AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA
AN UNUSUAL YEAR FOR CORN COMING TO AN UNUSUAL CLOSE
An unusual corn growing season in Iowa will result
in an unusual variety of yields, says Dale Farnham, ISU agronomist. "We've
seen early planting, early flowering and early maturity," he said. "Now
we're seeing some unusual conditions in fields. Producers should especially
watch for signs of stalk rot and other diseases." In some areas of the
state, stress due to lack of moisture has combined with disease infestation
to cause premature death of corn plants. The result has been a very rapid
drying of the grain, which has led to early harvesting in some areas.
Farnham said yields as low as 50 bushels per acre may be common in areas
where dry conditions have persisted. In areas where moisture was timely and
adequate, early reports indicate yields as high as 180 bushels per acre.
Contact Farnham, (515) 294-1923, or Barbara McManus, Agriculture
Communications, (515) 294-0707.
FARMERS RIDING INTO DANGEROUS TIME OF YEAR
The most dangerous time of the year for Iowa
farmers is October through December, and tractors are often the source of
peril. In 1999, 24 Iowans died while driving, riding or working on tractors.
ISU extension safety specialist Chuck Schwab said those deaths accounted for
nearly half of all farm fatalities reported last year, and is a significant
increase compared to recent years. A new study by ISU industrial education
faculty member Steve Freeman shows the need for adding rollover protection
to older tractors, especially those sold through auctions, estate sales and
private transfers. Fact sheets that show the number of farm injuries and
fatalities in each Iowa county from 1990 to 1999 are available on the Web
at http://www.ae.iastate.edu/Safety.htm. National Farm Safety and Health Week is Sept. 17-23. Contact
Schwab, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, (515) 294-6360; Freeman,
Industrial Education and Technology, (515) 294-9541; or Laura Miller, Extension Communications, (515) 294-6360.
FARM SAFETY TO BRING SCHOOL KIDS TO ISU CAMPUS
Elementary and middle school students from 10 schools will
learn how to avoid farm dangers at an event at Iowa State University on
Sept. 23. The Farm Safety Program is a service project organized by ISU
students in Sigma Alpha, the professional society for women in agriculture.
The children will learn how to deal with hazards involving electricity,
chemicals, tractors and livestock. The event will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
in the Farm Bureau Livestock Pavilion in Kildee Hall. National Farm Safety
and Health Week is Sept. 17-23. Contact Holly Blackford, Sigma Alpha, (515)
233-9341, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
INNOVATIVE LOCAL APPLE INITIATIVE BEARS FRUIT
A home for autistic adults is now home to a commercial organic apple
orchard thanks to a three-year grant from ISU's Leopold Center for
Sustainable Agriculture. Residents and staff at the Homestead in Runnells
are harvesting their first crop from a 360-tree orchard that they planned,
planted and maintained. The crop will be sold to area stores and used at
Homestead. The project establishes a model for people with developmental
disabilities and other special needs to help establish and manage a
commercial organic orchard. Contact Janna Bouwkamp, Homestead, (515)
967-4369, ext. 27; Kathleen Delate, ISU organic agriculture specialist,
(515) 294-7069; or Laura Miller, Leopold Center, (515) 294-5272.
A TOAST TO THE FALL, BUT FIRST CHECK THE CIDER LABEL
Pasteurization can help ensure apple cider is safe. Cider sippers may
want to check the product's label. "Even though labeling isn't required in
Iowa unless the cider is sold outside the state, most cider producers label
their products whether pasteurized or not," said Lester Wilson, ISU food
scientist. If Iowans want to make homemade apple cider, Wilson suggested
several food safety precautions, including sanitization of the apples and
equipment and hand washing. Use apples picked from the tree rather than
apples on the ground, which can pick up contaminants, Wilson said. Wilson
and other ISU food scientists have worked with apple growers to improve
manufacturing practices and food safety procedures. The USDA has provided
funds to ISU to survey apple growers about those practices. Contact Wilson,
Food Science and Human Nutrition, (515) 294-3889, or Barbara McManus,
Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0707.
TASTES LIKE CHICKENIS IT FREE-RANGE?
Can consumers taste a difference between organic chicken and
commercially raised chicken? The question is examined in a project at ISU's
Allee Research and Demonstration Farm near Newell. Tom Olsen, ISU extension
farm management specialist in Storm Lake, is coordinating the project in
which chickens are raised organically in one of two different production
styles. "One uses the 'chicken tractor,' which is a moveable pen on wheels,"
Olsen said. "The other is in a traditional coop, where the chickens have
access to the outdoors." Olsen plans to hold consumer taste trials at
grocery stores to compare the two types of organic chickens from the Allee
farm and chickens raised in large commercial operations. Contact Olsen,
(712) 732-5056, or Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture Communications, (515)
LEOPOLD CENTER DIRECTOR LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
"Today agriculture is perceived more as a public problem than a
public good. If agriculture comes to mind at all for modern suburbanites, it
is usually in connection with a problem that agriculture is perceived to
have created," said Leopold Center director Fred Kirschenmann during a
recent presentation. In his remarks, Kirschenmann outlined the need for a
new vision for agriculture. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
is beginning a year-long process to set the future agenda for the
12-year-old center. The full text of Kirschenmann's speech, "Questions We
Aren't Asking in Agriculture: Beginning the Journey Toward a New Vision," is
available from the Center at (515) 294-3711, or on the Web at http://www.leopold.iastate.edu. A summary of
the Center's first discussion forum will be available after Sept. 20.
Contact Kirschenmann, (515) 294-3711, or Laura Miller, Leopold Center, (515)
UPDATE ON HEALTH BENEFITS OF A NATURAL FATTY ACID
New developments in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) research will be
presented on Sept. 18 at the third annual CLA mini-symposium at Iowa State.
The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. in the Ensminger Conference Room, 1204
Kildee Hall. Studies in which CLA was fed to animals have shown potential
health benefits. CLA is a natural fatty acid found in meat, milk and other
animal foods that may be beneficial in fighting cancer, \atherosclerosis and obesity. It also may improve
productivity and efficiency of livestock production, and the nutritional
quality of animal foods. Speakers will include researchers from ISU, USDA,
University of Wisconsin, Purdue University and University of Maryland. No
registration is required. The public is welcome. Contact F.C. Parrish,
Animal Science, (515) 294-3280, or Barbara McManus, Agriculture
Communications, (515) 294-0707.
GEM OF A FIELD DAY SEPT. 20 TO SHOWCASE NEW KINDS OF CORN
A field day on Sept. 20 will highlight recent work in a national corn
research project. The Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) project is a
cooperative effort of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, land-grant
universities and private industry. GEM researchers study corn from other
parts of the world that may provide pest resistance, increased yield and new
quality traits. The field day begins at 1 p.m. on an Iowa State research
farm six miles south of Ames on county road R38, then three and a half miles
west on 290th Street. Contact Linda Pollak, USDA/ISU Agronomy, (515)
294-7831, or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0705.
ISU SYMPOSIUM ON CHALLENGES OF BIOTECH EDUCATION, OCT. 8-10
Educators, ag producers, commodity organizations, industry and others
involved in biotechnology education will address ways to teach the science,
benefits, risks and ethical issues associated with biotech during a
symposium at Iowa State October 8-10. Workshop topics include the science
behind genetic modification, biotech lab activities, assessing biotech
education needs, discussing ethics and dealing with risk communication. A
complete agenda and registration form is available from the ISU Office of
Biotechnology, (515) 294-9818, or on the Web, http://www.biotech.iastate.edu.
The symposium is supported by USDA'S Cooperative State
Research, Education, and Extension Service. Local sponsors are ISU
Extension and the ISU Office of Biotechnology. Contact Walter Fehr, (515)
294-6865, or Glenda Webber, (515) 294-9818, Office of Biotechnology.
ISU STREAM TEAM RECEIVES SOIL CONSERVATION AWARD
An ISU research team received a state soil
conservation award for its work on restoring and protecting farm streams.
Since 1991, the Agroecology Issue Team of ISU's Leopold Center for
Sustainable Agriculture has worked with local landowners to develop
approaches that help protect surface water quality from soil erosion and
farm chemical runoff. The team's Bear Creek Watershed Project near Roland is
a nationally recognized research and demonstration site for riparian
buffers. Thousands of people from around the world have toured the
five-mile-long buffer area, and the site is used to train natural resource
professionals, said Tom Isenhart, ISU forestry scientist. The award was
presented to the ISU "stream team" this month by the Iowa Department of
Agriculture and Land Stewardship's Soil Conservation Division and the Iowa
State Soil Conservation Committee. Contact Isenhart, (515) 294-8056, or
Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
ISU ECONOMIST TO EVALUATE NATION'S AG RESEARCH PROGRAM
Iowa State agricultural economist Wallace Huffman has been named to a
National Research Council committee that will evaluate federally funded
agricultural research. The 15-member committee will study the quality,
relevance and effectiveness of ag research, and make recommendations to
strengthen future research. The committee will report its findings in three
years. Huffman is an internationally recognized scholar in agricultural
science and human resource policies and has testified on those subjects
before several congressional committees. Contact Huffman, (515) 294-6359, or
Brian Meyer, Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0706.
COMMON GROUND AWARD HONORS CORRECTIONS OFFICIAL
Jeanette Bucklew, deputy director of the Iowa Department of
Corrections, has received the 2000 Common Ground Leadership Award from the
Institute for Public Leadership. "Our definition of a leader is someone who
carries a sustained commitment to a clear vision. In Jeanette's case, that
vision was the value of community-based corrections and the opportunities it
affords for rebuilding lives," said the award selection committee. The
Common Ground Leadership Award is given annually to a person or group that
has improved the quality of governmental services delivered to Iowans;
increased governmental effectiveness, efficiency and communication; and
exemplified the spirit of intergovernmental cooperation. The Institute for
Public Leadership trains emerging leaders from all levels of state
government. The institute's program director is Iowa State sociologist
Beverlyn Lundy Allen. Contact Allen, (515) 294-9107, or Susan Thompson,
Agriculture Communications, (515) 294-0705.