2020 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Annual Report

2020 Annual Report

Download the 2020 Annual Report (pdf)


2020 changed how Iowa State University Extension and Outreach serves Iowans, but not why: We want a strong Iowa. As our state recovers from the pandemic, the recession, the drought, and the derecho, we will continue finding new ways to deliver research-based education and information to Iowans.

Some Highlights from 2020

Addressing mental health

Iowa Concern provided more than 24,800 callers with free, confidential, 24/7 support. The call center provided stress counseling, legal education, crisis/disaster resources, and information and referral for financial and other issues, while also serving as Iowa’s COVID-19 hotline and answering 2-1-1 calls.

With COVID Recovery Iowa, we offered online programs to educate Iowans about managing and overcoming anxiety, sadness, grief, loss, and other strong feelings.

Reviving the economy

Business owners and entrepreneurs tuned in to Back to Business Iowa podcasts for education and technical assistance geared toward recovery. We offered the series with the Iowa Small Business Development Centers.

We hosted a live webinar for crop and livestock producers dealing with derecho damage and drought. They received information they needed to make sound agronomic, financial, and management decisions.

Restaurants and food establishments need food-safety certified staff to remain in business. Our nutrition and wellness educators taught 205 ServSafe food safety classes for 1,523 foodservice employees, observing current health protocols for in-person education.

As the economy reopened, our community development specialists helped local retailers determine how to reconnect with customers, such as developing their online presence, offering delivery and curbside pickup, and providing safe, in-store shopping.

Improving food supply, safety, and access

Our Growing Together volunteers harvested and donated more than 80,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables to Iowa food pantries. Their efforts helped these organizations provide more than 240,000 servings of fresh produce for Iowans who were struggling financially.

AnswerLine answered more than 8,100 consumer questions about nutrition, food preservation, and food safety as many Iowans began growing their own food.

Farmers and agribusinesses learned from experts during our CropsTV live webinars and recorded programs viewed on demand. This cutting-edge, timely agronomic information helped them prepare for the 2021 growing season, make decisions to improve profitability, and gain important continuing education.

Supporting youth and families

We distributed more than 28,000 4-H On the Go lessons for youth to learn at home about nutrition, gardening, animal health, crops, STEM, and other topics. With more than 6,900 downloads of 4-H At Home resources, families engaged youth in learning while out of school.

Our family finance educators held one-on-one conversations with Iowans by phone and email, discussing how to budget, prioritize bills, pay down debt, and connect with community resources to stretch reduced incomes.

We worked with county fair partners in 96 counties to provide safe 4-H experiences that met local public health conditions, including virtual and “show and go” exhibiting. Through these opportunities, youth demonstrated knowledge and skills gained all year through their 4-H projects.

About 2,000 child care professionals participated in our online education every month, gaining skills and knowledge to provide high quality care. Our online publications helped families make informed decisions as their child care options changed during the pandemic.

Iowa 4-H youth members, volunteers, alumni, and staff made and donated over 28,400 face masks to local community members and organizations in need.