• Drought remains severe despite heavy rain

    Assistant Editor

    Despite the 5.25 inches of rain that hit Montgomery County last weekend, the drought remains an agricultural and economical concern.

    Aaron Saeugling, the Iowa State crop specialist for the tri-county area, said corn is too far along for the rain to be of much help, but it was beneficial to soybeans and especially subsoil moisture.

  • Corn Moping, Farmers hoping for rain as dry weather persists


    Saturday's scattered showers didn't provide much relief to the severe drought conditions plaguing southwest Iowa. Persistently dry weather continues to stress crops and livestock in Montgomery County and across the Midwest, threatening food and ethanol supplies and fueling fears of higher costs to those commodities.

  • USDA adds 62 Iowa Counties to natural disaster designation list

    DES MOINES — Iowa State Executive Director for USDA Farm Service Agency, John R Whitaker, announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 62 Iowa counties as part of a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation.  

    Farm operators who have suffered major production and/or physical losses caused by drought beginning July 24 and continuing may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans.  

    A Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation has been issued for 42 Iowa counties as the primary disaster area.  

  • U.S. tops 7,800 Farmers Markets

    WASHINGTON D.C. – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced last week a 9.6 percent increase in National Farmers Market Directory listings as the kickoff to National Farmer's Market Week.

  • ISU Extension beef specialist excited to work with industry

    ARMSTRONG — Although the current concern for area cattle producers is the drought, the new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist in southwest Iowa said his background and experience will help him build a program that’s beneficial to all facets of the industry.

  • USDA designates 76 additional counties as primary disaster areas

    WASHINGTON D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack designated 76 additional counties in six states last week as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.

  • Gov. Branstad issues disaster proclamation

    DES MOINES —  Gov. Branstad issued a disaster emergency proclamation Thursday that will provide relief to Iowa farmers hit hard by the drought being experienced in the state.

    This proclamation remains in affect for the next 60 days.  The assistance comes in the form of a suspension of state laws and regulations affecting the transport of hay, straw and stover.

    The drought has destroyed or depleted sources of these products that are necessary for livestock production and feed.

    Specifically, this proclamation allows for:

  • Tips offered to help conserve water

    AMES — Cracks in the yard, brown lawn, wilting plants. These are just surface indicators of severe drought conditions in your area.

    The more serious issue is the reduction of groundwater for necessary uses, including potable (drinking) water, said Kristi Cooper, family life specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Cooper offers several tips for homeowners to start conserving water.

  • Emergency haying, grazing available Aug. 2

    DES MOINES —  Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director John R. Whitaker announced last week the emergency haying and grazing for all Iowa counties for certain practices enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), effective on Aug. 2.  

    Haying activities must be completed by Aug. 31.  All livestock and hay must be removed by Sept. 30.

  • Ask the Experts: Growing potatoes

    Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists share information about the potato (Solanum tuberosum), one of the most important vegetable crops in the world. To have additional plant and garden questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or hortline@iastate.edu.

    Why are my potatoes knobby?

    Fluctuations in soil moisture levels during tuber development may cause knobby potatoes. Watering on a regular basis (about once a week) during dry periods will help prevent this problem.