NEW VIENNA, Iowa — To take full advantage of fertilizer in manure, correct application rates and uniform application are important issues, said Angie Rieck–Hinz, an agronomist who works with Iowa State University Extension\'s Water Quality Initiatives for Small Iowa Beef and Dairy Feedlot Operations. Last week 40 attended a manure tour at three New Vienna farms sponsored by Extension and the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District. At Wayne Brunsman\'s farm, Extension staff led participants through a manure spreader calibration exercise to help fine–tune application rates of nutrients used for crop production. Plastic sheets were placed at uniform intervals across the application swath. After manure was applied collection sheets were individually weighed and weights recorded. Inspecting the range of individual weights collected showed the relative application amounts across the swath. The average application rate collected on all sheets was used to determine the average field application. The average application was used to approximate application across the entire field. Manure has a value, Rieck–Hinz said. She estimated that the nutrients in the manure Brunsman was applying were worth $23 per ton. That doesn\'t include the value of micronutrients or organic matter.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Martha Holdridge was thrilled when she learned that her grass–finished beef operation in Greenbrier County, W.V., West Wind Farm, supported carbon sequestration and in fact had a net greenhouse gas sink. Holdridge didn\'t start out as a farmer. An Ames native, she graduated from Cornell University with a degree in government and public administration. Her husband, John, was a West Point graduate who worked for the State Department and the U.S. Foreign Service. \"We spent half our adult lives overseas and our permanent residence was in Maryland,\" Holdridge said in a presentation at last week\'s Iowa Organic Conference at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. \"Neither of us had any background in farming.\"
DUBUQUE, Iowa — When Brittany Bethel moved to Dubuque, the Farmers Market is the first places she visited. While there she learned that Dubuque County ISU Extension was looking for a regional foods coordinator. For Bethel it was a perfect fit. She hit the ground running when she was hired in September 2012. A Wausau, Wis., native, she became interested in local foods at the University of Wisconsin—Madison where she earned a degree in community and environmental sociology. During college she worked in the student organic garden. A production internship at JenEhr Family Farm turned into a three–year job. JenEhr runs a large Community Supported Agriculture farm, a pasture poultry operation, and an organic U–pick strawberry patch. After her internship JenEhr hired her to manage its stand at the Dane County Farmers Market in Madison.
DECORAH, Iowa — Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative has received a $95,600 grant from the USDA to connect school cafeterias with local farmers through its Farm to School program. It was one of 71 projects throughout the country announced recently by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Teresa Wiemerslage, ISU Extension Regional Program Coordinator and project director for the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative grant, said the timing of this grant is perfect.