As spring approaches, precautions should be taken by those using Iowa's frozen bodies of water.

2017 Growing Together mini-grants have been awarded to projects in 14 counties. They will receive a combined $70,000 in grant money through the SNAP-Education program.

Winter weather still rules Iowa’s landscape these days, but spring isn’t far off on the horizon. It’s time to think about spring flowers and getting a head start by starting tubers indoors. It’s an excellent way to get plants growing even ahead of the final frost. 

Palmer amaranth, a new weed to Iowa and a serious threat to production agriculture, has now been discovered in at least 48 counties. Farmers, farmer advisers and others interested in learning how to identify and manage this new threat may attend a workshop at several eastern Iowa locations.

The Iowa State University research project known as Science-based Trials of Row-crops Integrated with Prairie Strips, or STRIPS, was recently awarded grants that will enable the STRIPS team to train Technical Service Providers and Certified Crop Advisers for certification in prairie strips design, establishment and monitoring, making this conservation tool accessible to more Iowa farmers.

The first national hearing on the 2018 Farm Bill will be held on the Kansas State University campus Feb. 23, with a live webinar connection in Orange City hosted by extension livestock specialists serving Sioux County.

The costs associated with installing solar arrays have dropped over the last several years, making them much more cost effective to install on a farm or acreage. As they become more affordable, these solar arrays are becoming a viable source of energy for farmers, especially farmers who have large barns to ventilate in the summer or fans on grain bins.

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will host a cover crop workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Marion County Extension Office.

A Field Crop Scout School designed for beginning crop scouts will be held Saturday, March 25, at the Scheman Building in Ames. The day-long course features sessions on crop growth and development, scouting methods and techniques, and identification of weeds, diseases and insects.

To explain how to take good soil samples, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released a new publication, "Take a Good Soil Sample to Help Make Good Fertilization Decisions."

Jim Harken has been hired as the director for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Region 10, covering Benton, Linn and Jones counties. He will begin the position March 1.

Kevin Ross, Underwood, is the newest Iowa delegate to the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching, also known as CARET. He will represent Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as well as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in this national grassroots organization.

The Soil Health Conference will be held Feb. 16-17 at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa.

Environmental regulations require producers to make sure manure is being applied to agricultural fields in accordance with their manure management plans. Both distribution of manure and calibrating the applicators are covered in a pair of new ISU Extension and Outreach publications.

Professional development for those active in local foods is available at no cost Feb. 15. The following day Iowa's Regional Food Systems Working Group will conduct their quarterly meeting.

The 34th annual Eastern Iowa Hay Producers Association annual meeting and conference will be held Friday, March 10, at Buzzy’s in Welton.

Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will host a cover crop workshop on Thursday, Feb. 23, 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Central City American Legion Post 421. The workshop is free, open to the public and includes a complimentary lunch.

A little education can make a big difference in setting and reaching financial goals. That’s what Iowans are discovering in “Your Money, Your Future” workshops from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

There are several ways to propagate a tree or plant on a new landscape. While planting trees, shrubs or vines directly is one option, another is using hardwood stem cuttings to promote new growth with help from the previous growing season.