Agriculture

Wed
07
Oct

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
October 31: 2020 Organic Certification Cost Share Program Sign-up
December 11: CFAP 2 Sign-up

Reducing Crop Inputs with Increased Soil Health
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist

I’d like to step back and look at agriculture and where we are heading. In the late 1800’s all the ag schools knew that having a mixed forage in a rotation increased yields. In the 1890’s they were teaching that adding clover to a corn field would result in increased corn yields. So what happened? Agriculture replaced horses with tractors.

This resulted in a decrease in the need for forages and oats in rotations. Next came synthetic fertilizers, followed by pesticides.

Wed
07
Oct

Gift of grain provides powerful way for farmers to give back to community

Farmers put in countless hours planting and caring for crops, however they may not realize that what they plant could reap benefits for the community after harvest time. While most people think of making charitable contributions in the form of cash, farmers may consider benefitting their community with a gift of grain.

Donating a gift of grain to the Waterville Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, is a simple way to make a difference in your local community. The value of the grain can be used to start an endowed fund in the name of an individual or family, be given to a specific nonprofit organization or support the overall charitable causes in Waterville.

Wed
30
Sep

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
October 31: 2020 Organic Certification Cost Share Program Sign-up
Dec. 11: CFAP 2 Sign-up

USDA to Provide Additional Direct Assistance to Farmers and Ranchers Impacted by the Coronavirus
USDA announced up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Sign-up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) will begin September 21 and run through December 11, 2020.
CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of commodities - Price Trigger Commodities, Flat-rate Crops and Sales Commodities, as described below:

Wed
30
Sep

Using a drone to plant cover crops


Airborne advantages ... Devin Brincks, a Rantizo contractor, is piloting his drone to seed red clover cover crop on the Jon Kruse farm. Submitted photo.

Measuring the cover crop seed ... Jon Kruse of Harpers Ferry measures seed to fill the drone for his seeding. Submitted photo.

by Eric Novey, Allamakee SWCD Project Coordinator

Harpers Ferry farmer Jon Kruse is utilizing a unique method of planting cover crops this fall - a drone. September 16, Kruse hired Devin Brincks, a Rantizo contractor, to fly his drone over standing soybeans to seed red clover as a cover crop.
Aerial cover crop application is growing in popularity across Iowa because of the upsides. A big advantage of aerial seeding is that more acres can be seeded in less time than with ground equipment. Aerial application also allows seeding to be done when it is physically impossible to use ground equipment such as when crops are present or the soil is too wet for regular equipment.

Wed
30
Sep

Firewise on the farm

As Iowa’s annual harvest preparation hits full stride, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages farmers to get reacquainted with fire prevention practices to keep the farm ‘firewise.’  The following simple steps can save time and money.

Tue
29
Sep

What's Up at the USDA Office?

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

Myths about Tillage and Nitrogen’s Effect on Residue Breakdown
by LuAnn Rolling, District Conservationist
We are looking at an earlier harvest than we have seen for years. This allows time for producers to look at post-harvest field activities, which need to be evaluated very closely, with a particular eye on soil health. Some farmers will consider tillage and nitrogen applications thinking that it may increase residue decomposition. According to Mahdi Al-Kaisi, Iowa State University Extension soil and water specialist, those activities might be counterproductive from a financial and environmental perspective.

Tue
29
Sep

RC&D’s Multi-Cropping Initiative part of American Flood Coalition’s first ever Grantee Cohort


Producer Mitchell Hora, in photo above, inspects soil aggregate in his field multi-cropped with soybeans and rye. Submitted photo.

A field in Northeast Iowa, pictured above, that has been multi-cropped with winter wheat and soybeans. Submitted photo.

Northeast Iowa RC&D has been announced as one of three members of an elite place-based flood prevention model made possible through the American Flood Coalition (AFC).  The RC&D along with the two other awardees, The Coalition for Environment, Equality, and Resilience in Harris County Texas, and the Wetlands Watch in Norfolk, Virginia, was recognized for its efforts in providing scalable solutions to help prevent the devastation from flooding experienced around the US. As part of this recognition, AFC will work with each of these organizations over the next year to test their strategies for flood reduction in order to document workable solutions that can be adopted throughout the US and inform national policy development.

Tue
29
Sep

Field Crop Production Handbook offers valuable insight for Iowa growers

This new publication provides a basic understanding of the major crops grown in Iowa

Growing successful field crops is a science, one that is learned and improved upon with years of experience. But sometimes it just makes sense to start with the basics. That’s the approach of a new publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach called the Field Crop Production Handbook.

This 144-page handbook provides a general overview of the essential aspects of producing field crops in Iowa. It focuses on the basics of crop establishment, but also on care and harvest, as well as the impacts on soil, water and wildlife.

“The handbook is useful for people who are new to agriculture or may be joining the family farm and want to get reacquainted with some of the basics of crop production,” said Erin Hodgson, professor and extension specialist in entomology at Iowa State University.

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.

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