MSU Extension in Iosco County: Proven education delivered locally to solve problems and increase opportunities

MSU Extension empowers Iosco County residents to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build strong communities, protect local environments and empower young people to not just dream but to pursue successful futures.

Children smile with Sparty.

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension helps people improve their lives by educating them where they are – in their homes, schools, farms, businesses and communities. In 2016, Iosco County residents voted to invest to maintain MSU Extension in their communities. With that investment, Iosco County residents have sought research-proven education from MSU Extension gaining the information they needed to work better, live better, and to not just dream but to pursue successful futures.

Empowering and Equipping Youth Success

Fifty-four percent of Iosco County 4-H seniors graduating from 2012 to 2019 enrolled in college within six months of high school graduation, exceeding by 9.8% the college enrollment rate of all other Iosco County seniors.

Annually, Iosco County MSU Extension 4-H programs engage 1,027 or 28% of Iosco County youth aged 5 to 19 in learning opportunities that help prepare them for work, especially for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math.

In 2019, these learning experiences were led by 42 community-based adult volunteers.
Iosco County MSU Extension, in partnership with the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, engaged 601 Iosco County youth in place-based stewardship and science-learning opportunities.

Training to Prevent Local Food-borne Illness

Since 2013, MSU Extension food safety and preservations programs have taught 10,500 Michigan residents safe food handling, food preservation and methods for reducing foodborne illness. Through face-to-face and online learning, MSU Extension delivers high-quality, research-based education to help Iosco County residents safely prepare, serve and preserve food.

Building Strong Community Capacity

MSU Extension leadership development programs serve to increase an individual’s knowledge and skills to provide more proficient leaders within organizations and communities.

Iosco County residents logged 318 registrations for in-person and virtual learning events provided by MSU Extension developing skills in natural resource management, family well-being, health and nutrition, agriculture, and other community development topics.

This past year, 31 Iosco County leaders accessed MSU Extension educational offerings designed to help build community strengths. Leaders registered for trainings to learn how governments can prepare for opportunities and issues surrounding Opportunity Zones, commercial hemp production and sales; Census 2020 and redistricting and local government financing. 

Educating for Greater Farm Profitability

Access to research-based information is critical when business decisions depend on it. Michigan State University Extension is a leader in discovering knowledge and helping farmers apply tested solutions for the benefit of their farms, their families and their communities.

Iosco County MSU Extension staff members provide solutions to help local farmers consider management changes, reduce costs, increase profitability, and improve finances and farm success. MSU Extension offers the knowledge farmers need to succeed in Iosco County.

MSU Extension helps Iosco County dairy farmers manage the 2,200 milking cows used in local dairy production. MSU Extension educators help farmers by reducing the economic and management stress of dairy farms. MSU Extension teams provide assessments to help farm owners maintain safe and effective milking protocols.

Helping Struggling Families Make Healthy Decisions

As of April 2020, Iosco County had 4,720 residents receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. MSU Extension helps families needing food assistance learn how to make the most of their food dollars and safely prepare meals that are both healthy and tasty.

Iosco County MSU Extension staff engaged nearly 300 SNAP eligible youth and adults in nutrition education programs designed to help them make healthy food and lifestyle choices.

Through outreach efforts, staff members made additional contacts with eligible families offering access to educational resources to help them make the most of their monthly food resources.

Improving Communities One Garden at a Time

MSU Extension is the leading expert on home gardening questions, responding to more than 70,000 garden inquiries from Michigan residents each year.

Iosco County Master Gardeners volunteered 360 hours in 2017-18 to support community-based garden projects that beautified communities, improved local environments and provided locally-grown, nutritional food.

Eighteen Iosco County residents completed training to be re-certified as MSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers to continue to provide Iosco County residents with gardening guidance and home horticulture expertise.

MSU Extension is eager to continue serving Iosco County residents in strong partnership with the County Board of Commissioners. By working together, MSU Extension can continue to help people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of Michigan State University directly to individuals, families, businesses and communities.


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