AMES, Iowa – Six northwest Iowa counties are working together to meet the needs of livestock producers, according to Cheryl Heronemus, director for Iowa State University Extension’s Region 1.
The region covers Clay, Dickinson, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola and Sioux counties, Heronemus said. “The counties have really bought in to the idea that if we work on it together and share our resources, we can get a lot more done.”
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Heronemus is one of 20 regional extension education directors. The positions were created a year ago as part of ISU Extension’s restructuring plan to facilitate an issue-based approach to delivering ISU Extension programming and resources. Heronemus works directly with county extension council members to meet their legal obligations as an elected body. Together they are identifying new ways to work across county borders, provide educational programming that addresses significant issues and evaluate the results of multi-county and regional efforts.
Region 1 has fewer, but larger, livestock operations now than in the past, and many farm operators are hiring employees to help get the work done, Heronemus said. So now, in addition to being farmers, they also are employers who need human resources (HR) training.
“HR training for our ag producers is something we’ve identified as a need for the past several years,” noted Heronemus, who previously served as extension education director for Sioux and Lyon counties before restructuring.
Lyon County Extension is funding the development of a pilot series that will benefit all the counties in northwest Iowa, she said. The county is working with ISU Extension program specialists and staff to put together a three-part HR training for livestock producers. Following the pilot, this program will be offered at other sites around Iowa.
“Working together, the counties can make this happen to benefit everyone in the six counties, rather than just thinking countywide,” Heronemus said.
To learn more about ISU Extension programs, contact Heronemus at 712-957-5045 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the ISU Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu/.