January 2011 -- From Jerry Miller
We’re well into the New Year, but it’s not too late to ask: “Should auld acquaintance be forgot?” The answer is no — not when those acquaintances are the dedicated ISU Extension employees who retired during the past year. We offer our best wishes and heartfelt thanks for a job well done to all the ISU Extension staff members who retired in 2010, including this most recent group:
- Tom Baird, Engineering
- Susan Brown, Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Anita Froehlig, Families
- Joyce Greving, Families
- Carolyn Hoagland, Continuing Education and Professional Development
- Mary Kouris, 4-H Youth Development
- Merle Pochop, Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS)
- Mattie Rogers, Continuing Education and Professional Development
- Jan Temple, Families
It’s also the time of year for resolutions. ISU Extension remains resolved to helping Iowans solve today’s issues. We continue to build partnerships and provide research-based learning opportunities to improve quality of life in Iowa.
A changing economy gives companies time to retool facilities, develop and test new products and examine internal processes. It often forces communities to re-examine economic development goals as well. Companies and communities can get help from Mark Reinig, economic development program manager at Extension’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS). He connects government and industry leaders with Iowa State resources and assets that increase economic competitiveness and technological innovation.
“We want to put the focus back on helping grow companies in-state and keep jobs here,” Reinig said.
Future animators and filmmakers can build their digital storytelling skills through Studio 4-H. This virtual 4-H club exists online and is open to youth throughout the state. Studio 4-H provides the opportunity for young Iowans to learn from professionals in cinematography, photography, audio production, graphic design and digital storytelling media.
It’s a partnership of ISU Extension, the international digital storytelling project Adobe Youth Voices and Grasshorse Inc., an Iowa-based company that does animation work throughout the United States. Mentors from Grasshorse and ISU Extension Communications and External Relations will work with the club.
Recently USDA reported that nearly 12 percent of Iowa households were “food insecure.” One way to counter the trend is the Iowa Food Assistance Program, which helps families stretch their food dollars so they can meet their basic food needs. That’s why ISU Extension is beginning a three-part outreach project to educate Iowans about Food Assistance and how it can help people with limited incomes meet their food needs. The project is targeted to older Iowans and individuals who access food at food pantries.
The average value of an acre of Iowa farmland increased 15.9 percent in 2010, according to an annual ISU Extension survey. The statewide average land value as of Nov. 1, 2010 was $5,064 an acre, up $693 per acre from 2009. “We need to watch the land values and be prudent, but I don’t think we need to be overly pessimistic there will be a crash in values anytime soon,” said Mike Duffy, ISU Extension economist who conducts the survey.
Members of ISU Extension’s Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) were honored at the council’s December meeting in Ames. Gerald A. Miller, interim vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach, presented certificates to three CAC members whose terms ended: Eldean Borg, Linn County; LaMetta Wynn, Clinton County; and John Ziegenbusch, Story County.
Other CAC members who were recognized for completing their terms, but were unable to attend the meeting, included José Amaya, Polk County; Willard Boyd, Johnson County; Sarah Huddleston, Buena Vista County; Deb Krull, Cerro Gordo County; Carlos Rios, Polk County; Mallory Smith, Louisa County; Gary Smith, Mills County; David Suarez Moreno, Henry County; and Mary Weaver, Greene County.