September 12, 2018

Green Farmstead Partner Profile: Greenworld, Inc.



Greenworld, Inc. is located in Sioux Center, Iowa, where they grow their own stock of trees, shrubs, and other plants. Founded in 1981 by Larry Ribbens, Greenworld, Inc., has continued to grow as a family-based company. Their services include installing landscape, placing retaining walls, water features, and irrigation. They also seed and sod grass, place patios and fireplaces, and install outdoor lighting.

They grow most of their own plants and trees; offering bareroot, potted, and some ball and burlap options. At their Sioux Center location, they also have a tree field which allows them to plant larger trees on properties. Greenworld, Inc., enjoys working with farmers and are very welcoming of their business.

“In our area, farmers are 100% of what drives our economy. We want to help them because they are providing and stimulating our economy all of the time,” says Eric Ribbens, co-owner of Greenworld, Inc. They work with cost-share programs for farmers to use trees on their properties to knock down smell and beautify the landscape. Trees can also be important in this area of flat land to reduce wind erosion.

“I think the Coalition is a great asset to have in our back pocket,” says Ribbens. If you are interested in learning how trees can benefit your livestock operation, contact the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers at 515-225-5531 or at supportfarmers.com.

August 17, 2018

The Emerald Ash Borer: What You Need to Know


By Megyn Walston, CSIF Communications Intern

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a destructive insect to ash trees and considered one of the most destructive tree pests in North America according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Once infested, a tree will typically die within two to four years. EAB has been discovered in 3 more Iowa counties this summer making it increasingly important to educate yourself and neighbors about the pest. To date, EAB has been confirmed in 64 Iowa counties. You can find that list here: http://www.iowatreepests.com/eab_locations.html

Adult beetles can only fly short distances; however, they can be moved via infested material such as firewood. Spreading the insect can be avoided by purchasing only local firewood and trees. Symptoms of EAB include thinning and dying crowns, water sprouts along the trunk and main branches, increased woodpecker activity (tree will appear to be losing patches of bark), S-shaped markings inside the bark, vertical bark splits, and 1/8-inch D-shaped exit holes of adult beetles. (Iowa State University Extension and Outreach)

Ash trees within 15 miles of a confirmed EAB site should be treated as a preventative measure. Infested trees with less than 30 percent dieback of the crown due to EAB feeding may recover following proper treatment. Treatment options vary based on climate, location, time of year, and the condition of the tree. If you suspect an EAB infestation or if EAB has been found within 15 miles of your trees, it is best to consult a professional to evaluate the best treatment options. Here you can find a list of specialists in your area: https://store.extension.iastate.edu/product/14442

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship encourages everyone to continue reporting suspected infestations for testing to continue tracking the location of EAB. This can be very important for neighbors considering treatment options.

For more information, checkout these helpful links:
EAB Information Network: http://www.emeraldashborer.info/ 

July 31, 2018

Cover Crops Enhance Both Crop and Livestock Operations


On July 17, AJ and Kellie Blair of Dayton, Iowa hosted a field day to discuss their experience with cover crops. Topics ranged from how the crops can benefit crop rotations, nitrogen levels, and livestock operations. The Practical Farmers of Iowa hosted the event and presented research results from across the state and explained options to other farmers who are interested in incorporating cover crops on their operations.

The Blair’s raise corn, soybeans, cattle, pigs and cover crops. The cover crop operation initially started 10 years ago as a trial to learn more about their effect on a small scale, but the Blair’s have continued to expand their cover crop acres each year. While they first used cover crops for grazing cattle, they have now expanded to using the rye and sorghum for feed and bedding. They also harvest some rye for seed, so they can plant their own as needed.

Some benefits they’ve noticed are improved soil structure, more field days and less weed pressure. They also take water samples and have noticed a decline in the nitrate levels near the fields they have implemented cover crops continually. Having their rye field also gives them a place to apply manure over the summer when it can’t be incorporated into other fields, which means they don’t need to store the manure at any point throughout the year.

While they have seen a very slight decrease in yield of corn and soybeans following a cover crop, the Blair’s say they will continue the operation because there is still a positive economic and environmental impact. By using cover crops they can utilize their acres for a longer period and implement them into their livestock operation in diverse ways, while also seeing less nutrient leaching.

If you are interested in learning more about cover crops, check out these helpful resources: