Agriculture

Wed
17
Aug

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
September 1: Dairy Margin Coverage Premiums Due
October 31: Organic Certification Cost-Share and Transition/Education Certification Program

Wed
17
Aug

Virtual reality could boost poultry health, say Iowa State University researchers

Using virtual reality technology, the scientists simulated a free-range environment in laying hen housing. They found that showing hens VR scenes of chickens in more “natural” environments reduced indicators of stress in the hens’ blood and gut microbiota. The VR scenes also induced biochemical changes related to increased resistance to E. coli bacteria, which poses health risks to poultry and to humans who eat contaminated eggs.

Wed
17
Aug

Research Farm Field Day

The annual fall field day at the Iowa State University Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm will run from 1-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 24.

Lisa Schulte Moore, Iowa State University professor of natural resource ecology and management, will begin the program by providing her insights on carbon markets in a presentation called “Carbon Science for Carbon Markets: Emerging Opportunities in Iowa.”

Erin Hodgson, professor in entomology and extension entomologist at Iowa State, and Ashley Dean, education extension specialist in entomology with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will discuss corn rootworm and resistance management.

Wed
10
Aug

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
September 1: Dairy Margin Coverage Premiums Due
October 31: Organic Certification Cost-Share and Transition/Education Certification Program

Late Summer Pasture Seeding
by Jacob Hawes, NRCS Area Grazing Specialist
The late summer seeding window begins in August for pasture and hay plantings, and although it is not as popular as the spring seeding option, it can still be a great opportunity to get cool season pastures established this year. There are several advantages to seeding late summer versus the spring, that may ease some apprehensions about seeding during this timeframe.

Wed
10
Aug

Water quality efforts to be made visual at Farm Progress Show

Water quality improvements often happen in fields and underground – places that can be hard to see up close and in one setting.

But thanks to the aid of computer monitors, visual demonstrations and printed material, the water quality team with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is planning to make water quality improvement very visual during this year’s Farm Progress Show, Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in Boone.

Kay Stefanik, assistant director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University, said this year’s exhibit will include a video on the water quality benefits of wetlands, specifically related to nitrogen reduction.

The Conservation Station trailer, developed by Iowa Learning Farms, will show visitors what saturated buffers and bioreactors look like and how they function.

Wed
10
Aug

New conservation planning tool allows users to evaluate tailored cost-benefit tradeoffs

Conservation planning is entering a new era of precision problem-solving with the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF), and its just-released Financial and Nutrient Reduction Tool (FiNRT).

“ACPF itself is a non-prescriptive conservation planning framework supported by high-resolution geospatial data and an ArcGIS toolbox,” said Emily Zimmerman, assistant professor in Iowa State’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. “These elements are used to allow conservation planners and landowners to identify and evaluate conservation opportunities at different scales, from the field to the watershed.”

“With the recent addition of the ACPF-compatible FiNRT (pronounced fine-art) toolbox that incorporates financial information with environmental benefits, ACPF will be of even greater interest to stakeholders looking for information on the tradeoffs of implementing best management practices,” she said.

Wed
03
Aug

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
September 1: Dairy Margin Coverage Premiums Due
October 31: Organic Certification Cost-Share and Transition/Education Certification Program

Wed
03
Aug

Iowa Ag Secretary visits the Allamakee County Fair ...


Submitted photo.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig made a stop at the 2022 Allamakee County Fair in Waukon Friday, July 22. Secretary Naig visited with Allamakee County Fair board members and 4-H members during his stop, and also took time to speak with fair-goers, as pictured above. “Country fairs are always rewarding to celebrate #IowaAg traditions and interact with our future agricultural leaders,” Naig shared. Submitted photo.
 

Wed
03
Aug

New conservation planning tool allows users to evaluate tailored cost-benefit tradeoffs

Conservation planning is entering a new era of precision problem-solving with the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF), and its just-released Financial and Nutrient Reduction Tool (FiNRT).

“ACPF itself is a non-prescriptive conservation planning framework supported by high-resolution geospatial data and an ArcGIS toolbox,” said Emily Zimmerman, assistant professor in Iowa State’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. “These elements are used to allow conservation planners and landowners to identify and evaluate conservation opportunities at different scales, from the field to the watershed.”

“With the recent addition of the ACPF-compatible FiNRT (pronounced fine-art) toolbox that incorporates financial information with environmental benefits, ACPF will be of even greater interest to stakeholders looking for information on the tradeoffs of implementing best management practices,” she said.

Wed
27
Jul

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season

Commercial Fertilizer is Harming our Soils
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
Regenerative farming practices emphasize nutrient uptake from soils through natural soil biological cycles. This approach uses microbes and carbon compounds to produce crops naturally rather than relying entirely on highly soluble “salty” fertilizer inputs for plant nutrition.

According to James Hoorman, writing for Ohio’s Country Journal in May, 2022, before commercial synthetic fertilizer, historically, soil microbes provided about 80% of soil nitrogen (N) through the efficient process of microbial N fixation. For the first time, the total fixed N supplied by microbes is less than the amount of applied synthetic N from fertilizer. Excess salt based or soluble fertilizer is disrupting the natural soil balance.

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