Organic farmers are in a tough spot when it comes to controlling weeds. Since conventional herbicides aren’t an option, many choose to use tillage — mechanically turning over the soil to upend weeds. However, tillage can take a toll on soil health and cause run-off. Increasingly, organic farmers are seeking better ways to control weeds while preserving soil health.
Hannah Holdsworth has just begun her first year here at Iowa State University in Agronomy, but she comes bringing in lots of experience already. In fact, this past summer she competed in the State FFA Agronomy CDE and placed as the overall top individual. Back in 2017, Hannah joined the agronomy team of the Denison FFA Chapter where they competed in the state FFA agronomy competition. The team received second, and Hannah also received second individually.
Valeria Cano Camacho spent her summer on one of Hawaii’s islands, Big Island, where she was a summer field intern for Ulu Mau Puani. All summer long, she helped with six different projects. Some of those projects included: collecting data, extension and outreach, and lab work.
“It was different every day. Some days I would be hiking up a volcano to find berries and other days I would be working with elementary students and learning about the Kohala Field System,” Valeria said about her favorite part of working on Big Island.
Not many people can say that they placed 11th as an undergrad competing against Ph.D. students. Kelli Roush is the lucky holder of this title. The third International Soil Judging competition was held a week before the 21st World Soil Congress.
The soils in Ro de Janero, Brazil are very different from here in Iowa. Kelli had the opportunity to see an Oxisol, but most of the soils she worked with were Ultisols or Alfisols. They spent three days practicing and learning about the environment they were in before the competition started. Kelli and the other team members had to adapt to the way Brazil judges their soils.
Boone, Iowa held the nation’s largest outdoor farming event: The Farm Progress Show. This event took place August 28th through August 30th. There were lots of new information to talk about over the three day event, some of that ranged from butterflies all the way to new tools that would greatly benefit agronomists.
Our incoming freshman spent the weekend before classes start on a tour of agriculture industry and farms in northeast Iowa. They toured Beck's Hybrids in Marshalltown, Pioneer Hi-Bred in Reinbeck and Landus Co-op in Dike. A stop at UNI allowed them to cool down (the air conditioning broke on the bus) and learn about urban soil conservation on the UNI campus. Near Nashua they learned about soil health from the Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Conservation Learning Group, a think tank dedicated to addressing conservation and environmental challenges, was established as a part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in July 2018. The group is a collaboration of researchers, educators and advocates having the goal to better understand issues and come up with creative, sustainable solutions that are repeatable at scale. Our Drs. Mark Licht and Emily Heaton are involved in the project.
Representatives from bioengineering, social science, agronomy, crop science, soil science, wildlife management, water resource management and conservation are on the CLG team. Specialists from other areas of study will be welcomed to contribute to the group’s goals.