Agriculture

Wed
24
Feb

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 26: CFAP 1 & 2 Updates
March 5: WHIP Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Grazing Cover Crops Increases Profits

by Jacob Hawes, Soil Conservationist

Farmers are good at producing a variety of crops, but one thing many farmers have been struggling to produce the last several years is a profit. The five-year average cost to produce a bushel of corn has exceeded the average price of a bushel of corn by five cents according to analysis from the Iowa Farm Bureau, leaving many Iowa farmers in the red or just breaking even. A recent climb in corn and bean prices should provide some relief for farmers, but even so farmers should be looking for alternatives to increase the profitability of their cropland acres and cover crops and cattle may be the answer.

Wed
24
Feb

Dairy Goat Webinar to focus on kid management strategies

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy team will continue its quarterly dairy goat webinar focusing on “Strategic Kid Management” March 3 from noon to 1:15 p.m.

This webinar will focus on situating the next generation of replacement does for a successful future. Multiple contagious diseases are transmitted to young goats right around kidding.

During this webinar, Roselle Busch, assistant specialist in Cooperative Extension at UC-Davis, will discuss why recommended management practices help to control and minimize the spread of disease in your herd. “I will cover the basics for healthy kids in the first month, going over colostrum management, use of automated feeders, and then get into the role that different kid rearing strategies play in mitigating disease transmission,” Busch noted.

Wed
17
Feb

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 26: CFAP 1 & 2 Updates
March 5: WHIP Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Enrollment Begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2021
Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year. Enrollment for the 2021 crop year closes March 15.

Wed
17
Feb

Conservation program supports young farmer


Ryan Collins among his grazing paddocks...

by Kate Hansen, Policy Assistant, Center for Rural Affairs

For Ryan Collins of Harpers Ferry working on the family farm connects him to both past and future generations. He and his spouse, Samantha, have three children under the age of six and one on the way. Their operation has been in the Collins family since 1851, and Ryan sees conservation as a tool to ensure its vitality for generations to come.

“The kids love being on the farm. Last night we went to move the cows to a new paddock, and my oldest one was petting a cow,” he said. “I want to make sure the opportunity is there if any of them want to farm.”

One way he has been able to enhance conservation on his operation is with the help of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). In Iowa this year, applications for the program are due February 19. Interested producers should reach out to their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office.   

Wed
10
Feb

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 12: CRP Signup
February 26: CFAP 1 & 2 Updates
March 5: WHIP Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Forty Chances to Improve Your Soil Health

by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist

There is a book written by Howard G. Buffet called Forty Chances. It is based on the notion that the average farmer gets forty crops, or forty chances to make changes. This book is a dire warning about what happens when the farmers, and the food they produce, goes away.

Wed
10
Feb

Equine Lunch & Learn Webinar Series set to begin February 11

Horse owners and enthusiasts will have an opportunity to learn more about management of equine during a monthly webinar on equine management decisions.

Beginning February 11, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide a monthly series of short virtual meetings over four months. The webinar topics include nutrition, the importance of soil for pasture and hay, weed control and environmental management. Opportunities for interaction with the presenters will be available. “The program is designed to provide attendees with an interactive and informative opportunity to further develop their knowledge of equine related topics, including management and care,” said Peggy Auwerda, associate professor in animal science and extension equine specialist at Iowa State University.

Wed
03
Feb

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 12: CRP Signup
February 26: CFAP 1 & 2 Updates
March 5: WHIP Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Enrollment Begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2021
Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year. Enrollment for the 2021 crop year closes March 15, 2021.

Wed
03
Feb

Practical Farmers of Iowa begin 2021 farminar season

Topics include interseeding 60-inch corn, high tunnel storm protection, and pasture-finishing pigs

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2021 winter webinar series, referred to as “farminars,”  began Tuesday, Jan. 26, with a presentation on interseeding 60-inch corn for improved return on investment. This event is one of seven farminars offered through March 16 on issues relevant to beginning and experienced row crop, livestock and horticulture farmers, as well as landowners.

All farminars run weekly on Tuesdays from 7-8:30 p.m. CST and are free for anyone with an internet connection to participate. Each presentation focuses on a unique production or business management topic, and is led by a farmer or subject-matter expert. Attendees are able to ask questions in real-time using a chat box while they listen and watch a slideshow. Each farminar is recorded and archived at practicalfarmers.org for later viewing.

Wed
03
Feb

Poll shows farmers’ beliefs on climate change are shifting

Climate change is impacting Iowa agriculture and negative impacts are expected to increasingly threaten agricultural productivity in the state. There are many ways, however, that farmers and landowners can increase the resiliency of production systems, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and even capture carbon.

The 2020 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll survey explored farmers’ perspectives on climate change and ways that farmers can address its impacts on agriculture. The project is supported by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station.

“We’ve asked questions about climate change three times over the last decade, so we can now look at changes in perspectives over time,” said project director J. Arbuckle, professor and extension sociologist at Iowa State University.

Wed
27
Jan

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 12: CRP Signup
March 5: Quality Loss Adjustment
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

They’re Not All Bad!
by Alisha Sedlmayr
You can’t see them with the naked eye, but there are hundreds of them in a healthy handful of soil and the majority of them are actually beneficial to plants. We’re going to be talking about nematodes! You may think of root-feeding nematodes, which can kill plants or harm them, but they are not all deadly to your crops. In fact, the other types of nematodes (beneficial ones) actually cycle nutrients for plants, control plant pests, and help improve soil health.

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