Smith's 35-year career with Extension comes to a close

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa — "I will miss the people," says Holle Smith.  "I have enjoyed working with the fine people here in Emmet County."

Last week, Smith’s 35-year career with Emmet County Extension came to a close.

"I began with Iowa State University Extension on June 1, 1975," said Smith,  "I was placed in a training program Extension had at that time where you worked along side an Extension worker."

She trained in Worth and Mitchell counties, and did a summer internship in her home county of Wright.

"These were valuable experiences for me," said Smith.


When the Extension Home Economist position opened in Emmet and Dickinson counties, Smith started in that position in November 1975.  It was a good match with her degree in Home Economics Education from Iowa State. 

"I was excited to work in adult education," said Smith. "My audience was primarily women and families in the areas of health and nutrition, family life and resource (time and money) management. Being linked to the university and all of its resources was a great asset."

Smith became Extension education director in Emmet County in 1992.

"Maintaining a well-balanced program across all program areas was challenging," said Smith.  "I believe Emmet County has enjoyed a well-balanced  Extension program."    

She is proudest of the "strong cooperative spirit" that exists with many groups and agencies.

"As a result of that networking and cooperativeness throughout our county, each of us were able to accomplish more," Smith said. "Volunteers assist in so many ways to make the Extension program flourish."

She appreciates all the volunteers who gave their time to various programs.

Smith said providing people with the information they needed, designing classes to match the needs of the audiences, and knowing that no two days would be the same helped to make the job fulfilling.


"Watching that shy fourth grader join 4-H and then blossom to a high school student who was confident and had the ability to get up in front a crowd was also very rewarding," said Smith.  "Seeing some of them now with children of their own in 4-H is also very rewarding."

Smith and her husband, Dennis, live on a farm near Estherville. 

Their children, Brad and Jennifer, are both agricultural graduates of ISU. Dennis farms and runs a cow-calf herd with Brad.

Smith will begin a new job in March as a marketing representative for North Star Bank, a community- based bank in Estherville.

The elimination of all county Extension education directors along with the elimination of the area Extension directors was part of a plan that was adopted by the Board of Regents in the spring. As part of the restructuring plan, regional Extension education directors are overseeing Extension programs. ISU had to cut approximately $40 million in response to financial status of the state.  Extensions budget was about 10 percent of ISU’s budget. As a result, ISU Extension had to cut a little over $4 million.

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