Agriculture
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Bill Northey, who was Iowa’s top agriculture official for more than a decade and a leader at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, died at the age of 64. more
Annual ethanol production in Iowa reached a new peak last year of 4.6 billion gallons, according to data compiled by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. more
Eight  Iowa Master Pork Producers of 2023 upheld the highest standards of the Iowa Porl Producers Association for animal well-being, food safety, and the environment. more
Washington County pig farmer Matt Gent is the new president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. He took over the role during the organization’s annual meeting in Des Moines on January 23. Gent and his family own a farrow-to-finish swine enterprise called Prairie Pork near Wellman. They also grow corn and soybeans. more
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) obligated a record $85.8 million in conservation practice funding to Iowa farmers in fiscal year 2023, through 1,628 conservation program contracts that will help treat natural resource concerns such as soil erosion and water quality on 386,736 acres. more
2023 was a milestone year for conservation and water quality in Iowa. Not only did we recognize 10 years of the state’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy, 40 years of the state’s Abandoned Mine Land reclamation program, and 50 years of the state’s conservation cost-share program, but we also set yet another record for conservation implementation in the state. more
As I write this article, I am in the middle of a project looking at soil health and water quality benefits when multiple conservation practices are utilized together.  I find myself pondering different ways to implement conservation on the ground.  With its expansive fields of corn and soybeans, Iowa has long been a cornerstone of American agriculture. Now, the state is at the forefront of a movement to prioritize soil health and water quality. Farmers across Iowa are adopting conservation practices such as cover crops, no-till farming, and edge of field practices to enhance soil health, improve water quality, and boost overall productivity. more
Since the Iowa Water Quality Initiative was first funded in 2013, the program landscape for conservation funding and options for producers has grown significantly. Farmers have been presented with a charge to voluntarily incorporate cover crops, nutrient management practices, and structural projects aimed at holding nutrients in place and reducing nitrogen and phosphorus losses. This call to action has been well-received- cover crop adoption in the past decade has grown to more than 4 million acres statewide, and landowners are installing nutrient reduction wetlands and edge of field practices at record levels year over year. All of this work is happening in addition to continued commitment to “traditional” soil conservation practice adoption at historic levels. more
Jan McClurg retires in March. more
IDALS cost share programs had another record year of conservation practice implementation in FY2023. Below are highlights of these accomplishments broken down by practice and by District. more
Your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices have multiple programs competing for staff time and attention. Last November the 2018 Farm Bill was ex-tended through September 30, 2024. This extension allows authorized programs, including ARC and PLC, CRP and other programs, to continue operating. more
Commissioners, from left: Chad Dexter, Christine Bolte, Joshua Witt, Lora Schmidt, Richard Golinghorst. more
Cost share funds offer reimbursement up to 50% for conservation practices in-stalled on eligible agricultural land.  Qualifying practices include grassed waterways, terraces, water and sediment control basins, etc.  Technical assistance is available to help determine what practices may be needed and to assist with the design. There are also programs that can assist with Forest Stand Improvement, Tree Plantings, Windbreaks, and other forestry practices.  Now is the time to apply!  Applicants are funded on a first come, first served basis so don’t hesitate - Apply today! more
High School Seniors intending to further their education, while pursuing programs of study in any field of agriculture, environmental science, or natural resources, have until Friday, February 23, 2024 to apply.  more
With regret, Scott County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) will not be doing our tree or native plant sale this year.  We hope to return to doing our tree sale and native plant sale in 2025! more
Iowa averaged about 201 bushels of corn per acre last year, an estimate that eclipsed the previous year’s yields and ranks fourth-highest in the state’s history, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. more
Iowa Farm to School efforts received a significant boost in the 2022-23 school year with the launch of the Iowa Local Food for Schools program. more
Farm couples who are looking for a chance to review their goals while learning and relaxing in a scenic part of the state should consider attending the Farm Couple Getaway, Feb. 16-17 in northeast Iowa. more
Here are 2023 sales of Scott County land zoned for agriculture outside of Davenport and Bettendorf. more
Iowa farm land values reached $11,385, the highest ever, in Iowa State University’s annual land value survey of land owners. more
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