AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
EQUIPMENT DESIGN MAY IMPACT PIGLET SURVIVAL RATES
An Iowa State University Extension demonstration project indicates the design of farrowing crates may impact piglet survival rates. Results of the study suggest farrowing crates with either solid-rod rails or hydraulic rails are better for the number of pigs weaned per crate, and the solid-rod rail crates also had the highest percentage weaned with 77.2 percent of the original number of pigs. In the 2 1/2 year project, Extension swine field specialist Terry Steinhart looked at three basic designs: hydraulic-side rails, solid-rod finger side rails and free-stall pens. The project, which included nearly 400 farrowings, was conducted at the Kirkwood Community College with funding from the Iowa Pork Industry Center. Contact Steinhart, (641) 622-2680, or Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4496.
FEEDING OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS: A PRIMER
Each year more than 50 million Americans spend $2.7 billion to feed birds, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For novices who want to attract birds, ISU animal ecologist Jim Dinsmore has a couple tips. "The best place for a bird feeder is on the south or east side of your house, where it will be exposed to sunlight and protected from the wind," he said. Different feeds attract different species. Goldfinches and small birds are partial to thistle seed, blue jays and woodpeckers to peanuts and morning doves to safflower seeds. Sunflower seed attracts several kinds of birds. Local extension offices and wildlife specialty stores can provide more information, Dinsmore said. Contact Dinsmore, (515) 294-7669, or Barb McManus, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0707.
IOWA APPLES, SIXTY YEARS AFTER THE BIG FREEZE
Many homesteaders who settled Iowa planted apple trees. By 1909, the state ranked sixth in U.S. apple production. On Nov. 11, 1940, a freeze devastated Iowa's orchards. Many growers decided not to replant. Today Iowa ranks 31st among 36 states that grow apples commercially. Iowa growers supply only 8 percent of the fresh and processed apples consumed by Iowans each year. A report last year by ISU's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture examined the apple industry and traced how apples reach Iowans. For information on the report, contact Rich Pirog, Leopold Center, (515) 294-1854. For information on Iowa's apple industry, contact Paul Domoto, Horticulture, (515) 294-0035, or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0705.
FARM CREDIT SERVICE TO FUND FUTURE HOG MARKETING WORKSHOPS
The success of Iowa State Extension hog marketing workshops conducted in Iowa and Nebraska prompted Farm Credit Services to offer future funding for similar seminars in either state or both. Earlier this year, Extension swine specialist Jerry Weiss and Extension farm management specialist Ron Hook held a series of marketing workshops for northwest Iowa producers. Publicity about the series reached Nebraska Extension who invited Weiss and Hook to present a two-part workshop there. The workshops focus on understanding market terms and trends and learning how and when to use a variety of market tools in individual operations. According to evaluation results, all participants at the Nebraska workshop indicated plans to use futures and options as part of their marketing plans. The Iowa Pork Industry Center funded the workshop in Iowa. Contact Weiss, Pocahontas County Extension, (712) 335-3103; Hook, Osceola County Extension, (712) 754-3648; or Sherry Hoyer, Iowa Pork Industry Center, (515) 294-4496.
RURAL COMMUNITIES A PRIORITY FOR AG DEAN
The vitality of rural communities is a top priority for Richard Ross, dean of agriculture at Iowa State. Ross, the former dean of ISU's College of Veterinary Medicine, was named to a two-year term as agriculture dean last summer. Ross said he intends to focus on Iowa's communities "to ensure that they are places where Americans want to live." Ross will hold five community meetings around Iowa later this fall to talk about issues of importance to rural residents. He said he also is committed to environmental issues, biotechnology, value-added agriculture and diversity. Ross shared his plans for his two-year tenure as dean in the fall issue of ISU's ag alumni newsletter, which is available on the Web at: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/alumni/Ag_Alumni_Forum_2000.pdf. Contact: Ross, (515) 294-2518, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-2314.
AGRITALK FARM POLICY COLLEGE TOUR TO STOP AT IOWA STATE
AgriTalk, a nationally syndicated radio talk show for and about rural America, is sponsoring a farm policy forum, "Ag Policy For A New Generation," Friday, Oct. 27, 8:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. in Lush Auditorium, Kildee Hall, at Iowa State. Hosted by ISU economist Mark Edelman's agricultural policy class, the event will be taped for broadcast on Monday, Nov. 20. Panelists include Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Leonard Boswell, members of the Senate and House agriculture committees. The event is free and open to the public. It is presented by John Deere Company, High Plains Journal and AgriTalk. Contact Edelman, (515) 294-6144, or Del Marks, Extension Communications, (515) 294-9807.
ISU BULLISH ON JOB MARKET FOR AG GRADUATES
Despite lean times on the farm, many agricultural employers are anxious to hire workers, says Mike Gaul, director of career services for ISU's College of Agriculture. Evidence of the job market's strength can be found at Iowa State's Agriculture Career Day, Oct. 24. With nearly 145 employers expected to participate, the annual job fair is near capacity, Gaul said. Ag Career Day will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union at ISU. A list of employers planning to attend is updated weekly on the Web at http://www.ag.iastate.edu/careerservices/acd.html. Contact Gaul, (515) 294-4725, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-2314.
ISU LISTED AS RURAL ISSUES RESOURCE FOR TV STATIONS
Several Iowa State programs are featured in an Internet guide to help TV reporters improve their coverage of rural issues. NewsLab is a nonprofit television "news laboratory" that serves as a resource to help local stations find better ways to tell important stories that are often difficult to convey on TV. The "Covering Rural Issues" section can be found by clicking "Links" on NewsLab's home page, http://www.newslab.org. The section includes links to ISU's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development and the Rural Policy Research Institute. Recently, WHO-TV in Des Moines aired a series of rural stories with help from NewsLab and the USDA-Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. Contact Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
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