Officials with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) say Greenfield native Jared Baier will be spending his summer outdoors, helping to preserve and restore Iowa’s natural beauty through a unique internship program. The INHF selected Baier and nine other students from Iowa colleges as statewide land stewardship interns for the summer of 2014. Baier is a graduate of Nodaway Valley High School. He is majoring in forestry at Iowa State University and expects to graduate in December 2014.
INHF looks for college students who possess a passion for conservation and a desire to learn hands-on techniques for preserving Iowa’s natural areas. Baier said “This is a great hands on experience that will help further my career in the future.” INHF chooses its land stewardship interns based on their dedication to conservation and their devotion to restoring the state’s natural places.
Erin Van Waus, INHF land stewardship director, said “The interns help INHF achieve its goal of restoring rare and special native habitats throughout Iowa, and the enthusiasm and expertise each intern brings to the position is priceless.” The internship program allows INHF to increase its capacity to do high-quality restoration while offering the students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
Baier’s internship is sponsored by the estate of Richard “Sandy” Rhodes II, an INHF member from eastern Iowa known as a prairie restoration enthusiast. INHF is a nonprofit, conservation group that works with private landowners and other partners to protect Iowa’s land, water and wildlife. Since its founding in 1979, INHF has helped protect more than 130,000 acres of Iowa’s wild places.
MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resource says storm damage will delay the reopening of a western Iowa recreation area. The DNR announced Thursday that the Wilson Island State Recreation Area won’t reopen until mid-summer because of severe storms that hit the northwest Pottawattamie County park Tuesday. The storm included baseball-sized hail, high winds and 4 inches of rain.
Damage included 11 broken windows in the park office, which also had damage to its siding and roof. About 30 cottonwood trees also were uprooted. The park has been closed since flooding in 2011 caused extensive damage.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that Farmers Market Nutrition Program applications are now available for eligible WIC recipients and low-income older Iowans. The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs provide eligible Iowans with checks that can be redeemed for fresh, locally grown produce at authorized farmers markets and farm stands from June 1 through October 31st, 2014.
Northey says “Iowa has great fresh fruits and vegetables that can be found at farmers markets throughout the state and these programs are designed to give WIC participants and low-income seniors better access to these fresh and nutritious foods.” The Farmers Market Nutrition Programs are administered through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department on Aging.
The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides eligible WIC recipients with nine checks valued at $3 each. The program is implementing two changes for the 2014 season. This year checks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible individuals may pick up checks at arranged appointments or at regularly scheduled clinic appointments. A second change this year is that checks will be distributed on a statewide basis. Previously, checks were only distributed in 68 of Iowa’s 99 counties, but this year the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa Department of Public Health have broadened the distribution to include the entire state.
The state’s twenty local WIC agencies have begun to distribute checks and nutritional education information. WIC recipients interested in obtaining the benefits are encouraged to contact their local WIC clinic or visit www.idph.state.ia.us/wic/ for more information.
The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides eligible seniors with ten checks for $3 each. Applicants throughout the state are offered the checks on a first-come first-served basis and the checks are available through Area Agency on Aging offices. A combination of state and federal funds will be used to make benefits available to more than 20,000 eligible seniors this year.
Eligible seniors must be sixty years of age or older with a household income less than $21,590 if single or $29,101 for a married couple. Iowa seniors will be asked to complete a one page application verifying their eligibility, by providing their birth dates and the last four digits of their social security numbers.
The Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) have begun to distribute checks and nutritional education information. To find an Area Agency on Aging near you, contact the Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging (i4a) toll free at 866-468-7887 or at www.i4a.org.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Gnats appear to be especially plentiful this spring in Iowa, annoying residents and potentially endangering some animals. Ken Holscher, an Iowa State University entomologist, tells the Iowa City Press-Citizen that gnats are usually common in spring along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, but they appear to be more plentiful in central parts of Iowa.
That seems clear to Sara Swanson, who farms near the southeast Iowa city of Riverside. Swanson says last week, gnats killed four turkeys she was raising. The tiny bugs plugged the birds’ nostrils and suffocated them.
Holscher says there is little people can do to ward off gnats, which are especially plentiful on sunny, calm days. He notes, though, that they should largely disappear within a couple weeks. Unfortunately, they’ll be replaced by mosquitoes.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (ISUEO) and the Iowa Beef Center (IBC) are preparing for the ISU Feedlot School to be held this summer at the Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis,. The educational series will include information about numerous aspects of feedlot management including record keeping, risk management, animal health, nutrition, environmental stewardship, and animal handling.
Chris Clark, ISUEO beef field specialist, says “The curriculum should be educational for anyone involved in the day to day management of a feedlot.” The program will feature several speakers from Iowa State University including Lee Schulz, ISU Livestock Economist; Shane Ellis, Farm Management Field Specialist; Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center Director; and Jan Shearer, Professor of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine.
Other highlights will include a low-stress cattle handling demonstration, BQA presentation and certification, a field trip to Ames to visit the College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Animal Science Department, and more. The series kicks off on Thursday, June 12 at the Wallace Foundation Learning Center/Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis, with a presentation on record keeping with the updated version of IBC’s Feedlot Monitoring Program.
Clark says they “Plan to have computers for participants to use so they can actually practice with the program and get a feel for setting things up and inputting data.” Garland Dahlke from the IBC will then help participants input a group of research cattle that will be fed at the farm, allowing for the animals to be tracked through the entire feeding period.
The June 12 date will also feature a presentation on risk management strategies from ISU Livestock Economist Lee Schulz. ” Future topics include animal health management, starting cattle on feed, environmental stewardship including an update on the EPA/DNR work plan, animal handling, feedlot audits, and much more.
The six-part series meets twice in June, and then once a month July through October. The registration fee is $150 for the entire series. For more information or to register please contact Chris Clark firstname.lastname@example.org or Leann Plowman-Tibken email@example.com at (712) 769-2600.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa company has agreed to pay $6.8 million in fines for crimes that include selling the tainted eggs that caused a nationwide salmonella outbreak in 2010. A plea agreement filed Monday by federal prosecutors calls for Quality Egg to plead guilty Tuesday to charges of bribery, selling misbranded eggs and introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.
The company is admitting that, between 2006 and 2010, it intentionally sold eggs to customers in Arizona, California and elsewhere with false labels that disguised how old they were. The company says its employees twice bribed a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector in 2010 to approve eggs that didn’t meet federal quality standards.
Company owners Austin and Peter DeCoster are expected to plead guilty Tuesday to introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.
A small group of young adults is hard at work in a few of Iowa’s state parks again this summer. The Americorps trails crew, comprised of 11 current undergraduates or recent college graduates, is working with Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff on several projects. Whitney Davis, Trails Program Coordinator for the DNR, says the Americorps employees are paid a “modest living stipend” for some very difficult and dirty – but ultimately rewarding – work.
“We pride ourselves on using a lot of hand tools and manual labor to accomplish things that might be done with a machine if we brought in a contractor,” Davis says. “We do have some machines of our own that we use…but we can finesse things a lot better by hand.” The crew has moved into Springbrook State Park near Guthrie Center as they work to stabilize a trail surrounding a lake and bring back a pathway from the trail, up a hill, to a park.
“There are railroad tie stairs that go up to it, but they haven’t been used for quite some time and they’re in disrepair,” Davis says. “The trail crew is refurbishing that staircase. It’s pretty long and takes you up to a nice picnic area.” Other projects on the trail crew’s agenda this summer include improvements to equestrian trails within Lake of Three Fires State Park in Bedford and work in Bellevue State Park along the Mississippi River.
Davis says the Bellevue project involves construction of hiking trails. The workers are also scheduled to attend the 5th annual Iowa Trail Summit in Cedar Falls that features more than 20 panelists speaking about the future of Iowa’s trails. Last year, according to Davis, the trail crew’s most significant projects took place at Brushy Creek State Park, Bellevue State Park, and Stone State Park.
SIBLEY, Iowa (AP) – A northwest Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the theft of farm and construction equipment. Michael Block, of Sibley, entered his written plea Thursday in Osceola County District Court. He faces seven counts of first-degree theft, 10 counts of second-degree theft and one count each of third- and fourth-degree theft.
The Sioux City Journal reports Block is accused of stealing farm and construction equipment that was reported missing in four Iowa counties. The equipment is valued at more than $200,000. Block turned himself in to authorities in April, after Osceola County sheriff’s deputies served warrants on his property and found items that had been reported stolen.