The state’s water situation has turned around after things got very dry at the end of last year and drought was a big concern. Tim Hall of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources keeps track of the groundwater numbers. “We’d been watching various parts of the state pretty closely, but of course June was a very wet month, and that moisture came in a fairly decent widespread pattern and it’s helped to alleviate just about all of the drought conditions that we had in the state as of last week,” Hall says. July has been cooler than normal and Hall says that also plays a big role in the water situation — especially during the growing season.
“When the weather is cooler there is less demand from all the vegetation — not just corn and soybeans — but from the trees and grasses,” Hall says. “They tend to use less water when it’s not as hot. And that tends to keep that water down in the soil, and that improves and prolongs the benefit of the rainfall we’ve gotten.” He says nearly all of Iowa had some form of drought in October of 2013, but that has all changed. “There’s a very tiny spot in southeast Iowa that’s only rated ‘abnormally dry.’ So, for all intents and purposes, the state is free of drought,” Hall says.
Hall says the conditions are just where they should be at this point in the year. “This is about as normal as we are going to see it here in the state,” Hall says. “We don’t have any major groundwater issues around the state. It looks like the subsoil moistures are pretty health for the most part. So, we are sitting pretty good right now.” Hall reminds us that the water situation was looking good around this time last year until the weather changed. But, he’s not expecting a repeat.
“We were looking really good in the first half of the year and then the rainfall kind of shut off in the second half of the year. But I think my colleagues in the National Weather Service and some of the longer-term predictions are looking at what will be pretty close to normal conditions for the rest of the year,” Hall says. He says rainfall normally starts to slow beginning in July, but he says if it stays around normal in the later summer and fall months this year, the groundwater should be in good shape.
8:00 A.M………………………………………Beef Show
9:30 A.M……………………..……………….Best of Iowa
10:00 A.M………………………………………..Commercial Exhibits Open
11:00 A.M……………………………………..Watermelon Feed
12:30 P.M…………………………………….Dairy/Dairy Goat Show
1:00 P.M………………………….…………..Meat Goat Show
2:00 P.M………………………………………Skid Loader Rodeo
4:00 P.M………………………………..…….Style Show/Building Awards
6:00 P.M………………………….……………Parade of Champions
7:00P.M……..………………………………………..Grand Champ. Beef Selection
8:00 P.M……………………………………….Skid Loader Rodeo Finals
If you were listening to our live broadcast from the Cass County Fair in Atlantic Sunday evening, you would have heard breaking news about the FFA Food Stand. Gary Miller, CAM FFA Advisor told KJAN’s Jim Field during the FFA News and Judging Results portion of our broadcast, that fundraising efforts to replace the aging FFA Food Stand received a big boost, thanks to a surprise donation.
Miller announced Darrin and Melanie Petty, with the Frederickon Foundation, presented FFA officials with a check for $5,000 toward the fund needed to build a new FFA Foodstand. Miller said the Cass County FFA is extremely grateful to receive the funds from the Petty’s, and others who have pledged a contribution to replace the building sometime over the next couple of years.
The Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund was started to give back to the community Trevor loved by offering scholarships to graduating Atlantic High School students and support other things that meant a lot to Trevor.
The Iowa D-N-R continues adding to the G-P-S information that’s available for the state’s lakes. Fisheries Research Technician, Lewis Bruce, says they now have information on rock or brush piles and other habitat areas in the lakes that you can access online. “What this file allows you to do is download all the coordinates across the entire state onto hand-held G-P-S units, fish finders, anything that you can download G-P-S coordinates into. Once you have those points downloaded, once you go to a lake, those coordinates are going to show up,” Bruce says. He says it helps anglers zero in on the best spots for their favorite type of fish.
“If you’re fishing for say bluegills, it will allow you to find spawning beds. If you’re fishing for walleyes, you’ll be able to look for rock reefs,” Bruce explains. “Basically it’s gonna allow you to hit the water running instead of having to look for all these different sites on the lake.” So, is modern technology giving away all those deeply held secrets about the best fishing spots gained through years of knowledge. “Oh, I wouldn’t say that. There’s always going to be those piles that are off on an edge or those locations that everybody kind of hones in on on their own after being on the lake for awhile. It’s going to bring out a lot of points and ultimately will probably spread the fishing out more because there are going to be areas that people weren’t aware of originally,” Bruce says.
There’s now a lot of information available to help you find fish, but Bruce says that doesn’t guarantee that you will be successful. “Just because you are sitting over the structure doesn’t mean they are going to bite,” he says. “It seems like it can be more frustrating sometimes when you have all the technology available. You can see the fish there, you can see your lure there and they are just looking at it.” Bruce says the information should cut down on the time it takes to get into position to catch fish.
“You know, our ultimate goal is to shorten the time between bites and give anglers all the opportunities that they can for catching fish,” Bruce says. “And ultimately we are putting a lot of the angler’s money into fish habitat and they should be the ones to benefit from it.” To find the habitat coordinates, go to the D-N-R’s website at: www.iowadnr.gov.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Officials in western Iowa will consider seeking a $200,000 state grant to help remove invasive trees and plants taking over a Council Bluffs park. The Daily Nonpareil reports that non-native trees and plants – like black locust, buckthorn and Ohio buckeye- have crowded out native species in Fairmount Park. Parks Director Larry Foster will ask the Council Bluffs City Council on Monday give him the go-ahead to seek the grant.
Foster wants a 28-acre section of the park to go back to oak savannah and understory trees, as well as Loess prairies. Wood chips from the removed trees would be used to surface a nature trail within the park that would connect with a nearby neighborhood trail to the restored area
Iowa’s annual roadside survey of small game animals, from pheasants to quail to rabbits, is now underway. D-N-R wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says specially-trained crews will cover 210 routes across Iowa totaling about five-thousand miles during the coming two-week period. “It gives us a real good indication of what our small game populations are doing and what hunters can expect,” Bogenschutz says. “Mainly pheasant hunters are most interested in what’s going to happen this fall and how it compares to last year. The survey is our best statewide snapshot.”
He says it’s too early to predict what kind of season pheasant hunters will see. He notes, this past winter was quite harsh while many areas of Iowa had flooding this spring and summer — all of which could impact the various wildlife populations. “Most of our critters are fairly resilient so we’ll wait and see,” Bogenschutz says. “Right now, we’re thinking we’re going to see small declines or maybe populations real similar to last year.”
The roadside surveys first started in Iowa in the 1930s and were standardized in the 1960s. The survey began yesterday (Friday). The results should be ready by early to mid-September.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is renewing a call to maintain the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply, after a report that the Environmental Protection Agency may scale back proposed cuts to renewable fuel production. Branstad issued his statement Friday. An EPA proposal for renewable fuel standards would reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amounts of ethanol and other biofuels blended into gasoline in 2014 than the law requires.
The governor’s comments came after Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said a discussion with a White House official led him to believe the EPA will reduce the cuts. He still expects an overall drop in renewable fuel quotas. Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of ethanol, a fuel additive primarily made from corn that produces lower carbon emissions than gasoline
Four Shelby County residents have been appointed to the Extension Council Nominating Committee, Julie Klein announced. The committee is charged with nominating candidates for the five vacancies on the council before August 6, 2014. Committee members selected to nominate extension council candidates for the 2014 election are Erin Gaul, Harlan, Cindy Scheuring, Defiance, Chris Schweiso, Harlan and Justin Wagner, Harlan.
By law the nominating committee must include two women and two men, and cannot include any current member of the council. The committee is required to take county geography into consideration when nominating candidates.
“Serving as an extension council member is one way to give back to your community. If you believe local educational opportunities are vital to the community’s well-being, then you should consider running for council,” said Terry Maloy, director for Iowa Association of County Extension Councils. “It is rewarding to know that people are able to improve their lives, farms, businesses and communities because of ISU Extension and Outreach’s education and information.”
Candidates nominated by the committee must submit petitions containing the names of 25 qualified voters to the county election commissioner by 5 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2014. Additionally, individuals may petition to have their names placed on the ballot through a self-nominating process by submitting petitions with 25 names to the election commissioner. Petition forms are available from the election commissioner and at the county extension office.
Voters will cast ballots for the nominees in the Nov. 4, 2014, general election. Successful candidates will serve four-year terms beginning in January 2015.
Iowa is enjoying a near “normal” growing season this year and crop conditions are conducive to a bountiful crop. Before this year’s crop is even out of the field many farmland owners and tenants will be discussing next year’s rental rate and leasing agreements. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach works to bring unbiased information to both land owners and renters to help both parties make successful management decisions. The land valuation and leasing meetings discuss current land values, rental rates, trends and projections of how values and rents might change in the coming years. Other topics will include: how to calculate a rental rate based on county specific information, the variety of leasing arrangements that land owners and tenants may use, and the expected cost of crop production in the coming year. There will be a leasing meeting held on August 5th at 9:00 am in Audubon, Iowa, at the Audubon County Extension Office, located at 608 Market Street. The cost is $20/person pre-registered, or $25/person without pre-registration. Attendees will receive a land leasing handbook with reference and resource materials. The workshop will last approximately 2 ½ hours. Shane Ellis, ISU farm management specialist for the west central region of the state will be presenting. Registration is due by Monday, August 4th, please call the Audubon County Extension office at 712-563-4239.
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that the $1.4 million in cost share funds made available statewide last week to help farmers install new nutrient reduction practices have been obligated. The practices that were eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Northey said “The tremendous response to these cost share funds shows again that farmers are committed to using voluntary, science-based conservation practices to continue to improve water quality. In less than one week Iowa farmers committed to matching the state investment, so $2.8 million in new water quality practices will be going on the ground this fall.”
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received applications covering 59,883 acres from 597 different farmers seeking to participate in the program. That includes 54,679 acres of cover crops, 2,531 acres of nitrification inhibitor, 1,656 acres of no-till and 1,015 acres of strip-till. Farmers in 90 of 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state received funding.
Northey announced on July 8 that the funds would be available on July 17. All the funds were obligated to farmers in less than five business days. Only farmers not already utilizing the practice were eligible to apply for assistance and cost share was only available on up to 160 acres. The cost share rate for cover crops was $25 per acre and was $10 for farmers trying no-till or strip till. Farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer were eligible to receive $3 per acre.
Farmers are encouraged to still reach out to their local Soil and Water Conservation District office as there may be other programs available to help them implement these voluntary, science-based water quality practices on their farm.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received $4.4 million for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in fiscal 2015. These funds will allow the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to continue to encourage the broad adoption of water quality practices through statewide cost share assistance as well as more intensive work in targeted watersheds.
Last year in just two weeks over 1,000 farmers signed up for cost share funding to help implement new nutrient reduction practices on 100,000 acres. The state provided $2.8 million in cost share funding to help farmers try a water quality practice for the first time and Iowa farmers provided at least another $2.8 million to support these water quality practices.
Visit CleanWaterIowa.org to learn more about voluntary, science-based practices that can be implemented on our farms and in our cities to improve water quality. Iowans can also follow @CleanWaterIowa on twitter or “like” the page on Facebook to receive updates and other information about the ongoing Iowa water quality initiative.