Emergency Crop Production Program

George Cummins and Brian Lang, Extension Field Agronomists; Robert Tigner, Farm Management Specialist; and Russ Euken, Livestock Specialist – Northeast Area

Problem Statement:

The 2008 crop production season has presented many challenges to date. Overwintering forage stands were reduced or killed. The cool, wet spring delayed or prevented planting. On May 25th an F5 tornado passed thru parts of Butler, Black Hawk, Buchanan and Delaware Counties causing severe damage to individual farmsteads and communities in it’s path. Early June flooding damaged or destroyed crops. The various insurance and disaster programs available have varying requirements, qualifications and deadlines. Farmers were faced with difficult agronomic and economic decisions. 

Programmatic Response:

An Emergency Crop Production Meeting was organized and held at the NE Research Farm on June 13th.  The program was designed to outline the various options remaining; to identify local contacts with specific expertise and to share relevant information collectively or individually to help producers in their decision making process. Agronomic issues were covered by Lang and Cummins, the Extension Field Agronomists serving the area and Ken Pecinovsky, the NE Research Farm Superintendent. Russ Euken, Extension Livestock Specialist, handled the animal production issues. Economic issues including marketing and crop insurance/ government payments related to delayed planting/ replant/ prevented planting were discussed by Robert Tigner, Extension Farm Management Specialist; and a panel which included Max Brandau, Iowa Farm Bureau Insurance Rep; John Bahnsen, Floyd County FSA Director; and Bill Dolan, Operating Manager, Agri-Commodities Services. Information from the NE Research Farm Annual Reports, the ICM Newsletter and various Extension Publications were used to respond to questions related to yield expectations in delayed planting/ replant situations; nitrogen management; anticipated weed, disease and insect problems; and emergency forage crops. Maintaining profitability with higher feed costs; meeting short and long-term forage requirements; and disease issues with flooded pastures and facilities were livestock issues discussed. Articles and worksheets available on the ISU Ag Decision Maker website were used to explain the details of various crop insurance and government assistance programs available as well as the program procedures and deadlines. A spreadsheet from Ag Decision Maker was used to compare the late planting, replanting, shifting crops or prevented planting options available to individual farmers. With potential yield/ production reductions, farmers were encouraged to review and revise their marketing plans and delivery contracts; cash flow projections; and loan repayment schedules as appropriate. Agency and private sector panelists shared their unique perspectives to these issues. A list of ISU Extension websites including those targeted specifically to disaster recovery was distributed.


Sixty-five people from 10 counties in NE Iowa attended. The audience included producers; lenders; insurance reps; farm managers; agronomists and crop consultants; marketing managers; agency reps; and the media. The information provided was timely and localized- i.e. availability and price of early maturity corn seed or emergency forage seed, availability of product and application equipment for sidedress fertilizer application; changes in reporting deadlines or program eligibility, etc. The meeting increased awareness and utilization of the resources available thru ISU Extension. The Mason City Globe Gazette, Agri-News, the Charles City Press, KGLO radio, KIMT TV and DTN did follow-up articles/ interviews featuring program presenters and/ or participants multiplying the educational impact of this Extension Program. This program demonstrated yet again the capability of ISU Extension to respond quickly and provide a quality educational program to meet the immediate and long-term needs of our clientele.   


100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

120 Farm and Business Management

Page last updated: September 11, 2008
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu