May 14, 2024: Message from Jason

Wacky weather is a hallmark of Iowa: blizzards, polar vortex, derecho, tornadoes, drought, and flooding. If you do not like Iowa weather, just wait a few minutes and it will change. In some sense, wacky weather builds resilience, or so my father tells me.

Like the 1993 flooding, the 2020 derecho was a defining event. Yet the number of weather-related events has risen over time. In the last five years, Iowa has had four times as many (inflation adjusted) billion-dollar weather-related disasters (24) as it experienced in the 1990s (6), pushing the average annual costs into the tens of billions of dollars.

Although recent rains have eased Iowa’s drought conditions, they have produced tornadoes and flooding. During times of natural disaster, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers educational resources to reduce the personal impact, working in partnership with the local, state, and federal agencies addressing the need. But the time to prepare is before disaster strikes and ISU Extension and Outreach’s disaster and crisis recovery site provides a series of educational resources for families, farmers, and communities.

To help communities respond to disasters, USDA has a new rapid response to extreme weather grant. Applications must be submitted within 45 days of an extreme weather event and disaster. The grant will provide up to $300,000 for projects that focus on critical and urgent solutions in rapid response to disaster impacts, supporting or adding value to existing educational materials, and integrating youth and adult volunteer development aspects by leveraging existing extension networks and outreach programs, including 4-H and positive youth development efforts.

ISU Extension and Outreach is committed to empowering resilient and thriving people and communities across Iowa. Helping families, farmers, and communities respond to weather-related disasters is one part of that commitment.

Jason Henderson
Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Operations: Reviewing 2023

From Carol Heaverlo, Assistant Vice President, Operations

Operations spans a wide variety of competencies and expertise. Our units lead the extension organization in everything from marketing communication, professional development, and conference planning/registration to information technology, grants and contracts, program development and evaluation, and the Extension Store. 2023 was filled with cross-unit collaborations, not only between Operations units, but with program areas, County Services, the executive leadership team, and Iowa State.

Our Operations Year in Review report is available on MyExtension. I hope you’ll take some time to browse our 2023 efforts – not necessarily to see what we’ve done, but to spark more ideas for ways we might collaborate, or ways Operations units can support your success. In 2024, collaboration will be even more critical as we engage across ISU Extension and Outreach around our Strategic Vision and Direction as well as continuing our work to increase our organization’s educational presence online. I look forward to even more connection in 2024.

Extension professionals receive university awards

From Inside Iowa State

The following extension professionals are receiving university awards for 2024. They will be honored at the university awards celebration September 25. For more information, see the story in Inside Iowa State.

  • Morrill Professor: Christopher Seeger, professor, landscape architecture
  • Regents Award for Faculty Excellence: Gary Taylor, professor, community and regional planning
  • R.K. Bliss Extension Award: Lesia Oesterreich, Human Sciences senior manager and state extension specialist, early childhood education programs
  • Award for Distinguished Service in Extension and Outreach: Keli Tallman, director, program development and evaluation, ISU Extension and Outreach
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice: Christine Hradek, senior manager, nutrition education program, College of Human Sciences
  • Award for Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice:
    – Brett Ramirez, associate professor, agricultural and biosystems engineering; and interim director, Egg Industry Center
    – Luke Seaberg, field specialist, community and economic development, ISU Extension and Outreach

For your information

  • Please provide feedback by end-of-day May 16 on the Human Sciences candidates who interviewed for the position of associate dean and director for extension and outreach. Recordings of their open forums and links to the feedback surveys are available on the Office of the Vice President for Extension and Outreach website.
  • Save the date – Vice President for Extension and Outreach webinar: Please save the date for Monday, June 17, 1:00-2:00 p.m. for a webinar with Jason Henderson on Zoom.
  • Goodbye … and welcome, April 2024: Please review this list of individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach in the past month, as well as those who have joined our organization.
  • The inaugural Agricultural Lending Institute Midwest is set for July 9-11 at Iowa State University. The training will address the unique challenges of financing Midwest agriculture, from financial analysis and underwriting to risk and advanced credit topics. Registration is due June 9. Please share information about this opportunity with ag lending professionals.
  • Beginning in October 2026, Microsoft will no longer support Publisher. To prepare for the end of this software application, Advancement is exploring options for extension materials, keeping in mind accessibility requirements and ease of use by extension staff throughout the state. In the meantime, our Publisher templates will remain available. InDesign templates are available as well.
  • J. Charles (Chuck) Morris will be inducted as a 2024 laureate into the National 4-H Hall of Fame October 14 in Boise, Idaho, preceding the NAE4-HYDP conference. Chuck served Iowa 4-H for 37 years, culminating his career as director and state 4-H program leader for Iowa 4-H Youth Development before retiring in 2013.

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