Extension Information

Clayton County ISU Extension & Outreach Media Packet for 12/13/18

Monday, December 24, 2018 –Christmas –Office Closed

Tuesday, December 25, 2018 -Christmas –Office Closed

Thursday, December 27, 2018 -4-H Club Officer Training, 5:30 pm, Freedom Bank Community Room, Elkader

Tuesday, January 1, 2019- New Year –Office Closed

Thursday, January 3, 2019

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM   Commercial Manure Applicator Certification   Clayton County Extension Office

Iowa Youth Meet to Share their Voice

AMES, IA – Nearly 60 middle school youth, from nine different schools and across six Iowa counties met at Upper Iowa University on November 16 to pilot the leadership and civic engagement experience, “Youth Voice in Action.” The program was put on by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach State 4-H staff in partnership with county extension staff from Region Four.

The goal of the event was to encourage participants to engage in youth voice, which gives a space for young people to share their distinct ideas, opinions, attitudes and knowledge with each other. Participants learned how to be better leaders and designed plans to improve their communities.

“The ideas that youth bring to the table and the experiences they have put them in an outstanding position to become leaders in their communities,” Iowa 4-H Civic Engagement and Leadership Specialist Haley Jones said.

During the event participants attended workshops led by local professionals with careers in the four priority areas of Iowa 4-H; Healthy Living, Communications and the Arts, STEM, and Leadership and Civic Engagement. The speakers gave youth examples of how to be active in the community through their occupations. One of the workshops taught youth and adult mentors about their unique leadership style and how to identify the style of others.

“The workshop enabled students to make connections relating to their schools, communities, families and peers as they learned how different people communicate, respond and work together,” Jones said.

Youth participants had the opportunity to hear from collegiate 4-H alumni talk about how 4-H impacted their lives through service and leadership involvement. Fayette County police officer Brian Waid spoke about how his career in service has impacted him and his community. Following Officer Wade’s presentation, youth took time to write thank you notes to police forces in their home towns.

Participants and their adult mentors ended the day by working together in school teams to put together an action plan to solve an issue in their school or community. The plans included ideas for improving school gardens, stopping bullying, spreading kindness, updating school facilities, reducing waste, and outreach to senior citizens.

“It was impactful to witness the youth thoughtfully working together for how they could become change agents within their schools,” Allamakee County Youth Coordinator Morgan Bjerke said. “They set some high goals to solve problems within their schools. I am excited to see these plans be implemented, and I can’t wait to see what changes these youth make in their schools and communities.”

Each element of the day supported youth and challenged them to use their voices. “By providing an opportunity for youth and adults to work together on decision making and action plans, we are allowing youth voice to occur,” Jones said. “This is how our youth can continue to become productive citizens and successful leaders in their communities and beyond.”

To learn more about Iowa 4-H and the work staff and volunteers are doing to support Iowa youth visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4h. Individuals interested in joining 4-H or becoming a volunteer should contact their local county ISU Extension and Outreach office.



Voice in Action 1


Clayton County K-12 Outreach Program Coordinator Nate Weber talks with students attending Iowa 4-H Youth Voice in Action.

Voice in Action 2


Nearly 60 youth gather at Upper Iowa University for the Iowa 4-H Youth Voice in Action meeting.

Voice in Action 3


Students from MFL Mar-Mac Middle School working on action plan development.

Yard and Garden: Poinsettia Care

December 13, 2018, 9:56 am | Richard Jauron, Willy Klein

AMES, Iowa – Poinsettia plants remain one of the most popular holiday flowers. The familiar red flowers have been joined by even flashier colors to include pastel yellow and vibrant bi-colors. Because poinsettias have been forced into bloom, they need some extra care to keep them healthy and looking good throughout the holidays. Horticulturists with Iowa State University answer several questions related to watering poinsettias. To have additional questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-83-3108 or hortline@iastate.edu.

Why is my poinsettia dropping some of its leaves? 

The leaf drop is likely due to some type of environmental stress. Improper watering is the most common reason for leaf drop on poinsettias in the home. Over-watering will cause the lower leaves to turn yellow and drop. Plants that are allowed to get too dry will wilt and also drop leaves.  

The water needs of a poinsettia can be determined with your finger. Check the potting soil daily. When the soil surface becomes dry to the touch, water the plant until water begins to flow out the bottom of the pot. The pots of most poinsettias are set inside decorative pot covers. When watering these plants, carefully remove the poinsettia from the pot covering, water the plant in the sink, then drop the poinsettia back into its pot cover.  

Also, make sure the poinsettia is not located near a heat source or cold draft. Warm, dry air blowing across the plant from a furnace register or rapid temperature fluctuations (such as near a door) can also cause leaf drop.  

My poinsettia suddenly wilted and died. Why?  

The sudden death of the poinsettia was likely due to a root rot. Pythium and Rhizoctonia root rots typically occur when plants are watered too frequently and the potting soil is kept saturated. Allow the surface of the potting soil to dry to the touch before watering poinsettias. Also, don’t allow the pots of poinsettias to sit in water. Discard excess water that drains into pot coverings or saucers.

Small, white insects flutter about my poinsettia when I water the plant. What are they and how do I control them?  

The small, white insects are likely whiteflies. Whiteflies are common insect pests of poinsettia, hibiscus, chrysanthemum and a number of other indoor plants. They are most often noticed when watering or handling a plant. When disturbed, whiteflies flutter about the plant for a short time before returning to the plant.  

Whitefly adults are small, white, moth-like insects. Female adults lay eggs on the undersides of plant foliage. After five to seven days, the eggs hatch into small, pale green, immature insects called nymphs. The nymphs crawl a short distance before settling down to feed for two to three weeks. After feeding, the nymphs progress to a nonfeeding stage and then finally to the adult stage.  

The nymph and adult stages of whiteflies feed by inserting their short, needle-like beaks into foliage and sucking out plant sap. Heavy whitefly infestations may cause stunting or yellowing of leaves, leaf drop and a decline in plant health.  

Whiteflies on poinsettias and other indoor plants are extremely difficult to control. Prevention is the best management strategy. When purchasing plants, carefully check for whiteflies and other insects. Avoid purchasing insect-infested plants. Insecticides are not a good control option as they are not very effective. It’s often best to tolerate the presence of a small infestation of whiteflies on a poinsettia and then promptly discard the plant after the holidays

Additional Stories Published Online

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12/7/18 2019 Dairy Days to Feature Profitable Dairy Practices


Iowa dairy producers have the opportunity to learn about emerging dairy industry issues during 2019 Dairy Days, workshops hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy specialists.

12/7/18 Popular Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference Continues Tradition Jan. 26


The popular Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference has a reputation of providing timely, accurate and important information to the state’s beef cattle industry. Patrick Wall, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist, said the 2019 conference Jan. 26 will continue that successful tradition.

12/7/18 Water Rocks! Launches New Pollinator Classroom Presentation


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12/7/18 Marketing Beef Is Focus of Feedlot Forum


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12/7/18 Iowa State to Lead Research to Increase Pig Survivability


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12/7/18 Research on Monarchs’ Egg-laying Preferences Can Guide Recovery Efforts


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12/7/18 Yard and Garden: Pruning Oak Trees


Oak trees, generally pruned for safety reasons and the health of the tree, should be pruned during winter months. Learn why and how from horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

12/5/18 Greiner Ready to Work with Students and Producers


Laura Greiner, the newest swine faculty member at Iowa State University, said she’s ready to combine her education and private industry research experiences to create a great experience for students and pork producers.

12/5/18 Plan to Stay Ahead: Workbook Has Tips for Saving Money, Meeting Goals


Is the money always gone before the month ends? Is buying a car – or anything else – only a dream, because you just can’t afford it? Anyone who answers yes to these questions may benefit from a spending plan, says Mary Weinand, a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

12/4/18 Workshop Offers Agritourism Health and Safety Best Practices


The ISU Extension and Outreach Visit Iowa Farms program is hosting a free one-day workshop in Johnson County dedicated to important health and safety concerns in the agritourism industry.

12/4/18 Seminar Addresses Multigenerational Farm Transitions


The Returning to the Farm Seminar, offered by the Beginning Farmer Center through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, is designed to help farmers start family conversations regarding transitioning a farm from one generation to the next

12/3/18 Beef Conference Looks at Using Cropland to Reduce Feed Costs


Beef cattle producers and others in the beef industry who attend the Three-State Beef Conference will receive updates on current cow-calf and stocker topics from Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri extension beef specialists.