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Iowa officials travel to China to investigate BEEF MARKET

APRIL 30, 2014

Regional network focuses on locally-grown foods in Franklin County & surrounding area

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Look for t ips on

Fight against PEDV becomes multi-national effort

Rhubarb Roses i


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April 30, 2014 • Section C

Iowa beef producers investigate market in China


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here is a hunger for U.S. beef in China. We anxiously await the opening of the market for U.S. beef,” was the consistent message delivered to an Iowa Meat Trade Mission while in China March 31-April 4. Iowa beef producers Roger Brummett, Bedford and Dean Black, Somers, represented the Iowa Beef Industry Council on the mission. “We visited with high Chinese meat traders and staff of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) to learn about the potential for U.S. beef exports,” said Brummett, Chair of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “They presented an overview of the China market and discussed current policy issues between the two countries that need to be resolved before the market opens,” added Brummett. The three pillars for U.S. and China relations were listed as food safety, food security and sustainability. China has been closed to U.S. beef since 2003 when the first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) was found, and BSE is still listed as a concern as is ractopamine, a feed additive. The country is working towards a better food safety structure with increased regulations for food producers and manufacturers. “Their cold chain system is definitely improving,” said Black. “We toured a huge brand new cold storage facility in Nanjing and one being built in Suzhou. Each will allow for a thousand or more wholesale ‘meat shops’

Iowans explore opportunities for U.S. beef exports to China with the owner of City Shop, an upscale supermarket in Shanghai. Pictured left to right are beef producers Roger Brummett, of Bedford, and Dean Black, of Somers; Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; and Cui Yi Xiong, president of City Shop. The Iowa Meat Trade Mission was held March 31-April 4.

to be indoors, with electricity and near the freezer storage building. Beef is usually frozen when sent to China, so they are better prepared to receive and store beef.” The urbanization happening in China is resulting in a reduction of farmland. “On our travels around Shanghai, we saw thousands of highrise buildings for housing being built,” said Brummett. “They are building everywhere and significantly reducing the amount of land available for farming. Apparently their definition of food security may be changing with China accepting that importing food does not mean China is dependent on another country for their food supply.” Shanghai has the fastest growing E-commerce in the world with young people (born after 1990) ordering food online for delivery to their homes and of-

fices (due to the dense population in high-rise housing.) An online USMEF pork promotion resulted in the sales of almost 10,000 metric tons of pork in one week, so there is great potential to market U.S. beef in this manner. So what does this mean for U.S. beef? According to analysis by USMEF and the ATO, there is a general distinction between demand for grain vs. grass-fed beef (currently domestic, and from India, Australia and Brazil.) There is no other supplier that compares to the quality of U.S. beef. The demand for U.S. beef will be centered in chain restaurants, hotel fine dining and some retail (hot pot slices). There is also a market for beef offal as the Chinese eat all parts of the beef animal. The demand is there, the cold chain is improved, and the domestic cattle supply is declining, so the outlook for U.S. beef

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exports is good. Both Black and Brummett were impressed with the staffs of the USDA foreign agriculture offices and the U.S. Meat Export Federation who are working hard to create opportunities for beef and pork exports. The beef checkoff contributes funds from both the national and state level to USMEF. U.S. beef exports added $277 to the value of a fed steer in February. The Iowa trade team was coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and included Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, and representatives of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Partial funding for the trade mission was provided by the $1-per-head beef checkoff. ■

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April 30, 2014 • Section C

Yard and Garden

CARING FOR ROSES IN IOWA By Richard Jauron and Willy Klein ISU Extension Modern roses, such as hybrid teas, grandifloras and floribundas, are attractive additions to the home landscape. While roses are beautiful, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists say they

1. I placed soil around the base of my hybrid tea roses in fall. When should I remove the soil? Remove the soil in late March or early April in southern Iowa, mid-April in northern portions of the state. A frost or freeze in early spring won’t harm the roses. 2. When should I prune hybrid tea roses in spring? The upper portions of modern roses, such as hybrid teas, floribundas and grandifloras, typically winterkill due to exposure to low winter temperatures and extreme temperature changes. Gardeners should prune out the dead wood after the winter protection is removed from modern roses in late March to mid-April. 3. How should I prune hybrid tea roses in spring? In early spring, all dead wood should be removed from hybrid tea and other modern roses. Identifying live and dead wood is easy. Live wood is green and has plump, healthy buds. When pruned, the center of the stem (pith) is white. Dead wood is brown and has no live buds. Its pith is brown or gray. When pruning roses, make the cuts at least 1 inch below the dead, brown-colored areas on the canes. Make slanting cuts about one-fourth inch above healthy, outward-facing buds in the same direction as the bud. Remove the entire cane if there is no sign of life. Because of the severe winter weather, hybrid tea, grandiflora and floribunda roses often suffer a great deal of winter damage. Normally, the primary objective of rosarians in the upper Midwest is to remove all dead wood

do require good care. Proper planting is critical. After planting, important cultural practices include watering, fertilizing, deadheading, weeding, pest control and winter protection.

and save as much of the live tissue as possible. If roses suffer little winter damage because of a mild winter, prune the rose canes back to within 8 to 12 inches of the ground. 4. When would be the best time to transplant a rose? In Iowa, early spring (before the plant begins to leaf out) is the best time to transplant a rose. The optimal time period is normally early to mid-April. Dig up the rose using a shovel or spade and replant immediately. After transplanting, water the rose on a regular basis for several weeks. 5. How do you plant bare-root roses? Dormant, bare-root roses should be planted in early spring before the plants begin to leaf out. Before planting bare-root roses, soak their roots in water for several hours. In Iowa, the bud union (denoted by a knob or crook in the stem of the plant) of hybrid tea, grandiflora and floribunda roses should be planted 2 to 4 inches below the soil surface. This helps protect the rose from harsh winter weather. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the plant’s roots. Position the bare-root rose in the center of the hole with the bud union at the proper depth. Spread out the plant’s roots then begin to place soil back in the hole. Gently firm the soil around the roots as the hole is filled. Thoroughly water the plant after the hole has been filled. Let the soil settle and mound 3 to 4 inches of soil around the base of the canes to prevent desiccation injury. Remove the soil once growth begins.




PLANTING RHUBARB By Richard Jauron and Willy Klein ISU Extension Rhubarb, classed as a vegetable, is used as a fruit because its high acidity gives it a tart flavor. Iowa State University horticulturists make rhubarb planting recommendations

1. What would be a good planting site for rhubarb? Rhubarb performs best in well-drained, fertile soils that are high in organic matter. Work the soil deeply (12 to 15 inches) and add liberal amounts of organic matter, such as compost or barnyard manure, before planting. Rhubarb also requires full sun. The planting site should receive at least six hours of direct sun each day. Avoid shady sites near trees and shrubs. 2. When is the best time to plant rhubarb? Spring is the best time to plant rhubarb in Iowa. Plants can be purchased at garden centers or from mail-order catalogs. Digging and dividing large existing plants is another source of plants. Plants growing in pots should be planted at the same depth as they are currently growing in their pots. Bare-root plants should be planted with the buds 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface. Dig and divide large plants in early spring before growth starts and as soon as the soil can be worked easily. Dig deeply around the rhubarb clump and lift the entire plant

for gardeners planting their first rhubarb patch and those maintaining an established planting.

out of the ground. Divide the clump into sections by cutting down through the crown between the buds. Each division should contain at least two or three buds and a large portion of the root system. Replant the divisions as soon as possible. Rhubarb plants should be spaced 3 feet apart. 3. What are the best rhubarb varieties for home gardens? The cultivars ‘Canada Red,’ ‘Crimson Red,’ ‘MacDonald,’ and ‘Valentine’ have attractive red stalks and are good choices for Iowa gardens. ‘Victoria’ is a reliable, greenstalked cultivar. 4. When can I start harvesting newly planted rhubarb? After planting rhubarb, it’s best to wait two years (growing seasons) before harvesting any stalks. The two year establishment period allows the plants to become strong and productive. Rhubarb can be harvested over a four-week period in the third year. In the fourth and succeeding years, stalks can be harvested for 8 to 10 weeks.

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growing network of north Iowa producers is looking to make local food a bigger part of people’s lives. Healthy Harvest of North Iowa is a group of local food leaders, including producers, consumers and elected officials, who are working together to get the word out about local food and to build a market for those products. The organization is funded through a combination of grants and contributions by producers and the counties it serves, including Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Floyd, Hancock, Kossuth, Mitchell, Winnebago, Worth and Wright counties. While north Iowa is a very agricultural area, it doesn’t have a large population, and Healthy Harvest Coordinator Jan Libbey says that makes for a challenging market. “Right now, we probably have more product and production capacity than we have a market for.” said Libbey. One of Healthy Harvest’s goals is to connect consumers with local producers, and it’s been organizing events to bring people together. It has set up tours at area farms, where consumers are invited to see how food is grown and build relationships with local farmers. It has also organized “Farm to Fork” dinners, where restaurants prepare meals made with local ingredients. The group has held successful events in Mason City, and Libbey says they’re interested in organizing a dinner in Winnebago County. Healthy Harvest cites many benefits to eating locally grown food. Rather than being harvested days or weeks in advance to be shipped across the country, local produce can be picked when it’s at its peak for taste and nutritional value. “I think the quality is a significant improvement,” said Libbey, who is a local producer herself.




“IT’S NOT LIKE, ‘OH, YOU HAVE SOME EXTRA TOMATOES TODAY, I’LL TAKE THEM,’ ” SAID LIBBEY. “THEY NEED PRODUCERS TO BE PLANTING FOR THAT OPPORTUNITY.” She says some food co-ops in Iowa have websites which function like online farmer’s markets, where people can order whichever local produce they like. She says something like that may be possible in north Iowa down the road.


North Iowa Fresh put together “Sweets for the Sweet” packages of locally produced and specialty items this Valentine’s Day, as a way to promote local producers.

times of operation. The 2014 Buy Fresh, Buy Local guide should be out by the end of May and will be available at area Extension offices, libraries, chambers of commerce and from producers. Other tools Healthy Harvest uses to spread its message include its website, www.northiowafood. org, where people can go to find local food, as well as news and upcoming events. The site also features resources for local food producers, such as information on food safety and processing.

Healthy Harvest put on a number of workshops and meetings for producers this winter. The organization has a calendar of upcoming workshops on its website at

She and her husband have operated a Community Sustained Agriculture (CSA) farm in Hancock County for 19 years. Local food also has an economic impact, as dollars spent on local food stay in the local community. “Those producers live in and are invested in those local communities,” said Libbey. She says communities also benefit from the positive relationships which are built between consumers and local producers. Libbey says local food is also good for the environment, as it brings a lot of diversity to the landscape. Farms grow many different crops, and Libbey says some livestock producers are raising grass-fed beef and pasture-raised poultry. While the producers involved with Healthy Harvest don’t all focus on purely organic crop production, Libbey says most of them use a minimal amount of chemicals. She also notes that buying local food cuts down on the fuel used to transport food. One of the tools Healthy Harvest uses to market its message about local food is the Buy Fresh, Buy Local food guide. The guide features lists of local producers of vegetables, fruit, meat, poultry, eggs and more. It includes names of local food buyers, such as grocers and restaurants, who are buying more locally produced foods. The guide also lists farmers markets throughout north Iowa, along with dates and

April 30, 2014 • Section C

MORE WAYS TO BUY Getting the word out about local food is just the first step. “Ultimately, people want to move beyond just talking about it,” said Libbey. “They want opportunities to buy the food. Farmers markets are wonderful, but it’s still a fairly small portion of the population that’s purchasing in farmers markets.” To that end, Healthy Harvest is also working with local food buyers, including grocery stores, res-

taurants and schools, to find new opportunities to sell local food. This has led to the creation of a new business, North Iowa Fresh, LLC, which will work with food buyers on behalf of producers. Libbey says distribution is a big problem for small producers. A grocery store may be interested in promoting local food, but the store needs a consistent, longterm supply of produce. “It’s not like, ‘oh, you have some extra tomatoes today, I’ll take them,’ ” said Libbey. “They need producers to be planting for that opportunity.” She said local producers generally don’t have extensive acreage devoted to horticultural crops. “If we want to start to look at how to meet these opportunities, we need to look at how to pool the products - so products from several different farms come in looking consistent.” Another opportunity Healthy Harvest is looking at is direct to consumer sales, such as online ordering. North Iowa Fresh worked with several producers this Valentine’s Day to package together local products into gift baskets, which were sold on the organization’s website, www. Libbey says that kind of project is good practice for figuring out how they can put together producers’ products and market them. “It’s a totally new approach to local food, and we want to build on that,” said Libbey.

Healthy Harvest of North Iowa was started in 2011, and Libbey says they’ve made significant strides in finding new partners over the last three years. She notes that the local organization is one of about 14 groups statewide which are focused on the local food effort. She says their work is also part of a larger local food trend going on nationwide, and there’s a lot of collaboration and sharing of ideas. Healthy Harvest currently lists about 40 local food producers in its Buy Fresh, Buy Local guide, but the number of producers appears to be growing. Libbey says she’s had several conversations in the last few months with people interested in getting involved with the local food guide. “I think people see opportunity,” said Libbey. “It’s a constant effort back and forth – trying to grow the market and trying to grow the producers.” The organization also provides workshops for producers, and they’re looking at doing some introductory classes next winter to help people who are new to this type of agriculture. Mary Walk of Linden Hill Farm near Thompson is one of the local producers involved with Healthy Harvest. She started her CSA farm in 2012 as a part-time venture, and she plans to serve 10 shareholders this growing season. She says her locally-grown produce has been well received. “All of my customers seem to be very satisfied,” said Walk. Walk says Healthy Harvest is a valuable resource for her to turn to with questions or problems. “They have excellent resources for any questions that you have, as far as doing marketing or production practices,” said Walk. She says there are more and more regulations these days when it comes to food safety, and Healthy Harvest is helping by sponsoring classes on those sorts of topics. ■


One of the stops during last year’s Farm to Fork dinner in Mason City was 1910 Grille, where Chef Kurt received rave reviews for the entrée he prepared with local ingredients.

April 30, 2014 • Section C


U.S., Canadian pork industries collaborate with feed industry, others

USDA-approved PIN tag with production series number

Sow packers to require premises ID tags in 2015

“If feed is a factor in the transfer of PEDV, based on past research we know that there are specific time and temperature combinations that should inactivate the virus,� Sundberg said. “However, there are many variables that can affect feed, including post-processing contamination, which is another area that must be carefully controlled even if inactivation occurs.�

The top research priorities agreed upon by the group are: 1) to investigate the effectiveness and cost of treatments that could be used to mitigate the survival of PEDV and other viruses in feeds, 2) to conduct contamination risk assessments at all steps within the feed processing and delivery chain, 3) to develop a substitute for the currently used swine bioassay procedures and 4) to continue to investigate the risk of feed and other pathways for pathogen entry into the U.S. “If feed is a factor in the transfer of PEDV, based on past research we know that there are specific time and temperature combinations that should inactivate the virus,� Sundberg said. “However, there are many variables that can affect feed, including post-processing contamination, which is another area that must be carefully controlled even if inactivation occurs.�

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David Fairfield, vice president of feed services for the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), said, “This meeting ilustrates the ongoing commitment that all participants in the pork industry have in eliminating PEDV. The dialogue was constructive and transparent, and facilitated a better understanding on what is known and not known about the disease. NGFA believes the feed-related research priorities identified during the meeting are appropriate and will provide important information that can be used as part of a comprehensive strategy to eradicate PEDV.� To date, the Pork Checkoff has funded 17 PEDV-related research projects totaling nearly $1.7 million.The Institute for Feed Research and Education, AFIA’s foundation, has pledged $100,000 toward PEDV research. AFIA’s Sellers added, “To show our dedication, industry

groups are committing resources and funding to the research effort and will continue to communicate updates to those affected in order to minimalize further effects.â€? The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkofffunded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. â–

In an effort to improve pre-harvest traceability and national disease surveillance in the pork industry, many major U.S. packers and processors will require a USDAapproved, official premises identification number (PIN) swine tag as a condition of sale for breeding stock beginning Jan. 1, 2015. “This is a positive step for our industry as we continue to create a more robust surveillance and traceability system that can help protect our animals, our livelihoods and our customers,� said National Pork Board President, Karen Richter, a producer from Montgomery, Minn. “That’s why I encourage producers who may not already be using official PIN tags to register their premises and begin using the tags now.� According to Dr. Patrick Webb, the Pork Checkoff’s director of swine health, the USDA-approved, official PIN tags for breeding swine are customizable with or without a management number and can be purchased in multiple colors. “This allows producers to use the official tag in any color as a management

tag or wait to apply the tag to sows and boars before leaving the production site to enter harvest channels,� Webb said. Once an animal is identified with an official PIN tag, it should not be removed or given a different official tag in the case of parity-segregated farms. Also, records documenting the identification and movement of breeding stock should be kept for three years. Allflex USA, Inc., Destron Fearing and Y-Tex Corporation have USDA approval to manufacture official PIN swine tags. When ordering, producers must provide the nationally standardized PIN for the breeding farm. If the site does not have a PIN, producers can register for one at Programs/2472/PINTag1. aspx. To date, packers that will require PIN tags as of January 2015 include: Johnsonville, Hillshire Brands, Calihan Pork Processors, Bob Evans Farms, Wampler’s Farm Sausage, Pine Ridge Farms, Pioneer Packing Co., Pork King Packing and Abbyland Pork Pack.

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ore than 60 people representing the U.S. and Canadian pork, feed and other allied industries recently participated in a meeting on the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) hosted by the National Pork Board, and in collaboration with the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the American Feed Industry Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Renderers Association and the North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers, in Des Moines. Although the disease does not affect humans or pork safety, it has infected and killed millions of young pigs on farms of all sizes in 27 states since May 2013 and in four Canadian provinces since January. “Our main goal was to bring a group of people together to help us agree on research needs related to PEDV and feed systems so that we can get answers to ongoing questions as quickly and efficiently as possible,� said Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board. “We’ve been working on PEDV research and collaborating with all pork industry stakeholders since the disease was discovered here, and we’ll continue doing that to get practical results for farmers to use to save their pigs.� The meeting participants, made up of producers, veterinarians, nutritionists, academics and government and association officials, also shared what’s currently known about PEDV, including transmission routes, possible vectors and current testing limitations. The group reiterated that PEDV is not a human health or food safety issue and agreed the virus is of Asian origin genetically, but its direct pathway to North America remains unknown. “The feed and ingredient associations appreciate the National Pork Board and pork industry for organizing this important roundtable discussion,� said Richard Sellers, senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). “The research agenda outcome from the meeting is one we are optimistic will assist in investigating this devastating disease more in depth, helping to develop mitigation steps and communicating to those in our respective industries.� During the day-long session, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offered information about the agency’s pathways analysis that seeks to identify and describe pathways that exotic viral pathogens of swine may enter the country. The Canadian participants shared their PEDV experiences and actions taken this year, and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians presented its initial survey of early PEDV cases. In addition, participants learned results of veterinary investigations in several states and heard what the feed, feed ingredient and rendering industries are doing to enhance their biosecurity programs and mitigate risk. “After taking all of this information into consideration, the group agreed that there are multiple ways for pigs to become infected via a fecal-oral route, including environmental, transportation, feed systems and other vectors,� Sundberg said.



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April 30, 2014 • Section C


ear after year, families make the trek to farm stands and nurseries in rural areas to purchase pumpkins. There among the vines and soil, each person is on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin to turn into pie or to carve into a gap-toothed jack-o’lantern. But what if you only had to venture as far as your backyard for the ideal autumn pumpkin? It’s possible when you plan ahead and sow the seeds of your very own pumpkin patch. Pumpkins are a long-season fruit that requires some advanced soil prep work and planning to ensure a bountiful crop. Pumpkins come in hundreds of varieties of all shapes and sizes. Pumpkins belong to the “cucurbita” family and come in three main categories. Cucurbita Moschata pumpkins belong to a group of mainly squashes that are usually used commercially for canned pumpkins. Cucurbita Pepo pumpkins are the ones typically carved on Halloween. Cucurbita Maxima are the giant pumpkins that show up at state fairs and other vegetable and fruit growing contests.

To begin a pumpkin patch, find an area of the yard that gets full sunlight. The soil should have a slightly acidic soil from 6.0 to 6.8 pH. Pumpkins prefer a light, rich soil that drains well. Till the soil and amend it with compost to ensure it is rich in nutrients. • Pumpkins can be started indoors from seeds during the early spring. However, if you plan to put seedlings into the ground, be sure to do so when the first frost is over and the soil is 60 F. The temperature during the day should average 70 F. Be sure to space pumpkins far apart from one another and dig them in deep. Leave at least a few feet of space because vines can grow quite long and pumpkins can get large. • Pumpkins are mostly water and need a lot to grow, so test the soil’s moisture levels every day. Only add water when it is needed. Deep but infrequent watering


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• When the shell of the pumpkin has hardened and is no longer easily dented, it is usually ready for harvesting. The vine also may begin to thin and whither. If a pumpkin is large but not quite ready, place boards under the pumpkin to keep it from rotting on the ground. • Cut stems on the long side, and never carry around the pumpkin by the stem. It can break and cause the pumpkin to rot prematurely. Reduce watering a week to 10 days before harvesting, which will help them keep longer.

While visiting pumpkin farms is an enjoyable autumn activity, homeowners can plant their own pumpkins and enjoy their harvests right from the comforts of their backyards.


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results in healthier plants. Keep water off of the leaves, and water the pumpkins in the morning instead of late in the evening. This can prevent the onset of fungal diseases. It is also adviseable to plant sunflowers next to pumpkins to attract the pests that may normally thrive on the pumpkins. Beetles, aphids and squash bugs are common and can damage the crop.



he demand for fresh produce has increased in recent years as more people are turning to fresh fruits and vegetables for their nutritional value. That increase in demand has forced many suppliers to import more produce from other countries, which could be putting consumers’ health at risk. Although the United States and Canada may have stringent standards for produce, many other countries do not. Less stringent regulations Organic fruits and vegetables may be less risky, but even organic foods are overseas can result in susceptible to contamination because of potentially unsafe handling pracirrigation water cartices. rying sewage, pollutants and parasites to crops, and herbicides and pesti- soda into the water. It’s best cides may be used in abundance not to mix both the vinegar in foreign countries where such and the baking soda, or you usage is subject to little, if any, may end up with a foaming, oversight. Fewer regulations overflowing concoction means some farms pay more at- thanks to the chemical Certain foods are dirtier than others in tention to profit than to the purity reaction that occurs when terms of the pesticides they contain. vinegar mixes with baking and safety of crops. The Pure Food Growers of soda. However, foods that were grown without America states that the average pesticides may still be contaminated American consumes more than • Add the vegetables or 10 pounds of insecticides and fruit to the treated water and by animal feces and bacteria from the herbicides every year from pro- allow it to soak for around soil and irrigation. That being said, duce. Many of these substances 10 minutes. Use a vegetable brush to thoroughly scrub are proven carcinogens. here are the 12 foods that are most Thoroughly washing and the produce. Some foods, likely to contain the highest amounts soaking fresh produce is the key like celery and lettuce, have to removing potential hazards dirt or bugs trapped in their of pesticide residue, according to The from foods. Organic fruits and ribs and folds. Soaking and Environmental Working Group. vegetables may be less risky, but scrubbing can dislodge any even organic foods are suscep- bugs. Instead of washing the tible to contamination because of entire head at once, wash 1. Apples potentially unsafe handling prac- lettuce leaves as they are used to retain the vitamins and tices. 2. Celery minerals. • All produce should be 3. Cherry tomatoes • After rinsing the produce, washed before eaten. Before 4. Cucumbers cleaning produce, stock up on allow to dry before eating. A salad spinner can help dry a few supplies. You will need 5. Grapes lettuce and cabbage leaves so a large plastic bowl, some 6. Hot peppers apple cider vinegar or baking they are not soggy. soda and a produce brush. 7. Nectarines It is best to wash produce Add enough cool water to 8. Peaches right before using it rather than cover the produce you will washing it in advance. Moisbe washing. Add either three 9. Potatoes ture encourages bacterial growth tablespoons per gallon of 10. Spinach and hasten spoiling. Even foods water of the vinegar to the that have a rind, such as melons, bowl or sprinkle about three 11. Strawberries should be washed prior to eating tablespoons of the baking to avoid contamination from the 12. Sweet bell peppers rind to the flesh inside. ■


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Keith Pillatzki Crop Specialist Cell: 515-689-6205 Tanner Bohlman Crop Specialist Cell: 641-530-2839



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April 30, 2014 • Section C


he beef industry has improved its sustainability by 5 percent in just six years according to the results of the checkoff-funded Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment, released recently. Kent Pruismann, cattle feeder from Rock Valley, serves as chairman of the Joint Freedom to Operate Committee of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and Federation of State Beef Councils. He explains that the beef sustainability assessment is the most detailed examination of a commodity value chain ever completed, taking into account every aspect of beef production from the growth of feed to the disposal of packaging by the final consumer. “All of the inputs and outputs required to produce a pound of

Stackhouse-Lawson explains that during the six years between 2005 and 2011, the beef industry has:

boneless, edible beef were examined for the 1970s, 2005 and 2011,” says Pruismann, explaining that the 1970s and 2005 each represents major shifts in beef production practices, while 2011 represents present-day. Improvements in crop yields, better irrigation, innovations in the packing sector, improvements in technology and better animal performance are examples of innovations that have all played a role in advancing industry sustainability, according to Kim Stackouse-Lawson, Ph.D., director of sustainability for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. “The completion of the life cycle assessment (LCA) project provides the industry, for the first



BEEF INDUSTRY SHOWCASES ITS SUSTAINABILITY time, the science-based evidence necessary to lead conversations about the sustainability of beef,” says Stackhouse-Lawson. “The Beef Checkoff and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee had the foresight three years ago to see the importance of this work and make it a priority for the industry. By completing the LCA, the checkoff positioned beef as a leader on the topic of sustainability.” Stackhouse-Lawson said the project was extensive. “We examined millions of individual data points and then cre-

ated models to simulate specific aspects of beef production practices so that this data and these results are truly representative of beef production in the United States,” he explained. “The results of this work show the beef industry is becoming more innovative and efficient, while also doing an excellent job protecting the resources with which they have been entrusted,” says Pruismann. “Iowa cattle producers can be proud that we had the foresight to contribute additional check-off funds to this project.”


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• Reduced environmental impacts by 7 percent. • Improved its overall sustainability by 5 percent.

Specializing In:

• Reduced emissions to soil by 7 percent.

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• Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2 percent. • Lessened occupational accidents and illnesses by 32 percent. • Reduced emissions to water by 10 percent.

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• Look up, look down and look out! • Be careful of overhead and buried power lines and residential electrical equipment. • Farmers - Be conscious of what’s overhead power lines to be specific. Make certain your equipment can pass safely underneath, including any new machinery you have purchased.

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• Reduced resource consumption by 2 percent.


• Decreased water use by 3 percent. • Decreased land use by 4 percent. • Lowered energy use by 2 percent. “The results of the Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment, which was just certified by the National Standards Foundation (NSF), show the industry is on a path of continuous improvement,” says Stackhouse-Lawson, who explained that the certification by NSF lends third-party credibility to the work, making it more acceptable to non-governmental organizations and other potential partners in the sustainability arena. “When we talk about the sustainability of an industry, that’s what it’s all about, getting better over time. As an industry, beef is doing a good job at making progress on the path toward a more sustainable future. The certification of these results confirms that,” she says. ■

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From the National Agriculture Statistics Service







506 Pine St.




(641) 857-3211

roducers surveyed across the United States intend to plant an estimated 81.5 million acres of soybeans in 2014, up 6 percent from last year and an all-time record high, according to the Prospective Plantings report released March 31 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). If realized, soybeans will surpass the previous record of 77.5 million acres planted in the United States set in 2009. Planted acreage intentions for soybeans are up or unchanged in all states except Missouri and Oklahoma. The largest increase is expected in North Dakota with a record high 5.65 million acres, an increase of one million acres from 2013. If realized, the planted area of soybeans in Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin will also be the largest on record. Corn growers intend to plant 91.7 million acres in 2014, down 4 percent from last year and if realized the lowest planted acreage since 2010. Expected returns for corn are anticipated to be lower

Keep your farm moving in the right direction


April 30, 2014 • Section C

U.S. farmers expect to plant recordhigh soybean acreage

in 2014 compared with recent years. Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts and Utah are expected to increase planted acreage from last year. If realized, planted acres in Idaho will be a record high. The Prospective Plantings report provides the first official, survey based estimates of U.S. farmers’ 2014 planting intentions. NASS’s acreage estimates are based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March from a sample of more than 84,000 farm operators across the United States. Other key findings in the report are: • All wheat planted area for 2014 is estimated at 55.8 million acres, down 1 percent from 2013. • Winter wheat planted area, at 42.0 million, is down 3 percent from last year but up slightly from the previous estimate.

• Area planted to spring wheat for 2014 is expected to total 12.0 million acres, up 4 percent from 2013. • Durum wheat is expected to total 1.80 million acres for 2014, up 22 percent from last year. • All cotton planted area for 2014 is expected to total 11.1 million acres, 7 percent above last year. • NASS today also released the quarterly Grain Stocks report to provide estimates of on-farm and off-farm stocks as of March 1. Key findings in that report include: • Soybeans stored totaled 992 million bushels, down 1 percent from March 1, 2013. On-farm soybean stocks were down 16 percent from a year ago, while off-farm stocks were up 13 percent.

• Corn stocks totaled 7.01 billion bushels, up 30 percent from the same time last year. On-farm corn stocks were up 45 percent from a year ago, and off-farm stocks were up 15 percent. • All wheat stored totaled 1.06 billion bushels, down 15 percent from a year ago. On-farm all wheat stocks were up slightly from last year, while off-farm stocks were down 18 percent. • Durum wheat stored totaled 38.1 million bushels, down 10 percent from March 1, 2013. Both on-farm and off-farm stocks of Durum wheat were down from the previous year, 3 percent and 17 percent, respectively. ■

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