Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294-4778
AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
AMES, Iowa --
IOWA CHRISTMAS TREE INDUSTRY GROWING
Iowa has nearly 200 Christmas tree growers who most often grow Scotch, red and white pines. To expand the number of tree species, ISU extension forester Paul Wray is testing other pine varieties on seven Iowa farms. Wray says Iowa-grown Christmas trees offer advantages to homeowners. He can talk about those advantages, his research project, the Iowa Christmas tree industry and how to care for a fresh tree once it's harvested and on display in your home. Contact Wray, (515) 294-1168, or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, IOWA, AND OTHER TOWNS, CITIES
Iowa's Christmas tree industry gets lots of attention this time of year, but a relatively new area of interest for tree-lovers is urban and community forestry. Many experts expect the urban and community forestry industry to see rapid growth in the near future, in a way that would parallel growth in the lawn care industry. Forestry assistant professor Janette Thompson provides education and support to students considering careers in urban and community forestry. Extension program specialist Mark Vitosh does workshops and educational programming across Iowa. Both can talk about the urban and community forestry industry and its applications in metropolitan areas and small communities. Contact Thompson, (515) 294-0024, Vitosh, (515) 294-6739, or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.
COLVIN TO SPEAK AT REGIONAL PRECISION AG CONFERENCE
Tom Colvin, an agricultural engineer with the USDA National Soil Tilth Laboratory at Iowa State, will be a featured speaker at the Mid-Central Precision Ag Conference, Dec. 10-11 at the St. Joseph Civic Arena, St. Joseph, Mo. Farmers, crop consultants, input suppliers, equipment dealers and lenders are expected to attend the conference, which will focus on translating precision farming data into practical management decisions. Colvin will address the question: "How precise are we?" The conference is sponsored by the Missouri Precision Agriculture Center and Kansas State University. Contact Colvin, (515) 294-5724, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706. For conference information, contact Bill Cassady or Don Pfost at (573) 882-2731.
ISU ECONOMIST TO REPORT FARMLAND VALUES DEC. 15
A news conference to announce Iowa State's 1998 Iowa Farmland Value Survey will be at 10 a.m. Dec. 15, room 179 Scheman Continuing Education Building. Michael Duffy, ISU Extension economist who directs the survey, will answer questions at the news conference and be available afterward for phone interviews at (515) 294-3000. Duffy also will participate in an Iowa Communications Network program at 7 p.m. that day. Data from all 99 counties and state maps will be available. Land value survey data from 1994-1997 is available on ISU Extension's web site at www.exnet.iastate.edu under the publications link. The site also has a link to yearly data back to 1950. The 1998 information will be posted Dec. 15. Contact Duffy, (515) 294- 3000, or Del Marks, Extension Communication Systems, (515) 294- 9807.
ICN PROGRAM WILL INFORM PORK PRODUCERS
An Iowa Communications Network program to help producers learn more about factors influencing the pork industry and its future will be held Dec. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. Producers can participate at one of more than 50 ICN sites throughout Iowa. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC), Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
The free program will be divided into four segments, each with time for questions and answers. Economist John Lawrence will present information on the near future, including available contract data; economist Robert Jolly will talk about cash management, short-term debt and managing margins; IPIC associate director and extension veterinarian James McKean and extension swine specialist Tom Baas will offer options on near- term enterprise management considerations; and the fourth segment will focus on management assistance programs, including discussion among those attending the local sites and the speakers. Contact Lawrence, (515) 294-6290, or Sherry Hoyer, IPIC, 800-808-7675.
SEMINAR COVERS FARM MANAGEMENT IN VOLATILE TIMES
A daylong seminar Dec. 17, "Farm Management in Volatile Times," is designed to help Iowa farmers meet the challenges caused by low commodity prices. ISU experts will conduct the seminar, broadcast to 21 sites on the Iowa Communications Network. The program runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In an afternoon workshop, participants will divide into teams to work through a case study of a cash grain farm. The teams will evaluate their farms' financial conditions and select strategies for managing price and production risks. An export update, price outlook, storage and marketing loan strategies, and a briefing on new crop insurance alternatives for 1999 will be included. Contact Robert Wisner, economics, (515) 294-6310, or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.
PRACTICAL FARMERS' WINTER WORKSHOPS IN JANUARY
Farming and food issues will be discussed at the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) winter workshops Jan. 9 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Center in Ames. The sustainable agriculture group, which collaborates with Iowa State researchers, will hear from several speakers, including Odessa Piper, a Madison, Wis., restaurateur who uses pork raised by farmers using sustainable agriculture practices; Margaret Mellon, agriculture and biotechnology program director of the Union of Concerned Scientists; and Loren Kruse, editor-in-chief of Successful Farming magazine.
Workshops will cover technical and social topics, including soil quality, urban sprawl, value-added farm products, community-supported agriculture, manure management and holistic veterinary practices. Posters on PFI projects will be displayed. For PFI members, preregistration fee is $5 per person or $10 per family before Jan. 1. At the door, member registration is $10 per person or $15 per family. For nonmembers, there is an additional $20 per family charge, which is the cost of membership. Contact Nan Bonfils, PFI program assistant, (515) 294-8512, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-2314.
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