Agriculture

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.

Wed
27
Jul

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
20
Jul

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

County Committee (COC) Election
It’s that time of year when FSA begins the process of the county committee election.  This year the election will be for LAA -1, which includes French Creek, Hanover, Makee, Waterloo, Union City, Union Prairie townships. Essentially the NW portion of the county. The nomination period begins June and runs through early August. You can nominate yourself or someone else by completing the appropriate form at our office or download it online. Once nominations are finalized, producers who reside in LAA-1 will cast ballots which will be mailed to you in November. These ballots are due back to the FSA office by early December. The elected member will take office on January 1. Eligible households in these townships should have received an informational postcard.  

Wed
20
Jul

Farmland Leasing and Land Values Informational Workshops offered across northeast Iowa

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers workshops designed to answer questions that land owners and tenants have about farmland leasing and land management issues.

These workshops will be held across northeast Iowa counties starting July 26 through August 16.

Melissa O’Rourke, ISU Extension Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist will present a wide range of topics related to farmland values and leasing.

“Year after year, I receive numerous contacts from persons who have questions about farmland values and rental rates,” says O’Rourke.

“The interest in and conversations about farm leasing arrangements continues to grow, and 2022 is no different,”

O’Rourke noted. “We expect strong attendance and discussion at these meetings.”

More than half of Iowa farmland is rented. In some Iowa locations, as much as 70 percent of the land is farmed by farmers who don’t own the land.

Wed
20
Jul

Iowa Farmers are encouraged to update the Hay and Straw Directory

Free listing connects Iowa buyers and sellers

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship offers a free directory to connect farmers who sell hay or straw with local producers who are interested in purchasing it. Organizations associated with promoting and marketing hay and straw can also access the free, online tool. The Department encourages users to update their listing every year.

To search by product and county, visit the online directory. Anyone can view the hay and straw directory, but only Iowa sellers are included on the list.

If you are a farmer interested in selling hay or straw and need to update your information, create an account in the online system, or reach out to Judy Allison at 515-281-8604 or judy.allison@iowaagriculture.gov, to do so.

Wed
13
Jul

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Spring Crop Reporting

Beaver Dam Research Shows Many Impacts
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
An Iowa Nutrient Research Center-funded study being conducted at Iowa State University seeks to quantify beaver dam impacts on water quality, hydrology, and stream morphology (how dams shape the stream itself). Here are the researcher’s top three observations after one year of study.

Wed
13
Jul

Young farmers encouraged to apply for Iowa Farm Bureau’s “Grow Your Future” Award

A Grand Prize Winner Will Receive $7,500

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is seeking applications for the next “Grow Your Future” Award winner. This competition, reserved for IFBF members ages 18-35, is for entrepreneurs with a farming-related niche or specialty business.

First, second and third place finalists will receive $7,500, $5000 and $2,500, respectively, to expand their businesses. To apply, submit an application and short video to www.iowafarmbureau.com/growyourfuture.

Wed
06
Jul

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 – August 1: Primary Nesting Season
July 15: Spring Crop Reporting

Wed
06
Jul

New report examines farmer perspectives on 4R Plus nutrient loss reduction

A recent report from the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll at Iowa State University indicates that a major nutrient management effort called the 4R Plus initiative is having a positive impact.

4R Plus, a science-based framework designed to guide improved nutrient management among farmers, is promoted by a coalition of more than 50 public and private agricultural stakeholders and non-governmental conservation organizations.

Wed
06
Jul

Soil health workshop planned

A soil health workshop will be held August 4 at Iowa State University’s Field Extension Education Laboratory southwest of Ames. Participants will learn how to evaluate soil health and communicate about soil health related topics more effectively. They will also have the opportunity to network and learn from both new and seasoned soil health professionals from across the state and become more knowledgeable and confident in discussing soil health information.

Topics will include how current fertility tests relate to soil health, the science of using cover crops for weed control, and evaluating soil health with a microscope.

“This workshop is a great opportunity to learn about management practices that affect soil health,” said Brian Dougherty, field agricultural engineer with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “People will be able to see how what is happening in the hidden world beneath our feet affects productivity and profit.”

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