Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp presented 88 Iowa farm families with the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 13th. This was the third year for the award program and to date more than 200 families have received recognition.
Among the award recipients this year was: Dan Buman, of Harlan; Randy, Janalee & Merritt Caviness, of Greenfield; Audrey Charter, of Adair; Dennis & Jacque Hoover, in Guthrie Center; Stanley & Barbara Johnson, of Villisca; Charles and Ruth Owen, of Guthrie Center; and Bill and Margaret Thomas, of Emerson.
The award is a joint effort between the Governor, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. It seeks to recognize the exemplary voluntary actions of farmers that improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon
Winners were presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Monsanto and a commemorative program provided by The Nature Conservancy. Hagie Manufacturing sponsored a recognition luncheon following the ceremony. All winners were chosen by a selection group representing both conservation and agricultural groups.
Several Area farm families were recognized at the just concluded Iowa State Fair. Ag Secretary Bill Northey awarded families who have owned at least 40 acres for one hundred years in the case of Century farms and one hundred fifty years or more for a Heritage farm. Those awarded century farms in Cass County included; Bartlett and Janis Blake along Cecil Boos and Ronald Boos; In Adams County DeLong Orchard and Cady Farms; In Adair County Jo Beaman; in Montgomery County Mark Focht was recognized, in Pottawattamie County Jeff Bisbee, Lyle Cain Junior, the Bette M Fulton Revocable Trust, Lawrence and Sudan Koerhrsen, Ross Valley Farms, and in Shelby County Melvin and Janis Dinesen and Rodney Knudsen were part of the 344 Century Farms honored. In the heritage program 86 farms were recognized included the Dinesen’s and Knudsen from Shelby County and from Montgomery County the hunt Family Trust was honored. The Heritage Farm Program was started in 2006 on the 30th anniversary of the century farm program. In total more than 18-thousand Iowa farms have been designated Century Farms and over 7-hundred farms have received the Heritage Century Farms.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The commission that oversees water quality regulations in Iowa is considering adoption of rules that align state regulations with those imposed by the federal Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Commission’s proposed rules primarily give the Iowa Department of Natural Resources authority to issue permits that regulate manure handling for livestock farms shown to discharge manure into waterways. Permits aren’t required, however, and environmental groups say the rules are too weak and too friendly to livestock farms.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement wants all farms with spills to be required to get a permit. The group also wants five members of the nine-member, governor-appointed commission to abstain from voting because they have financial interests in livestock farming.
A vote on the rules is scheduled for this (Tuesday) morning.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new era of ethanol fuel production will begin soon as Iowa refineries begin full operation using materials other than corn kernels. Iowa has two major cellulosic plants under construction that will use corn plant leaves, stalks and cobs to make ethanol.
The first to go online is Project Liberty, a plant in Emmetsburg built by Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based ethanol-maker POET and Royal DSM, a biotechnology company based in the Netherlands. The $250 million plant, set for a grand opening Sept. 3, will produce up to 25 million gallons annually.
It’s among the first facility of its size in the country to make ethanol from plant material. A $225 million DuPont plant at Nevada, in central Iowa, will start production this fall and make 30 million gallons annually.
You may recall last November, KJAN News mentioned the Cass County Board of Supervisors had authorized County Engineer Charles Marker to work with County Attorney Dan Feistner, in an effort to draft a Resolution it’s hoped would put a little more “bite” into a State law penalizing those who use 4-wheel drive vehicles to tear up County dirt roads after it rains. Today (Friday), Feistner told the Board of Supervisors the efforts of law enforcement has resulted in action being taken against some of the parties responsible for the damage.
Feistner said there have been convictions and/or guilty pleas made in association with the Criminal Mischief charges filed against three individuals who “played” in the mud with their 4-wheel drive vehicles on Level B roads. If Probable Cause is established, Feistner said other charges will continue to be filed against persons who destroy dirt roads, which become muddy during periods of heavy or consistent rain. The individuals who have already been convicted or plead guilty to the offense are being required to pay restitution to the Secondary Roads Dept.
Supervisor Mark Wedemeyer wanted to make clear that farmers who are using the roads to get to their crops are not the ones being charged with destroying the roads. Feistner agreed. He said the incidents in question were clearly intentional, whereby the trucks “fishtailed” down the road one-quarter mile or more and could not be retrieved by conventional means. He said they obviously had not entered the road by mistake and simply got stuck.
Feistner said also, if it had been a farmer, they wouldn’t have run from law enforcement.
Anyone who sees an obvious case of “Mudding” on county roads, is urged to call law enforcement with a description of the vehicle, direction of travel, and if possible, a license plate.
In other business, the Board approved a Resolution placing a Public Measure on the Nov. 4th General Election ballot. The measure calls for the appointment of township officers by the Board of Supervisors, rather than by election. Auditor Dale Sunderman points out 14 townships are now by appointment by the Board. The change would affect Edna and Union Townships.
After reporting a deep drop in quarterly earnings earlier this week, Deere and Company now plans to lay off more than 600 workers at four of its manufacturing facilities, including one in central Iowa and two in the Quad Cities. Deere spokesman Ken Golden says the job cuts will be coming at the Des Moines Works in Ankeny, at the Harvester Works in East Moline, Illinois, the Seeding and Cylinder Works in Moline, Illinois, and at the plant in Coffeyville, Kansas.
“The largest number on today’s announcement is from the John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline,” Golden says. “That’s about 425 employees at that location. Des Moines is going to have 110 employees on indefinite layoff.” Deere is Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer and the company announced third quarter earnings on Wednesday of 850-million dollars, down 150-million from a year ago. Ag equipment sales dropped eight-percent in the U-S and Canada, 11-percent globally.
“We are always going to align the size of our manufacturing workforce with the market demand for our products,” Golden says. “Our employees are aware of that and so there is going to be some flux in the size of the workforce.” There are two ways the company makes adjustments, Golden says, like with extended shutdowns at each facility based on what’s being produced there.
“For instance, in Des Moines, all of the employees will be on an extended shutdown through September 29th,” Golden says. “When we place someone on an indefinite layoff, as we have done today, we are not projecting a particular date that they will be called back. That’s the unfortunate thing.” Deere is also implementing a seasonal shutdown affecting most of the manufacturing workforce at its Ottumwa Works. Production will be cut in the fourth quarter to meet market demand, which Golden says, is “not anything new for us.” Deere revised its full-year earnings projection to three-point-one billion dollars, compared to its spring prediction of three-point-three billion.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For candidates in the Midwest, almost nothing tops a photo opportunity with a barnyard animal or a colorful anecdote about life on the farm. Take Mary Burke, a former business executive running as a Democrat for governor in Wisconsin, who recently paused to check out the cows at a county fair. Or Illinois venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, who talks about his dairy farmer grandfather as a role model in his Republican bid for governor.
And then there is Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst, who gained national attention with an ad touting her hog castration skills. Most voters in these states don’t work on farms. Most candidates don’t either. But many of those seeking office seem to be stretching farther than ever for a barnyard background to establish common-man authenticity.
A new report from the Iowa Agricultural Statistics Service is forecasting the state will have a record corn crop this year. Director Greg Thessen says the forecast is based on conditions as of August 1st. It calls for a total corn yield of more than 2.44 million bushels and 185 bushels per acre. Thessen says of the nine districts in the state, four are forecast to post record yields; central, east-central, south-central, and southeast. All nine districts are predicted to have higher yields this year compared to last.
The statewide 185 bushels per acre forecast compares to 165 bushels per acre last year. If realized, the 2014 yield would be three bushels higher than the previous record set in 2009. Thessen isn’t surprised by the forecast, despite the wetter-than-usual spring and the less than ideal growing conditions in July.
“There was a patch of dry weather in July, but evidently the crop had enough moisture from the earlier rains,” Thessen said. “And with the cool weather, it sort of eliminates some of the water requirements that (the corn crop) would have needed, so that was beneficial.”
Soybean production in Iowa is forecast at just over 502 million bushels, up 22-percent from last year’s production of 411 million bushels. The record soybean yield in the state is 525 million bushels, in 2009. Thessen believes the soybean yield forecast to be released in September could be dramatically different from this month’s report. “The weather during August does have a big impact on the soybean crop,” Thessen said. “We won’t know the answer until we get back out into the fields at the end of this month.”
The current forecast calls for a soybean harvest of 50 bushels per acre — an increase of 5.5 bushels from 2013.
The Natural Resource Commission of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources approved the 2014-14 migratory game bird hunting seasons during its monthly meeting on Thursday (Aug. 14th).
In the north zone, the seasons for ducks, coots and mergansers is Oct. 4-19 and Oct. 25-Dec. 7, the youth waterfowl season is Sept. 27-28, Canada goose and brant season is Sept. 27-Jan. 2, White-fronted geese is Sept. 27-Dec. 9 and light geese is Sept. 27-Jan. 11.
In the south zone, the seasons for ducks, coots and mergansers is Oct. 4-8 and Oct. 18-Dec. 11, the youth waterfowl season is Oct. 11-12, Canada goose and brant season is Oct. 4-Jan. 9, White-fronted geese is Oct. 4-Dec. 16 and light geese is Oct. 4-Jan. 16.
In the Missouri River zone, the seasons for ducks, coots and mergansers is Oct. 4-8 and Oct. 25-Dec. 18, the youth waterfowl season is Oct. 18-19, Canada goose and brant season is Oct. 11-Jan. 16, White-fronted geese is Oct. 11-Dec. 23 and light geese is Oct. 11-Jan. 16.
Commissioners also approved reducing the daily bag limit for canvasbacks to one. A statewide special September Teal season is Sept. 6-21. The daily bag limit is six with a possession limit of 18 of green-winged, blue-winged and cinnamon teal only. No other ducks may be taken.
Special September teal season shooting hours are different than regular duck season hours. Teal season shooting hours are sunrise to sunset. The migratory game bird hunting regulations booklet is available online at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.