Changes announced for 4-H/Extension fair programming, staff during fair

Extension Director Alex Monaghan introduces the county staff and highlights a few changes to 4-H programming during this summer’s fair. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     During the Great Jones County Fair Kickoff event on June 8, Alex Monaghan, Jones County Extension and Outreach director, introduced everyone to the Extension and 4-H office staff.

   • Emily Velisek, county youth coordinator

   • Addy VonBehren, office assistant

   • Jacki Luckstead, youth program specialist

   • RaeAnn Gordon, Extension regional director

   • Summer/fair interns: Addy Rogers, Lily Rogers, Ivan Lambertsen, Tyson Flesher

   Velisek has been with the office since November; unfortunately, June 9 was her last day here.

   "She has coordinated 4-H and youth development school programs, 4-H workshops, and communicated with the 4-H families," shared Monaghan.

   Velisek will continue to volunteer throughout the summer, though.

   VonBehren is expecting her second child, which means she will be on maternity leave soon. Susan Merritt will serve as the temporary office assistant until VonBehren returns.

   "Addy is the voice on the line who will connect you with office staff," Monaghan said. "She also helps us check financials and records, helps with registrations, the website, and some of our social media, too."

   Luckstead has been with Jones County Extension for about 15 years now. She serves Jones, Cedar, and Clinton counties.

   Gordon oversees Jones, Linn, Cedar, and Benton counties.

   "She helps support the Extension Office and county staff," said Monaghan.

   Aside from helping at the fair, the summer interns have also been running Summer Discovery Camps.

   Monaghan has been serving as Extension director since August 2021.

   "I've had the great opportunity to help lead and coordinate programming in Jones County and help guide staff through their roles as well," she said. "I'm originally from Delaware County and grew up on our family farm."

   Monaghan was also involved in 4-H.

   "My passion grew from there into Extension," she said.

   Monaghan said she's happy to have a great team working in Jones County, helping to collaborate for the fair, making sure that the livestock and non-livestock shows are a success.

   She also praised the many volunteers it takes to have a thriving county fair and 4-H program: Extension Council, Youth Committee, Blue Ribbon and Auction Committee, council advisors, 4-H leaders, and more.

   "Thank you so much to those volunteers as we learn our roles in becoming a team here in Jones County," said Monaghan.

   There are some changes and updates concerning 4-H shows during the fair… The Horticulture exhibits and judging will be housed inside the Equine Center due to a large turnout in numbers. This means that the second 4-H food stand will not be available during fair week. There will only be one 4-H food stand inside the Expo Hall.

   Some of the livestock shows have also changed days/times this year, and Monaghan urges everyone to check the latest inside the new fair brochures.

   "The Blue Ribbon and Auction Committee are also working to enhance the (livestock) auction," she explained. "This is a big update. We're inviting all market species to participate in the auction. This allows all of the other market species to enter one market animal for the first year.

   "We cannot enhance the auction without the community support," urged Monaghan. "We encourage you all to support the local 4-H and FFA members by attending the auction."


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