Iowa State University (ISU) Extension in Region 6, including Buena Vista, Calhoun, Cherokee, Ida, Pocahontas, and Sac Counties provides relevant programs that support healthy people, healthy environments, and healthy economies. Program areas include agriculture/natural resources, 4-H youth development, families, business/industry, communities, and continuing education. Our mission states "Iowa State University Extension builds partnerships and provides research-based learning opportunities to improve quality of life in Iowa." ISU Extension-Region 6 recently completed its annual "stakeholders" report highlighting activities completed this past year. Below are some of the ways ISU Extension meets local needs, improves quality of life, and helps make Iowa a better place to live.
Healthy Economies -ISU Extension held three farmland leasing meetings in Region 6 during August 2010. Seventy landowners, tenants, and other agricultural professionals attended and made leasing decisions using the latest land value, cash rent, and cost of crop production surveys. Information on the 2008 Farm Bill A.C.R.E. program and the new "Combo" Federal Crop Insurance also was shared.
Extension's Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) serves business and industry. Four Ida County area manufacturers participated in a luncheon program with CIRAS Account Manager Bob Coacher in February 2010. Coacher provided an overview of CIRAS services and expertise, showing ISU Extension's connection to Iowa manufacturers, large or small.
Healthy People - Families build skills through ISU Extension programs. Seven families with children ages 4--6 participated in a six-session "Families and Books" family literacy program in Ida Grove. The program emphasized reading techniques to help parents prepare their children to succeed in school. The Storm Lake, Newell, and Alta school districts offered the seven-week Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10--14 in Spanish, Lao, English, and Nuer. This ISU Extension program builds skills in parents, youth, and families to prevent teen substance abuse and other behavior problems, as well as improve parenting skills and family strengths. The program is funded through a Children, Youth, and Families at Risk grant.
Food safety training protects Iowans from food borne illness. Training provides those working in food service with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to practice safe food handling and proper cleaning and sanitizing. In May and June 2010, 23 people from Cherokee and Ida counties participated in eight hours of food safety training through the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe Course, offered by ISU Extension. Participants represented many aspects of food service including restaurants, convenience stores, long-term care, and school food service.
Healthy Environments - Open cattle feedlots are required to install solids settling structures to catch about 80 percent of the nutrients in about 5 percent of the total volume. The runoff water then is allowed to filter through grass waterways and grass infiltration strips that further clean the water before it enters streams and rivers. During the wet 2010 summer, many feedlots had saturated grass strips, reducing their effectiveness. ISU Extension Engineer Kris Kohl developed a plan to pump the settled effluent into an easily moveable irrigation system. Seven of these advanced systems have been installed in northwest and northeast Iowa to demonstrate their low cost and effectiveness. The pump was sized to reduce the number of runoff events from about 65 per year down to one or two. This system should improve water quality and should cost less than two dollars per head in the feedlots. These feedlots are being monitored to determine the electricity and pump costs, as well as the environmental effectiveness.
Stop in at your local Extension Office and see what we can do for you! Cherokee County Extension Office 209 Centennial, Suite A, Cherokee, 225-6196.