An official proclamation was signed this spring, honoring the 100th anniversary of Des Moines County organizing for extension work and hiring a county agent. Extension Council Chair Tara Abel received the proclamation from Burlington Mayor Shane McCampbell and Des Moines County Supervisors Tom Broeker and Jim Cary.
Henry County also reaches the 100-year milestone this year.
The Des Moines County Extension 100th anniversary planning committee has several projects planned for the year.
Don Traman, Burlington, a member of the first Des Moines County Extension Council in 1955, current council member Ben Heckart, Danville, and Patty Steiner, an ISU Extension and Outreach nutrition and health specialist who serves Des Moines County, were guests for a radio interview during Extension and Outreach Week in March. During that week, radio personnel gave prizes for correct answers to trivia questions each day about Extension Services.
Steiner has been writing monthly articles and gathering historical photos featuring a decade of the county extension history for area newspapers and the Des Moines County Extension website. The committee is looking into having a display sometime this year at the Des Moines County Heritage Center and other local museums.
Extension work in Iowa first began in 1903, when a group of Sioux County farmers cooperated with Iowa State University to improve seed corn. They were first in the nation, establishing the “extension idea” — taking the land-grant university out to the people.
By 1912, Iowa counties began organizing for extension work, two years prior to the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension System nationwide
. Today, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is university-wide and elected extension councils in every county partner with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to bring research-based education to their citizens.
“This allows us to focus the total resources of the university on issues that affect all of Iowa, rural and urban,” said Cathann Kress, vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach. “Our programs in Agriculture and Natural Resources
, Community and Economic Development, Human Sciences
and 4-H Youth Development
allow us to bring a wide array of educational programs to our citizens across the state. We’re extending even more of Iowa State to Iowans as we expand our ability to provide research-based education that meets their needs.”
Counties in Iowa started celebrating 100 years of establishing Extension and Outreach at the county level in 2012. Since then, 11 counties have reached the 100-year milestone: Black Hawk, Scott, Clinton, Montgomery, Harrison, Muscatine, Clay, Worth and Wright along with Des Moines and Henry counties.