Agriculture

Wed
20
Jan

Virtual Dairy Day to feature profitable practices

Dairy producers and the industry will have the opportunity to learn about emerging dairy industry issues during Virtual Dairy Day, hosted by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy team. The program is scheduled for Tuesday, February. 9, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
“Producers and industry partners will have a chance to hear about current and relevant information to help them make sound management decisions.” said Jennifer Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “This workshop is traditionally in-person for farmers to network and share ideas. Due to COVID-19 concerns, this will be a virtual workshop to network and ask questions.”

The agenda includes:

Wed
13
Jan

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Healthy Soil should be our New Year’s Goal
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
I would like to reflect on some observations of where agriculture is in 2020 as we prepare to launch into 2021.  I have a quote from Gus Speth, Co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, on my wall.  He says, “I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change.  I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

Wed
13
Jan

Climate expert to discuss drought and other potential challenges for 2021

Climate and weather predictions are topics of webinar

Livestock producers and agribusiness professionals are invited to a webinar discussing climate and weather predictions for the 2021 growing season. The webinar, set for Wednesday, Jan. 20, from noon to 1 p.m., features Dennis Todey, director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Climate Hub in Ames.

Beth Doran, beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said Todey will bring accurate and important information for those who work with livestock and crop production agriculture.

“Dennis Todey is known nationally for his knowledge and experience in weather forecasting and comes with distinction as the former president of the American Association of State Climatologists,” Doran said. “This is a timely presentation, given that currently more than half of Iowa is experiencing drought conditions ranging from abnormally dry to severe drought.”

Wed
13
Jan

What is the Miscanthus value for Iowa farmers?

Webinar will explore the opportunities and challenges of miscanthus

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free wetland virtual field day on growing miscanthus in Iowa on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 1 p.m.

Join for a live conversation with Emily Heaton, Iowa State University agronomy professor and extension biomass crop specialist.

Miscanthus has received widespread attention as a biomass crop for bioenergy in Europe, while bedding and bioproduct markets are developing faster than energy markets in the U.S.

Heaton’s team is exploring what it takes to successfully grow miscanthus in Iowa and measuring the impact on soil health and water quality. The team is also exploring converting areas of fields that produce low corn and soybean yields to miscanthus for improved long-term profitability.

Wed
06
Jan

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
February 12: CRP Signup
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

USDA to Open General Signup for the Conservation Reserve Program in January 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the signup periods for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in 2021. Signup for general CRP will be open from Jan. 4, 2021, to Feb. 12, 2021. This program is competitive and provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

Wed
06
Jan

Virtual Boots in the Barn offered for dairy women

Three-part series for women involved in the dairy industry begins January 22

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host Boots in the Barn virtually, a program for women dairy producers. Boots in the Barn is a three-part series for women involved in a dairy operation or industry and will be held as a webinar series.

The webinars will be held January 22 and 29, and February 5, via ZOOM from noon to 1:15 p.m.

The January 22 session will feature Sarah Adcock, assistant professor in animal welfare research/teaching at the University of Wisconsin. Adcock will discuss pain management for disbudding and steps producers can take to stay ahead of consumer concerns and changing industry standards for this procedure.

Wed
06
Jan

Trusts can serve as important estate planning tool

Understanding trusts can help guide your farm transition

Depending on your family situation and the value of your estate, forming a trust can be an important addition to your farm transition plan.

A will gives basic assurance of where farm and personal assets will go at death, but a trust can provide more detail and instruction, with the flexibility to transition your farm the way you want it to go.
In an article written for the December Ag Decision Maker, two experts with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach give an overview of what a trust is, the different kinds of trusts, who they benefit and what a person should consider before forming a trust.

“The trust is a very useful and flexible tool for estate planning, yet it is probably the most underused estate management technique,” according to Kelvin Leibold and Melissa O’Rourke, farm management specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Wed
30
Dec

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
January 1: Office Closed in Observance of New Year’s Day
March 15: 2021 ARCPLC Signup

Offseason Management of CRP
by Jacob Hawes, NRCS Soil Conservationist
As the harvest season is over and we have more time, landowners need to consider fall and winter management of lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program or CRP. The next few months are an ideal time to begin scouting for weeds, trees, and shrubs that are beginning to sneak their way in. Although you may be required to burn or mow as part of your mid-contract management, these onetime practices alone often aren’t sufficient to remedy unwanted vegetation.

Wed
23
Dec

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
December 24 and 25: Office Closed in Observance of Christmas
January 1: Office Closed in Observance of New Year’s Day
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
23
Dec

Iowa land values show stability in turbulent year

Annual survey finds average overall value of Iowa farmland increased 1.7% per acre

Favorable interest rates, a strong demand for land and substantial government payments helped stabilize Iowa’s farmland market in a year in which Iowa’s farmers faced the destructive onslaught of a derecho, significant uncertainties in U.S. agricultural trade and a pandemic that significantly altered market demand.

“The land market faced downward pressure initially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which lowered food demand and resulted in declines in livestock and ethanol prices,” said Wendong Zhang, assistant professor in economics and extension economist at Iowa State University.

This year’s Iowa Land Value Survey found that the average statewide value of an acre of farmland is $7,559, an increase of 1.7%, or $127, since 2019. The $7,559 per acre estimate, and 1.7% increase in value, represents a statewide average of low, medium and high-quality farmland.

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