The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

July 21, 2012

Extension reaches century mark

DEWITT — Iowa State University Extension is celebrating 100 years of service in a select few counties, Clinton County being the first to offer such programs.

Vice President for Extension and Outreach Cathann Kress was at the Clinton County office and at the county fairgrounds to celebrate the landmark year on Thursday.

“It has been a lot of fun to see our programs grow,” Kress said. “It’s very easy when you’ve been so successful for so long, but it’s not good to get stuck in one way of doing things. We are always looking for ways to expand and grow.”

 Extension began in Iowa in 1903, 11 years before the national Cooperative Extension network was established. A group of Sioux County farmers cooperated with Iowa State to establish the “extension idea” — taking the land-grant college to the people. Today, Iowa State University is more broadly committed to improving the quality of life in Iowa. With a presence in every county, innovative use of modern communication technology and extensive partnerships, the Extension service engages Iowans with their land-grant university. The people of Iowa are served through six program areas — Agriculture and Natural Resources, Business and Industry, Communities, Families, 4-H Youth Development and Continuing Education.

Today, Extension programs benefit 1.8 million people throughout the state, with one in five kids involved in 4-H and one in four youths involved in Extension programs.

Through community and economic development, they have worked with communities to leverage more than $20 million. Last year, the Extension Service helped companies create or retain 6,000 jobs in Iowa, according to Kress.

The efforts of the Extension would not be possible without the help of 17,000 volunteers across the state.

“We are really happy to reach this milestone and would like to thank all the people of Clinton County who have supported our programs,” Kress said.

Kress, who is constantly traveling to different county fairs and events throughout the state, says the collaborative efforts of the counties are valuable for anticipating issues and putting ideas together.

“Education is the way to tackle the challenges of the future,” Kress said. “We’ve been here for the long haul and we’re not going anywhere.”

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