May 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • Contestants from Boone, Adair and Kossuth counties earned championships during the inaugural 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl held at Iowa State in March. A quiz bowl round consists of 28 questions relating to the beef, goat, sheep and swine industries, as well as current event questions. Teams competed in a double-elimination style contest, with a senior division for youth ages 14-19 and a mixed division for teams with youth of all ages. This is the first year that Iowa 4-H has hosted the event. The winning senior team will represent Iowa at the National 4-H contest held during AKSARBEN this fall in Grand Island, Neb.
  • Nearly 140 youth attended the Maize Retreat, April 13-15 at Clover Woods. This culturally based youth leadership accelerator offers youth the opportunity to experience 4-H programs through a Latino and Native American perspective. Iowa 4-H received positive feedback from both youth and chaperones about the quality of the workshops they attended.
  • Twenty school staff from five schools in Sioux City and Ida County participated in the School Garden 101 training in Sioux City during February and March. During the training, Brenda Welch, 4-H program specialist, introduced the teachers to the Connecting Learning and Living curriculum available through Iowa 4-H Youth Development. She also offered tips for tweaking the lessons to reach more of the Iowa Core Standards.
  • Nearly 200 high school aged youth attended the Northwest Iowa GRiT conferences at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake and Northwestern College in Orange City. GRiT stands for Getting Real Together through leadership and is a partnership of 4-H Youth Development, Human Sciences, and the local colleges. The conference goals are to make connections with underrepresented populations and help them develop leadership skills, as well as show them opportunities for future personal development through 4-H and post-secondary learning. The youth participated in leadership challenges, toured the campus and experienced college-classroom learning from college faculty in STEM, healthy living, leadership and civic engagement, communication and the arts. They also heard a keynote about overcoming challenges and made a showcase video about their day.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Trade issues have emerged between the United States and China, with tariffs already impacting pork exports from Iowa. There is concern that an escalation of tariffs between the two countries could affect soybean exports, as well. These concerns, as well as a detailed look at previous Chinese responses to U.S. tariffs, are contained in a policy brief from the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. China typically responds to U.S. tariffs by posting tariffs of their own against goods they can easily purchase from another country or substitute with another product.
  • Mammals of Iowa” is available from the Extension Store. This first-of-its-kind, comprehensive field guide is a collaborative project between ISU Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The 132-page booklet contains full species accounts for 57 mammal species found in Iowa, as well as supplemental material about extirpated or rare species, living alongside mammals, and scaled comparisons highlighting the wide variety of shapes and sizes of the state’s mammals. Each species account features photos, range maps that highlight county distributions in the state, and information on the identification, habitats, breeding behavior and diets of each species.
  • Improving water quality – through practices such as wetlands, woodchip bioreactors, controlled drainage, saturated buffers, reduced drainage intensity and winter forage or cover crops – was discussed during a water quality improvement workshop held in Fort Dodge. Twenty-four participants attended the workshop, learning about the design of water quality improvement practices and gaining information essential for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2018 Community Visioning Program assessment process is completed and local steering committees are reviewing the assessment data provided by the Iowa State research team. In addition, steering committees will meet with local transportation officials. In May, assessment reviews will be conducted in Glidden, Decorah, Peterson, Plymouth, Graettinger and Forest City. Glidden, Forest City and Plymouth also will meet with transportation officials. In addition, Glidden, Decorah and Coon Rapids will be conducting design workshops. The public may attend these workshops and provide input on preliminary transportation enhancement goals.
  • CED specialists Jill Sokness, Brian Perry and Jon Wolseth will be presenting Leading Communities in Storm Lake on Thursdays in May. This CED leadership program is made possible in part by a VPEO initiative and will feature the creation of an additional module addressing immigrant social capital.
  • CED is now offering Marketing Hometown America to help communities focus on what people are looking for when they choose a place to live and do business. On May 14, Jane Goeken will be in Primghar to discuss the program with O’Brien County Extension.
  • On May 29, Jane Goeken and Diane Van Wyngarden will be in Riceville teaching a Customer Service Workshop. These workshops are two-hour, interactive classes. The first half of the class focuses on community-level tourism as a form of economic development. The second half focuses on skills in customer service, such as complaint resolution, dealing with negative online reviews and providing exceptional customer service.

Human Sciences

  • Cindy Fletcher, professor and resource management extension state specialist, in partnership with the State Library of Iowa and with support from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, launched the first phase of financial capability workshops. The blended course, “Small Change: Building Financial Security,” offers an initial face-to-face workshop followed by game-based online modules. Library staff will complete the course with a webinar in May. The course will be offered to two other targeted groups of public employees over the next year: K-12 employees, and municipal and county employees.
  • The ServSafe® Training Grant from Department of Human Services was renewed. This is the sixth year of the partnership. Beginning in July, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach will have scholarships for 50 child care providers from facilities working on or toward Quality Rating Scales to attend the class and become Certified Food Protection Managers. The anticipated impact is lowering the risk of children acquiring a foodborne illness. Cathy Strohbehn, extension specialist and adjunct professor, and Barb Fuller, human sciences specialist in nutrition and wellness, are co-PIs on the grant.
  • In summer 2016, Nevada Extension contacted Human Sciences Extension and Outreach to assess interest in working on a multi-state, early-childhood literacy research project. Human sciences specialists piloted a four-session series with 15 early childhood professionals from Jasper, Montgomery, Taylor and Union counties in 2017. Based on pre-post knowledge outcomes, participants with less education, those with fewer years of experience, and family child care providers learned more about oral language than did other participants. Those with less education and family child care providers learned more about phonological awareness. Participants who taught preschoolers or mixed age groups learned more about dialogic reading. The project work continues with interviews and additional assessment of the multi-state results. The overall goal is to train and coach teachers to implement strong literacy practices in the early childhood classroom to enhance young children’s language and literacy skills.
  • Katy Moscoso and Christine Hradek, with “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy,” attended the National Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Conference. Moscoso delivered two sessions on using “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” as a technology companion during direct education sessions with clients.

April 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

Brenda Schmitt, a human sciences specialist in family finance, works with the Family Alliance of Veterans of America. Human Sciences Extension and Outreach supports Brenda’s efforts to teach finance classes, help veterans with personal finances, and provide materials. Staff are taught financial coaching so they can assist veterans with budgeting. Brenda typically works one-on-one with about a dozen families and individuals in the program. The training for staff usually reaches another dozen people. The impact is significant. Here are two examples:

  • After several meetings with one veteran and building trust, the individual revealed current efforts to earn money via a specific website and that he had sent several checks to this website. Brenda was able to steer him to reliable, vetted local resources to assist him and ensure he was safe from fraud.
  • Another veteran was the victim of a scam, sending thousands of dollars to a fraudulent entity. This individual searched for assistance to recoup the lost funds, eventually finding Brenda, who assisted with the needed process. While in Brenda’s office, the individual received a call from a creditor. Brenda was able to provide coaching related to information that should and should not be provided over the phone and helped the individual create a budget for paying the creditor.

Renee Sweers, a human sciences specialist in Nutrition and Wellness, completed a Stay Independent series at an independent living center for approximately 12–14 people. These residents, along with a center staff member, engaged in discussions throughout the series regarding needed changes at the center. A few examples include removing donuts from the breakfast menu and replacing them with hard boiled eggs, replacing desserts with yogurt parfaits or fruit smoothies, and implementing a new exercise program.

4-H Youth Development

  • 4-H in the news: The Des Moines Register recognized Iowa 4-H for efforts in civility (Leadership and Civic Engagement, a 2018 priority area). USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture bulletin featured Iowa’s culturally based leadership accelerators as a national success story.
  • The SWITCH program is reaching fourth and fifth grade classrooms in 25 Iowa schools, totaling more than 1,000 youth. Schools are half way through the program and have been sharing their success with integrating wellness — including youth-led initiatives, activity breaks in the classroom, more physical activity and outdoor lessons incorporated throughout school day, taste tests in the cafeteria, and new lessons incorporated in physical education classes. During “Try Day Friday,” youth at Sacred Heart School in Boone taste tested mushrooms, figs and dates and then voted on if they tried it, liked it or loved it.
  • 4-H is halfway through the Healthy Living Club Challenge, with 125 clubs submitting monthly trackers to earn miles as they Race Across Iowa. The goal is to reach 1,400 miles by the end of June, when top earning clubs will be recognized at Healthy Living Day at the Iowa State Fair. 4-H youth are practicing healthy habits at club meetings: offering water, fruits and vegetables as meeting snacks, and coordinating time for physical activity. In January and February, clubs completed a team building activity to earn bonus miles. In March and April, the bonus challenge focuses on activities that improve brain health.
  • In 2018-19, Iowa 4-H will be expanding work with underserved, underrepresented and vulnerable youth as part of the ongoing “from inclusion to belonging” initiative. Iowa 4-H is currently forming teams of “champions” to help to move our work forward with children with disabilities, disconnected youth, immigrant and refugee youth, incarcerated youth, LGBTQ youth, youth affected by mental illness, youth of color, youth experiencing homelessness, youth in foster care and youth with limited English proficiency.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The 2017 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll addressed dealing with herbicide-resistant weeds. The poll surveyed farmers to learn about their perspectives on the potential effectiveness of several hypothetical approaches to addressing herbicide-resistant weeds. The two highest rated options were “quick fix” approaches using new technology. Private company discovery and development of new herbicides, and private company discovery and development of new herbicide-tolerant crops, received 69 and 68 percent likely or very likely responses, respectively. Land grant university discovery and development was close behind with 62 percent.
  • An overall decrease of 5.6 percent for custom work can be expected in 2018, according to a study conducted by Alejandro Plastina. While labor costs rose by 4.6 percent from a year ago, all other categories saw declines. The cost for harvesting and hauling grain dropped 9.4 percent, while preharvest operations, harvesting forages, and bin and machinery rental fell by more than 4 percent. The reported rates are expected to be charged or paid in 2018, including fuel and labor. The average price of diesel fuel was assumed to be $2.95 per gallon.
  • The Master Gardener program is seeking volunteers – people who are passionate about volunteering and gardening. Registration is now open at ISU Extension and Outreach county offices. No previous garden knowledge is required, as the program equips participants to grow in knowledge about gardening best practices. New to the training program this year is the flipped classroom, in which participants can view the course information online and then attend classes for hands-on instruction. Nearly 2,000 Master Gardeners were active across Iowa in 2017.
  • An Iowa State University study shows that return on investment may be the biggest hurdle to overcome for widespread adoption of cover crops, despite farmers’ positive perceptions about cover crops and the availability of cost-share programs to incentivize their use. Through focus groups and survey methods, researchers compared each farmer’s costs and revenues from fields where they used cover crops and from fields without cover crops. Overall, the researchers found substantial variability in net returns, driven by the costs of planting and terminating cover crops, feed cost savings from grazing cover crops, cost-share program payments, and the difference in yields obtained in fields with and without cover crops.

Community and Economic Development

  • Community and Economic Development is now able to offer the Marketing Hometown America program that has been successfully used by Cooperative Extension programs in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota to help communities home in on what people are looking for when they choose a place to live and do business. Abbie Gaffey will be in Mapleton on Tuesdays during April to facilitate Marketing Hometown America study circles for Monona County.
  • The 2018 Community Visioning Program will be conducting a series of transportation assets and barriers focus-group workshops in 10 communities. The transportation assets and barriers workshop is part of the assessment process that the program conducts in client communities to provide local decision makers a framework within which to make informed choices. During April, workshops will be conducted in Decorah, Forest City, Graettinger, Moville, Plymouth and Wapello. CED specialists Abbie Gaffey, Eric Christianson and Scott Timm will assist in facilitating the focus groups.
  • CED specialists Jill Sokness, Brian Perry and Jon Wolseth will be presenting Leading Communities in Storm Lake on Thursdays in April. This leadership program is made possible in part by a Vice President for Extension and Outreach initiative and will feature the creation of an additional module addressing immigrant social capital. Himar Hernández and Shelley Oltmans will be presenting session six of Leading Communities in Henry County on April 11.
  • In April, Introduction to Planning and Zoning workshops will be conducted in Ankeny, Clear Lake, Creston, Decorah and Oskaloosa.

March 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2018 Community Visioning Program will be conducting a series of transportation assets and barriers focus-group workshops in 10 communities. The series is part of the assessment process that the program conducts in client communities to provide local decision makers a framework within which to make informed choices. In March, transportation assets and barriers workshops will be conducted in Coon Rapids, Peterson, Glidden, Decorah and Corning. CED specialists Abbie Gaffey, Eric Christianson and Scott Timm will assist in facilitating the focus groups.
  • CED specialists Jill Sokness and Jon Wolseth will be presenting an overview of the new CED leadership program, Leading Communities, in Storm Lake on March 8, in advance of starting the program in April. This Leading Communities program is made possible in part by a Vice President for Extension and Outreach initiative and will feature the creation of an additional module addressing immigrant social capital. On March 14, Himar Hernández, Shelley Oltmans and Jon Wolseth will deliver the Leading Communities program in Mount Pleasant.
  • CED specialists Scott Timm and Jill Sokness will coordinate energy-efficiency evaluations for local, Latino-owned businesses in Sioux City through MidAmerican Energy March 14–16. Sokness is connecting local businesses to this service and Timm is the liaison to the energy company and will serve as Spanish-language interpreter on the days of the evaluations.
  • Extension CED staff will be conducting a Navigating Difference© training workshop in West Des Moines on March 13.

Human Sciences

  • Human Sciences Extension and Outreach specialists Malisa Rader, Brenda Schmitt, Barbara Dunn Swanson and Vera Stokes attended the National Land-Grant Diversity Conference in Kentucky. They shared Human Sciences Extension and Outreach efforts with diversity and inclusion. They also learned much from their counterparts across the country, including the concept of equitable civic engagement and the role privilege plays in diversity. The conference provided a good reminder to make sure our target audiences are at the table, identifying what they need, and also to have the community help us design, deliver and evaluate programs.
  • Growing Together Iowa funding awards were announced in February. The 26 funded projects are in the following counties: Black Hawk, Bremer, Boone, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Cass, Cherokee, Clayton, Dallas, Des Moines, Dubuque, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Monona, Muscatine, O’Brien, Osceola, Polk, Poweshiek, Story, West Pottawattamie and Woodbury.
  • Suzanne Bartholomae, family finance state specialist, and co-authors Maria Pippidis from University of Delaware and Elizabeth Kiss from Kansas State University have released “Cooperative Extension’s Capacity to Demonstrate Impact in Financial Capability and Well-Being: A Briefing Paper.” They build the case for creating one system for reporting Cooperative Extension’s family resource management impact nationally and sharing Extension’s story with a broader audience, whether stakeholders, funders or the research community.

4-H Youth Development

  • State 4-H Recognition Day is March 24 on campus. 4-H’ers will be interviewed for opportunities including the National 4-H Conference, National 4-H Congress, State 4-H Council, State Project Awards and the State 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassador Program.
  • The 2018 4-H Maize Retreat is April 13-15. Through this culturally based youth leadership accelerator, youth in grades 8-12 explore 4-H and Iowa State University. Youth participants from across Iowa will gather to experience 4-H healthy living, STEM, civic engagement, leadership, and communication and the arts programs through a Latino and Native American perspective.
  • The 2018 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference is June 26-28. This year’s theme is “Your Passport to Adventure.” Registration is planned to open mid-March.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Iowa State University faculty and staff provided education for pork producers at the Iowa Pork Congress in January. Extension specialists were present both days of the event and offered training opportunities for pork quality assurance and transport quality assurance. Also presented at the event was “How NOT to fail an Audit: Euthanasia and other considerations.” Euthanasia is a critical part of the Common Swine Industry Audit; this session was designed to improve participants’ confidence in their ability to recognize compromised pigs and talk through the euthanasia process. The Iowa Pork Industry Center is taking the lead on an industry-wide project on sow mortality. Meetings with farm owners and allied partners began in November 2017 and are scheduled to June 2018.
  • Boots in the Barn, a new program for women dairy producers, was developed and delivered in a three-part series during January and February. The program was held in Dyersville to serve the needs of women dairy farmers in Clayton, Delaware and Dubuque counties. These three counties have strong dairy operations and represent 25 percent of Iowa’s dairy herds. Topics for the first two sessions were milk quality and udder health, and feed quality. The third session was led by Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine staff. The session provided participants the simulated opportunity to deliver a fully jointed, life-size calf, using a model, and also to practice difficult deliveries.
  • Seventy individuals attended the third Iowa Small Farms Conference on Feb. 10 at the Scheman Building in Ames. Nine breakout sessions were held; three were hands-on sessions. When conference attendees were asked what changes they would make after attending the conference, 34 percent indicated they would be making some changes or modifications to their small farm based on the information they received. The most intended changes included adding bees, using enterprise budgets, installing drip irrigation, harvesting maple syrup and growing mushrooms.

February 2018 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program distributed 15 mini-grants courtesy of Iowa State University’s SNAP-Education. The mini-grants were awarded to 15 counties and six demonstration gardens at Iowa State research farms as part of the Growing Together initiative. More than 231 Master Gardeners were involved in the projects. Together they were able to grow 74,841 pounds of produce that was donated to 75 food pantries and food banks, producing nearly 225,000 servings of fruits and vegetables to Iowans with low income.
  • Master Gardener volunteers — 1,923 of them to be exact – donated 115,055 hours to grow food, fight food insecurity and help beautify the state of Iowa throughout 2017. That equals 60 hours worked per volunteer, significantly more than the 20 hours Master Gardener volunteers are required to complete each year. The volunteer time Master Gardeners spent is the equivalent of more than $2.7 million. The volunteers completed a variety of projects, such as growing fresh produce for food pantries, helping three other states launch similar programs to fight food insecurity, and planting milkweed plugs and other plants that attract pollinators.
  • Social media continues to be an influential platform for the agricultural industry as a whole and the trend holds true in Iowa. Many producers are looking for a fast, easy way to collect and share information with the agriculture community and ANR specialists and teams have joined the conversation. The ANR Social Media Directory captures 127 social media accounts across seven social media platforms posting on behalf of ANR. To date, those ANR social media accounts reach 70,895 followers and subscribers, up 8,058 in the last six months. Notably, Twitter is the most influential platform with 53,906 followers looking for ANR information, followed by Facebook with 13,205 page likes. ANR continues to impact and influence the agriculture and natural resources industry in Iowa.

Community and Economic Development

  • Community and Economic Development is now offering the Marketing Hometown America program that has been successfully used by Cooperative Extension programs in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota to help communities home in on what people are looking for when they choose a place to live and do business. Monona and Harrison counties currently are participating in the first round of Marketing Hometown America in Iowa.
  • CED staff will be conducting Navigating Difference© training workshops for West Des Moines department heads/supervisors on Feb. 13 and 27. Ross Wilburn will be teaching Navigating Difference© Module 1 with Ames employees on Feb. 14, 15 and 20.

Human Sciences

  • Nature Explore® is a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. It focuses on increasing and enhancing children and families’ access to nature-based experiences to foster a sense of wonder and overall well-being. Opportunities with Nature Explore® include early childhood professional development workshops, downloadable family support materials, nature-based resources and materials, and outdoor classroom certification. In January 2017, ISU Extension and Outreach and other partners from six counties in Northeast Iowa (Howard, Winneshiek, Allamakee, Chickasaw, Fayette and Clayton) came together to discuss the potential to bring Nature Explore® to local communities. The project is gaining momentum, additional partners and support. Three of the county extension councils have committed dollars to the program, and the Northeast Iowa Funders Network awarded the team a two-year grant of $15,000. This project demonstrates the success of a committed effort for program sustainability.
  • Although program evaluation is ongoing, initial results for the Essentials Online Child Care Preservice Program demonstrate impact. Participants were asked what they liked most about the program. Of the 1,855 who responded, 81 percent liked having the ability to stop and come back and complete a lesson; 73 percent liked having 24/7 access; 67 percent liked being able to retake a quiz; and 60 percent liked being able to print a certificate upon completing the course. Participants also were asked what improvements they would make to the training. Responses included: “Nothing! I really enjoyed the layout and easy access of this course and would take it again if necessary.” “This course was a very great way of teaching and understanding children and my duties as a provider.” “I’ve learned so much and I am excited about using these tools and knowledge I have gained to make my daycare much more safe, enjoyable and run smoother.”
  • Lesia Oesterreich, an extension state specialist in family life and adjunct assistant professor in human development and family studies, is representing Iowa State University and the state of Iowa on the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance Peer Learning Team. The goals are to explore effective technical assistance systems in Quality Rating Improvement systems and develop state specific goals for sustainability.
  • Human sciences staff Christine Hradek, Justine Hoover and Jody Gatewood delivered a nationwide webcast Jan. 23, 2018, for the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior. They focused on “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” online resources as a companion to nutrition education initiatives.

4-H Youth Development

  • 4-H is developing one-day educational summer programs that can be implemented in any county. Programs can be combined to serve youth in afterschool or in-school activities, camps, clubs/learning communities or events. These programs include: See the Light, Play with the Shadows (Grades 4-8); Building Blocks of Entrepreneurship (Grades 6-8); Get in on the Act! (Grades 4-8); Expand My World – Your Passport to Adventure! (youth who have completed Grades K-3); The Science of BBQ (Grades 4-8); Monarchs on the Move (Grades 4-8); and Quest to Be Your Best (Grades 4-8).
  • Iowa 4-H is looking to invest around $100,000 in ag educational product development in 2018. 4-H held a product development advisory meeting, bringing together 4-H staff, ANR faculty and staff, and several ag industry representatives; then followed up with surveys of youth and others. As a result, some new projects under development include a challenge in which youth work in groups with experts to solve an agricultural issue, an ag literacy educational module about where food comes from, lessons using virtual reality to educate youth on ag topics, and lessons on drones and biotechnology.
  • Camera Corps enrollment has increased to 250 team members for 2017-2018, representing 86 counties. This is a 49 percent increase in enrollment over last year.

January 2018 Program Update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • The North Central Iowa Youth Beef Conference, “Making the Grade,” is Jan. 27 at the Ellsworth Community College Ag and Renewable Energy Center. The conference is for Iowa youth who want to learn more about beef production. Youth participants will be certified for YQCA (Youth for the Quality Care of Animals).
  • State, field, and county staff in youth-serving roles are planning to attend the Cultural Conversations Retreat, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Clover Woods Camp. This retreat will provide experiential learning for 4-H staff through in-depth conversations on reaching new audiences throughout the state – sharing successes, providing networking opportunities and learning from experts.
  • 4-H Youth Development is seeking educational workshop proposals for the 2018 Maize Retreat, April 13-15. Maize is a culturally-based youth leadership accelerator. Workshops will relate to healthy living, STEM, citizenship and leadership, and communication and the arts, and often will provide a Latino or Native American perspective.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Pesticide Applicator Training for spring 2018 will involve several programs offered at the county level, including private applicators, commercial ag, certified handlers, ornamental and turfgrass, and seed treatment. Training also will be held in conjunction with organization meetings including Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Aerial Applicators, Crop Advantage Series, Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers, Shade Tree Short Course and Weed Commissioners. These programs will impact an anticipated 18,000+ pesticide applicators across Iowa during the spring programming season.
  • The 2017 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll summary report has been released. The 2017 survey collected data on farmers’ experiences with and management of herbicide resistant weeds, actions taken to improve soil health, perspectives on extended crop rotations, and influence of key agricultural stakeholders on crop production and soil and water conservation. The poll was established in 1982 and is the longest running survey of its kind.
  • The Iowa State University Integrated Crop Management Conference brings together a diverse range of topics, expert presenters and results of current university research. Participants receive practical, take-home information on current issues and best management practices. The November 2017 conference featured 81 hours of educational programming through 14 concurrent sessions. The 923 participants represented 10 states; 54 percent were below age 46; 63 percent identified as ag retail, industry representative, ag sales or crop consulting, and 10 percent were actively farming. In addition:
    –94 percent of those who had attended previous ICM Conferences stated the information was useful for making management decisions on their own or their customers’ operations.
    –64 percent of participants estimated this information increased profits by $5 or more per acre.
    –509 participants received Certified Crop Adviser CEUs, and 151 received commercial pesticide applicator recertification.

Community and Economic Development

  • The fourth annual Community Food Systems Event, Jan. 12 in Ames, highlights best practices across all areas of community food systems from around the region. The Community Food Systems program, developed in partnership with the ISU Community Design Lab, is based on community engagement practices of public interest design, strategic doing and collective impact. It is a multi-phased, multi-year program within the ISU Extension and Outreach local foods and community and economic development programs.
  • On Jan. 16, Himar Hernandez, Jill Sokness, Victory Oyervides and Jon Wolseth will be meeting with our partners from Iowa Department of Public Health to plan for this year’s Shop Healthy Iowa initiative in Des Moines, Storm Lake and Denison.
  • Extension CED staff will be conducting Navigating Difference training workshops in West Des Moines (Jan. 16, 20 and 30) and Ames (Jan. 31).
  • Extension CED specialist Eric Christianson will be conducting Introduction to Planning and Zoning workshops in Pocahontas (Jan. 16) and West Liberty (Jan. 23).

Human Sciences

  • Suzanne Bartholomae, family finance state specialist and assistant professor in human development and family studies, and co-presenters shared “Findings in Financial Literacy” at the 2017 Federal Student Aid Training Conference in Orlando, Florida, in November. Nearly 1,000 professionals learned about research on the role that financial capability plays in student success. The presentation highlighted the 2017 Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness and also included an overview of the Cooperative Extension System and highlighted the benefits of partnering with extension educators. Watch the presentation: http://gflec.org/research/?item=12569
  • The multi-state data analysis for Growing Together is complete. During 2017, teams from the four participating universities – Iowa State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Purdue – agreed on common metrics for multi-state reporting. The results are in: 497 Master Gardener volunteers contributed their time; 542 community partners and agencies cooperated; 101,873 pounds of fruits and vegetables were supplied to 131 food pantries; and 63,595 people with low income were served. Projects leveraged $56,940 in non-SNAP-Ed funds to support the work, and all four universities will continue with Growing Together during the 2018 growing season.
  • Dawn Dunnegan, a human sciences specialist in family life, started her employment with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach in January 2017 and focused on learning about and delivering priority programs. She attended class leader training for Powerful Tools for Caregivers within her first month of employment, and since then has co-led multiple series. She had previous experience with the Strengthening Families Program 10-14 and arranged for a facilitator training in southeast Iowa. Dawn called on her network of relationships with community partners to find people willing to become facilitators and to secure financial support. Through her grant application to DECAT, Dawn was awarded $4,483 for a series of SFP 10-14 for Louisa County. She submitted a second application for a series of Powerful Tools for Caregivers and this request for $4,480 also was awarded. Dawn has almost $9,000 to support two priority, multi-session programs that are evidence-based.
  • ISU Extension and Outreach has been educating parents and supporting families through the Growing Strong Families program since 1999. The program teaches parents about child development, nutrition, money management, and health and safety, and in 2012 earned the Iowa Family Support Credential from the Iowa Department of Management and Public Health. At that time it was only the 15th Iowa program to earn this distinction and was available in Adair, Fremont, Page, Taylor and Wayne counties. The credential is awarded to programs that go through an external evaluation and are found to substantially adhere to the Iowa Family Support Standards. The credential is valid for five years. Throughout the past year the team worked diligently to become recertified. An onsite review took place in August 2017 after submission of extensive documentation. On Oct. 30, the team received word the program again would be awarded the State of Iowa Family Support Credential, having passed in both policy and in procedures and practice.

December 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

  • For every $1 invested in the “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” program, $2.48 is saved in future health care costs, based on a recent evaluation by Helen Jensen in the ISU Center for Agriculture and Rural Development. “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” is a free program that helps parents learn how to provide nutritious food for their families, leading to healthy children and strong families. Of participants who graduated from the program in 2017: 41 percent improved their whole grain consumption, 45 percent improved their fruit consumption, 46 percent improved their vegetable consumption, and 49 percent improved their dairy consumption. In addition, 58 percent reduced their intake of solid fats and added sugars, 47 percent increased their physical activity, and 68 percent improved their practice of food safety behaviors. Also, 86 percent improved their food resource management skills, including food budgeting and being less likely to run out of food by the end of the month.
  • Ellen McKinney, an assistant professor in apparel, events and hospitality management, and her students shared examples of wearable technology during the 4-H National Youth Science Day event at Franklin Middle School in Cedar Rapids. She also discussed her research on the solar powered jacket, which involved the engineering field as well as textiles. This is an example of our land-grant mission at work and shows how ISU Extension and Outreach plays a part in not only bridging university research/scholarship activities with communities, but also providing Iowa State students with opportunities to engage beyond their classrooms.

4-H Youth Development

  • Photography is one of Iowa 4-H’s fastest growing project areas, with 11,000 Iowa youth participating. Camera Corps alone saw a 49 percent year-over-year increase in 2017 with youth from 85 Iowa counties participating in the program. Iowans can vote for their favorite pictures by liking the Iowa 4-H Facebook page or searching #‎iowa4hcameracorps.‬‬‬
  • 4-H works with schools to promote healthy living. Twenty-five schools from across Iowa are participating in the 2017-2018 SWITCH program, a school wellness program that challenges youth to switch what they do, view and chew. Participating schools attended the SWITCH kickoff conference on the ISU campus in November. The SWITCH program is a partnership between Iowa 4-H and the ISU Department of Kinesiology.
  • All K-12 youth in extension programs are 4-H’ers. According to the federal definition, any youth taking part in programs that are provided as a result of action by extension personnel (professional, paraprofessional and volunteer) are involved in 4-H. This includes youth participating in culturally based youth accelerators, EFNEP, urban gardening and many other programs that might not use the 4-H name and emblem with participants.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • ISU Extension and Outreach has hosted the November Iowa Egg Industry Symposium for more than a decade. This year 165 participants attended the one-day conference, which attracts producers and industry professionals from Iowa and across the country. The event provides practical information and discussion on hot topics pertaining to egg production and layer management. Iowa’s egg farmers produce more than 15 billion eggs per year, placing Iowa as the nation’s leader in egg production.
  • More than 200 producers, industry representatives and academics attended the 17th Annual Iowa Organic Conference on Nov. 20. The event was held in Iowa City near the state’s largest concentration of organic farmers and processors. Participants attended sessions on transitioning into organic farming, weed management, organic livestock production, organic no-till for grain and vegetable crops, and new small grain crops. The conference also included information on soil and water quality research, economic and financial assistance for organic producers and local food system initiatives. The joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa is the largest university-sponsored organic conference in the country.

Community and Economic Development

  • In December Himar Hernandez will be delivering “Abriendo Caminos: Clearing the Path to Hispanic Health” training in Ottumwa. Jon Wolseth will be in Ames participating in the Abriendo Caminos training session for implementation of Round 2 of the pilot project, in conjunction with Human Sciences.
  • Diane Van Wyngarden is conducting group travel itinerary training in Pella and group travel business practices training in Winneshiek County. This work is part of CED’s local economies knowledge team.
  • Abbie Gaffey and Jon Wolseth will be conducting meetings on housing needs assessment in Ogden and Waukee. This work is part of CED’s local economies team.
  • Mary Beth Sprouse will be in Altoona (Zigler CAT) for teaching a session on city finance. She also will conduct a customer service presentation for the staff of Windsor Heights. This work is part of CED’s local governments and nonprofits team.

November 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Community and Economic Development

  • During Iowa’s Living Roadways 21st annual celebration (Nov. 9), the 2017 visioning communities will showcase their proposed design projects. Representatives from the 2018 visioning communities also will attend to kick off the 2018 program. Community and Economic Development is the administering unit for the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program.
  • Jon Wolseth will be in Perry in November, assisting with biometric and survey data collection for the Human Sciences Extension and Outreach Abriendo Caminos pilot program. On Nov. 9, Himar Hernandez will co-facilitate the program in Ottumwa.
  • In November the Office of State and Local Government Programs is partnering with the Iowa League of Cities to deliver budget training to local government officials in Mason City, Cherokee and Atlantic, and the Municipal Leadership Academy to municipal professionals in Fairfield, Carroll and Corning. Mary Beth Sprouse is teaching the classes.
  • CED specialist Eric Christianson has been working this semester with an undergraduate planning studio on developing a comprehensive plan for Mitchellville. Christianson will be in Ames Nov.15 when the students will present their draft plan to CED staff, CRP faculty and Mitchellville residents. On Nov. 29, Christianson will be in Mitchellville when the students present their draft plan to the community.

Human Sciences

  • Nature Explore workshops for early childhood professionals help them transform their preschool or child care play spaces into fun, joyful areas to explore nature. In January 2017, human sciences specialists Cindy Thompson and Kristi Cooper began working with Northeast Iowa Community College and Child Care Resource and Referral to develop a vision for training, support and access to a sustainable, model Nature Explore classroom. Since the initial meeting, other agencies have joined the effort: providing grant writing, serving as fiscal agent, sharing expertise, conducting a needs assessment, and pledging money to the project. Conversations about supporting the project are happening in all six counties in ISU Extension and Outreach Region 4.
  • In the news: On Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa (Oct. 13, 2017) Kristi Cooper, human sciences specialist, and author Carol Bodensteiner discussed growing up in Iowa. See the October 2017 issue of Journal of Extension for an article by Dr. Connie Beecher and Lori Hayungs, human sciences specialist, “Getting Your Message Across: Mobile Phone Text Messaging” (JOE ID 16258TOT).
  • During the Iowa Hunger Summit, Christine Hradek, EFNEP and SNAP-Ed coordinator, and Susan DeBlieck, Master Gardener program assistant, were part of a panel discussing donation gardening initiatives to improve healthy food access for Iowans experiencing poverty.
  • Several human sciences specialists presented at the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences meeting in Omaha, Neb. Cindy Baumgartner, Jody Gatewood and Jill Weber presented on “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” Kim Brantner, Cindy Thompson and Joy Rouse, along with Kristen Bieret, a naturalist and Human Sciences Extension and Outreach partner, presented “Growing Up WILD: Reaching Child Care Providers through Collaboration with Naturalists.”

4-H Youth Development

  • Iowa 4-H clubs may apply for spring 2018 DuPont Pioneer seed grants for community improvement projects. Intended to stimulate local 4-H clubs to plan and carry out community improvement activities, the grants are “seed money” to help the projects be successful. Applications are due in ISU Extension and Outreach county offices by Jan. 16, 2018.
  • On Nov. 1, Iowa 4-H clubs could begin a Race Across Iowa. Clubs take part in the challenge by introducing a variety of healthy living practices during club meetings each month and earn “miles” as they race across ISU Extension and Outreach’s 20 regions. The five clubs that log the most miles and complete the route by the end of June will be recognized for their accomplishments at the Iowa State Fair.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • During the 2017 growing season, the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic hosted nine bi-weekly video conference calls with, on average, 19 campus and county personnel who handle consumer horticulture inquiries. Participants shared advice, lessons learned, and ways to meet clientele needs. They also provided updates on topics ranging from high tunnel production and home demonstration gardens to dicamba drift and emerald ash borer.
  • Thirty-three watershed coordinators attended the Iowa Watershed Academy, Oct. 24-25 at the ISU Field Extension Education Lab. ISU Extension and Outreach sponsored the event along with Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Conservation Society, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Iowa DNR, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the Iowa Watershed Approach.
  • Chris Rademacher and Jason Ross, Iowa Pork Industry Center, helped interview this year’s nominees for Master Pork Producer and the Master Pork Partner Award. Since 1942, IPPA and Iowa State have co-sponsored the Master Pork Producer program, recognizing producers for their expertise in the production cycle and understanding of current industry issues, quality assurance, animal identification and well-being and production efficiency. The Master Pork Partner Award was created in 2014 to recognize pork production company employees who have demonstrated positive impacts in their production systems and a commitment to the pork industry’s We Care ethical principles.
  • Winter programming for crop-related topics will kick off in the upcoming weeks: Ag Chemical Dealer Updates, Nov. 21 and Dec. 13; the Integrated Crop Management Conference, Nov. 29-30; and the Crop Advantage Series at 14 locations during January.

October 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Iowa Farm Safety and Health Week, “Putting Farm Safety into Practice,” was Sept. 17-23 in conjunction with National Farm Safety and Health Week. News releases on the farm safety website (with 205 unique page views) and radio interviews increased awareness and reminded farmers to discuss safety with and educate family members and workers. During the past year, ISU Extension and Outreach’s set of Safe Farm publications has been downloaded more than 10,000 times from the ISU Extension Store, often duplicated and distributed to program audiences, increasing awareness of this important topic.
  • The Iowa Beef Center Feedlot Short Course provided beef feedlot managers and employees with hands-on and classroom instruction on a variety of feedlot topics including nutrition, animal health and welfare. Thirty people from across Iowa and other participants from Indiana, Utah and Canada representing more than 1 million head of cattle participated in the three-day event. They toured the Iowa State beef nutrition research farm, a local feedlot and other Iowa State facilities. Sessions included a feed mixing demonstration, chute-side safety, and the opportunity to network with industry leaders and other producers.
  • More than 200 beef producers from four states and two countries participated in an August bus tour featuring some of Iowa’s successful grazing and confinement cow operations. The tour was a component of the Cow Systems Project, created to evaluate management practices among operations ranging from extensive grazing systems to year-round confinement. The primary goal of the program is to help increase producer profitability and determine how to better use production and financial records to develop best management practices.
  • ISU Extension and Outreach Horticulture Program field days educate Iowans. The 2017 Horticulture Fruit and Vegetable Field Day attracted 175 participants, including growers, extension staff, county horticulturists, students, and representatives from state and federal agencies. The event provided research-based information on a variety of topics including high tunnel pepper production, tomato grafting, peach production, grape cultivar trial, integrated vegetable and poultry production, and insect management in cucurbit crops. The Iowa Turfgrass Field and Demo Day attracted more than 200 professionals from the sports turf and golf course industry, providing information on turf and pest management, as well as equipment demonstrations. The Master Gardener program organized several home demonstration field days at various university research farms. Nearly 300 people attended, gaining up-to-date information about ornamental and vegetable crops.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Office of State and Local Government Programs is taking the Municipal Professionals Institute “on the road” with courses on budgeting, exams and accounting for municipalities throughout October. Courses were set for Denison, Pella, Fayette, Iowa City and Algona.
  • Extension CED co-sponsored the Refugee Summit Oct. 6-7 at the Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines. Community development specialist and refugee coordinator Ani Das assisted in planning and helped facilitate the event. Community development specialist Jon Wolseth discussed community supports and structural barriers for refugees in rural Iowa, and Sandra Oberbroeckling provided information on CED during the event.
  • Several CED staff members participated in the 2017 Upper Midwest Planning Conference in Dubuque Oct. 4–6. Courtney Long presented with the City of Dubuque about design of public edible landscape. Deborah Tootle and Brian Perry are promoting the work of ISU Extension and Outreach in helping Iowa communities navigate changing social and economic conditions. Program Director Gary Taylor and community development specialist Eric Christianson also attended.

Human Sciences

  • “Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14” has been selected by the state of Michigan as one of their multi-pronged approaches for combating the opioid crisis. Michigan received more than $16 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the prevention and treatment of opioid addiction. SFP 10-14 master trainers have begun conducting statewide trainings in Michigan.
  • The application for 2018 SNAP-Ed funding has been approved. This program will receive $785,641 for use between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018. Funding supports the “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” program in nine counties, the “Growing Together Iowa” healthy food access projects and a social marketing campaign to promote use of “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” The budget includes 5.33 FTE of campus staff time, which involves part-time work from two undergraduate and two graduate students and $201,000 in contracts to Iowa counties.
  • On Oct. 18, 2017, Suzanne Bartholomae will present “Research on the Role that Financial Capability Plays in Student Success” as part of the webinar “Financial Capability for College and Career School Students” sponsored by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission. Bartholomae is presenting data from the 2017 Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness, a multi-institutional survey of more than 28,000 college students administered by Ohio State University. A collaborator on the project, she also will provide an overview of the Cooperative Extension system and the value of extension as a resource.The Financial Literacy and Education Commission was established under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. The commission was to develop a national financial education website (MyMoney.gov) and a national strategy on financial education. The commission is coordinated by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Financial Security. The Secretary of the Treasury chairs the commission, which is included the heads of 19 additional federal agencies.

4-H Youth Development

  • On Aug. 21 Iowa 4-H, county extension offices, and partner organizations offered more than 75 4-H solar eclipse day camps across Iowa. Nearly 2,000 young Iowans participated. Activities included simulating an eclipse, learning how to be safe in the sun, making special viewers to safely view the solar eclipse, making solar ovens and using a sun dial. Youth comments included: “This is so awesome!” “I see it! I see it! I see it!” “Look, I knew the shadow would move this way (referring to the sun dial).” “It feels cooler outside and look, the street lights came on.”

 

September 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • During the 2017 Iowa State Fair, 121 Iowa 4-H volunteers from 94 counties were inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame, including two volunteers over 100 years of age: Alice Walters of Greene County and Ruth Angus of Ringgold County. All honorees were selected for their service and dedication to 4-H’ers and the 4-H program.
  • More from the Iowa State Fair:
    — Nearly 800 head were exhibited in the 4-H beef show, and 990 head were exhibited the 4-H swine show – both record numbers.
    — More than 100 4-H’ers participated in the Iowa 4-H Awardrobe Clothing Event, showcasing their apparel design and production knowledge, as well as their creativity skills. Some 500 people attended the fashion showcase and closing event.
    — Iowa 4-H held its second annual Global Citizenship Day at the Iowa State Fair. Projects and performances from all over the world were part of the celebration.
  • On Aug. 21 Iowa 4-H, county extension offices, and partner organizations offered more than 75 4-H solar eclipse day camps across Iowa. Nearly 2,000 young Iowans participated.
  • New and potential 4-H volunteers can get information about the Iowa 4-H program from a growing library of volunteer orientation videos online.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Farm management specialists led 89 farmland leasing meetings during July and August across the state, with attendance estimated at 1,800 participants. The program focused on farmland values and leasing outlook for 2018 and improving landlord-tenant communication. Participants also learned about current issues and conservation methods, and being an advocate for the land. Other topics included current survey trends, cost of production, types of lease arrangements and legal aspects of farmland leases. Participants received updated reference materials for leasing negotiations and were directed to other ISU Extension and Outreach resources.
  • Participants in the Iowa Drainage School Aug. 22-24 learned how to design sub-surface drainage, keeping in mind functionality, performance and flexibility. Training topics included unmanned aerial vehicle surveying, laser and GPS leveling, drainage tile size and spacing, soil properties, laws and pipeline safety. Twenty-seven contractors, engineers, farmers and consultants working in teams designed drainage for 24 acres at the Borlaug Learning Center located at the Iowa State University Northeast Research Farm. Survey respondents indicated they would employ the drainage design techniques learned in the school in their installation practices.
  • The Pesticide Safety Education Program recently revised several, category-specific training manuals with input and assistance from university subject matter experts, industry specialists and certified applicators. The revised manuals include the information needed to pass the pesticide applicator certification exam as well as new research. In addition, the Worker Protection Safety train-the-trainer course was developed to be delivered online, increasing access to the material across the globe.
  • The annual Iowa Crop Scouting Competition educates Iowa youth on crop scouting and integrated pest management. Youth teams from around the state are scored on their knowledge of crop-related disciplines — insects, diseases, growth and development, herbicide and spray issues, and weed identification — with a written test and field stations located throughout the Field Extension Education Laboratory, Boone, Iowa. In partnership with sponsor representatives, ISU Extension and Outreach specialists judge the event, taking time to talk with students, answer questions and teach about good pest management practices. Twenty-two junior and senior high students participated in the July 31 event. Watch the highlight video.

Community and Economic Development

  • lSU Extension and Outreach is a sponsor of the third annual Southeast Iowa Nonprofit Summit Sept. 21 in Ottumwa. The summit is designed for board members, staff and volunteers. Topics to be covered include improving organizational culture and attracting and retaining top talent, as well as human resources regulations and board structure and responsibilities.
  • The Office of State and Local Government Programs is participating in the Iowa League of Cities 2017 Annual Conference in Davenport Sept. 27–29. It is the largest training in the state designed specifically for Iowa’s elected and appointed city officials. Local government specialist Mary Beth Sprouse is helping organize the conference, and CED specialists Eric Christianson and Becky Leurs will be presenting workshops.
  • The Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa is a collaboration of service providers, government agencies, religious groups, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions that serves central Iowa’s refugee population. Recently, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines gave the Alliance its 2017 Better Together Award, which recognizes nonprofit organizations, civic groups and individuals who are building social capital in the community. The award included $2,500 to be used toward advancing efforts to make Des Moines a more engaged and networked community. Anindita Das works as a refugee specialist and program coordinator for RACI in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach.

Human Sciences

  • The 2018 Healthy and Homemade Calendar is available via the online store and advance order copies have been delivered. Human Sciences Extension and Outreach sold 279,531 copies of the calendar. The Spanish calendar is sold out online, but the version in English is still available.
  • The Human Sciences Extension and Outreach early childhood team has developed a Mandatory Child Abuse Reporter curriculum. The self-paced, online class will be available to participants 24/7 beginning in October 2017 through the ISU Extension and Outreach Moodle site. Participants completing this training join a dedicated team of more than 20,000 early childhood professionals who serve as “frontline” reporters to protect children from abuse and neglect.
  • Human Sciences Extension and Outreach partnerships in Charles City make a difference for Iowa families. For example, When RAGBRAI passed through Charles City this year, Variety wanted to donate bikes to underserved children as part of the celebration. Variety contacted Big Brothers Big Sisters for help in identifying children; Big Brothers Big Sisters called the human sciences educator in Floyd County to inquire if “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” families might enjoy receiving the bikes. Seventeen children from these families received a bicycle and helmet that day. As another example, a local farmer, the Charles City Chamber of Commerce, and Community Revitalization established a community garden in Charles City three years ago. All three years, five or six “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” participants and graduates have worked in the garden. Through the community partnership and grant funds, the $15 plot fee was waived and seed costs were covered for these individuals. In addition, new gardeners worked with experienced gardeners. One of the “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” graduates who participated the first year is now the volunteer garden manager.

August 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

  • Data analysis is underway for the engaged scholarship project in Calhoun County, which is exploring the feasibility and effectiveness of virtual singing groups for Iowans with Parkinson’s disease. In 2016 the extension council accepted a proposal from Elizabeth Stegemöller in the Department of Kinesiology, whose research has demonstrated that singing training can significantly improve swallowing and respiratory function for people with Parkinson’s disease. David Brown, a human sciences specialist in family life, is the project’s local leader. Over several months, they selected the Calhoun County site (Rockwell City), recruited participants and collected pre-data. Then Dr. Stegemöller led and recorded eight, one-hour sessions with a singing group in Ames, which were used to facilitate the virtual singing group in Calhoun County in spring 2017. Buena Vista County became interested, so a virtual singing group for people with Parkinson’s disease will be facilitated in Storm Lake in August. Other efforts include developing an introductory curriculum centered on Parkinson’s disease for eventual statewide use.
  • Over the past 11 years, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach has supported 6,822 child care center teachers and their directors with the Better Kid Care program. During program year 2017, a total of 751 child care center teachers from 57 Iowa counties participated in the new staff orientation program. They viewed videos of best practices and completed lessons on 30 topics covering basic health and safety, and child development. Participants showed statistically significant gains in each of 11 learning outcomes. Highest ranked skill improvements included working effectively with other staff, teaching and modeling good health and safety practices, communicating well with a supervisor or director, and feeling more confident about their abilities to teach and care for children. In addition, 89 center directors participated in the director’s online training, with 48 percent in their first year as director. Overall, the directors reported serving approximately 7,035 children. They also reported statistically significant improvements in their skills in each of seven learning outcomes, expressing the highest level of confidence in their ability to effectively identify a staff member’s lack of understanding about a practice or procedure and respond in a positive, supporting manner.

4-H Youth Development

  • Soccer now is part of the Iowa 4-H healthy living program priority. In partnership with Genesis Inc., a Polk County nonprofit serving African immigrant and refugee youth, 4-H has started the 4-H Genesis Club. Entrenched in the youth’s passion for soccer and a successful Oregon 4-H model, 24 K-7 youth have the opportunity to develop new soccer skills while discussing teamwork, positive relationships, and healthy living and nutrition, guided by a set of diverse volunteers including Central College soccer alumni. As Robert, a sixth grade participant, said, “I learned how to dribble better, start looking up, how to keep my handle on the ball better and how to communicate with my teammates.”
  • Older 4-H youth often teach younger 4-H youth. For example, Benton County 4-H’ers Elizabeth Martin, Bobbie Hilmer, Ally Bierschenk and Piper LeGrange volunteered their time as camp counselors at Region 10’s junior camp. This opportunity helped the youth develop citizenship and leadership skills. They also were able to help campers have a great experience and gain a sense of belonging. Elizabeth said, “Helping at the camps is a wonderful experience, which I will continue to encourage others to participate in.” Bobbie said, “Being my second time at the camp helped me understand what works and what doesn’t. I learned by experience.”
  • Sixteen Iowa youth participated in the 2017 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports National Championships held in Grand Island, Neb. Iowa team member Eric Keller placed sixth for daily score in muzzleloader competition. All competitors gained great experiences. Most team members had family members attend the SESS Championship event with them.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Iowa ranks 12th in the nation in milk production. June Dairy Month events increased awareness of Iowa’s dairy industry and offered educational opportunities for the public to learn about the roles of milk and dairy products in a healthy diet. Iowa State University and the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance held open houses and nearly 1,500 people attended each event. The Iowa State open house included an agricultural discovery area with representation of other Iowa commodity groups (corn, soybean, beef and pork) as well as dairy and Iowa Ag Literacy. Nearly 1,000 people attended Breakfast on the Farm at Iowa’s Dairy Center in Calmar. The event included breakfast, a petting zoo, cow milking and a demonstration of robotic milking. Attendees left with positive opinions on the way dairy farms protect the environment, take care of their dairy cattle and modern dairy farming. Approximately 550 nutritionists, consultants and other agri-business professionals participated in the annual 4-State Dairy Conference held in Dubuque. ISU Extension and Outreach collaborated in planning and organizing the conference with the University of Illinois Extension, University of Minnesota Extension and University of Wisconsin-Extension. Conference topics included nutrition and management to improve cow performance, foot health and overall cow health.
  • Many farmers are looking for a fast, easy way to collect and share information with the agriculture community. ANR specialists and teams have joined the conversation through ANR social media, creating an opportunity to influence Iowans with the goal to create a #StrongIowa. To date, 117 ANR accounts reach 62,837 followers and subscribers, which is up 7,232 in the last six months. Notably, Twitter is the most influential platform with 48,100 followers looking for ANR information, followed by Facebook with 12,056 page likes.
  • In July, 118 people participated in five Nitrogen and Water Week events. They learned about water quality research being conducted by Iowa State University, how water quality data are collected and how agronomic practices effect drainage water quality. They also observed research on actual in-field and edge-of-field management practices that impact water quality, and learned about recommendations for nitrogen application rates.

Community and Economic Development

  • Susan Erickson and Abbie Gaffey represented CED at the 2017 Iowa Downtown Conference, offered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. They talked about ISU Extension and Outreach and met with community officials, Main Street directors, Chamber of Commerce directors and members, community volunteers, and retailers. The Iowa Downtown Conference is a statewide annual conference for professionals and volunteers involved in preservation-based downtown revitalization in Iowa and neighboring states.
  • On Aug. 17, Courtney Long will be in Mason City working on a supply chain project. She helps make connections between North Iowa Fresh, producers and business for local food connectivity and procurement.
  • Lynn Adams and Jon Wolseth will facilitate strategic planning for the Latina Leadership Initiative of Greater Des Moines on Aug. 19. The initiative focuses on providing culturally appropriate leadership training for promising Latina women so they are prepared to serve on boards and commissions and in other leadership capacities.
  • Bailey Hanson will be instructing the Essentials of ArcGIS workshop Aug. 24-25. This course is intended for both new and experienced users of geographic information systems and will cover making maps from geospatial data, mapping data from tables, querying a database and selecting features by location, and displaying, projecting and editing data.

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