KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Grain bin fatality in Adams County

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 23rd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Adams County said today (Friday), a 78-year old man died Wednesday, after falling off a grain bin near Prescott. The unidentified man apparently lost his footing and fell to the ground. Authorities say he was unresponsive when a deputy and rescue personnel from Corning and Prescott arrived on the scene. The man was later pronounced dead by the Adams County Coroner.

The incident, which took place about a mile northeast of Prescott at 1823 Quince Avenue, was reported at around 9:24-a.m., Wednesday.

Senator Ernst calls out Ag Secretary on happy portrayal of farm situation

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 23rd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she called out U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack over the happy picture his department is portraying when it comes to the current state of the farm economy. “A week or so back he had met with a group and was trying to paints a very rosy picture of the farm economy — but that’s not what I am hearing — and I really did press him on that issue,” Ernst says.

The Republican from Red Oak says the things she sees in the state goes against what the former Democrat Iowa governor is saying about the farm situation.”Right now we see corn is at three dollars and under ( a bushel), I’ve seen that at my own hometown at the Merch in Red Oak. It is really hard for our farmers to get ahead with commodity prices being so low,” Ernst says. ” So, I will continue to press him on that.”

Ernst says her concern is the U-S-D-A regulations and programs aren’t helping smaller farmers. “He tried to tout a number of programs that U-S-D-A has, but again I think the things that they promote — the GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration Rule) is a great example of that — it really does inhibit some of those small beginning farmers from even getting a fair start,” Ernst says. Ernst was asked if Vilsack is doing a good job as Ag Secretary.

She focused her answer on the department and not Vilsack. “I’m not going to say yes or no about his role as ag secretary,” Ernst says. “But what I will say is that I think U-S-D-A as a whole is trying to paint an optimistic rosy picture of what is going on, but in reality that is not what is going on. And I hear that every day in Iowa.” Ernst says farmers need less government regulation not more. She referred back to the GIPSA Rule.

“What I fear is that this will cut out those small farmers, those small operations, they won’t be able to engage in the contracts like we see some of the larger packers doing. So, this is an issue that has been brought up by the Iowa Pork Producers, they have spoken to me about this, they have great concerns there. As, well as some of those packing houses,” according to Ernst. She says the packing houses want to have a supply of livestock from a variety of sources and are worried the rule will prevent that. Ernst made her comments during her weekly conference call with reporters.

A U-S-D-A spokesperson issued this response to Ernst’s comments:
“Secretary Vilsack is a tireless champion for American agriculture, and has said several times recently that ‘it is always the wrong bet to bet against the American farmer, rancher, and producer.’ Median farm family household income has held steady at historic highs for the last two years, as a direct result of the hard work and good management by our farm families. Meanwhile, farm debt-to-asset ratios are near record lows, showing the underlying fundamental strength of the American agriculture.”

“This is why yesterday Secretary Vilsack expressed cautious optimism about the state of the agricultural economy, but at the same time he understands the challenges many producers are going through right now because of prices and oversupply in some parts of the sector. USDA recognizes that 10 percent of U.S. farms are highly or extremely leveraged, and that is why we have used every dollar of our farm loan authority and every last dollar of our CCC authority to provide help and assistance to those who need it. Specifically, USDA enrolled 1.76 million farmers in the new Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs, which have provided $5.3 billion in financial assistance for crop year 2014, to more than one million farms. The past seven years have been the strongest in history for agricultural exports, while the past five years have been the best in history for median farm household income. Census data shows that incomes in rural America grew by more than 3 percent last year, on pace with income in metro areas. Rural communities are also beginning to see population growth, a dramatic fall in poverty and hunger, and more jobs in the last two years than at any point since 2007. There is concern, and the Secretary expressed that, but there is also cautious optimism. And that is why we have invested more resources than any prior Administration in the future of America’ rural communities, especially our young people and our new and beginning farmers.”

(Radio Iowa)

State Forest Nursery looking to buy walnuts

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 22nd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

If you’ve got walnut trees and some time to rake up the walnuts that fall from them, you can make a little money from the State Forest Nursery. Nursery spokesperson Candace Weigel says they collect walnuts every year to grow into thousands of seedlings. They are a little short on their seed supply this year. “This year and last year there’s been kind of a short of walnut seed, so we are having enough trouble getting enough walnuts to fulfill the walnut seedlings that we need to supply for the state,” Weigel says.

She says the walnut shortage is something that happens from time-to-time. She says seeds on trees tend to be cyclical as walnuts are prolific some years and other years are down. Weigel says that happens with other species too such as oaks. Weigel says they will pay you two dollars, 50 cents for each bushel of walnuts you bring to collection sites around the state.

“Just the native black walnut, which most trees are around here,” Weigel says. “If you know that you have an English walnut, then we don’t want that, just the native black walnut.” Weigel says the walnuts should be fresh and in good condition, free of debris like sticks and leaves. The seed can just be in buckets, or loose in a pickup bed or trailer. And the hulls can be left on,” she says. Weigel says most people don’t do anything with the walnuts that fall off their trees.

“Most of the walnuts will just be left for the animals and the squirrels bury some of them and they will grow up and produce little walnut seedlings,” according to Weigel. “Some people do collect them and crack them completely open and do eat the black walnut.” You can sell your walnuts at the State Forest Nursery in Ames (800-865-2477), Shimek State Forest (319-878-3811) in Farmington, Stephens State Forest (641-774-4559) in Chariton and Yellow River State Forest (563-586-2090) in Harpers Ferry.

Weigel says you should call first to schedule a time to drop off walnuts to be sure someone will be there to collect them and pay you.

(Radio Iowa)

USDA Report 09-22-2016

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 22nd, 2016 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

Play

Groups wants Branstad to back moratorium on hog confinements

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new consortium of environmental groups is asking Gov. Terry Branstad to support a statewide moratorium on new and expanded hog confinement operations because of polluted waterways. The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture announced itself at a Wednesday Capitol news conference and sought Branstad’s backing.

The alliance, which includes more than 20 groups, wants the moratorium in place until the state improves water quality in its lakes and streams. Alliance members blame hog confinements for polluting waterways and creating health problems for nearby residents.

Branstad spokesman Ben Hammes rejected the alliance’s proposal, calling it an “extreme” plan that would hurt agriculture and Iowa’s economy.

The alliance is separate from the recently formed Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition, comprised of agriculture, business and conservation groups that support increasing the sales tax to fund natural resource programs.

Tractor/manure spreader hits bridge s.w. of Atlantic – 1 hurt

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

One person suffered what were described as non-life threatening injuries during an accident southwest of Atlantic Wednesday afternoon.Cass County Chief Deputy Sheriff John  Westering told KJAN News a John Deere 8310-R tractor hauling an empty liquid manure hauler/spreader, was traveling north on Highway 6 at around 12:48-p.m., when part of the trailer clipped east side the Trooper Stanley Gerling Memorial Bridge, over Turkey Creek, about a mile south of Memphis Road.

The impact caused the both the tractor and tanker to go out of control and crash into the concrete bridge railing on the west side of the bridge. The tractor and tanker went over the concrete railing and toppled about 25 feet, with tractor ending up on the north side of the ditch and part of the tanker in the creek.

8310-2

Photo’s by KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

The driver of the tractor, 31-year-old Timothy McFarland, of Waukee, was freed from the machine by non-mechanical means and was said to be up and walking around. He was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital by Medivac Ambulance.

The tractor was considered a total loss. The accident remains under investigation.

8310-1 8310-3 tanker1 tanker2

State holds free workshop on revitalizing “brownfield” areas

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A workshop is being held in central Iowa today (Wednesday) to help communities find the needed resources to help redevelop and revitalize areas that may have environmental contamination. Mel Pins, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the workshop is focused on what are known as “brownfield” areas, and he offers an example.

“If there’s a closed gas station in your community that’s been sitting there for a number of years, why has it not been redeveloped?” Pins asks. “That’s probably because somebody fears contamination. Whether there are problems or not, that perception or that stigma holds up reuse and redevelopment.”

The all-day workshop is free and open to anyone, targeting Iowa community leaders and non-profit groups. “The workshop is designed to cover some of the things we can offer, both technical and financial assistance, to help investigate environmental issues at these sites, to see if they’re suitable for reuse, and if necessary, even to help clean them up.”

The D-N-R workshop is underway at the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 09-21-2016

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 21st, 2016 by Chris Parks

w/ Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson

Play

Iowa’s fall color show could be average rather than awesome

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The head of the Iowa DNR’s State Forest section is predicting an “average” year for fall colors. Jeff Goerndt is hoping he’s wrong, but says recent wet and cool conditions may not result in the best and brightest show for leaf watchers. “We’re really keeping an eye on northeast Iowa, where we typically have our best fall color. We’ve had some really heavy rain, storm events and flooding in that area. There’s more cooler and wet weather forecast for that area and that’s not necessarily the best recipe for good fall color,” Goerndt says.

Northeast Iowa has an abundance of hard maple trees, which supply bright red and orange colors. Goerndt suggests the Loess Hills in western Iowa offer a completely different, yet equally stunning, fall look.

Photo from the Iowa River, Coralville, Iowa City CVB via Radio IA

Photo from the Iowa River, Coralville, Iowa City CVB via Radio IA

“There are a lot of cedar trees, which give you sort of green colors, mixed in with a lot of yellow colors from some of the ash and cottonwood trees,” Goerndt says. “It’s sort of a different fall color look than what you’re going to see around the rest of the state.”

Leaves typically change first across northern Iowa between the last week of September to the second week of October. Central and southern Iowa generally change color between mid to late October. The annual fall color show is a big tourist attraction for many cities and towns around the state. “Folks like to visit our state parks and state forest areas, especially the areas around the larger reservoirs with a lot of trees. Also, if you get out there and drive those scenic byways around the state, those are great places to view fall color,” Goerndt says.

Weekly updates on fall color information can be found at iowadnr.gov/fallcolor.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa DOT ready to launch its Standing Corn Program

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Fall arrives Thursday and the Iowa Department of Transportation is already looking ahead to winter by signing farmers up for the Standing Corn Program. Scott Suhr,  the D-O-T’s district transportation planner, based in Atlantic, explains how it works: “We actually have this program where we pay farmers to leave corn in their field. The corn that’s left in the field in drifting areas holds the snow back from the roadway and has a benefit to the DOT and to the motorist by keeping the snow off the road.”

The program has been around some 15 years. The agency also pays farmers five-dollars for each bushel of corn left in the field. Once spring arrives, farmers are free to harvest the corn. There is a second installment of the program that involves installing snow fences. Suhr says, “If we have drifting areas along certain highways, you can put up snow fence and we’ll pay the farmers to put that fence up, I think it’s a dollar a foot that we pay out for that.”

The program makes the D-O-T’s work more efficient. “Some of the winters we have in Iowa, you can get a lot of blowing snow and if you have this eight or ten rows of corn that’s holding that snow that’s drifting back from the roadway, then, motorists don’t have to deal with it or our maintenance crews,” Suhr says. “It also helps us clean up these winter storms a lot quicker.”

To qualify, the unpicked corn rows must be nearest to the road and the D-O-T will only compensate farmers for up to 16 rows. There’s no official deadline date for farmers to join, but he says they like to have all the information ready by the time harvest starts — by the first or second week of October.

(Radio Iowa)