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.
There have been reports of potato leafhopper in Iowa alfalfa, and it's time to think about assessing alfalfa stands. Potato leafhoppers do not overwinter in Iowa, but they are persistent alfalfa pests every growing season. Storms along the Gulf of Mexico bring adult potato leafhoppers north and drop into fields every spring.
Many rural residents in Iowa rely on private wells as their source of water for drinking, cooking, washing clothes, and watering livestock. Even if your well and the area around it have remained unchanged, it is important to test water annually for indicators of contamination, including nitrate and bacteria, to ensure the water is safe to drink.
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.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced an extension of the deadline to determine whether the monarch butterfly is warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The new deadline, December 15, 2020, was originally June 30, 2019. Despite the delay, conservation efforts to help the monarch survive and thrive are important as ever.
The striped cucumber beetle is a common pest of cucurbit crops in the Midwest. The spotted cucumber beetle, also known as the southern corn rootworm, is also a pest of cucurbit crops, but the striped cucumber beetle has more economic impact due to its ability to transmit bacterial wilt.
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.
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.
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.
Farm Financial Planning is Iowa State University Extension and Outreach's farm financial analysis program. The program helps you evaluate your farm business and determine whether or not a change is desirable. It provides an in-depth plan for the farm business so operators and lenders can make decisions for the future.