• Rod Swoboda

    Climate Change From A Faith-based Perspective

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on April 7, 2014

    About 80 people gathered in a church at Ames on a recent Sunday afternoon to listen to a panel discussion on agriculture and climate change. Moderator Mike Glover, a retired Associated Press political reporter who covered the Iowa Legislature for many years, opened the discussion by asking the panelists how they see climate change affecting agriculture. Do they believe the current modern-day system of producing crops and livestock can continue to exist if climate change continues at its current…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    What Kind of Weather Can Iowa Expect In 2014?

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 3, 2014

    Iowa has had some brutal cold weather in recent weeks--it's been on-again, off-again. Now in early January, the cold weather is about to get as severe as the region has seen in the last 20 years, says the National Weather Service. Wind chills reached lower than 20 degrees below zero the night of January 2, 2014. Temperatures in Iowa climbed higher on January 3, into the teens and 20s. But that brief respite will end when a cold front moves in January 4, says Kevin Skow, a meteorologist…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Iowa Needs To Brace For Second Year Of Drought

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on February 8, 2013

    About 90% of Iowa's topsoil and subsoil is still in the "short of moisture" category, despite some January precipitation. The weather summary for the first month of 2013, released February 5 by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, shows slightly less than 1 inch of precipitation fell in January in terms of a statewide average. It came as 3.6 inches of snow and some rain. January's 0.96 inches of rain was .04 inch above normal, says…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Lingering Drought Sparks Uncertainty For 2013

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 9, 2013

    The calendar has flipped to 2013 and the drought of 2012 is continuing in Iowa and a large section of the United States. The eastern Corn Belt has seen some relief, but the western Corn Belt and the Great Plains continue to be quite dry. Wallaces Farmer this week listened to presentations by Iowa weather experts Harry Hillaker and Elwynn Taylor, who gave an update and outlook on the situation as it appears for the new year. Although rainfall earlier in December increased topsoil moisture…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    What A Difference A Year Makes

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on November 27, 2012

    In the spring and summer of 2011, the governors of Midwest states accused the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of negligence. Decisions by the corps caused major flooding along the Missouri River as the corps released too much water from reservoirs upstream in the Dakotas and Montana. That big release of water flowed downstream and flooded farmers and homeowners who lived too close to the river or who farmed land near the river. Now, in 2012, the corps is being begged by shipping interests to…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Elwynn Answers 'The Big Question' At Farm Progress Show

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on September 4, 2012

    Iowa State University Extension climatologist Elwynn Taylor spent three days at the 2012 Farm Progress Show answering farmers' questions about the weather. The show was August 28-30 at Boone in central Iowa. It was a hot three days—temperatures reaching the high 90s. What was the most common question? "Farmers asked a lot of questions, but none were desperate questions," says Taylor. "Most farmers have crop insurance and that will likely get them through the 2012 drought situation. They…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Shrunken Crops Stir Long-term Concern

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on August 23, 2012

    The Iowa State Fair marks the time each August when you start to see a clearer picture of the size of the upcoming corn harvest, and can count pods on soybean plants. Farmers I visited with at the fair this past week were talking about the longer-term impact of smaller crops, tighter supplies and higher prices. The drought that's clobbered Iowa and the Corn Belt this summer ranks among the most severe in 140 years of weather records. USDA's first official yield forecast is released in the…

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