With crop supplies approaching record levels this year, transportation regulations and exemptions are a critical aspect of today's agriculture with farmers seeking the latest information in anticipation of harvest. As part of Iowa Farm Bureau's "Margin Management Series," a live webinar will be held on Thursday, September 11 at 1 p.m. The webinar, titled "2014 Transportation Rules for Farmers," features a presentation from officer Steve Robinson, Iowa Department of Transportation training officer.
Webinar participants will receive valuable information regarding registrations and licensing of farm vehicles. The unique opportunity to ask officer Robinson specific questions via text during the webinar can be a valuable resource for farmers.
Tune-in online Sept. 11 for an update on roadway rules
"Farmers need the latest information on transportation regulations and equipment issues, especially in preparation for harvest," says Ed Kordick, IFBF commodity services manager. "We invited officer Robinson to share the latest information with our farmers to ensure they are up to date on transportation regulations and exemptions in advance of harvest and the increased agricultural traffic on Iowa roadways."
Farmers can access the webinar from home or farm office by going to the IFBF website, finding the webinar banner and entering the forum as a guest on the day of the event. Interested attendees can also test their computer's compatibility and connection prior to the webinar by clicking the webinar banner. For more information, contact Kordick at [email protected].
Cooperative effort brings solutions to Iowa stray voltage issues
In other news, Iowa Farm Bureau recently announced that a cooperative effort between utilities and farm groups is providing solutions to Iowa's stray voltage problems. Low-level electrical current, commonly known to farmers as 'stray voltage', can impact Iowa's dairy cows and other livestock, reducing milk production and affecting animal behavior. A joint effort to provide an educational resource to manage and mitigate stray voltage issues, is now available to Iowa farmers, electricians and utilities.
The 'Iowa Stray Voltage Guide' aims to improve communication and solve problems.
Sponsored by the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, Alliant Energy, the Iowa State Dairy Association and Iowa Farm Bureau, the information in the 28-page Stray Voltage Guide was developed over that past several months. The collective group worked together to develop a consensus about the most effective way to provide education and to manage and mitigate stray voltage concerns, keeping in mind the best interests of farmers, livestock and electric utilities. The guide is a contemporary tool to help farmers who are concerned about whether their animals are experiencing stray voltage issues and provides standard procedures for testing for stray voltage and identifies common causes of stray voltage.
New guide provides education to mitigate stray voltage problem
"We see stray voltage when electrical current is carried on neutral wires, and it often shows up at grounding points, such as livestock watering tanks, fencers or other metallic devices," says Regi Goodale, director of regulatory affairs, Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. "We're pleased with the collaborative development of this guide, which will help to address an existing issue for farmers, while also aiding utility workers and electricians, so that stray voltage can be mitigated in the future."
"Animals that come into contact with stray voltage may experience tingling sensations or involuntary muscle contractions. For dairy farmers, it can be subtle to observe, and you may only realize what the problem is when you see high somatic cell counts and poor reproduction," says Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition (IFAC) executive director, Denny Harding. "Stray voltage can cause dairy cows stress and discomfort. Effects can include the loss of 20% or more of an animal's milk production and longer intervals between calving," says Harding.
"We're pleased that Iowa dairy industry partners have worked together in this proactive way to help minimize stray voltage," says Larry Shover, a dairy farmer from Delhi and Iowa State Dairy Association president. "Keeping cows healthy and comfortable is vital in our efforts to provide nutritious, healthful and good-tasting dairy products."
Diagnosing the problem, coming up with a workable solution
Fixing the situation first involves diagnosing the problem, then coming up with a workable solution. To assist with this process, the Iowa Stray Voltage Guide includes a farm wiring checklist. "Providing an environment where stray voltage does not impact our farmers' ability to maintain healthy and productive livestock is key, says Tony Harvey, senior agriculture representative with Alliant Energy. "The guide provides farmers with practical information that can be used to find stray voltage sources and provides ways to fix potential issues before they become a problem. We are proud to be a part of this effort that benefits our farmers and their livestock."
Farmers can work with their utility provider to identify sources of stray voltage and take steps to mitigate the causes of the problems and access resources to remedy the situation. "Farmers are interested in making sure all the animals on their farm are healthy and in a good environment; consumers expect nothing less. Having this tool accessible to bring a standard process for identifying unacceptable levels of stray voltage is a win-win for everyone, especially for livestock," says Harding.