KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Paddlefish season on the Mo. & Big Sioux Rivers opens March 1st


February 23rd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The paddlefish fishing season opens March 1st on the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers and runs through April 15 (sunrise to sunset). The paddlefish season was opened on those rivers March 1st, 2015 after being closed since 1986 due to concerns of habitat loss and declining population numbers.

Anglers fishing for paddlefish must have a valid Iowa fishing license, along with a special paddlefish license and unused transportation tag. The paddlefish license is required for snagging the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers and is limited to Iowa waters only. New this year, Iowa anglers are allowed to fish the Big Sioux River from bank to bank from the Missouri River confluence to the I-29 Bridge.

Paddlefish are one of the largest freshwater fish in North America. They feed on microscopic organisms called zooplankton. Since they are filter feeders, they can’t be caught with the traditional hook and worm. Snagging is the only efficient method of catching paddlefish.DNR logo

Use heavy weights (from one ounce on up to 4 or 4-1/2 ounces), a medium-heavy to heavy rod at least six feet long and braided line of at least 50 pound test strength. Treble hooks can be no larger than 5/0 or measuring more than 1-1/4 inches in length when two hook points are placed on a ruler. A gaffe hook or other penetrating device cannot be used as an aid in landing a snagged fish. Wear a lifejacket and bring along dry clothes.

Paddlefish prefer slower, deep water. “These fish are extremely migratory, traveling hundreds of miles. They will try to get out of the current when they can so areas behind wing dykes with slow moving, deep water are places to target,” says Van Sterner, fisheries biologist. “They don’t associate with the bottom like catfish, but with be suspended so watch the electronics and if they are there, you should see them.”

The paddlefish slot limit on the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers requiring the release of all 35-45 inch fish protects the primary breeding stock. Most of the fish harvested will probably be below the slot limit. To properly measure a paddlefish, use a flexible tape and measure along and over the center line contour of the fish while it is lying flat. All paddlefish measuring 35-45 inches from the front of the eye to the natural unaltered fork of the tail must immediately be released alive.

Immediately after being caught, the transportation tag issued with the license must be visibly attached to the fish’s lower jaw. It is the angler’s proof of possession of the carcass; it must be attached so it cannot be removed without mutilating or destroying the tag. The transportation tag must be attached before the carcass is moved in any manner from the place of harvest and remain affixed to the paddlefish until it is processed for consumption. The paddlefish shall remain intact except for the snout in front of the eye until the fish reaches the final processing place, defined as the angler’s residence or the location where consumption occurs.

If you catch a jaw-tagged fish (numbered band in the lower jaw), call the phone number on the tag and report the tag number, date of capture, capture location and eye-to-fork length. The Iowa DNR and other state fisheries agencies tag paddlefish to better understand and manage populations. Tagging provides valuable information to estimate population size, fish movement and growth.

For more information about Iowa’s special paddlefish season, visit the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/fishing.

Nodaway Valley Feeders wins 2016 National Beef Quality Assurance Feedyard Award

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 22nd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Program has recognized a local beef producer during the National Cattle Industry (NCI) Convention held in San Diego, CA. Nodaway Valley Feeders was the 2016 BQA Feedyard Award recipient. Nodaway Valley Feeders, a previous 2015 Iowa BQA Award recipient, is owned and managed by Todd and Kristi Drake of Nodaway.

Officials say National BQA Award recipients exemplify continual improvement within their operations, encourage fellow producers to implement BQA practices, operate sustainable cattle businesses, and display the beef industry’s daily commitment of proudly producing safe, wholesome and healthy beef.

The Drakes’ attention to detail, according to the NCI, ensures the highest quality beef is produced from healthy cattle. Management techniques at Nodaway Valley Feeders include, but are not limited to, acclimating newly weaned calves to their feedyard, implementing BQA Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) throughout their family’s operation, and working closely with local and consulting veterinarians.

In addition, the Drake family and crew incorporates BQA principles as part of their daily activities for their operation and are key cattle industry influencers who promote BQA principles. Doug Bear, Director of Industry Relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council and BQA State Coordinator, says “The BQA Program’s mission is to build beef demand by maximizing consumer confidence in beef while exceeding their eating expectations. The National BQA Awards are a way to recognize the outstanding men and women from across the country who put great tasting beef on our consumer’s plate each and every day.”

Bear went on to say “This year’s five national award recipients are a testament to cattlemen caring for their land and livestock while being involved in their local communities. The Drake family is working diligently to implement the newest, safest, most efficient animal health, handling, daily management and record-keeping practices.”

For additional information on the national awards or the Iowa BQA program, visit www.iabeef.org and click on the For Producers tab.

John Deere is one of the world’s “most admired” companies


February 22nd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Deere & Company is being named one of the world’s Top 50 Most Admired Companies. That’s according to Fortune Magazine’s annual ranking, a report card on corporate reputations. The research reviewed 1,500 companies’ performance on nine criteria, including innovation, management and finances.

The Moline, Illinois-based Deere & Company ranked 46th on the list. The top 5 companies for 2016 were Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and Walt Disney. Deere is Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa lost 500 farms last year as average farm size edges up

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lost 500 farms last year, continuing a trend seen in recent years in which there are fewer farms operating and those that remain are becoming larger. The number of farms in Iowa has fallen about 1.6 percent in the last five years while the average farm size has increased 1.5 percent.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says most of the loss was smaller farms with sales of less than $10,000. Iowa posted a total of 87,500 farms in 2015. Total land in farms was 30.5 million acres. That’s about the same as the year before. The average farm size rose slightly to 349 acres. Nationally, the number of farms fell by 18,000 last year to 2.07 million.

Iowa loses bid to land DuPont-Dow ag company headquarters

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) – Iowa has lost its bid to land the corporate headquarters of the agricultural company that will be formed after the DuPont-Dow Chemical merger is completed. The Des Moines Register reports that DuPont and Dow announced today (Friday) that the headquarters will be located in Wilmington, Delaware. The new company will retain strong presences in Johnston, Iowa, where DuPont Pioneer is situated, as well as Indianapolis, Indiana, home to Dow Agrosciences.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s due diligence committee Friday approved a $2 million forgivable loan and up to $14 million in research activities tax credits for the new company. The full board is expected to approve the measure later Friday. The credits apply to the expected 250 to 500 research and development jobs the company expects to retain in Johnston.

Deere’s 1Q results top Street, but cuts full-year outlook


February 19th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) – Deere’s fiscal first-quarter performance beat Wall Street’s expectations, even as the company continues to deal with weak sales of farm and construction equipment. The agricultural equipment maker lowered its full-year forecast.

Deere has been contending with slumping agricultural machinery sales for some time. Falling commodity prices have made farmers less likely to buy new equipment. Declining oil prices have also affected its construction equipment sales. In November the company announced that it was laying off about 220 workers.

But Deere has been effectively managing its costs. In the first quarter, total costs and expenses declined to $5.17 billion from $5.82 billion.

Iowa researchers to pay students to eat GMO bananas

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University researchers are moving ahead with a long-delayed project in which a dozen students will be paid to eat genetically modified bananas. The Des Moines Register reports that the bananas were created by an Australian scientist and have a gene that’s supposed to help people living in Africa make vitamin A. The participants would be paid $900 each.

The trial has been criticized because natural-food proponents say genetically modified foods can be dangerous. The experiment’s proponents say the gene came from a different type of banana and is safe to eat.

Earlier this week, activists delivered petitions calling on the project’s halt to university officials and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is funding the project. The activists said more than 57,000 people signed the petition.

Cover crop spring management workshop to be held March 3 near Lewis


February 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

AMES, IOWA— Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group, will host a cover crop workshop on Thursday, March 3, from 10:30a.m.-12:30p.m. at the Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm near Lewis. The event is free, open to the public, and includes a complimentary meal.

Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to the many benefits they provide. Such benefits include reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increased soil organic matter, and reduced soil erosion. Fall 2015 was a good season for cover crop establishment and growth, with adequate moisture and growing temperatures. Great fall growth helped protect the soil during the heavy rain events, but could present challenges this spring if farmers are not prepared with a termination plan and equipment adjustments.

To help producers prepare for spring management Carl Pederson, Iowa State University (ISU) Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering agricultural specialist will share his experiences managing cover crops on both large and small scale trial plots around the state. Stefan Gailans, Practical Farmers of Iowa research scientist and cooperators’ program manager, will discuss cover crop variety trial results and species selection. Tom Kaspar, plant physiologist at the USDA-ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory, will highlight cover crop effects on soil health and spring termination considerations.

The workshop will take place at Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, IA 51544 and the complimentary meal will be prepared by The Downtowner. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email ilf@iastate.edu.

Summer seasonal Positions available in Iowa State Parks

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 18th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau is looking for job applicants for approximately 50 summer recreational aide openings in 22 parks around the state. Jobs duties include assisting park staff in patrolling the park, helping visitors, monitoring reservations, registering campers and doing seasonal park maintenance such as mowing, trimming, trail work and facility repair and cleaning.

Applications need to be made through the individual parks. IA DNR Outdoor logoFor a detailed job description, list of parks with openings and their contact information, visit http://www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/Employment

$47.25 million water quality investment announced

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 17th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

State officials, along with commodity group leaders, are touting a nine-and-a-half million dollar U-S-D-A grant for water quality efforts that will get four-point-75 million dollars worth of matching funds from the state. Officials say Iowa farmers will invest another 33 million dollars to complete water quality projects. Kurt Simon, the state conservationist, says more than 40 partner are involved.

“This partnership has brought together diverse stakeholders from multiple sectors committed to improving water quality in line with the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” he says. That’s the voluntary approach farm groups and state officials announced three years ago in response to concerns about run-off from ag land.

Kirk Leeds, the C-E-O of the Iowa Soybean Association, is also a spokesman for the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and he was at Tuesday’s news conference to announce the combined 47-and-a-quarter million dollar investment in conservation practices on Iowa farms.

The Iowa Soybean Association Research Conference started Tuesday and continues today (Wednesday) in Des Moines. This (Wednesday) morning at the state capitol, the House Ag Committee began debating Governor Branstad’s plan to divert some school infrastructure money to water quality projects.

The Des Moines Water Works, the state’s largest water utility, has sued officials in three northwest Iowa counties for mismanaging drainage districts, causing the utility to spend millions removing nitrates from the river water used as its drinking water supply.

(Radio Iowa)