The popular Cornbelt Cow-Calf Conference has provided timely, accurate and important information to the state’s beef cattle industry for more than 40 years. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Patrick Wall said the conference, set for Jan. 27 at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, will continue that successful tradition.

Farmers and crop advisers will hear about current research and crop production information from Iowa State University at the 2018 Crop Advantage Series. The series of meetings will be held at 14 Iowa locations Jan. 3-26 with ISU Extension and Outreach specialists providing updated management options and recommendations on current and future crop production issues.

Holly is a decorative and festive part of the holiday season, and quite a few varieties are available. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists discuss the history of this seasonal favorite and offer tips on selecting hollies that perform well in Iowa.

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community Food Systems program will hold the fourth annual Community Food Systems Event Jan. 12, 2018, at the Iowa State University Alumni Center, Ames. The daylong event will highlight best practices across all areas of community food systems from around the region.

Corn and soybean yields in 2017 were higher than expected, resulting in the largest grain surpluses in recent years.

The International Harvester Collector’s Club Iowa Chapter 5 has committed to continue to support Iowa 4-H projects for the next six years.

Beef producers and agri-business professionals will learn about changes rapidly occurring in the beef industry at the Feedlot Forum 2018 at the Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center on Jan. 16.

Alison Robertson, extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University, will address methods to reduce mold production on growing crops to decrease risk of molds in feed after harvest. Trevor Smith, University of Guelph, Ontario animal biosciences adjunct professor, will speak about mycotoxins in feed.

During the holiday season, instead of giving gifts that need to be purchased, consider giving gifts of experience -- sharing a skill or offering a helping hand, says Barbara Dunn Swanson, a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The 2018 Dairy Days, hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists, are set for seven eastern Iowa locations between Jan. 15 and Feb. 1.

The Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference is approved as a continuing instruction course for fruit and vegetable commercial (Category 1D) and private pesticide applicators. The conference will be held Jan. 25-26, 2018.

Pork producers are invited to attend either of two workshops focusing on advanced swine reproductive management topics scheduled for mid-December in northeast and northwest Iowa. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa Pork Producers Association are sponsoring the seminars in Waverly and Le Mars.

A training course to become a Food Safety Preventative Controls Alliance designated Preventative Controls Qualified Individual will be held in Ames, Iowa from Jan. 9-11.

The holiday season is here, and with it comes festive holiday plants. However, these plants may bring along uninvited guests – insects and other pests. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists offer tips on dealing with bugs on holiday plants and related issues.

Tom Kaspar will discuss lessons learned from using cover crops to reduce losses of nitrate during the Iowa Learning Farms webinar Wednesday, Dec. 13 at noon. Kaspar is a plant physiologist at the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer "Boots in the Barn," a new program for female beef and dairy producers, in northeast Iowa starting in January. 

2017 has been a challenging year for farmers and 2018 may be similar. Crop profit margins are tight once again, as more farms face cash flow and working capital constraints. But farmers and their families don’t have to deal with the stress by themselves, says Margaret Van Ginkel, coordinator of Iowa Concern, a program from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Randall Cass is the new extension specialist focused on beekeeping and pollinators. His main project will be examining the health of honey bees and native bees in prairies and soybean fields.

As harvest season draws to a close, farmers are starting to look forward to the next planting and growing season. Often times, this means signing new lease agreements or evaluating if an existing agreement is working.