KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Group criticizes Des Moines Water Works records bill

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 6th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A group opposed to a lawsuit filed by Des Moines Water Works says the utility company’s bill of $40,000 for water quality studies and other records that the group has requested is unprecedented. The utility company says the bill is a “good-faith estimate” for the extensive effort required to meet the Iowa Partnership for Clean Water’s request, part of which includes records dating back to 1974.

Des Moines Water Works filed a lawsuit against Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties in March, claiming draining districts in the counties are funneling nitrates from farm fields into the Raccoon River. The river is a drinking source for 500,000 residents.

The Des Moines Register reports the group claims the utility company has pushed to seal court documents pertaining to the case and is purposely delaying fulfilling the records request.

Beetle juice creates headaches for Iowa wine makers

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 6th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An abundance of ladybugs is creating headaches for Iowa’s wine industry. The Des Moines Register reports that multi-colored Asian lady beetles are burrowing into clusters of grapes destined for wine barrels. The beetles secrete a foul-smelling chemical when crushed, which can ruin large quantities of wine.

Steve Larson, the owner of Trainwreck Winery in Algona, says he plans to ask the federal government for permission to dump 250 gallons of wine after the bugs were found floating in his supply. Had the batch been bottled and sold in stores, it would have been worth nearly $19,000.

Ken Holscher, an associate entomology professor at Iowa State University, says the beetles thrived this year because of a near-record soybean crop that fed them and the absence of a hard freeze.

Avian Influenza update: Quarantines lifted on all 72 commercial sites, 5 backyard flocks remain under quarantine

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 6th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and U.S. Department of Agriculture today (Friday) announced that all of the 72 commercial poultry farms that had a confirmed case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have had the quarantines on their facilities lifted and they are eligible to restock birds. All sites have completed the cleaning and disinfection process and had negative environmental tests. They also had to undergo a 21 day fallow period following disinfection before the quarantine could be lifted.

Five backyard operations remain under quarantine. Backyard facilities must undergo a 180 day fallow period following depopulation before the quarantines can be lifted and birds brought back to the farm. It is anticipated that these sites will be able to come off of quarantine in the next month.

Now that fall migration of wild waterfowl is underway, bird owners are again reminded to exercise biosecurity to prevent the return of the disease. USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a report last month on its planning and preparation for a potential recurrence of the disease. APHIS’ fall plan focuses on four major areas: preventing or reducing future outbreaks; enhanced preparedness; improved and streamlined response capabilities; and preparing for the potential use of AI vaccines.

APHIS’ fall planning report not only discusses planning and preparedness activities but also contains links to updated policies, guidance documents, and background information, including a biosecurity self-assessment for the poultry industry, criteria for using ventilation shutdown as a depopulation method and a plan for how vaccine could potentially be used.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, together with USDA, partner state agencies and industry stakeholders have conducted after-action reviews and preparedness planning. USDA’s Avian Influenza page, which includes a link to the Fall Plan can be found here: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=avian_influenza.html

Ernst expects House to pass WOTUS resolution

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 6th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she is encouraged by the passage of a resolution she sponsored to drop the expanded E-P-A’s rule governing the regulation of U-S waters. The “Waters of the U-S” or WOTUS rules issue now goes to the House. “I do think it will pass handily over in the House. This is significant overreach by the U-S government,” Ernst says. Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, says three Democrat Senators voted for her resolution.

“So there is an understanding of the importance of getting rid of the expanded definition of the rules, so I am very confident that this will pass through the House,” Ernst says. She says the new rule would give federal officials control over a majority of the waters in the state of Iowa, and control of how and what farmers put on the land. “There’s is a fallacy out there that it won’t change farming operations, oh farmers are excluded from this expanded definition,” Ernst says. “Well that is inaccurate because there are other examples where within this rule it doesn’t exclude any topical applications of other types of products, whether its herbicides or fertilizers. So there is a lot of confusion about that.”

Ernst says if the issue passes the House like she expects, then it will be up to the president to follow through. “The president will have to decide whether he’s siding with federal bureaucrats and their decisions on this WOTUS rule, or whether he is going to side with the American people and the quite obvious push back that is coming from the states and the stakeholders,” Ernst says. Ernst says the quickest way to solve the issue would be for the president to scrap the rules and have the E-P-A start over. She says if he doesn’t do that and the lawsuit against WOTUS continues in court, it could take many years before it is decided.

(Radio Iowa)

“A” is for Apple Initiative held this fall

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today (Thursday) thanked the 40 schools in 17 communities across the state that participated in the Iowa Farm to School’s “A is For Apple” initiative this fall. The schools received funds to buy locally grown apples and classroom supplies to teach students about the value of eating well and supporting local farmers. The “A is for Apple” initiative provided grants to 40 classrooms to support the purchase of fresh, locally grown apples from an orchard in their area while they are in season. A portion of the funds could also be used to purchase frozen apples that can be eaten anytime during the year.

Schools also received classroom supplies such as books, cookbooks or apple corers. The Guthrie Center School District was among the schools that participated in the initiative.

Farmers Co-Op & West Central C-Op Boards recommend merger

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Farmers Cooperative Company (FC) and West Central® Cooperative this week announced a unanimous vote by their Boards of Directors to proceed with a merger vote by members of both cooperatives. Following several months of internal and independent analysis on the potential risks and benefits associated, the Boards approved the plan of merger and recommend a merger.

Pictured…Front row; Sue Tronchetti, Paton-area farmer and West Central Board Chair; John Scott, Odebolt-area farmer and FC Board President. Back row: Milan Kucerak, West Central President and Chief Executive Officer; Jim Carlson, Gowrie-area farmer and West Central Vice Chairman; Sam Spellman, Woodward-area farmer and West Central Board Secretary; Jordan Carstens, Bagley-area farmer and FC Board Vice President; Dan Reynolds, Rockwell City-area farmer and FC Board Secretary; and Jim Chism, FC Chief Executive Officer.

Pictured…Front row; Sue Tronchetti, Paton-area farmer and West Central Board Chair; John Scott, Odebolt-area farmer and FC Board President. Back row: Milan Kucerak, West Central President and Chief Executive Officer; Jim Carlson, Gowrie-area farmer and West Central Vice Chairman; Sam Spellman, Woodward-area farmer and West Central Board Secretary; Jordan Carstens, Bagley-area farmer and FC Board Vice President; Dan Reynolds, Rockwell City-area farmer and FC Board Secretary; and Jim Chism, FC Chief Executive Officer.

Odebolt-area farmer and FC Board President John Scott, said “Our members own these cooperatives. We encourage each owner to read the plan of merger and proposed articles of incorporation, ask questions, and return their ballot. Every member matters.”

West Central board chair and Paton-area farmer, Sue Tronchetti said “This is a landmark decision for our member-owners. Our Boards, management and employee teams believe we can diversify our businesses, improve member services and protect and enhance member patronage by utilizing our scale to procure more efficiently.”

Members are invited to hear presentations and information on the merger at one of 20 member meetings hosted Nov. 30th-Dec. 11th, 2015. A list of meeting locations and member resources are available online at wccgrow15.com or fcgrow15.com.

For a merger, Iowa law requires 50 percent of each membership to vote, with two-thirds of those votes cast to favor the proposal. Ballots and voting details will be mailed to each cooperative’s voting members approx. Nov. 20th, 2015. The votes will be counted at a special meeting slated for Dec. 18th, 2015.

Should the membership approve the merger, each cooperative will be represented by nine farmer-owners and member equity will roll into the new cooperative on a one-for-one basis. The combined cooperative, to be headquartered in Ames, Iowa, will be led by Kucerak as chief executive officer.

USDA survey: Iowa ranked 6th among states for number of organic farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa is one of the top producers of organic crops and livestock, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There were 612 organic farms in Iowa in 2014, when the USDA conducted the recently released survey. That places Iowa 6th among the 50 states. California, by far, has the most organic farms, followed by Wisconsin, New York, Washington, Pennsylvania and Iowa.

Organic FarmGrowers of organic crops avoid using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, while organic livestock are raised without the use of antibiotics and feed on organic food. The USDA reports Iowa had just under 68,000 acres of organic crops last year and organic sales in the state totaled $103 million.

Iowa produced more organic soybeans and corn for grain than any other state and ranked first among the states for it’s percentage of organic hogs and sales of organic goat milk.

(Radio Iowa)

Wabash Trace Nature Trail photo Wins Iowa Travel Guide Cover Contest

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

After seven days of competition, fans of the Iowa Tourism Office voted to feature the Wabash Trace Nature Trail in southwest Iowa on the cover of the next Iowa Travel Guide. (View the winning cover (https://t.e2ma.net/click/2higfb/awy8dg/q8y5ak). Iowa Tourism Office Manager Shawna Lode said “Each of the four images up for consideration highlighted a spectacular place in Iowa. We’re excited to feature this colorful image of the Wabash Trace Nature Trail to showcase the many great recreational opportunities across Iowa and draw travelers into the 176 pages of travel ideas within the Iowa Travel Guide.”

2016 TG COVERS_final Wabash (002)You can pre-order the new Iowa Travel Guide at traveliowa.com/preorder (https://t.e2ma.net/click/2higfb/awy8dg/60z5ak). Inside the new guide, expect to see great content highlighting Iowa bike trails, unique Iowa souvenirs, and historic hotels, in addition to thousands of listings for attractions, hotels, bed and breakfasts, cabins and campgrounds/RV parks. The guide will be available in early 2016.

The Iowa Travel Guide Cover Contest began last Wednesday and concluded this morning at 10 a.m. In total, 4,035 votes were cast with the Wabash Trace Nature Trail image receiving 1,830 votes. Other images under consideration depicted a scenic overlook of Effigy Mounds National Monument near Harpers Ferry, Roseman Covered Bridge in Madison County and hikers in the Loess Hills.

The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. For more information about Iowa tourism, visit traveliowa.com (https://t.e2ma.net/click/2higfb/awy8dg/mt05ak), call 800.345.IOWA or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center.

Connector trail project near KJAN almost finished – fundraising continues

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An official with the Nishna Valley Trails group, in Atlantic, said today (Wednesday), that with the 162-foot Pedestrian Bridge in place and virtually all of the concrete laid for the Troublesome Creek Connector Trail, the project will be completed within the next couple of weeks. Dave Chase, President of the non-profit Nishna Valley Trail, Inc., says fundraising efforts continue to top off the remainder of the money needed to pay for the trail.

The new Nishna Valley Trail Connector bridge in-place near the KJAN studios.

The new Nishna Valley Trail Connector bridge in-place near the KJAN studios.

According to Chase the group’s “Original announced goal was $550,000, and thanks to a favorable construction bid from Atlantic contractor A.M. Cohron and Son, the cost of the project was significantly lowered.” Chase said also, “Based on this and the status of the funds we had raised at the time we decided to pull the trigger on proceeding with the project to be completed this Fall. We felt good about the pending grant applications we had in. Another reason was that some of our previously-awarded grant money needed to be used by certain deadlines rapidly approaching.”

According to Chase, two grant applications (one to Wells Fargo Foundation and one to Wellmark Foundation) totaling $125,000 would have provided the rest of the needed money. Chase recently learned from both Foundations that neither application would be funded.  He said new ideas to raise the additional $125,000 have been studied and are being pursued, as well as contacting previous donors to consider further support and/or pledges.

Chase mentioned he has been approached about a donor recognition in connection with the new bridge. “The individual,” he said “Asked how much it would take to get my name on the bridge? How about $20,000, and, could I talk to some of my friends to do the same?” Chase brought the proposal up at the last NVT meeting and it was unanimously approved with one clarification being that any donation of $20,000 or more, by an organization or individual would be memorialized on a permanent donor plaque to be affixed to the bridge.

“This would be for any new or previous donations totaling this amount,” he said. He went on to say that year-end tax planning gifts were also being encouraged. “Those gifts are fully tax-deductible to an organization like NVT.”  Further information about the donor recognition or any other financial support for the project can be obtained from Chase at 712-249-3059. “We will raise the money,” Chase added. “ It is just a matter of where it comes from.”

Propane tank explodes in rural Adair hog shed

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Adair were called to a reported propane explosion Tuesday. Adair Fire Chief Jordan Smith told KJAN News the incident took place at around 7:30-p.m., in the 2800 block of Frontier Road, or about 6-miles north of Adair. When firefighters from Adair, assisted by crews from Casey arrived, Smith says they encountered a structure that was fully engulfed in flames. The flames also caused a nearby grassy field area to ignite.

Smith said the landowner – who resides in Guthrie Center had been burning wood and other debris in a hole and left with his wife to get dinner. The farmer thought the fire burned itself out, but apparently an ember, whipped by the wind, caught an old, former hog building on fire. The explosion he said, was caused by one of three, 100-pound L-P gas tanks inside the shed, rupturing from the heat.

A motorist passing by heard a loud explosion and called 9-1-1. No injuries were reported.  Smith reminds farmers and landowners that anytime there are windy conditions, it’s wise to hold-off on conducting outdoor burns, or at the very least, not leave them unattended. He mentioned also, a combine was lost to fire earlier this week in the Bridgewater-Fontanelle area, that’s a good reason to check-up on your combines, make sure they’re maintained and aren’t getting clogged with chaf and overheating.