KJAN Ag/Outdoor

DNR says campers won’t notice much impact from tight budget

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 26th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

All state court employees have an unpaid day off today (Friday) in a cost-cutting measure implemented by the state judicial system to make up for cuts in the system budget. Judges will be working today, but their offices won’t be open to the public. Budget cuts are hitting all areas of state government, including the state park system as the unofficial kickoff to the summer camping season arrives. Julie Sparks with the D-N-R’s State Parks Bureau, says campers shouldn’t notice many issues.

“We’re keeping up our campsites pretty well. There may be a little delayed maintenance in some of our parks because of some of the staffing challenges that we have,” Sparks says.

Campers were allowed to start reserving sites for this weekend three months in advance, and the sites fill up quickly. Sparks says they are ready to get the season underway. “For the most part we’re really excited and anxious to have people come to our parks — of course that generates revenue for us too — so we love to have our campers come there and visit.”

It has been a cool wet spring, but Sparks says it looks like there may be some good weather for the weekend. “We’re all hopeful,” Sparks says. “It’s beautiful, our Iowa springs, it’s a good time to be camping and out in our parks, that’s for sure.”

(Radio Iowa)

Posted County Grain Prices: 5/26/2017

Ag/Outdoor

May 26th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Cass County: Corn $3.27, Beans $8.85
Adair County: Corn $3.24, Beans $8.88
Adams County: Corn $3.24, Beans $8.84
Audubon County: Corn $3.26, Beans $8.87
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.30, Beans $8.85
Guthrie County: Corn $3.29, Beans $8.89
Montgomery County: Corn $3.29, Beans $8.87
Shelby County: Corn $3.30, Beans $8.85

Oats $2.20 (always the same in all counties)

(Information from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices)

Missouri River group to meet June 13 in Mills County

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

MALVERN–The Iowa watershed approach, providing nearly $100 million to improve rural watersheds, is the focus of the June 13th meeting of the State Interagency Missouri River Authority (SIMRA).

Larry Weber will discuss the Iowa watershed approach and how adopting conservation practices reduces peak stream flows and improves water quality. As director of the University of Iowa’s IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering center, including the Iowa Flood Center, Weber will highlight how funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can help reduce flooding by improving watershed resiliency.

Other speakers will share progress from the Watershed Management Coalitions for the East and West Nishnabotna rivers, updates on Missouri River conditions and the Missouri River recovery program.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Classic Café, 317 Main St. in Malvern. Interested people can attend the meeting by conference call. Dial 866-685-1580 and follow the prompts. The conference code is 4510673319 followed by the pound (#) sign.

The complete agenda is available below and on the SIMRA website at www.iowadnr.gov/simra.

Don’t let reports of a new type of pest tick you off

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A recent report in U-S-A Today warns of the dangers of a new type of pest called the “seed tick,” but Iowa State University entomologist Donald Lewis says technically, the story is wrong. “It is not a different species of tick,” Lewis says. “It’s certainly not something new, I’ve used the phrase seed tick for the last 40 years. It’s not a new phrase, it’s not a new pest. It just gets used by the general public to mean something teeny tiny that I think was a tick.”

Lewis says there’s no need to be particularly concerned about this insect. “All species of ticks can have the term ‘seed tick’ applied to their larval stage,” he says. “It simply means the beginning stage of any kind of tick.”

Lewis says when the so-called seed ticks mature, they can carry many types of illnesses including Lyme disease. He is not predicting a particularly bad tick season. He admits they do grow well in humid and wet conditions with a good food source like small mammals. If a mature tick of any kind does become attached, the recommended way to remove it is with tweezers.

(Radio Iowa w/Thanks to Pat Blank, Iowa Public Radio)

Finding a campsite late for the holiday is a tough task

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

If you are thinking of camping this Memorial Day weekend, but haven’t reserved a spot at a state park yet, finding one could be tough. Iowa D-N-R spokesperson Julie Sparks. “The best thing I can say is for people to go in and look on our reservation site. If they’ve got a favorite park and want to check it out, you’ll be able to tell right away if there are spots available,” Sparks says.

If you do find a site — it’s likely you won’t have electricity. “Nearly all of the sites that are left open are non-electric sites, our standard non-electric sites. When our window for the holidays open, people are right on it and get those electric sites reserved as soon as they can,” Sparks says.

The window she refers too is a three-month lead time when you can start reserving a site for each holiday. Not every site is reserved ahead of time. She says there are 25 percent or more of the campsites in each park that are walk-in status, that you can try to get. “However, on a special holiday weekend like this, people are coming in a day or two early.”

The weather has been cool this year, but the forecast calls for some warmer weather. Sparks says those who have reserved site way ahead of time adjust to the conditions.
“Iowans are tough and they are willing to brave those cooler temperatures,” Sparks says.

Iowa has more than 47-hundred state park campsites.

(Radio Iowa)

Water utility plans to expand nitrate removal facility

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 25th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Des Moines Water Works plans to double the size of the nitrate removal facility that treats drinking water from the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. The Des Moines Register reports the utility’s board this week approved an $800,000 design contract. The utility expects to spend $15 million on the project, and officials say the new equipment and the cost to operate it will require bigger future rate increases.

The utility had sued three northern Iowa counties, accusing them of allowing agricultural drainage districts to send nitrate pollution into the rivers. The lawsuit sought damages for the money the utility has spent to remove the nitrates.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit March 17, saying Iowa’s water quality problems were an issue for the Iowa Legislature.

Ag group backs Grassley bill to help rural hospitals

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 24th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is co-sponsoring a bill designed to help keep rural hospitals open. Aaron Lehman, president of the Iowa Farmers Union, says his group backs the legislation which would create a new “rural emergency hospital” classification under Medicare.

“Rural hospitals are so important to us because they provide trauma services and emergency room services that you can’t replicate,” Lehman says. “We need to do whatever we can to help them make ends meet. By making some simple changes to Medicare, we think that’s a great way to start.”

Lehman says the bill takes on added importance because farming is one of the most lethal occupations. “We know there are risks out there in rural Iowa and rural America and farmers are doing their best to change that,” he says, “but we know there’s a long ways to go and we need to be able to access those trauma services.” A study finds 60-percent of trauma deaths in the U-S occur in rural areas where only 15-percent of the population lives.

Lehman says that’s another big reason to pass the legislation. “If you look at the statistics, the number of injuries due to trauma are significantly higher in rural America,” Lehman says. “It’s very important to our folks out there in rural Iowa and across rural America.”

Under Medicare, many rural hospitals are designated as “critical access hospitals,” meaning, they’re required to maintain a certain amount of inpatient beds as well as an emergency room. However, they’re struggling to attract enough inpatients to keep that status.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 05/24/2017

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

May 24th, 2017 by Chris Parks

w/ Cass County Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson

Play

Planting times have been spread out this year

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 24th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says farmers have been able to catch up quite a bit in their planting with some days of dry weather. But he says some of the corn that’s already emerged may have been in too much water to make it. “They’ll be a little bit of replant where some water has been standing. Most of the rest of the crop it sounds like is up and going,” Northey says. “There’s still some beans to be planted yet….and it is wet enough across Iowa it’s going to take a little while in some places to be able to get back in the field.”

It’s preferred to get the corn all planted by mid-May to avoid any loss in yield. While 92 percent of the corn was planted by the start of this week, Northey says there’s still plenty to be concerned about. “Even just eight percent of the corn means we have a million acres of corn yet to plant — and that’s not in here by the end of May — so we’ll see,” Northey says. “That starts to lose a little yield. Certainly some replants in some bottoms that’ll need to happen, that’ll probably be a little lower yield expectations for producers as well.”

Northey says farmers were busy at the various times when the weather was dry. He says there was one in April, one in early May and then the middle of May, so the planting times have been spread out and it is kind of an experiment in different planting times.

Northey says he’s gotten all his corn planted, but like other farmers, he needs some heat to get it growing. “We do need some warm weather to get it up and going. Most of it has emerged across the state, but it’s still coming yet,” Northey says.

He farms near Spirit Lake and says he still has some beans to get planted.

(Radio Iowa)

Rural Mainstreet Index hits a two-year high

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 24th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A new survey of rural bankers in Iowa and several other Midwest states suggests the ag economy is improving. Creighton University’s “Rural Mainstreet Index” hit a two-year high in May. Economist Ernie Goss conducts the monthly survey and says lender confidence levels on the rural economy for May inched into positive territory for the first time since August 2015. Farm land prices and ag equipment sales were still negative, but they moved in a positive direction.

“It was still not a great report, but we’re talking about many months, in this case 20 straight months, of the overall index being below growth neutral. Moving above growth neutral was certainly good news,” Goss said.

Survey participants said, over the next five years, rising regulatory costs will be their top challenge. The number of rural bankers reporting farm foreclosures was the biggest risk doubled to one in ten, but Goss says it would take even lower commodity prices for that to be a major concern.

“At this point in time, agricultural commodity prices have at least stabilized. They’re not growing, but what we need to see of course is a good 20-to-25 percent increase in grain prices and livestock prices,” Goss said.

Nearly 90 percent of bankers said low commodity prices were the biggest threat to the rural economy, slightly less than last year. Participants surveyed were located in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

(Radio Iowa)