(Sidney)--The Fremont County Soil and Water Conservation District will celebrate 75 years of soil and water conservation with a special banquet Thursday, June 30th at 6:30pm at the United Faith Church, Sidney, Iowa.
Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey is scheduled to speak at the event along with Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University, Wendy Wintersteen, and Conservation District of Iowa Executive Director Clare Lindahl. Reservations for the event are required and can be made by contacting Sheryl Sanders at 712-385-8449.
The Fremont County Soil Conservation District was organized by interested landowners to provide a community approach to the common problem of soil conservation. Active soil conservation work had been in progress in the county since 1934, mostly on a demonstrational basis, and it was felt that through the formation of a soil conservation district, a more widespread adoption of soil conservation would be accomplished by means of an educational and action program administered by the district. Following a favorable referendum on May 27, 1941, the Fremont County Soil Conservation District was authorized by landowners. A state charter was issued to the District on June 30, 1941. Mr. Melton Eisenhower, acting Secretary of Agriculture, signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Agriculture on October 14, 1941.
The first district commissioners elected in 1941 consisted of Ralph Jones, F.E. Cowden and A.L. Scott. These men were farmers who had been active in the demonstrational conservation program and had conservation plans and practices on their farms. Since these men and their families were active leaders in the county and community affairs, the district program got under way.
Current district commissioners are Phillip Wing, Sheryl Sanders, Harold Mitchell, Mark Kilpatrick and Carl Jardon. These commissioners are proud of the conservation work producers and landowners have put on the ground over the years. They look forward to the future as they to help the people protect our precious natural resources, soil and water, in Fremont County.
For more information on the outstanding conservation work going on in Fremont County and to RSVP for the June 30th banquet, contact Sheryl Sanders at 712-385-8449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAVE THE DATE!!! June 30, 2016 - Fremont Soil & Water Conservation District will be celebrating 75 years of putting conservation on the ground. Further celebration details to come.
Jake Holt has returned to work in Fremont County as a farm bill biologist. He brings with him many years of conservation expertise. Jake will be working closely with landowners primarily promoting wildlife habitat through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).
We are pleased to have Jake back in Fremont County as part of our team.
Check out AgClimate4U.org for great information on Ag Climate trends and related information.
If you want to learn about invasive plant pests and diseases that threaten our area or will threaten us in the future go to the website www.hungrypests.com! To learn more about this new resource read the follow USDA news release.
Greg Rosenthal (301) 851-4054
Suzanne Bond (301) 851-4070
WASHINGTON, April 2, 2014—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today proclaimed April as Invasive Plant Pest
and Disease Awareness Month. Each year during April, USDA amplifies its public outreach about the risks that invasive plant pests, diseases and harmful weeds pose to America's crops and forests—and how the public can prevent their spread. These non-native, destructive species can seriously harm the economy,
environment, or even human health.
“Invasive species threaten the health and profitability of U.S. agriculture and forestry, and the many jobs these sectors support,” said Kevin Shea, Administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service (APHIS). “To protect that crucial value, USDA and its partners work hard every day to keep invasive pests and diseases out of the United States and to control those that may slip in. This April, we’re asking all Americans to be our partners in this critical work.”
Invasive plant pests and diseases can jeopardize entire industries such as U.S. citrus or hardwood timber. For just one disease— huanglongbing (HLB or citrus greening), in one state, Florida—the
losses are alarming: more than $4.5 billion in lost citrus production from the 2006/07 to 2010/11 production seasons. One invasive pest, the emerald ash borer beetle, has destroyed tens of millions of American ash trees in our forests and communities. Scientists have estimated the cost of all invasive species to all economic sectors to be approximately $120 billion yearly.
With stakes this high, public awareness and action become key elements in protecting America’s agricultural and natural resources. APHIS created its Hungry Pests public outreach program to empower Americans with the knowledge they need to leave these “hungry pests” behind. For instance, invasive pests can hitchhike in and on the things we move and pack, such as firewood, plants, fruits and vegetables, outdoor furniture and agricultural products ordered online.
So this April, APHIS is asking Americans to visit HungryPests.comto learn what invasive plant pests and diseases are in their state or threaten it. Get information about damaging pests that USDA and its partners are combatting right now, especially tree-killing pests that are are beginning to emerge this spring and into the summer. Be on the lookout for the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle, which starve trees to death by boring into them and eating their insides. Keep an eye out for the gypsy moth, whose hungry caterpillars can strip trees and bushes bare. Not all tree threats are insects; sudden oak death disease, caused by a fungus-like organism, can kill many types of trees as well as many landscape plants, such as camellias and rhododendrons.
Most importantly, learn the “Seven Ways to Leave Hungry Pests
Behind,” such as buying firewood where you burn it, or only moving treated firewood if you must bring it with you. Such simple actions could save a forest or an entire industry from devastation by invasive species. Individual citizens play a vital role. This month, be on the lookout for videos, articles and social media buzz on invasive
species and how to stop their spread. Start by joining the conversation on the Hungry Pests Facebook Page.
For its part, APHIS has numerous partners at the federal, state, county and local levels, and at universities and nongovernmental organizations. Through its many safeguarding activities abroad,
on the border and across the country, APHIS helps to ensure a diverse natural ecosystem and an abundant and healthy food supply for all Americans. Please join us in the effort to protect these vital
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a
complaint of discrimination, write:USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
Photo Caption: The increasing size of farm machinery is making it more difficult for row crop farmers to maneuver Iowa’s hillier ground. This farmer in the Loess Hills is
planting down the hill, instead of along the contour. There are also no visible conservation practices, such as residue management, terraces or grassed waterways to help reduce the risk of erosion.
DES MOINES, IOWA, Feb. 11, 2014 — Iowa’s soil and water conservation advocates are asking farmers to match machinery size with their conservation needs when farming Iowa’s steep slopes. Large, wide equipment is often difficult to maneuver around many of Iowa’s traditional conservation practices, causing many farmers to reduce or eliminate conservation where it is most needed.
Dr. Mark Hanna, Extension agricultural engineer at Iowa State University, says farmers need to consider what is best long-term for the land they farm. “In sloping areas that benefit from contouring, it is often not practical to use wide equipment used in flatter areas,” he said. “Tighter turns nearer the top of slopes can minimize the capacity effects of equipment that is
For decades, Iowa farmers have been planting crops along the contour, instead of up and down slopes, and implementing other erosion control measures on their farms to help reduce the risk of soil erosion and prevent crops from washing away. But, as farmers work more acres and upgrade to larger equipment to improve efficiencies, conservation methods and structures, like grassed waterways and terraces, are all too often perceived as production obstacles rather than necessary tools to protect the environment and long-term sustainability.
Erosion causes soil to degrade over time, which can substantially decrease the soil’s productivity. This stems from reduced topsoil depth, organic matter, and nutrient availability. Unproductive soil can also lead to an increase in inputs, costing the farmer money long-term and increasing the risk of nutrient runoff or leaching.
Use Smaller Planters
LuAnn Rolling, district conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Allamakee County, says that although 24- to 48-row planters may be useful in central Iowa or other flat areas across Iowa, they don’t make as much sense in areas like northeast Iowa.
Rolling believes that a 12- or 16-row planter on steeper slopes is the maximum ─ with many slopes even too steep for these to help maintain conservation practices. “It takes about 60 feet to turn big equipment,” she said. “Grassed headlands (field borders) are now either gone or there is just a narrow strip of grass with 24 or 48 rows up and down the hill beside them.”
Rolling says farmers are also taking older terraces out altogether because 24-row planters and larger require about 60 feet per pass. She says many older terraces have about 90 feet of farmable space between them. “Larger planters can’t operate on older front slope lengths,” said Rolling. “Farmers are planting north-south or east-west because their equipment is too
big to make those turns.”
Shut Off Sprayers Around Waterways
Jim Lahn, NRCS district conservationist in Plymouth County, says large farm equipment is becoming an excuse for not maintaining or even installing conservation practices. “On a
daily basis, I hear farmers say they won’t install grassed waterways because the 90-foot or 120-foot spray booms almost always result in the herbicide killing the water way vegetation,” he said.
Lahn says farmers don’t necessarily need to downsize their spray booms to accommodate waterways. “If the farmer maps the waterway boundary using GPS, they can add that layer to the on-board computer data for the sprayer and the sprayer will automatically shut off over the grassed waterway, and not kill the vegetation,” he said.
Large equipment is also a problem for grassed waterways in northeast Iowa, says Rolling. “Our hills are very steep and often irregular with grassed waterways,” she said. “The larger equipment can’t maneuver to properly shut off at the waterway, so they are running up and down along the waterways, leaving tire tracks which wash all year long.”
Rhett Schildroth, senior product manager for Kinze Manufacturing, Inc., says waterways can easily be managed with auto-section control when planting. “Additionally, for farmers who plant the bulk of their fields with a 24-row planter, one option is to go back in with a 6- or 8-row planter to fill in the ends and corners,” he said. “This allows them to maximize both
productivity and conservation.”
Is Big Machinery Efficient On Slopes?
NRCS Soil Conservationist Jacob Groth questions whether larger equipment is more efficient
for farmers on hilly ground. “The time farmers spend maneuvering around obstacles, such as terraces, and turning to plant point rows decreases any efficiency gained with larger equipment,” he said.
Groth says there are farmers making smart management decisions, with conservation in mind. “Some producers are keeping a 12-row or smaller planter to plant fields not suited for their larger equipment,” he said. “Others are experimenting with different hitches for equipment and GPS configurations with auto steer to keep the planter between the rows on the contour.”
Larger equipment is to blame in some cases for farmers quitting no-till on steep slopes, choosing to till the soil because they slide down the slope enough to miss their target seedbed. “This sliding hurts the stand and ultimately the yield in no-till situations,” said Groth.
For more information about the benefits of conservation, visit your local NRCS office located at the USDA Service Center in your county.
These posts are written by Fremont County Soil and Water Conservation District Employees and State and Federal NRCS employees. Subscribe to stay updated on District News!