September 2020 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Morgan Bjerke, Allamakee County youth coordinator
  • Alisha Davidson, Lee County 0ffice assistant
  • Tanner Messerli, Story County program coordinator
  • Lori Padget, Jefferson County office assistant
  • Yenibeth Lopez-Ortiz, extension program assistant I, Human Sciences
  • Karisa Leinen, P&S temporary employee, 4-H Youth Development
  • Nancy Brannaman, P&S temporary employee, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Mark Barron, program coordinator II, Human Sciences
  • Richard Jauron, extension horticulturist, Agriculture and Natural Resources (retirement)

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Marcelina Ceniceros, Johnson County BBBS community-based mentoring specialist
  • Erika Kirchhoff, West Pottawattamie County program assistant
  • Kelly Waters, Henry County marketing program coordinator
  • Katie Sorrell, extension program specialist III, Human Sciences
  • Abby Boysen, field specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Courtney Chapman, field specialist II, 4-H Youth Development

October 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Community and Economic Development

  • The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment helps communities self-assess their housing needs and guides them in the decision-making process when addressing those needs. In October CED specialists will be conducting RHRA workshop #3 with Creston and workshop #1 with Keokuk. The program is virtual and funded by the Empower Rural Iowa grant through IEDA and the Office of the Governor. By invitation of Ohio State University Extension, CED specialists will be delivering RHRA workshop #1 virtually in Noble County, Ohio, also in October.
  • CED specialists will perform and facilitate a process evaluation for Leading Communities: A Place-Based Leadership Program taking place in New Hampton (ISU Extension and Outreach Chickasaw County) in October.
  • CED specialists will be working with Salud! Multicultural Health Coalition of Storm Lake to craft a new vision and mission statement. The October workshops are virtual and supported by ISU Extension and Outreach Buena Vista County.

Human Sciences

  • Human Sciences collaborated with Mt. Pleasant Corrections and FDIC to offer the Money Smart curriculum online at the corrections facility. Prior to the pandemic, Human Sciences had offered face-to-face classes at the facility.
  • The Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 has completed four face-to -face trainings in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. Safety measures were put into place to keep people safe and healthy. No illnesses had been reported at the two-week check-in with the training sites.
  • In collaboration with COVID Recovery Iowa, ISU Extension and Outreach is offering “I Worry All the Time: Resources for Life in a Pandemic”. The virtual program was held on four dates during August and September.
  • From mid-June through mid-September, the nutrition and wellness team of educators have safely provided 71 ServSafe® in-person classes with 544 people in attendance. This effort supported Iowa’s restaurants and food establishments as they attempted to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the summer.

4-H Youth Development

  • 4-H Youth Development has launched a new Iowa 4-H STEM webpage to share information about programs happening around the state. 4-H STEM programs work to engage youth through hands-on experiences that connect to their lives and respond to their interests. 4-H programs use hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering, and math to teach problem-solving, creative and critical thinking, and inspire kids to explore STEM professions.
  • The 4-H virtual learning team surveyed counties to determine the usefulness of the On the Go publications series created this summer. There have been over 2,800 downloads from the Extension Store. Forty-four county staff members responded that they used these publications to create an estimated total of over 28,000 to-go lessons distributed to Iowa youth.
  • The Collegiate 4-H Club at Iowa State University hosted a successful, in-person welcome event for new members to kick off the new school year, with 26 college students in attendance. The event was held outside the state 4-H office with social distancing guidelines followed. The club will host their main meetings virtually this semester and continue inviting guest speakers to present virtually.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • A new series of videos on performing visual soil health assessments is now available on the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Agriculture and Natural Resources YouTube channel. The videos explain the basics of how to perform visual assessments and demonstrate some simple, on-farm methods that can be used for assessing compaction, water infiltration, aggregation, temperature, biology, and decomposition in soils.
  • It is the end of an era for the popular Hortline telephone service at ISU Extension and Outreach. Richard Jauron, the most recognizable voice behind the Iowa State University consumer horticulture effort, has retired after more than 36 years of dedicated service. Resources can be found on the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Horticulture and Home Pest News website. An extensive amount of horticulture information is available, all searchable by resource, topic or keyword.

August 2020 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Jennifer Fischer, Jones County director
  • Courtney Hale, Davis County youth coordinator
  • Malorie Irving, Decatur County youth coordinator
  • Katie Moyer, Sioux County youth coordinator
  • Fallon Reicks, extension program specialist II, Iowa Concern, Human Sciences
  • Chad Higgins, senior director (director II), Office of the Vice President for Extension and Outreach

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Ellie Foelske, Chickasaw County youth outreach coordinator
  • Jenna Keene, Sioux County youth coordinator
  • Ellen Lupkes, Madison County youth coordinator
  • Emily Zahurones, Wright County youth coordinator
  • Casey Wenstrand, field specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Hallie Robinette, field specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Emily Damro, field specialist II, 4-H Youth Development

September 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • The COVID 19 pandemic prevented Iowa State University from holding in-person field days at research and demonstration farms during summer 2020. However, the research continued. A series of virtual tours, August 31 through September 4, provided an update on this year’s results.
  • Responding to weather: ANR specialists are compiling helpful resources in response to the derecho that moved through the state on August 10. Although this storm came and went within a day, the impact is being felt in the weeks after and will continue into the coming months. New resources continue to be developed and added to the list. In addition, drought is still a major concern for Iowa farmers. ANR specialists are keeping a close eye on the Iowa Drought Monitor and the crops team has compiled resources to help producers make decisions related to drought.
  • The Back to Business podcast from Farm, Food and Enterprise Development has been a great success. The podcast launched its first episode in April and continues to provide great information to business owners.

Community and Economic Development

  • Master Business Bootcamp helps small business owners to improve their business outcomes through business workshops and one-on-one membership. Participants work on how to increase small business profit margins and sharpen their business practices. CED specialist Kameron Middlebrooks will be facilitating the first half of a virtual bootcamp for small business owners in the Des Moines metro area in September.
  • Communities can use the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment to self-assess their housing needs and make decisions for addressing those needs. The assessment checklists aid in the creation of local housing policy that is appropriate for the needs and desires of a community. In September, CED specialists will be conducting RHRA workshops with Manning and Creston.
  • The Iowa State University Local Food Leader (LFL) certification program is intended for beginning local food practitioners, although it is open for anyone who is interested in food systems development and collaboration. The program teaches several foundational competencies critical to a successful involvement in community food systems development. The Community Food Systems (CFS) certification is intended for intermediate levels of food system practitioners. It is a process-based certification that increases capacity for food system practitioners to work within community and develop food systems. Courtney Long, Kaley Hohenshell, and Bre Miller will deliver the two programs in September.

Human Sciences

  • Recent work related to stress and mental health includes the following: David Brown and Anthony Santiago, family life state specialists, taught a free Mental Health First Aid training in Jones County on August 21 for extension staff from surrounding counties as well as community partners. Ten “Stress on the Farm: Strategies that Help” virtual programs are scheduled from August 28 to September 30. Marketing is being done via traditional outlets, Facebook, all agriculture partners, and the Iowa Corn Growers Association. In collaboration with COVID Recovery Iowa, ISU Extension and Outreach is offering “I Worry All the Time: Resources for Life in a Pandemic.” The virtual program will be held on four dates during August and September.
  • Iowa Concern Hotline is prepared to help families navigate the complexities of child care. Since mid-August, the staff has been equipped to talk with callers about child care needs, sharing Human Sciences’ new COVID-19 Child Care Considerations publication series, In addition, three family life specialists – Cheryl Clark, Malisa Rader, and Cindy Thompson – are available to take child care related calls. The hotline staff continue to provide 24/7, 365-day access to stress counseling.
  • Katie Sorrell has joined the Family Nutrition Program (SNAP-Ed) team. She is an ISU grad and registered dietitian with more than 10 years of experience in SNAP-Ed in Iowa and California. She will coordinate initiatives meant to create more health-promoting policies, systems, and environments for Iowans with low income. She also will coordinate Growing Together Iowa and existing healthy food access work in food pantries, as well as the scale-up of SNAP-Ed work to new sectors and audiences.
  • Home visiting will no longer be allowed in SNAP-Ed and EFNEP (Expanding Food and Nutrition Education Program). All participants will be served in a public location. This significant policy change is meant to support a productive and safe teaching environment for staff and participants.

4-H Youth Development

  • SWITCH is transitioning to virtual for schools, and resources related to the Do, View, and Chew themes will be shared with schools on the SWITCH dashboard this fall. Module enhancements to SWITCH include new PE warm-ups, social emotional learning skill building, and two new heart health lessons created in partnership with the Iowa Heart Center Foundation. 4-H is exploring ways for 4-H professionals to connect with schools virtually during SWITCH implementation including hosting statewide (or local) brain breaks, taste tests, kick-off events, and family engagement events. School registration for SWITCH opened in late August 24. SWITCH training for 4-H professionals will be held virtually on September 22 and 30. The SWITCH conference will be held virtually on October 22. Virtual “coffee chats” between 4-H staff and the SWITCH schools they support will occur in November.
  • The Wildlife Habitat Education Program is a hands-on, 4-H and FFA youth natural resource program dedicated to teaching wildlife and fisheries habitat management to junior and senior level (ages 8-19) youth. This program opportunity is made possible through a partnership with Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and Outreach and Iowa 4-H. Today’s youth are our future land stewards. Youth in WHEP will have a greater understanding of the value of land and how it can be managed to benefit many wildlife and fish species. When they join the work force, former WHEP participants can apply their WHEP skills and knowledge to create better habitat for wildlife and fish, no matter what professional field they have chosen. Volunteer training for WHEP is scheduled to debut this fall, with a program kick-off this winter.
  • The Leadership and Civic Engagement priority team has begun work on a civic engagement program for 7th-12th grade 4-H’ers in partnership with the Secretary of State’s office. The program, which will debut in January 2021, will include teams of five to seven youth from counties and one adult mentor per team. Each month a new civic engagement related topic will be released for all teams to engage in. Each month’s topic will consist of team activities, challenges, quiz questions, educational content, and report back options. Topics will cover voting, taxes, service organizations, local government, public education, and more.

August 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • Fifty Iowa 4-H members have been awarded 2020 state 4-H project area awards following the statewide recognition process, held virtually this year. Each was granted a $100 award from Glen and Mary Jo Mente of Ames and the Iowa 4-H Foundation.
  • Nearly 6,000 livestock entries are pre-entered for this year’s State Fair Special Edition: 4-H Livestock Shows to be held in August. Overall, entries in many species are 80% of 2019 numbers, signaling strong participation.
  • Two virtual STEM opportunities will be held August 16 and 17. The first will highlight InventSTEM sponsored by Alliant Energy. The second will highlight the WISE/FLEx program and the collaboration with Iowa 4-H and NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium.
  • Forty Iowa youth are beginning their new terms as State 4-H Council members. These young leaders will serve as ambassadors for 4-H Youth Development throughout the state and in their counties. State 4-H Council members are responsible for organizing and implementing the annual Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. They also serve at the Iowa State Fair and other Iowa 4-H events, visit counties to encourage other 4-H’ers to get involved with state and national 4-H opportunities, and coordinate, promote, and oversee the 4-H’ers for 4-H fundraising campaign.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • With large portions of Iowa experiencing some form of drought, a series of drought meetings is being planned for both in-person and online participation. ANR is partnering with USDA and IDALS to offer a webinar series that will be held on Thursdays. (It began on July 30.) The series will answer key questions regarding development of drought and impacts on row crops and forages. A series of in-person meetings will be held across the state during the first week of August. Producers will have an opportunity to bring five corn stalk samples for a quick nitrate assessment conducted on site.
  • A new workshop series for winemakers will be held in August, to provide information to producers regarding the cleanliness of their working environment, winery, and cellar, and the proper and practical use of sulfur dioxide as a preservative. The webinars are made possible by the Midwest Grape and Wine Institute at Iowa State.
  • Master Gardener training is held every fall. This fall will be no exception, but the method of delivery will be a bit different. All Master Gardener training classes will be held online, providing the same information in a new virtual format.

Community and Economic Development

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Visioning Program has adapted what had been exclusively in-person meetings to a hybrid format. In August, the steering committees for Mingo and Wellsburg have virtual planning meetings scheduled. In lieu of in-person design workshops, which are open to the public, visioning program staff created installations showing proposed designs to be placed throughout the communities to allow residents to see and comment on projects without attending large gatherings. These “Walk-by Design Workshops” have been installed in several communities. In August, an installation will be in place in Reinbeck.
  • The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment (RHRA) is a tool that helps communities self-assess their housing needs and guides them in the decision-making process when addressing those needs. It guides communities in considering options that ensure existing and potential residents are able to 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. CED specialists have developed a way to deliver the program virtually. CED specialists will be conducting RHRA workshop 3 (action planning) for Ida Grove and RHRA workshop 1 (education) for Creston and Manning.
  • Virtual sessions of Leading Communities continue in August with three sessions for Sac County. Sac County is the third of three counties to complete the program virtually.

Human Sciences

  • Since March 2020, David Brown, behavioral health state specialist, and Dawn Dunnegan and Danielle Day, human sciences specialists in family life, offered the Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) program virtually 28 times with 473 participants. Participants learned how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. The program was primarily directed toward the agribusiness community, however, many human service professionals, extension staff, and other professionals also attended. Attendees represented 12 states and Canada.
  • The Nutrition and Wellness team converted the Healthy and Homemade education offering to quickinars (short video lessons) to share via websites and social media. The videos focus on strategies for using one’s time, money, and skills to save money and prepare nutritious and safe foods. The quickinar series reached 264 viewers throughout Iowa as well as 12 other states. In addition, nutrition and wellness specialists developed new technological skills by creating the quickinar videos.
  • A team of family life specialists is offering six series of Telehealth Powerful Tools for Caregivers throughout the upcoming fiscal year. The course helps family/unpaid caregivers learn communication techniques, set goals, and problem solve as well as reduce stress, guilt, and anger. Caregivers of adults with chronic conditions can participate in the six-week series with classes starting in August, October, January, February, and May. An October series is planned for caregivers of children with special health and behavioral needs. Additional face-to-face series may be scheduled.
  • Stress on the Farm: Strategies to Help Each Other took place at Farm Bill meetings held November 2019-February 2020. Three-month follow-up results show very little change from immediate results. Percentages indicate those participants who either strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement (N=379):
    — (84%) I am now able to recognize the risk factors and warning signs that someone is distressed or potentially suicidal.
    — (79%) I am now more willing to engage with someone who is distressed or potentially suicidal.
    — (73%) I am now better able to communicate with someone who is distressed or potentially suicidal and ask the tough question, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
    — (86%) I am now more aware of the resources available should I choose to engage with someone who is distressed or potentially suicidal.

June 2020 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Autumn Denato, Monroe County youth coordinator.
  • Liz Meimann, extension program specialist II, Human Sciences Hotlines (retirement).
  • Sara Mohr, field specialist III, 4-H Youth Development.
  • Joyce Lash, field specialist III, Human Sciences (retirement).
  • Amber Matthiesen, field specialist I, 4-H Youth Development.

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Jordon Oellerich, Keokuk County director.
  • Katelyn Walker, Warren County office assistant.
  • Elizabeth Frankenstein, regional director, County Services.
  • Paul Gibbins, regional director, County Services.
  • Eugenia Hartsook, regional director, County Services.
  • Justin Akers, regional director, County Services.
  • Katharinna Bain, regional director, County Services.
  • Julie Hering Kent, regional director, County Services.
  • Craig Leager, regional director, County Services.

July 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

  • The Food Preservation 101 work team is providing this educational opportunity online seven times, May through September. Renee Sweers, Holly Van Heel, Jill Weber, and Kelsey Salow are the educators providing the classes, which are offered statewide. An update from the June 18 online Food Preservation 101 indicates 150 participants registered, with 61 in attendance. The participants were from 27 counties and six other states. Ninety-two percent of participants indicated they were likely or very likely to preserve food at home after having taken the class.
  • Nine virtual block team meetings were held in June. Donna Donald facilitated the meetings: the first hour involved conversation with the field specialists; county staff and regional directors were invited to join the second hour. Topics discussed included changes, new service area and team of specialists, 70-20-10 programming guidelines, curriculum review process, use of Conference Planning and Management, late summer/fall programming, online and face-to-face offerings, and Community Chat.
  • Due to the high participation in the April and May “Question. Persuade. Refer.” online classes, five additional sessions were held in June. The 19 earlier sessions saw 421 people register and 341 participate. David Brown, Danielle Day, and Dawn Dunnegan are the delivery team.
  • The EFNEP and SNAP-Ed staff continue to have success teaching virtually: 115 people have participated in a total of 380 online sessions so far. In addition, Christine Hradek’s team hosted three ISU dietetics interns June 1-12 through completely virtual engagement. The interns helped lead a virtual training for staff.

4-H Youth Development

  • The Iowa State Fairgrounds will host a Fair Special Edition: Iowa 4-H and FFA Livestock Show this summer, following the postponement of the 2020 Iowa State Fair. The revised schedule for 4-H livestock shows will be spread out over three weeks and held Thursday through Saturday – Aug. 6-8, 13-15, and 20-22. Information for 4-H families and youth exhibitors can be found on the Iowa State Fair 4-H Livestock page.
  • A special exhibition, 4-H Show Iowa, will provide state level recognition to partially replace the loss of learning opportunities due to the postponement of this year’s Iowa State Fair. Included in these virtual celebrations are 4-H Exhibits, Communication Events, and the Awardrobe Clothing Selection. Counties will be encouraged to select exhibits for this special exhibition in a similar manner to how they normally select exhibits and participants for the Iowa State Fair. Volunteer judges will evaluate all exhibits and events. A public showcase of all entries will be made available using the photos of entries and summary information. The public exhibition will be released during the originally planned Iowa State Fair dates, Aug. 13-23.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Five Beef Quality Assurance training programs will be held in northwest Iowa in July and August for beef producers. Major packers still require Beef Quality Assurance certificates and the five trainings will help meet that need. Specific information about dates, times and locations, as well as information about registration and COVID-19-related precautions is available.
  • Iowa’s commercial horticulture industry contributes $48 million to the state’s economy each year and provides fresh fruits and vegetables to Iowa consumers. Recognizing the value of this segment of agriculture, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds designated June 22-26 as Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Week. The governor’s proclamation included the request that local Iowa fruit and vegetable producers receive support and recognition for their achievements by celebrating this week across Iowa. Producers can learn more about specialty crop production by watching the Iowa Vegetable Production and Management videos produced by ISU Extension and Outreach, or by visiting the Farm, Food, and Enterprise Development program.
  • The Iowa Dairy Goat Farm Survey (Fall 2019), compiled by ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialists Jenn Bentley and Leo Timms, is available on the ISU Extension Store and dives deep into opportunities and challenges faced by the dairy goat industry. The survey examines topics such as milk production and composition, housing and milking facilities, dairy farm management, and planning for the future.

Community and Economic Development

  • The Community Visioning Program resumed in a virtual format in May and has been gradually transitioning to on-site meetings, following the university’s social distancing and safety guidelines. The following communities will be conducting programming objectives meetings in July: Madrid, Mingo, Elkader, Fairfax, and Polk City. Additional meetings will be scheduled as the month progresses.
  • The 45th annual Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute and Academy will take place virtually July 20–31. This is a targeted training for more than 200 city clerks, finance officers and other city staff to further professionalism, knowledge, and efficiency in Iowa cities. All training in this venue qualifies for certification in the International Institute of Municipal Clerks as well as the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association certification program.
  • Goal Setting is the latest CED programming to be offered virtually. The first workshop, COVID-19 Transition and Recovery, was presented June 30 and July 7 for organizations in Palo Alto County. Sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach Palo Alto County, this collaborative and interactive virtual workshop focused on local economic development and the impacts of COVID-19 transition and recovery. This two-session workshop was offered county-wide for local and county government leaders, economic development organizations, and business and nonprofit partners. Participants received a framework to consider past accomplishments, current issues and trends, on-going commitments, and new or emerging priorities and initiatives.

May 2020 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Kristen Bieret, Shelby County office assistant.
  • Nancy Henry, Story County office assistant.
  • Thomas Miller, field specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Nancy Paris, administrative specialist II, Extension Administration (retirement).

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Sara Baumgartner, Delaware County K-12 youth education coordinator.
  • Trey Beckman, Linn County nutrition educator.
  • Alexis Bodzioch, Winnebago County youth coordinator.
  • Joclyn Bushman, Buchanan County youth coordinator.
  • Landon Calderwood, West Pottawattamie County youth outreach coordinator.
  • Grace Davidson, Jefferson County youth coordinator.
  • Lydia Dingeman, Marion County education coordinator.
  • Melissa Hall, Wright County program coordinator.
  • Maya Rowe, Cerro Gordo County youth program assistant.
  • Julie Schultz, Union County CACFP coordinator.
  • Kara Vance, Buchanan County program assistant.
  • Amey Kollar, field specialist II, 4-H Youth Development.

June 2020 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Community and Economic Development

  • Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Visioning Program canceled the focus-group workshops in five communities. In May, program meetings resumed in a virtual format, and program staff are currently working to develop meeting and design workshop protocols that follow ISU’s guidelines for reopening. In June, the following virtual meetings will take place: review of assessment meetings in Mingo, Fairfax, and Polk City; goal setting meetings in Elkader and Wellsburg; and a transportation meeting in Fairfax.
  • CED specialists have developed a way to deliver the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment program virtually, and Abbie Gaffey, Eric Christianson, Omar Padilla, and Jon Wolseth will conduct Workshop 1 for Ida Grove in June.
  • During June CED and FFED specialists will be interviewing food businesses in central and eastern Iowa for the AgMRC research project, Food Processing and Independent Grocers: Assessing Current Supply Chain.

Human Sciences

  • EFNEP and SNAP-Ed staff have partnered with three Iowa food banks to distribute educational information and resources with food boxes. The Food Bank for Siouxland (Northwest Iowa), Food Bank for the Heartland (Southwest Iowa), and Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (Eastern Iowa) have all distributed recipes, “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” resources, and more. (The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website has had 27,000 users – an increase of 9% – since March 15.) DMARC in Des Moines has distributed promotional materials for virtual lessons. Some have also distributed the new Finding Answers Now publication and promotional pieces for the Family Finance consultation opportunities. In addition to these food bank partnerships, some local pantry partnerships are happening as well.
  • Don’t Let Surprises Spoil Your Retirement” is currently available for viewing in Learn@ISU. During this Council Seminar Series Event in May, Barb Wollan, human sciences specialist in family finance, discussed costs employees will experience in retirement related to issues their employer takes care of while they are working, what current low inflation rates may mean, and more.
  • During May, the ISU Well-being team hosted a Well-being Wednesday Conversation. Each week information is shared on staying well and connecting with other ISU employees during these challenging times. Cindy Fletcher and Suzanne Bartholomae, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, presented “Finding Resources to Navigate Your Personal Finances” on May 13.
  • Parenting during COVID-19, a valuable new webinar series designed especially for parents, was available for the ISU community during May. During the May 8 webinar, the Science of Parenting team of Lori Hayungs, Mackenzie Johnson, Mackenzie DeJong, and Barb Dunn Swanson presented the “The Science of Parenting: Balancing Research and Reality.” The team shared how current research on parenting – plus a dose of reality – can help parents find their own parenting success. They also talked about resources available through the Science of Parenting website and using the “Stop. Breathe. Talk.” technique in challenging moments.

4-H Youth Development

  • Iowa 4-H Youth Development has launched Gardening to Give — a hands-on educational gardening program designed for all ages and abilities. Gardening to Give is a six-month, immersive learning experience in gardening with educational resources shared weekly with registered participants. Participants received the first weekly lesson on May 15 and will receive a new lesson each Friday for 25 weeks. Current registrations include 97 households with 237 individuals, 49 counties with registrants, and one family from Minnesota. Registrations can continue throughout the entire 25-week program. Fun challenges, volunteer opportunities, and tracking efforts also will be included.
  • The Iowa 4-H At Home Learning webpage has received approximately 13,000 views since it launched in March. The page provides online educational opportunities for youth created by Iowa 4-H professionals.
  • 4-H State Council member registration has moved to 4HOnline beginning with the incoming 2020-21 group. This will help to streamline and simplify the registration process for members and their parent/guardian by eliminating mailing, papers, scanning, storing file folders, etc. The advisory team will host a Zoom onboarding session with the new State Council in June.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Despite another difficult year in agriculture, cash rental rates still posted an increase of about 1.4%, according to the Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2020 Survey. Rates across the state averaged $222 per acre, compared to $219 per acre in 2019. Survey author Alejandro Plastina cautioned that most cash rents for 2020 were determined by September 2019, and that the current challenges of 2020 such as economic losses from coronavirus, delays in the Phase 1 trade deal with China, and decreased demand for biofuels were not included in the survey.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses from large to small, and there are many questions surrounding what business owners and entrepreneurs should do as the state begins to re-open. To help answer some of these questions, a new series of podcasts and webinars called Back to Business Iowa have been created by the Community and Economic Development program and the Farm, Food and Enterprise Development program with ISU Extension and Outreach, in partnership with the Iowa Small Business Development Centers.
  • Dairy producers across Iowa have a new way of receiving information, thanks to a podcast launched by dairy specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach. Dairy News and Views began recording in April and features timely topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic and dairy production in general. Podcasts are recorded every two weeks and are available through the Dairy Team website.

April 2020 goodbye … and welcome

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

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

We welcome the following new staff:

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

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.