Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons 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 31, 2016.
Northey said “Iowa-grown fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at farmers markets throughout the state. The Famers Market Nutrition 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. For more information contact Stephanie Groom, Program Administrator, at 515-725-1179 or at Stephanie.Groom@iowaagriculture.gov.
WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program
The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides eligible WIC recipients with nine checks valued at $3 each. WIC FMNP checks will be distributed statewide on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible individuals may pick up checks at arranged appointments or at regularly scheduled clinic appointments.
A combination of state and federal funds will be used to make benefits available to more than 24,000 eligible WIC recipients this year. Eligible individuals include children ages 1 through 4, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women that participate in Iowa’s WIC Program.
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 https://idph.iowa.gov/wic/families for more information.
Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides eligible seniors with ten checks for $3 each. In addition to produce, locally produced honey can also be purchased with Senior FMNP checks. 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 19,000 eligible seniors this year.
Eligible seniors must be sixty years of age or older with a household income less than $21,978 if single or $29,637 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.
Ames, Iowa –The Iowa 4-H Foundation has announced the recipients of over 70 Iowa 4-H college scholarships valued at over $70,000. Recipients accepted their awards on Sunday, June 5 at the Foundation’s Scholarship Reception held in the Scheman Building at Iowa State University. Over 500 applications were submitted. Award recipients hail from 33 counties across the state of Iowa with a wide variety of 4-H experiences.
Here’s a list of local 4-H Foundation Scholarship Honorees, by county:
Scholarship applications were evaluated based on the applicant’s 4-H participation, academic accomplishments, goals and future plans, financial need as well as other criteria established by the Iowa 4-H Foundation and the scholarship donors.
Iowa corn growers could face higher input costs if a federal agency moves forward with efforts to strictly limit the use of a popular pesticide. An E-P-A report on Atrazine shows the agency has concerns with the chemical’s impact on birds, mammals and fish. Scott Merritt, a spokesman for the agriculture industry’s Triazine Network, says growers know to follow the guidelines on atrazine carefully.
“We think the label is sufficient the way it is. You can’t use it around water,” Merritt says. “There are setbacks in the application of it, have been for a decade, and we think those are very reasonable.” The E-P-A suggests farmers should only be allowed to use eight ounces of the chemical per acre, when they typically will use two pounds for that much ground. Merritt says the proposed change could be a financial detriment to Iowa growers.
“It could increase by having to change products or limitations on his application or just his ability to grow a crop and not compete with weeds,” Merritt says. “We’re seeing numbers almost up to $60 an acre would be the added cost to the farmer.” Environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, have spent years urging the EPA to ban the use of Atrazine. The public comment period is open until August 5th.
A forum next week will focus on the intersection between faith, climate change and agriculture. Reverend Susan Guy, executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, says the panelists will talk about how climate change is altering the face of farming, why the issue is important to them and how their faith calls them to respond. “We know that there are a lot of people in rural communities who are very dependent on agriculture to make a living,” Reverend Guy says. “We know that extreme weather events are really having an impact on them. We feel this is part of our mission to reach out to those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”
Members of the panel include Fred Kirschenmann, a farmer and former director of the Leopold Center at Iowa State University and Chris Anderson, assistant director of the I-S-U’s Climate Science Program. “Farmers are doing a lot of great things and they’re aware of the impacts of climate change in terms of their planting seasons and extreme weather events,” Guy says. “We want to normalize the conversation about climate change and agriculture and talk about how farmers and rural communities are adapting and mitigating and helping to find solutions.”
Those solutions include using more renewable fuels and working to make farming operations more energy efficient, in addition to locating wind turbines on their properties to help offset costs. Still, Guy says, climate change continues to present significant challenges to growers. “We’re having extreme weather events and a lot of flooding, so it’s keeping farmers out of their fields or it’s destroying crops that are already in the ground,” Guy says. “We’ve had seasons where we’ve had both flooding and drought in the same year, so we’re going from lots and lots of water to no water which is also having a negative impact on crops.”
The forum is open to anyone and will start at 6:30 PM Wednesday (June 15) at the Christy 4-H Hall in Nevada. Guy says Iowa Interfaith Power & Light is a non-profit group dedicated to inspiring and equipping people of faith to become leaders finding solutions to climate change.
Despite the wet spring across much of the Midwest, there’s still the potential for drought. Doug Kluck, a climatologist with NOAA in Kansas City, says most of the Missouri River Basin is far from drought, though some potential dry spots are starting to emerge in the upper basin. Kluck says western Iowa shouldn’t have anything to worry about, at least not yet.
“It’s not surprising this time of year, droughts can happen really fast,” Kluck says. “Sometimes, they call them flash droughts, if it gets really hot and winds pick up. Those are usually agriculturally-based impacts.” Kluck says the El Nino effect on the weather has passed now with a La Nina pattern likely, meaning, it will be hotter and wetter than normal over much of the region in the months to come.
“As far as predictions, right now we’re slipping into what we call a Neutral Tropical Pacific with La Nina likely developing a little later this summer,” Kluck says. “Really, the impacts from that La Nina tend not to be felt until late fall.” Barges should be running all summer on the Missouri, according to U-S Army Corps of Engineers hydraulic engineer Joel Knofcynski. He says the upper Missouri River reservoirs -do- have enough capacity to handle the heavy rainfall this spring and the current heavy snow melt.
“The service level for the remainder of the navigation season and the navigation season length are based on the July 1st system storage check,” Knofcynski says. “Under all three simulations, flow support for navigaton would be full service and a full eight-month navigation season would be provided.” Water levels are high on the upper Missouri River reservoirs, but enough capacity remains to reduce flooding while maintaining barge traffic. He notes, there could be some minor-to-moderate flooding along the Missouri River, but nothing that poses a serious threat to property.
The number of quail taken by hunters in 2015 increased by 165 percent to 28-thousand-400. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz says quail have seen the benefit of better weather just like other game birds.”Quail numbers have been bouncing back up just like pheasants. Of course, our quail are mostly in the southern third of Iowa along the Missouri border there,” Bogenschutz says,” they just had some really good winters, that’s kind of a key for them. We don’t see a lot of quail if we have a bad winter.” Bogenschutz says there are a lot of signs that the quail population is going to get even better.
He says he’s heard from a lot of people who have heard quail calling everywhere which he says is a good sign for the spring nesting. “Our quail counts last year on the roadside were some of the best we’ve seen in 20 years, so I think the quail counts this year could be the best we’ve seen in 30 years,” Bogenschutz says. He says they saw more hunters take to the field this year for quail.
Bogenschutz says the number of quail hunters had dropped off as the bird numbers dropped and they should come back as the bird numbers increase. Quail are like other games birds and have trouble when there are heavy snows followed by wet springs. “The fluctuations we see from one year to the next are almost always by weather. Mother Nature really frowned on us for about five years there, but now it seems like she’s decided to smile on us, so that’s a good thing,” Bogenschutz says. He says they will know more about the quail population when they do their annual survey in August.
More than a year after the avian influenza outbreak in Iowa, poultry producers have rebuilt their flocks, but they’re still feeling the lingering economic impact. Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says there were no cases of bird flu in the state this spring, and with the warmer weather now, it should not reappear. “We didn’t have any high-path avian influenza in the Midwest or the country this year,” Northey says. “We had that one outbreak in Indiana in January. That got settled very quickly. They say they learned a lot by what the process was a year ago. They did a great job of shutting that down and we had no more.”
Despite that, Northey says there are some longer-term market impacts from the bird flu outbreak. Northey says, “There were some customers of eggs that were buying eggs before high-path avian influenza and once eggs got very expensive or they had trouble getting eggs, they took eggs out of the recipe for the consumer products they were producing and since, have not put eggs back in.” As a result, he says poultry operations in Iowa and elsewhere are dealing with egg prices that are down significantly.
“We’re seeing some of the lowest prices for eggs that we’ve ever seen because we have production back but we don’t have demand back,” Northey says. “The egg producers are struggling right now with very low prices.” Northey says the break-even level for many Iowa egg producers is about 50-cents a dozen, but they’re getting about half that. Iowa had 75 confirmed bird flu sites in 18 counties last year and some 32-million birds had to be destroyed. It’s estimated the avian flu outbreak cost the state one-point-two BILLION dollars.
Summer officially starts June 21st, and with it comes the need for lawn care. Officials with the Guthrie County Extension Service, say when mowing your lawn, mow at a height of 3-3 ½ inches during summer months and 2 ½-3 inches in the spring and fall.
There are two options when deciding to water your lawn. You can do nothing and allow the grass to go dormant or you can water during dry weather to maintain a green, actively growing lawn. If you decide to water, 5 am to 9 am is the best time to water so it soaks deeply into the soil.
To control white grubs, there are 3 approaches. You can apply a preventive insecticide to the lawn annually, apply a curative insecticide only when damage symptoms appear, or do nothing and repair your damaged lawn when grub damage occurs. Mid-June to late July is the best time to apply preventive insecticide.