COVID-19 Update: Happy Ag Day and helpful resources

March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020, 4:34 p.m. -- email message to staff, faculty and councils

Happy Ag Day! Amid all the uncertainty and rapidly changing public health crisis, let’s take a moment to appreciate agriculture, farmers and those who work in the food and natural resource sectors. They are essential to keeping food on our shelves and ensuring that our local economies thrive.

Town Hall Wednesday at 11:00

I am planning another Town Hall meeting for Wednesday, March 25, starting at 11:00 a.m. Please join the Adobe Connect meeting. If you have questions that you would like addressed, please submit them in the Virtual Suggestion Box. Let us know how the leadership team and I can help you do your work most effectively.

Wi-Fi access for students

College students started their online classes this week and may be contacting you about access to Wi-Fi. Thank you for updating the spreadsheet; we are up to 84 locations with Wi-Fi access outside the office. University of Northern Iowa asked if they could tell their students about ISU Extension and Outreach and Wi-Fi. I assured them that we did not discriminate and that our offices serve people in their community especially during a crisis.  

Take care of others and yourselves

One of our strengths is providing research-based information to all Iowans. Let’s remember that includes ourselves, as well, as we deal with the disruption and anxiety that COVID-19 has caused. Iowa Concern Hotline, AnswerLine, and other health and wellness educational offerings can help us navigate these uncertain times. In addition, our partners at Iowa Department of Public Health have a new publication on COVID-19 and mental health and additional resources with helpful information.

Resources from colleagues

  • Extension safety specialist Chuck Schwab, our contact for the Extension Disaster Education Network, shares this document, COVID-19 Resources for the Private Sector, made available by USDA through EDEN.
  • Our nutrition and wellness state specialist Sarah Francis shares this note about a survey from University of Tennessee: Help with the COVID-19 crisis from your computer. Nutrition and public health experts at the University of Tennessee are donating their time to find out what people are doing about food and their health. We will share what we learn with communities, health professionals, and our government. Hopefully, together, this information can help someone else. Take this survey about what you are doing about food:
  • ISU Information Technology Services also has remote work resources. The content is not tailored to ISU Extension and Outreach, but might be helpful.

Professional Development opportunity

An opportunity focused on extension professionals is the eXtension Social Café,, offered every Thursday at noon CDT, March 26 – April 30 (series of six). The eXtension Social Café will provide a weekly opportunity for informal, drop-in conversations and questions about the effective use of social media and communications in extension work. Each Social Café will open with a 5-15 minute “tutorial” of a tool or feature on commonly used social platforms, or a brief showcase of a Cooperative Extension employee who is using digital communications in innovative and effective ways. The remainder of the time will be devoted to sharing, discussion and Q&A. No registration is required. (You also can find the link on our Professional Development e-learning resources page — scroll to the eXtension logo.)

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach