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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Monthly Archives: February 2014

A mosquito abatement workshop is scheduled for March 24 at the J.B. and Hallie Jester Building located at 1801 Old Settlers Blvd  in Round Rock with registration at 8 a.m. and the program from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a registration fee of $50 which includes lunch, handbooks and other workshop materials.

This workshop is designed to train personnel in cities and municipalities that are in the field of mosquito abatement or are working on setting up a mosquito control program.

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Annie’s Project is a workshop series for farmwomen with a passion for agri-business and/or involvement in an agri-business they married into, were a part of all their life, inherited or just plain wanted to start on their own. They will gain an understanding of farm and ranch management and decision-making in the complex, dynamic world of agriculture. The six-week course will be held on Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m. and is scheduled for April 15, 22, 29 and continues May 6, 13, and 20. The program will empower farm women to be better business partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical information.

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Citizens will have the opportunity to get their hands on the newest irrigation technology during the Williamson County Residential Irrigation Workshop. The workshop will be a come and go event beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 22 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Williamson County campus and ending at 12 noon. The campus is located at 3151 SE Inner Loop in Georgetown.

Demonstrations will give homeowners insights on how their sprinkler system works; how to recognize water pressure issues; how to set controllers for water efficiency; how to diagnose problems and make simple repairs plus how to do simple drip conversions.

The presenters will include professionals from Ewing Irrigation, Rain Bird Irrigation, Texas Land & Water Designs, City of Round Rock, City of Georgetown and the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Williamson County Master Gardeners are coordinating the event to help citizens understand that landscape irrigation accounts for up to 70 percent of residential water usage in the summer months– with most homeowners overwatering landscapes, sometimes to the detriment of their landscape.

As water availability continues to be a growing concern in Central Texas, citizens need to understand how to conserve more water while still maintaining a beautiful landscape.

For more information contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Service office in Williamson County at 512.943.3300.


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The thirteenth annual Texas Commodity Symposium will be held Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Amarillo in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show in the Grand Plaza Room at the Amarillo Civic Center. The free event will begin at 9:30 a.m.

The symposium, which is hosted by the Corn Producers Association of Texas, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., Texas Grain Sorghum Association, Texas Peanut Producers Board and Texas Wheat Producers Association, will conclude with the annual Ag Appreciation Luncheon, presented by the symposium and the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Ag Council.

“The program again brings pertinent information to those in the agricultural industry, as well as the local community,” TGSA Executive Vice President Wayne Cleveland said.

“Agricultural production plays an important role to the area’s economy, as it brings in more than $12.2 billion to the High Plains,” CPAT Executive Vice President David Gibson said. “Events such as this symposium are a great way for us to provide pertinent information to farmers and ranchers, as well as the communities they support.”

Wyman Meinzer, the official photographer for the state of Texas, will present the symposium’s keynote address during the Ag Appreciation Luncheon. Meinzer’s photography is renowned, and in his more than 33 years as a photographer he has photographed and/or written 24 large format books and his work has been featured on the cover of more than 250 magazines.

“Meinzer’s work is nothing short of breathtaking, and his eclectic experience across the state brings a unique perspective and interesting tale,” TPPB Executive Director Shelly Nutt said.

Additionally, the symposium will examine a variety of issues that impact producers and the agribusiness sector. Featured topics this year include the farm bill and agricultural policy, estate planning, market and weather outlook, and program updates from NRCS and FSA.

Additionally, the Water Conservation Advisory Council will recognize its 2013 Blue Legacy Award in Agriculture recipients at the event as well.

The event is made free of charge for attendees because of the generous support of the symposium’s sponsors, including ArmTech Insurance Services, Bayer CropScience, DuPont Pioneer, High Plains Journal, Monsanto, and National Peanut Board.

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The President signed the farm bill into law on Friday, February 7 in Michigan.

Even though there is a lot of excitement about the bill being passed, it will take several months for USDA-FSA to interpret the changes in the new bill and be ready to implement it for producers.  Extension Specialist Joe Outlaw notes, producers should be cautioned that what they have read or have been told is in the farm bill is subject to change until the regulations for each of the programs is published.

If past experience is a guide, sign-up would not occur until summer at the earliest but there are significant changes to the commodity programs that provide the safety net to row crop producers that producers will need to become familiar with.

Direct payments that have provided the bulk of the producer safety net have been eliminated.  Producers will have to make a choice between a new agriculture risk coverage (ARC) program that protects producers against income losses relative their recent income experience and price loss coverage (PLC) that provides income protection against deep price declines.

Producers will also have the opportunity to update their base acres allowing them to obtain protection on crops they currently grow rather than what they grew during the 1980s.

These two decisions will have to be made for the 2014 crop and will not be changeable for the life of the farm bill.  They are also quite complicated but Extension Economists with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are working educational materials and a tool to assist producers with these decisions.

Cotton producers will no longer participate in commodity programs other than the marketing loan program that protects against very low prices.  The primary government safety net for cotton producers will be from a new cotton only insurance program referred to as stacked income protection plan (STAX).  STAX will not be available until the 2015 crop year at the earliest so the bill provides cotton producers a transition payment that is similar to the direct payment in previous farm bills.

Dairy producers will have the opportunity to purchase a milk over feed costs margin insurance program to protect them from low milk prices, high feed costs or some combination.  Again, a decision aid is being developed to educate producers about their insurance choices.

A new area-wide insurance program will be available to all producers to purchase beginning in 2015 that is designed to protect them against losses that would normally fall within their insurance deductible range.

Prior to sign-up with FSA, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will conduct educational meetings across the state in cooperation with Texas FSA.