Extension Information



4 Extension Office Closed – Staff Retreat

4 ISUEO Region 4 Program Showcase, 5:00 p.m., NE Iowa Dairy Center Calmar

9 Clayton County Extension Council Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Extension Office, Elkader

Iowa Master Gardener Class Coming in September

The Iowa Master Gardener program will hold 2014 fall trainings at 22 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county offices beginning in September.

The Master Gardener course includes 40 hours of Web-based and face-to-face local training and a one-day training session on the Iowa State University campus.

Classes will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9:30 p.m. They start on September 16 with an orientation beginning at 6 p.m. There is also a day at campus on a Saturday in October. For more information or to sign up for the class, contact the Fayette County Extension Office at 563-425-3331.

Iowans interested in gardening and volunteering in their community should consider joining the Iowa Master Gardener program,” said Denny Schrock, Iowa Master Gardener coordinator. “We welcome long-term veterans of gardening, novices and those with varying degrees of experience as new trainees.”

Iowa Master Gardener training covers many aspects of gardening – from soil and weed management to botany and growing all types of horticultural plants. Since its inception in 1979, the Iowa program has trained more than 10,000 participants. To see a full description of the topics covered, visit the Iowa Master Gardener website at www.mastergardener.iastate.edu.

In partial exchange for training, Master Gardener participants are expected to share their time and knowledge in approved projects within their local communities. Trainees must complete a one-year Master Gardener internship consisting of 40 hours of approved volunteer service projects. In subsequent years to maintain active Master Gardener status an additional 20 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of educational updates are required annually.

Master Gardeners may work at local public gardens, schools, nursing homes, or other community beautification and educational projects,” said Schrock. “Some Master Gardeners answer questions on the radio, give presentations at gardening seminars, or discuss plants at local plant sales. There are many ways to volunteer.”

The Master Gardener program is unique both for its community emphasis and because it is based on the broad research-based resources of Iowa State University. Master Gardeners provide a credible source of information about home gardening across Iowa, said Schrock.


Worksheet Helps Producers Identify Selections for 2014 Farm Bill

The Agricultural Act of 2014 is important legislation. It provides farmland owners and operators the opportunity to make a one-time election of a commodity program for 2014 through 2018. The legislation also allows the operator to enroll annually in a chosen program. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provides several resources to assist in this decision-making process.

While the Farm Bill of 2014 provides opportunities for farmers to update their farm selections, it is important that they consider several factors before making these decisions,” said Ann Johanns, extension program specialist. Johanns coordinates Ag Decision Maker, an agricultural economics and business website sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

We have developed several tools, including the Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update, to assist owners and operators as they determine what is best for their business and family,” Johanns said.

Alejandro Plastina, an extension economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, developed the Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update.

Opportunities to update base acres and payment yields for commodity programs are few and far between,” Plastina said. “So farmers should seriously consider this opportunity provided by the 2014 Farm Bill.”

The worksheet is a simple tool to evaluate the convenience of having the payment formulas for some commodity programs updated to better reflect current production patterns on a farm-by-farm basis,” Plastina added. He noted that the decision tool includes multiple worksheets to allow information for up to five farms.

The Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update worksheet was designed to help Iowa farmland owners with base acreage reallocation decisions for the Agricultural Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, and with payment yield update decisions for the PLC program. To access this and other online tools, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm.

To further support producers, a series of workshops will be held across Iowa to provide information about the Farm Bill and the impact it has on producers. The meetings will be held once final regulations are set. A complete schedule will be posted on the AgDM Farm Bill Web page at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/info/farmbill.html.



Sandy Ruckhaber Inducted into Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame

Sandy Ruckhaber of Luana was inducted into the 2014 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the 4-H Exhibits Building at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday, Aug. 17. Eighty-two counties participated this year and 110 inductees were recognized for their outstanding service and dedication to 4-H. Inductees or their surviving family members were presented a certificate by the Iowa 4-H Foundation as they were introduced on stage and honored at a reception that followed the ceremony.

Sandy has had a passion for horses and all things connected to horses all her life. As soon as her daughter, Suzie, was old enough she joined 4-H and along the way Sandy got involved with helping the other 4-H members with their horse projects. Through the years Sandy has given many horse clinics and helped with the county fair horse show. During the past 15 years Sandy has been involved with the Great Strides of Northeast Iowa Therapeutic Riding Program. This a horseback riding program for physically and mentally challenged children and adults. She hopes to continue to help 4-H Horse Project members for as long as she can.

Counties select inductees for their exceptional work in contributing to the lives of 4-H members and the overall 4-H program, said Tammy Muller, Clayton County 4-H & Youth Program Coordinator. Many inductees served as club leaders, youth mentors, fair superintendents or fair board members, Iowa State University Extension county council members, county youth council members, fair judges, financial supporters, chaperones or ISU Extension and Outreach staff members. The inductees have demonstrated dedication, encouragement, commitment and guidance to Iowa’s 4-H’ers through the years.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the counties and state to recognize and celebrate 4-H volunteers and staff who are committed to Iowa’s youth and the 4-H Youth Development program,” said Chris Gleason, 4-H youth program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

The Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame was initiated in 2002 to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of 4-H. A display of previous honorees was available for viewing at the 2014 Iowa State Fair in the 4-H Exhibits Building.

Information about the 2014 inductees and previous inductees to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame is available on the Iowa 4-H Foundation website, https://www.iowa4hfoundation.org/ organized by year and by county.