Free Online Course on Health Insurance for Farm Families – March 13th

ISU Extension and Outreach Hosting Free Online Course on Health Insurance for Farm Families   Scheduled for March 13th

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides important benefits for farm families: expanded coverage, a greater choice of insurance providers, and tax credits for small employers that offer coverage to their employees. Farmers are affected by ACA regulations in two ways. First, farm families, like other Americans, are consumers who will be making health care decisions for their families. Second, many farmers employ farm workers on a temporary (seasonal) or permanent basis and may be affected by the Affordable Care Act employer mandate provisions. With new options and requirements in health care, farm families are invited to attend a free workshop offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.  The workshop will help Iowa farm families understand how to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affects them as consumers making health care decisions for their families and as employers of farm workers. The workshop will take place Thursday, March 13th, 10:00am – 11:30am online at  On the day of the webinar, go the this web address 10 -15 minutes prior to the webinar, click on the ‘Enter as Guest’ button, type in your first and last name, and click ‘Enter Room’. Please be patient and wait while the meeting room opens.


Through “You and Health Insurance: Making a Smart Choice for Farm Families” workshop, attendees will increase their knowledge and understanding of:

  • New health insurance options and requirements
  • Features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for farm families
  • Resources to provide additional information about the ACA and health care

“This program is about helping farm families understand their options given the changes in the health care law,” says Joyce Lash, family finance specialist of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

For information about webinar, contact the Mary Weinand, Henry County Extension or 319-931-5087

This program was supported by a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and do not necessarily represent the [[official]] views of the Department. [[US DHHS.]]

 . . . and justice for all The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Many materials can be made available in alternative formats for ADA clients. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964.

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DNR Regulations Workshop on Feb. 20

DNR Regulations for Your Farm WorkshopThe Southwestern Community College Agriculture Department will be hosting a livestock producer workshop called “DNR Regulations for Your Farm: Are you in compliance with upcoming farm inspections?” on Thursday, February 20 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Allied Health and Science Center on the main campus in Creston, Iowa. There is no cost to attend and light refreshments will be provided.

EPA Region 7 and the Iowa DNR recently signed a work plan agreement that established guidelines for evaluations of livestock and poultry farms. This plan obligates DNR to evaluate livestock farms larger than 300 animal units and document whether the farms are in compliance with the Clean Water Act. Over 8,500 livestock farms are expected to be evaluated in the next five years.

Guest speakers include Dan Olson, Iowa DNR Environmental Specialist; Brian Waddingham, Executive Director of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers; and Wayde Ross, NRCS District Conservationist who will explain the work plan, resources available for impacted farmers, and EQIP funding to help producers make necessary changes.

“Livestock regulations are complex, sometimes ambiguous and are constantly changing,” says CSIF Executive Director Brian Waddingham. “For Iowa’s livestock and poultry farms to prosper, farmers must know and understand state and federal regulations and the resources available to help them remain viable on the land for generations to come.  This workshop will help livestock farmers better understand how the work plan agreement will affect them and their farm.”

Questions about the event may be directed to Francine Ide at (641) 344-2225 or

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2013 Annual Report: Making a Difference for Iowans

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In 2013, nearly a million people directly benefited from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach educational programs. We’re focused on

•    Feeding people,
•    Keeping them healthy,
•    Helping their communities to prosper and thrive, and
•    Turning the world over to the next generation better than we found it.

Visit the Our Story website<> and review our 2013 annual report<> to see how we are making a difference for Iowans.

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Can Your Farm’s Finances Weather a Storm?

After several years of financial gains in agriculture, we face an uncertain future. Does your farm operation sit on a solid base, prepared to weather a storm? Or are you floating along unaware you are in a position of high tide?

The programs described below have been created to address agricultural finances in today’s changing world, including a full-day program focused on the impact of changes to farm finances and moving towards a multi-session program that covers a multitude of information in an interactive setting. Program developers and presenters for the program include Kelvin Leibold, Tim Eggers, and Kristen Schulte, and Ann Johanns, ISU Extension farm management specialists.

“The USDA marketing year average for corn in 2012 was $6.89, predictions going forward are showing a price closer to $4.50.” says Leibold. “Soybeans show a similar story, going from $14.40 in 2012 to $12.15.” When high prices leave, will your boat be left stranded on the shore?

Eggers states, “Participants should plan to attend to assess their financial health, or send your clientele to raise their awareness of financial analysis as it applies to their farm operation.”

Deep Water or High Tide?

Learn how changes to interest rates and other input costs can affect your net farm income. How can you manage these changes to balance lower prices and rising costs in the future?

Spend a day playing the game of farm finances. Win prizes and gain greater knowledge of farm finances! Practice simulations to build a financial picture from a case study. The day will allow you to learn with other participants from team leaders on the basics of having a solid financial foundation. All sites begin at 9:30 a.m. and wrap-up at 3:30 p.m. Registration is $25 at all locations. To register, contact the County Extension Office for the preferred location listed below.

Cresco, Northeast Iowa Community College

Monday, February 24th

Contact: Howard County Extension Office, 563-547-3001

Iowa Falls, ECC Agriculture & Renewable Energy Center

Tuesday, February 25th

Contact: Hardin County Extension Office, 641-648-4850

Shenandoah, Iowa Western Community College

Thursday, February 27th

Contact: Page County Extension Office, 712-542-5171

Moving Beyond the Basics

This program takes learning to a deeper level with a multi-session program focusing on financial literacy. This program is modeled after the nationwide Annie’s Project for Farm and Ranch Women. According to Schulte, “This program will allow women the opportunity to evaluating record keeping systems and test-drive accounting software in a classroom setting.”

Knowing the resources available for analyzing your financial position will make you better able to ride periods of low prices and farm income. Programs will be offered at various locations in Ohio and Iowa. These programs have been developed through a grant from the North Central Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Cass County Extension Office, Atlantic

Monday Evenings (January 27—February 17), 6 – 9 p.m.

Contact: Kate Olsen, 712-243-1132 or Tim Eggers, 712-303-7781

Chickasaw County Extension Office, New Hampton

Tuesday Evenings (January 28 – February 18), 6 – 9 p.m.

Contact: Danielle Day, 641-394-2174 or Kristen Schulte, 563-547-3001

Hardin County Extension Office, Iowa Falls

Wednesday Evenings (March 5 – March 26), 6 – 9 p.m.

Contact: Kelvin Leibold, 641-648-4850


  • Tim Eggers, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, (712) 542-5171,
  • Ann Johanns, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, (641) 732-5574,
  • Kelvin Leibold, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, (641) 648-4850,
  • Kristen Schulte, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, (563) 547-3001,

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Managing for today and tomorrow

Contributed by Ryan Drollette, Extension Program Specialist, drollett@iastate.eduDrollette_Ryan-cropped - Copy

Managing for Today and Tomorrow (MTT) is a next generation Annie’s Project program that focuses on the transition process necessary to provide a new wave of beginning farmers across the country.  MTT is important because it is difficult to talk about passing on the family farm to the next generation and maybe even harder to deal with this topic on an individual basis.  Preparing for the future of an on-going business takes work, especially knowing that the plans provide direction for the business to continue operating without you.  A good transition plan helps ensure a farm or ranch continues as a productive agricultural business.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has developed, tested, and is now offering MTT to help individuals and families plan and execute a successful transition for the business management and assets of the farm.   The program also includes information concerning retirement needs and options for the present business owners.  The five session program is designed for farm women (of all ages and often participants in class represent both the retiring operator and the new wave entrepreneurs from the same operation) and discusses the four components that create a successful transition­—business planning, estate planning, succession planning, and retirement planning.

Comments from program participants have been very positive and some former participants have helped organize additional classes for their friends and relatives.  Participants have commented that the materials were very well organized and helpful as an ongoing resource.  Many participants have been inspired to begin or continue farm transition and succession discussions with their families and implement a plan, thus, enabling the next generation of farm families to have the opportunity to live on and operate successful farm businesses.

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