Agriculture

Wed
23
Feb

Special wildlife practices available through CRP

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) offers several programs for landowners to enroll environmentally sensitive farmland into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

The continuous and general CRP signups provide annual rental payments to producers and landowners for establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species on cropland, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat.

Continuous CRP allows landowners to enroll new land at any time during the year, and includes the State Acres For wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practice. Under SAFE, landowners can design special habitat for pheasant, bobwhite, grassland songbirds, and other species. SAFE is only available in targeted geographies, producers not eligible for SAFE can offer land into other continuous practices or thru the general signup.

Wed
16
Feb

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
Feb. 25: Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program
Mar. 11: General CRP Signup
Mar. 15: ARCPLC Program Deadline
Mar. 25: Dairy Margin Coverage Program

Wed
16
Feb

Secretary Naig invites Iowa families to apply now for the 2022 Century and Heritage Farm Program

Applications will be accepted until June 1, 2022

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encourages eligible farm owners to apply for the 2022 Century and Heritage Farm Program now. The program was created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation to recognize families who have owned their farms for 100 years and 150 years, respectively.

“The Century and Heritage Farm Program recognizes the strength and resiliency of Iowa’s multi-generation farm families,” said Secretary Naig. “I always look forward to celebrating with the families and hearing stories about their incredible farming legacies. I am grateful for the investments they make to protect our rich farmland and their continued commitment to our state’s agriculture community.”

To apply, download the application on the Department’s website at iowaagriculture.gov/century-and-heritage-farm-program.

Wed
16
Feb

Livestock Master Matrix adopted in 86 counties

Most of Iowa’s 99 counties notified DNR in January that they plan to evaluate construction permit applications and proposed animal confinement locations by using the master matrix.

With few exceptions, most counties will use the matrix during the next 12 months. The following counties will not use the matrix in 2021: Benton, Davis, Des Moines, Guthrie, Grundy, Keokuk, Lee, Mahaska, Osceola, Plymouth, Wapello, Warren and Washington.

Additional requirements are required for animal confinement producers who need a construction permit before they can build in counties using the matrix. Producers qualify by choosing a site and using practices that reduce impacts on air, water and the community.

Wed
09
Feb

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
Feb. 18: Dairy Margin Coverage Program
Feb. 25: Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program
Mar. 15: ARCPLC Program Deadline

Annual Forages for Grazing
by Jacob Hawes, Soil Conservationist

Wed
09
Feb

Soil Fertility Workshops to be held across Iowa

Maximize your fertilizer dollars

Farmers wishing to maximize the profits from their fertilizer dollars will want to attend one of 15 in-person workshops or a virtual workshop hosted by Iowa State University. The workshop series, called Soil Testing Interpretations and Recommendations: Maximizing Return on Investment, will be held in February and March. This series will address the profitable management of soil fertility in Iowa, as conditions continue to change with increased fertilizer input costs and a rising demand for nutrients from higher-yielding crops.

“These workshops will lead farmers through the basics of soil testing, analytical tests, calculating crop nutrient removal, understanding return on investment from fertilizer applications, how crop response correlates to soil test levels and what is known about crop response to micronutrients,” says Josh Michel, field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Wed
09
Feb

Farm Financial Planning Program helps producers analyze their numbers

Associates are available to help farmers study their numbers and plan ahead

As farmers begin to make financial projections for the new year, there are resources available from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach that can help. A popular choice is the Farm Financial Planning Program, which includes access to seven different farm financial associates, in addition to software and helpful publications and guides.

Nancy Brannaman, a financial associate from east central Iowa, said the program allows producers and the associate to take a broad look at what’s going on within an operation, where the operator would like to be in the future and what must be done for success.

Wed
02
Feb

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
Feb. 4: Organic and Transition Education Certification Program (FY20, FY21)
Feb. 18: Dairy Margin Coverage Program
Feb. 25: Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program
Mar. 15: ARCPLC Program Deadline

Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program
Are you a producer or handler of agricultural commodities that are certified organic? Or, are you transitioning your operation to certified organic? You may be eligible for financial assistance to cover expenses paid during the 2020, 2021, and 2022 fiscal years through USDA’s Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). This new program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

Wed
02
Feb

Find answers for Farm Bill decisions in multiple ways

Variety of methods to access farm bill education in 2022

Crop farmers have until March 15 to make their annual election for Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage (at the individual or county levels) under the 2018 Farm Bill.

This annual decision impacts the 2022 crop year, consistent with the 2018 Farm Bill. Similar annual decisions, for the 2023 crop year, will coincide with the final year of the bill.

In order to help Iowans understand their options for 2022, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is holding a variety of upcoming meetings, with support from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

Wed
26
Jan

What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
Feb. 4: Organic and Transition Education Certification Program (FY20, FY21)
Feb. 18: Dairy Margin Coverage Program
Feb. 25: Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program
Mar. 15: ARCPLC Program Deadline

Try Something New This Spring
by LuAnn Rolling, NRCS District Conservationist

As crop input prices continue to skyrocket and soil health continues to deteriorate, perhaps this spring is the time to consider making some changes to your operation.  While moving away from a traditional corn/soybean rotation can be daunting, it is one way to start your journey to improving soil health and reducing commercial inputs on your operation.

Indiana no-tiller Rick Clark presented the following rotations as ways to “shake up” what you have been doing at the 2019 National No-Tillage Conference.

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