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.

Rural Summit in Atlantic June 17th

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Residents, business owners and community and economic development leaders in Cass and surrounding counties can share their thoughts about opportunities and challenges facing rural Iowa when Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa, visits Atlantic on Wednesday, June 17th. A rural summit will take place starting at 10-a.m. at Southwest Iowa Planning Council’s office, 1501 SW 7th Street in Atlantic.USDA Rural Development  logo

USDA Rural Development’s funding continues to have a dramatic impact on rural communities across Iowa. Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $3 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities for Iowa families. Today, more than 1.7 million Iowans live in rural communities and areas, and nearly half of the state’s communities have fewer than 500 residents.

This past year USDA Rural Development’s investment in rural Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,000 jobs, aided 2,400 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 50 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.

For more information about the event, contact the Southwest Iowa Planning Council at (712) 243-4196 or email swipco@swipco.org.

Produce in the Park draws more than 100 shoppers

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The first of many “Produce in the Park” events in Atlantic saw more than 100 shoppers congregate in the downtown City Park, Thursday evening. Event organizers say those who stopped by found locally grown strawberries, lots of greens and more. They also grabbed up fresh made pies, rolls and breads, while enjoying music provided by Atlantic High School band chorus members.

The YMCA kept kids busy making flubber and jumping in bounce houses. Teamwork by vendors, organizations, businesses and volunteers make it possible to provide the farmers market in Atlantic City Park every Thursday, from 4:30-until 6:30-p.m.

New legal protections for county landfills accepting bird flu carcasses

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The legislature is passing new liability protections for county landfills that accept the dead carcasses from poultry operations that have been hit by bird flu. Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm, a Democrat from Cresco, says it’s a protection for county taxpayers who would have to pick up the tab if their local landfill is sued. “If they take on the responsibility of accepting these birds, that if they follow Homeland Security, DNR, federal regs, if somebody wants to sue them for whatever reason, they’re not going to be held responsible because they’re following all the rules,” Wilhelm says.

The issue is being addressed in a budget bill that outlines spending for the Iowa Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Legislators are also asking landfills to submit a report to the state next year, detailing the volume of bird carcasses buried and the fees charged by the landfill. Wilhelm says it’s a check against excessive landfill charges. “The feds are paying for the tipping fees,” Wilhelm says, “and so we don’t want to have them take advantage of, drastically increasing the tipping fees.”

More than 30 million chickens and turkeys have had to be killed in Iowa due to the bird flu outbreak. All of the turkeys and some chickens are being composted in their barns. Some dead chickens are being buried just outside on the farms. Some are being burned and others are being shipped to landfills. A large incinerator at a landfill near Cherokee is currently burning about seven loads of dead birds a day, with plans to increase capacity in the coming days.

A privately-owned landfill near Malvern and a county landfill near Sheldon are burying “bio-secure” bags of the dead chickens. Officials with Polk County’s landfill have indicated a willingness to make bird burials, too, but to date none have been taken there. The legislature’s new liability protection for landfills would not apply to the landfill near Malvern, but would apply to the other two county-owned landfills.

(Radio Iowa)

Farmer’s Market coupons available for older Iowans & eligible WIC recipients

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today (Thursday) announced that Farmers Market Nutrition Program applications are now available for eligible WIC recipients and low-income older Iowans.

Farmers Market Nutrition Program

The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs provide eligible Iowans with checks that can be redeemed for fresh, locally grown produce at authorized farmers markets and farm stands from June 1 through October 31, 2015.

The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides eligible WIC recipients with nine checks valued at $3 each. Again this year, sets of WIC FMNP checks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible individuals may pick up checks at arranged appointments or at regularly scheduled clinic appointments. The checks will be distributed on a statewide basis.

A combination of state and federal funds will be used to make benefits available to more than 23,900 eligible WIC recipients this year. Eligible individuals include children ages 1 through 4, and pregnant, breast-feeding, and post-partum women that participate in Iowa’s WIC Program.

The state’s twenty local WIC agencies have begun to distribute checks and nutritional education information. WIC recipients interested in obtaining the benefits are encouraged to contact their local WIC clinic or visit www.idph.state.ia.us/wic/ for more information.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides eligible seniors with ten checks for $3 each. Applicants throughout the state are offered the checks on a first-come first-served basis and the checks are available through Area Agency on Aging offices. A combination of state and federal funds will be used to make benefits available to more than 19,700 eligible seniors this year.

Eligible seniors must be sixty years of age or older with a household income less than $21,775 if single or $29,471 for a married couple. Iowa seniors will be asked to complete a one page application verifying their eligibility, by providing their birth dates and the last four digits of their social security numbers.

The Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) have begun to distribute checks and nutritional education information. To find an Area Agency on Aging near you, contact the Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging (i4a) toll free at 866-468-7887 or at www.i4a.org.

The Farmers Market Nutrition Programs are administered through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department on Aging.

Ernst says USDA needs better plan for bird flu response

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says there are ongoing concerns with the U-S-D-A’s response to the bird flu outbreak in the state. Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, was asked about the issue during a conference call with reporters. “I can only answer in what I have heard from various producers, and those producers have reported to me that they do not believe that the U- S-D-A is as responsive as they should be, “Ernst says. Ernst says she is concerned federal officials have not developed a plan to deal with the issue.

“In the beginning it was very difficult to respond because there were so many cases of the bird flu that were appearing in all of these various states,” Ernst says. “However, many months have gone by now, and the U-S-DA has had time to implement a stronger strategy. I have not seen that yet, or heard that from those producers who have been affected.”

There have been 73 probable or confirmed cases of the bird flu in Iowa thus far, with some 30 million birds in 17 counties impacted. Ernst says one of the biggest concerns is the response time when producers believe their flock is infected. “In one case it took nine days for the U-S-D-A to respond from the time the initial call was made to the time when they actually showed up on the farm,” according to Ernst. “Nine days is too long when it only takes 48 hours for the infected bird to die. That is way too long.”

Ernst says Iowa producers have also raised concerns about differences in payments made to them for the dead animals. “There is nowhere on-line that they can find out exactly what type of payments are made, what the payments are for, there’s no breakdown,” Ernst explains. She says producers want to know why payments at one facility can be different from another. “So many of the farmers who have the same types of flocks — maybe the same age of birds — are being paid a different rate than another flock. So, there’s a lot of inconsistency there,” Ernst says. “What we are asking the U-S-D-A for is a transparency, a break out of what the farmers are being paid for and why it might differ from another farmer on a nearby production facility.”

Ernst says they need answers to those questions to ensure everything is being handled properly. “We need to get to the bottom of it. We need to be sure that we are protecting our Iowa producers,” Ernst says. Senator Ernst says she continues to remind her colleagues about the issues as she says very few people outside the impacted states are knowledgeable about the problem.

(Radio Iowa)

Corn, soybean prices see no major price drops from bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Corn and soybean producers are keeping a close eye on the bird flu outbreak, concerned that the loss of nearly 45 million birds might reduce demand for poultry feed made with the grains and send prices lower. Todd Hultman, a grain market analyst for DTN, an Omaha, Nebraska-based agriculture market data provider, says there appears to be no significant impact to commodity prices in part because demand remains strong from other sources, such as hog and cattle producers.

The amount of grain fed to chickens and turkeys is relatively small compared to how much is harvested. About 1 billion bushels each of corn and soybeans went into turkey and chicken feed last year. That’s out of 14 billion bushels of corn and nearly 4 billion bushels of soybeans.

USDA: Bird flu vaccine not good enough for outbreak

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a bird flu vaccine doesn’t work well enough to approve it for emergency use against the current outbreak that’s shaken the Midwest poultry industry. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said in a statement Wednesday that the current vaccine is not well matched against the H5N2 virus and don’t provide enough protection.

It says the vaccine offers just 60 percent effectiveness in chickens, leaving four in 10 birds unprotected, while the vaccine’s effectiveness in turkeys is still being studied. The USDA says it will continue to support efforts to develop a more effective vaccine. The agency says bird flu outbreaks have cost chicken and turkey producers more than 45 million birds so far, mostly in Iowa and Minnesota.

West Central® Announces Major Soy Processing Investment |

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

West Central® Cooperative today (Wednesday) announced its plan for a $27 million, multi-year project to increase soybean processing capacity by 50 percent and build additional grain storage at its Ralston, Iowa complex.West Central Expansion image At full capacity, the expansion would create demand for an additional six million bushels of soybeans each year and create more than 11 full-time jobs. Like the current plant, the expansion will produce SoyPlus®, an industry-leading high bypass protein dairy feed ingredient used across the world.

The company plans to increase the current plant’s capacity by up to 50 percent with actual production coming online in phases. When complete, the construction project would include an additional line of mechanical presses, soybean oil treatment, load-out access, and nearly three million bushels of additional soybean storage. New production volumes are slated to be available as early as fall 2016.

At full capacity, ten of the 11 new positions will be manufacturing roles. Company officials are looking to begin the hiring process for those jobs as early as this summer.
To introduce potential applicants to the company, West Central will host a job fair for SoyPlus manufacturing positions, as well as other company positions, at their main office in Ralston on Thurs. June 11, 2015 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

During the event, staff will offer plant tours, accept applications, and conduct instant interviews. Applications are also available online now
at http://west-central.com/about/careers/.

Cass County Extension Report 06-03-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

June 3rd, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

PQA Plus(c) & TQA Training Session Set to take place in Cass & Guthrie Counties


June 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are teaming up to provide training for pork producers and others who need certification in the Pork Quality Assurance Plus(r) v2.0 (PQA Plus(r) v2.0) and/or Transport Quality Assurance program. The certification sessions have been set for Wednesday June 24th, at the Guthrie County Extension office in Guthrie Center, and Thursday June 25th, at the Cass County Extension office in Atlantic.

Updated in June 2013, the revised in PQA Plus(r) v2.0 provides a framework for significant, relevant food safety standards and improved animal well-being. Pork producers pride themselves on the commitment to continuous improvement and the PQA Plus is regularly revised to increase its effectiveness, incorporate new research information, and ensure the program’s validity.

ISU Extension Swine Specialist Matt Swantek will be offering the TQA training both days from 12:30 – 3:00 p.m. and the PQA Plus(r) v2.0 training from 3:15 – 6:00 p.m. Training sessions are limited to 30 persons, but requires at least 5 participants are needed to hold the training sessions. All training events are sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association and are free for all Iowa pork Producers.

Pre-registration is requested to dricheson@iowapork.org or (800) 372-7675. There is an on-line recertification option for those who have current PQA Plus(r) certification. Contact Matt Swantek (mswantek@iastate.edu) or any other PQA Plus(r) v2.0 certified advisor for additional information and setting up the ability to test on-line. New certification or producers with expired certification will require a face-to-face training.”