Archive for  January 18th 2018

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For nearly five years now, Iowa has been operating under the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. That has a goal of reducing non-point source pollution, particularly on farms, in nitrogen by 41 percent and phosphorus by 29 percent.

Since the strategy began, there has been a 25 percent increase in no-till and nitrogen stabilizer use and a 20 percent increase in the use of cover crops according to Iowa State University.

A key aspect of the strategy is that the reductions are voluntary. But who exactly is getting involved depends a lot on how active they are in social networks, like associations, or if they’re considered a community leader. That’s according to a study from the Iowa Water Center and Iowa State University.

With data from the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, which is managed through Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, the study looks at the connections between implementing diverse nutrient management practices and social ties of farmers.

Hanna Bates with the Iowa Water Center says, “Research indicates that conservation practice adoption’s not related to discreet choices, ‘Yes, I’m fully adopting conservation practices,’ or ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’ Farmers talk about it, they trial it and they ultimately try. So really these practices become a community of practice.”

That can influence what farmers do, Bates says they are more likely to adopt practices if they have face-to-face interactions, which is helped if they’re also involved in an agriculture organization or association that is trying to promote conservation.

Farmers who view themselves as leaders or role-models also tend to have diverse nutrient reduction practices.

Bates says that gives validation to the groups that work to put together field days or workshops, “You have organizations that either have a peer-to-peer network for sharing trial information or you have groups that have research that they have ongoing conservation practices. So, it’s kind of a validation, a thumbs up to keep doing what you’re doing. In that sense. And also, it’s kind of presenting them with an issue of recruitment, because those who are involved are doing something, but what about the people who aren’t involved.”

The research concludes that farmers who are most in need of engagement on nutrient management are also more difficult to reach.

The strong positive correlation it found suggests that focusing on opinion leadership in future research could better explain variation of conservation practices.

INDIANAPOLIS – Police say a mother left her two young kids alone in a freezing car for more than an hour outside a hospital in Indianapolis, where dangerously cold temperatures have gripped the city.

The 26-year-old mother allegedly left her 4-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter alone in her car in the parking lot at Community Hospital North while she went for a job interview, according to WXIN.

A police report details how the two kids eventually went to the front desk where they “appeared to be cold with a pale skin tone and (were) slightly shivering. The kids advised they were freezing… and walked in on their own because they were cold and scared.”

According to the report, the temperature outside the car was just 5 degrees. Using a laser thermometer, law enforcement measured the temperature inside the car and found it to be just 10 degrees.

“No matter what temperature it is, it’s always a bad idea to leave young children in a car by themselves,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine.

Sgt. Perrine and Wayne Township Fire Captain Mike Pruitt locked themselves inside a car last June and live-streamed the ordeal for 40 minutes to illustrate the dangers of hot cars.

Perrine says extreme cold can be just as dangerous.

“Hypothermia sets in instantly. As soon as you get in these cold temperatures, in a matter of minutes your body goes into a hypothermic state and it can be detrimental to anyone, especially a child,” said Perrine.

Although the mother claimed she left the car running, the officer at the scene noted the windows were all frosted over and by checking surveillance video the deputy calculated the kids were alone in the car for 1 hour and 19 minutes.

Although arranging child care can be tricky, police say there are always safer options than leaving children alone inside a car at any temperature.

“Take the children inside with you. I know finding a babysitter is not always an option, but take them inside. It’s not always convenient, but safety isn’t always convenient and you have to make sure you do things the safe way,” said Perrine.

Ultimately, the mother in this case was not arrested and was able to take her kids home. A report was made with CPS and sent to the child abuse division.