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.

Share the Road, It’s Bike to Work Week in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

May 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa motorists will notice more two-wheelers on the road this morning as part of Bike to Work Week. Whether it’s for exercise, to save money or to live a greener lifestyle, Iowa Bicycle Coalition executive director Mark Wyatt says plenty of people are turning to pedal power, and not just for a week. He encourages Iowans to give biking to work a spin.  “A lot of times your commute is much shorter than you can even imagine and it’s pretty comparable by car,” Wyatt says. “It’s easy. If you really want to start, give it a try it on a weekend and get out there and see how long your commute’s going to be and help with your timing and such.” Common complaints are that people don’t want to be all sweaty when they get to work, or that their hair will be messed up from wearing a bike helmet.

“You can take your clothes to work,” Wyatt says. “Hair products are portable so it’s really easy to set up there at work, towel off and change clothes before you go on about your day.” One study found that biking to work instead of driving a car can save six-to-seven-thousand dollars a year. While the winter months pose a challenge in Iowa, Wyatt says there’s no valid excuse to not try biking to work this spring — and this week. “We have 1,600 miles of trails available for people to use and countless number of bike lanes that are starting to pop up in urban areas,” Wyatt says. “As far as bike friendliness, we’re ranked #6 so there’s plenty of opportunities you can get out and bike on facilities designated for bicycles.” In the ten years since his organization started promoting Bike to Work Week in Iowa, Wyatt says the number of participants has grown from a few hundred to several thousand statewide. He says it’s easy to get involved and before you get on the road, you can start online.

“Go to www.bikeiowa.com or www.iowagoesbybicycle.com,” Wyatt says. “We have a national bicycle challenge that we’re participating in so users can log their miles and keep track of how long it takes to get to work and how much fun you’re having along the way.” There are a host of rides, races and other bike-related events over the coming weeks as part of National Bike Month.

Rural Atlantic resident to talk about her Ag Advisor position in Afghanistan

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

(update 5/22/12 – the event mentioned below has been postponed until 5/31/12 at 7-p.m. due to President Obama’s visit to Des Moines May 24th)

Rural Atlantic resident and organic farmer Denise O’Brien, who recently returned from a one-year appointment as a civilian agricultural advisor in Afghanistan, will speak about her experiences one-week from Thursday, in Des Moines. O’Brien,  who co-founded Women, Food and Agriculture Network in 1997, served in the advisory position for the USDA Office of Foreign Service Operations/Overseas.

She’s scheduled to speak on the topic 7-p.m. Thursday, May 24th, at 206 Cartwright Hall on the Drake University Campus at 27th St. and Carpenter Ave. in Des Moines.  O’Brien will also display her photos of farming in Nangarhar Province. A question and answer session will follow her presentation.The event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a social hour at the Mars Café, 2318 University Avenue, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

17 Iowa schools take part in kids’ gardening pilot

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with what’s called the People’s Garden school pilot project toured 17 locations across Iowa this week, where schoolhouse gardens are being created as a way to improve nutrition and tackle childhood obesity. One stop was the garden at Sunset Heights Elementary School in Webster City. Janet Toering, with the Iowa State University Extension, complimented the students’ efforts and says there are multiple goals. Toering says, “We’re looking at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, more physical activities, getting kids outdoors, increasing their STEM skills — science, technology, engineering and math — in the classrooms with lessons, outdoors with gardening and healthy snacks.”

Students in three other states are taking part in the pilot project: Washington, New York and Arkansas. The eventual goal is to go nationwide with the program. Brad Gaolach is director of the Washington State University Extension Service, based in Tacoma. Gaolach says he likes what he’s seeing in Iowa. “We’ve got raised beds planted and stuff growing so it’s looking like a great start to this pilot project,” Gaolach says. “As I’ve seen in other schools, clearly it looks like the teachers and the principals and everybody’s very engaged in this program.” 

A total of three-thousand Iowa elementary students are participating in the school garden project. Several southwest Iowa area schools taking also taking part in the project, including the following rural districts: Lenox Community School District in Taylor County; the Afton/East Union District in Union County; Mt. Ayr Community Schools in Ringgold County. And, among the “urban” districts taking part in the program is: Walnut Grove (Council Bluffs), West Pottawattamie County; and Rue (Council Bluffs), in t Pottawattamie County.

Learn more at: “www.extension.iastate.edu/growinginthegarden

(Radio Iowa/Matt Kelley)

Grand Opening of Lincoln Highway/Loess Hills Interpretive Center is May 19th

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials in Harrison County say free popcorn, wine-tasting, and a demonstration of the new Smartphone interpretation are just a few of the activities planned for the Saturday, May 19th Grand Opening celebration for the Lincoln Highway/Loess Hills Interpretive Center located at the Harrison County Welcome Center near Missouri Valley.

The new Lincoln Highway/Loess Hills Interpretive Center, which opened in September along Highway 30 in west central Iowa, provides informative displays on both the historic Lincoln Highway and the Loess Hills. (photo Courtesy IA Div. of Tourism)

To officially open the new center, a “rope” cutting ceremony will be held at 10:45 am.  The “rope” will actually be made of colored-yarn signifying the six school districts represented by Harrison County communities. At the conclusion of the short ceremony in the center’s large shelter, free hot dogs, chips and cherry drink – a tradition of the village since the 1930’s – will be sponsored by the Harrison County Historical Society for as long as it lasts.

Also occurring between 10:30 and 1:00 pm, will be Western Iowa wine-tasting including a new Lincoln Highway variety, an animal tracks scavenger hunt on the hard-surfaced portion of the new trail, and a sample of the upcoming Welcome Center Farmers Market.  A few of the vendors for the 2012 season will share their wares as well as a listing of what crops and crafts can be expected from all of this year’s vendors.

From noon to 1:00 pm May 19th, the Harrison County Conservation staff will be offering demonstrations on the new Smartphone interpretation for the Lincoln Highway Road bed demonstration area, and explain the new “Smart Trail” interpretation available in some Harrison County Parks.

Throughout the day, free popcorn will be available for all those watching the Loess Hills and Lincoln Highway movies in the auditorium.  All attendees are also invited to register for the chance to win a cabin stay at the new King Cabin being built at Willow Lake Recreation Area near Woodbine or a $100 Welcome Center Gift Certificate.  Special discounts in the gift shop will also be available. May 19th is also the first day of the Living Loess third Saturday of the month tour season.  There will be a special table available for those wanting to learn more about Living Loess, get a passport stamped, and receive a free Harrison County Log Cabin ornament.

The Harrison County Historical Village and Iowa Welcome Center is located between Missouri Valley and Logan, Iowa on Highway 30.  For further information, please call 712-642-2114 or visit Harrison County Iowa Welcome Center on Facebook. http://harrisoncountyparks.org/welcome/

Branstad Order Allows Lead Shot in Dove Hunting

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

May 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has signed an executive order legalizing the use of lead shot in the hunting of doves, rescinding an action by the state Natural Resources Commission.  Branstad’s action today (Friday) allows dove hunters to use lead shot when the season begins in September.  The Iowa Natural Resources Commission last year approved a rule banning lead shot for dove hunting. The Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee then agreed to postpone the rule to give the Legislature time to pass a law that would allow lead shot for dove hunting.  This year, the House passed a resolution, but the measure died in the Senate.  Opponents of dove hunting say the pellets contaminate the environment for other animals. Hunting groups say steel shot costs more and doesn’t work as well.

Branstad to Take Action on Dove Hunting

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

May 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he plans to take action allowing hunters to shoot doves with lead shot this fall.  Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the governor will announce his plans during a news conference on Friday. Albrecht didn’t give specific details on what action the governor will take. The Iowa Natural Resources Commission last year passed a rule banning lead shot for dove hunting. The Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee then agreed to postpone the rule. This year, the House passed a resolution to nullify the rule and allow lead shot. The measure died in the Senate. Opponents of dove hunting say the pellets contaminate the environment for other animals. Hunting groups says steel shot costs more and doesn’t work as well.

FERTILIZER AND FARM CHEMICALS SPILL NORTH OF ORIENT

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

 The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Thursday (today), that an Agriland FS sprayer carrying more than 1,200 gallons of farm chemicals and water accidentally rolled off the north shoulder of County Highway G61 west of Orient Wednesday evening. The mixture contained eight gallons of Harness Extra, 2.6 gallons of Round-Up, 1,272 gallons of 32 percent nitrogen and 80 gallons of water.

About 600 gallons of product were recovered. Some product reached the south side of the highway where tile intakes discharge into Shanghai Creek, a tributary to the East Nodaway River. Field tests this morning 1 mile downstream in Shanghai Creek indicated less than 10 parts per million of ammonia. The creek is full and flowing fast, so either the ammonia is diluted, or it has not reached 1 mile down the creek yet. 

No fish have been killed currently. If residents downstream notice changes in the water, or see dead fish, they should notify the DNR by calling the 24-hour spill number at 515-281-8694. A dam has been constructed in the ditch down gradient to where a culvert crosses the road. The product mixed with water is being pumped out. One Call has been notified, and as soon as One Call has been to the scene, the affected surface will be excavated and land applied.

USDA projects record corn crop, fall in prices

Ag/Outdoor

May 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects a record corn crop this year, topping the previous high by 11 percent.  That could be good news for livestock producers relying on corn for feed and consumers who could see a slight drop in food prices.    For farmers, lower prices are also likely. Corn for December delivery was down 9 cents per bushel Thursday to $5.07. It was trading as high as $6.60 in September.  The USDA expects farmers to turn in 14.8 billion bushels, up 2.4 billion from the current year and 11 percent more than the previous record of 13 billion bushels in 2009. Farmers are expected to harvest 5 million more acres and get a record 166 bushels per acre, 2 bushels above the average of the last decade.

USDA Report 05-10-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

May 10th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Dave York

Play

Is this heaven? No, it’s the “Dream to Farm” class, offered in SW Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowans who’ve always wanted to become farmers but weren’t sure how to make the leap can now take a course. “Dream to Farm” is a 14-week class being offered for the first time this summer at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. Matt Mancuso, the college’s sustainability coordinator, says it’ll appeal to entrepreneurs who are interested in food security, healthy eating and local food. Mancuso says six of the sessions will focus on developing a comprehensive business plan. “A lot of people are going to be coming in with ideas of what they want to do and they are going to be totally changed by the funding and how much you’re going to be making,” Mancuso says. “It’s going to be a learning experience for them and people will be coming in with ideas that will be totally transferred to something else by the end of the class.” The course will cover the basics of farming techniques, soils, animal husbandry, irrigation, and pest and disease management. Mancuso says the course is not designed for someone who wants to start farming 150 acres of corn or soybeans, but rather someone who wants to take their passion for gardening to the next level.

Mancuso says, “This is going to be someone who’s a local farmer who’s going to be providing for the local farmers markets, the local restaurants, the local food outlets, grocery stores and so forth in their local areas.” It will target the small-scale niche farmer who can devote a half-acre, or perhaps two or three acres, to something like raising carrots, cabbage or chickens. In addition to classroom work, there will be hands-on labs, field trips and relationship-building with mentors. Mancuso says they may be small-scale farmers, but the eventual fruits of the labor will be much larger.

“This provides a huge local economic impact, both in urban areas and in rural areas by developing these farmers,” Mancuso says. “A lot of times these farmers use local products. The money gets transferred through the local economy over and over with these local farmers.” Thanks to a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, the course will only cost 39-dollars. It begins May 30th and runs through August 29th. A second class will be offered in the fall. Mancuso hopes to perfect the curriculum and will offer it to other community colleges across Iowa. 

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)