CRP Native Grass Field Day Set - September 13 Field Day Will Focus on Establishing Native Grasses PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 25 August 2011 09:54

Many of the bids in the 41st Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup included putting native grasses or native pollinator habitat on a portion of the CRP acres. To help landowners learn more about getting good establishment of the native grasses, a field day has been set for Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6:00 p.m. at the Iowa State University (ISU) Southeast Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm near Crawfordsville.

Native grasses are slower to establish than many of the cool season forages farmers normally use for haying and grazing. The seed is also fluffier and may require some different seeding techniques. With proper planning, seeding, and weed control, excellent stands can be established in the first year.

Field day topics will include species selection, seeding mixes, seeding methods, weed control and maximizing wildlife benefits. Special focus will be on establishing native grasses on existing CRP where presently there is brome grass cover. Participants will also have the chance to compare native grass stands that were done as a dormant seeding in the late fall, an early spring frost seeding, and a late spring seeding.

To get to the SE Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm, go 1¾ miles south of Crawfordsville on Hwy 218, then 2 miles east on G-62, then ¾ mile north on the Louisa – Washington Rd. Watch for signs.

The field day is sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). For more information, call 319-337-2145.


News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Iowa Farm Bureau News   
Friday, 19 August 2011 12:01

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Aug. 19, 2011 – Media is invited to attend the 2011 Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Summer Policy Conference Aug. 30-31 at the Farm Bureau office in West Des Moines. The conference kicks off at 10:00 a.m. on Aug. 30.

Voting delegates from each 100 county Farm Bureaus will gather to discuss and debate topics ranging from the Food Security Act of 2012 and flood control to renewable energy and fiscal responsibility for state and federal government.

Leaders of all 100 county Farm Bureaus have gathered the opinions of their members on issues impacting agriculture and rural Iowa over the past several months.  The Summer Policy Conference aggregates those ideas to form statewide policy for the 2012 legislative session.

Lunch will be provided for attending media both days.  Please RSVP to Laurie Johns (515-225-5414) for lunch by Aug. 24.


New Publication Helps Farmers Save Energy in the Shop PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 18 August 2011 11:52

AMES, Iowa – Constructing or upgrading a farm shop requires decisions about insulation and heating systems. A new publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach addresses energy efficiency for shop heating.

“Conserve Heat Energy in the Farm Shop” (PM 2089P) is available to download from the Extension Online Store,

“Seasonal and day-to-day use of the farm shop determines much of your energy consumption, but design features such as insulation and supplementary heating can be selected to conserve energy,” said Greg Brenneman, ISU Extension agricultural engineer.

This publication explains recommended R-Values for shop insulation, as well as the placement of foundation insulation, windows and overhead doors when constructing a shop facility. It also addresses some of the features of different shop heating systems, including forced-air, infrared and in-floor heating.

For more tips on energy efficiency around the farmstead, visit or follow @ISU_Farm_Energy on Twitter.

The Farm Energy publications are part of a series of farm energy conservation and efficiency educational materials being developed through the ISU Farm Energy Initiative. The purpose is to increase farmers’ awareness of opportunities for improving efficient use of farm energy. The initiative also will help farmers and utility providers to explore opportunities to reduce farm energy demand and to improve overall profitability in a rapidly changing energy environment.


Yard and Garden: Late Summer and Early Fall Plantings PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 18 August 2011 11:49

Creating a beautiful, functioning landscape depends on putting the right plant in the right place at the right time. Iowa State University Extension horticulturists describe the correct plants and care to give late summer and early fall plantings. To have additional questions answered, contact the experts at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 515-294-3108.

Is fall a good time to plant trees?

Late summer and fall is an excellent time to plant balled and burlapped and container-grown trees and shrubs. Evergreens should be planted by early October in Iowa. Evergreens retain their foliage (needles) through winter. Evegreens need adequate time to get established at their new site before the onset of winter to prevent desiccation injury. Deciduous trees and shrubs drop their leaves in fall and go dormant. Deciduous trees and shrubs can be planted up to mid- to late November.

Late summer and fall planted trees and shrubs should be watered on a regular basis during the remainder of the year. Periodically check the moisture status of the plant’s root-ball. Water newly planted trees and shrubs when their root-balls begin to dry out. Continue watering until the ground freezes in winter.

When is the best time to sow grass seed?

Late summer (mid-August to mid-September) is the best time to seed new lawns and overseed existing lawns. Late summer planting has several advantages over spring seeding. The seeds of cool-season grasses germinate quickly in the warm soil of late summer. The warm days and cool nights of early fall promote rapid turfgrass growth. The growing grass also has less competition from weeds as few weed seeds germinate in the fall.

After seeding, keep the upper 1 inch of soil moist with frequent, light applications of water. Most turfgrasses should germinate in two to three weeks if the seedbed is kept uniformly moist. Gradually reduce the frequency of watering, but water more deeply, when the turfgrass reaches a height of 1 to 2 inches. Mow the grass when it reaches the height of 3 to 3 ½ inches.

Can perennials be planted in fall?

Late summer and early fall is an excellent time to plant many perennials. It also is a good time to move or divide perennials, such as peony, daylily, garden phlox and oriental poppy. Perennials planted in late summer or early fall should be mulched with 4 to 6 inches of straw, pine needles or other materials in late fall. Mulching helps prevent repeated freezing and thawing of the soil that can heave plants out of the ground. Plants heaved out of the soil may be severely damaged or destroyed due to the drying of the exposed plant crowns and roots.

Is fall a good time to plant chrysanthemums?

Unfortunately, fall planted garden mums usually don’t survive the winter even when given winter protection. Flowering mums purchased in late summer or early fall should be regarded as temporary additions to the landscape. Spring is the best time to plant mums in Iowa. Spring planted mums have the entire growing season to get established and usually survive the winter much better than those planted in fall.

When is the best time to plant peonies?

Peonies are available as potted and bare root plants. Potted peonies are often available at garden centers and can be planted anytime during the growing season. Bare root peonies are best planted in late summer/early fall (September in Iowa). When planting bare root peonies, position the “eyes” (buds) 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface.


Work Begins on Iowa’s New Local Food and Farm Initiative PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 18 August 2011 11:46

AMES, Iowa – Iowa has a new statewide program that aims to boost production, processing, distribution, marketing and consumption of Iowa-grown food.

The Local Food and Farm Initiative’s purpose is to increase profitability for farmers and the number of jobs in local foods. The program brings together the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“This initiative is designed to get more of the food we produce here in Iowa on the table while keeping more of the food dollar on the farm,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said. “By utilizing the expertise of all three organizations it should help speed the development of this already growing part of Iowa agriculture.”

Craig Chase, ISU Extension farm management specialist and interim marketing program leader at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, will coordinate the new program.

John Lawrence, director of Extension to Agricultural and Natural Resources and associate dean in the college, said that Chase’s 27 years of experience in extension programs as well as co-leading ISU Extension’s new Regional /Local Food System Task Force makes him a good choice to be the Local Food and Farm Program Coordinator for Iowa.

“This initiative will help network the many activities already underway across Iowa and will leverage new investment in fruit and vegetable production expertise made by the college, ISU Extension and the Leopold Center,” Lawrence said.

The new program was created by the Iowa Legislature, which outlined broad goals and membership of a Local Food and Farm Program Council within IDALS that will advise the coordinator. First-year operating funds of $75,000 were included in the agriculture and natural resources budget bill signed by Governor Terry Branstad in July.

The initiative’s four goals are to:
• Promote the expansion of local food production, processing, distribution and marketing of Iowa food;
• Increase consumer and institutional spending on Iowa foods;
• Increase the profitability of farmers and businesses engaged in local food enterprises; and
• Increase the number of jobs associated with local foods.

The six-member Local Food and Farm program council will include representatives from IDALS, Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Farmers Market Association and three people appointed by the governor to represent Iowa resource conservation and development; a food processor, wholesaler or retailer; and a regional food system working group participant or expert in local food.

The Local Food and Farm Initiative follows recommendations outlined in an Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan prepared by the Leopold Center at the request of the Iowa Legislature. The plan calls for more coordination of programs at the state level and assistance in the areas of business training, loans, food processing, food safety and programs for beginning, minority and transitioning farmers.

Since April, Chase has been leading the Marketing and Food Systems Initiative at the Leopold Center. One of Chase’s duties is to work with 16 groups throughout the state that participate in the Regional Food Systems Working Group.

“Craig has been effectively coordinating these regional food system efforts to increase Iowa’s local food supply and use and is a well-known leader,” said Mark Honeyman, interim director at the Leopold Center. “These groups will be an important part of achieving some of the goals set out for the new state initiative.”

New investment at Iowa State University to improve the economic viability of regional food systems in the state has included hiring an extension commercial horticulture specialist for central and western Iowa and a new faculty member in horticulture to conduct research and extension on vegetable production. Financial support for the new hires for the next three years was made possible by donor support to the Leopold Center. The two new hires join nine other ISU faculty and staff on campus and around the state who work in commercial fruit and vegetable production.




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