AMES, Iowa (AP) — An agronomy professor at Iowa State University is developing a way to determine how much soil is lost from farm fields from sudden heavy rain. Downpours can create what is called ephemeral gullies — temporary washouts that carry valuable topsoil from fields. Agronomy professor Richard Cruse is leading a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Integrated Water Quality Program project to study the issue and develop better ways to control such erosion.
Global studies show that the world’s cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming, reducing cropland’s fertility. Such erosion also increases the amount of phosphorous and nitrate carried into streams, lakes, and rivers. Cruse says the land’s ability to retain water also decreases as more sediment is washed down a river leading to even more erosion.
Cass County Conservation Director Micah Lee provided the County Board of Supervisor’s with a quarterly update on the department’s activities during his report Wednesday morning. Lee said with the Winter months comes a decrease in the amount of work they can accomplish, but prior to the season setting in, Cold Springs State Park was winterized and closed for the season. The preparation included tree trimming along the roadways, and the off-season assembly of new picnic tables.
He said everything that needs to be replaced at Cold Springs should be completed by the time the park opens in the Spring. A new 40-foot driveway will also be installed and completed after loads of dirt is received. At the Nodaway Wildlife Area, trees were removed and parking lots posts were replaced, after someone yanked them out to gain vehicle access.
General clean-up and maintenance were conducted on the T-Bone Trail and at the Pellet Memorial Woods, where a split-rail fence was replaced. Lee said the State Forester is looking into getting approval for the removal of some invasive tree species. At the West Nodaway Wildlife Area, native grasses and brome grasses were planted over a 15-acre area, which should help to bring pheasants and other wild life to the area.
They also planted 90 trees in the Outdoor Education Classroom area over the past Summer and wrapped cages around them to prevent damage from deer rubbing against the trees. Work is also nearly complete on the pit toilets. Other clean-up and maintenance work was conducted on the Hitchcock Recreation Area. Lee said Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning saw around 700 people during the last quarter through 35 programs held in the County.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers using irrigation for crops are getting a survey in the mail from the U.S. Department of Agriculture about their water use and irrigation practices. The USDA says the survey will provide the only comprehensive information on irrigation activities and water use by Iowa producers. The agency says in a statement released Tuesday the information gathered will help in the development of improved technology, better equipment and more efficient water use practices.
The survey also will include an additional focus on nursery and horticultural operations. Surveys were mailed early this month to 625 producers who indicated they used irrigation in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Responses are due back by Feb. 10.
A reminder for cattle producers: The West Central Iowa Beef Cattle Forum will be held Wednesday, Jan. 22nd, at the American Legion in Arcadia. Chris Clark, beef program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said the conference agenda will include a several timely topics and will include information for feedlot, stocker, and cow/calf producers.
Aaron Saeugling, ISU Extension and Outreach Agronomist will provide information on the use of cover crops as alternative forage sources and will focus on practical tips and expectations for cover crop use in west central Iowa. Jan Shearer from the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine will speak about cow/calf and feedlot lameness issues and Grant Dewell from the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine will give a presentation about the veterinary feed directive and judicious use of antibiotics.
Ken Hessenius, Iowa DNR Supervisor Field Office #3 will present on the Iowa DNR/EPA work plan and how that may impact cattle producers over the next few years. Shane Ellis, ISU Extension and Outreach Farm Management Specialist do a beef market update/outlook presentation. Matt Deppe, ICA CEO and Justine Stevenson, ICA Director of Government Relations will also be present to provide updates on Iowa Cattlemen’s Association activities.
The program at the American Legion in Arcadia begins at 9:00 a.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided and will be served at approximately 12:15 p.m. There is no cost for this event, but registrations are necessary to properly plan for meals. Please make reservations by Jan. 17 by calling either the ICA office at 515-296-2266, or the Iowa State University Armstrong Research Farm in Lewis, 712-769-2600. For more information about the event please contact Merle Witt at the ICA office or Chris Clark at the ISU Armstrong Research Farm.
Keeping young cows in the herd is challenging for today’s cattle producers, but it’s a necessary part of planning for profitability. That’s why Iowa Beef Center is partnering with Iowa Cattlemen’s Association to offer “Heifer Development 2: Maintaining Your Investment” in several Iowa locations over the next several weeks.
The series will focus specifically on management practices to keep young cows in the herd to improve long term profitability, and is a follow-up to the 2012 series on yearling heifers “Heifer Development- Rebuilding our Future.” The 2014 sessions will pick up where the first series left off, with a focus on nutrition, health, calving, and reproductive management of bred heifers through their second breeding season.
All sessions include a meal for those preregistered at least two days prior to the event. The $20 fee is payable at the door. Walk-in registration is $25 per person and a meal is not guaranteed. Heifer Development 2: Maintaining Your Investment programs will be held on the following dates and times at these area locations.
Iowa is the nation’s number-one pork producer so it’s only logical that the country’s biggest pork trade show is held here, too. The Iowa Pork Congress is scheduled for the middle of next week in Des Moines. Ron Birkenholz, spokesman for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says the event will draw large crowds over its two-day run. “We generally attract about 5,000 people, producers, allied business representatives, students, educators and not just from Iowa either, around the Midwest,” Birkenholz says.
There will be a variety of seminars focusing on the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, the economic outlook for the pork industry, the Affordable Care Act and, of course, plenty of pork-related products. “We like to call it the largest winter swine trade show in the country,” he says. “We’ll pack Hy-Vee Hall with about 300 exhibitors and just about anything a pork producer or anyone involved in the pork industry would ever need.” The Iowa Pork Congress runs January 22nd and 23rd at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
Learn more at: www.iowaporkcongress.org
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he will host a public hearing on a proposal that would reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. Branstad announced Friday the hearing will be in Des Moines on Jan. 23. He says he wants to give citizens an opportunity to testify about a recent proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the amount of ethanol that must be blended with gasoline in 2014.
Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of ethanol, a fuel additive primarily made from corn that produces lower carbon emissions than gasoline. The EPA proposal drew outcry by political leaders from both parties who claimed such a move would devastate Iowa’s economy.
Branstad says he asked White House officials to hold such a hearing and they declined.
Deborah L. Petersen, Trustee in the bankruptcy case for G & R Feed and Grain Co., Inc., in Portsmouth, reports that since the business filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on January 1st, 2013, she has taken action to collect all funds on deposit, collect all accounts receivable, sell all assets and collect grain proceeds. Petersen says for the most part, that has been completed, but she is still seeking recovery of several post-petition transfers and will be analyzing several possible preferential transfers.
Petersen has entered into a settlement agreement with Cargill that was also approved by the Court. To make a payment now to creditors, she has filed an Interim Report with the Court. The report proposes a payout of 60% of all allowed claims as reported to the Court or compromised. Absent objections or other delays, Petersen anticipates approval of the Report in mid February.
Once approved by the Court, checks could be mailed by late February, 2014 for the initial distribution. After that process, there will be tax returns and reports to file, fee applications to be approved and paid and other detail work to conclude the case before a final distribution will be made. The timing and amount of any further distribution is unknown at this time.
There will be several fee applications for professionals to be made, tax returns to file and other reports to made before the case will be concluded. Petersen has a recorded message that will be updated regularly. You can hear this message at 712-328-8808, option 8. If you have legal questions, Petersen advises that you should contact an attorney of your choice.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Slightly more water than normal is expected to flow into the Missouri River this spring, but the dams along the river should have room for it. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says several of the reservoirs remain below normal because they are still recovering from the 2012 drought. So the Corps’ Jody Farhat says the reservoirs should be able to safely handle the 26.1 million acre feet of runoff expected this year. That forecast is slightly above normal runoff of 25.2 million acre feet.
The Corps adjusts the amount of water released from dams along the river in response to conditions. Last year, releases along the water were limited because the Corps was conserving water as the region recovered from drought. That affected barge traffic on the river.