News Releases -
Written by John Crabtree
Monday, 02 May 2011 13:58
Iowa farmers transitioning to organic systems as well as established organic producers now have an opportunity to apply for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative funding to assist their organic efforts.
The USDA recently announced another $50 million in funding for the EQIP Organic Initiative, which provides a 75% share of the cost of implementing organic conservation measures to those who qualify - 90% for beginning, limited-resource and socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
This is the third year of the Organic Initiative. In 2010, NRCS obligated $24 million nationally with over $1.4 million going to Iowa organic farmers. This year even greater funding is available for Iowa producers to plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns in ways that are consistent with organic production. The deadline for this application period is May 20, 2011.
The Center for Rural Affairs has a long history of assisting family farmers and ranchers in accessing new conservation programs. We created an EQIP Organic Initiative fact sheet available at - http://www.cfra.org/node/2509 - and we operate a Farm Bill Helpline where producers can call (402) 687-2100, ask for the Farm Bill Helpline and speak to a real person who can help producers receive assistance in accessing new programs like the EQIP organic initiative.
The Farm Bill Helpline can also assist farmers and ranchers with the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Cooperative Conservation Partnerships Initiative, the Value Added Agricultural Market Development Program and a host of Beginning Farmer and Rancher programs.
By John Crabtree,
, Center for Rural Affairs
News Releases -
Written by Iowa State Univ Extension Office
Monday, 02 May 2011 09:11
Deadline Extended for May 4 PQA Plus® Advisor Training Program
AMES, Iowa -- The application deadline for the May 4 Pork Quality Assurance Plus® (PQA Plus®) Advisors
certification program being offered by the Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) at Iowa State University (ISU) has
been extended. James McKean, IPIC associate director and ISU Extension swine veterinarian, is coordinating
the training program and said those interested in participating now have through Friday, April 29, to submit
their application to attend.
“A few spaces remain for this session and we want to be sure people have ample opportunity to submit the
application,” McKean said. “That’s why we’re extending the deadline to this coming Friday.”
The session will be held in the Ensminger Room in Kildee Hall on the ISU campus and will be taught by ISU
animal science and veterinary medicine faculty members who are certified PQA Plus trainers.
McKean said those who qualify and are interested in the program should download, complete and submit the
two-page application form available online at www.ipic.iastate.edu/PQAPapp050411.docx. The form also is
available by fax by calling Sherry Hoyer at IPIC at 515-294-4496.
“If you’re interested in attending, please let us know by submitting an application as soon as possible so we can
contact you after receiving your application," McKean said. "The $75 fee for approved applicants can be paid at
the door on May 4.”
The qualifications and other requirements are included in the application form.
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Iowa Beef Producers Invited to Grazing Systems Program
CHARITON, Iowa – Beef producers interested in learning the latest on fescue management and
forage-based diet supplementation will want to attend one of two grazing systems workshops in
southern Iowa next month. The program brochure is available on the Iowa Beef Center (IBC)
Iowa State University (ISU) Extension beef program specialist Joe Sellers said both sessions will
have the same speakers and content, so people can choose the most convenient location and date.
The sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, May 17, at the Clarke County Fairgrounds in Osceola
and Wednesday, May 18, at the Wayne County Courthouse in Corydon. Both begin at 7 p.m.
“Our featured speaker is Craig Roberts from the University of Missouri. He’ll review
management practices that reduce health problems and increase cattle production on fescue
pastures,” Sellers said. "Fescue toxicosis continues to create problems in Iowa beef herds,
particularly where producers have pastures with longer rest periods than normal, resulting in
mature fescue with higher alkaloid levels."
Roberts also will help producers determine which grazing systems may work for their operations.
Sellers will present information on supplementing forage-based diets and will lead a question-
answer session on local issues.
Cost is $10 per person, payable at the door. For more information, contact Sellers by phone at
641-203-1270 or by email at
Update for Veterinarians Program Planned
CHARITON, Iowa – Veterinarians who work with cattle are invited to sharpen their skills and learn the
latest information on a variety of topics at a May 18 workshop in southern Iowa. The 18th annual Update for
Veterinarians will focus on topics of specific interest to beef practitioners, according to Iowa State University
(ISU) Extension beef program specialist Joe Sellers, who is organizing the event at the ISU McNay Research
“Our featured speaker is Craig Roberts from the University of Missouri and he’ll review management practices
that reduce health problems and increase cattle production on fescue pastures,” Sellers said. "Fescue toxicosis
continues to create problems in Iowa beef herds, particularly where producers have pastures with longer rest
periods than normal, resulting in mature fescue with higher alkaloid levels."
The program also will include results from a cow feeding trial at McNay farm and the Iowa Beef Center’s hay
quality survey, as well as sessions on disease, euthanasia, grazing systems and coproduct feeding. In addition to
Roberts and Sellers, ISU presenters are Grant Dewell, Mary Drewnoski and Renee Dewell.
“The Iowa Beef Center at ISU and ISU Extension have put together a great program of current topics and
presenters, and it’s been approved for six hours of continuing education credits,” Sellers said.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the first of four morning sessions starting at 9 a.m. Three more sessions
will follow lunch. Those who preregister by May 12 will pay $50 per person, which includes the noon meal.
Pre-registrations after May 12 and walk-ins will cost $70.
The brochure with registration form is available on the Iowa Beef Center website. For more information,
contact Sellers by phone at 641- 203-1270 or by email at
Iowa Hosts National 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Workshop May 15-20
AMES, Iowa – Volunteer shooting sports instructors from throughout the United States will come to Central Iowa for the
National 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Workshop May 15-20.
Iowa State University Extension and University of Minnesota Extension are co-hosting the workshop at the Iowa 4-H
Center near Madrid. Registration is open to current adult volunteers in state 4-H shooting sports programs. Participants
at national workshops must have the approval of their state’s 4-H shooting sports coordinator, said Bryan Whaley, who
coordinates the program in Iowa.
The registration form, schedule and more information are available online at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/projects/
The registration fee is $325 through April 30; after that date the fee increases to $375 per person. No registrations will be
accepted after May 4, Whaley said.
“We are training volunteer instructors to work with kids to develop skills for their future — because shooting sports are
lifelong activities,” Whaley said. “4-H shooting sports bring together youth and trained adults and emphasize positive
youth development through building shooting, wildlife, conservation and outdoor skills.”
During the weeklong workshop, volunteers will receive training to become nationally certified instructors in one
discipline of their choosing: archery, rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, pistol, coordinator, or hunting skills. The certification
will enable them to teach other volunteer instructors in their own states, Whaley said.
Participants also will have many opportunities to exchange ideas, both formally and informally, Whaley said. “You can
share approaches and tactics that have worked for you and ways you handle situations in your own club, county or state,
as well as learn what is going on in other states. We already have people registered from as far away as Alaska, Oregon
In 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports (SESS) youth work with trained adult volunteers to learn safe and
responsible use of firearms and archery equipment, including sound decision-making, self-discipline and concentration.
The shooting sports program promotes the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship and ethical behavior, Whaley said.
The program also encourages youth to develop an understanding of natural resources as well as a personal environmental
stewardship ethic through participation in shooting, hunting and related activities.
Shooting sports is one of the fastest growing 4-H programs in many states, with an estimated 300,000 youth participating
nationally. These programs across the nation have proven effective in engaging both boys and girls and retaining older
youth in 4-H. In Iowa 570 volunteer instructors work with 1,660 youth in 4-H shooting sports activities.
News Releases -
Written by Iowa State Univ Extension Office
Monday, 02 May 2011 09:07
AMES, Iowa--Besides providing a summer getaway and fun for youth, the Iowa 4-H Center offers leadership experience opportunities
through counselor-in-training camps and a new Leadership Camp for 15-year-olds.
Leadership Camp is a weeklong camp that provides hands-on training, observation and practice. The camp is designed for 15-year-
olds to gain leadership skills, learn about safety and youth development strategies and camp traditions and operations. Visit the Iowa
4-H Center website to download a brochure and registration form.
The CIT Training Camp, for ages 16-18, is required for teens wanting to participate in counselor-in-training fieldwork. Full-time
professional staff and college-age summer staff lead this program to help participants learn how to supervise, handle behavior and
homesickness and how to lead activities and work as a team.
“I think that the CIT program is a great opportunity for high school students to gain quality leadership skills and have more
responsibilities,” said Annie McGuire,a senior at Iowa State University and an Iowa 4-H Center camp counselor. “The program
allows them to lead activities and songs while learning what it is like to be a counselor.”
All counselors-in-training must attend one of the following $35 training camp sessions:
May 14 from 1 p.m. to May 15 at 11 a.m.
May 21 from 1 p.m. to May 22 at 11 a.m.
June 9 from 4 p.m. to June 10 at 2 p.m.
The weeklong Counselor-In-Training Fieldwork camps are divided into two levels. CIT 1: Level 1 Fieldwork provides experience
working with 6- to 10-year-old campers. CIT 2: Level 2 Fieldwork provides experience working with 7- to 13-year-olds.
CIT 1: Level 1 Fieldwork participants are required to be 16 years old by June 1, 2011 and must attend a CIT Training Camp session in
CIT 2: Level 2 Fieldwork participants are required to be 17 years old by June 1, 2011 and also must attend a CIT Training Camp
session in 2011.
“My experience working with the CITs has been great because they are so eager to learn and are great role models for the campers, as
well as great help,” McGuire said. “They typically have been coming to camp for years and are excited to have a different experience
at camp by seeing more of what it would be like to be a counselor.”
To view which weeks offer the Leadership Camp and the CIT 1 and CIT 2 camps, visit the Iowa 4-H Center website to download
the Camp Registration Form. More information about the leadership program and the other summer camps at the Iowa 4-H Center is
available in the 2011 Camp Brochure.
The Iowa 4-H Center is an outdoor learning environment of 1,100 acres located in Boone County just 45 minutes north of Des
Moines. An American Camp Association accredited camp since 1954, the Iowa 4-H Center staff follows the 4-H model of “learning
by doing” and draws on the knowledge base of Iowa State University.
Visit our events calendar at our web site: http://dbs.extension.iastate.edu/calendar/
News Releases -
Written by USDA Communications Office
Monday, 18 April 2011 13:15
WASHINGTON, April 15, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to Shenandoah, Iowa, today where he spoke about building a cleaner, safer, and more secure energy future – one that ultimately breaks our dependence on foreign oil and moves our nation toward a clean energy economy that creates jobs and keeps America competitive.
At the grand opening of the BioProcess Algae Bioreactor Project – a facility owned by Green Plains Renewable Energy – Vilsack said USDA was focused on stimulating growth, creating jobs, and setting in place a framework for a robust future for the rural economy, which includes support of next-generation renewable energy, such as alternative feedstocks.
"USDA is helping our nation develop the next generation of biofuels to grow jobs and generate energy from new, homegrown sources," said Vilsack. "In the past two years, USDA has worked to help our nation develop a national biofuels economy and make that vision a reality. This cutting-edge facility here in Iowa, and others like it across rural America, is using waste heat, water and carbon dioxide from ethanol production and looking at advanced technologies which could eventually be used as energy. It is the kind of innovation we need to build an economy that continues to grow and out-compete the rest of the world."
President Obama is committed to reducing our net imports of oil by one-third by 2025. The United States holds only 2 percent of proven oil resources, and we consume about 25 percent of world's supply. The production of cleaner and more efficient fuels, produced domestically, will help to make America's energy supply more secure by permanently reducing our dependence on oil. USDA is doing research into new biofuel production methods and has established five regional research centers working on the science necessary to ensure biofuels can be produced profitably from a diverse range of feedstocks. And USDA is offering support to build the infrastructure needed to deliver the fuel to consumers at the gas station.
In Shenandoah, Vilsack also spoke at the Shenandoah Chamber and Industry Association's Annual Meeting, where shared rural America's vision for a strong economic future that relies on home-grown energy to power America's cars and trucks. The domestic biofuels industry, said Vilsack, has produced hundreds of refineries, pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the American economy and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in our rural communities.