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Iowa State University Extension

December 2012 -- From Cathann Kress

In November Montgomery County celebrated 100 years of organized extension work. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the festivities, but John Lawrence, director of Extension to Agriculture and Natural Resources, took part. He said he enjoyed reviewing the history that the county staff had put together and seeing “examples of catalytic leadership and delivery of research-based information over the last century -- from horse breaking and hitch demonstrations to youth tractor training safety, from farm accounting courses to farm accounting software and from soil conservation to, well, soil conservation (some things are still a priority). Reviewing this history made me both proud and humble to belong to an organization that had served and influenced so many people in so many ways.”

Iowa State University is proud of our 100-year and continuing partnership with the people of Iowa. One partnership in particular that makes our work possible is with our county extension councils. We’re in the midst of reviewing a new draft Memorandum of Understanding that updates this partnership and we expect to have a final agreement by next April. Also, we just completed new council member training sessions across the state, as newly elected, re-elected and continuing council members gear up for a new year. ISU Extension and Outreach looks forward to being part of the ongoing life of communities throughout the state for years to come.

-- Cathann

Farmland value reaches historic $8,296 statewide average

Mike Duffy

Average Iowa farmland value is estimated to be $8,296 per acre, an increase of 23.7 percent from 2011, according to results of the Iowa Land Value Survey conducted in November. This is the third year in a row where values have increased more than 15 percent. The 2012 values are historical peaks.

According to Mike Duffy, ISU Extension farm management economist who conducts the survey, “This is the highest state value recorded by the survey, and the first time county averages have reached levels over $10,000. While this is an interesting time, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding future land values.”

Fitness program for older Iowans receives NIFA funding

intergenerational fitness program

Iowa State University researchers have received new funding to evaluate an intergenerational exercise program for older adults in 21 rural Iowa counties beginning in January 2013. The Living (well through) Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise (LIFE) Program has been funded by the Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Program of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The LIFE program introduces older adults to exergaming, video games that integrate game play with physical activity. Younger adults (age 16 and older) serve as trainers for the older participants.

The new funding will allow the research team to study the LIFE program in real life, rather than in relatively controlled research environments, said Sarah Francis, an ISU Extension nutrition specialist.

Company achieves success with testing, finite element analysis

Hadar Athletic

Hadar Athletic manufactures a wide range of athletic equipment, from football practice dummies to gymnastics and wrestling mats. When a junior blocking sled wasn’t performing to the company’s expectations, the company called CIRAS. They thought changing their manufacturing process would solve the problem, Joe Hadar said, “but we wanted to be 100 percent certain, and that required testing we didn’t have the in-house resources to do.”

CIRAS coordinated the testing and the results led the company to change its process, which Hadar estimates has helped the company increase and retain sales by $200,000. CIRAS also is assisting the company with finite element analysis, which predicts responses of structures and materials to environmental factors such as force, heat and vibration. See the full story in CIRAS News.

Educational travel courses set for 2013

Extension and Outreach educational travel courses

“Experience and explore Iowa in ways never before thought possible” is the invitation extended by ISU Extension and Outreach educational travel courses. The courses, created and taught by community development specialist Diane Van Wyngarden, include history, stories and insights about each community while opening doors to private homes and places typically not accessible to the public.

The 2013 travel schedule includes tours of Iowa’s uncommon utopian communities, historic towns along the Upper Mississippi River, and a three-state tour by river and rail of three signature Midwest cities. The courses are geared for lifelong learners as part of the national Road Scholar nonprofit organization. Registration is now open.

Endowment honors Kruse, 4-H volunteers

Loren Kruse

Individual 4-H’ers and 4-H clubs may nominate a current or former volunteer leader to receive the first Successful Farming/Loren Kruse Outstanding 4-H Leader Award. The nomination deadline is Feb.1, 2013, and the award will be presented next summer at the 2013 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference.

The Meredith Corporation Foundation and Edwin T. Meredith Foundations permanently endowed the award to honor Kruse, who retired from Successful Farming after a 36-year career and has been a long-time 4-H supporter. The annual $1,000 award acknowledges 4-H volunteer leaders who have inspired 4-H’ers to reach potentials far beyond what they could achieve without guidance and encouragement from caring adult volunteers.