Agriculture

Wed
16
Sep

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
September 30: PLC Yield Update
October 31: 2020 Organic Certification Cost Share Program Signup

USDA Accepting Applications to Help Cover Costs for Organic Certification
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Applications for eligible certification expenses paid between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020, are due Oct. 31, 2020.

OCCSP provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA’s National Organic Program. Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent.

Wed
16
Sep

Agronomy team debuts new weather tool for FACTS

New benchmark weather tool added for every crop reporting district in 12 states

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has debuted a new tool on the Forecast and Assessment of Cropping Systems (FACTS) website that displays weather summaries for every crop reporting district in 12 Midwest states.

The weather summaries include data from 1984 through today, updated every month and with information on temperature, precipitation, radiation and other weather indicators — like the number of days with extreme weather rain events, or the number of warm nights.

“This new tool provides an easy way for farmers and scientists to benchmark weather at any crop reporting district by month,” said Sotirios Archontoulis, associate professor of agronomy and principal member of the FACTS team at Iowa State University.

Wed
16
Sep

ISU leads new project to build genome to phenome research community across crops and livestock

A new federal grant will support an Iowa State University-led effort to spur development of a “genome to phenome” infrastructure for scientific collaboration across crops and livestock.

The three-year, $960,000 project will provide guidance and lay the groundwork for a larger federal Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative (AG2PI) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Researchers working from “genomics to phenomics” explore how genomes (organisms’ complete set of DNA) influence the expression of observable, phenotypic traits. With sufficient understanding of these relationships, it becomes possible to predict phenotypic traits based on an organism’s genome/DNA sequence. The USDA’s goal is to foster a broad community of researchers to use genome to phenome approaches as a foundation for improving the efficiency and resilience of US agriculture.

Wed
09
Sep

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
September 11: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Signup
September 30: PLC Yield Update
October 31: 2020 Organic Certification Cost Share Program Signup

Input Reductions Based on Improved Soil Health
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist

As producers look at yet another year of small corn and soybean profit margins I would like to talk about some ways to reduce inputs and increase profits, all while improving soil health.  I’m going to use the example of Rick Clark, a farmer from Williamsport, Indiana, because he has been dabbling in soil health for many years and keeps detailed records of his 7,000 acre farm.

Wed
09
Sep

Grain quality concerns abound as Iowa enters harvest seasons

The combination of drought, derecho and hot weather has Iowa crops maturing earlier than usual, and with a host of grain quality concerns.

“Storm damaged corn is on the ground and it is quickly becoming moldy which creates food safety hazards,” said Charles Hurburgh, professor and grain quality specialist in agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University. “The whole idea here is to get the producer and the crop insurance and the grain market together on determining value for the severely damaged grain, and how can we either take that as a total loss or direct it to another use, but not put it into the grain market.”

Wed
09
Sep

COVID Ag Updates to be offered weekly through ISU Extension and Outreach

The farming community is used to the stress that comes from the unpredictable and uncontrollable challenges that jeopardize their production and livelihood. Agricultural resilience is about equipping farmers with strategies and information that will enable them to absorb and recover from these stresses. Resilience is the ability to bounce back when things do not go as planned.

COVID Recovery Iowa, in collaboration with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will be hosting COVID AG UPDATES: Focus on Resilience; a 60-minute weekly update with agricultural specialists, to be held Mondays from 7:30 – 8:30 PM. The first 15 – 20 minutes will be informational, with the remaining time spent on answering questions.

Wed
02
Sep

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
September 11: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Signup
September 30: PLC Yield Update
October 31: 2020 Organic Certification Cost Share Program Signup

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
The CFAP signup deadline has been extended through September 11, 2020. Additionally, all sheep are now eligible for payment. Only lambs and yearlings (sheep less than 2 years old) were previously eligible. If you have additional eligible sheep, please contact our office.

To ensure availability of funding, producers with approved applications initially received 80 percent of their payments. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) will automatically issue the remaining 20 percent of the calculated payment to eligible producers. Going forward, producers who apply for CFAP will receive 100 percent of their total payment, not to exceed the payment limit, when their applications are approved.

Wed
26
Aug

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
September 11: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Signup
September 30: PLC Yield Update
October 31: 2020 Organic Certification Cost Share Program Signup

Food Quality
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
You’ve all heard the phrase, “You are what you eat”, but in truth you are what your food ate!  Basically our health is a reflection of the nutrients available to the plants and animals in the food chain, starting with healthy soil. Food quality is critically dependent on clean and healthy air, water, and soil; and healthy soil microbes.

Wed
26
Aug

Grant awarded to further research in livestock genetic improvements

A research group led by Jack Dekkers, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University, has received a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to further genetic improvement of livestock by integrating biological models of growth that have been developed by animal nutritionists.

The $500,000, two-year grant for Dekkers and his team will support the project, “Integration of Biological Models in Genomic Evaluation: Pig-Growth-Model Whole Genome Prediction (PGM-WGP),”as part of a national USDA initiative for Research in Tools and Resources for Animal Breeding, Genetics and Genomics Research.

Wed
26
Aug

COVID Ag Updates to be offered weekly through ISU Extension and Outreach

The farming community is used to the stress that comes from the unpredictable and uncontrollable challenges that jeopardize their production and livelihood. Agricultural resilience is about equipping farmers with strategies and information that will enable them to absorb and recover from these stresses. Resilience is the ability to bounce back when things do not go as planned.

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