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.

Tree-planting group plants 2,400 trees in 20 Iowa cities over 2 years

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Trees Forever is wrapping up an industrious, two-year tree-planting project that will help make more than a dozen Iowa cities greener and more energy efficient, while helping other towns replace trees lost to natural disasters. Meredith Borchardt of Marion, the group’s program manager and field coordinator, says it was a massive undertaking. “We ended up planting 2,456 trees and those were spread out over about 20 communities,” Borchardt says. “That included 72 different projects.” Ten Iowa communities were originally chosen to take part in the project after they were impacted by floods or severe storms and tornadoes. Additional disaster-impacted communities, like Mapleton, also benefitted from the Trees Forever program during its second year. Other cities that saw plantings include: Greenfield and Jefferson.

“The projects basically fell into two categories,” Borchardt says. “They were either windbreak projects that can help save energy in the winter or they were large shade tree plantings near buildings to help with energy savings in the summer.” It’s estimated the trees will generate an average of 108-thousand dollars in energy savings each year for the next 40 years. In addition to energy savings, she says trees provide other benefits to the community, including enhanced property values, reduced stormwater runoff and removal of pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air. 

Borchardt says, “We tried to work with each local community to identify if, for example, a school didn’t have many trees or if the need was really in residential areas or if there was a new fire station or a new public building that really needed trees, then we tried to make our program match with what those local needs were.” Projects included tree plantings at more than a dozen schools, numerous public facilities, several low-income and senior housing projects and in residential neighborhoods. She says the trees will remove about 957 tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year, on average, for the next 40 years, the same as taking 170 passenger vehicles off the road every year. The trees will also intercept an average of 5.3-million gallons of rainfall in these communities each year, significantly reducing the amount of runoff into our streams and rivers, helping reduce the potential of future flooding. Learn more at: www.treesforever.org

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board increases some program fees, others unchanged

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Fees for some of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department Programs will increase this year, while others remain unchanged. The Parks and Rec Board Monday voted to raise the price of sponsorships for men’s Slow Pitch Softball teams to $300 from $150. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring says the fee is more in line with what other communities of similar size are charging, and it helps covers the cost of a 2-by 3-foot weather-resistant sponsor banner (which will be hung on the outfield fence), new fencing, and new surfacing on the in-fields. The cost of the banner is a one-time fee. The fee also pays for the service of an umpire for all three games each night. The season runs June 1st to August 12th, three nights per week, with three games per night.

The fee for joining the Swim Team has been bumped up from $20- to $25 for each participant. The team will be in action from June 1st to July 15th.Herring says the swimming pool at Sunnyside Park will be open May 23rd through September 3rd. Admission fees are unchanged from last year, at $4 for those 3-years of age and older. Children under the age of two will be admitted for free. Season passes are also unchanged from last year, and will run $105 for a family, and $70 for a single adult season pass. A family pass covers immediate family members residing at the same street address, and includes: children of divorced parents who have joint custody; step- and foster-children. Herring says each person will receive a laminated picture ID which must be presented on the day they plan to swim. Daycare providers will be offered a punch card for $4 per day. A 15 punch card will cost $50, which is a discount of $10. In the event of inclement weather, the passes will be honored at the Nishna Valley YMCA for use at their indoor pool.

In other business, Roger Herring said Monday, that the skate park will be open for use in about six-weeks. He says skate board enthusiasts will be able to enjoy a refurbished half-pipe. The ends of the half-pipe will be closed-off and vented to prevent debris and moisture from damaging the equipment. Herring says if enough money is left over, a couple of other, smaller pieces of skate board equipment, such as a ramp, a wedge and a “kicker” might be purchased, to add to the attraction.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board approves Summer Rec Programs & Schildberg Improvements

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Schildberg Quarry Recreational Trails Mileage Chart

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors, Monday, approved various Summer Recreation Programs, the opening of Sunnyside Park facilities and streets, and the City Park restrooms, and Sunday concerts at the Sunnyside Bandshell. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said visitors to the Schildberg Quarry Recreation Area will soon notice over a dozen new benches along the trails surrounding the Schildberg Lakes. The benches were first proposed by Atlantic Eagle Scout Casey Ihnen during the board’s meeting last month. At the time, Ihnen said he would try to get sponsors for the 13 benches, who would pay $120 each. Herring said it didn’t take long for the Ihnen to meet his goal. All of the benches were sold in a matter of 48-hours. In addition, two manufactured benches which were provided by the family of Joe O’Brien, have been installed and are getting lots of use.

Herring said also, color-coded mileage charts will be published in the local paper, and eventually on the City’s Parks and Recreation website, and at the Schildberg area, indicating (depending on which end you start at and which loop you use), how far you will have walked on the trail. He said an east- and west-legend has been put together. The (1:53) green trail is one-mile, the blue trail is 1.2-miles, and the red trail is 1.5-miles, from start-to-finish. He says mileage was computed by Snyder and Associates Engineers, using G.P.S (Global Positioning System), so they are very accurate.

Herring said also, registration for the Summer Recreation Program will begin in May. Some changes this year include the running of a SWITA bus to transport kids for the Playground Program.  Children will be picked up from three different locations in Atlantic to the Washington School, between 9:15- and 9:30-a.m. At 5th and Mulberry, Cedar Park, and at the entrance to Sunnyside Park, located at 10th and Mahogany. Parents will need to pick their children up when the program ends at 11:30-a.m. each day, at the Nishna Valley YMCA. The Parks Board voted to discontinue the Special Needs Playground Program this year, after consulting with the City Attorney, who cited liability and cost in his recommendation to end the program.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board to discuss Capital Improvement Projects and Summer Prgms.

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors will meet Monday evening in the Council’s chambers at City Hall. During their 5:15-p.m. session, the Board will receive updates on their Capital Improvement Projects, discuss Summer Recreation Programs, programming and fees at the Sunnyside Pool, adding mileage charts for the Schildberg Quarry Trails, and other matters pertaining to the Quarry Rec Area. Other topics include the opening of streets and restrooms at Sunnyside Park, and Sunday concerts at the Sunnyside park.

USDA Report 03-15-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 16th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Paddlers Warned: Iowa Waterways Ice Cold Despite Recent Warm Spell

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The record warm temperatures in recent days have likely spurred water enthusiasts to break out their boating or canoe gear.

Todd Robertson

Todd Robertson, river programs outreach coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is reminding paddlers to dress for the water, not the air. “Even though air temperatures are nice and warm and all cozy, the water is a completely different story,” Robertson says. “The water temperatures are in the low 40s, which mean it is ice cold.” The general rule, according to Robertson, is that if the water and air temperatures do not equal 120 degrees, anyone dumped in the water is at risk for hyperthermia.


“I have already seen quite a few people going out paddling who don’t have a lot of experience. I’ve seen people on Gray’s Lake (in Des Moines) without life jackets and in cotton sweat shirts and jeans,” Robertson says. “I mean, God forbid if they were to ever dump their boat in the water, they’d run into a lot of trouble.” He says dry suits or wet suits are recommended for all paddling until the water temperatures hit safer levels in late April or early May.

Robertson also suggests taking a bag with plenty of dry clothing. A properly fitted lifejacket is always important, regardless of the water temperatures, but Robertson notes hypothermia causes the loss of coordination and movement becomes limited – so a lifejacket is necessary to stay afloat and keep the head above water.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Rural economy appears strong in 10 states

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Higher fuel prices haven’t slowed the economy much in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states. A monthly survey of rural bankers showed no change in March. The overall economic index registered 59.6 again this month, and any score above 50 suggests the economy will grow. The bankers appear quite optimistic about the next six months because the confidence index rose to 63 in March from February’s 60.3. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says there is still a fair amount of uncertainty about the economy, so many farmers and businesses are reluctant to expand. The hiring index rose to 60 in March from February’s 53.7, suggesting businesses are hiring. The survey covers Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Realtors say Iowa farmland value up 11 percent

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — The value of Iowa farmland is up by nearly 11 percent over the last six months as commodity prices remain strong. A survey of real estate agents shows the value of good quality farmland jumped by 10.8 percent to an average of $9,370 an acre. The Iowa Farm and Land Chapter No. 2 of the Realtors Land Institute released its survey on Thursday. The gains varied from 9 percent in northeast Iowa to nearly 13 percent in southwest Iowa from Sept. 1 to March 1. Troy Louwagie of Hertz Farm Management says several factors are driving up values, including high commodity prices and low interest rates. He says land sales have been strong in the last six months, and the survey results are not surprising.

Cass County 4-H Pancake Supper a Great Success

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 14th, 2012 by Jim Field

Participation from community members is critical at the Pancake Supper to ensure the continual success of the Cass County Endowment and 4-H Program. Endowment Committee member Curt Behrends and Youth Action Committee chair Michelle Behrends catch their pancakes.

More than 350 people were served at the 4-H Endowment Pancake Supper, held Tuesday, March 13. The Endowment Committee wishes to thank all of the community members who came out to support this fundraiser which raised more than $2300.  “The current program development fee for each member is 30 dollars and we have more than 250 members so that takes a lot of pancake eating and support from the community,” shared Susan Oliver, Cass County Youth Coordinator.

Proceeds from the 4-H Pancake Supper will directly benefit the Cass County 4-H Program.  This money defrays the cost of the Program Development Fee each year, provides scholarships to send Cass County 4-H’ers to camps and conferences, start up dollars for new programs such as Clover Kids, as well as 4-H program materials and awards.  “With support from the community, the opportunities we can provide are limitless,” says Oliver.

The Cass County 4-H Endowment was established in 2002 as an opportunity for the community to invest in the positive youth development program.  The 4-H Endowment’s sole purpose is to receive and solicit gifts, contributions and bequests on behalf of Cass County 4-H.  The Endowment Committee will accept contributions anytime during the year.

There are a variety of ways community members can contribute to the 4-H Endowment:
*         4-H 400/1000 – A yearly pledge program of $40 to $100 per year for 10 years
*         Memorials – Gifts in memory of family members or friends
*         Tributes – Gifts to honor someone or a special occasion
*         Gifts in Kind – Products of services given to support Cass County 4-H.
*         Life Insurance – Name the 4-H Endowment Fund as a beneficiary and deduct premium costs
*         Securities or Real Estate
*         Charitable Gift Annuity – Transfers assets to the endowment and allows giver to receive continuing income from the assets through his/her lifetime

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Cass County 4-H Endowment may contact Susan M. Oliver, County Extension Youth Coordinator at the Cass County Extension Office at 243-1132.  Contributions can be made out to “Cass County 4-H Endowment” and may be sent to the Cass County Extension Office, 805 West 10th Street, Atlantic, IA 50022.

Cass County Extension Report 03-14-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 14th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen