If you have lived in Jasper County for the last few years and have benefitted from any of the many service groups in town, odds are Dan Badger has helped you – and you might not even know it.
Badger is the Chairman of the Jasper County Agricultural Extension Council, which oversees the Jasper County ISU Extension and Outreach Office in Newton. He is in his second term as chair and has been a board member for four-year terms.
“We are pretty much the board of directors that oversees the services that are offered out of the Jasper County Agricultural Office located in the DMACC building,” Badger said of the work his group does. “We have staff that focuses on the 4-H program, the RSVP program, a child reform program, we also run programs for pesticide screening for farmers so they can keep their licenses and we offer many other classes that are beneficial for the county.”
According to the Jasper County Extension web site, the organization “can anticipate trends, build relationships, and catalyze opportunities because it is part of the ongoing life of its communities, committed to healthy people, healthy environments, and healthy economies. Iowa State University Extension and Jasper County have worked together to bring knowledge to the citizens of Jasper County since the early 1930s.”
Badger has relished in his time with the council and, while proud of his accomplishments, he has more ideas for the future.
“Our goals are to continue to grow our 4-H program for the youth in Jasper County, which our staff does an excellent job of,” Badger said. “That program has grown each year for the past three years, and our goal is to continue that growth for the youth programs. We also want to continue working and bridging the economic development resources and needs that our community has, to continue to work with Newton Development [Corporation], and to continue to be a resource for the community.”
It wasn’t until college that Badger got his first taste of working with agriculture, either directly or through organizations.
“I became familiar with 4-H when I started teaching,” Badger said. “Being a town person, I wasn’t too familiar with it. I then realized 4-H wasn’t just for country kids, it was for town kids too.”
Since his time on the board, 4-H has added several new clubs in the county and there has been a 5-percent increase in programming. Council positions are all elected, and Badger is grateful to have the chance to serve.
“Getting on the ballot,” Badger said jokingly of how he has managed to stay on the council. “I’ve been lucky enough that the county population has voted. We oversee the great opportunity to be involved and have a voice in the youth and their education through 4-H and we help with the elderly through RSVP and programs like that. I’ve run each time that it has been open and have been lucky enough to be voted in.”
Staff Writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)-792-3121 Ext. 426 or firstname.lastname@example.org