There are several upcoming ag related events -- field days, webinars and meetings -- exploring topics of interest to Iowa farmers and others involved in agriculture. Mark them on your calendar for next week and the week following if you are interested. The first one is the monthly Iowa Learning Farms webinar September 17.
ILF September webinar focuses on streambank erosion
SEPTEMBER 17: This month's Iowa Learning Farms webinar will be on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 11:30 a.m. The presenter for September is Tom Isenhart with Iowa State University's Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. His presentation is titled, "Do we know enough about streambank erosion to mitigate damage to stream ecosystems?"
Producers and land managers have made substantial progress over the last several decades in reducing soil loss from agricultural land to receiving waters from sheet and rill erosion. However, there is a growing body of evidence that much of the sediment and phosphorus delivered to the surface waters from farm fields originates from streambed and streambank erosion. This presentation will discuss the effects of altered watershed hydrology, sediment build-up from historical agricultural erosion of uplands, and riparian land management on streambed and stream bank erosion.
Much sediment comes from streambed and stream bank erosion
Tom Isenhart is an associate professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at ISU. His research focuses on stream and watershed ecology and addresses the design and establishment of landscape buffers to improve the environmental efficiency of agriculture; nutrient biogeochemistry in agro ecosystems; and watershed assessment. Teaching responsibilities include stream ecology, natural resources and agriculture, and general ecology.
The webinar is part of a free series, hosted by ILF, through Adobe Connect. The webinars are held on the third Wednesday of each month. They are free and all that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access. To connect to the webinar, go to connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/ at 11:30 a.m. on the morning of the webinar and log on using the "guest" option.
ILF has hosted a monthly webinar since January 2011. ILF site has links for archived webinars from all previous sessions. There are over 40 webinars available to view on a variety of topics including soil erosion, cover crops and farmer perspectives. These can be viewed at any time. The webinar archives are also available in podcast through iTunes.
Iowa Faith Conference to address climate change
SEPTEMBER 18: Iowa Interfaith Power & Light organization will host its fourth annual "Faith in a Changing Climate" conference on Thursday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tifereth Israel Synagogue, 924 Polk Blvd., in Des Moines. Purpose of this conference is to bring together people of faith from around Iowa who want to learn more about the religious response to climate change.
The theme of this year's conference is "Telling Your Story" and will feature keynote speaker Rev. Canon Sally Bingham. Bingham, an Episcopal priest and Canon for the Environment in the Diocese of California, was one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize the changing climate as a moral issue. She is founder and president of The Regeneration Project and its Interfaith Power & Light campaign, which currently has 15,000 congregation members in forty states. Bingham serves on the national board of the Environmental Defense Fund, and the advisory board of both the Union of Concerned Scientists and Climate One. She has received many awards including in 2012, the Rachel Carson Women in Conservation Award from the Audubon Society. Rev. Bingham is the lead author of Love God Heal Earth, a collection of 21 essays on environmental stewardship by religious leaders, published by St. Lynn's Press.
In addition, the conference also features Isaac Luria of Auburn Seminary and Auburn Action in New York City who will lead us in the workshop "Telling Your Story."
Co-sponsors of the conference include: Episcopal Diocese of Iowa; Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church; Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ; Presbytery of Des Moines Social Ministries Task Force; Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport; Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA; Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Des Moines; United Methodist Women – Iowa Annual Conference. Registration for the event is $40, which includes a light continental breakfast and climate-friendly lunch. For more information and to register, visit www.iowaipl.org.
About Iowa Interfaith Power & Light: Launched in October 2006, it is a joint response of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities to Climate Change. The organization works to protect the Earth and safeguard society's most vulnerable by providing education about global warming, assisting individuals and congregations with carbon footprint reduction, and advocating for sustainable policies at all levels of government. The group is currently working with over 300 congregations in Iowa and has over 2,000 people subscribed to its monthly newsletter.
Learn about land stewardship, farm succession issues
SEPTEMBER 26: Learn about land stewardship, adding multiple generations to the farm, at Seven W Farm field day – Sept. 26, near Paullina in northwest Iowa.
Finding a way to incorporate multiple generations into the farm operation while keeping the business viable and ensuring a good living for all is a challenge many farm families face today. With five children who wanted to farm, Dan and Lorna Wilson of Seven W Farm approached this dilemma by diversifying their farm and focusing on land stewardship and goal-setting through holistic management.
Join the Wilson family to see how they are integrating multiple enterprises and generations into the farm in a cohesive, ecologically-minded and financially sound system at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting on Friday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., near Paullina. The event – "Stewardship at Seven W Farm" – is free to attend and will include lunch. The Wilsons will prepare a main dish, and provide drinks and desserts. Guests are asked to bring a side dish to share.
RSVPs are requested for the meal. Contact Lauren Zastrow at [email protected] or 515-232-5661 by Tuesday, Sept. 23. The field day is sponsored by Land Stewardship Project and Prairie Creek Seed. Seven W Farm is located at 4342 Pierce Ave., about 4.5 miles northwest of town.
The day will begin with a farm tour and discussion of Biological Monitoring, an aspect of holistic management that helps farmers evaluate their land and determine whether different management is necessary.
The tour will include a stop to look at the Wilsons' pasture-farrowing hog operation. Following lunch, discussion will center around the farm's small grain production and how this alternative to corn and soybeans fits into the farm model. The last part of the day will focus on a discussion of forage chains and cover crops, and how the Wilsons use both in grass-based livestock systems and organic row-crop systems.
Farmers are excited about cover crops and what they can do
"We're really excited about cover crops and what they can do, both for preventing erosion and fitting in with our operation," Dan says. "We've been doing cover crops for three years, but keep getting more and more involved. Our goal is to have the soil covered 365 days out of the year."
Seven W Farm is a multigenerational family farm that includes 540 acres of organic corn, soybeans, barley and cover crops, as well as Niman Ranch pigs, organic dairy, pasture-based sheep, beef, laying hens and broilers.
Directions: From Paullina, go 2 miles west on Iowa Route 10, then 2.25 miles north on Pierce Avenue. There is a greenhouse on the left (west) side of the road. Look for Practical Farmers of Iowa field day signs along the way. Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2014 field day season features 35 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is available on Practical Farmers' website, or contact the PFI office at 515-232-5661 to request a printed copy. For additional information, call 515-232-5661 or visit the PFI website.
Bill Northey to present Deal Lecture at Iowa State Sept. 30
SEPTEMBER 30: Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey will present the 2014 William K. Deal Endowed Leadership Lecture Sept. 30 at Iowa State University.
He will talk about "Telling Our Story: The Future of Iowa's Farm Families" at 7 p.m. in the Dolezal Auditorium room 0127 Curtiss Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
An Iowa State alumnus with a bachelor's degree in agricultural business, Northey is serving his second term as Iowa secretary of agriculture. Northey is a fourth generation farmer and raises corn and soybeans on his family farm near Spirit Lake. He has served Iowa agriculture in numerous capacities, including as a former president of the National Corn Growers Association, as an active member of the Iowa Farm Bureau, as a Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner and as cofounder and president of Innovative Growers.
William K. Deal, an ISU alum with a bachelor's degree in ag education, established the lecture series to help prepare future leaders and innovators in agriculture. The lecture is organized by the Department of Agricultural Education & Studies in the College of Ag & Life Sciences and co-sponsored by the Committee on Lectures funded by the Government of the Student Body.