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.

Creston FSA Office on the cutting block

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

News that U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to approve the closing of 131 Farm Service Agency (FSA) Offices around the country within 90-days, including three in Iowa, does not sit well with western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King. King said today (Thursday) that while he believes all government agencies should strive to become more efficient, the USDA and Secretary Vilsack have not taken into account the actual FSA workload in the affected counties, which includes Appanoose, Decatur and Union.

The criteria for office closures were based on the number of employees the offices had on the payroll in mid-December of 2011. Any office that had two or less employees and was 20 miles or less from another office has been slated for closure. Last year, when the proposal was developed, the Iowa FSA system was under a hiring freeze due to budget issues and therefore offices that had retiring employees experienced lower than normal staffing numbers.

King says “Historically we have had a tool to determine the workload in each county office based on the programs offered and the number of participants in those programs. I suspect an analysis of the workloads of these offices would justify keeping them open. It’s also important to note that the FSA offices in Iowa that are slated for closure by Secretary Vilsack are located in counties that have a large number of acres in CRP. Over several decades, this has led to a loss of population, a loss of farmers and shrinkage of our small towns. This proposal will only make things worse for small town and rural Iowa. Soon these counties will begin to see more and more acres come out of CRP. There’s no question they’ll be hurt by the lack of local FSA offices to help support revitalization of their land and communities.”

King called upon Secretary Vilsack to reconsider his decision.

CRP Informational meeting to be held in Adair County


March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An official with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Iowa, says the FSA will conduct several Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) informational meetings across the state. One of the meetings takes place 5:30-p.m. Thursday, March 15th, at the Adair County Fairgrounds 4-H building, in Greenfield.

John R. Whitaker, State Executive Director for the FSA in Iowa, says the State currently has more than 1.65-million acres enrolled in CRP, with nearly 232,000 acres expiring on September 30th, 2012.  A General CRP signup is scheduled to begin March 12th, 2012 and end April 6th, 2012.   

Environmentally desirable land devoted to certain conservation practices may be enrolled in CRP at any time under continuous sign-up.  Producers wanting to re-enroll continuous CRP practices expiring September 30, 2012, must do so prior to contract expiration.  Landowners with expiring CRP land or land that is not currently enrolled in CRP are encouraged to attend an informational meeting. 

Information on the meeting and other programs administered by FSA can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/ia

DNR to hold public meeting to discuss fall hunting and trapping regulations

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will hosting public meetings on March 6th, to discuss possible changes in the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall. The changes would affect deer and waterfowl hunters as well as hunters and trappers who pursue bobcats and otters. Proposed changes would stabilize deer numbers in some areas, potentially add a third zone for waterfowl and increase the harvest number of otters and bobcats.

Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the wildlife bureau, says regulation changes for deer would allow deer numbers to stabilize in areas of the state where numbers have been reduced to the department’s goal while still allowing hunters to harvest extra does in areas of the state where numbers need to be reduced. He says “Without these changes deer numbers in some areas of the state will continue to decline and Iowa will lose its standing as one of the best states for hunting whitetail deer. Failure to make these changes could adversely affect rural areas since deer hunters spend nearly $200 million annually.”  The proposed changes for the waterfowl season are due to a change by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which now allow states to have three zones and a split waterfowl season.

The public meetings on March 6th from 6- to 9-p.m., will be held locally, in: Carroll; Council Bluffs; Creston and Onawa. The list of possible changes is available online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/Hunting/proposed_changes2012.pdf“  For those who cannot make the meeting, comments may be sent to wildlife@dnr.iowa.gov.

Deere to invest $70M in Iowa tractor facility


March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

 MOLINE, Ill. (AP) – Deere & Co. will boost capacity by 10 percent at an Iowa operation that produces large farm tractors. The Moline, Ill., company said Thursday that it plans to spend $70 million on the project. Demand for large tractors is on the rise, and Deere says the upgrade at its Waterloo plant should be complete by mid-2013.  In addition to the large tractors, which are shipped to more than 130 countries, the Waterloo operations also make parts that are used in Deere machines built at other facilities.  Deere says the Waterloo operations employ about 6,000 people, but the investment isn’t expected to add manufacturing jobs.

USDA Report 03-01-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 1st, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin


Cass County Extension Report 02-29-2011

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 29th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen


Hosts Needed for 20 State Park Campgrounds

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

(corrected phone number at bottom of story)

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say opportunities to spend the summer in an Iowa state park is available for individuals who serve as campground hosts. Hosts are needed for the season at Pine Lake, Pilot Knob, Walnut Woods, Lake Keomah, Lake Manawa, Lewis and Clark, Bellevue, Backbone, Beeds Lake, Clear Lake, Ledges, Nine Eagles, Pikes Peak, Viking Lake, Yellow River and Elk Rock. If an entire season is too much, three state parks have host needs of shorter durations. Hosts are needed from April through June at Lacey-Keosauqua, from the end of June through October at Prairie Rose, and for July and August at Volga River.

Campground hosts receive free camping at a designated site while they help state parks staff by assisting campers, explaining park rules, and helping with registration, and serving as an impromptu local tour guide. Hosts will help park staff to keep the park clean and with light maintenance.

Applications are available online at http://volunteer.iowadnr.gov then click on the campground hosts link toward the middle of the page.  Or, call 515-242-5074 to have an application mailed. Linda King, with the DNR’s office of volunteer services, said they would like to get hosts placed in parks by around the middle of March, so they are ready to go, in April.

Tractor weight thefts reported in Fremont County

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying persons responsible for the recent theft of numerous tractor weights. Officials say they’re investigating six separate incidents, during which area farmers have reported the front weights of their tractors have been stolen. At this time, only John Deere brand tractors have been targeted. The thefts have resulted in several thousand dollars worth of losses.

If you have any information about the thefts, call Fremont County Crimestoppers. Your tip could lead to an arrest and conviction, result in a $1,000 reward. Call 1-800-432-9240 with your tip, or, 712-374-2424. Callers can remain anonymous and still be eligible for the reward.

Lewis man wins Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Cass County man is set to receive a $1,000 cash award for his work in sustainable agriculture. Bernie Havlovic, of Lewis, will receive recognition and the 2011 Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture award during a ceremony Thursday, March 1st, in Ames. Havlovic is the superintendent of two Research and Demonstration (R&D) farms, the Armstrong ISU R&D Farm near Lewis, and the Neely-Kinyon R&D Farm in Adair County, south of Greenfield. He’s conducted agricultural research since the 1970’s, but has been involved in farming since childhood, while growing up in east-central Nebraska. Havlovic was the ninth out of 14 children born to his parents. He says his siblings helped out with the farming activities, but the opportunities to farm on his own were limited, so he went to graduate from ISU and work for the University’s Agronomy Department before moving on the work in the Research Farm system. 

He says that gave him an opportunity to farm, and get a better understanding of how crops grow and what affects their growth. He says he’s able to turn that knowledge around and show visitors to the research farms how new practices foster productivity in farming, and, provide an education to a wide variety of people. That includes “Master Gardeners,” and school children. Havlovic says interest in horticulture has really grown over the years, and blossomed from the simple “Green Thumb” gardener, to people who grow grapes for locally produced wine, and to those who use the “High Tunnel” structures to earn a living growing specialty crops. He says one of the latest special products being used in agricultural, is a material called “Bio-char,” which is a centuries old charcoal product created by a process known as “pryrolysis.”   Havlovic says it’s a material designed to make the soil more usable and sustainable. 

Havlovic and Michael Natvig, who owns a 420-acre organic farm in eastern Iowa’s Howard County, will share the Spencer Award for their efforts in developing sustainable farming practices and enhancing the stability of family farms, during the quarterly meeting of the Leopold Center Advisory Board, in Ames. The presentation of those awards will take place at around 11:30-a.m. Thursday, at the Hilton Garden Inn. The award, which was established in 2001 by an endowment from the Spencer family, was named in honor of Norman and Margaretha Spencer, who farmed near Sioux County, for 40-years. Learn more about the award at www.leopold.iastate.edu/spencer-award.

2012 Cass County Fair Schedule released

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the ISU Extension Service in Cass County have released the schedule for the 2012 Cass County Fair, which runs from July 26th through the 31st. (The complete schedule can be found at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/NR/rdonlyres/FD79263F-7EEC-4FD2-9AAE-9A47B9EACD65/164027/2012Schedule_CassCountyFair.pdf )

Events begin Thursday, July 26th, with the Swine, Rabbit, Horse, Poultry, Dairy and beef entry sign-ins, entry and judging of 4-H static exhibits, and a food sale at the Community Center. Later that same evening, the King and Queen Contest will take place, along with Senior Recognition.

Friday’s activities (July 27th) include: the Rabbit, Horse and Feeder Calf shows; and a bull riding competition. On Saturday, July 28th, there’ll be a Sheep and Pet show, livestock judging, and ATV races.

Events Sunday (July 28th) include: the Swine, Poultry, Dog and Horse Fun shows; Decorator’s showcase; and a Tractor Pull.  Sunday and Monday afternoon, there will also be a “Skid Loader Rodeo.”

The last full day of activities on Monday, July 30th, will include: the Beef, Dairy/Dairy Goat, and Goat shows; Best of Iowa; a watermelon feed; Style show and building awards; and Grand Champion Beef selection. The Fair concludes Tuesday morning, July 31st, with the Livestock Sale. Clean-up activities will occur the following day.

For more information on the 2012 Cass County Fair, call 712-243-1132, or e-mail xcass@iastate.edu. On the web at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass