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Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is committed to maintaining a sustainable 4-H youth development program that provides quality educational programs for Iowa youth — including camping experiences. However, there will be some changes in the camping experiences that the Iowa 4-H Program will offer at the Iowa 4-H Center this summer.

Farmers will showcase their experiences with cover crops this spring at eight field days across Iowa. Practical Farmers of Iowa joins with Iowa Learning Farms, County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners and Eastern Iowa Hay Producers Association to sponsor the spring field days that focus on the use and management of cover crops.

The 2013 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey is now available to download from the Extension Online Store or the Ag Decision Maker website as Information File A3-10, Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey. Print copies will be available at county extension offices. 

Current commercial fruit or vegetable growers and traditional farmers interested in diversifying can learn more about high tunnel production at a March 26 workshop at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach – Harrison County office in Logan.

Pruning raspberries in spring produces higher yields, by increasing berry size, and helps control disease. Pruning procedures are based on the growth and fruiting characteristics of the plants, according to horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The Vegetable Transplant Production workshop scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Scott County Extension Office has been rescheduled for Saturday March 2.

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded $900,000 to the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative to be used in the next four years. The award will fund current strategies related to school wellness, food systems and active living with an additional focus on the caregivers of children from birth to age five in Northeast Iowa.

Livestock producers who established a cover crop after corn harvest last fall are wondering how this will affect their crop insurance coverage for 2013, according to William Edwards, economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will conduct a tomato grafting and pest management workshop on Tuesday, March 12, at Reiman Gardens in Ames. Presenters at the workshop are Ajay Nair, extension horticulturist, and Laura Jesse and Erika Saalau-Rojas, pathologists with the Iowa State Plant and Insect Diagnostic Lab.

Patrick Gunn is the new beef cow-calf specialist at Iowa State University. His first priority is to meet with as many beef producers on a face-to-face basis as possible.

In a single motion, pruning demonstrates both the art and science of horticulture. Perhaps that’s why so many homeowners get nervous and postpone or ignore the task. Horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach remove the mystery surrounding this routine practice.

Farmers will be able to check soil moisture levels around the state when Iowa State University’s Department of Agronomy upgrades weather stations at several research and demonstration farms.

The Iowa Learning Farms’ Wednesday, Feb. 20, webinar will feature Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture director Mark Rasmussen. The webinar begins at 11:30 a.m., and all that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access.

Iowa military families also serve when a family member is deployed. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach can connect these families to support, information and resources to help them throughout the deployment cycle.

Many Iowans start planning their spring and summer gardens months in advance. For those planners and other garden enthusiasts, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provides garden publications and resources.

Lifestyle changes, like eating a low-sodium diet and being physically active, can help reduce high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, or maintain blood pressure at a healthy level. February is National Heart Month and a good time to take action against this risk factor for heart attack and stroke, says an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach nutrition specialist.

Iowa Beef Center staff will conduct bull selection clinics just prior to three Iowa Cattlemen’s Association bull sales later this spring to break down the process of bull selection into simple steps and assist those attending with interpreting the EPD numbers in the catalog.

A workshop to train livestock producers and service providers on how to use the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2) and the Iowa Phosphorus Index for use in nutrient management and manure management plans is planned for March 20 in Altoona, Iowa.

Gardeners can get a jump on their gardens by starting seeds indoors. Horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach discuss the types of equipment and conditions needed.