AMES, Iowa — Eight young people from Osage were among the 639 young people to receive Iowa FFA Degrees at the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference last week at Iowa State University in Ames. The Iowa FFA Degree is the highest honor that can be bestowed on an FFA member by the state association. Senior Colin Barker, son of Kim and Gordon Barker, worked at his parents\' business National Poultry Equipment Co. helping build poultry machines as his Supervised Agricultural Experience. \"It\'s cool to get rewarded something you work hard on,\" Barker said.
FARMERSBURG, Iowa — Nick Echard and Ryan Zitelman are young farmers building cattle operations. Echard, 35, was recently elected president of the Clayton County Cattlemen\'s Association, and Zitelman, 23, is vice president. \"We\'re trying to do our best to get as many members and get as many involved as we can, take what we have and make it better,\" Zitelman said. \"We want to build off what the guys did before us.\" The two cattle producers and friends are also participating in the Iowa Cattlemen\'s Association Young Cattlemen\'s Leadership Program. They see the ICA program as a way to meet new people and make connections in Des Moines and around the state.
ALLISON, Iowa — Allison cattle producers Edward and Randal Johnson and Scott Bruns have been using cover crops to protect soil and extend forage supplies for several years. They shared their experiences during a recent cover crop meeting at the Butler County Extension Office in Allison. The Johnsons have 70 cow/calf pairs, finish out their calves and grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa. Bruns has 90 cow/calf pairs, also finishes his calves and has a corn, soybean, meadow rotation. Edward said they\'ve grown cover crops for five years. They started by seeding rye or triticale after they chopped silage.
GARNER, Iowa — For Iowa Cattlemen\'s Association President Ed Greiman, the word, busy, best describes the past five months. Greiman, who was elected to a two–year term in December, represented Iowa at the recent National Cattlemen\'s Beef Association Spring Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. Also attending from Iowa were David Towbridge of Tabor, Phil Reemstsma of DeWitt, and ICA CEO Matt Deppe. Dave Petty of Eldora, who chairs the Agriculture and Food Policy Committee of the National Cattlemen\'s Beef Association, was also at the event.
AMES, Iowa — Elizabeth Bjelica, a senior at Charles City High School, not only received her Iowa FFA Degree at the recent Iowa FFA Leadership Conference in Ames, she was also a Star in Agriscience finalist. She raises and sells market swine and sheep for her SAE and became interested in agriscience when she weighed in some light fair pigs and was worried that they wouldn\'t be big enough by fair
DECORAH, Iowa — Brian Lang, Extension field agronomist in Decorah, has fielded several calls about alfalfa winter injury. \"There was some alfalfa winter–kill, with the majority occurring on south–facing slopes of alfalfa fields seeded in the spring of 2012,\" Lang said.
LA PORTE CITY, Iowa — Selling pumpkins, squash, gourds and chrysanthemums grew into a state award for Natalie Hanson. The La Porte Dysart FFA member is this year\'s Iowa FFA Star in Agribusiness. She received the honor at the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference last month in Ames. When she applied for her Iowa FFA Degree, the highest degree a member can receive from the state, her FFA advisor and agriculture instructor Louis Beck encouraged her to fill out an additional page to apply for the star award. A few months later, she learned she was one of six finalists. At the state convention, she was interviewed by three judges. During the Stars over Iowa Ceremony, she learned she was the winner. \"I was so excited,\" said Hanson, an 18–year–old senior at Union High School in LaPorte City.
WAUKON, Iowa — Given last summer\'s drought and a winter that never seemed to end, Allamakee County farmers are pleased with the result of aerial seeding cover crops into standing corn and soybeans, said Jake Groth, soil conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Waukon. Up until last year, farmers using cover crops generally seeded cereal rye or winter wheat after corn silage and then chopped or baled it in the spring, Groth said. Farmers with CSP and EQIP contracts weren\'t getting cover crops established in a timely manner to gain all the benefits, and they looked into having cover crop seed flown onto standing corn and soybeans in August.
WAUKON, Iowa — Kerry Troendle of Waukon has been drilling cereal rye, wheat or a wheat–rye mix into 20 acres of soybean ground after harvest for several years for soil conservation and to provide additional forage for his cattle. His cattle graze on the rye through the winter. When the cows come off in the spring, he lets the rye grow, and then mows, bales and wraps it. He waits a week, sprays it and then no–till plants corn a week later. \"I like it,\" Troendle said. \"It helps to make better use of the ground. I get an extra crop to help feed the cows, so I can at least plant a row crop and catch some of the $7 corn.\" Troendle runs 50 head of beef cows.
DES MOINES — Farmers with cover crops should contact their insurance providers if they are interested in haying or grazing after May 10. The USDA Risk Management Agency provided new guidance that says insurance providers may allow farmers to continue to