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.

Cass County Fair begins in Atlantic today

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The 2012 Cass County Fair begins its six-day run today, in Atlantic, with livestock check-ins and other activities. Among them, is the 4-H static exhibit entries and conference judging, and a food sale that takes place in the Community Center at 10-a.m. 

The King and Queen Contest starts tonight at Eight O’clock, and can be heard live here on KJAN. Then at 8:30, there’ll be a Senior Recognition. Highlights during the evening hours of the next few days include: a Bullride at 7:30-p.m. Friday; ATV races at 6-p.m. Saturday; a tractor show Sunday at 4-p.m.; Grand Champion Beef selection Monday at 7-p.m., and the Livestock sale Tuesday, at 8-a.m. 

For a complete rundown of the fair schedule, surf the web to http://www.extension.iastate.edu/cass/ and look for the pdf link.

And, for information about other county fairs going on in the State of Iowa, surf to http://www.iowafairs.com/site/aif-member-fairs.php

Cattle producers may apply for emergency grazing

Ag/Outdoor

July 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Emergency grazing is now allowed in 25 Iowa counties as a result of an emergency drought declaration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Emergency grazing authority is limited to livestock producers who have suffered pasture losses due to ongoing drought conditions in the 25 counties. Farmers will take a 10 percent conservation reserve program payment reduction for grazing CRP acres under the emergency provisions.

Beginning August 2nd, all Iowa counties will be eligible for emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres under an expanded declaration announced by Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack this week. Producers must request approval of emergency grazing and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

10 Iowa Counties designated Natural Disasters due to drought

Ag/Outdoor

July 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Farmers in 10 Iowa counties may apply for low interest emergency disaster loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture if they’ve suffered major production losses due to drought. The counties in in southern Iowa are contiguous to the Missouri counties declared in a primary disaster declaration by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. In Missouri, 97 counties are in the primary area affected by drought conditions. The Iowa counties are Appanoose, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Lee, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Van Buren, and Wayne. The Farm Service Agency may make emergency loans to eligible family farmers with losses that may include livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees, and harvested or stored crops. The interest rate for emergency loans is 2.25 percent. The final date for making application is March 18th, 2013.

Iowa DNR: 2011 pheasant harvest lowest in 50 years

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

July 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Hunters in Iowa shot a record low number of pheasants last year. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates 109-thousand pheasants were harvested in 2011 — the fewest since record keeping began in 1962. DNR wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz was expecting the numbers to be low following five winters with above average snowfall and five wetter than normal springs. “Was I expecting the harvest to be this much lower? No, probably not, I was figuring around 150,000 to 200,000 would probably be our harvest,” Bogenschutz said. The estimate is based on a random survey of hunters.

Harvest estimates were highest in northwest Iowa. The DNR will conduct a roadside survey over the first two weeks of August to gauge what hunters can expect this year. Bogenschutz is predicting a significant increase in pheasant numbers. “Based on field reports from staff, seeing broods this year, obviously this is probably our best production year in the last six,” Bogenschutz said. “We had good winter survival of the hens that were there. That was key.” The 2012 pheasant and quail hunting seasons will open October 27.

The DNR also reports an estimated 57,285 mourning doves were harvested during Iowa’s inaugural mourning dove hunting season. Around 9,000 resident and nonresident licenses were purchased for dove hunting. “This second year, I would suspect maybe we’ll see both of those bump up. We’ll have some more hunters and that will lead to additional harvest,” Bogenschutz said. “Our staff is kind of learning the ropes on dove management, so we have a few more actively managed areas out there for doves that hunters can use.” The 2012 mourning dove hunting season is tentatively scheduled to begin on September 1.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 07-25-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

July 25th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play

Latham bill to forever kill child labor rules for farms

Ag/Outdoor

July 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The U.S. House this afternoon (Tuesday) is scheduled to debate legislation that would forever ban federal officials from regulating the work kids and teenagers do on American farms. Iowa Congressman Tom Latham, a Republican from Clive, is the bill’s sponsor. “Growing up on a farm myself and understanding how important it is to learn the operations of the farm, the responsibilities, to get the skills that you need,” Latham says, “it’s very important that kids are able to help out.” Last fall Department of Labor officials proposed regulations that would have prohibited kids under the age of 16 from operating “power-driven” equipment like tractors.

No one under the age of 18 would have been allowed to work in grain silos or handle pesticides. This past February the agency proposed an exemption to allow children to work on their own family’s farm, but then, in late April, Labor Department officials tabled the entire set of rules “for the duration of the Obama Administration.” Latham says it’s important for congress to act to kill the proposal for good. “I think that for family farms they want certainty to know that the Department of Labor (officials) sometime in November aren’t going to come back in November and say, ‘This rule is now in place,’” Latham says.

Safety advocates argued the rules would protect children from dangerous labor on farms, and they cited data indicating that of the 16 U.S. children under the age of 16 who died of work-related injuries in 2010, 14 of them were working in agriculture. Critics of the rules cited other data indicating the number of child injuries and deaths on American farms declined in the past decade. Latham argues officials in the Department of Labor showed a “total misunderstanding” of what family farm operations are. “They have no clue,” Latham says. “…I would say that, you know, a child who has never had (and) is prohibited from actually helping on a farm to understanding machinery, understanding livestock, is much more vulnerable and does not have the skills nor the experience later on, then, could actually cause a more dangerous situation.”

This spring Iowa Senator Tom Harkin said he was disappointed the department had walked away from regulations that were, at the core, about protecting children and which could have been revised to correct some of the concerns that had been raised.

(Radio Iowa)

US Ag Secretary calls on House GOP to vote on Farm Bill immediately

Ag/Outdoor

July 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says House Republicans need to quit stalling and vote on a Farm Bill that would reinstate expired disaster assistance, providing help for farmers suffering through the worst drought in almost a quarter-century. Vilsack announced Monday that virtually all farmland enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program has been released for haying and grazing of livestock, plus haying and grazing will be allowed on Wetland Reserve Program easement areas in drought-impacted areas where it won’t set back conservation goals. Speaking late Monday afternoon at an event in Mason City, Vilsack said the condition of the crops nationwide is continuing to decline rapidly. 

“Our latest crop report that was issued just minutes ago indicates our challenge — 35 percent of the nation’s soybean crop now in poor to very poor condition; 45 percent of the nation’s corn crop now in poor to very poor condition; and nearly 55 percent of our range and pasture land rated poor to very poor condition,” Vilsack said. “That is a challenge for American producers and for all those whose livelihoods are tied to what happens on the farm.” Vilsack is asking Eric Cantor, the Republican leader in the U.S. House, to bring the 2012 Farm Bill up for a vote immediately, as the bill h3as passed the U-S Senate and includes livestock disaster assist3ance programs.

“The majority leader Eric Cantor has suggested he has his finger on the pause button. As I’ve said many times, I wish he would take his finger off the pause button so I don’t have to put my finger on the panic button. I think producers are beginning to be concerned about this because we have until September 30th to have a new (Farm Bill),” Vilsack said. “…People say, ‘Well, maybe they could extend the existing (Farm Bill).’ The problem with that is it will not revive the current livestock programs.” Vilsack accuses House Republican leaders of delaying help to the nation’s farmers. “The House, as I understand it, adjourned a day early last week because they didn’t have anything to do,” Vilsack said. “Well — Farm Bill, now. Pretty simple.” According to Vilsack, speedy passage of the Farm Bill would provide farmers and ranchers with some “predictability” in the midst of all the uncertainty caused by the drought.

“They’re planning on taking a five-week recess,” Vilsack said of congress. “I don’t know of a single farmer who in the midst of harvest when there is work to be done stops the combine and says, ‘You know what? I’ll just take a couple of weeks vacation and the work can always get done later. This has got to get done and there is no better time to do it than now.” Last week during a public briefing in the White House, Vilsack said he was getting on his knees every day and praying for rain. A leading atheist group took issue with Vilsack’s statement. The leader of the Council for Secular Humanism said Vilsack was sending the wrong message to distraught farmers by suggesting prayer was the best response. During an event Monday afternoon in Mason City, Vilsack was asked by a reporter if he had any response. “I’m still praying,” Vilsack said. Vilsack visited Soy Energy in Mason City and spoke to members of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. Earlier in the day Vilsack visited the Cedar Rapids area and toured a farm near Center Point.

(Radio Iowa)

Another US food company will quit buying pork from farms with gestation crates

Ag/Outdoor

July 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The nation’s largest food distributor has joined a growing list of restaurants and retailers urging pork producers to stop using gestation stalls for sows. Sysco executives released a written statement Monday, saying they take the company’s role as a “responsible corporate citizen very seriously” and would “work diligently with suppliers to ensure humane treatment of animals.” Sysco is the largest food distributor in the country, with over 40-billion dollars in sales last year in the U.S., Canada and Ireland. The president of the Humane Society of the United States says a growing list of food-service companies from McDonald’s to Costco are conveying a “no confidence vote” in gestation crates for pigs. Pork producers say the stalls keep the sows safe, as pregnant pigs are often aggressive and get injured in fights, but major players in the pork industry like Cargill and Smithfield are phasing out the use of gestation stalls.

 The National Pork Producers Council accuses what they refer to as “radical animal rights groups” of having the “goal of ending food-animal production in the U.S.” The pork producers also accuse the Humane Society of “not telling the truth about animal care” on America’s family farms.

(Radio Iowa)

Corn, soybeans deteriorate further in drought

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s corn crop has deteriorated further with 40 percent now in very poor or poor condition. A week ago it was 27 percent. The USDA says it has received reports of farmers chopping down their corn. Just 23 percent of the crop is in good to excellent condition down from 36 percent a week earlier.

For Iowa soybeans 30 percent are now in very poor or poor condition. It was 20 percent a week ago. Just 28 percent of the crop is in good or excellent condition down from 38 percent a week ago. Nationally, 45 percent of the corn crop is very poor or poor. Last week it was 38 percent. For soybeans, 35 percent is now poor or very poor compared with the 30 percent a week earlier.

CWD found in captive deer in southern Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A deer at a hunting preserve in south-central Iowa’s Davis County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The disease is fatal to deer and Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman, Kevin Baskins, says that’s why it’s important to keep on top of the situation. “Well there’s always a concern about the spread of it, but the good news is that this particular animal was contained. It’s not like it was just a deer that was just roaming wildly and had a lot of exposure to other wild deer,” according to Baskins. “I think at this point we’re just going to have to look at this particular facility and what can be done there to contain it as much as possible.”

It’s not know how long the deer had been at the facility and where it came from.  “No, I think that’s what we are going to be talking to the owner about, trying to trace back the history of this particular animal,” Baskins says. C-W-D can also be found in elk and deer and involves a protein in the brains of the animals, leading to symptoms that include weight loss and abnormal behavior. Baskins says tests are conducted on thousands of captive animals each year. “This particular facility, there’s been a hundred and 17 deer in the last five years tested – including 43 in the last year — and this was the first positive detection that we have had of Chronic Wasting Disease in that particular herd,” according to Baskins.

The state began taking samples from hunters in 2000 to test the wild population of deer after the disease was confirmed in surrounding states. The state tested just over 43-hundred deer during last year’s hunting seasons. “Nothing has turned up at all so far, but I think what you’ll also see too is that we’ll be increasing the number of deer tested in that immediate area to make sure that it didn’t get into the wild population,” Baskins says. while the disease is deadly to deer, the D-N-R says there is no evidence that C-W-D can spread to humans, pets or domestic livestock such as pork, beef, dairy, poultry, sheep or goats.

(Radio Iowa)