Five Running For BV Extension Council

Voters will have the opportunity to elect four members of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Buena Vista County Council from a slate of five candidates at the November 8th general election.

“The council members elected this year will be involved in bringing educational opportunities to Buena Vista County for the next four years,” Ellen Anderson, Office Manager said. ISU Extension and Outreach educational programming is a cooperative effort involving local citizens, Iowa State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Extension council members are elected at large and all voters in the county are eligible to vote for four candidates.

Candidates on this year’s ballot include:
Incumbent, Laura Sievers, 2265 560th Street, Albert City, IA.
“I am currently serving as Extension Council Chair and running for re-election. The Extension Council is responsible for setting program priorities and oversight of staff and budget for all Extension activities in Buena Vista County. I decided to run for another term because having an incumbent on the Council promotes continuity, generates stability, and encourages growth in Extension services.” Laura Sievers was recently elected to serve on the state Iowa Extension Council Association board of directors, representing Region 6 (Buena Vista, Pocahontas, Sac, Cherokee, Ida and Calhoun counties). Sievers states, “Through the combination of these two positions, local Extension Council and State Extension Council, I will be in a unique position to help strengthen Extension’s outreach mission in Buena Vista County and Northwest Iowa.”

Laura has been involved in Extension programs for more than 20 years as a Council Chair, a 4-H leader, a 4-H parent and an educator.  “When I was first asked to run for Extension 4 years ago, I wanted to join mostly because of the support Extension gives to 4-H. As a former leader and parent of two 4-Her’s, I knew what 4-H had done for my family and other young people. As I became more involved, I learned the many programming opportunities Extension brings to our county and all counties in Iowa. Whether it is ServSafe, Pesticide and Manure Applicator Continuing Instruction, Childcare Provider Education, Juntos or the Master Gardener program (just to name a few), Extension reaches people of all ages and walks of life.   As a life-long educator, currently teaching in the Albert City-Truesdale School District, I see the ways Extension can support our county school systems with such learning opportunities as Clover Kids, STEM curriculum, summer programming/camps, and of course, the Buena Vista County Fair.  I look forward to the opportunity to continue representing Extension in Buena Vista County and Iowa”, says Sievers.

Melanie Bloom, 4677 210th Avenue, Marathon:
“I am from Marathon, IA, and currently a Curriculum Coordinator for CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education). I work to provide high school agriculture curriculum development and professional development for teachers”, says Bloom.
Prior to joining the CASE Writing Team, Melanie served for twelve years as the Sioux Central Agriculture Education Instructor and FFA Advisor.  She served as the Iowa Association of Agricultural Educators President in 2011-2012 and has been active in IAAE, the National Association of Agricultural Educators and Region III organizations.
“I was raised on a diversified corn, soy, forage, beef, and swine farm in northwest Iowa and remain active in both my own and my husband’s families’ farms in addition to many agriculture-related hobbies.  I have also been an active parent during my daughters’ first years in 4-H,” states Melanie.  Daughters Annaliese and Linnea are members of the Fairfield Pioneers and the BV Equine Team.
Master of Science – Agricultural Education, Iowa State University (2008)
Bachelor of Science – Agricultural Education, Iowa State University (2001)
Bachelor of Science – Animal Science, Iowa State University (2001)

Paul Diehl, 806 610th Street, Storm Lake:
“I am pleased to be on the ballot! I am 23 years old. I was born and raised on a farm on the West side of Storm Lake. I graduated from Iowa State University in May 2015 with a degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering”, says Diehl. Paul moved home to sell Pioneer Seed with father, Don, and to farm with him. “I am running for a Council position because I was approached by another member and was asked to consider it. After looking into the position I thought it was a great opportunity for a young person such as myself who just moved back to the community to get involved. I think it is important to contribute to the community and I hope this is the first of many ways in which I can. I hope I can help the council to maintain their excellent service and help to ensure the council’s resources are utilized as efficiently as possible. I think my familiarity with the area is a great asset to me as well as my passion for agriculture. I also love to garden and one day hope to become a Master Gardener as my grandfather once was. I think my background of both agriculture and engineering can give me a unique perspective on things. Engineering has given me a keen understanding of project proposals and design, project management, and working within budget constraints. I have been a benefactor of the Extension office many times, and I consider us very lucky to have the service and resources of Iowa State University in our communities outside of Ames. Thank you again for the opportunity!” declares Paul.

Dustin Smith, 1365 600th Street, Storm Lake:
Dustin, a Buena Vista County 4-H alum, states, “My family was involved as members, leaders and very active volunteers for many years.  In 2009, I earned my degree in Ag Business from Iowa State University where I was a member of the Livestock Judging Team”. More recently, Dustin owns and operates Smith Family Cattle Company. “As a business owner and livestock producer, I am well aware of the value of Extension programs, education, specialists and research provided by Iowa State University to Iowans through county Extension offices”, says Smith. Dustin is an active volunteer with the Buena Vista County 4-H program. He provides education and support for the Buena Vista County Livestock Judging Team.  Smith states, “I have also been active in supporting youth in their beef projects.  Annually, I help coordinate the beef weigh-in, serve as a bucket-bottle judge, and help as a ring man during the Buena Vista County Fair Beef Show.”  Additionally, Dustin has made himself available as a resource to the Extension Office from sharing content knowledge to donating resources for 4-H projects. “I look forward to the opportunity to serve Buena Vista County Extension as a council member”, Dustin affirms.

Jan Worthan, 5647 105th Avenue, Storm Lake:
According to Jan, “The Extension Council was always something that interested me and when I was asked to run in the election- timing seemed right. I have lived in Buena Vista County all my life with the exception of a few years at Iowa State. I have been involved in 4-H as an eight year 4-H member, a 4-H leader, and parent of children in 4-H.” Jan and husband, Gary, have been married 43 years and live on the family farm north of Storm Lake. For the past 24 years, she has owned the Jan Worthan Agency of American Family Insurance in Storm Lake. During that time she has participated on the Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce, Buena Vista Regional Health Foundation Board, and Buena Vista County Farm Bureau Board. She was recognized for Outstanding Leadership in the Storm Lake Community by the Storm Lake Chamber and was named “Iowan of the Day” at the Iowa State Fair for recognition of her volunteer service. “I have a strong belief in the family unit and its preservation. My expertise is in organizational skills, managing committees, and getting the job done. My Bucket List includes passing the Extension’s Master Gardener Course this fall,” says Jan.

Successful candidates will take office in January 2017. Extension council members make policy, programming and budget decisions for ISU Extension and Outreach in Buena Vista County.

“Elected council members and offices in every county uniquely position ISU Extension and Outreach to move the state forward”, states County Youth Outreach Educator, Nichol Kleespies. Last year more than 1 million people directly benefited from ISU Extension and Outreach programs. These programs help citizens solve critical issues affecting their lives. ISU Extension and Outreach and county extension councils together are building a strong Iowa.

ISU Extension and Outreach has 100 field offices, providing local access to extension programs in all 99 counties. Learn more at or contact ISU Extension and Outreach in Buena Vista County at 712-732-5056 or