KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Tax law gives unexpected break to farmers who sell to co-ops

Ag/Outdoor

January 18th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Key senators and farm groups are trying to fix a provision in the federal tax overhaul that gave an unexpected tax break to farmers who sell their crops to cooperatives instead of other buyers.

The provision from Republican Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and John Hoeven of North Dakota surfaced in the final days of the debate over the tax bill. Companies that aren’t co-ops include local grain companies as well as agribusiness giants such as Cargill and ADM.

The senators say they didn’t intend to give co-ops and their farmer-members a competitive advantage over other companies. They say they just wanted to make sure farmers’ taxes didn’t rise.

But observers say it’s not clear if a fix can pass, given the partisan divide on Capitol Hill.

Two juveniles arrested in vandalism to bee hives in Sioux City

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Sioux City police say tips from the public have led to the arrest of two boys in the destruction of honeybee hives last month. The unidentified boys — ages 12 and 13 — are suspected of the burglary and vandalism at the Wild Hill Honey operation on December 27th. All of the company’s hives were destroyed and half million bees perished in the cold. The boys are charged with felony criminal mischief, third-degree burglary, agricultural animal facility offenses and possession of burglary tools. Damage to the business was estimated at more than 60-thousand dollars. No further arrests are anticipated.

(Radio Iowa)

New Youth Coordinator hired for Montgomery County Extension

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Extension Council and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach have announced the hiring of Celine Beggs as Montgomery County’s Youth Coordinator.  Beggs began work on December 19th. As the County Youth Coordinator, her primary duties are to strengthen youth development through research-based education and interactive learning opportunities. Beggs will coordinate the planning and implementation of 4-H development and youth outreach programs, such as summer day camps, babysitting clinics, afterschool programs, Family Fun Night and more. As an integral part of the 4-H program, she will focus on positive youth development by establishing community partnerships, supporting volunteers, county youth council, 4-H youth and committee and other project committees.

Celine Beggs is originally from Taylor County, Iowa where she was a member of the Bedford Downtowners 4-H Club and the Taylor County Senior Council. She is a Fall 2017 graduate of Kansas State University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in both Agricultural Communications and Journalism and Agricultural Economics, with an emphasis in leadership development. Beggs is enthusiastic about the 4-H program and brings in various experiences which will help her create sustainable programs for the county.

Celine Beggs

Beggs will work closely with Montgomery County’s 4-H program and coworkers, Rachel Bergren, Program Coordinator and office assistant Angela Silva, as well as other Field Specialists serving Montgomery County. Please stop by the Montgomery County Extension Office and welcome Celine to her new position! Feel free to contact her at cmbeggs@iastate.edu or 712-623-2592 regarding any questions you may have about Montgomery County’s 4-H program and other resources available through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Montgomery County. Extension resources are always available at www.extension.iastate.edu/montgomery.  Be sure to “Like” Montgomery County-IA Extension on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Cass County Extension Report 1-17-2018

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

January 17th, 2018 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson.

Play

Groups call for more regulation of large hog operations

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 17th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

A coalition of more than two dozen state, local, and national organizations rallied at the statehouse today (Tuesday) urging passage of a package of bills they say will strengthen regulation of large hog confinement operations known as CAFO’s. The coalition says they have diminished the quality of life in the Iowa countryside. The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture is calling for a moratorium on new large hog operations until fewer than 100 Iowa waterways remain impaired. It’s one of several bills offered by Senator David Johnson, an Independent from Ocheyedan, to strengthen regulation of hog farms. “It’s time to get tough on poor siting of hog confinements — including those being built in environmentally sensitive areas, and locating CAFO’s where the smell and sound of someone else’s money is in your bedroom every night,” Johnson says.

Johnson say more large hog operations are going up in areas of the state where the environment is sensitive. “In northwest Iowa CAFO’s are creeping into Dickinson County where the Iowa Great Lakes and other natural features draw more than a million visitors every year,” Johnson says. “Some people there wonder if CAFO’s and Iowa’s famous vacationland can co-exist.”  Under the bill, the moratorium would last until Iowa redesigns the so-called Master Matrix plan adopted in 2002 that helps to determine if a livestock operation can be built. Critics say the plan is not working to limit the locations of livestock operations.

The chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee, Ken Rozenboom, a Republican from Oskaloosa, has assigned the bill for consideration — be says he has concerns. “I just don’t think that’s the right way to approach whatever problem they’re trying to address,” Rozenboom says, “we are trying to grow Iowa, not hurt Iowa.” The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says there are roughly 13-thousand CAFO’s in Iowa, and the number continues to grow.

(Radio Iowa)

Case closed: Montgomery County Cattle theft incident to be handled by sale barn owners

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 15th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office say they have discontinued an investigation into the theft of more than 30 head of cattle from the Montgomery County Sale Barn. The move comes at the request of the Sale Barn owners, who told authorities a person who shall remain nameless, came forward admitted to the theft of 34 head of cattle.

The incident took place during the early morning hours of January 7th. The Sale Barn owners asked authorities to close the investigation, saying the matter instead will be handled internally, and that no charges would be pursued.

Two Iowa Beef Families Share Their Story

Ag/Outdoor

January 15th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

AMES, IA – Iowa cattle farm families are raising quality beef for future generations through sustainable production practices. The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) announces the release of two beef farmer profile videos featuring Kennedy Cattle Company and Plowman Farms, Inc., aimed at helping consumers understand the production methods used to provide safe, wholesome and affordable beef. Each family’s story is unique and provides a small glimpse into cattle farming in Iowa.

Kennedy Cattle Company located outside of Atlantic, is where brothers Zak and Mitch Kennedy share their family’s commitment to raising beef in the most safe and efficient way. Zak, with wife Emily, and Mitch are the 4th generation to own and operate the farm. They purchased the farm from their parents who still live close by and are always willing to help when needed. The legacy they are building for future generations includes safe animal handling, the use of vaccines, hormones and antibiotics when necessary. They are a diversified farm growing corn, soybeans and alfalfa in addition to raising beef cattle in their feedyard. The family has several employees who assist in the day to day operations who share the same commitment of safe animal handling and raising the high quality cattle to produce beef for consumers.

Kennedy Cattle Company of Atlantic, Iowa is a family farm. Featured are Steve & Judy Kennedy, Zak & Emily Kennedy with children Clara, Cassidy and Cadence, and Mitch Kennedy all working together to raise safe, affordable beef for consumers. (Photo courtesy IA Beef Industry Council)

“We strive for excellence every day and hold each other accountable within our business,” Zak comments about the philosophy he shares with Mitch at Kennedy Cattle Company. Cattle farmers and ranchers have many tools to keep the animals in their care healthy and safe, including nutrition programs, veterinary care, facilities that ensure comfort, and good management practices, such as low-stress handling, vaccines and antibiotics, when necessary. No matter the tool, when it comes to animal health, the practices are science-based, regulated and, above all, good for the animal and the consumer. “Consumers hold us to a high standard and rightfully so, we are up for that challenge,” Zak shares. “We eat the same product they do, we are very concerned our kids, and friends and family have a safe product and wholesome product to eat. We are going to do our best to make sure it’s a great product in the end.”

In regards to the safe animal handling, a nationwide effort known as the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program helps to ensure the consumer, the animal, the environment and the beef community are cared for within guidelines and regulation. BQA is a program that provides information to U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers along with beef consumers on how common sense husbandry techniques, like low stress animal handling, can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under the best management and environmental conditions.  The family and staff at Kennedy Cattle Company are all BQA certified.

To watch the farmer profile stories and to learn more about the families, visit www.iabeef.org.

Legislation would force companies to file bankruptcy where they did business

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 15th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

An eastern Iowa lawyer is applauding a bill now before the U-S Senate which aims to make it harder for companies to file bankruptcy in states other than where they do business. Attorney Joe Pieffer represented farmers who invested in VeraSun Energy, a company that filed bankruptcy in 2008. Pieffer says investors need protection and the Bankruptcy Venue Reform Act of 2018 would help. “Who knows when we’re going to have another ethanol company file bankruptcy, but we all remember the VeraSun bankruptcy that affected the whole Midwest,” Pieffer says. “They had 23 plants in six Midwestern states and they filed in Delaware. Farmers ought to be able to go to court close to where they do business with the company and not be stuck going to Delaware where there aren’t any ethanol plants.”

Pieffer says companies that file for Chapter 11 protection shouldn’t be allowed to seek court venues other than where their investors are located.  “We ought to have access to justice and easy access to justice,” Pieffer says. “Instead of letting companies make it difficult for the people they’ve done business with to participate in the bankruptcy, it works a lot better if we can make them file bankruptcy either where their primary assets are or where their headquarters are.”  Peiffer says the Commercial Law League of America did a study of bankruptcies filed in Delaware. “From 2003 to 2016, 735 bankruptcies were filed in Delaware where the companies weren’t doing any business there,” Pieffer says. “Maybe they had an affiliate that was incorporated there and everybody else followed suit. We’ve got companies out in California filing bankruptcy in Delaware.”

That practice makes it difficult for practically everyone who will be impacted by the bankruptcy. “You’ve got the retirees who might have their pensions affected having to trek out to Delaware to deal with things,” he says, “or you’ve got farmers who were involved with a company like VeraSun was going to Delaware.”  VeraSun had Iowa facilities in Albert City, Charles City, Dyersville, Fort Dodge and Hartley. Peiffer works for Ag and Business Legal Strategies based in Hiawatha, near Cedar Rapids.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa DNR to hold meetings on water quality standards

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 13th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources wants to know residents’ thoughts on improving water quality in the state. The DNR is conducting its triennial review of water quality standards. Iowa residents can attend one of three meetings across the state. The meetings allow Iowans the opportunity to provide the DNR with information to help in setting the goals for streams and rivers.

The meetings are set for 4 p.m. on Jan. 23 in Urbandale, Jan. 24 in Washington and Jan. 25 in Harlan. The public can also submit written comments by mail to Matthew Dvorak with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or by email at matthew.dvorak@dnr.iowa.gov .

Cover crop study shows higher yields to corn and soybeans

Ag/Outdoor

January 13th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

A nine-year study of cereal rye as a cover crop shows it can lead to higher soybean and corn yields. Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa compared strips of fields planted with cereal rye in the fall and those without it. The rye helps keep nutrients and soil in place, and also keeps down some weeds. Plus, in areas with multiple years of the cover crop, some farmers reported harvesting slightly more soybeans and corn than in areas without it. Liz Juchems, of Iowa Learning Farms says the only downside is that farmers are dropping out of the study.

“Once we got past the first couple of years of using cover crops, some of our producers said, ‘I don’t need to be convinced anymore, I’m going to use cover crops. I don’t want to have these no cover strips left in my field’,” Juchems says.

She says the yield bump is just a bonus on top of the rye’s environmental benefits. “It will go dormant during this time of the year and once it warms up in the spring, it’ll start growing again. So it helps us bridge those brown months when we don’t have corn or soybeans growing in our fields, so it can be retaining the soil, and then the nutrients through the plant uptake,” Juchems explains.

Juchems says these farmers will become role models and resources for their neighbors who are still weighing whether to invest in cover crops.

(Radio Iowa)