Taking Steps for a Strong Iowa
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provides research-based education and engages Iowans in solving today’s problems and preparing for a thriving future.
Initiatives for Iowans
As the pandemic and other challenges continued in 2021, ISU Extension and Outreach focused additional effort and resources to help Iowans and their communities move forward in every county.
- 44 counties are focusing on reviving the Iowa economy, including the farm economy. As a result, small businesses, entrepreneurs, agribusinesses, and farmers are connecting with education and resources so they can remain financially solvent, find alternate markets, and increase their profitability.
- 7 counties are supporting Iowans in improving financial security. Individuals and families are learning how to prioritize bills, protect credit, and manage debt.
- 12 counties are engaging Iowans in improving food supply, safety, and access. These efforts address local needs including nutrition education, donation gardens, farmers markets, and food system coalitions.
- 17 counties are expanding educational opportunities for youth with programs that spark youth interest, support academics, and promote youth resiliency.
- 8 counties are supporting efforts for increasing access to quality child care by networking with community partners and connecting providers with education.
- 30 counties are engaging Iowans in addressing mental health and providing access to research-based training and education on mental health literacy and suicide prevention.
These county-level efforts created or strengthened over 200 partnerships and coalitions and reached 30,499 Iowans. (As reported by counties in December 2021. Counties may have reported on more than one initiative.)
Did you know?
- Our Agriculture and Natural Resources program made more than 160,000 contacts with farmers, landowners, and agriculture and natural resource professionals through in-person and virtual meetings, face-to-face consultations, and phone and email discussions.
- More than 57,000 K-12 youth participated in six or more hours of our youth development education. 4-H programs prepare youth for higher education and careers as they build STEM, communication, leadership, and other skills.
- Last year 11 communities completed our Rural Housing Readiness Assessment process and received Empower Rural Iowa grants from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Community leaders learned how to make better decisions about local housing concerns and are using the grants to increase access to safe, affordable, quality housing.
- More than 23,000 early child care and education professionals participated in over 100,000 hours of our online educational programming, gaining skills and knowledge to provide high quality care.
- Iowa Concern provided more than 12,600 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.
- 900 elected county extension council members work with decision makers, build relationships, and help select extension educational opportunities to address local issues.
- More than 7,600 volunteers supported our educational opportunities for youth, tax preparation, environmental stewardship, and health and wellness. For example, our Growing Together volunteers harvested and donated more than 91,700 pounds of fruits and vegetables to Iowa food pantries. Their efforts helped these organizations provide more than 275,000 servings of fresh produce for Iowans who were struggling financially.
Each year more than 1 million Iowans benefit from extension educational programs to help them solve today’s problems and prepare for a thriving future.