One of the big draws for people who attend the Iowa State Fair each year is the food and fairgoers will get to sample several new item this year. Fair spokesperson Lori Chappel says five of the new foods will be involved in a contest. “They’re all quite decadent,” Chappel says. The contestants include the Three Buck Bowl, which features two crispy potato skins filled with scrambled eggs, salsa, and shredded cheddar cheese. Another offering is Funnel Cake Sticks, which are made with vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry funnel cake batter, served on-a-stick and topped with icing.
Another sweet treat in the contest is The Brownie Blitz. “It’s cream cheese brownie bites, with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and coconut. It comes in a bowl,” Chappel says. There’s also Smoked Brisket and Bacon Mac N Cheese. “It’s macaroni with smoked brisket chunks and apple wood smoked bacon in a creamy three cheese sauce,” Chappel says. The fifth entry is a healthier offering – Caprese Salad On-a-Stick. It’s a skewer of cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.
All five of the food items in the contest will be sold for $3. Fairgoers who sample the foods can vote for their favorite, with the winner to be announced on August 12. The 2014 Iowa State Fair runs from August 7-17 in Des Moines.
Officials with the Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) report they will be accepting application for cover crops until Monday, July 14th. Cover crops are used to reduce soil erosion and capture residual nutrients that protect the soil resources and water quality.
Producers should stop by the Cass SWCD office at 503 W. 7th Street in Atlantic, to make an application. Call 712-243-3180, extension 3, for more information.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The World Food Prize Foundation is announcing the winner of its annual award at a ceremony in Washington featuring Secretary of State John Kerry as the keynote speaker. The prize was founded in 1986 by Norman Borlaug, recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1970 for boosting agricultural production in what has become known as the “Green Revolution.”
The prize honors individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Past laureates have come from more than a dozen countries and the United States.
The World Food Prize Foundation is based in Des Moines. It will host the recipient at the Iowa State Capitol in an award ceremony on Oct. 16 with more than 800 invited guests.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Two makers say sales have been rebounding for a ground beef product that critics have dubbed “pink slime.” The Lincoln Journal Star reports that spokesmen for Cargill and Beef Products Inc. say sales have risen, but Cargill says they fall short of the volume before the controversy erupted in 2012.
BPI has sued ABC, saying the network’s March 2012 coverage damaged BPI by misleading consumers into believing the lean finely textured beef product is unhealthy and unsafe. BPI says the sales drop forced it to close plants in Iowa, Kansas and Texas, leaving open only a Nebraska plant.
Cargill spokesman Mike Martin says his company sells the product to about 400 customers, which is more than before March 2012, but the sales volume remains down about 40 percent.
As summer approaches, the number of farmer’s markets, roadside food stands, and other outdoor markets grows. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reminds Iowans that warmer weather makes it even more important to ensure food is properly transported, cooked and stored. IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says “The variety of fresh foods available at outdoor markets means you should come prepared when shopping. Bring a cooler with ice to transport perishable products home and just as you should when shopping at a grocery store, buy cold foods like meat and poultry last, right before leaving.”
Drive directly home from the market so the food doesn’t sit in a hot car any longer than necessary. Once home, place meat and poultry and fresh non-pasteurized items, like salsas and guacamole, in the refrigerator right away. Freeze poultry and ground meat that won’t be used in one or two days and freeze other meat within four to five days. Whether purchased at a grocery store or roadside stand, it’s always important to wash your hands before and after handling food. In addition, always keep your kitchen, dishes and utensils clean, and always use one plate for raw foods, and another for cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination. For more information on food safety, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/Foodborne.aspx.
Summer is also prime garage sale season. Buyers and sellers should be aware of potential safety issues with children’s toys and cribs. Make sure items are in good working order. Also, check the online database from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.saferproducts.gov) to ensure these items have not been recalled due to safety issues. For example, some cribs with drop sides have been recalled because they can trap and injure children.
Dr. Quinlisk said “Also, bed bugs have been making national headlines for years. Mattresses and sleeper sofas (that have been slept on) are two of the main places these bugs hide out. If buying used beds or mattresses, check them carefully for signs of bed bugs.” Small bloodstains from crushed bed bugs or dark brown spots from their droppings may be evident on mattresses. Because young bed bugs shed their skin several times, the “empty shells” may also be evident.
While bed bugs do not transmit disease, their bites cause large, itchy welts. Although infestations can be treated by pest control companies, it’s best to avoid selling or buying mattresses with signs of bed bugs. For more information, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/eh/healthy_homes.asp.
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today said Iowa is entering prime strawberry picking season and growers across the state are ready to welcome customers. The late spring has slightly delayed the berries this year, but with the recent warm weather growers around the state are reporting a good crop. Northey said “Fresh strawberries are delicious and when they are in season you get the best flavor, prices and nutritional value. Strawberries have one of the shortest harvest seasons, so don’t delay in visiting a farm or shopping for fresh berries at your local farmers market.”
It is good to call or check the farm’s website before going to a “You Pick” farm to make sure strawberries are ready to be picked and that conditions are favorable. To get the “berry” best pick, look for berries with their green caps intact. Strawberries will not continue to ripen after they are picked and are best when eaten within a few days.
To store strawberries put unwashed berries loosely covered with plastic wrap in the coldest part of your refrigerator for no more than 3 days. Do not wash berries until you are ready to eat them. Remove the green cap after you have washed them.
Iowa-grown strawberries are a delicious part of a healthy diet at only 45 calories per serving. Strawberries are low in calories but full of vitamin C, fiber, and magnesium, all of which helps with better digestion, lower blood pressure, and stronger bones.
Check out the harvest of other Iowa products by going to the website: http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/AgDiversification/pdf/FINAL3281IowaFVmagnet.pdf
Are you a woman military veteran interested in a career in farming? Women, Food and Agriculture Network invites you to a fun and informative evening with other like-minded women on Tuesday, June 17th at Easter Seals Iowa Camp Sunnyside (401 NE 66th Ave, Des Moines), or Wednesday, June 18 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum (50 2nd Avenue Bridge), in Cedar Rapids.
These free networking events begin at 6 p.m., and will feature local foods appetizers and drinks, and an introduction to WFAN’s Iowa Female Farmer Veteran Network project. The veterans are welcome to bring their families. You can learn more about the project at this link: http://wfan.org/opportunities-for-veteran-farmers/
The event will also offer a free screening after the social gathering of Terra Firma, a new one-hour documentary featuring three female veterans who are now farming. One of the featured veterans, Sonia Kendrick, is a Cedar Rapids resident and will be present at the June 18 event. WFAN is partnering with the Veterans Memorial Commission of Cedar Rapids and Easter Seals Iowa to offer these events. Funding is provided by a grant from the Newman Family Foundation.
In order to have the right amount of food available, we ask that you pre-register for the events. You can register for the Cedar Rapids event online at https://womenfoodagnet.wufoo.com/forms/cedar-rapids-women-veteran-networking-event/, and for the Des Moines event at https://womenfoodagnet.wufoo.com/forms/des-moines-women-veteran-networking-event/. You may also call WFAN at 515 460 2477 and leave your name. Please call the same number or email email@example.com with any questions.
Iowa is home to 17,835 women vets. The rate of unemployment for women vets is higher than that of men. WFAN was one of 7 organizations in the US to receive funding for veteran support from Newman’s Own Foundation in 2014 to provide career development and other support services to US veterans.
Women, Food and Agriculture Network is a non-profit, educational organization formed in 1997 to provide networking, information and leadership development opportunities to women involved in all aspects of sustainable agriculture. Learn more at www.wfan.org, or by calling 515-460-2477.
Iowa pheasant hunters may have fewer targets when the next season rolls around. Due to the cold, snowy winter and the wet spring, forecast models predict much of Iowa will see the pheasant population stagnate or fall. Todd Bogenschutz, a wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says some parts of the state may see a boost in the bird numbers, while other areas will drop. “The patterns we’re seeing aren’t necessarily uniform across the state,” Bogenschutz says. “The western third of the state really was fairly mild this winter compared to the rest of the state and actually, they didn’t have as much rain in that part of the state during nesting either, compared to the rest of the state.”
The nesting forecast will be updated with the D-N-R’s August roadside survey, which he says is the best gauge of what pheasant hunters can expect to find in the fall. Despite the weather, Bogenschutz says he’s encouraged by passage of the new Farm Bill and actions earlier this week to boost preservation of pheasant habitat with landowners enrolling in the Conservation Reserve Program, or C-R-P. “Monday, the USDA began taking CRP sign-ups under the continuous program,” he says. “We have a new pheasant recovery practice under the continuing CRP. They refer to it as SAFE, State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement.”
With high commodity prices and the growing demand for ethanol, Bogenschutz says many farmers have been converting former grassland bird habitats to farm fields. The D-N-R says hunters shot roughly 158-thousand pheasants in Iowa last year. Back in 2011, about 109-thousand pheasants were harvested in Iowa, the lowest number since the state began keeping track in 1962.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Storms last week brought with them some peril in the form of wind and large hail but they also delivered enough rain to significantly relieve drought conditions in Iowa and Nebraska. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows Iowa’s remaining drought is mostly confined to the northwest and southeast corners of the state. About 40 percent of the state has some drought down from nearly 56 percent a week earlier.
In Nebraska, the drought area has been reduced to 63 percent of the state from nearly 70 percent the week before. Extreme drought was removed from central Nebraska. About 30 percent of the 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico have moderate drought or worse, compared with 31 percent a week earlier.
Officials with the ISU Extension Service say the 7th Annual Western Iowa No-till (WIN) Demonstration Field Day, scheduled for June 17th at the Carstens 1880 Farmstead south of Shelby, will address a wide variety of topics for local producers interested in learning more about the practical application of no-till production practices and management of soil heath and fertility. Registration opens at 8-AM with coffee and rolls available. Local agribusinesses will be on hand to visit with producers in the morning and showcase their services/equipment.
The field day program begins at 9 AM with a weather and market outlook from Bryce Andersen with DTN. At 10 AM, rotating breakout sessions will cover nitrogen rate calculation and the evolution of cover crops in corn production. The breakout sessions will be followed by a lunchtime discussion on understanding soil biology and improving soil health. After lunch, keynote speaker Barry Kusel will share his experiences using cover crops successfully in his row crop farm in Carroll County.
Anyone with an interest in the practical application and impact of no-till production, whether looking for ideas to begin adopting no-till practices or a long-time no-till producer looking to improve production results, is encouraged to attend this field day. Nearly 200 ag producers and ag professionals attended the 2013 event, learning about effective soil stewardship strategies. In addition to the educational sessions at the 2014 WIN Field Day, there will be plenty of time for farmers to visit informational displays, vendor exhibits and network with other producers. 5 hours of CCA Credits have been approved, and will be available at no cost for Certified Crop Advisors needing additional continuing education units this year.
There is no charge to attend this event, but pre-registration is requested to ensure a lunch will be available. A free steak sandwich lunch with sides and dessert will be provided to all attendees, with steaks cooked by the Shelby County Cattlemen. Registration can be completed by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Harrison County Extension Office at 888-644-2105. More information is available at many local ISU Extension and NRCS offices, or can be found online at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass. Walk-In attendees are also welcome on the day of the event, but no lunch will be guaranteed.
The field day is brought to you by NRCS, ISU Extension and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) in Harrison, Pottawattamie, Cass and Shelby Counties, along with many local supporting agribusinesses. 2014 Business Sponsors include Farm Bureau in East & West Pottawattamie, Shelby, Cass & Harrison Counties, Brokaw Supply Company, Sorensen Equipment Co., HTS Ag, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Shelby County State Bank, United Bank of Iowa and Bartlett Grain Co.