New farm management specialist selected to serve farmers in west central Iowa

Iowa State University Extension
Alexis Stevens is a new farm management specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

AMES, Iowa – With a little more than a year of experience working for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Alexis Stevens has yet to experience “normal extension life.”

The newly named farm management specialist for Region 2, she began her extension career in February 2020 as the county extension director for the ISU Extension and Outreach Boone County office. Her start date was just weeks before the university required everyone to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stevens found herself in a new job, interacting with new people in new ways — by phone and by zoom meetings.

On June 14, she began as the farm management specialist for 11 counties in west central Iowa. Although COVID-19 put her to the test in her first year, her experience as a farm operator and now as a county extension director have prepared her for this new role.

“I know, from experience, what the county directors and the county councils want out of a specialist. And I know what’s realistic of what I can give to them,” she said. 

Stevens earned a bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Maryland in 2004, and she earned a Master of Business Administration in 2020.

Farm experience 

Both of her parents held extension jobs when she was younger and she is very familiar with 4-H. She took projects in her own 4-H days and she and her husband, Chad, have 10 children, seven involved with 4-H and Clover Kids.

Stevens began managing her family’s farming operations in 2006, following an eight-year career in the military, where she worked as an interrogator. In that amount of time, she’s seen major farm price swings, droughts and floods, and a shift in her own farm from beef cattle to all crops.

“Alexis brings a wealth of experience from her roles in overseeing corn, soybean, cattle and poultry operations, along with her service as a county director and in the military,” said Chad Hart, professor in economics and extension grain markets specialist at Iowa State. “That experience will be utilized, as the farm management specialist position requires a broad knowledge of farm operations, government programs and financial planning.”

Serving Iowans

Stevens said some of the programs she is most excited about are the Women in Ag Program and efforts to help Iowa farmers with farm succession planning. She is also gearing up for a series on ag lending and leasing meetings, getting trained in Annie’s Project and planning to offer drought information as needed.

As a farm management specialist, she will be joining a team of eight field specialists and eight state specialists who serve all of Iowa.

She is eager to meet more Iowans in person.

“I’m really excited to see people in person and talk to them in person and do in-person programming,” she said. "I will admit — I really did not enjoy doing Zoom meetings all year.”

Stevens' region includes Greene, Carroll, Crawford, Monona, Ida, Sac, Calhoun, Guthrie, Audubon, Shelby and Harrison counties.

Her office will be located at the ISU Extension and Outreach Greene County office, in Jefferson. She can be reached at 515-386-0343 or ahooper@iastate.edu.