January 20, 2021

Clarke County Farm Bureau news

• Clarke County Farm Bureau president names local food bank for $2,500 donation

Because of the commitment to their local community and advocacy for rural issues, the Clarke County Farm Bureau has been designated a 2020 Outstanding County Farm Bureau by Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF). In recognition, Clarke County Farm Bureau President Tom Carson has earned the opportunity to provide a $2,500 donation to a local organization or charity and has selected Clarke County food bank under SCICAP to receive this award.

“I wanted to give to Clarke County food bank because, as a farmer, I believe in feeding people. I want the people of this county to feel supported and I know during hard times support and hope can make a big difference/etc.,” said Carson “Farmers care about the people in this community, and I’m thankful to be able to support the organizations that help make it a better place to live.”

This year, Farm Bureaus across the state were able to help contribute more than one million meals for food insecure Iowans during the pandemic and assisted with acquiring personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. After the derecho swept across the state, farmer leaders also got to work to donate essential supplies to those without power and helped their communities with cleanup efforts.

“This year has tested the resilience, adaptability and dedication of our Farm Bureau members who have continued to show up and demonstrate leadership during a time of need,” says Craig Hill, IFBF president. “It is a privilege to recognize this leadership and provide an additional opportunity for county Farm Bureau presidents to give back to their communities.”

• 60 inch corn row experiment

On September 21, Jerod Flaherty hosted a field day at a 10 acre plot north west of Osceola where he tried an experiment of “Planting corn in 60-in. row-widths for inter-seeding cover crops”. He had read of this planting technique on Twitter by Eric Miller of Cascade. Jerod wanted to know if the theory that 60 in. corn rows would yield the same as 30 in. rows with increased revenue of adding cover crop between rows. He used the same equipment, the same corn seed that he used on the rest of his acres and added a drill to get the cover crop in. He had a stand issue that required replant with the first go-round. When the corn was knee-high the drill came to the 10-acre field with the cover-crop seeds. Having livestock increased his interest to see if this concept will work in Clarke County, and he plans to run his cows in the field after the corn is harvested.

About 40 farmers from around Iowa and northern Missouri interested in seeing more about this technique attended the field day. They learned that soil health plays a vital role in crop production and cover crops can improve soil health. They saw how the corn grew and observed the green cover crop and asked a lot of questions of the speakers for the day. In the next couple of weeks Jerod will harvest the corn and see what the results are. He plans to do this again next year as one year is not enough to prove anything but is a good learning time.

• Nominations Open for the 2020 County Committee Elections

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages all farmers, ranchers, and FSA program participants to take part in the Clarke-Decatur County Committee election nomination process.

FSA’s county committees are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA and allow grassroots input and local administration of federal farm programs.

Committees are comprised of locally elected agricultural producers responsible for the fair and equitable administration of FSA farm programs in their counties. Committee members are accountable to the Secretary of Agriculture. If elected, members become part of a local decision making and farm program delivery process.

A county committee is composed of three to 11 elected members from local administrative areas (LAA). Each member serves a three-year term. One-third of the seats on these committees are open for election each year. Due to the unexpected death of COC member Frank Binning who represented Local Administrative Area (LAA 3). The Clarke-Decatur County has been approved to hold a makeup election to fill this position. LAA 3 consists of Clarke County Townships of Ward, Osceola, Knox, and Green Bay along with Decatur Townships of Long Creek and Franklin. The nomination period will begin on October 16, 2020 and conclude on December 4, 2020. The ballots will be mailed January 4, 2021. The final date to return the ballots for this makeup election will be February 4, 2020. Ballots will be counted on February 5, 2021.

County committees may have an appointed advisor to further represent the local interests of underserved farmers and ranchers. Underserved producers are beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers and landowners and/or operators who have limited resources.

All nomination forms for the 2020 makeup election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by December 4, 2020. For more information on FSA county committee elections and appointments, refer to the FSA fact sheet: Eligibility to Vote and Hold Office as a COC Member available online at: fsa.usda.gov/elections.

• Handling fall leaves BY Iowa DNR

Fall leaves are beautiful – until they pile up in your yard. But don’t send those precious nutrients up in smoke. Instead, put them to good use. Your leaves, branches and other landscape materials can nourish your lawn, garden or community. It’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3:


Composting leaves and food scraps is a great way to turn this waste into nutrients for your garden. It’s also a great way to get kids outside, learning practical hands-on science. They can start by researching the many types and sizes of compost containers. (For tips on low-tech ways to compost, see a DNR tutorial.) Managing the compost pile provides exercise and a learning opportunity. A good compost mix needs both carbon (dead or dry leaves) and nitrogen (green materials like food scraps and grass clippings). Carry the project forward to spring, and use finished compost to enrich the soil and gardens.


Your lawn will love you if you chop up and leave your leaves in place. Leaves are a free and natural fertilizer and they add organic matter to enrich your soil. Use your regular lawn mower. Or use a mulching lawn mower to shred and mix leaves and grass into your yard.

Bag it.

If you have too many leaves or branches to compost, check with your community to see if they collect yard waste or have a drop-off site. Sometimes there’s a fee, but the upside is that anyone can pick up composted materials for their yards or gardens.

Burning leaves seems to capture the smell of autumn. But breathing leaf smoke pulls pollutants such as carbon monoxide, soot and toxic chemicals into your lungs. While it may smell good, smoke is especially harmful to children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems such as asthma. Turning leaves into nutrients is the healthy way to protect your and your neighbor’s lungs