Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

General Extension GA

GA Tracking ID

Keep in touch with Family Development

Extension Center for Family Development, through its nimbleness, innovation, and relevance, teaches families and those who serve families to make informed decisions leading to greater health, resilience and well-being. As a result of our programs, Minnesota families — no matter their makeup, structure, or place in life — possess the knowledge and skills to create resilient, healthy, and secure futures.

Keep in touch with Family Development’s work through our blogs, newsletters other social media.


About Source: Spring 2018

University of Minnesota Extension mission

Making a difference by connecting community needs and University resources to address critical issues in Minnesota.


Executive Editor: Becky Beyers
Managing Editor: Catherine Dehdashti

Writers: Eve Daniels, Catherine Dehdashti, Erin Kelly-Collins, Naomi Olive, Allison Sandve, Linnea White

Designer: Michael Donahue

Photography: Kathryn Bolin, Fritz Breitenbach, Gabriela Burk, Catherine Dehdashti, Dolgachov (Dreamstime), David Hansen, Rebecca Masterman, Naomi Olive, Bruce Potter, Cory Ryan, Allison Sandve, John Vreyens, Megan Weber, Graphic Stock

Address correspondence and requests for reprints to Source, University of Minnesota Extension, 240 Coffey Hall, 1420 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108-6068; email: extensionsource@umn.edu.

For Americans With Disabilities Act accommodations, please call (612) 625-0237.

University of Minnesota Extension is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation.


Are you looking for reliable, research-based answers to your everyday questions? Then AnswerLine is for you! The AnswerLine staff have been answering consumers questions for over 30 years.

Contact AnswerLine to get information about:

  • Safely cooking, canning, and freezing foods.
  • Cleaning stains and mildew from homes and clothes.
  • Dealing with floods and other household issues.

Call AnswerLine at:

Calls are answered Monday through Friday between 9 a.m.–12 noon and 1–4 p.m. Only those calling from a Minnesota, Iowa, or South Dakota area code will be able to access the AnswerLine phone service.

You can also send an email.

AnswerLine is brought to you by University of Minnesota Extension and Iowa State University Extension, with support from USDA, the state of Minnesota, county governments, and grants.

For more information, watch the AnswerLine Introductory Video. Transcript (PDF)

Get more information about AnswerLine.

About Extension

What we do

University of Minnesota Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education and engages Minnesotans to build a better future.

Extension centers

Extension's research and outreach is organized broadly into four centers: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Community Vitality; Family Development; and Youth Development.

Extension leadership

Meet University of Minnesota Extension's leadership team.

Extension in your community

Extension is in every county of Minnesota. See local information and news by county.

Staff directory

Find contact information for Extension staff by name, location or area of expertise.

Who we work with


Extension is a partnership between the University and state, federal, and county governments to provide scientific knowledge and expertise to the public.

Global initiatives

Minnesota is part of an increasingly connected global society, which benefits from exchanges in education, research and development.

Tribal partners

University of Minnesota Extension works in Indian Country through mutually beneficial community-University partnerships.

Minnesota is part of an increasingly connected global network, which benefits from exchanges in education, research and development.

Extension engages with scientists, teachers and learners around the world, and with diverse communities at home. Efforts build capacity locally and internationally to enhance livelihoods, while building a national network of professionals with expertise in similar initiatives.

Current efforts are funded through partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, grants from other partners and donor gifts.

Extension Global Initiatives programs meet at least one of three criteria:

  • A Minnesota-based organization is a partner or collaborator
  • The program supports a wider University of Minnesota initiative
  • Unique Extension expertise meets a critical need


Ahmed Zahour and Donald Rasmussen Ag

Extension's global work began with supporting agricultural exports during and after World War I. In the 1960s and 1970s, a relationship started with Morocco.

The "Minnesota Project" educated nearly 250 Moroccans, who then returned to Morocco to create a world-class research and teaching institute. Many maintain relationships with Minnesota researchers and businesses today. This 1970s photo shows doctoral student Ahmed Zahour (right) and Zahour's adviser, Donald Rasmussen, a U of M world expert in barley.

Extension is frequently invited by other countries to share the model of connecting communities to University research. The model appeals to people because it engages people in their own learning with each other.

Connecting with learners across the globe

Extension Global Initiatives connect University research and education/training to learners in:

Share this page:


Extension is a partnership between the University and state, federal, and county governments to provide scientific knowledge and expertise to the public.


Extension's research and outreach is organized broadly into four centers: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Community Vitality; Family Development; and Youth Development. Each center has teams of scientists and educators who work in statewide, regional and county organizations to share reliable, research-based education on topics affecting Minnesota's families and communities.

Our centers

Share this page:

Minnesota tourism feels shifts in the wind

Mother, grandfather and two children biking

From lakes to bike trails, and snowshoeing to paddle boarding, Minnesota has long treasured its outdoor spaces and pastimes. Today, you’ll find a mix of long-standing and new ways to enjoy nature in the state.

But while much remains the same, there is also change in that fresh Minnesota air.

The University of Minnesota Tourism Center consults with industry and communities to identify opportunities. “We deliver the research that communities need and want right now,” says Xinyi Qian, University of Minnesota Extension tourism specialist.

    The Tourism Center is watching:

    • The sharing economy. Ridesharing and rentals will need to constructively coexist with the traditional travel industry.
    • Habits and preferences. As cultures and generations change, so does the way people vacation. Trends include shorter trips and multigenerational travel.
    • Agritourism. There’s more interest than ever in tasting local foods and sipping Minnesota wine and craft beer. These experiences connect visitors with producers and products from across Minnesota.


    Knowledge is power for housing stability.

    Nearly 30 percent of Minnesota residents—more than 600,000 households—live in rental units. As rental costs rise, many are paying more than they can afford.

    Subsidized housing for low-income people in particular has long waiting lists, and some areas lack all kinds of housing. The situation poses challenges for those who haven’t rented before or who have had less than positive past renting experiences.

    “It’s critical for families to have consistent and stable housing, which contributes to continuous employment and school success,” says Mary Jo Katras, University of Minnesota Extension educator in family resiliency. “But being a successful renter in the current housing environment requires certain knowledge and skills beyond what people typically learn in school.”

    RentWise is a free workshop, developed by Extension and delivered by community partners, that helps people become successful renters. The class covers money management, tenant rights, caring for a rental, establishing positive relationships with property managers and neighbors, and using community resources to find affordable housing. Workshops are available in Spanish and English.

      Top tips for renters

      • Sign reading "for rent"
        Know what you can afford
      • Check out the unit and neighborhood before moving in
      • Understand the lease and implications of not complying

      Minnesota and Morocco find common ground in wheat

      Group of people looking at barge on river
      USDA Cochran Fellows from Morocco and Tunisia toured the Riverland Ag Corp barge loading facility in Savage, Minn.

      Minnesota is a leader in spring wheat, and last year’s wheat harvest shattered previous records. More than half of the state’s wheat acres are planted with varieties developed at the University of Minnesota.

      Prices and quality count in the wheat business, but so do relationships. “Somewhere in the world, wheat is being harvested every month of the year,” says David Torgerson, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council. “Building personal relationships helps sustain long-term trading partnerships.”

      Moroccan and Tunisian agricultural leaders visited Minnesota in 2017 via the USDA Cochran Fellowship Program. University of Minnesota Extension’s John Vreyens, Jochum Wiersma and Edward Usset organized a tour so the visitors could learn about Minnesota’s wheat industry. The tour included a stop at a barge loading facility in Savage. Barges are loaded on the Minnesota River and shipped to Louisiana, where grains are transferred to ocean-going vessels for export.

      “A special relationship between the University of Minnesota and Morocco going back to the 1970s has long involved agricultural development, and we can expand on this connection for mutual benefit,” says Vreyens, Extension director of global initiatives. Many Moroccan scientists who studied at the University of Minnesota lead and teach today at Moroccan institutes of agricultural higher education and research.

      Vreyens also led a trip to Morocco from the University of Minnesota Crookston, which is in the region that grows 80 percent of the state’s wheat. One goal was to explore new opportunities to share expertise in global food security.

      “You could probably drop Moroccan farmers into a rural Minnesota coffee shop and they would fit in perfectly other than the language they’d be speaking,” says Rob Proulx, an agronomy lecturer at University of Minnesota Crookston who went on the trip. “Our goals are the same, the science is the same, and we are all battling diseases in wheat. My students can benefit from becoming a part of this special connection, whether through electronic means or travel.”

      Related stories

      Small grains, big benefits

      Farmers participate in research with scientists and educators who know their world.

      Strengthening Minnesota's global network

      Extension engages with scientists, teachers and leaders from around the world

      © 2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.