The Cass County Conservation Board is holding a “Dutch Oven Cooking Workshop”, July 16th The free public program will be held at the Campground Shelter at Cold Springs Park in Lewis, from 9-a.m. until Noon.
During the workshop, you’ll learn how to make a breakfast, lunch entrée, and dessert in a dutch oven. You’re asked to bring your own place setting for samples. A Free will donation for supplies will be accepted. You DO NOT have to be a registered camper to attend the program.
ISU Extension and Outreach in Cass County will host and event for farmers and retailers at Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm. Farmers and retailers are encouraged to attend the second annual Weeds Week program on July 19th at the Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm near Lewis. The one-day, educational program, hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will focus on herbicide resistance and weed management.
Aaron Saeugling, field agronomist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, says “Sessions have been developed to provide tools that help farmers and agribusinesses work together to develop long-term weed management plans that identify sites of action, promote timely application of herbicides and avoid the expenses of dealing with herbicide resistance.”
Each session will include presentations, hands-on weed management planning, small group discussion and plot tours presented by extension field agronomists. Attendees will learn how to select herbicides from the herbicide effectiveness table, identify which herbicides to apply and develop their four-year weed management plans for their operation or for customers.
The Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm is located at 53020 Hitchcock Avenue. Check-in will begin at 9:30 a.m. The program will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m., with lunch served at noon. The pre-registration deadline for the Lewis location is July 14 at midnight. Attendees are asked to pre-register to assist with facility and meal planning. The $25 registration fee includes lunch, refreshments, and course materials and publications.
A North Carolina company announced this morning it will build a large pork processing plant in north-central Iowa’s Wright County. Prestage Foods is heading to Wright County for its new, state of the art pork processing facility. Wright County Economic Development Director Bryce Davis says the county is excited to work with the company in constructing the $240 million pork processing plant, saying it will be a $43 million boost to the payroll of Wright County, and will have economic benefits to the surrounding counties as well.
Davis says agriculture is important to Wright County and they welcome the more than 900 new jobs to the area. Prestage has been looking at sites ever since the City Council in Mason City failed to approve a development agreement with the company.
Construction is scheduled to begin this fall, pending the finalization of county and state approvals, with first-shift operations starting in the middle of 2018. Prestage hopes to slaughter up to 10-thousand animals per day once the plant is fully operational.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources turned 30 on July 1st, and one of the issues that has generated a lot of controversy has been large-scale animal confinement operations. D-N-R director Chuck Gipp says one of the things that’s brought the issue to the forefront is the change in the number of people involved in raising livestock.
“Part of it is the demographics that are living out in the countryside. Used to be as a kid when I was growing up, that the vast majority of people living out in the country in the unincorporated areas were people involved in agriculture. Today that is not the case,” according to Gipp.
He says people who are not involved in agriculture are more likely to raise concerns about farm smells, the operation of grain dryers and other things that come with an ag operation. There’s also been a change in how animals are raised, as he says in the 1990s there were mostly open feed lots where animals were raised and the manure was out on the ground. “Most of that was runoff, because there was no machinery there was not equipment and there were no facilities to capture all of the manure, including the liquid portion of it,” Gipp says. “And rain was your friend. It took that off, so it was runoff.”
He says the animal confinement operations led to more animals being raised, but also more control on the waste the animals produced. “In 1990 there were 14-point-one million hogs grown in the state and 2015 there’s 20 million hogs. Prior to confinement operations becoming the norm and way to do that, those 14-point-one million pigs were generating waste, a lot of which wasn’t captured and became runoff into the rivers and streams,” Gipp says. “Other than the odor issue there — other than the siting decisions made by some — actually the way we raise livestock today is much more environmentally friendly than it ever has been.”
Gipp says the D-N-R has to manage the issue without taking sides. “I think the biggest challenge is always going to be to find that middle ground to do what you need to do, regardless of who controls the legislature or anything like that, the department has a job and a responsibility to the people of Iowa to provide opportunities for the long run,” Gipp says.
Gipp says if everyone has to take a role in making things work in protecting the state’s natural resources. “We have to understand no matter who we are what we do. If the combined effort of somebody if they are rich or poor, rural or urban, or big and small. If they all work together to determine what happens on their particular piece of property, the combined effort of everybody doing a little bit, no matter what their condition is, is going to be immense. Rather than waiting for the other guy to be the solution — let’s just determine what we can do,” Gipp says.
He says getting everyone on board is not always easy. “Having that type of thinking process, how all of us individually can impact our surroundings, I think our the biggest challenge that we face,” Gipp says, “not only in the department, but across government in general.”
The D-N-R was created by combining four agencies in 1986. Gipp has led the department for the last five years.
The time most Iowans are spending outside has increased dramatically as we moved into summer. Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk says with so many activities going on, it can be easy to remember to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Doctor Quinlisk says make it easy to remember the bug spray by keeping it along with the other items you take outside. It’s something she does for one of her favorite back yard activities.
“I just put my can of insect repellent right next to my gardening gloves, to make sure that when I go out to start gardening that I don’t forget,” Quinlisk explains. “Because it is easy to forget, but it is important because West Nile is around that they use insect repellent.” West Nile is spread by mosquito bites and in the most serious cases can lead to death.
Quinlisk says they have not had any cases of West Nile virus confirmed yet, but she says it is a little early. She says it first starts showing up in mosquitoes that are being monitored and in horses. Quinlisk says you may not have been bothered by mosquitoes yet while out in the yard, but she says it just takes a little bit of water to get them to become active and seeking out someone to bite.
“These mosquitoes don’t fly a long ways, so one of the best ways of protecting yourself from mosquito bites and the diseases they may carry is to make sure that they are not breeding anywhere in your yard. So that means getting rid of all the little puddles that may be in your yard,” Quinlisk explains. “And that may be things as simple as your children’s toys that our left out in the back yard, or the dog’s dish. In my case I have bird baths.”
Doctor Quinlisk says you can make sure mosquitoes are not breeding in the bird bath by periodically changing the water. You can find a lot of different products with insect repellents in them on the store shelf. Quinlisk has this advice to make a good choice. She says there are only three repellents that have been shown to work well, and the Department of Public Health recommends the one called DEET. Quinlisk says the DEET has the added advantage of being able to repel ticks, so you get a two-for-one benefit when you spray it on. DEET can also be used on infants starting at three months of age. You should carefully read the label and any restrictions.
“There’s one called oil of lemon eucalyptus — which sounds very natural — but it cannot be used in children less than three years of age. So that would not be the one to buy if you’ve got young children,” Quinlisk explains. She suggests you check with your doctor if you have questions about the best products for children.
You might see a sign posted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at your favorite state park beach this summer. Testing coordinator Mary Skopec says they will post of sign if their weekly tests show issues with blue-green algae and bacteria. “And if it is a bacterial impairment, normally what I have been telling people is very young children so babies, small toddlers, people with compromised immune systems — people who are on chemotherapy drugs for example — should really avoid being in that water,” Skopec says.
Even if you are healthy, you should take some precautions if the beach is posted for a high level of bacteria. She says anyone with an open cut should avoid the water and everyone should avoid swallowing the water. The recommendation involving algae is stronger. “When that advisory is due to the blue-green toxin, really people should stay out of that water because even contact with it for a healthy person can cause a pretty nasty skin rash,” Skopec says. “We can’t tell for sure always if everyone is going to get sick. The levels of toxin vary quite rapidly from day-to-day.”
She says the blue-green algae can also cause pets to get sick. Skopec says with the toxin advisory for the algae they recommend that people stay out of the water until it is clear and the advisory goes away. You can go online to see the results of the weekly testing. Go to www.iowadnr.gov/beaches to find the advisories. You can also call the hotline at: 515-725-3434.
Skopec says the levels of bacteria can change quickly if there is rain. The blue-green algae tend to flourish when it is sunny and hot.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowans are being warned to watch out for those plants on the side of the road with lacy yellow flowers. Des Moines television station KCCI reports that large patches of wild parsnip are growing now across the state. Also known as poison parsnip, the plant looks like a dill plant or Queen Anne’s lace. It is yellow and grows about four feet tall.
The plant is native to Eurasia and related to the carrot family. It has a sap that contains chemicals that can cause rashes, blisters, burning and itching when exposed to sunlight. The rash can hurt for weeks and scars may remain for many years.
Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources say more than 700 vessels containing more than 2,200 boaters were contacted as part of Operation Dry Water during the weekend of June 25th-26th. The effort to focus on enforcement of Iowa’s boating while intoxicated law is intended to draw public attention to the hazards of boating under the influence going into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, traditionally one of the busiest times for vessels on Iowa waters.
In all, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources along with partner agencies issued 227 citations or warnings during the Operation Dry Water campaign. While most of the violations and warnings involved having the proper safety equipment on-board, a total of 10 boating while intoxicated arrests were made during the effort.
The waters targeted for this year’s effort were Coralville Reservoir, the Mississippi River, Brushy Creek Lake, Lake Manawa, Okoboji, Saylorville Reservoir and the Missouri River. The DNR received assistance in the effort from the Illinois, Wisconsin, and Nebraska DNR, Iowa State Patrol, local sheriffs and police departments and county conservation boards.
The Operation Dry Water effort resulted in 381 boaters being contact and 161 citations or warning being issued a year ago. Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa DNR, said Operation Dry Water is an important mission to heighten boating safety awareness prior to the busy Fourth of July holiday. “One-third of all boating fatalities nationally involved alcohol and many of those victims were innocent bystanders,” Stocker said.
Iowa fares even worse than the national average with approximately half of the boating-related fatalities involving alcohol. “The effects of alcohol can be intensified when combined with wind and wave action and an extended time spent in the sun. Operators may not think they are under the influence, but their judgment, reaction time, balance and vision indicate that they are,” Stocker said.
There are slightly less than 220,000 registered boats in Iowa.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged Iowa hay and straw producers to register or update their listing on the Iowa Hay and Straw Directory. The directory lists Iowa producers with hay and straw for sale, as well as organizations and businesses associated with promoting and marketing quality hay and straw.
Northey says “The directory has been a great tool for both buyers and sellers and we hope farmers will take the time to review and update their information so that it remains a valuable resource. This directory can serve as a critical link for those producing hay and those looking to buy, so we encourage Iowans to take advantage of this free directory.”
The listing is available to interested buyers throughout the nation, however only sellers from within Iowa can be included on the list. Names are gathered throughout the year with added emphasis now that hay harvest has started. Sections within the Hay and Straw Directory include “Forage for Sale,” “Forage Auctions,” “Hay Associations,” “Forage Dealers,” “Hay Grinders” and “Custom Balers.”
Farmers interested in listing should visit the Department’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov. An application form can be found by going to the “Bureaus” link and then selecting “Agricultural Diversification and Market Development.” Then click on “Hay & Straw Directory” on the right side of the page under “Directories.”
For those without internet access, please call the Hay/Straw Hotline at 800-383-5079. The Department will fax or send a printed copy of the application to be filled out. The Department is also supporting the Iowa Crop Improvement Association’s “Iowa Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage and Mulch Certification Program.” Through this program Iowa forage and mulch producers can take advantage of many emerging market opportunities for “Certified Weed Free” products. For more specific information on this program producers should contact the Iowa Crop Improvement Association at 515-294-6921. More information can also be found by visiting http://www.iowacrop.org/Forage_Mulch.htm.