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.

Livestock Master Matrix passes in 88 Iowa Counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 8th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say 88 counties notified the DNR last month, that they plan to evaluate construction permit applications and proposed locations for animal confinements by using the master matrix. Animal producers in these counties must meet higher standards than other confinement producers who also need a construction permit. They must earn points on the master matrix by choosing a site and using practices that reduce impacts on air, water and the community.

With 11 exceptions, all counties will use the matrix during the next 12 months. None of the 11 counties who opted not to use the matrix are in western or southwest Iowa.  Counties that adopt the master matrix can provide more input to producers on site selection, the proposed structures and proposed facility management. Participating counties can also join in DNR visits to a proposed confinement site.

While all counties may submit comments to the DNR during the review process for permit applications, counties that adopt the master matrix can also appeal approval of a preliminary permit to the Environmental Protection Commission. The deadline for enrolling in the program is Jan. 31st of each year. Producers and citizens can obtain more information and view a map of participating counties by looking for preconstruction requirements for permitted confinements at www.iowadnr.gov/afo.

The matrix affects only producers who must get a construction permit for a confinement. Generally, these include proposed construction, expansion or modification of confinement feeding operations with more than 2,500 finishing hogs, 1,000 beef cattle or 715 mature dairy cows.

Cass County Extension Report 02-06-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 6th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson

UNI program offers grants to farms saving energy

Ag/Outdoor

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Farmers with small to mid-sized operations may apply for grants to incorporate energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable energy measures into their farms. Grants of up to $2,000 are offered through the Farm Energy Working Group at the Center for Energy & Environmental Education which is located at the University of Northern Iowa. The money for the grant comes from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, a research and education based at center at Iowa State University.

The grant funding can pay for the farmer’s time for installation, administration, and report writing. Grants cannot cover equipment purchases. Past projects have included a robotic milking machine in Monona, wind and solar projects, and biogas heaters and generators. The deadline for application is Feb. 28th.

IA Ag Secretary encourages participation in CSA’s

Ag/Outdoor

February 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey is encouraging Iowans to consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture program. Northey says with a C-S-A program, farmers sell subscriptions and then share the harvest with the members.  “They get a portion of the production off that farm, and be able to give a signal to a farmer, that you’re interested in their product and so they can know how much to grow and how much interest there is,” according Northey. He says instead of hoping to find what you want at a farmer’s market, the membership allows for more stable availability of locally grown food.  “And so you sign up not necessarily for products but for a share of the production with a list of the products that the farmer intends to produce,” Northey says.

Most C-S-A programs producers invite customers to visit the farm to learn more about the operation. Northey says it ends up almost like you are harvesting your own garden, but the farmer does the work and you’re able to enjoy the product each week. Northey says Iowa has seen significant growth in the number of C-S-As. There were just 50 in 2006 and in 2012 there were 90. C-S-A members typically receive a bag or box of produce but some producers offer other items such as honey, baked goods, herbs, meat or flowers.

(Radio Iowa)

Shelby County Cattlemen’s banquet draws 600+ people

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

More than 600 people enjoyed a prime rib dinner Saturday in Defiance, as part of the Shelby County Cattlemen banquet. The banquet was held at Saint Peter’s Hall, and is the biggest event of the year for the cattlemen as they hand out scholarships to local college students and a few awards. This year the Shelby County Cattlemen gave out more than two-dozen $1,000 scholarships to local students attending a college of their choice.

In the awards category, the “2013 Cattlemen of the Year” was presented to Roger Ahrenholtz and his wife Peg. Shelby County Cattlemen President Tim Graeve said in his speech, Roger could be described in one word, “Passionate.” That was defined as his passion for agriculture and family. Ahrenholtz has a farming and cattle operation along with a grain bin business, which continues to grow with a son and grandson being heavily involved in its operation, along with two full time employees and several other persons lending a hand.

Tom and Marcy Muenchrath won the 2013 Beef Backer award at the Shelby County Cattlemen’s banquet. Tom works as an electrician at his own business Tom’s Electric and Grain Equipment. He employs seven people full-time, and up to 27 people who work during the peak season of operation. The Muenchraths work closely with the Cattlemen industry, and said they were thrilled to win the award.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Pace of Iowa farmland sales slows at start of year

Ag/Outdoor

February 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — The frenzied pace of farmland sales has slowed at the start of the year amid uncertainty about the drought. Fred Greder, who owns Benchmark Agribusiness, says that between Labor Day and the end of 2012, about 100 farmland auctions were held in north Iowa. Greder says he’s only aware of seven so far this year. Greder says he thinks the market is catching its breath. The fast pace of sales last fall was boosted by worries about possible tax law changes, low interest rates and high farmland values.

The average value of Iowa farmland rose 24 percent to $8,300 an acre at the end of 2012. Some farmland near Mason City sold for $15,540 an acre last year to set a county record.

IA SupCo says a tile is not a culvert

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Supreme Court has issued a ruling that has an impact on water and railroads.  In the spring of 2007 Union Pacific workers noticed a hole in the roadbed under their tracks in Hardin County and filled the hole with rock. The railroad did not know the hole was caused by the collapse of a nearly 100-year-old clay drainage tile, and the rock repair caused water drained by the tile to back up and flood farm ground. The local drainage district fixed the broken tile and sent a bill to the railroad.

The total bill — including crop losses — was over 100-thousand dollars. The railroad refused to pay, saying state law requires them to repair bridges and culverts, and a tile is not a culvert. The district court sided with the drainage district and said the railroad had to pay. But the Iowa Supreme Court ruling says the legislature was very specific in making the railroads responsible for bridges and culverts, and did not use the word drains to cover repairs to any pipes that drain water. For that reason the court said a tile is not a culvert and the railroad is not required to pay for tile repairs.

The court information says there could be hundreds of such tiles under the railroad bed that will be impacted by the ruling.

(Radio Iowa)

Despite court ruling, EPA raises biofuel estimate

Ag/Outdoor

February 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — Days after a federal appeals court said the Obama administration is setting overly optimistic production quotas for the struggling biofuels industry, the government has issued new standards that raise production estimates for 2013. New standards announced Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency require production of 14 million gallons of so-called cellulosic biofuels made from grasses and woody material. That’s up from an 8.7 million-gallon requirement in 2012 — when actual production was near zero.

An oil industry representative said EPA was ignoring the court ruling as it pursued an “absurd” mandate for biofuels. The administration has said increased use of biofuels could lower greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. A spokeswoman said EPA believes the proposed standards “are a reasonable representation of expected production” of biofuels this year.

Cass Co. Conservation receives REAP-CEP grant

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 31st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning announced Thursday, that Cass County Conservation was awarded a Resource Enhancement and Protection Program- Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP) Perpetuate a Good Idea Grant for Outdoor Educational Classroom Nature Trunks. This Resources Ehancement mini-grant provided funding to Cass County Conservation to complete two Nature Trunks that will be housed at the Outdoor Educational Classroom in Massena, IA. The project has 6 trunks total; the two funded are the Orienteering and the Birds’ trunks. Each trunk will contain multi-grade activities on the topic for teachers to use at the Outdoor Educational Classroom.

Iowa’s  REAP-CEP provides funding to public and private partners for natural and cultural resource projects, including water quality, wildlife habitat, soil conservation, parks, trails, historic preservation, and more. Conservation Education Program is grants for programs that teach people of all ages about their environment and how to make intelligent, informed decisions about its well-being.

For more information about the environmental education opportunities in Cass County, contact Lora Kanning at 712-769-2372 or lkanning@casscoia.us .

Leash on Life 01-31-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

January 31st, 2013 by Chris Parks

Info from the Atlantic Animal Shelter.