2017 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Annual Report

montage showing farmers in field, people in classrooms

Download the 2017 Annual Report (pdf)

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is a key player for economic development efforts in the university’s strategic plan. We build a strong Iowa by engaging all Iowans in research, education, and extension experiences to address real-life challenges. Our faculty, educators, and staff harness resources from all ISU colleges and campus units, as well as 99 counties with 900 locally elected council members and more than 16,000 volunteers – to build capacity, lead programs, and support efforts across the state.

  • Agriculture and Natural Resources programs provide research-based information and education to farmers, landowners, and agribusinesses. Annually, we reach 200,000 direct contacts through meetings and field days, in addition to connecting with clients via 45,000 emails and phone calls, and nearly 7,000 face-to-face consultations.
  • Human Sciences programs provide research-based information and education to build strong relationships, families, and communities, with more than 75,000 contacts annually.
  • Community and Economic Development programs focus on housing, demographics, local economies, built environment, and civic engagement and leadership capacity. We provide skills training each year for more than 50,000 community leaders, local government officials, business owners, entrepreneurs, and volunteers.
  • Each year we reach about 100,000 youth through 4-H Youth Development. We build skills in Iowa youth to improve their college and career readiness, address achievement or opportunity gaps, and encourage youth to use their skills to shape Iowa’s future.

More than 1 million people directly benefit from ISU Extension and Outreach educational programs every year. In addition, we reach more than 4 million through our digital presence. We are committed to helping Iowans build their capacity to better their lives and make sound decisions, because a strong Iowa requires not only feeding people, but also keeping them healthy, helping their communities prosper and thrive, and turning the world over to the next generation better than we found it.

 – The ISU Extension and Outreach Leadership Team

Feeding people

  • Supporting local foods: We collaborate with communities to develop, design, and implement local and regional food systems. Since 2013, this partnership has developed more than 20 community projects, including urban farms, food hubs, and public market feasibility studies.
  • Sharing fresh produce: Our Growing Together Iowa volunteers harvested and donated nearly 75,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables to Iowa food pantries, meal sites, and shelters. At three servings per pound, this year’s harvest yielded nearly 225,000 servings of fresh produce for Iowans with low income.
  • Helping farmers be more efficient: Nearly 2,000 individuals attended Crop Advantage meetings, representing 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties. When describing the impact of what they learned about managing operating margins for 2016 and beyond, 44 percent of attendees estimated a value of $5-10 per acre; 24 percent estimated a value of $10-20 per acre.
  • Increasing dairy profitability: We educate dairy producers, consultants, and industry personnel on transition cow management. Participants report that this education results in $400 more income per cow due to more milk, reduced metabolic disorders, and reduced calf mortality.
  • Ensuring a safe pork supply: Over the past several years, swine extension specialists have trained more than 5,000 pork producers on how to implement biosecurity protocols. Even a small adoption of recommended protocols may result in a large payback, as Iowa produces about one-third of the U.S. pork supply.

Keeping them healthy

  • Helping parents raise healthy kids: For every $1 invested in Buy Eat Live Healthy nutrition education, $2.48 is saved in future health care costs. This free program helps parents learn how to provide nutritious food, leading to healthy children and strong families.
  • Shopping for better health: Davenport and Sioux City store owners participated in Shop Healthy Iowa, our collaboration with Iowa Department of Public Health and University of Iowa. The program provides training in handling produce and redesigning store space to promote healthy eating choices. When store owners increase sales of fresh produce, they help customers and can improve profit margins.
  • Keeping food safe: More than 2,000 Iowans participated in ServSafe® classes; 80 percent earned credentials as certified food protection managers. They work in foodservice operations such as restaurants, hospitals, and schools, as well as in child care.
  • Improving well-being: Through our “What About Me? My Wellbeing” workshop series, Iowans gain research-based knowledge about relationships, finances, and physical health to improve their personal well-being and quality of life.
  • Increasing youth wellness: Twenty-five schools from across Iowa are participating in SWITCH, a school wellness program that challenges youth to switch what they do, view, and chew. SWITCH is a partnership between Iowa 4-H and the ISU Department of Kinesiology.
  • Training those who help others: Iowa National Guard Chaplains participated in our Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education Training so they are better prepared to counsel veterans and their families.

Helping communities prosper and thrive

  • Assisting small business: Community development specialists helped 41 minority business owners to start or improve their businesses, and to create and retain jobs for minority employees. The estimated value of these jobs is $305,500.
  • Supporting working parents with quality child care: Nearly 19,000 early childhood professionals reported gaining new knowledge and skills from our on-site and online training to improve quality care and education for young children.
  • Aiding decision making: Farmers, lenders, farm managers, and agriculture instructors consult the Ag Decision Maker website for information, analysis, and insight about agricultural issues critical to their success. On average, more than 9,000 visitors per day access the site.
  • Clarifying city finances: Our Iowa Government Finance Initiative provides annual customized socioeconomic and fiscal information for all 945 cities in Iowa, offering a clear perspective about each city’s financial health and performance.
  • Boosting financial well-being: We train volunteers to provide free tax preparation for rural families with low or moderate income. Last year, 47 volunteers helped 1,278 Iowans complete their returns, and one-third qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The refunds they receive bolster family financial well-being and spur local economic development.

Turning the world over to the next generation

  • Thinking by design: More than 12,000 youth tried virtual reality, 3D prototyping, circuit bending, and other emerging design technologies through FLEx, Forward Learning Experience. This mobile learning station from 4-H and the College of Design has helped youth throughout the state practice 21st century design thinking.
  • Encouraging future leaders: In only two years, more than 500 youth of color have joined Iowa 4-H, participating in existing clubs and learning communities, or working with volunteers to develop new clubs stemming from their Latino, Native American, African American, African immigrant or Asian cultures.
  • Helping farmers connect: Farmers in peer networks learn about livestock, grain, and horticultural crop farming practices; land access strategies; financial and risk management; and diversification. We facilitate these networks for large-scale and niche enterprises, and for beginning and transitioning farmers. The goals are to increase the success of Iowa farm operations, improve the equity and management responsibilities of beginning farmers, and help farm businesses pass to a new generation.
  • Sharing the 4-H experience: Four students from Johnston were the first Iowa 4-H Leadership, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship Youth Delegation, a new youth exchange program. In 2017, they visited Kosovo for a weeklong camp. Iowa 4-H expects to host youth from Kosovo in 2018.
  • Exploring careers: Twelve Iowa 4-H’ers spent two days at Iowa Public Television and WHO Radio learning from media and marketing professionals. Later the young reporters practiced what they learned, reporting on the 2017 Iowa State Fair and producing videos for the Iowa 4-H YouTube channel.

One 99 county campus for Iowans

  • Sharing our legacy: The Land Grant Legacy project is a joint effort of ISU Extension and Outreach, Iowa State, and all Iowans who are discovering their connections to the original land parcels that funded our state’s “college for the people.” We’re sharing stories of the land and the people on the land.
  • Engaging scholarship: In Calhoun and Buena Vista counties we are exploring the feasibility and effectiveness of virtual singing groups for Iowans with Parkinson’s disease. Iowa State research has demonstrated that singing training can significantly improve swallowing and respiratory function for these individuals.
  • Encouraging exploration: K-3 youth try hands-on STEM activities in STEM-Lit to Go! This 4-H Clover Kids curriculum supports the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core English Language Arts Standards.
  • Building strong communities: Leading Communities is a new, six-session program to help Iowans make their communities more resilient. Participants gain skills in working together to promote sustainable community development.
  • Providing work experience: Twenty-two counties helped support 15 Rising Star Interns from the ISU Colleges of Human Sciences, Design, and Agriculture and Life Sciences. The interns gained real life work experience in local food systems, explored Iowa communities, and considered careers as extension professionals.
  • Developing future scientists: Nearly 2,000 youth experienced science in action during 4-H solar eclipse day camps across Iowa. They made special viewers to safely watch the eclipse and learned about STEM-related careers.


pie chart, 2017 expenses by category ISU Extension and Outreach Expenses by Category

Personnel: $39,829,426 [70.6%]    
Supplies and Services: $13,391,752 [23.7%]    
Capital and Equipment: $189,348 [0.3%]    
Allocated Expenses: $3,034,526 [5.4%]    
Total Expenses: $56,445,052 [100.0%]    
Note: Allocated Expenses include ISU Extension and Outreach share of University allocated expenses (Facilities, Library, Univ IT, Business Services).



pie chart, expenses by programISU Extension and Outreach Expenses by Program

Agriculture and Natural Resources: $24,150,937 [42.9%]
Community and Economic Development: $4,701,102 [8.3%]
Human Sciences: $8,607,184 [15.2%]
4-H Youth Development: $5,821,287 [10.3%]
Conference Planning and Management: $1,208,349 [2.1%]
Administration: $874,464 [1.5%]
Organizational Advancement and Development: $2,003,216 [3.5%]
County Services: $3,172,505 [5.6%]
Central Operations: $2,231,088 [4.0%]
System Support: $3,674,920 [6.6%]
Total Expenses: $56,445,052 [100.0%]

  • Administration includes Central Administration and STEM activities.           
  • Central Operations include ISU Extension and Outreach central support for  IT, Finance, and EDC.           
  • System Support includes rent, utilities, broadband, membership/association dues, facility improvements as well as expenses for ISU Extension and Outreach share of University allocated expenses (Facilities/Space, Library, University IT and Business Services).

pie chart, 2017 county expensesCounty Expenses

Personnel: $20,419,289 [57.9%]
Supplies and Services: $10,904,756 [30.9%]
Facilities and Equipment: $3,310,483 [9.4%]
Shared Services Support: $645,926 [1.8%]
Total Expenses: $35,280,454 [100.0%]
Note: Personnel includes personnel costs paid from tax receipts, grants, and program fees.            




pie chart, 2017 ISU Extension and Outreach revenuesISU Extension and Outreach Revenues

State Co-op Direct Line Appropriations: $18,266,722 [30.9%]
State Appropriations (General University): $4,557,572 [7.7%]
Federal Appropriations: $10,349,635 [17.5%]
Grant Receipts: $13,499,659 [22.9%]
User Fees: $11,271,764 [19.1%]
Other: $1,125,302 [1.9%]
Total Revenues: $59,070,654 [100.0%]

  • State Appropriations (General University) include receipts for General University Funds less Administering Unit Indirects and 3% Admin Fee.
  • Federal Appropriations include receipts for Federal General Smith-Lever 3(b) (c) and other designated programs.            
  • User Fees include receipts for Programs, Conference Planning and Management, and Extension Online Store.            
  • Other includes receipts for PI Incentives, Administering Unit Indirects, 3% Admin Fee, and ISU Foundation.

pie chart, 2017 county revenuesCounty Revenues

Tax Receipts: $22,951,423 [63.2%]
Grant Receipts: $4,812,200 [13.3%]
User Fees: $7,605,669 [21.0%]
Other: $946,225 [2.5%]
Total Revenues: $36,315,517 [100.0%]





Revenue Source Trends

line chart, revenue source trends








Revenue source trends data for 2012-2017

  2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
Federal $8,286,312 $9,361,730 $9,445,587 $9,764,134 $10,349,635
State $25,365,606 $25,972,260 $24,235,670 $21,945,095 $23,742,247
Soft Funds $30,705,693 $30,893,054 $24,129,212 $23,380,267 $24,978,772
County (all sources) $32,263,004 $32,702,502 $34,508,395 $35,816,179 $36,315,517
Total Revenues $96,620,615 $98,929,546 $92,318,864 $90,905,675 $95,386,171


  • Decreases between FY 14 and FY 15 were primarily due to CIRAS no longer reporting under Extension and Outreach beginning FY 15; approximately $4.7M in FY 14.
  • Some variations in revenue sources are due to timing of receipts.