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Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294-4778

Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine and Natural Resources News from Iowa State University

ISU to help state prison raise crops

With help from Iowa State University, the Iowa State Penitentiary hopes to improve fruit and vegetable production on its land and reduce the costs of feeding its inmates. Under an agreement signed recently by ISU and prison officials, ISU Extension will provide technical support -- primarily in horticulture -- for the prison's two farms, where sweet corn, tomatoes, potatoes and other garden produce are grown on 52 acres.

Extension also will help the prison develop a system for processing and storing the farms' harvests. With the improvements, the Fort Madison prison hopes to reduce its food costs by almost $100,000 a year, said Robert Dodds, Extension education director in Lee County.

"We've provided informal support to the prison for several years," said Dodds. "This new agreement makes the partnership official. We hope the farms also may provide inmates with training that can help them in future employment. I don't see why this kind of program couldn't be duplicated at other institutions around the country." Contact Dodds at (319) 835-5116, or Brian Meyer, Ag Information, (515) 294-0706.

New Study: Pork producers have greater risk of hearing loss, respiratory ailments

Pork producers face a greater risk of respiratory ailments than other farmers, according to a new Iowa State study. "An Analysis of Occupational Health in Pork Production" indicates pork producers have a greater incidence of coughs, sinus problems, sore throats and "flu-like" symptoms than farmers who don't raise pigs. The report was presented at the American Agricultural Economics Association meetings in Toronto, July 27-30.

The study also shows that workers in swine confinement facilities get headaches more often and have more health-related work absences than other swine production workers. Compared to non- farmers, pork producers face a significantly higher risk of hearing loss and, surprisingly, a loss of hand strength. Contact agricultural economists James Kliebenstein, (515) 294-7111, and Peter Orazem, (515) 294-8656, or economics researcher Terry Hurley, (515) 294-6273, or Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294- 4778.

Establishing common seed rules in Central America

ISU's Seed Science Center will coordinate a program to standardize seed regulations in Central America. Currently, the movement of seed products among Central American countries is hindered by many differing policies. "We hope to develop common policies and procedures that increase free seed trade in the region," said Joe Cortes, who directs the center's international programs. With World Bank funding, the center will organize workshops in several Central American countries for public- and private-sector policy and technical experts. Contact Cortes at (515) 294-5363 or Brian Meyer, Ag Information, (515) 294-0706.

ISU to teach EPA officials about pesticide use in Iowa

Environmental Protection Agency staff members will learn firsthand how and why farmers use pesticides at a Sept. 18-19 forum. ISU experts will train federal and regional EPA staffers, as well as other federal and state employees involved in pesticide registration, about typical farming practices and their impact on water quality. "We want to teach them about practices that are pertinent to their work, and why trading one method of pest control for another may impact pesticide measurements in groundwater and surface water," said Elaine Hall, director of ISU's Field Extension Education Laboratory. Contact Hall at (515) 432-9548 or Brian Meyer, Ag Information, (515) 294-0706.

Coming Events

Farmers to show off their odor-reduction projects

Ken Baker of Sumner has been feeding his pigs barley to see if their manure will form an odor-dampening cover over his earthen storage facility. Brad Moeckley of Elkhart has placed a plastic cover over his manure pit, and is blowing pit air through a natural filter to try to reduce odor. These are two of almost 60 on-farm projects around Iowa demonstrating odor-reduction technologies. The program is coordinated by ISU Extension and funded by the Iowa Legislature.

Both Baker and Moeckley will host field days at their farms in September. The Baker field day will be Sept. 10, 1-3 p.m. The farm is located a mile north of Highway 93 on S Ave., between Sumner and Fayette, and a quarter mile west on 160th St. The Moeckley field day will be Sept. 23, 1-3 p.m. The farm is half a mile east of the Interstate 35 Elkhart exit. Extension field specialists will help answer questions at both sites. Other on-farm field days are planned later this fall. Contact Jeff Lorimor, Ag Engineering, (515) 294-9806 or Brian Meyer, Ag Information, (515) 294-0706.

Precision farming theme at Agronomy Day Sept. 11

"Field Variability in Precision Agriculture" is the theme of Agronomy Day '97, Sept. 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More than 50 research and demonstration projects will be on display at the ISU Agronomy and Ag Engineering Research Farm west of Ames on Highway 30. Besides several field tours, there will be tours of the USDA's North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, the Field Extension Education Laboratory and a shelterbelt project near Ogden. Contact Robert Hartzler, Agronomy, (515) 294-1923 or Susan Anderson, Ag Information, (515) 294-0705.

Corn germplasm field day planned for Sept. 16

A Sept. 16 field day will showcase current research in a national project to improve corn. The Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) project is evaluating corn from around the world that may help American plant breeders develop new varieties with better pest resistance, increased yields and enhanced value-added traits. The field day will be held 1-5 p.m. on an ISU research farm south of Ames. Contact Linda Pollak, Agronomy, (515) 294-7831, or Susan Anderson, Ag Information, (515) 294-0705.

Upcoming field days at ISU research farms

Fall field days at ISU research and demonstration farms will be held on the following dates:

Contact Dennis Shannon, Research Farms, (515) 294-1608 or Brian Meyer, Ag Information, (515) 294-0706.

54th annual observance of National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 21-27

Agricultural engineer Charles Schwab, who tracks Iowa farm fatalities, says the number of farm-related deaths the first six months of this year has remained fairly steady compared to other years. However, Iowa is about to begin harvest, the most dangerous time of year for Iowa farmers. Contact Schwab at (515) 294- 6360.


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