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December 2006 -- From Jack Payne

As 2006 draws to a close, so too does my first year as vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to making this a very memorable year. I truly appreciate the talents, dedication and hard work of the ISU Extension faculty and staff on campus and throughout the state. ISU and ISU Extension are first-class organizations with high quality programs and fantastic volunteers. See for yourself — in this newsletter and in Extension’s annual report.

I also want to congratulate Vivan Jennings, one of our Citizens Advisory Council members, and ISU Extension client Dave Nichols, of Nichols Farms, who are Iowa Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service to Agriculture award recipients for 2006. The award recognizes service to agriculture at the local, state and/or national level.

Please continue to send your newsletter ideas to Also, add your comments to my blog, the Extension Switchboard.

Happy holidays to you all!

holiday greeting










Iowa farmland value at record level

Land Value Survey

The average value of an acre of farmland in Iowa increased $290 to an all-time high of $3,204 in 2006, according to an annual survey conducted by Iowa State University. This is the fourth year in a row with a new record high, according to Mike Duffy, ISU Extension farm economist who conducts the survey.

The 2006 average value topped a previous record of $2,914 reported last year, and it represented a 10 percent increase statewide over the 2005 average and the first time the average value of an acre of land in Iowa topped $3,000. For more information see the Iowa Land Value Survey website.

Statewide bioeconomy discussions planned

ethanol plant

In 2007, ISU Extension will convene community discussions throughout the state to help Iowans identify both the potential opportunities as well as the possible impacts of bioeconomy issues on quality of life.

Through the bioeconomy, Iowa’s renewable resources can be used to foster diverse economic development in rural areas, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, improve U.S. energy security and enhance the health and sustainability of Iowa’s ecosystems. However, as Iowans explore developing the state’s biorenewable resources, they must consider the significant economic, social and environmental ramifications of this rapidly growing initiative. For more information about ISU Extension’s community discussions contact Tim Borich,, or Steve Devlin,

Student athletes benefit when they 'Eat to Compete'

Eat to Compete

Helping young athletes use smart nutrition practices is the focus of a new program series from ISU Extension for coaches, teachers and athletic directors. Five two-hour sessions will be offered in January and February. The Eat to Compete sessions can be used for coaching reauthorization, teaching license recertification or Drake University graduate credit.

“Parents depend on coaches to give their players accurate information about training diets, supplements and fluids,” said Ruth Litchfield, ISU Extension nutrition specialist. “These sessions are designed to help coaches and others know what kind of advice they can offer.”

Youth leader credits 4-H, caring adults for honors

Jeremy Weiss

Nine-year 4-H’er Jeremy Weiss sees work to be done and volunteers, often leading the way. That’s why the National Council on Youth Leadership recently named him a National Youth Leader. Currently Weiss, a Manson Northwest Webster High School senior, heads up a project with a local outreach center to help five families.

“We are helping the families have a Christmas filled with presents for all, something they would not have otherwise,” he said.

Weiss is quick to share honors with others who have helped him work toward goals. The ISU Extension 4-H program “has helped me come out of my shy self to be a more outgoing person and a better communicator,” he said.

Weiss lauds 4-H youth/adult partnerships. “Caring adults are what the 4-H program is all about. They have helped me to complete projects, meet new people and learn skills such as leadership and citizenship that I probably could not have gained elsewhere.”

Will emerald ash borer infest Iowa?

emerald ash borer

The emerald ash borer is a new, significant threat to the urban and rural forests of Iowa. First identified in 2002 in southeastern Michigan, this exotic beetle is responsible for the death and decline of more than 25 million ash trees in southeast Michigan and adjacent parts of Indiana and Ohio. The small, green beetle lays eggs on ash trees. Upon hatching, the larvae chew through the bark and feed on the tree. Trees die in two to four years from initial attack.

Iowa has an estimated 50 million rural ash trees and 10 million urban ash trees. So far, the pest has not been observed here, said ISU Extension entomologist Mark Shour. “However, the emerald ash borer was detected in Illinois in 2006 and is a great concern because of its proximity to Iowa and Interstate 80.” ISU Extension, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and USDA have developed a readiness plan for handling this pest.

The beetle can fly only short distances (1 to 2 miles). But long distance movement occurs via infested ash products such as nursery stock, logs, branches, wood chips and firewood. Thus, campgrounds are high-risk areas for introducing this pest into Iowa.

“Tourists coming to Iowa to camp might bring firewood with them; if some of this wood were infested with emerald ash borer, there is a good chance this pest could establish in the state,” Shour said.

From Extension's online store

PM 1812

Look for these popular products and new/revised items.

The Forest Where Ashley Lives, PM 1812
Directory of Campus and Field Specialists: Community and Economic Development, CRD 325
Foods in MyPyramid, N 3478
Iowa Crop Performance Tests: Oat and Barley, 2006, PM 1645
Iowa Crop Performance Tests: Winter Wheat and Winter Triticale, 2006, AG 6
2006 Iowa Crop Performance Test: Corn, PM 660
2006 Iowa Crop Performance Test: Soybeans, AG 18
Small Steps to Health and Wealth, NRAES 0182

Look for additional items at the ISU Extension Distribution Center Online Store.