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Agri-Line - Le Mars Agricultural Connection

Corn Needs Moisture

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Topsoil in more than half of Iowa's fields still needs more rain to reach adequate levels.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Monday's weekly report that topsoil in 54 percent of Iowa's field rated very short or short of adequate moisture. The east-central part of the state
was the driest, with 78 percent of the topsoil moisture rated short to very short.  Roger Elmore, Iowa State University Corn Specialist, says now is the critical time when the corn needs additional moisture.  He says it is likely farmers will see reduced yields if rainfall amounts continue to produce only a tenth of an inch or less.
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Elmore says corn can absorb up to a half an inch of moisture per day during the reproduction stage. 
     The USDA says 68 percent of the corn crop, which is silking in most parts of the state, is in good or excellent condition.
     The soybean crop is rated 63 percent good to excellent.
     The USDA report says 98 percent of the state's oat crop has headed, which is nearly three weeks ahead of normal progression.

   

Fair Entries Are Due

(Le Mars) -- 4-H and FFA members intending to exhibit at the 2012 Plymouth County Fair are reminded of the upcoming entry deadline of Friday, July 13.  Members planning to enter exhibits in sheep, swine, market and breeding beef, cow-calf projects, feeder calf, horses, poultry, rabbits, dog, pet, cat and dairy, including dairy goats, are required to complete and submit an entry form.

Fair entries are also due July 13 in the communications division which includes Educational Presentations, Working Exhibits, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Share-The-Fun.

Entries should be completed by the 4-H or FFA member and then submitted to the Plymouth County Extension Office by the local club leader or FFA advisor.  The Plymouth County Extension Office is located at 251 12th Street SE in Le Mars.  The office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon and then from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  For more information on this or any other 4-H program contact the Extension Office at (712) -546-7835 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

State Fair Entries Due By July 3rd

(Des Moines) -- The 2012 Iowa State Fair is only a few months away.  This year's event, "Nothing Compares" will run from August 9 - 19 in Des Moines, Iowa.  Hundreds of 4-Hers that choose to exhibit their livestock projects at the Iowa State Fair must make an official entry.  Plymouth County 4-Hers will need to complete the necessary entry on-line within the member's 4-H Online records at www.4honline.com by July 2, 2012.  Registration fees must be mailed or taken to the Plymouth County Extension Office no later than July 3, 2012.  The Extension Office is open Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. til noon, and 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.  No late entries will be accepted.  For more information contact the Plymouth County Extension Office at (712) 546-7835 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

   

Dry Conditions Persist Across Iowa

Weekly Crop Conditions Decline 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has received some much-needed rain but the state is still dry.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Monday's weekly report that Iowa received an average of 1.5 inches of rain last week. That's above the normal of about 1.2 inches. Even so, more than half the topsoil and subsoil remains dry.
     The USDA says 67 percent of the corn crop, which is beginning to silk, is in good or excellent condition. That's the same as last week.
     Soybeans, which are starting to bloom, are rated 61 percent good to excellent. That's down from 62 percent a week ago.
     More than half the state's pastures and range land are in poor or fair condition. However, stress on livestock is minimal with no issues reported.

 

June 30th Deadline For Reporting Acres

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, John Whitaker reminds farmers and ranchers that filing an accurate acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planting acreage, can prevent the loss of benefits for a variety of  programs.  

Acreage reports are required for many Farm Service Agency programs.  For crops enrolled in programs other than NAP (Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program) acreage reports are to be certified by the June 30, 2012 deadline on all crops.  Acreage reports on crops covered by NAP are due in the county office by the earlier of June 30, 2012, or 15 calendar days before the onset of harvest or grazing of the specific crop acreage being reported. 

Crop reports also include planting dates for each crop by field.  Failed acreage must be reported before disposition of the crop.  Prevented planting must be reported no later than 15 days after the final planting date.

Reporting forage crops and pastures is also required.  All crops on the farm, including forage crops and pasture are used to determine overall eligibility for some programs such as SURE and LFP, so accurately reporting these crops is important.  Since the make up of a forage crop's stand changes over time, the legumes and/or grass mixture may be needed or the age of the stand in order to file an accurate report.  The Iowa FSA office issued guidance regarding the percent of alfalfa or other legume/grass that is present in the stand for producers to accurately report their crops.  Another change: for 2013, perennial forage, fall wheat, and other fall seeded small grains will have a December 15th reporting date.
    

   

Plymouth County Barn Quilts

Ahlers Barn: "Windmill" 22558 K49, Le Mars.

Throughout 2012 is taking you on a tour of Plymouth County Barn Quilts.

A tribute to family history is the intention behind the barn quilt on the farm of John and Debra Ahlers. The farm became a century farm in 2008 when the quilt was raised. The quilt was part of the back drop for a large celebration including generations of family, as the farm has been in the family since 1908.
Debra says her son Daniel created the "Windmill" design after the family decided they needed to tear down their 68 foot landmark wind mill that stood on the land for years.

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Ahlers shares the symbolism surrounding the details of the quilt.

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The steel that's around the barn quilt frame came from the legs from Debra's father's windmill.  The building that the quilt hangs on is the oldest structure on the farm, now used as storage for equipment, it was once a corn crib.

Ahlers says that Plymouth County residents aren't the only people who visit their quilt.

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If you have a barn that could use some sprucing up, let the Le Mars Arts Council walk you through the barn quilt process. Folks on the committee would be happy to help you pick out a pattern. Information including maps and a list of barn owners are available at the Le Mars Chamber, ISU Extension Office and the Arts Center.

 

Westergaurd Barn: "Pale Star" Intersection of C12 and K22

The second barn quilt to color the countryside of Plymouth County went up on the barn of Carl and Colleen Westergaurd near the intersection of C12 and K22. The quilt was put up in 2006, and the barn was originally built in 1915 by Ben and Minnie Borchers.

Colleen Westergaurd said the family chose the design called "Pale Star" to paint on their quilt.

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Westergaurd's two oldest daughters painted the quilt as part of a 4-H Project.  
The Westergaurd's decided to participate in the Barn Quilt program after having seen other quilts driving to Ames.  At the time they put up the Pale Star, only one other quilt existed in Plymouth County.

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There are now estimated to be 50 or more quilts in the county when you include the smaller "Welcome Quilt" designs.

 

Harrington Barn: "From There to Here" 26705 170th St, Le Mars.

In 2009 the quilt "From There to Here" was hung on Vernon and Karen Harrington's barn in rural Le Mars.  The quilt features German and American flags surrounding a heart in the center and pays tribute to Vernon's great-grandfather, Peter Reese.  Reese immigrated from Germany in 1874 and purchased the land the quilted barn stands on today.  Vernon says the barn was built sometime in the late 18 to very early 1900's.

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Currently the barn is used for storage and is inhabited by farm cats.

Karen says that they became interested in the Barn Quilt program after traveling around Iowa and seeing the quilts on other barns.

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The Harrington's are proud that the buildings and land has been passed down in the family, and the plan is to keep it that way.  Preserving their rural life heritage is important to them, and that's one of the reasons creating a barn quilt and supporting the program has been a priority.

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The quilts design represents generations past, was created by current generations, and is intended to stay for the generations to come.

Plymouth County Barn Quilts Background

The celebration of agriculture through art...go for a drive and you'll see it all over Iowa.  Barn quilts starting popping up in Plymouth County beginning in 2006.  Ruth Barker has been part of the program promoted and developed in conjunction with the Le Mars Arts Center and Plymouth County ISU Extension.  She says that the idea originated in Adams County, Ohio.

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After a tour of those barns, Ruth began working with Kathy Moore at the Arts Center, Carol Schneider of Plymouth County Extension and a committee of others to help farmers in Plymouth County find patterns, and even people to paint.  There are many quilts in the county that have been done by area 4-H Groups.  Since 2006, more than 50 have been painted and put on barns, sheds and even houses throughout the area.  Ruth says the quilt idea is meant to enhance old farm buildings that have been well taken care of.

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Barn Quilts measure 8' by 8' and if you have a smaller space on a home or other out building that is "square" worthy there are also 4' by 4' Welcome Square patterns.  Folks on the committee would be happy to help you pick out a pattern. Information including maps and a list of barn owners are available at the Le Mars Chamber, ISU Extension Office and the Arts Center.  The Arts Center also has  information on their website.

 

   

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