By Clarke McGrath, extension field agronomist and Shawn Shouse, extension ag engineer
As waters recede from farmland that has been covered for several months by Missouri River flooding, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension are jointly planning a workshop for Monday, Sept. 12 to address cropland issues. The workshop will be conducted via webinar at several viewing sites in both states from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Extension agriculture staff will host the workshop sites and facilitate questions to the panel.
Topics to be covered during the webinar and extension presenters include: sedimentation and debris removal, Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension ag engineer; managing post flooding soils: flooded soil syndrome, Mahdi Al-Kaisi, ISU Extension soil specialist; cover crops for soil health, Paul Jasa, UNL Extension engineer; and leases and crop insurance on flooded land, William Edwards, ISU Extension farm management specialist. Rick Koelsch, UNL associate dean of extension, will moderate the panel.
"It is important for us to share information with those tasked with caring for farmland post flooding, but it is also important for Extension to hear the concerns and specific issues these folks have on their land," said Shawn Shouse, extension ag engineer and planning committee member. "There is science that we can apply to this situation, but there is much that comes from farmer experience."
Physical damage to farm ground may include obvious things like erosion and sand deposition. But some effects are invisible, having to do with the loss of soil microbes and soil structure. Land managers need to start planning and acting as the waters recede so that the soil can be productive again for next year.
"Using webinar technology helps us reach the most people on both sides of the river without having them travel great distances," said John Wilson, UNL Extension educator and event co-chair. "It also allows for informal discussion at each site among those who have been most affected by the flood and with extension staff."
In Iowa, the workshop will be held at the following ISU Extension offices: Fremont County in Sidney, Harrison County in Logan, Mills County in Malvern and Monona County in Onawa. ISU Extension in West Pottawattamie County is hosting the session at the Lied Multipurpose Center, 3501 Harry Langdon Blvd, Council Bluffs and Woodbury County Extension is hosting at a site to be determined. Nebraska viewing sites will be in Auburn at a site to be announced, in Blair at the Blair City Hall Council Chambers, in Dakota City at the USDA Service Center, in Falls City at the Courthouse, in Omaha at the Douglas/Sarpy Extension Office and in Tekamah at the City Auditorium. The Extension agriculture educator hosting the workshop at each location will be available after the webinar to address additional questions and concerns, if needed.
The webinar will also be available in South Dakota at the Davison County Extension Complex in Mitchell and in Kennebec at the Lyman County Courthouse. Further information on the Flood Recovery for Cropland Workshop, including additional sites and information as it becomes available, is available on ISU and UNL extension websites: www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/recovering-disasters and flood.unl.edu.