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Fischer takes on challenge of new ISU Extension Region 10

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Linda Fischer

MARION - Linda Fischer signed on as a regional director for Iowa State University Extension because she was ready for a new challenge in the restructured organization.

“It’s time to start thinking outside of the box and look for new ways to do programs,” said Fischer, since Aug. 1 the extension education director for Region 10 — Benton, Jones and Linn counties. She’s counting on some in-depth conversations with the three counties’ extension councils and staff as they set priorities for the region.

Fischer is interested in exploring a regional extension council, including representatives from each of the three elected county councils, that would meet quarterly to help her set the direction for ISU Extension education in the region.

“I’m looking forward to a new way of doing things,” she said.

A career in extension

The regional director position was the logical next step in her career, Fischer said. “I love working with people and trying to help them problem solve.”

She has spent her career with ISU Extension. During college summers she worked as a community development and youth assistant in Delaware County. After graduating from Iowa State with a bachelor’s degree in public service and administration in agriculture, she served as an agriculture associate in Henry County and county director in Lucas County. She returned to ISU for graduate school, receiving a master’s degree in entomology and crop production and physiology. In 1986 Fischer became Benton County director, a position she held until becoming regional director.

“And, I was a 4-H’er,” she added.

Current programs

ISU Extension supports healthy people, healthy environments and healthy economies. Fischer noted some current ISU Extension programs in the region.

• The counties are recruiting for Extension Master Gardeners, with new training programs starting in September. The three Region 10 counties are combining training efforts this fall, something that hasn’t been done before.

• The new 4-H year begins this fall, and the counties are promoting their community club programs.

• A young cattlemen’s group is getting together, and meetings for swine producers are focusing on “Pig Cents for the Future.”

• A Nonprofit Management Series will be offered regionally.

• Stress management programs to address the effects of financial stress and natural disasters also are being held.

A cooperative future

Fischer is focused on the region’s future. “We’ll look at how we can pull things together and cooperatively use staff across the region. How can we share and do programs on a regional basis to have a bigger impact?”

She continued, “We want to make sure we aren’t leaving out any group of people. We don’t want to eliminate anyone from educational opportunities.”

But each county will maintain its identity, she said. “We will still have individual county programs as needs arise, and yes, there still will be three county fairs.”

Fischer has her office in the Linn County Extension Office, 3279 7th Ave., Suite 140, Marion, Iowa. She can be reached by phone at (319) 377-9839 or e-mail at lefisch@iastate.edu.

Fischer lives in Vinton, is married and has two children. She enjoys gardening, reading, golf and keeping up with her children’s school and community activities.

UPDATED September 2, 2009 9:17 AM

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