Schultz Honored Nationally for Women in Agriculture Extension Program

The award encourages and recognizes excellence in the field of professional extension

September 5, 2023, 9:49 am | Madeline Schultz

AMES, Iowa – Madeline Schultz received the Distinguished Service Award at the 108th Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, on Aug. 16, in Des Moines. The award encourages and recognizes excellence in the field of professional extension for members with more than 10 years of service.

Madeline receiving her award.Schultz was honored nationally for her work as the Women in Agriculture program manager with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Farm Management Team. With her team, Schultz led development of 10 curricula and more than 200 Annie’s Project and other multi-session farm management courses for women. She also initiated the annual Women in Ag Leadership Conference. She directed 40 grant and gift projects bringing more than $3.5 million to Iowa and national extension programming.

Schultz is a leader in the NACAA professional organization by serving as economics and community development committee national chair, communications committee co-chair for the 2023 national conference, and as a past state president. She presented on women in agriculture programs at nine NACAA conferences and co-presented a super-seminar on mental health in 2022. She published five articles in the “Journal of the NACAA” on program impacts and research on women in agriculture. Schultz and her team received the NACAA National Search for Excellence in Farm Management Award in 2018. 

As a non-traditional student at Iowa State University, Schultz earned Bachelor of Science degrees in agricultural business and in economics in May 2003. She began working with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Value Added Agriculture Program that same year. She enrolled in the ISU College of Business Saturday program and earned a Master of Business Administration in 2007.

Women in Ag

In 2008, Schultz called her daughter to tell her she was asked to work with the extension farm management team on Annie’s Project farm business management courses.

“It was serendipitous because my daughter told me she had just gotten back from the county extension office where she signed up herself, two aunts, and her grandmother for an Annie’s Project course,” shared Schultz. “Having that personal connection and knowing how important these extension programs are to women of all ages, drives me to do my best,” Schultz added.

Schultz wrote out a business and education plan and defined the mission of the women in ag program as “To improve the quality of life in Iowa by providing research-based educational programs that expand agricultural business, improve natural-resource management, and support the community of women in agriculture.”

Schultz believes that both private and public value are created when extension extends knowledge and empowers women in agriculture.

“Women are key stakeholders in the production of safe, plentiful and accessible food,” said Schultz.

The transformational learning model and logic models are super exciting to Schultz.

“I really find value in putting into practice these and other educational theories,” Schultz said.

Every day, she works on aspects of the extension education model of needs assessment, curricula development, program planning, program delivery and evaluation. Another of her favorite frameworks is the Balanced Scorecard. “I make sure I devote time to work in all four quadrants of the Balanced Scorecard: educational services, communication and marketing, professional development for myself and my teams, and financial stewardship,” she explained.

Supporting extension

Schultz enjoys supporting other extension educators in their careers through her involvement in the NACAA.

“This is a fantastic professional organization and I’m at a point in my career where building up the next generation of leaders and educators is really important to me,” shared Schultz.

Many opportunities have come Schultz’s way because of her extension work with women in agriculture. She earned the 2019 USDA Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics Partnership Award in Washington, D.C., based on multiple successful grant projects with her farm management team. Schultz has given talks on extension programming for women in agriculture across the United States as well as Romania, Australia and Denmark.

More information on the ISU Extension and Outreach farm management programs for women in agriculture is available online.

Shareable photo: Madeline Schultz, with her husband, Steve, receiving her Distinguished Service Award from past NACAA president Phil Durst (left).

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