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Iowa State University Extension

April 2012 -- From Cathann Kress

Gov. Branstad signs proclamation

Sometimes the best way to help people understand something is to tell a story -- and we are telling the story of ISU Extension and Outreach.

We asked Gov. Branstad to officially proclaim March 25-31 ISU Extension and Outreach Week. The proclamation and many events and activities throughout the week spread awareness about Extension and Outreach and brought visibility to the work of all our volunteers, our partners, the colleges across the Iowa State campus and our program specialists, staff and faculty who work so hard on behalf of the citizens of Iowa.

ISU Extension and Outreach, in partnership with the College of Design, has been selected to have an exhibit on the National Mall this summer as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which created the land-grant university with its focus on making higher education accessible. The exhibit showcases the leadership and unique partnership between the College of Design and Extension and Outreach in harnessing creativity, design and innovation to promote community development and provide entrepreneurial solutions to complex societal problems. It shows the ongoing relevance of land-grant universities to find innovative approaches to solve today’s challenges and anticipate tomorrow’s.

For those not in Washington, D.C., this July, the exhibit will be brought back to Iowa for viewing in late summer. Since Iowa was the first state to officially endorse the Morrill Act, we’re proud to be part of the national celebration.

We also have a new strategic plan – to guide us as we continue our story and put the land-grant mission to work — applying university research and evidence-based practices across the state. As Iowa works to create jobs and enhance economic development, increase family incomes, improve our schools, and reduce the cost of government, ISU Extension and Outreach is uniquely positioned to move our state forward. We are committed to promoting healthy people, healthy environments, and healthy economies.


Older Iowans experience LIFE -- Living (Well through) Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise

older woman exercising

Older Iowans are getting a new lease on LIFE —Living (well through) Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise. Although only in its pilot phase, this ISU Extension and Outreach program already is showing that adults age 60+ can improve their flexibility and hand grip strength in just six months with appropriate aerobic exercise and resistance activity. And they’re doing it by playing video games — also known as exergaming — with college students.

Iowa State began this research study because physical inactivity among older adults is a growing public health issue.

Farm Poll shows challenges to increasing cover crops on farmland

Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll

Increasing cover crops on Iowa farmland faces substantial challenges, despite the potential environmental and agronomic benefits, according to the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll. A new Farm Poll report examines the attitudes of 1,360 Iowa farmers toward cover crops.

Iowa State has worked for many years with partner agencies and organizations to conduct research on and promote cover crops as a means to maintain and increase soil productivity, while reducing agriculture’s environmental impacts, said J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr., a sociologist with ISU Extension and Outreach and co-director of the annual poll.

Community and economic development extends to Keokuk

Charles Betts

ISU Extension and Outreach is enhancing economic development and quality of life in southeast Iowa by partnering with Iowa communities. The effort has yielded three shared positions specializing in community and economic development. In the most recent collaboration, with the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce, Charles “Chuck” Betts was hired as an extension specialist and executive director for the chamber.

“I know our area will benefit from this,” said April Girard, chamber board president. The collaboration “is an opportunity for Keokuk to utilize Iowa State resources and programs to provide a coordinated effort in making Keokuk a better community.”

CIRAS and Burke Corporation focus on continuous improvement

Burke employee

Burke Corporation of Nevada, Iowa, has more than 35 years of experience in manufacturing and marketing fully cooked meats that are used as ingredients in food items prepared by restaurants, food service establishments and prepared food manufacturers. Burke also has a long-term relationship with ISU Extension and Outreach and the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), participating in meat science short courses, sustainability-related training and research aimed at helping the company enhance its performance.

“We incorporate the continuous improvement philosophy in all aspects of our business,” says David Weber, senior vice president. “CIRAS provides a great technical resource to companies like ours. They are great partners in helping us achieve our goals.”

Four youth represent Iowa at National 4-H Conference

Tom Vilsack and Iowa 4-H delegates

In March, four Iowa youth were among the 200 4-H’ers from across the country who made their voices heard during the 2012 National 4-H Conference. Kayla Krull, Northwood; Abigail Peterson, Harcourt; Amy Prestholt, Manly; and Savannah Ruby, Greenfield, were selected as Iowa’s representatives because of their local and state involvement in 4-H, and their leadership and communication skills.

The 4-H’ers met with Iowa’s congressional delegation and heard from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. They also participated in roundtable discussions on the role 4-H can play in issues affecting youth and communities nationwide, such as alcohol and drug use prevention, healthy eating and living, and using science and technology to improve local communities.