KJAN Ag/Outdoor

From County extension to conservation to grain prices, we provide lots of information every day on KJAN.  Here is some of that information on the web too!  We hope you find it useful.

Fire Danger increases in Shelby County

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency says due to a warming trend, the likelihood of increased winds and a dryer forecast over the next few days, the fire danger rating will be bumped up to “MODERATE,” through Monday, April 29th. The fire danger index had been in the “Low” category for more than a week, because of recent rains.

Controlled burns should be monitored closely, and property owners should contact their local fire chief before any burns are initiated.

Leash on Life 04-25-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 25th, 2013 by Chris Parks

Info from the Atlantic Animal Shelter.

 

Pet Pointers 04-25-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 25th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Dr. Keith Leonard

Popular Loess Hills Prairie Seminar is May 31-June 2

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Onawa, Iowa – The public is invited to the 37th Annual Loess Hills Prairie Seminar May 31-June 2, at the Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area, northeast of Onawa. There is no fee to attend. There are more than 40 field sessions and programs covering many topics for participants of all ages. The seminar began in 1977 as part of the Western Hills, now Northwest, Area Education Agency’s role in providing education and training for K-12 educators in the areas of conservation, environmental and science education.

The seminar is regularly attended by 250 to 300 adults and students each year. Participants may attend all of or any part of the seminar’s indoor programs or field sessions.  Registration is necessary only if requesting meals or requesting the Missouri River ecology boat tour. Evening programs are held at West Monona High School in Onawa.

Attendees can kick off the seminar by volunteering with prairie management at the Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area by removing shrubs and shade from 9 a.m. to noon on May 31. The project will begin at the campground parking lot. Volunteers should bring sunscreen, bug spray, water, and loppers and hand saw if possible.

                For more information on the volunteer project, contact Doug Chafa, wildlife biologist, at 712-420-2437. The Loess Hills Prairie Seminar is sponsored annually by Northwest Area Education Agency, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Monona County Conservation Board, with additional support from many organizations and individuals. For more information, call Gloria Kistner at 800-352-9040, Ext. 6080.

Cass County Extension Report 04-24-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 24th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Three projects win grants to explore energy efficiency in farming

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 23rd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Three farm demonstration projects have won grants to work on ways to make farm activities more energy efficient. Carol Yates of the University of Northern Iowa is working with the farmers through what’s called the Iowa Farm Energy Working Group. “The Farm Energy Working Group is a statewide organization of people interested in helping farmers on small to mid-sized operations find new ways to reduce their energy use and try to change from fossil fuel use to other ways of making energy on the farm,” Yates says. “And if those ways can come from resources on the farm, that’s even better.”

Yates works at the U-N-I Center for Energy and Environmental Education and says the alternative energy can come from all types of sources, including solar panels and windmills. One of the projects involves a farmer near Coralville adapting an electric sickle mower to be used with his electric tractor. “Some other farmers who are in western Iowa are going to install some L-E-D lights in their new energy-efficient dairy processing building. And those are the new very efficient lights that use about 75 to 80-percent less energy,” Yates explains. Tom and Janna Feldman will install those lights at “Doe’s and Diva’s Dairy” in Honey Creek. The third demonstration project also involves dairy farming.

“A dairy foundation near Calmar is going to install two robotic milking systems for some of the cows that it has there,” Yates says. “And this will be used as a demonstration to educate farmers on the best practices in dairy operations. And they are going to collect data usage to show — we hope — that these robotic milkers reduce the use of energy and water.” The end goal is to come up with ways to reduce energy use on the farm that can be shared. “These are farm-scale kinds of ideas, and we are very interested in sharing the results with other farmers,” Yates says. She says they share the information in a variety of ways from reports on the data, to presentations by the farmers, to field trips, with the idea that the demonstrations will show ways other farmers can incorporate what they’ve learned in their operations.

The projects are funded through the Leopold Center at Iowa State University. The Iowa Farm Energy Working Group includes farmers and representatives from agriculture, policy, higher education, utilities and farm organizations. For more information on the group, visit: www.uni.edu/ceee/farm-energy-working-group.

(Radio Iowa)

Deadly explosion in Texas may prompt review of fertilizer plant regulations

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas is prompting questions about regulatory oversight there. In Iowa, officials say fertilizer is only produced at a handful of sites across the state, but many others store fertilizer. Workplace safety in Iowa is overseen by Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement. Administrator Steve Slater says annual inspections aren’t required at most sites that handle fertilizer. “If we have a complaint or a serious injury, they’d certainly fall under our inspection list. But they’re not on a general scheduled inspection list as being a high-hazard industry unless there’s an issue like I just mentioned,” Slater says.

Depending on the circumstances, Slater says the rules may be tighter for plants that process fertilizer. Slater says Iowa has a mostly good track record with fertilizer plants, but the incident in Texas is likely to prompt reviews of regulations nationwide. “This is like the occurrence that just happened in Boston – you can’t predict this stuff – when it does happen, it makes big news and big headlines and provides good opportunities (to discuss) whether we’re doing enough and how we can do things better,” Slater says. Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials say there are at least two existing fertilizer plants in Iowa, located in Fort Dodge and Sergeant Bluff. A third facility has just begun construction in southeast Iowa’s Lee County.

The state Department of Agriculture’s website lists more than 3,000 companies licensed to store, sell or distribute fertilizer in Iowa. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates 700 retail facilities in Iowa that store more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. Four people died and 15 more were injured when ammonium nitrate exploded at a plant near Sioux City in 1994.

(Radio Iowa)

Rural Midwest bankers expect more economic growth

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers says that strong farm income continues to boost the economy in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states. The overall economic index for the region grew to 58.3 in April from March’s 56.9. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey. He says agricultural businesses and energy-producing firms continue to thrive in the region.

But the continued growth in farmland price index that hit 66.9 in April remains a concern for smaller farmers. The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. Any score above 50 suggests economic growth in the months ahead. The index is based on a survey of rural bankers in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Atlantic set to host “Operation Releaf” event

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa DNR and Alliant Energy report a popular program offering landscape quality trees at a deep discount to Alliant Energy customers, will be held at the Cass County Fairgrounds in Atlantic, on May 4th, from 8-a.m. to 10-a.m. “Operation ReLeaf,” a residential tree planting program that promotes long-term energy and natural resource conservation, is funded by Alliant Energy and administered by the Iowa DNR Forestry Bureau with assistance from local partners, like Cass County Extension and Outreach.

Through the program, Alliant Energy residential customers may purchase high quality landscaping trees for $25 each.  These trees typically retail for between $65 and $125.  Officials say advanced orders are highly recommended and advance purchase is limited to two trees per household.  In the event there are extra trees available on distribution day, those trees will be released for purchase at that time.  Order forms are available online at www.alliantenergy.com/releaf.

The DNR is encouraging homeowners to prepare for emerald ash borer and other tree pests by planting a diverse mix of tree species. Foresters have been working with local partners to create community tree inventories that will guide future tree planting efforts to keep a healthy mix of tree species. The most recent tree survey for Atlantic finds 40 percent of the trees are maples, followed by ash at 16 percent. The DNR has a target for communities that no more than 10 percent of the trees are from any one species, and no more than 20 percent is from one genus.

Trees available at each distribution event are determined by the local tree species inventory. For Atlantic, species available include American hornbeam, American linden American sentry, bur oak, eastern redbud, hackberry, Kentucky coffeetree, serviceberry autumn brilliance and thorn-less honeylocust skyline. Shade trees are 6 to 8 feet tall in 5 to 7 gallon containers and conifers are 2 to 3 feet tall. Paul Tauke, state forester and chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau, says “All trees are purchased through a bidding process to promote local nurseries.”

A workshop lead by district forester Lindsey Barney, will discuss ways to avoid common mistakes that often result in dead trees at 9 a.m. during this tree distribution. The 45 minute workshop will cover root flare and proper planting depth, correcting encircling roots, proper mulching and watering and more.

Operation ReLeaf participants must be Alliant Energy residential customers. 

Drought eases in Midwest, Texas still dry

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

April 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Soaking rain across much of the nation’s midsection has helped further alleviate drought in the crop growing states of Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Small portions of Nebraska also saw improvement.  A weekly drought monitor, released Thursday by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, showed a few regions missed out from the wet weather, including Texas, where southern counties are in exceptional drought – the driest level possible level.

Eastern Nebraska and the western edge of the state improved. Most of Nebraska remains in extreme drought. Kansas saw little change, remaining in exceptional or extreme drought.   With snow in parts of Nebraska and heavy rain in much of the Midwest, some farmers are now hoping for a dry spell so they can get into fields.