September 2022 program update

Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Community and Economic Development

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

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

Human Sciences

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

4-H Youth Development

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

August 2022 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Teena Paxton, Polk County office assistant
  • Christina Griffiths, Scott County K-12 educator
  • Alexis Richter, Hancock County youth coordinator
  • Stefanie Daniels, Story County staff member
  • Evelyn Ganfield, Adams County youth coordinator
  • Karen Hostetler, Bremer County office assistant
  • Stephanie Erpelding, Sac County youth coordinator
  • Craig Chase, senior manager programs, Farm, Food and Enterprise Development, Agricultural and Natural Resources (retirement)
  • Joel DeJong, industry extension specialist IV, Agricultural and Natural Resources (retirement)
  • Brian Perry, program specialist III, Community and Economic Development (retirement)
  • Mary Krisco, education extension specialist II, Human Sciences (retirement)
  • Haley Jones, program specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Shelley Oltmans, extension specialist II, Community and Economic Development
  • Heather Peterson, accountant II, Finance
  • Deb Tootle, associate professor and extension specialist, Community and Economic Development (retirement)

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Emma Duff, Dallas County youth outreach educator
  • Michele Wagner, O’Brien County youth coordinator
  • Linda Clark, Guthrie County assistant bookkeeper
  • Billie Shahan, Franklin County K-12 youth coordinator
  • Karen Ackerman, Wapello County nutrition educator and child care
  • Brittany Belles, Scott County youth program assistant
  • Cammie Wuthrich, Davis County office and program coordinator
  • Stephanie Harrington, Polk County natural resources program coordinator
  • Rebecca Beckner-Goodrich, Henry County EC-PBIS master consultant
  • Katherine Mackenzie, Story County ANR outreach coordinator
  • Alex Burke, communications specialist II, Farm, Food and Enterprise Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Greg Mackey, customer relations coordinator III, Extension Store
  • Dan Nieland, program specialist II, Farm, Food and Enterprise Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Elaine Phompheng, program specialist II, 4-H Youth Development
  • Tom Keinert, extension specialist II, Human Sciences
  • Todd Stevens, extension specialist II, Human Sciences

August 2022 program update

4-H Youth Development

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

Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Community and Economic Development

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

Human Sciences

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

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

July 2022 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Kimberly Booth, Franklin County after school coordinator
  • Mackenzie Keller, Clarke County office assistant
  • Abby Sorensen, Mills County director
  • Kalsa Parker Browning, Polk County natural resources program coordinator
  • Kelsey Wiese, Carroll County youth coordinator
  • Kelli Anders, Wapello County local foods program coordinator
  • Janea Blomquist, Pocahontas County program coordinator
  • Alexis Shelley, Adair County office assistant
  • Colleena Johnson, Union County youth coordinator
  • Ellen Brennan, event planner I, Conference Planning and Management
  • Fallon Reicks, program specialist I, 4-H Youth Development
  • Kraig Tweed, regional director, County Services
  • Gary Taylor, director, Community and Economic Development (transferred out of ISU Extension and Outreach)

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Teena Paxton, Polk County office assistant
  • Dustin Winkelman, Mahaska County youth coordinator
  • Lasey Handeland, Hardin County office assistant
  • Coley Reed, Appanoose County Pick a Better Snack coordinator
  • Kris Baldwin, instructional technology specialist II, Professional Development
  • Solomon Funchess, program assistant II, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Krista Smith, agriculture and natural resources extension specialist I, Farm, Food, and Enterprise Development

June 2022 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Michelle Brown, Wayne County parent educator
  • Emily Velisek, Jones County youth coordinator
  • Mari Melvin, Davis County program coordinator
  • Cicely Lawrence, Monroe County NEST coordinator
  • Nicole McCreedy, Monroe County NEST child care provider
  • Marisa Bloom, Scott County families program assistant
  • Johanna Rahbusch, Linn County bookkeeper/office assistant
  • Katey Thompson, Davis County child care provider
  • Michaela Van De Berg, Story County media and ANR program coordinator
  • Nancy Kincaid, Monroe County NEST coordinator
  • Trece Lonneman, Hancock County office administrator
  • Donna Donald, senior manager education extension, Human Sciences
  • Kimberly Anderson, industry extension specialist III, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Sindy Perez, extension program assistant II, Human Sciences
  • Lauren Carter, graphic designer I, Advancement
  • Tyler Weig, manager programs, 4-H Youth Development
  • Paola Trujillo Lopez, extension program assistant II, Human Sciences
  • Sarah Larkin, customer relations coordinator II, Extension Distribution Center

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Abi Henderson, Jackson County youth coordinator
  • Jennifer Schipper, Sioux County office assistant
  • Megan Stille, Floyd County youth educator
  • John Buntsma, Sioux County Master Gardener assistant
  • Amy Decker, Dubuque County K-12 education coordinator
  • Kaitlyn Deahl, Wayne County youth coordinator
  • Caylin Brommel, Carroll County youth coordinator
  • Brittany McNeeley, Monroe County office assistant
  • Katelyn Herzberg, Emmet County youth coordinator
  • Tony Mensing, industry extension specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Mauree Haage, program specialist III, North Central Regional STEM Manager, Vice President for Extension and Outreach
  • Alex Brent, business systems analyst II, Extension Information Technology
  • Antoinette Veldhuizen, program specialist I, Community and Economic Development

July 2022 program update

Human Sciences and Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Human Sciences

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

Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

4-H Youth Development

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

Community and Economic Development

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

May 2022 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Sarah Tanis, Black Hawk County youth nutrition and 4-H outreach
  • Megan Spurgin, Emmet County program educator/coordinator
  • Carolyn Clark, Jackson County youth program assistant
  • Kayla Koether, Allamakee County food system specialist
  • Colt Churchill, Wayne County youth coordinator
  • Jackie Cooper, Winneshiek County office assistant
  • Darby Young, Plymouth County director
  • Holly White, Chickasaw County office manager
  • Leslie Kallsen, Sioux County K-12 educator
  • Teresa Friedel, Des Moines County office assistant
  • Sarah Fiddelke, O’Brien County youth coordinator
  • Susan Deblieck, program specialist III, Human Sciences
  • Ann Parker, education extension specialist I, Human Sciences
  • Emily Paull, program specialist I, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Nora Kurtovic, extension program assistant II, Human Sciences
  • Carol Pilcher, manager industry extension, Agriculture and Natural Resources

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Erin Schramm, Harrison County youth coordinator
  • Rebecca Trumm, Clinton County youth coordinator
  • Crystal Vetter, Clinton County office coordinator
  • Caitlyn Butler, Calhoun County program coordinator
  • Alexis Shelley, Adair County office assistant
  • Catie Johnson, Des Moines County office assistant
  • Madeline Widman, Woodbury County horticulture coordinator
  • Jennifer Pontefract, Mills County ACES coordinator
  • Randall Vos, education extension specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Jay Maxwell, data analyst I, Community and Economic Development
  • Mattea Boettcher, program assistant II, 4-H Youth Development

June 2022 program update

Community and Economic Development

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

Human Sciences

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

4-H Youth Development

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

Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

May 2022 program update

Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Community and Economic Development

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

Human Sciences

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

4-H Youth Development

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

April 2022 program update

4-H Youth Development

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

Agriculture and Natural Resources

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

Community and Economic Development

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

Human Sciences

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

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