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The Exchange, Land Grant Farms, KWIT History, Women Running for Office

Welcome to The Exchange on Siouxland Public Media I’m Mary Hartnett.

Since the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, women have been more politically vocal and politically active.  In fact, an Iowa State University center for Women and Politics says more Iowa women are running for office and winning.  Diane Bystrom is the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. Bystrom says the women have felt the need to get involved after the loss of the first female presidential nominee. 

Ready To Run Training, Carrie Chapman Catt Center


Diane Bystrom, Director, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics

That was Diane Bystrom, the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University in Ames. The center is documenting more women in Iowa and across the country who have been running for local and county offices since the 2016 election.

You’re listening to the Exchange on Siouxland Public Media. I’m Mary Hartnett.

Iowa State University Extension Service is spearheading an effort to hear the stories of the land grant legacy farms Iowa. These farms where sold after the 1862 Morrill Act of 1862 to provide funding for the building of Iowa State. John Lawrence is the   Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach.    

Lawrence visited Northwest Iowa this week and explained the legacy farm program and how the land grant system worked.

John Lawrence--Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach  


That was John Lawrence,  Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach.    

He and other extension service personnel are seeking the owners of land grant legacy farms to tell their stores.  

Most of the land grant farms are right here in Northwest Iowa. One of them recently featured in Iowa State’s Visions alumni magazine is in Moville. The Maxwell family owns the farm.  Helen and Don Maxwell met at Iowa State.  Helen graduated with her degree in child development in 1949 and Don got his veterinary medicine degree in 1951.  Both of them were in the Greek system, they have been proud alumni ever since and their children and grandchildren have attended ISU.  They were even named ISU parents of the year in 1977.  Now retired, the Maxwells were thrilled to find out that they were the owners of a legacy land grant farm.  Helen Maxwell’s father bought the farm in the 1930s. 


Helen and Don Maxwell of Moville, IA

Helen spent some time at a school in Denver before coming to Iowa State. She went out there to alleviate her persistent allergies.  But she wasn’t there long.


Helen said attending Iowa State right after the second world war had some significant social advantages.


Helen says when the story of the family farm was published in the Vision magazine, several of her sorority sisters contacted her.

Helen 4

Writers and a photographer took the whole family out the now rented farm to talk about the farm and take pictures


Helen and Don Maxwell
Helen and Don Maxwell in the 1960s, with their children

Helen and Don Maxwell live in downtown Moville.  The have a houseful of happy memories of Iowa State, including cyclone blankets and a set of salt and pepper shakers made to look like ISU football players.  There were happy to have a chance to find out more about their farm and to share some stories about their time at Iowa State with the extension service.  

The legacy land grant project continues.  If you suspect you have a land-grant farm and want to get involved, go to landgrant.iastate.edu.

You’re listening to the Exchange on Siouxland Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett.  

Iowa has a long tradition of passing down farmland through the generations. However, inheriting a farm can be a tricky business at best. That’s why the University of Nebraska Lincoln has been holding seminars for people who have been bequeathed a farm, but aren’t sure what to do next.  Alan Vyhnalek is an extension education at UNL and he’s been conducting the classes.  Vyhnalek says people aren’t sure where to start.

Farme Inheritance Seminars


That was Alan Vyhnalek is an extension education at UNL   He is teaching a series of classes on how to handle a farm inheritance.

You’re listening to the exchange on Siouxland Public Media.  I’m Mary Hartnett

Siouxland Public Media, KWIT KOJi celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.  The station first went on the air in January of 1978.  The offerings included All Things Considered and Morning Edition, but on also on the schedule were classical music, NPR Recital Hall, Black Perspectives, the big bands and a farm reports.  Former Siouxland Public Media general Manager Gretchen Gondek and producer of the Program OPUS spoke with local journalist and historian Marcia Poole about the station’s beginnings.  Marcia wrote an in-depth research paper about how the station came to be.

Gretchen Gondeck, Host of Opus

KWIT Birthday

That was Gretchen Gondek speaking with journalist and local historian Marcia Poole about the birth of Siouxland Public Media back in 1978.

Marcia Poole, Historian and Journalist

Image from first KWIT Program Guide, January, 1978

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