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Iowa statewide roundup

Ice, snow, flood, tornadoes make for record

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Ice storms, a blizzard and flooding have already made 2007 a record year for federal disaster payments in Iowa — and that doesn’t include the requests that are expected following the early June tornado in eastern Iowa.

Federal payments to Iowans from the ice storms and blizzards that struck Iowa in late February and early March have topped $65 million. At least another $26 million in assistance is being processed for flood victims in southwest Iowa, state officials said.

"This is a record-breaking year for us in terms of disasters," said Bret Voorhees, bureau chief of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "We have never had three presidential declarations in one year, much less in the first five months heading into tornado season."

Volunteers sought for trail cleanup project

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PRIMGHAR, Iowa — The Center Farmers 4-H Club and the O’Brien County Extension office and the Primghar Jaycees are seeking volunteers to help clear brush, haul branches and do a variety of other jobs necessary to clear the Sneaker Run Trail.

Cleanup is planned for June 30 at 8 a.m. The trail, wich has been overrun with small trees, shrubs and grass, runs from Primghar to Tjossem Park, located southeast of Primghar. Volunteers are asked to bring chainsaws, hand saws, tree shears and other equipment. Participants are asked to meet at the Extension office at 8 a.m.

For more information, call (712) 957-8770.

Grazing Field Day June 25 near La Matte

LA MATTE, Iowa — A Grazing Field Day will be June 25 at 6 p.m. on the Bob Kremers farm in La Matte.

Kremers will lead discussions on his 120-head cow-calf intensive grazing operation, which includes a solar watering system.

The pasture walk will be informal with an emphasis on taking questions from participants.

To reach the farm from Dubuque or Maquoketa, take Highway 61 to D61 about 4 miles south of Zwingle, then east on D61 to 216 Ave., then south to 216th St., then east to the farm at 22480 216th St.

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ISU publishes two biomass fact sheets

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University has published the first two entries in a series of fact sheets on biomass crops.

The publications on switchgrass and miscanthus provide an overview of the crops’ soil and site adaptation, life cycle and growth, fertility, yield, harvest considerations and pest and disease management.

"Switchgrass is currently used as a forage crop or as ground cover to control erosion," said Lance Gibson, associate professor of agronomy and a lead author of the facts sheets. "But it can also be burned to generate electricity or fermented into biofuel."

For more information contact Ken Moore, agronomy professor, at (515) 294-5482.

Outdoor cooking contest in Nashua July 11

NASHUA, Iowa — An outdoor cooking contest designed to promote Iowa meat is planned for the Chickasaw County 4-H/FFA Achievement Show on July 11 from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. on the Big Four fairgrounds in Nashua.

The contest is sponsored by by the Chickasaw County Farm Bureau.

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"You don’t have to be an expert chef to participate, you just need to enjoy cooking outdoors with quality Iowa meat,’’ said Mike Booth, contest chairman.

The cookout champion will receive a new grill. For more information, call (641) 394-3020.

Iowa cities set out emerald ash borer traps

DES MOINES — Five eastern Iowa cities are hanging up traps as a precaution for the possible invasion of the destructive emerald ash borer.

Officials in Clinton, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque and Iowa City are placing more than 100 experimental traps in selected ash trees to determine if the killer pest has shown up in Iowa.

The beetle from China has shown up in recent years in other states, including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Maryland. Last summer it was found near Chicago.

More than 25 million ash trees have been killed in the infested states. Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University officials will check the traps once a month for signs of the insect.

John Deere Collectors Center plans event

MOLINE, Ill. — The John Deere Collectors Center will hold its 8th annual tractor and memorabilia auction June 29-30 at the center in Moline.

The auction will feature vintage John Deere tractors and equipment, along with a collection of memorabilia. An antique tractor ride is also scheduled for the weekend.

For more information, call 1-800-240-5265.

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