Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917
AGRICULTURE, VETERINARY MEDICINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES NEWS FROM IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
IOWA FARM NUMBERS DECLINE, ACCORDING TO AG CENSUS
The number of farms and farmers in Iowa continues to decline. Results of the 1997 Census of Agriculture were recently made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. County-by- county details were released Feb. 1 and are available on the Internet. The number of farms in Iowa has declined since 1992, the year of the previous census. In 1997, there were 90,792 farms, compared to 96,543 in 1992. In 1997, there were 56,256 people who said farming was their principal occupation, compared to 66,885 five years previously. The number of farms selling hogs was 18,370, compared to 34,058 in 1992. The figures can be found at: http://www.nass.usda.gov/census/census97/highlights/ia/. For reaction to the census figures, contact Willis Goudy, ISU Census Services, (515) 294-8311, or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0705.
SLOWING THE SPREAD OF SOYBEAN MOSAIC VIRUS
There is no "silver bullet" to eliminate soybean mosaic virus, but ISU researchers have developed a transgenic soybean plant that slows the infection rate in the field. If this summer's field tests prove successful, plant pathologist Forrest Nutter said farmers could plant soybean seeds in the future that would have more durability against the virus. Nutter describes soybean mosaic virus as the "unseen enemy" because there are often no visible symptoms in an infected field. The virus can cut soybean yields up to 50 percent. Contact Nutter, (515) 294-8737, or Barbara McManus, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0707.
FIND IOWA GRAIN QUALITY RESULTS ON THE WEB
The 1998 yield and test results for soybeans and corn can be found on the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative's web site. Oil, protein and other grain components are listed as part of the 1998 Iowa Gold High Oil Corn Test, United Soybean Board's annual soybean quality survey and Iowa County Strip Plots around the state. The web site is located at: http://www.exnet.iastate.edu/Pages/grain/Surtest.html. The Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, an ISU Extension program, works to increase the value of Iowa grain through matching grain traits to specific users' needs. Contact Darren Jarboe, Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, (515) 294-3137, or Ed Adcock, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-2314.
LOCAL PHONE COMPANIES ANSWERING RURAL NEEDS
Iowa has more locally owned telephone companies, about 150, than any state in the nation. A study by ISU sociologist Pete Korsching indicates the local companies are more responsive to the needs of rural communities than absentee-owned companies. For example, Kalona's phone company has increased technology options for its customers by installing fiber optics throughout the community. The information is important, Korsching said, because recent trends toward deregulation in the telecommunications industry could threaten local ownership. Contact Korsching, (515) 294-8322, or Barbara McManus, Agriculture Information, (515) 294- 0707.
MAKING THE CONNECTION: A FACT OF LIFE FOR FFA PRESIDENT
"Making the Connection" is the theme for this year's National Future Farmers of America Week, Feb. 20-26. The theme fits the 1999 travel schedule of Iowa State University student Lisa Ahrens, who will log an estimated 100,000 miles around the world as president of the National FFA. Ahrens, an agronomy and agricultural business major, was elected president last fall. She will be in Louisville, Ky., for FFA meetings the week of Feb. 20. To reach Ahrens, call the national FFA headquarters in Indianapolis, (317) 802-4235 or (317) 802-4341, or Barbara McManus, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0707. Several ISU students currently hold state FFA offices. They are Kathy Straiegle, reporter; Nick McKenna, secretary; and Matthew Welk, southeast vice president.
GLOBAL MARKETS THE THEME OF SEED TECHNOLOGY MEETING
"Retooling the Seed Industry for a Global Market" is the theme of the 21st annual Seed Technology Conference, Feb. 15- 17, at the Scheman Building at ISU. Topics to be addressed include molecular genetics and corn breeding, future climate change in agriculture, upcoming changes in soybean traits, current efforts to improve seed systems worldwide and an economic valuation of biotechnology. The Iowa Crop Improvement Association will hold its annual meeting and awards dinner in conjunction with the conference. Contact Joe Cortes, Seed Science Center, (515) 294-6821, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294-0706.
CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON SWINE-PRODUCTION ALTERNATIVES
Alternatives to conventional swine production will be highlighted at an ISU conference Feb. 17. The Swine System Options Conference, coordinated by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, will be held in the Scheman Building at ISU. The use of innovative hooped house systems will be featured, along with reports on side-by-side comparisons with conventional systems. Specialty niche markets for hoop-raised hogs also will be discussed. Registration is $15, or $10 without lunch. A printable registration form can be found on the web at: http://www.leopold.iastate.edu. Advance registrations are requested by Feb. 15. To register, call (515) 294-5961. For program information, call the Leopold Center at (515) 294-3711.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS FOCUS OF NATIONAL AG FORUM
Implications of climate change on agriculture and energy will be addressed at the 1999 National Forum for Agriculture, March 1-2, at the Scheman Building at ISU. Science and policy impacts of climate change on land use and energy use will be outlined by industry, government and university speakers. Officials from the European Parliament, energy companies, U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research are among the confirmed speakers. Registration fee is $50. Contact Judith Pim, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, (515) 294-6257, or Brian Meyer, Agriculture Information, (515) 294- 0706.
AGRICULTURE IN THE 21st CENTURY--SURVIVING AND THRIVING
There is plenty of evidence to suggest the structure of agriculture is rapidly changing, and the 21st century is certain to bring more change. On March 8, ISU will sponsor a satellite broadcast to discuss these changes. "Agriculture in the 21st Century - Surviving and Thriving" will be available at 28 sites in Iowa. Speakers will review the factors driving changes in agriculture, and how changes may benefit producers. There will be question and-answer periods, plus time for local discussions. A $20 registration fee will cover the cost of lunch and support materials, which will include a new publication written by ISU agricultural economists. The publication will outline factors that brought about past changes in agriculture, and provide insight into future opportunities. Contact Phil Baumel, economics, (515) 294- 6263, or Susan Thompson, Agriculture Information, (515) 294- 0705.
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