Growing healthier, happier and more equitable communities is at the heart of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program. Master Gardeners spent 2017 working to reach these goals through a variety of projects.

The next Women Planning Ag Businesses class is coming to Ames, Feb. 3 through March 3, 2018. During the program, women will draft their own business plans for start-up, continuing or expanding businesses.

Raising beef cattle presents a myriad of challenges. In addition to field specialists and faculty who are experts in their field, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has resources in place to help producers meet these challenges and manage healthy and profitable herds.

This year’s Iowa Pork Regional Conference series offers presentations on vaccine and antibiotic changes, factors affecting swine markets, and updates on state and national environmental issues. The conferences are Feb. 19-22 at Nashua, Carroll, Le Mars and Washington.

Iowa State University faculty and small-scale food operation experts will present a half-day, livestream workshop Feb. 12 for entrepreneurs who want to turn their gardening/agricultural and cooking/food production interests into small businesses.

Iowa Learning Farms, along with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Franklin County, will host an emerging farmer no-tillage workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 6-8 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Hampton. The event is free and includes a complimentary meal.

Iowa Learning Farms uses a four-step evaluation process they developed to more effectively incorporate one-on-one conversations with experts and other farmers into their field days about new land management practices.

Thirteen Iowa 4-H members joined more than 1,000 young people from 33 states at the Western National Roundup Jan. 4-7 in Denver, Colo. Iowa 4-H’ers placed in the top 10 for several events, both as teams and individuals.

Controlling feed cost while meeting the cow’s nutrient needs requires knowledge of both the feed supply and the animal’s requirements. To help producers understand these important aspects, two separate workshops will be held in northeast Iowa on Feb. 14.

The Crop Protection Network, a multi-state and international collaboration of university and provincial extension specialists, has redesigned its website at

Now is the time to begin thinking about getting tuberous begonias out of storage and ready for spring planting. Here are some tips from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists on dates and procedures for starting them indoors.

ISU Extension and Outreach will host two educational seminars daily during the three day 2018 Hawkeye Farm Show, with discussions focusing on challenges and important topics facing farmers during the upcoming planting season. All seminars are approved for continuing education credits for Certified Crop Advisers.

Three Safety and Health Best Practices for Agritourism Businesses Workshops will be held during the winters of 2018 and 2019. Attendees will learn safety and health best practices to keep the public and employees safe while on the farm.

ISU Extension and Outreach will host five food safety and Iowa regulation training sessions to help producers – home food operations and home bakers – better comply with the state of Iowa regulations.

ISU Extension and Outreach has created a series of flowcharts to help producers market their food crops, while also guiding them to the appropriate agencies or departments for regulations, certifications or licenses needed to comply with state rules.

Some milkweed species are attractive additions to home landscapes, and monarch butterflies like them too. Here are some tips from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists on selecting and establishing milkweed.

The Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will hold a training for pork producers and others who need Pork Quality Assurance Plus certification on Feb. 16 at the Cedar County Extension Office.

The ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program will host three Growing Season webcasts this winter, covering the topics of starting vegetable seeds and growing transplants, managing volunteers, and building food security partnerships.

ISU Extension and Outreach will hold five Produce Safety Alliance trainings during the spring of 2018 to help growers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act. The training sessions will be held in Indianola, Ottumwa, Cedar Rapids, Sheldon and Mason City.