Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Midwest Row Crop Agriculture

Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Midwest Row Crop Agriculture

I have done quite a bit of research on climate change and its impacts on Iowa agriculture in the past couple of weeks. This post is to summarize what I have learned, discovered, and still have questions about. The information sources I used were unanimous in a few things, including the fact that our climate naturally changes over time, humans (urban and rural) are speeding up the climate change process, and the effects that climate change will have on our beloved Earth are detrimental. According to the National Academy of Sciences, “it is unequivocal that the climate is changing, and it is very likely that this is prominently caused by increased human interferences with the atmosphere. These changes will transform the environmental conditions on Earth unless counter-measures are taken. Our present energy course is not sustainable.” Scientists have identified the culprit as emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxides (N2O), methane (CH4), and other “greenhouse gases” that build up in the atmosphere,...
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Local Food Cycle on KCWI Great Day Show

Prairie Rivers of Iowa is bringing back the Local Food Cycle again this year. The Local Food Cycle is a culinary bike ride that is a special event where bike riders tour local farms, meet farmers and eat delicious culinary delights prepared by area chefs. This year’s ride is through eastern Story County. We were fortune enough to be a guest on KCWI Channel 23 Great Day show on Friday August 14th. Jessica Johnson, Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s Marketing Coordinator and Emily Zimmerman, with the Sustainable Agriculture Student Association were the interviewees. To register and find out more about the stops visit www.prrcd.org/bike Listen to the interview below: ...
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Another cabin in the plans

Hamilton County Conservation Board (HCCB) now has some of the most beautiful cabins available to rent in the north central Iowa region. They started this journey over three years ago and continue to make progress. Hamilton County Conservation Board looks to purchase and build one last cabin, for a total of six. This cabin will be placed at Briggs Woods Park by Webster City and will have a different layout than its predecessors. This new cabin will be the large size of the Legacy and Lakeview but consist of an open layout on the main level. The purpose of this floor plan is to hold classes, larger gatherings, parties, etc in. Going through records, we that the cabins have been a staple for family outings. You can stay all year around making any gathering a breeze. They are spacious, not to mention gorgeous, and a money saver as they are reasonably priced and with a full kitchen you can enjoy a...
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That Chautauqua Thing on October 3-4

For many older Iowans, Chautauqua is not a new word. But for non-natives, or if you are from a younger generation, you may have never heard of the word Chautauqua! In the late 1800's and early 1900's, each Chautauqua was a popular multi-county gathering, where folks would travel far and wide to attend the popular assembly. A Chautauqua brought education, culture, and entertainment for the whole community with speakers, teachers, musicians and entertainers. Legacy Learning Boone River Valley is putting a new spin on an old tradition with "That Chautauqua Thing" on October 3-4, 2015. It's about learning - a new skill, discovering a new hobby, the history of the region, or learning a heritage craft. This community-wide intergenerational learning weekend will feature events for the entire family with entertainment, tours, and both short and longer workshops. There's a range of prices - some are free! Individual workshops with their details and registration are on the website (see October 3-4 classes), so...
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More on Barn Owls and their role in the DDT story

Written by our Board Vice President, Erv Klaas My field study of Barn Owls on the Chesapeake Bay was published in Volume 1, Number 1 of the journal Estuaries in 1978. I found that eggshell thinning and residues of Dieldrin and DDE in the eggs were correlated. I then decided to find out whether it was Dieldrin, DDE or the two chemicals in combination that caused the eggshells to be thin. It so happened that we had rescued several Barn Owls that had been injured by Ospreys over the course of studies. These owls were kept in outdoor aviaries at the research center where I worked and they began to produce young. The captive flock consisted of about 20 pairs when I became their care taker. In 1973, I took over a large outdoor aviary with 64 adjoining flight pens, and began to enlarge the flock of captive breeders. I mounted large wooden nest boxes in each pen with a small...
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Barn Owls May Be Coming Back to Iowa

Written by our Board Vice President, Erv Klaas   I just finished reading the Fall 2014 issue of the DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Newsletter in which biologist Bruce Ehresman wrote an article entitled “What’s Happening With Iowa’s Barn Owls?”  It brought back nostalgic memories of my own encounter with Barn Owls more than 40 years ago.  It was in the early years of my career as a research biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland.  I was conducting studies on the effects of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides on Barn Owls.  The Chesapeake Bay was dotted with numerous off-shore blinds built by duck hunters.  These were often elaborate structures consisting of a large wooden rectangular box mounted on stilts in shallow water.  A partial roof projected over a bench for 3 to 4 hunters to sit inside.  A rough lean-to on the blind provided a place to hide a boat.  The outside of...
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Ride. Eat. Repeat. 1st Annual Local Food Cycle

September 7th was an exceptionally perfect day for a bicycle ride.  70 degrees with a slight wind out of the south made for the finest circumstances to enjoy the 1st Annual Local Food Cycle, a bicycle ride celebrating healthy sustainable food systems in Central Iowa.   Over 120 riders participated in the first year of the event.  Riders explored farms while savoring local foods prepared by area chefs.  The riders varied in skill level and age but all enjoyed the opportunity to experience local food in a new way.   The 40 mile route started at Moore Memorial Park in Ames and did a loop north through Story and Boone Counties.  Participants had the opportunity to visit six farms and a private wetland.  The farms were all small to mid-sized and did mostly fruit and vegetable production.   Mustard Seed Community Farm was the fourth stop on the route.  The small farm is dedicated to sustainable, simple living and creating a community in which everyone...
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Working with Drake University

Prairie Rivers of Iowa is happy to have entered early this year into a partnership with Drake University’s Public Relations Research Methods (JMC 136) and Public Relations Campaign Strategies (JMC 146) classes this academic year. Prairie Rivers of Iowa is working with Drake students to assit us in creating a wide range of marketing, research, writing, and other activities. During this the students receive their own professional experience that will aid them as they prepare for the job market. Students have begun working on primary and secondary research. The students came in to our office on November 7th to interview staff and are in contact with our board members, donors, and volunteers by sending out surveys. These interviews will help the students gain more insight to our organization and the people  we support. If you receive an email survey, please be sure to take a few minutes to complete it. Jim Richardson, Prairie Rivers of Iowa Board President, says, “Prairie Rivers is extremely...
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The Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority has Adopted a Mission and Goals

Ames, Iowa (October 23, 2014) – The Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority Board (SCWMA) has been meeting to place the final touches on their watershed management plan with the help of Emmons and Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR) from Oakdale, Minnesota (a water resource-based engineering and environmental consulting firm). At the Board’s last meeting, they adopted a mission and set some specific goals to achieve in the Squaw Creek Watershed.   The newly adopted mission statement is as follows: The mission of the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority Board is to engage, educate and encourage all citizens to improve the health, stewardship and resiliency of our watershed resources.   The goals of the SCWMA are to work on restoring hydrology, improving water quality, creating recreational opportunities and increasing wildlife habitat within the watershed through an active watershed educational campaign and relying upon building partnerships. Pat Conrad, project manager with EOR stated, “The ultimate goal of the WMA is to transform Squaw Creek into a resource...
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In Honor of National RC&D Week

Almost 50 years ago, Congress established a unique program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture that empowered rural people to help themselves. The USDA focus was to assist local people by providing tools and technical support to stabilize and grow their own communities while simultaneously protecting and developing natural resources. The program is called the Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) program. To carry out the RC&D concept, diverse groups of local volunteers (the RC&D Council) are brought together in a unique partnership to find solutions to their problems. Local people are best able to determine needs and create solutions for their communities. The focus on local direction and control has made RC&D one of the most successful rural development programs in the country. The week of September 21-27, 2014, has been designated as National RC&D Week. Prairie Rivers of Iowa RC&D Council was organized in 2001 as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Our mission is “To promote opportunity-based stewardship that will improve the...
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