Participants learn about science and engineering processes, problem solving, and the importance of being able to communicate and defend those findings to others. They prepare a research poster detailing their findings and the data collected. Students, teachers, families, and members of the public are invited to view the exhibits and ask the youth questions about their projects. This year’s competition will see the return of youth-led educational seminars.
Staff from across the state have been participating in “Real Money. Real World.” trainings, gaining tools to use this financial literacy curriculum with youth in grades 7-12 in their communities. The program includes four classroom lessons to prepare students to assume the role of a 27-year-old adult who is the primary income provider for a family. They receive an occupation, monthly salary, and number of children they are raising. Youth participants learn to subtract savings, taxes, and other deductions from their monthly income. Their balance will then prepare them for spending decisions during the simulation phase of the program.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
In a recent episode of the Small Farm Sustainability Podcast, Yuko Sato, ISU Extension and Outreach poultry veterinarian and associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses how good biosecurity practices can help prevent outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry. If farmers suspect an outbreak within their poultry, the first step is to contact the state veterinarian or USDA. Early detection is key to controlling outbreaks, so farmers should not hesitate to reach out. The second step is to isolate to prevent further infection. ISU Extension and Outreach has a variety of resources available to poultry farmers regarding avian influenza and biosecurity.
Upcoming in-person classes through ISU Extension and Outreach will teach those hoping to sell wild-harvested mushrooms in the state to distinguish safe mushrooms from potentially poisonous lookalikes. To legally sell wild harvested mushrooms in the state, mushroom harvesters must complete a certification workshop every three years.
Research trials have documented that viruses relevant to the swine industry can survive in feed ingredients and complete feed for transcontinental (23 day) and transoceanic (30 and 37 day) shipping. As biosecurity awareness and protocols have increased for animals, people, and equipment, feed and feed ingredients may also be routes of virus transmission to be managed. A new fact sheet from Iowa Pork Industry Center, “Feed Additives to Mitigate the Risk of Virus-contaminated Feed,” focuses on three research papers that evaluated compounds to mitigate virus-contaminated feed.
Community and Economic Development
The 2022 Community Visioning Program includes a transportation assets and barriers workshop in client communities to provide local decision makers a framework within which to make informed choices. In March, transportation assets and barriers workshops are set for Dunlap, Logan, and West Branch.
The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment 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 the creation of local housing policy that is appropriate for the needs and desires of a community. During March, CED specialists will be conducting RHRA workshops in Centerville, Knoxville, Sibley, Ocheyedan, Keota, Columbus Junction, and Ashton.
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 March CED specialists will conduct strategic planning for the Black Hawk County Fair Board, St. Luke Lutheran Home Skilled Nursing Home in Spencer, the Oneota Community Co-op Board in Decorah, and the Greenfield Chamber and Economic Development Corporation.
CED’s Geospatial Technology Program is offering a completely revamped Esri workshop for ArcGIS Pro for a variety of audiences. Over two days participants will be introduced to the essentials of ArcGIS Pro, including its interface, basic geoprocessing tools, and map-making essentials. This offering also includes a one-year student subscription to ArcGIS Pro. The first workshop will take place in Ames February 17–18.
CED specialists delivered “Parliamentary Procedures,” Introduction to Planning and Zoning training, and “Principles of Effective Management” at the Municipal Professionals Institute 2022 Winter Session virtually February 9–11. Each year, MPI provides Iowa clerks and finance officers with training that gives them the basic framework of how municipalities function and assists them with their day-to-day duties.
The food systems team is hosting the 8th Community Food Systems Annual Event February 24-25 at the West Des Moines Marriott. The conference highlights best practices around the nation in all community food systems areas. Presentations will focus on impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and will discuss strategies for moving food systems forward.
Carol Ehlers, family wellbeing specialist, has served on the state Women in Ag Committee since 2019. During this time, Carol worked to create an updated curriculum for Annie’s Project programs that could be presented by family wellbeing specialists. In January, Carol presented the final product – Benchmarking Family Living Expenses in Agriculture – to family wellbeing and farm management specialists. The family wellbeing specialists are now trained to teach a consistent class for the Annie’s Project programs across the state.
Dr. Suzanne Bartholomae, Carolyn Steckelberg, and Barb Wollan are extending Human Sciences expertise to ISU employees. They are offering new financial wellbeing resources to ISU employees in partnership with University Human Resources and the wellness program. FINRA, the financial industry regulatory authority, is providing partial funding. Barb Wollan, family wellbeing specialist, has been teaching the one-hour virtual workshops: Time for a Financial Checkup (January), Money Smart: Taking Control of Your $ (February), Mission Possible: Savings (March), and Borrowing Smart (March).
4-H Youth Development
Iowa 4-H has interviewed and selected three collegiate students across Iowa to participate in the IFYE program in summer 2022. (IFYE formerly was known as International 4-H Youth Exchange.) These students will spend two to six months abroad with host families as they dive into a new culture and way of life. They will broaden their global awareness as they learn by doing. They’ll join in all aspects of family life – sharing quiet moments, enjoying family outings, and joining community activities as well as helping with household and family chores.
Seventy-three Iowa 4-H teenagers had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with their state legislators on Feb. 10 during the Iowa Legislative Insider at the Iowa State Capitol. The Iowa Extension Council Association offered the event in partnership with the 4-H Youth Development program. Youth participants were able to connect with their county extension council members, who served as mentors during the event, as well as meet members of the Iowa House of Representatives and Senate to discuss issues affecting youth.
Agriculture and Natural Resource
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced a $1.2 million award to fund a high-clearance robotic irrigation system that will eventually be used in Iowa. The project, which aligns nutrient application timing to a crop’s nutrient needs to improve efficiency and reduce nutrient loss, is a collaborative of Iowa State University, the 360 Yield Center, and The Ohio State University. Engineers with ISU Extension and Outreach are directly involved with the project.
Crop farmers have until March 15 to make their annual election for Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage (at the individual or county levels) under the 2018 Farm Bill. This annual decision impacts the 2022 crop year, consistent with the 2018 Farm Bill. Similar annual decisions, for the 2023 crop year, will coincide with the final year of the bill. To help Iowans understand their options for 2022, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is holding a variety of upcoming meetings, with support from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
Human Sciences and Agriculture and Natural Resources
In 2022 a record number of communities across Iowa are slated to receive Growing Together Mini-Grants through ISU Extension and Outreach’s SNAP-Education program. A total of 36 projects are being funded, with the goal of increasing food security and promoting healthy food access. Master Gardener volunteers plant donation gardens with partners, support their community with plant-a-row programs to get more produce into food pantries, and glean fresh produce from farmers markets and home gardeners. All produce is donated to local food pantries, food banks and other food distribution sites.
CropsTV is returning for a second season. 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. The Season 2 program features 30 episodes covering a variety of crop management, pest management, nutrient management, and soil and water management topics. Topics were selected from the Integrated Crop Management Conference, Crop Advantage series, and some are exclusive to CropsTV. All episodes will be available for subscribers to view on-demand.
The Women in Ag Program is offering six educational courses throughout the state: Women Planning Ag Businesses; Managing for Today and Tomorrow – Farm Transition Planning; Women Managing Horses; Women Managing Crops; Annie’s Project farm business management; and Advanced Grain Marketing for Women. The farm management team is leading courses in nine locations in Iowa this winter. Courses are offered through a network of extension educators, including statewide equine and other specialists as well as county-based professionals.
Community and Economic Development
Marketing Hometown America has been successfully used by Cooperative Extension programs in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and now ISU Extension and Outreach to help rural communities retain their quality of life and market the value of rural places by teaching them to home in on what people are looking for when they choose a place to live and do business. In January community and economic development specialists will be conducting MHA train-the-trainer sessions for extension educators in Buena Vista and Cass counties.
Navigating Difference was developed by Washington State University Extension and enables participants to create a safe and welcoming environment for all learners with activities that respect and support individual learning styles. In January community and economic development staff will be conducting virtual Navigating Difference for the IMPACT Social Action Agency in Des Moines and United Way of Central Iowa.
Dawn Dunnegan, family wellbeing specialist, collaborated with Child Care Resource & Referral, Early Childhood Iowa, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Des Moines County Conservation, and ISU Extension and Outreach Des Moines County to deliver a Growing Up Wild for early learners training. Sixteen individuals (preschool and early elementary teachers, daycare center providers, and in-home childcare providers) gathered at Starr’s Cave Nature and Education Center for the four-hour workshop. They were introduced to the curriculum, shared outdoor experiences, and learned about resources. Participants indicated they would use the activities and plans to support active outdoor play.
Jill Weber and Amy Jones, food and health specialists, delivered Latinos Living Well in Waterloo. They connected with the ACES clinic (affiliated with Allen College), Black Hawk County Public Health, YMCA, Iowa Workforce Development, and Rosario Garcia (translator) to market and reach potential participants. The ACES clinic provided weekly gas cards and gift cards for fresh produce for the participants. Eight women participated in the series of four classes, learning about diabetes self-management, lifestyle changes, and health-promoting behaviors that support reduced type 2 diabetes risk and complications.
4-H Youth Development
Iowa PBS has invited 4-H Reporters to engage in Crafts from the Past that focus on teaching a lost art form. Filming begins in January and highlights the following crafts: felting, paper quilling, arranging/foraging dried flowers, making homemade ramen noodles, woodworking, and tatting. Iowa 4-H Reporters will get behind-the-scenes access during Iowa PBS studio filming and partner with them to create additional content. 4-H Reporters have the option to find local craftspeople in their communities and create articles, audio interviews, Instagram reels, or short videos.
The State 4-H Council has wrapped up their statewide service project. With the help of our 100 county offices, they met and exceeded their original 2,000 item goal by collecting 2,252 winter clothing items. These items were all donated within local communities to organizations in need, such as Youth Shelter Services in Story County, Afghan immigrant families in Polk County, Christian Needs Center in Plymouth County, Helping Services in Winneshiek County, and a women’s rehab center in Marion County.
Ricochet: An Extreme 4-H Leadership Adventure has been nationally peer-reviewed and accepted by National 4-H Council. The Ricochet team presented at NAE4-HYPD in November and will work through the next steps of having Ricochet available on Shop4H. To purchase the Ricochet curriculum, visit the Extension Store.
Join this year’s State 4-H Council and guests as they dive into Iowa 4-H topics and program areas during CloverCast Season 3. The youth-led podcast initiative is available on Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcast, and other sources.
Iowa 4-H is partnering with States’ 4-H International Exchange program to offer international exchange opportunities for 4-H members age 12-18. The States’ 4-H Exchange program offers American youth an opportunity to travel to other countries for a cultural immersion experience. Outbound delegates live with volunteer host families in those countries and engage in experiential learning about a new way of life. Delegates experience aspects of daily life that allow them to better understand both their host culture and their own culture. Iowa 4-H and States’ 4-H Exchange are accepting applications from current 4-H youth, ages 12-18, who would like to travel abroad and also from those interested in being a host family for Japanese youth for summer 2022. Deadline to apply online is January 15. All States’ 4-H Exchange inbound and outbound programs are subject to change based on COVID-19 regulations in participating countries at time of travel.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Iowa Learning Farms is offering a new series of in-person social outreach events aimed at engaging farmers in informal conversations about conservation topics that may be on their minds. “Coffee and Conservation” and “Conservation on Tap” debut in December, providing an informal venue for farmers to listen, share, and learn with peers and ISU Extension and Outreach professionals. There will be no formal presentations or agenda, just a chance to talk, ask questions, listen, and learn. The events are produced in collaboration with the Conservation Learning Group and ISU Extension and Outreach county offices.
Recognizing the many ways that stress impacts dairy farmers and the farming industry at large, extension dairy specialists have recently published a series of publications related to farm stress. Seven Farm and Family Stress Resources publications are available for free download, in addition to four Managing Farm Stress and Distress publications. The publications cover the varying levels of stress, how to prevent and cope with stress, and how to respond after stressful things happen.
Sixty-four counties will participate in the confinement site manure applicator workshops in January or February 2022. In addition, a series of six dry/solid manure applicator certification workshops will be held in February for either commercial or confinement site manure applicators. ISU Extension and Outreach offers the workshops in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The workshops serve as initial certification for those applicators who are not currently certified, recertification for those renewing licenses and continuing education for those applicators in their second or third year of their license.
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 the Office of State and Local Government Programs at ISU Extension and Outreach. During December MLA Part One will be offered at Atlantic, Clear Lake, Cherokee, Hiawatha, Des Moines, and virtually.
Leading Communities: A Place-based Leadership Program is designed to promote community engagement and increase capacity among community members for addressing common issues and problems. During December CED specialists will facilitate the program for Lyon County and Henry County and meet with a planning committee in O’Brien County.
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. Taking time annually as a group to prioritize and plan to move forward is vital for any government or nonprofit group. In December Aimee Viniard-Weideman will conduct the Cedar Falls City Council annual goal setting sessions. Viniard-Weideman and Julie Robison will cofacilitate strategic planning for the Oneota Food Co-op in Decorah.
Buena Vista County is first in the state to complete PhotoVoice for fall 2021. This educational offering is designed for those who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. The group took pictures centered on the theme of ability – what are they experiencing and ways they are “able.” The group noted their efforts reflect a deep understanding of the disease and, when shared, would raise awareness of the disease within their family and their networks. Stacie Hewett, Buena Vista County office/program coordinator, Renee Sweers, food and health specialist, and Carol Ehlers, family wellbeing specialist, led the group discussion that captured what the Parkinson’s group members saw and how they felt. Sessions 1 and 2 were completed with up to 12 group members, many of whom were a part of the “A Journey through Parkinson’s Disease” pilot. PhotoVoice is a blended workshop from ISU Extension and Outreach and the University of Iowa and is led by Iowa State’s Jel Lee and Elizabeth Stegemöller.
Thirty-eight human service providers in the Council Bluffs/Omaha metro area became trained suicide prevention gatekeepers during their annual fall training events. Sandra Nassen McKinnon, family wellbeing specialist, facilitated “Question. Persuade. Refer.” in partnership with the Human Services Advisory Council. Sail On and Fly High, a nonprofit, sponsored the training. Pre- and post- survey results indicated an increase in understanding facts and warning signs of suicide. A Human Services Advisory Council member was thankful she participated in the training, as she received a call the next day. The caller’s family member talked about suicide and the caller did not know what to do. The council member had the national suicide prevention lifeline number programmed into her phone, as was suggested in the training, and was able to direct the caller.
A member of the First Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant attended a ServSafe class in January 2021 taught by Sara Sprouse. In June, the individual completed the process of having the church kitchen certified and contacted Sara for a food safety training for volunteers. (The volunteers serve a spaghetti dinner in conjunction with the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, a major Iowa event.) Thirteen community members attended the training. There were many positive comments about the class and participants indicated they had learned strategies for providing safe food to the public. Sara now has a request to do another training for more members.
Human Sciences Extension and Outreach delivers ACT: Raising Safe Kids, an interactive violence prevention program developed by the American Psychological Association for parents of young children. One of the advantages of this program is that the materials are also available in Spanish. This past spring Rosa Gonzalez, a family wellbeing specialist, and Michelle Schott, Polk County family life extension educator, offered the nine-week series virtually to eight Spanish-speaking parents/caregivers in Des Moines. In evaluations, participants indicated they had learned how to calm themselves when they are angry, so their children can learn to control their own anger. They also indicated they had learned to find ways to discipline their children other than hitting or spanking.
4-H Youth Development
The Plant the Moon Challenge is a global science experiment and project-based-learning challenge to see who can grow the best crops using lunar or Martian regolith simulants. The team-based learning opportunity, with primary, secondary, college, and professional divisions, kicks-off in late February 2022 with experiments being conducted in March through April. Youth will partner with a current research scientist to design and execute their experiments. Iowa State University graduate students in plant science fields will communicate virtually with the teams they mentor to provide guidance throughout the program. The challenge is designed as a support to NASA’s Artemis program to connect space science and planetary research with down-to-earth concepts to introduce students to genuine, rigorous academic research. Teams must prepare and submit a report for NASA scientists by the end of April, and a closing symposium and awards ceremony will be held in May.
Over 75 school core team members and 4-H staff attended the SWITCH Conference at Iowa State on October 14. They learned to connect their School Wellness Policy with their SWITCH goals and experienced the PE, lunchroom, and classroom module activities. They participated in hands-on workshops and other activities and heard from panelists who have been involved with SWITCH. Core teams left with action plans on how to implement these activities in their programs beginning in January 2022.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The Integrated Crop Management Conference returns December 1-2, ready to provide agribusiness and producers information and research updates on the past growing season and tools to prepare for 2022. Now in its 32nd year, the annual event is hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State. This year’s conference will feature 34 workshops to choose from.
“Lead Like Someone Left the Gate Open” is the theme of the fifth Annual ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Leadership Conference. The event will be held November 29-30 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. Attendees will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with Iowa’s own world-class agricultural speaker, Jolene Brown. She’ll take conference participants through a special leadership journey with three presentations to help build a solid business foundation, while using personal passion and purpose to motivate and celebrate agrarian roots.
Community and Economic Development
On November 19, the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program will celebrate its 25th anniversary in Ames. Since its inception in 1996, the program has assisted more than 250 communities. At least two dozen of those communities gained so much from their first experience that they chose to go through the program a second time to tackle additional goals for their transportation system. Ninety-eight percent of communities that participate in the program complete at least one project. Many additional projects have emerged from the visions developed in collaboration between the designers and community members. Ten communities have been selected for the 2022 program.
CED is now piloting Grant Writing 201, a program for people who already have some grant writing experience but want to improve their skills and knowledge. Focus areas include identifying/documenting need, partnering with other organizations, budgets, evaluation, and finding grants. Jane Goeken and Lindsay Henderson will conduct Grant Writing 201 in Jefferson on November 15. The program is sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach Greene County and Grow Greene County. CED continues to offer Grant Writing 101. The three-hour, beginner-level program is intended for representatives of nonprofit organizations, local governments, and schools. The workshop covers topics such as challenges of seeking and using grant funding, project planning, identifying potential funders, parts of a grant application, and tips for success. Jane Goeken will present Grant Writing 101 in Lyon County on November 18.
Professional Guide Certification was created for staff and volunteers who lead guided programs at Iowa’s cities and tourism attractions, including museums, nature areas, agritourism, city tours, and historic sites. The one-day workshop features methods and techniques for creating and delivering dynamic guided programs, with a focus on adult visitors. During October, CED specialists will be conducting guide certification training in Jefferson County; Spencer – for Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, and Palo Alto counties; Fayette County; Mahaska County; Appanoose County; Madison County; Marion County; Hamilton County; Jasper County; Dallas and Story counties; and Polk County.
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. CED specialists will be conducting P&Z workshops in Sioux City and virtually to the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool in Johnston. In addition, Luke Seaberg and Gary Taylor will present Iowa Planning Law Updates at the Iowa American Planning Association’s annual conference in Des Moines.
Two pilots are underway for a new two-part training for child care professionals called Building Resilience with Storybooks. The training is designed to build interactive reading skills in the providers, who then apply these skills focused on supporting resilience in children. The project, in development for the last year, received the Innovative Program Grant through Excellence in Extension. Cindy Thompson led the first pilot in northeast Iowa with 12 professionals. Cheryl Clark is leading the second pilot in Des Moines with 16 childcare professionals registered. Cindy and Cheryl are family wellbeing specialists.
After teaching virtually during the 2020-2021 school year, EFNEP Kids in the Kitchen educators were able to engage in face-to-face classes this summer. Michelle Schubert in Cerro Gordo County taught seven groups reaching 136 youth. Forty-three youth graduated, which includes attending at least five of the seven sessions and completing a pre- and post- survey. In Black Hawk County, Sarah Tanis collaborated with the YMCA and taught four groups. She had 31 graduates. In Polk County, Cassie Odland taught five groups reaching 57 youth. Twenty of the participants were graduates.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has been awarded a $500,000 grant to expand farmer mental health support programs in Iowa. IDALS will partner with ISU Extension and Outreach to help raise awareness about mental health and wellness resources and help make them more accessible to farmers and rural communities. Through this grant, extension staff will offer community outreach and programming to individuals involved in agriculture and those who support them. ISU Extension and Outreach will also conduct facilitator training for programs focused on strengthening families. Farmer resource packets will be available with information on how to access stress assistance, wellness, and family finance programming.
4-H Youth Development
The 4-H Reporters this year created 546 video clips and 367 photographs at the State Fair. All that video footage was edited down into 13 finished videos that are shared on the Iowa 4-H YouTube channel. 4-H Reporters will continue their experience by covering a few upcoming events and county fairs next summer.
The Iowa AmeriCorps 4-H Outreach program hires and manages the gleaning coordinators for the Iowa Gleaning Network. which received the Outstanding Volunteer or National Service Program Award at the 2021 Iowa Nonprofit Summit Oct. 7. The Iowa Gleaning Network was established in April 2020 to help Iowa’s hunger relief organizations fill gaps in existing gleaning programs and assist with organizational needs illuminated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The gleaning coordinators lead volunteers to harvest from local farmers and gardeners, then distribute that food to local organizations who serve their communities in more than 29 counties, including all metropolitan areas in Iowa.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
The ISU Extension and Outreach dairy team has been proactive in bringing education to Spanish-speaking employees in the agricultural industry over the past several years. This has included on-farm training, videos, and resources for working in dairies. While sharing these resources, the team found that a focus on life skills in Spanish was also needed to help the two cultures understand and prosper in these changing times. Now the team and partners across the communities are joining together to provide a bi-monthly newsletter in Spanish to bring timely and topical information to employees and their families.
A new study from researchers with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach examines how farmers are responding to the increasing threats of weather and climate change. The researchers analyzed data from the 2020 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll survey of 1,059 Iowa farmers. The study examined changes in five major adaptive management practices. The study also examined whether selected factors were associated with changes in adaptive and maladaptive behaviors. The authors highlight a need for research and extension to help farmers address short-term impacts without causing long-term problems.
In 2020, the Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology – Survey Research Services at Iowa State University was contracted to conduct an online/mail survey with dairy farmers in Iowa to learn about their current operations, needs and expectations for the future. The survey consisted of 903 Grade A and B dairy producers in Iowa and was part of a research effort coordinated by dairy specialists Jennifer Bentley, Fred Hall, and Larry Tranel, who served as principal investigators on this project. Results provide insight on the current state of the dairy industry in Iowa and will be summarized through reports for educators, industry collaborators, elected officials, and the public.
Community and Economic Development
Registration is now open for the fall Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute, scheduled for Oct. 6-8 in a virtual format. It’s cosponsored by the ISU Extension and Outreach Office of State and Local Government Programs and the Iowa League of Cities. Each year, MPI provides clerks and finance officers from across the state with training that gives them the basic framework of how municipalities function and assists municipal professionals with their day-to-day duties. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, MPI is delivered in a hybrid format, with two-day virtual sessions in winter and fall and a longer, in-person summer session in Ames.
CED provides goal setting, strategic planning, and action planning services to help local governments and nonprofits address critical issues, identify priorities, and develop plans to accomplish those priorities. In September, CED specialists will facilitate planning sessions for the Veterans n Agriculture, Linn County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children community leaders, the United Way Great River Region Board, the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation, the Butler County Extension Council, the Central Iowa Business Network, the ISU Extension and Outreach Crops Team, and Linn County extension staff.
Dr. Elizabeth Stegemöller, Department of Kinesiology, received a $9,000 grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation to support A Journey through Parkinson’s Disease. Human Sciences specialists Sara Sprouse, Cindy Thompson, and Lori Korthals will provide monthly virtual delivery of the three-session program from August 2021 through April 2022. They are implementing strategic marketing efforts of the virtual series for regions of the state. Rural areas are a priority.
For the last nine months, ISU Extension and Outreach in Polk County has intentionally engaged Iowans to address mental health by providing research-based information and resources through a variety of programs and by including conversations on mental health during events. The Children’s’ Art in the Garden event allowed ISU Extension and Outreach in Polk County to cross program areas and incorporate mental health discussions. Families took a StoryWalk through the garden, which integrated literacy practices in a fun way and encouraged adults to have a kid-friendly conversation about mental health. The featured book, “The Color Monster” by Anna Llenas, focused on emotions and helped kids understand their feelings and how to sort through them. Master Gardener volunteers brought the story to life with garden sculptures that represented characters in the book. Families also received a children’s book focused on mental health and a variety of ISU Extension and Outreach resources to continue the conversation after the event. Over 320 participants attended the event made possible by 50 dedicated Master Gardener volunteers and staff.
4-H Youth Development
The Iowa Space Grant Consortium and 4-H Youth Development have been awarded a NASA In-flight Education Downlink on Sept. 27. Youth from across Iowa will ask prerecorded questions to the astronauts on the International Space Station, Expedition 65. Astronauts will listen to the videos in space and then respond live on NASA TV during the virtual event. The downlink will provide an extension of learning for participants in 4-H Astro Camps that were hosted across the state this summer.
Over the past year, 4-H Youth Development has been training facilitators across the state on the revised curriculum for Ricochet: An Extreme Leadership Adventure. As of mid-September, 52 4-H staff and school educators had participated in a two-day training for those new to Ricochet, and 17 staff and educators familiar with the program participated in a one-day refresher training. The training prepares facilitators to deliver Ricochet with fidelity and to provide an effective learning experience for the youth to fulfill the expected outcomes. Curriculum revisions included updated activities and photos to reflect diversity and safety for the youth, inclusion of the Iowa and national core standards for education, and connection to social and emotional learning skills.
Forty Iowa youth are beginning their new terms as State 4-H Council members. These young leaders will serve as ambassadors for the 4-H Youth Development program, as well as organize and implement the annual Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. They serve at the Iowa State Fair and other Iowa 4-H events and visit counties to share how 4-H members can get involved with state and national 4-H opportunities. The council members also coordinate, promote, and oversee the 4-H’ers for 4-H fundraising campaign.
After instruction from Iowa PBS professionals, a new cohort of Iowa 4-H Reporters is well prepared to cover the Iowa State Fair. These youth will showcase their new media knowledge by sharing fair features and 4-H stories. The Iowa 4-H Reporters program, now in its fifth year, is an opportunity for youth who have an interest in media and communications to learn more about the industry and develop news media during the Iowa State Fair.
Thirty-six youth in grades 7-12 from across Iowa tested their knowledge of integrated pest management, crop growth, and pest identification during the 11th annual Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition on July 26. The event, hosted by the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management Program and Iowa 4-H Youth Development, provided youth with the opportunity to work with and learn from Iowa State faculty, staff, and agronomists, as well as professionals in crop-related careers.
The 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl and State 4-H Skillathon contests will be held together on September 18 at Iowa State. These competitions encourage 4-H youth to develop a more complete knowledge of animals and related subjects. The top senior level 4-H teams in both contests will represent Iowa at the National 4-H Skillathon Contest and National 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl competition in Louisville, Kentucky, at the North American International Livestock Exposition.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Crop growers will get an update on the latest advancement in strip tillage at this year’s fall field day at Iowa State University’s Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Research Farms on September 8. Strip-till allows producers to till and plant into narrow strips, leaving crop residue undisturbed between the rows. Participants will learn about its potential for central Iowa farms, how they can get set up for strip-tillage or improve what they are already doing. There also will be field demonstrations of how different manufacturers’ strip-till equipment works in oat stubble.
Food businesses interested in expanding the processing and retail side of their operation have a new resource published by ISU Extension and Outreach. The “Scaling Up Specialty Crop Processing Toolkit” provides an overview and case study of the different criteria for food businesses interested in processing specialty crops through small scale value-added processing – such as product development, commercial kitchens, increasing sales and more. The publication is being released at a time when local food businesses and small-scale processors are seeing increased demand – partly due to COVID-19. Topics like licensing, retail and processing design, employee health and safety precautions, and standard operating procedures are all covered. This project was funded through the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
The emerald ash borer continues to make its way through Iowa. In early August it was confirmed in Calhoun, Winnebago, and Worth counties for the first time. This invasive insect has now been found in 84 of Iowa’s 99 counties since its first detection in 2010. The State of Iowa monitors the spread of EAB on a county-by-county basis. Before a county can be declared positive, a life stage of the insect must be collected and confirmed. ISU Extension and Outreach specialists are part of the Iowa EAB team, along with specialists from IDALS and DNR.
Community and Economic Development
Regional Small Business and Organization Ecosystem Study: The Greater Des Moines Partnership, Polk County and other regional community partners are working to improve economic stability and recovery from COVID-19. As part of this effort, ISU Extension and Outreach is supporting the project through understanding small business (under 50 employees) and community organizations’ challenges and needs in the current environment. The study region includes Boone, Story, Marshall, Guthrie, Dallas, Polk, Jasper, Poweshiek, Adair, Madison, Warren, and Marion counties. Input sessions will be offered for individuals to provide feedback on how community elements strengthen and hinder small business and community organizations. In early August CED specialists helped conduct input sessions at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines and at the ISU Extension and Outreach Polk County office in Altoona.
The 2021 Community Visioning Program is in design phase of the process. In August Emmetsburg will have a design workshop; preliminary design concept reviews will take place in Princeton, Conrad, Shenandoah, Malvern, and Alleman; and design concepts will be presented to the public in Shenandoah and Calamus.
In August CED is conducting virtual Rural Housing Readiness Assessment workshops for Rock Valley, Sidney, and Sheldon, through its continuing collaboration with the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Community Development Block Grant technical assistance fund.
CED continues to facilitate ISU Extension and Outreach’s cultural competency training, Navigating Difference. CED specialists will facilitate the program virtually for Public Health Service Area 6 and for IMPACT, a nonprofit that provides families with access to assistance for housing, food, disaster, etc., in Des Moines.
The Financial Security I-Team supports seven counties to help communities address financial security issues. In response, Human sciences specialists hosted eight statewide online series January through May 2021, using three lessons from the FDIC Money Start for Adults. The topics included prioritizing bills, managing debt, and improving credit, and 147 participants attended at least one session. Evaluation results are positive, with the team moving forward to refine the classes and offer them in a face-to-face format. Because of this class, 91% of participants say they better understand their money picture and the consequences of not paying bills in full or on time; 85% grew their financial knowledge and decision making by using a short-term spending plan; and 94% increased their knowledge of how to find reliable resources to make financial decisions.
Vermeer Corporation (Pella) recently promoted the Preserve the Taste of Summer 101 Online program to employees as a wellness activity. Employees complete wellness activities as incentives for a discount on their health insurance plan. Six employees (and a partner) attended the July 21 class.
The National Council on Family Relations held its first specialty conference for family life educators on June 25. The Science of Parenting work team was part of that virtual venture, sharing “Research and Reality: Helping Parents Find, Value, and Utilize Trustworthy Information” with 30 educators from across the nation. NCFR is the premier professional association for understanding families through interdisciplinary research, theory, and practice.