The Iowa Concern Hotline has been receiving an increasing number of calls from farmers and those who depend on agriculture related businesses. Director Margaret Van Ginkel says that sector of the economy was thriving just a couple of years ago, but weather and low commodity prices are pushing things in a different direction. “We’re hearing some concerns from those smaller machinery businesses that are looking down the road to see how much those farmers are able to spend on machinery this year, and they could be having a tough year too,” Van Ginkel says.
Large equipment manufacturers are also feeling the pinch. Deere and Company idled one thousand workers earlier this week. The phone bank was initially established by Iowa State University Extension to offer advice to farmers back in the 1980s. The calls are free and confidential. “Sometimes you need to get a few things off your chest and just get rid of some of that stress,” Van Ginkel says. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can just call and be anonymous. You don’t have to give us your name.”
The Iowa Concern Hotline is not just for farmers. VanGinkel says they hear often from families who wonder how they’ll make their budget stretch if both food prices and other costs continue to increase. The number for the Iowa Concern Hotline is 1-800-447-1985.
Today (Saturday), marks the start of the pheasant hunting season in Iowa. Mick Klemesrud, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says weather conditions should be ideal for hunters this weekend, though there will be challenges. “We’ve got a lot of crops still out in the field and that could cause a little bit of tougher hunting if there’s a lot of standing corn for the birds to escape to,” Klemesrud says. “On the flip side of that, it could provide some better late season hunting because the birds haven’t been hunted that much.” He’s hopeful the number of hunters on opening day will be up this year after a drop in 2013.
“We’re hopeful that we can hit 60,000,” Klemesrud says. “Last year was our lowest on record of about 41,000. Traditionally, back in the late ’80s and ’90s, we’ve had opening day numbers around 200,000. We used to call it the largest sporting event in the state. We’re hoping that some of them come back.” Hunters should always get permission from land owners to hunt on their property. Klemesrud has some other safety tips.
“We always want to stress blaze orange, knowing the zone of fire, stay in a straight line, talk to everybody in the hunt so they all know what their role is and where there zones of fire are going to be,” he says. “You always want to be seen in the field. Go beyond the minimum. Wear as much blaze orange as you can.” The DNR says there was one hunting-related injury during the pheasant season last year. Learn more about the pheasant season at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting
The Wellmark Foundation recently awarded the City of Atlantic a $25,000 grant to help fund the Bull Creek Trail Reconstruction Project. The project will focus on the reconstruction of a trail that runs through Bull Creek, completing the intra-city trail system that runs through Atlantic, Iowa. The project will also measure residents’ use of trails before and after the reconstruction to gauge overall usage of the trail.
The Bull Creek Trail Reconstruction Project will complete the last section of the Atlantic intra-city trail that runs beside Bull Creek in the heart of Atlantic. The multi-use trail will begin at 14th Street, connect with the Atlantic Bike Route and the Atlantic Walking Path, and continue north through Atlantic to the Schildberg Recreation Area. The trail will connect several areas of Atlantic directly to Schuler Elementary School, the Atlantic Middle School, and the Nishna Valley Family YMCA, giving children a safer place to ride their bikes to school and after-school activities. This project will also complement the continued development of the Schildberg Recreation Area and the future development of the trail connecting Schildberg to the T-Bone Trail.
The grant award to the City of Atlantic represents one of 19 competitively awarded grants across Iowa and South Dakota to establish pilot efforts or expand upon current community health initiatives.
Some area contestants have picked up awards at the Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show in Omaha. Among the winners:
A recent change by the Internal Revenue Service gives farmers who have been hit by drought a little more time for recovery. I-R-S spokesman, Christopher Miller, says the agency has changed the rules when it comes to livestock losses. He says farmers often sell off livestock during drought conditions, and in order to take advantage of tax conditions under the law, they have to replace the sold off livestock within a specified time. Miller says that time limit had been four years, but the I-R-S has extended the deadline another year for those who were facing a December 31st deadline this year.
“And that also means that impacted farmers can defer taxes on capital gains on that sale of the livestock,” Miller points out. The I-R-S regulations say the one-year extension applies to capital gains realized by eligible farmers and ranchers on sales of livestock held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes due to drought. Sales of other livestock, such as those raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes, and poultry are not eligible.
“If you are a farmer in Iowa impacted by drought conditions over the last few years, you will have an extension of time to replace the livestock that you had to get rid of because of those conditions. And you also have an extension of time to defer any taxes that you get because of the gain in selling that livestock,” according to Miller. Miller urges Iowans to check to see if they qualify under the extension.
“To learn more, farmers simply need to read the I-R-S publication, 2-2-5, and that’s available on our website irs.gov and we’ll also have a notice there that outlines the affected counties in Iowa,” Miller says. He says you should be able to find all the information you need on the website.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The harvest remains behind schedule in Iowa but weather conditions are favorable for allowing farmers to try to catch up.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa is about 18 days behind the normal corn harvest pace with 19 percent harvested while typically at this time more than half of the crop is in. Nationally, only a third of the crop is in when normally half is finished by now. The Iowa soybean harvest is nine days behind schedule with 61 percent harvested, less than the 77 percent average. Nationally, just over half the crop is in. The average is 66 percent.
The USDA says in its weekly update released Monday 93 percent of the corn crop and 94 percent of soybeans nationally are in fair, good or excellent condition.
Police in Glenwood are asking for your help in finding the person or persons responsible for the theft of lawn and garden equipment. Officials say two John Deere lawn mowers, a 2010 Z-925 and 2013 Z-930m, along with two Echo lawn trimmers, along with a black H&H tandem-axle trailer, were taken from Jim Hughes Realty at 410 S. Locust Street in Glenwood.
The thefts occurred sometime between 7:30-p.m. Oct. 15th and 8-a.m. Oct. 16th. Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call the Glenwood P-D at 712-527-4844
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Three Iowa companies have received U.S. Department of Agriculture grants for research projects officials hope will lead to new technologies that advance agriculture. Small Business Innovation Grants were awarded to Harrisvaccines in Ames, which has recently developed a new vaccine for a pig virus; Agren Inc. in Carroll, a consultant that helps farmers deal with environmental issues; and Diamond V Mills in Cedar Rapids, which develops animal food. Each company receives more than $99,000.
The USDA says the grant program was created to stimulate technological innovations in the private sector and to strengthen the role of federal research and development in support of small businesses. More than $18 million in grants were announced Monday by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Agency have begun their twice-weekly Fire Danger notices. From today (Monday) through this Thursday (Oct. 23rd, the Fire Danger rating is LOW, meaning the danger from runaway fire is minimal at this time. Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.
When the rating is in the LOW or green category on the sign, you are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 755-2124 and notify your local fire chief. The next update will be on Thursday, October 23rd.