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Agri-Line - Le Mars Agricultural Connection

Farmers Nearly Done With Harvest

Farmers Are Nearly Done With Harvest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa farmers are very close to wrapping up this year's harvest, but work was delayed by some much-needed rain.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 93 percent of the corn crop has been harvested, which is a month ahead of schedule.  Ninety-six percent of the soybean crop is in, almost three weeks ahead of normal.
The USDA says in Monday's weekly report that widespread rain helped Iowa's pasture and range land, but 73 percent is in very poor or poor condition. Hay supplies are running about 42 percent
A slow-moving storm system brought rain to the state on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The statewide average was a-half inch, just shy of the weekly normal of 0.56 inches.



USDA Plans Drought Meeting

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The Agriculture Department is planning a series of four regional workshops in areas hard hit by the drought to make sure farmers know about resources available to help them.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to attend the first workshop on Tuesday in Omaha, Nebraska. The other three workshops are being planned in Pueblo, Colorado, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and an
undetermined town in Ohio.
This summer's drought has been the worst one in decades. Experts at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln say about one-fifth of the total land area in the
lower 48 states remains in extreme or exceptional drought.
The USDA is working with the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to plan these meetings.


11 Iowa Organizations Receive Ag Grants

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will be awarding $244,000 in grants to Iowa organizations to help enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops grown in Iowa.  The Department received $271,396 through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to support the program.

"Specialty crops are a very important part of Iowa agriculture as they allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to locally grown products," Northey said.  "These federal funds will support a variety of efforts that will make these Iowa grown crops more available and encourage Iowans to choose fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers that are produced right here in our state."

Iowa agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, specialty crop industry associations or organizations, and producer groups were eligible to apply for funding to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

The Department also invited public comment from specialty crop stakeholders to help identify priorities for the program and established a review committee to help review, evaluate, and make recommendations on which grant proposals submitted to the Department should receive funding.

The maximum grant award from the Department to sub-grantees is $24,000 and administrative and indirect costs are not allowed.

The Department received 29 proposals requesting assistance and the 11 chosen were selected by an independent review committee of nine industry stakeholders.

Grant funds shall be used for projects that benefit and enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops industry as a whole, and cannot be for projects that directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.

"Specialty Crops" that ar eligible under this program are fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.  The funds anot passed through to Iowa organizations will be used by the Department to administer the grant.


The full list of 11 grant recipients follows here:

Practical Farmers of Iowa - $24,000 to support improving employee management on fruit and vegetable farms.


Lutheran Services of Iowa - $24,000 to support increasing specialty crop production by refugee groups through land access and grower education.


Iowa Heartland RC&D - $23,983 for delivering specialty crops to corporations through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's).


Iowa State University (Angela Shaw) - $23,939 for the statewide on-farm food safety program.


Iowa State University (Dining Services) - $13,645 to create awareness of the nutritional value and importance of specialty crops.

Southern Iowa RC&D - $23,928 to gather economic and social impact data in rural southwest Iowa to support specialty crop production.


Iowa State University (Lester) Wilson) - $20,755 to determine the optimum harvest time for aronia berries to maximize their antioxidant and sensory properties.


Golden Hills RC&D - $24,000 to support creating, marketing and promoting the Iowa Loess Hill AVA Wine Trail.


Iowa State University (Winneshiek County) - $15,750 to create a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/Good Handling Practices (GHP) cost share program for Northeast  Iowa fruit and vegetable  producers.


Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship - $40,000 to spotlight on Iowa's specialty crops as part of the Iowa Farm to School Program.






Drought Continues

Harvest Nearing Completion, But There Are Some Concerns

(Le Mars) -- Harvest is nearing completion, especially for northwest Iowa farmers, but Iowa State University Extension crop specialist Joel DeJong says there are still some concerns.     

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DeJong says we are still in a drought and the window of opportunity to recharge our soil moisture levels is closing.  He says if we get snow before the ground freezes, then our soils will benefit.  However, if it happens to freeze and then we get snow, that moisture will just run off.  DeJong says it would be best if we could get some autumn rains.

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DeJong says there has been a wide variation with yields just within Plymouth County.

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DeJong says test weights of crops have been fairly decent for this drought-stricken harvest.



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