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.

USDA Report 04-05-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 5th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

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Atlantic Parks and Rec Director updates Council on projects

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Parks and Recreation Director Roger Herring, Wednesday, updated the City Council on various projects his department completed over the past year, and those still to come. Herring, who succeeded Travis Garrett as Parks Director about 10-months ago, said among the projects completed, was the Bull Creek Pathway, which was finished last Fall, and includes a new, eight-foot wide asphalt surface, that’s about 5-inches thick. Herring said the Parks Department has since received many favorable comments from the public about the clean-up and work done along the trail. He says also, numerous improvements have been made to Sunnyside Park, with more still to come. The improvements over the last year have included: the resurfacing of the parks’ roads, and the addition of Disc Golf, which Herring said continues to be a huge attraction for out-of-town groups and individuals. 

In addition, the Lake Number 1 trail at the Schildberg Recreation Area was completed last Fall. The trail he says, added another four-tenths of a mile to the existing 1.1-mile trail around Lake Number 3. Herring says he hopes to establish a link on the City’s official website showing a map of all the trails around the Recreation Area. You can view the map on our website at www.kjan.com, by using the search tab to find our March 20th story on Summer Rec Programs and Schildberg Improvements or by clicking on this link to the story http://www.kjan.com/index.php/2012/03/atlantic-parks-rec-board-approves-summer-rec-programs-schildberg-improvements. Herring says the trails are being heavily used from dawn to dusk, especially with the recent warm weather. More than a dozen benches have also been added around the lakes at the recreation area. 

Herring pointed out that most of the projects in the Schildberg Quarry Recreation Area have been accomplished with volunteer time and labor, and without much expenditure of City funds.

Projects on the drawing board or in the works include: The addition of a campground at the Schildberg Recreation Area, and an off-leash dog park; Additional improvements to Sunnyside Park, which includes: new fencing at the softball field, new grills/and or fire pits for cookouts at the shelters, repairs to the Kiddie Corral shelter, reconstruction of the tennis courts later this Summer or early Fall, restrooms repairs and necessary upgrades at the Sunnyside Pool. There will also be new playground equipment purchased for, and installed at the Pellett and Holt Parks. And, finally, there will eventually be a new Parks and Rec Department office and maintenance building at Sunnyside Park.

Prairie Chicken Festival April 6th & 7th in Ringgold County

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say the 2012 Annual Prairie Chicken Festival will be this Friday and Saturday, April 6th & 7th, in Ringgold County.

A Prairie Chicken (photo at iowabirds.org.)

The event will kick off at the Ringgold County Courthouse auditorium in Mount Ayr with a celebration Friday evening from 5:30- to 7:30- p.m. The evening will include a presentation by Chief Blue Star Eagle, Sherwyn Zephier, and his wife Estellene on prairie chickens in the Yankton Sioux culture, including an authentic prairie chicken dance. Additional presentations will be made by Iowa Audubon, Blank Park Zoo and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

This Saturday, prairie chicken viewing will begin at 6:30 a.m. at the Kellerton Grassland Bird Conservation, two miles west of Kellerton on Hwy. 2, and one mile south.  Participants will be able to view prairie chickens on their booming ground, or lek. Spotting scopes will be provided and naturalists will be on hand to answer questions. In addition to prairie chickens, an extensive list of grassland nesting birds including upland sandpipers, Henslow’s sparrows and northern harriers will be prevalent. A second program will be presented by Chief Blue Star Eagle at the site at approximately 8:30 a.m.

A medium-sized grouse, prairie chickens were abundant in tallgrass prairies in the eastern and central United States at the time of European settlement. Their numbers began to decline in the late 1800s because of habitat loss and market hunting. The last known nesting in Iowa occurred in Appanoose County in 1952.  Today, most of greater prairie chickens are found in Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, with small populations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and North Dakota. The Kellerton population of prairie chickens is a result of reintroduction efforts by the DNR in the 1980s.

Visit www.iowadnr.gov to read more on the prairie chicken.

Cass County Extension Report 04-04-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 4th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen

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Cass County Master Gardeners to Host Spring Garden Seminar on April 21

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Gardeners of all interest levels are invited to join the Cass County Master Gardeners for the 14th Annual Spring Garden Seminar on Saturday, April 21 at the Atlantic High School. The day will start with registration at 8:30 AM and the last workshop will conclude at 3:00 PM. Gardeners can expect a full day of educational speakers, interactive workshops, an expert advice panel and more! In addition, anyone pre-registered by the 13th of April will be eligible to win one of the many door prizes donated by local supporting businesses.

The day starts off with well-known garden columnist Jan Riggenbach sharing “Big Ideas for Small Gardens” at 9 AM. Dr. Cynthia Haynes from Iowa State University Extension will then discuss “New Plants for 2012″ at 10 AM, before joining a panel of local and state horticulture experts to take questions during an open Q & A session around lunch.

A full luncheon will be served and attendees will also have time to visit booths from local vendors and gardening organizations beginning at 11 AM. Following the lunch break, Susan Appleget-Hurst will present “Your First Herb Garden” with ideas on how, where and when to plant and harvest herbs. The last session of the day gives participants a choice between 9 hands-on workshops on a variety of topics, from creating garden sculptures to arranging flowers, and composting to growing peppers.

Registration for the entire day, including morning snacks, lunch, materials and a “take-home” from the final session, is only $35. A full schedule for the day, along with a registration form, can be found on the Cass County Extension website at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass or can be picked up from the Cass County Extension Office, the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, or many downtown businesses.

FOOD AND FARM-HIGH-PRICED HAM

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 4th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A traditional Easter dinner with ham as the main dish could stretch budgets as prices remain high heading into the holiday. Ham prices have been higher than usual for the past two years because the cost of pig feed has gone up. On the wholesale level, ham is selling for about 75 cents a pound this spring, which is in line with last year. But that price is well above the average 55 cents per pound price in the previous five years. Recent retail prices in grocery stores were around $2.20 per pound. Omaha shopper Paula Vejvoda (VAY’-veh-da) says she bought her Easter ham when they were on sale around Christmas and froze it to save money.

Iowa FSA Offers SDA and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Loans

Ag/Outdoor

April 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

State Executive Director for USDA’s Iowa Farm Service Agency, John R. Whitaker reminds interested applicants that loan programs are available to assist eligible socially disadvantaged farmers (minority and beginning farmers and ranchers) to buy and/or operate family-size farms and ranches.   FSA offers two different loan types, direct and guaranteed.  Farm ownership or farm operating loans may be obtained directly from FSA for up to $300,000.  Guaranteed loans, loans made by a commercial lender where FSA acts as a guarantor, can reach a maximum indebtedness of $1,214,000.  

Operating loans may be used for various short and intermediate type credit needs, such as the purchase of livestock, equipment, and annual operating expenses.  Farm ownership loans may be used for the purchase and/or improvement of farm or ranch real estate and buildings associated with these properties. Individuals, partnerships, joint operations, corporations, limited liability companies and cooperatives primarily and directly engaged in family-sized farming operations are eligible to apply.  Repayment terms for direct operating loans depend on the collateral securing the loan and have a term of one to seven years.  Repayment terms on direct farm ownership loans are up to 40 years.  Guaranteed loan terms (those loans made through commercial lenders, i.e. banks) are set by the lender.  

Applications for all FSA direct loan programs are made through the local FSA office.  Guaranteed loan applications are processed by the participating lender. For more information on farm loans or other programs administered by FSA, visit your local Farm Service Agency office or go on-line at www.fsa.usda.gov

EPA moves closer to approval of 15 pct ethanol gas

Ag/Outdoor

April 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government has taken another step toward wide distribution of gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol by allowing manufacturers to register as suppliers. While the EPA is moving the process forward by allowing the registration, E15 still has to clear another set of federal tests and become a registered fuel in individual states. Ethanol makers then must convince petroleum marketers to sell it at gas stations. Most ethanol fuel sold for passenger cars and pickups today is 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gas. The new blend boosts ethanol to 15 percent. It would only be used in 2001 and newer vehicles. Twenty ethanol makers that have registered to sell E15 are based in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Rain Barrel Workshop made possible due to a grant

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Conservation Board say a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ REAP Conservation Education Project, will allow a Rain Barrel Workshop will be held in Atlantic next month. The workshop is being held as a partnership between the West Pottawattamie Coil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), Iowa Western Community College (IWCC) and the Cass County Conservation Board.

“The Rainscaping Loess Soils” Rain Barrel Workshop will be held from 9:30-a.m. until Noon Saturday, April 14th, at IWCC, in Atlantic.The workshop will include a program about rainwater harvesting, and will include a chane to build a rain barrel that you can take home. The barrels work best, when connected to a downspout.

The cost to build a rain barrel is $40 for supplies. For other class dates and times, and to register for the free classes, go to www.iwcc.edu/ce/classes/GoGreen.asp . Or, for more informaton, call your local USDA-NRCS Office. Locally, information can be obtained from Cass County Naturalist Lora Schwendinger, at 712-769-2372.

Cass County Extension Report 03-28-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 28th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen

Play