Tama County WLL hosted its first Learning Session since COVID hit on August 31st and it marked it’s 39th event since its beginning in 2007. The in-person and socially distanced event took place at the Erin and Steve Murty farm east of Gladbrook, IA. The evening event provided wonderful soil health and cover crop information for approximately 20 participants.
Tina Cibula, Resource Conservationist with NRCS, discussed soil health and provided an indepth discussion about cover crops. She then demonstrated several soil health tests to educate the participants about what healthy soil is and how they can improve the health of their soil. Then Erin and Steve Murty led the group to one of their corn fields to demonstrate firsthand what the cover crops look like in late August and discussed which types of cover crops worked best for them. Then, Jack Boyer, a SWCD Commissioner with Tama County Soil and Water Conservation District, showed his custom cover crop planter and discussed how it works.
Lastly, as is part of the WLL process, the participants were broken into groups to answer two questions designed by Tama WLL lead contact, Melody Bro. The questions helped them think about what their next steps will be regarding cover crops and what obstacles they see or perceive. The evening, which was a great success, ended with cookies and ice cream and further discussion.
Tama County WLL will host this in person cover crop Learning Session on August 31 at the Steve and Erin Murty farm at 1435 Hwy. 96, east of Gladbrook, IA. Registration will begin at 6pm and the event at 6:30pm. This will mark the 39th local event for Tama County WLL, which has been active for 14 years!
The Murtys will share about their experience growing cover crops for over 10 years and how they incorporate cover crops into their livestock operation. Tina Cibula, NRCS Resource Conservationist and Tama County livestock producer will also present. Contact Melody Bro at 641-484-2702, Ext. 305 or at email@example.com for more information. This event will be held outdoors.
The Worth County Extension and Worth & Winnebago County WLL are hosting the Flower Garden, Tree Care & Insect Pest Management Workshop on August 5 at 6pm at the Worth County Fairgrounds. The event will feature Dr. Donald Lewis, Professor and Extension Entomologist at Iowa State University (ISU) and Dr. Grant Thompson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture at ISU.
Topics will include: Proper Tree Pruning, Perennial Flower Care, Landscape Design, Control of Emerald Ash Borer, Plant Propagation and Insect Control in Lawns and Vegetable/Flower Gardens. The event is free and includes a Maid-Rite meal. No registration required.
The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), in partnership with USDA-NRCS, is hosting two events July 20 and 22, focusing on soil health and other management practices. The July 20 event focuses on women landowners.
July 20 LICA event: at the Land Improvement Contractors Association Farm near Melbourne, IA in Marshall County from 10-3 with lunch provided by ICGA. Addresses needs and resources for farmers and owners, especially women. Hear from NRCS staff, a Tama County woman landowner and farmer and others.
July 22 Delaware County event: at Grant & Tana Guetzko’s farm near Delhi, IA from 10-3 with lunch provided by ICGA. Hear from local farmers and NRCS staff.
Registration is not required although lunch must be reserved by July 16 by calling Ben Gleason at 515-225-9242 or by email at bgleason@iowa corn.org.
The WLL State Team sponsored a statewide Learning Session entitled “The Carbon Market: Soil Health, Carbon Sequestration & Economics” on June 15, 2021. The session was attended by 50 participants that gained valuable information and offered thought-provoking questions.
Hillary Olson, NRCS State Soil Health Specialist shared about soil health, carbon sequestration and federal conservation programs. Kate Bussanmas, Assistant Director of IDALS-DSCWQ shared about state conservation programs. And, Ruth McCabe, Conservation Agronomist with Heartland Coop shared lots of information about the carbon market and tied all information shared together. All facts and examples shared in the session were extremely important and valuable to anyone considering getting involved in the carbon market.
The Zoom session was recorded and the link will be provided to all WLL Local Teams soon.
Buchanan County WLL held another informational and successful Connecting Women in Ag virtual seminar on May 13, 2021. This was the third such seminar sponsored by Buchanan WLL, with each featuring local ag-related businesses. The seminars have provided the opportunity for the small ag business owners to discuss their business and marketing, which is not only very interesting but also provides ideas and opportunity for others thinking of starting a small ag business and also provides local consumer opportunities.
In the May seminar, Josh Dansdill with NE Iowa RC&D discussed farmers’ markets in Iowa and more specifically in northeast Iowa. Josh talked about the various structures used by markets in the state and variety of market manager structure. He further discussed the opportunities that farmers’ markets provide to Iowa’s farmers and consumers.
Next, Katie Olthoff talked about the business ChopLocal, of which she is Co-founder and Director. ChopLocal provides an alternative supply chain for meat in Iowa. In response to issues created due to COVID, such as local meat lockers being booked well into the future and also more consumers desiring “direct to consumer” access even prior to the pandemic, ChopLocal was created and began operation late in 2020.
ChopLocal is the “Etsy of Meat” as it serves as an online marketplace to connect meat producers and businesses with consumers similar to an online farmers’ market. One of their goals is to be inclusive of conventional and niche (organic, grass-fed etc.) producers, so both types of meat products are available.
The seminar was attended by 12 participants, with many good questions asked which led to more information shared.
ISU Extension & Outreach is holding a 7-week Master Conservationist Program, which will focus on history and current conservation opportunities in Iowa. The program is a combination of in-person and online learning. It takes place each Tuesday evening from 6-9pm from May 18 through June 29, 2021. The in-person sessions are located in North Central Iowa. The cost is $125 and covers all materials and refreshments. Register no later than Friday, May 14, 2021 at https://bit.ly/masterconservationist. Contact Susan Schmitz with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-832-9597.
Women Land and Legacy is hosting a statewide virtual Learning Session entitled The Carbon Market: Soil Health, Carbon Sequestration & Economics on June 15, 2021 from 2-4pm.
Hillary Olson, NRCS State Soil Health Specialist will share about soil health, conservation planning and federal conservation programs. Kate Bussanmas, Assistant Director of IDALS-DSCWQ will discuss state conservation programs and Ruth McCabe, Agronomist with Heartland Co-op will share about the carbon market and carbon credits.
RSVPs are required by June 4, as space is limited. Register with your WLL local team. See this website for the local team lead in your county.
Buchanan County WLL held their second successful Lunch & Learn on March 4, 2021. The event was attended by 17 people and focused on local small agriculture-related businesses.
Lindsy Trotter, owner of Chilled Freezer Meals shared about her business that offers frozen meals made for local fresh foods. Josh Spece, who co-owns In The Country Garden & Gifts with his mother, Sue Spece spoke about their business. He shared their journey as small business owners as well as tips and tricks for home gardens.
The Buchanan County WLL local team is utilizing several resources to add to their success. For their recent Zoom Learning Sessions, they have utilized Eventbrite for registrations and Mailchimp to assist with the email campaign.
On January 8, 2021, the Buena Vista and Pocahontas County WLL Team conducted an informative virtual Learning Session entitled Cybersecurity: Tips to Reduce Your Gigabyte-sized Security Risk to a Kilobyte. The Zoom event was attended by 13 people. The event was also sponsored by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, ISU Extension and Outreach, USDA-NRCS and USDA-FSA in both counties.
Matt Morton described why we are all more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks and provided a history of communication (from the telegraph to present) that showed how communication security has been a risk for 150 years. Today, data breaches are very costly and can take up to a full year before they are discovered. Matt discussed viruses and how ransomware can hold businesses and agencies hostage. Interestingly, phishing incidences are higher in the Midwest because we tend to trust others and get pulled into the scam.
Healthcare cyber attacks have become more frequent during the pandemic. Stealing of intellectual property has become a more significant risk in recent years, including property from Pioneer (Dupont) and Monsanto. Automated farm machinery can increase cyber threats!
Matt shared how to protect ourselves against phishing, romance predators and overall cyber risks. Cyber security is now affecting everyone! Even our at-home devices (Alexa, Google Home) are a security risk as they are always listening and some information is recorded for marketing purposes, although privacy settings are available.
The event was recorded and will be available on the Buena Vista County Extension Service website at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/buenavista on January 13, 2021.