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.

Weakening economy seen ahead for rural parts of 10 states

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A monthly survey of bankers suggests a weakening economy lies ahead for rural parts of 10 Midwestern and Western states. The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index for March sank to 43.6, its lowest level since February 2010. Last month’s figure was 46.4.

Creighton University economics Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says “the stronger U.S. dollar is undermining the farm and energy sectors by weakening agricultural exports, crop prices, livestock prices and energy prices.” The index ranges from 0 to 100. Any score above 50 suggests growth while a score below 50 suggests decline.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

USDA Report 03-19-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 19th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

AG Secretary comments on water lawsuit

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Des Moines Water Works filed suit in U-S District Court this week against the supervisors of Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac Counties claiming their drainage districts have cost the utility thousands of dollars to remove nitrates from the water that it draws from the Raccoon River. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says he understands the challenges before the Des Moines Water Works, but says the lawsuit is the wrong way to bring about change. Northey has been working to get farmers and others involved in voluntary programs to improve water quality.

“At the end of the day if they are successful it would be that there should be regulation — it still doesn’t clean up the water,” Northey says. “It just impacts folks in the pocketbook, and a lot of legal fees, a lot of uncertainty. I think it even causes folks to wonder if they aught to participate in the voluntary programs or not.”

Northey says the work should be in the watershed, not the courtroom. “And all the money that’s spent on that legal process, I think it would be a lot better spent putting practices on the ground, working with our landowners, improving our technologies to be able to keep those nutrients on the land,” Northey says. He says the lawsuit could set a bad precedent that would allow more suits against other counties and many others.

Every other drainage district and any user along the way, obviously it would be such that they could sue somebody up river. Obviously, Ottumwa could sue Des Moines for any type of water qualities that they have,” according to Northey. Northey says the issue may come down to who owns the water, and should entities be able to dictate to upstream districts specific terms for water quality.

(Radio Iowa)

NVT Connector Trail project News

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

In a report to the Atlantic Rotary Club at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Nishna Valley Trails (NVT) President Dave Chase announced that he had received word that the Atlantic City Council had recently approved NVT’s request for $50,000 for the construction of the Troublesome Creek Connector Trail Project. Chase received word from Atlantic City Administrator, John Lund, on Friday, by email. The grant is coming from the City’s Community Progress Fund. The money will be available July 1 as part of the City’s 2015-16 fiscal budget according to Lund.

Chase said “This is a big boost to our fundraising efforts which now stand at $310,000 in commitments to date from a number of sources.  This is well over half of our goal of $550,000.”
Chase went on to say that grant applications for an additional $120,000 have been submitted to a number of foundations and agencies, and other applications are in the works.

He also reported to the Club that the Atlantic Lions Club had recently voted to donate the net proceeds of its upcoming April 16 Pancake Feed to the Project. According to Chase, “These recent commitments are examples of the public/private support of enhancements to our area recreational opportunities which will pay dividends in the forms of healthy living and economic development for our community.”

Cass County Extension Report 03-18-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 18th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ ISU Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson

Shelby County Fire Danger is “High” this week

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency are asking businesses and fire departments with Fire Danger signs in their windows, to set the signs at HIGH this week. Emergency Manager Bob Seivert says burning of any kind is restricted unless approval is received from local Fire Chief. Controlled burns that are not reported will result in Fire Department being dispatched, and Fires extinguished if determined to be un-safe. Please call 712-755-2124 with questions. The goal is to prevent fires, through good communication, public cooperation, and planning.High Fire Danger

Seivert says also, when someone has the need to burn a pile of brush, debris, or buildings, they are asked to contact the Emergency Management Agency at 755-2124. The dispatchers will obtain the location and nature of the planned burn and will provide the caller with the Fire Chiefs contact information. Through this expanded communication process, we have found some burns can be rescheduled to a different time of day, where wind and moistures are more acceptable. The Fire Chiefs can have input as to how the burn can be conducted safely and be aware of the activity should it become unmanageable.

Des Moines water supplier files lawsuit over nitrates

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Des Moines Water Works has filed a lawsuit against three northern Iowa counties, alleging they are violating federal law by running drainage systems that contribute to high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. Details of the lawsuit against Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties were released Monday. The Des Moines Register reports  the lawsuit was filed Friday and seeks reimbursement after spending $540,000 to operate a nitrate removal facility for 97 days this winter.

Water Works officials say the counties’ 10 drainage districts allow excessive nitrate levels into the Raccoon River, a primary central Iowa water source. In the lawsuit, the utility alleges such systems limit the area’s drinking supply. The law firm representing the counties didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment Monday.

Near-record warmth expected today, drop of 20 to 30 degrees for tomorrow

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

This is the last Monday of winter but it’ll feel more like summer across much of Iowa with high temperatures approaching record territory. Meteorologist Brad Fillbach, at the National Weather Service, says most of the state will have highs in the 70s and 80s.  “We are going to be warm today, much warmer than normal,” Fillbach says. “Our record for Des Moines today is 84 and we’re looking for highs in the lower 80s, so close, but probably not a record day.”

He says the warming trend will be boosting temperatures 20 to 30 degrees warmer than average for this date in many Iowa cities. “Normal highs for this time of the year, for the Des Moines area, are upper 40s and for the lows, you’re looking at the upper 20s, so well above normal but not quite the record levels.” A cool front is expected to drift over Iowa late tonight, bumping tomorrow’s (Tuesday) highs back down closer to normal. “We’re going to see a big change in temperatures tomorrow,” Fillbach says. “Where today, we’re lower 80s for highs and tomorrow we’re looking for lower 50s.”

Meteorologist Mindy Beerends, also at the National Weather Service, says a Red Flag Warning is posted for much of central, west-central and south-central Iowa today due to conditions raising the risk of wildfires.  Beerends says, “We’re expecting gusty winds, low relative humidity and dry vegetation which is the combination factors for that Red Flag Warning and extreme fire conditions.”

Even with the big drop in high temperatures for tomorrow, Beerends says much of Iowa will still be slightly above-normal for highs for the rest of the week. Spring arrives on Friday.

(Radio Iowa)

Burn Bans in effect for two southwest Iowa Counties effective today (Monday)

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Dry and windy conditions have prompted Emergency Management officials in Montgomery and Taylor Counties to issue a Burn Ban. The ban on opening burn in Montgomery County is in effect from Noon today (Monday), until further notice. The ban in Taylor County was ordered Friday and becomes effective today, as well.

A Red Flag warning is in effect for all of southwest and western Iowa this afternoon and this evening, for critical fire conditions (low humidity and high winds) that could create explosive fire growth.

More Beginning Farmers, Despite Iowa Farm Declines

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DERBY, Iowa – The latest figures show the number of farms in Iowa continues to fall, but that isn’t slowing down a new crop of beginning farmers looking to reverse the trend. About two years ago, Angela Johnson, co-owner of Lucky George Farm, and her husband quit their corporate jobs, cashed out a 401-K and began a conservancy livestock operation outside the town of Derby, in southern Iowa. Johnson says they did so to be able to provide a legacy along with good, healthy food for their children.

“What we’re trying to do is just do everything as natural as possible that would’ve been done in a way with – about 100 years ago or so, our great-great-greats would’ve farmed the way that we do,” says Johnson. “We wanted to do it because we see that that’s the future for our family.”

The Johnsons raise endangered breeds of livestock across multiple species and one of their Large Black pigs was used by a chef who recently won a regional cooking competition. There are many challenges to getting a start in agriculture, from finances to marketing and more. Johnson says key to their growing operation has been the advice and help from other producers and groups, including Practical Farmers of Iowa.

“We have found a network of individuals who are like-minded and willing to accept the challenges through PFI,” Johnson says. “We have networked with other market farmers so that we can learn from them, learn from their mistakes. Our social network has really been the thing that’s helped us along.” According to the USDA, the number of farms in Iowa fell by 500 last year to 88,000, although that is still the third-highest in the country, behind only Missouri and Texas.

(Iowa News Service)