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Iowa State University Extension

June 2013 -- From Cathann Kress

Governor Branstad signs CIRAS proclamation

This year our Center for Industrial Research and Service is celebrating 50 years of service to Iowa business and industry. On June 6, Governor Branstad signed the proclamation acknowledging that CIRAS enhances the performance of industry through applied research, education and technical assistance. He also urged Iowa companies and communities to partner with CIRAS to help our state prosper and grow.

Beginning July 22, Deb Sellers, from Kansas State University, will be the new associate dean in the ISU College of Human Sciences and director of Human Sciences Extension and Outreach. She will succeed Nancy Franz, who will lead our new professional development unit. Our programs for Iowa families will continue to focus on improving nutrition and health, parenting and caregiving, and personal finance, as well as reducing poverty. However, we’ll be broadening our activities to encompass all academic areas in the college.

The whole point of a land-grant university like Iowa State is to offer access to highly qualified faculty interested in investigating phenomena and problems whether they require basic research or are applied in nature. This combination benefits both learning and discovery. Throughout ISU Extension and Outreach, we foster engagement efforts using that knowledge to drive economic activity, enhance productivity and improve the quality of life for our citizens.

-- Cathann

Farmer philanthropy important to community development

Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll

Iowa farmers are substantially involved in philanthropy, donating their time and money to organizations, causes and charities they believe in, according to the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll.

The Iowa State researchers who conducted the poll noted that many farm families worship, work and shop locally and understand the importance of their volunteer time and financial resources in maintaining the vibrancy of their community. The report is available for free download from ISU Extension and Outreach.

Crop insurance FAQs, other flood resources available

flooded field

The frequent rains that have soaked Iowa this year have left many corn and soybean fields unplanted or with flooded areas. Many producers are wondering what options they have under their multiple peril crop insurance policies.

Fortunately, more than 90 percent of the insured corn and soybean acres in Iowa are covered by MPCI, which includes replant, delay and prevented planting coverage. Extension and Outreach specialists have prepared answers to frequently asked questions about flooding and crop insurance. Additional flood recovery resources also are available.

PEERS gets students involved in real world STEM opportunities


PEERS -- Partnership for Engineering Educational Resources for Schools -- is a scale-up program through the Governor’s Science, Technology, Education and Math Initiative. This business-based program involves students in career-related experiences. For example, students interact with STEM professionals and visit science and engineering facilities -- witnessing science, engineering and technology in the workplace.

“It’s hard for young people to see themselves in a career without seeing the actual role. PEERS lets them see the opportunities,” said Jay Staker, director for 4-H STEM. ISU Extension and Outreach is helping to implement PEERS in Boone, Hardin, Marshall and Story counties.

Workshop builds skills for teaching financial literacy

financial literacy class

Middle and high school educators may go “back to school” this summer to build skills for teaching financial literacy to their students. Registration is open for the fourth annual Iowa Family Economics and Financial Education teacher training workshop at Iowa State this August.

“While 89 percent of the teachers surveyed agree that students need financial education, relatively few teachers believe they are adequately prepared to teach personal finance topics,” said family economics specialist Cynthia Fletcher. “The workshop is our direct response to that professional development need in Iowa.”