• Control snakes on a home property

    AMES — Warm spring weather brings out many critters, including some that homeowners may not like to see in their yards — snakes. While there is no 100-percent effective snake deterrent, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Wildlife Specialist Rebecca Christoffel offers some tips on making a home landscape as “snake-free” as possible.

  • Arbor Day proclamation
  • A farm, food and jobs bill for this year

    Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee took a first look at a proposed version of the Farm Bill – or, as I call it – the farm, food and jobs bill.

    This is an important first step in the process to write the legislation and get it passed into law.

    Farmers, ranchers, and the men and women who live in rural communities deserve to know what the rules will be moving forward.

    With the current law expiring, we cannot wait any longer to reauthorize this essential law for rural America. It needs to happen this year.

  • USDA confirms BSE found in 10-year-old California dairy cow

    WASHINGTON – USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today released the following update on the BSE detection announced earlier this week:

    On April 24, USDA confirmed the nation’s 4th case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in an animal that was sampled for the disease at a rendering facility in central California.

    This animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or to human health in the United States.

  • Ask the Experts: Planting trees

    There are many reasons to plant a tree besides to celebrate Arbor Day on April 27 -- trees conserve energy, bring beauty to the yard, attract birds and help clean the air, to name just a few.

    This week Iowa State University Extension horticulture specialists share proper tree planting techniques. Gardeners with additional questions can contact the experts by calling or emailing the ISU Extension horticulture hotline at 515-294-3108 or hortline@iastate.edu.

    How large of a hole should be dug when planting a tree?

  • 4-H announces special events for state fair

    AMES — A youth robotics challenge and a culinary challenge are two of the featured Iowa 4-H events at the 2012 Iowa State Fair.

    The Bratney Companies 4-H Robotics Challenge and Cook This! 4-H Culinary Challenge return to the 4-H Exhibits Building for five days of competition.

    Applications for both events are available online from the Iowa 4-H website.

    Applications for both events will be accepted until June 1, and teams selected and announced July 1.

    Robotics Challenge

  • Ask the Experts: Dealing with damage caused by freezing temperatures

    Early spring weather sped up plant, tree and shrub growth, making them vulnerable to several nights of cold temperatures this week.

    Fruit plants and trees were especially hard hit by freezing temperatures. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulture specialists have received many questions from gardeners concerned about damage to plants and trees. To have additional questions answered, contact the Hortline at 515-294-3108 or hortline@iastate.edu.

    Is it safe to eat rhubarb after the plants have been exposed to freezing temperatures?

  • Iowa feedlot fined $10K for polluting creek

    MONONA COUNTY — Petersen-Bubke, LLP, a beef cattle feedlot in Monona County, has agreed to pay a $10,000 civil penalty to the United States for violations of the federal Clean Water Act related to discharges of pollutants into Rush Creek and its tributaries.

    According to an administrative civil consent agreement and final order filed by EPA in Kansas City, Kan., EPA personnel conducted a compliance evaluation and inspection of the facility in March 2011 and observed evidence of discharges of process wastewater and pollutants from the facility into the creek.

  • Visiting the Senator
  • More than just a hobby

    Farming as a way of life has been handed down for generations in the Olson family.
    They trace it back to EJ (Erick John) Olson who immigrated from Småland, Sweden in 1892, and beyond.

    They tell how EJ’s father, who farmed in Småland, drowned while hauling wood with horse and wagon over a frozen lake. That tragedy, along with the poor, stony land and years of drought, may well have been what drove E.J. to leave Sweden and seek his future in America.