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Iowa State University Extension

April 2011 -- From Jerry Miller

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As an Iowa State faculty member and long-time Iowan, I am thrilled that Iowa is hosting this year’s National Urban Extension Conference May 2-5 in Des Moines. Although cornfields and cows are vital to Iowa’s economy, culture and landscape, so are urban areas. In fact, more than 56 percent of Iowa’s population lives in urban communities.

Extension professionals from 14 states have planned this conference, which will examine the challenges that face land-grant institutions in their urban educational outreach efforts. We are pleased to offer this opportunity for learning and discussion about the needs of urban communities around the nation. Learn more about the conference at

We’re pleased to welcome Cathann Kress as Iowa State’s next vice president for extension and outreach. She begins her new role July 1. We in ISU Extension’s leadership team look forward to working with her over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition.


April is Month of Military Child in Iowa

Gov. Branstad with Iowa military kids

“Iowa’s children also serve when family members or other caring adults in their lives are deployed,” said Chris Gleason, Operation: Military Kids program director for ISU Extension. To recognize this service, military families and supporters gathered at the capitol in Des Moines March 24 as Gov. Terry Branstad signed a proclamation declaring April as the Month of the Military Child in Iowa.

New corn growth publication available to order

Corn growth and development publication

ISU Extension’s corn production team has completed a new publication, “Corn Growth and Development,” that replaces “How a Corn Plant Develops” -- the standard reference on corn growth and development for more than 40 years.

The 2011 publication provides an in-depth look at corn, from the moment the seed is planted all the way to maturity. It takes much of what is known about crop physiology and combines that with field agronomics to provide students, corn growers and agronomists the current and technical information they want and can use. Order it from the ISU Extension Online Store.

Latino entrepreneurs are on track for success

abierto -- open

Southeast Iowa’s growing entrepreneurial economy includes many of Iowa’s newest residents, enterprising Latino immigrants in small communities who are diverse in age, skills and education. Economic developers, service providers and educators are realizing that one set of guidelines and services may not meet the needs and concerns of these diverse entrepreneurs.

That’s why the New Iowa Center collaborated with ISU Extension and the Small Business Development Center to offer entrepreneurship training specifically for Latino business owners.

Homegrown Lifestyle helps acreage owners reconnect to the land

hands holding vegetables

ISU Extension is piloting Homegrown Lifestyle for those who are eager to reconnect to the land and understand more fully where their food comes from. The 12-week course begins in April in Dallas, Johnson and Woodbury counties.

Extension educators will make weekly presentations via webinar and local extension staff members will conduct related hands-on experiences during each session. “This will be a whirlwind tour of all the topics smallholders need to consider when trying to build a sustainable personal farmscape,” said Andy Larson, ISU Extension small farm sustainability specialist and Homegrown Lifestyle co-leader.

Program offers students opportunity to travel, learn in China

Great Wall of China

Select Iowa high school students will have the opportunity to visit China this summer as part of the Global Youth Excellence Program, sponsored by ISU Extension, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and Iowa Soybean Association.

“Our goal is to get more young Iowans engaged in understanding the global nature of the economy and consider the opportunities in food production in a global economy,” said Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association.

CY on tour during Extension Week

CY and friends

Iowa State mascot CY was on tour during Extension Week March 21-25, with stops in Sioux, Pocahontas and Howard counties. CY was part of efforts on campus and across the state to thank existing clients, partners and supporters and build awareness about ISU Extension educational programs.

It starts with Extension, and “it” is the many times Iowans need to know more about something and want reliable information. ISU Extension, through publications, Web pages and educational experiences, is it — the way university research gets to all Iowans so they can apply it to their questions and make sound decisions.