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USDA Announces 2019 Market Facilitation Program

The USDA announced on May 23, 2019, that there will be a second Market Facilitation Program in 2019. This comes on the heels of the $12 billion MFP program implemented in 2018. The USDA announcement states that the administration is allocating up to $16 billion for the 2019 program, with up to $14.5 billion of that money used for direct payments to producers.

Fruit and Vegetable Field Day Planned for Aug. 5

The fruit and vegetable research taking place at Iowa State University's Horticulture Research Station will be on full display for the Fruit and Vegetable Field Day Aug. 5. Specific projects include high tunnels, organic vegetable production, pepper and sweet potato production, pest management in cucurbit crops, hops, peaches and beneficial insects such as bees, wasps and pollinators.

An Ode to the Dickcissel: Rural Iowa's Most Unremarkable Remarkable Bird

Wild turkey. Ring-necked pheasant. Trumpeter swan. Turkey vulture. Northern bobwhite. These are the remarkable birds of Iowa's rural landscapes. They're large, conspicuous, and broadly recognized. These species, and a few more, are those most associated with rural life and synonymous with our experience on the farm. However, I submit that to the trained eye, and ear, the bird that most symbolizes Iowa's countryside is not these charismatic familiar species, but rather, the unremarkable yet fascinatingly remarkable Dickcissel.

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Flooding in Vegetable Fields

With respect to vegetable crops, recent flooding in western Iowa has created a tough situation for growers. Given the time of the year of this catastrophic event, there were no vegetable crops standing in the field, however, water/runoff from surface waters such as rivers, lakes, or steams could have overflowed and run into fields. This water most likely could contain chemical and biological contaminants that may be harmful to the health of humans and animals. 

Technology to Make Life Easier in the Field

Connected devices are becoming the norm in households including everything from outlets and switches to light bulbs and sensors for water leaks. The horticulture industry has not been left out of the connected devices revolution. New irrigation and climate controllers offer remote management from your phone or tablet giving you the ability to irrigate a field or close up a high tunnel from anywhere with internet or cellular connection.

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