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 Extension Report 04-03-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 3rd, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Biodiesel blended into diesel tripled since 2010

Ag/Outdoor

April 2nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new report shows the amount of biodiesel blended into diesel fuel in Iowa has more than tripled over the last two years and the renewable fuel made from vegetable oil or animal fat is now blended in more than 42 percent of all diesel fuel sold in the state.   A report released Monday by the Iowa Department of Revenue shows 23.3 million gallons of biodiesel was mixed with diesel fuel last year, up from 7.4 million gallons in 2010.

Ethanol, which is made mostly from corn and mixed with gasoline, was in about 81.7 percent of all gasoline sold down slightly from 82.5 percent in 2010.  Iowa has 12 biodiesel plants and 41 ethanol refineries, more than any other state.

Cumberland VFD and Atlantic Food Pantry each receive $2,500 Saturday

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Representatives with the Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department and the Atlantic Food Pantry received ceremonial checks for $2,500 each over the weekend, as part of a seed company’s contest.

Ruth Steffen (Center, pink jacket) hold a ceremonial $2,500 check for the Cumberland VFD. Representatives with the Dept., including Chief Sean South (on the far left), and the Atlantic Food Pantry along with Bob Sloss (Far right) also appear in the picture. (Ric Hanson/photo)

The checks were presented to CFD Fire Chief Sean South and a representative with the Atlantic Food Pantry’s by Bob Sloss, District Sales Manager for Kruger Seeds, a division of the Monsanto Seed Company, during an event held Saturday evening at the Cumberland Fire Department. Sloss said for the past three-years, Monsanto has sponsored a program called “America’s Farmers Grow Communities.” He said it’s the company’s way of giving back to those communities, whose farmers purchase their products.

In years past, according to Sloss, the company has given one award per county to farmers who have entered their names in a contest. No purchase was necessary. The winners choose a non-profit organization of their choice to receive a check for $2,500. This year, awards are being presented to 1,271 counties in 39 states, and there’s a twist to the monetary amounts being donated. He says because Cass County was in a USDA declared disaster area due to the drought of 2012, the donation doubled to $5,000. Ruth Steffen was the winner in Cass County, and she won the right to choose the recipients of the funds.

Ruth selected the Cumberland Fire Department and Atlantic Food Pantry, each of which received checks for $2,500. Steffen says she selected the Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department because she has had to call them several times over the years, and their assistance has been invaluable. CFD Chief Sean South said they would use their funds to help with the purchase of a new grass rig, which is used to fight grass and other small fires. The truck is currently under construction, and should arrive later this Spring.

He said the 2013 Chevrolet will replace a 1979 Ford grass fire fighting truck that has 124,000 miles on it. That vehicle was purchased used, one-year after it came out of the factory, and was owned by a farmer. The department took sealed bids on their used truck Saturday night, during their Pork Chop Supper, which is their biggest fundraiser of the year. They will continue to receive bids until the new unit arrives. The new truck cost $45,000, and will be equipped with some pieces of equipment from the old truck.  South said they already have the necessary funds to purchase the new truck, and the money raised from Saturday’s supper will help to replenish the funds used from Certificates of Deposit (CD’s) to help pay for the new truck. He said donations such as the one from Ruth Steffen and Monsanto, as well as others, are greatly appreciated.

The Atlantic Food Pantry will use their $2,500 donation to buy basic necessities to help families in need.

Prairie burn set for April 4th in Shelby County

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Conservation Board say weather permitting, the public will be invited to a prairie burn next week. The event takes place at dusk on Thursday,April 4th, at Dinesen Prairie (4 miles NE of Harlan).  The controlled burn will be conducted by the Kirkman and Harlan Fire Departments. Controlled burns help to stimulate native grasses and wildflowers while suppressing brome and other invasive plants.

DNR takes enforcement action against 2 area companies

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports enforcement actions have been taken against two entities in Harrison and Pottawattamie Counties. Administrative orders call for Kenneth Kline, of Missouri Valley, to install facility improvements and abide by other restrictions on facility operations, in addition to paying a $10,000 fine. The order contends that Kline, who owns and operates a cattle open feedlot, violated standards concerning solid manure runoff into an unnamed Euclid Creek tributary, and failed to comply with the discharge and reporting requirements set forth in his NPDES permit.

And, Anderson Excavating Company, Inc., of Pottawattamie County, has been ordered to resolve compliance issues at the company’s construction and demolition landfill. They were also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.The order was with regard to a leachate lagoon and related treatment measures, along with failing to hold financial surety bond.

Both companies have 30 days to appeal the orders, and both have indicated they will file an appeal.

(Details on the incidents and enforcement actions taken by the DNR can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/InsideDNR/AboutDNR/EnforcementActions.aspx. )

US soybean farmers see growth potential in edamame

Ag/Outdoor

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

MULBERRY, Ark. (AP) – A small but growing number of farmers are experimenting with an edible soybean as they look to capitalize on Americans’ interest in adding non-meat proteins to their diets. The United States is one of the world’s top soybean producers, but most beans grown here are used to make cooking oil and feed farm animals. They aren’t eaten whole.

Now, some farmers from Arkansas to Minnesota have started planting a type of soybean called edamame (ed-uh-MAH’-may). It is a common ingredient in Asian foods and can be used in everything from salads to stir fry.  In Arkansas, a company has opened what’s billed as the first American processing plant devoted solely to edamame. Operator Ray Chung estimates the market for edamame in the U.S. is worth $175 million to $200 million.

Ag Secretary Vilsack to tour Iowa DuPont facility

Ag/Outdoor

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Iowa to announce a new agreement with DuPont that the USDA says will promote renewable energy and conservation.  Vilsack will tour a DuPont crop sciences laboratory Friday before announcing an agreement with the company that the Agriculture Department says will “strengthen conservation practices, while promoting the sustainable production of renewable feedstocks for biobased energy.”

DuPont is building a $200 million ethanol plant in Nevada. It’s designed to break down cornstalks and other crop residue to produce ethanol.  The cellulosic ethanol plant is scheduled to begin production in 2014 and will be the nation’s largest plant of its kind, making 30 million gallons annually.  DuPont is working with 500 farmers to collect more than 375,000 tons of corn waste annually to feed the plant.

Cass County Master Gardeners Grant Money Available for Local Garden Projects

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Extension Service report the Cass County Master Gardeners organization is offering a total of $3,000 in grant money to be used in the 2013 growing season, to encourage gardening to grow food and/or beautify local communities. The money may also be used for gardening education purposes.

The David Williams Master Gardener Grants are offered to honor the many years of service Master Gardener David Williams has provided, and continues to provide. Williams is a long-time volunteer, both within the Master Gardener program and with other community organizations, including a term as Cass County Master Gardener president in 2012.

Any Cass County not-for-profit group or individual may apply. Schools, churches, libraries, 4-H clubs, Scouts, and individuals working to improving their communities can use the money to begin or improve gardens or landscaping, or to provide education for their members or the public. Each grant has a maximum value of $500. The application must also include plans for teamwork and sustainability. Consideration for the environment is also an important selection factor.

Applications must be received by Friday, April 19th for consideration. They may be submitted by mail or email. Grant recipients will be informed of their selection by the end of April. More information, as a well as application forms, is available on the Cass County Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu/cass or by calling the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132, or stopping by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic.You may also contact committee members Judy Kennedy, LaVon Eblen, Dottie Krogh or Carolyn Hartmann for more information.

The Master Gardener program trains volunteers to develop their knowledge and skills in horticulture. These volunteers then give back to their communities through gardening service and education. The program is available in all 50 states and Canada through land grant university Extension programs such as Iowa State University.

Survey: Iowa farmland prices up nearly 18 pct

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A survey report says Iowa farmland prices continued their boom in the past year and have more than doubled since 2008.  The Des Moines Register reports that the survey by the Realtors Land Institute says prices have risen nearly 18 percent since March 2012, to nearly $8,700 an acre. The institute figure was a little more than $4,200 in 2008.

The March figure of nearly $8,700 compares with the Iowa State University farmland price survey through November that showed an average of nearly $8,300 an acre. Kyle Hansen, of Hertz Farm Management, says the growth is being fed by high corn and soybean prices and the strong worldwide demand for grains.

NE Iowa man on mission to create “perfect pig”

Ag/Outdoor

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An Iowan is gaining national attention for his effort to create the “best tasting pig in the world.” Carl Blake launched the experiment in 2007 and now operates a 15-acre homestead, called Rustik Rooster Farm, in rural Frederika – northeast of Waterloo. Earlier this week, Blake joined Stephen Colbert as a guest on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central.

Carl Blake on Colbert (Courtesy Rustik Rooster Farm)

Blake discussed what he calls the Iowa Swabian Hall, a breed of pig that has been winning culinary contests across the country. The formula for Blake’s succulent swine was derived from crossbreeding first conducted by King Wilhelm in Germany in the 1820s. He created the Swabian Hall by breeding Meishan Swine from China with Russian Wild Board.

Blake said he bought purebred Meishan pigs from Iowa State University and was also able to obtain Russian Wild Boar, as well. The combination is a “nearly perfect balance of not too fat and not too lean,” according to Blake. He took two piglets to New York for the appearance on the Colbert Report. The animals squealed and the crowd laughed as Blake told Colbert the piglets’ names – Hamlet and Little Smokey.

This wasn’t Blake’s television debut. He also recently appeared on Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods program on the Food Channel. And the New York Times featured an article about Blake just over a month ago.

(Radio Iowa)