Making the Extension Bucket Better

With Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Week approaching, I have been reflecting on a recent visit to a garden center. While looking through the new gadgets, tools and general supplies, I came across some neon-handled buckets. As I looked closer I knew that I must have this item.

It is important that I share with you that we have no less than 50 buckets on our farm. However, this one was different and at $7.50 I just had to have one. My new bucket is not high-tech. I will not be able to do incredible things that cannot already be done with the other 50 plus buckets I have on hand.

So what made this bucket a “must have”? It could be the size, 3.5 gallons instead of the traditional 5-gallon bucket. It could be the soft and colorful handle. It is definitely a step up from most of my favorite recycled buckets that once held oil. I’m referring to those buckets where the plastic of the handle is missing and you have to grip the wire; leaving a line and a bright red mark on your hand each time you use it. The unique finger grips on the bottom of the bucket are a nice improvement in engineering over the quarter-inch plastic rim on the bottom from which the fingers always seem to lose grip just as the bucket is half empty. This of course results in a quick upright motion and a splash in the face. As you look into the bucket, you will notice marks in quarts and gallon measurements. This will be helpful when evaluating the mixing of various concoctions used on the farm. It will be much more accurate than the method of eyeing 1/4, 1/3 or 5/8 full. Did I mention that this bucket has just been patented?

I think this applies to many of the programs and tasks we accomplish each day in Extension. Over the 100-year history of Extension in Iowa, our successes are not always something incredibly new or high tech. Extension work began with the idea of taking the research and resources of the university out to the citizens of Iowa, and that is still the fundamental purpose of our work. However, over the years we have make small adjustments to make our Extension bucket better. Our successes can be as simple as taking research-based information and adding relevancy, adding value, and adding new technology. Our roots are in agriculture, but modern Extension has grown to be so much more. We are focused on feeding people, making them healthier, helping their communities to prosper and thrive, and turning the world over to the next generation better than we found it.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Week is March 23-29. This is a great time to visit your county Extension office and see how your local piece of campus is making a difference in Southeast Iowa. Join me in celebrating the valuable staff, volunteers, and partners that help make the ISU Extension and Outreach bucket great. 

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