PRIMGHAR, Iowa — This morning I received a request from a co-worker about a video entitled “When We Farmed with Horses.” With help, it was located on YouTube. “Google” it, if you want to watch it. Although I am young enough to not have much first-hand experience with threshing bees, hand-picking a lot of acres of corn, horse-drawn fieldwork, and many of the other activities shown in that video, I do know that my father, who was born in 1910 did start his farming career doing almost all that the video showed. I remember many of the stories he shared of that hard work. In fact, I still have the thumb hook my father used to harvest corn when he first started farming hanging on the wall in my office. At the same time, I have yield maps of fields on my computer to assist with figuring out what caused the yield loss in some parts of those field during the summer of 2019.
Change in agriculture seems to be coming at us at a more rapid pace every year. Challenges come with change, but contrary to what some people seem to think, change is not always bad. You can call the “farming with horses” era the good old days. I think they represented very hard work that wore you down a lot faster than how we work today. Do we adopt new technologies? Which ones? What “baggage” comes with it? I believe it is more important than ever to be certain we take time as a part of our careers to learn, because our industry is changing, and we need to know more about these new technologies in order to make good decisions about the value of adopting some of them.
For Extension Field Agronomists in Iowa, winter is one of our busiest seasons of the year because that is when we are working to share some of the new information with Iowa’s agricultural producers. Pesticide applicator meetings started in early December, and other conferences are in the works. Included in that list is the Crop Advantage Series across Iowa. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists will travel to 14 locations around Iowa from Jan. 3-30, providing updated management options and recommendations on current crop production issues. Continuing educations credits for Certified Crop Advisers and pesticide safety recertification are included as part of the day. There is no other program in our crop production education year where we are able to bring this many extension specialists together to individual sites across the state like we do for these meetings.
In Northwest Iowa, locations include Sheldon on Jan. 6, Storm Lake on Jan. 7, Okoboji on Jan. 14 and Le Mars on Jan. 29. Each site has a slightly different agenda, so check with your local ISU Extension and Outreach office for location details or visit www.cropadvantage.org. Key issues for 2020 will be addressed by two morning keynote speakers, followed with your choice of several optional workshops presented during the afternoon. A registration price discount is available if registering at that web page at least a week in advance of the conferences.
If you are an ag producer, take advantage of learning opportunities this winter! The world changes so be prepared to make wise decisions.
— Joel DeJong, Field Agronomist
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
For more news from Iowa, click here.