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.

Atlantic Garden Seminar set for March 16th

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 6th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Master Gardeners and Cass County Extension are helping local gardeners gear up for warmer weather, with the 15th Annual Atlantic Spring Garden Seminar, set for Saturday March 16th. The day-long event, to be held at the Atlantic High School, features garden experts from across the Midwest sharing the latest information on gardening methods and plant varieties. The seminar is open to all interested gardeners no matter the level of experience. Participants are not required to have completed Master Gardener training to attend, but Master Gardeners who attend the full day will be given 5 credit hours toward their continuing education requirements.

The day starts with registration and refreshments at 8:30 AM, then Sandy Wentworth of Proven Winners will share the newest tested and trialed plant varieties for 2013. The first of two breakout sessions for the day is next, and attendees will have 11 different topics to choose from, covering everything from container gardening to rain barrels, and fairy gardens to shade planting. Before lunch, attendees will gather back in the auditorium to hear about weather-hardy plants for Iowa from Justin Hancock of Better Homes and Gardens.

Over the lunch break, participants are welcome to browse the vendor/exhibitor booths in the high school gym, sit in on a Q & A session with some of our expert presenters, or simply enjoy the sandwich and salad luncheon while chatting with friends or making new acquaintances.

Our final group session for the day features Deb Groth of Groth Gardens discussing ways to keep your garden colorful year round by picking the right mix of plants. Before attendees head home, they will split up for one more breakout session where they can again pick from a list of 11 different topics to round out their day. The final session will wrap up by 3:20 PM.

The cost for the fun-filled day of learning is $35, including all meals and general session materials. Some breakout sessions involving hands-on activities may have an additional fee. A full list of all breakout sessions, a schedule for the day and printable registration form are all available online at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass or can be picked up at the Cass County Extension Office. Brochures are also available at many local businesses with the schedule and registration form.

The early registration deadline, to be eligible for door prizes, is postmarked by Friday March 8. Cass County Master Gardeners will also have a booth at the Home and Garden Expo on March 8 and 9 at the Cass County Community Center, where attendees will be able to register and pick up more information on the Garden Seminar and other upcoming Master Gardener events. Registrations are welcome up to the day of the Garden Seminar, including walk-in registrations at the door.

For more information on the Spring Garden Seminar or the Cass County Master Gardener Program, call the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132, email keolson@iastate.edu, or stop by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic.

Cass County Extension Report 03-06-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 6th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Coalition urges federal funding to protect Loess Hills, Neal Smith refuge

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A coalition of Iowa environmental groups, elected leaders and outdoor enthusiasts is sending a letter to President Obama, urging him to fully fund a program to preserve Iowa’s two biggest patches of prairie. The president will announce his budget recommendations for the next fiscal year this week. Amelia Schoeneman, of Environment Iowa, says the Land and Water Conservation Fund helps states buy private land to create parks.

Over the years, we’ve actually seen a decrease in funding which has put places like Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and the Loess Hills in western Iowa at risk of development and the conversion to farmland,” Schoeneman says. “There’s slowly a decrease in funds that could go towards acquiring more land and expanding these natural areas in Iowa.” The Iowa groups want to see 900-million dollars recommended for the fund. She says Iowa was originally more than 80-percent prairie, but through development and farmland over the decades, there’s now less than one-percent prairie in the state.

“Neal Smith is a unique area because it’s a restored prairie and it’s one of the largest attempts at a prairie restoration in the nation,” Schoeneman says. “The Loess Hills is very unique because it contains the largest preserved prairie, or original prairie, in the state of Iowa.” She says those two key areas, and dozens of other beloved parks in Iowa, have been providing our state’s residents with lifelong memories for decades. “Neal Smith is located just 20 miles east of Des Moines, so it’s threatened by development and most of the lands surrounding the preserve are farmlands which are also encroaching upon the reserve,” Schoeneman says. “You have the same issues with the Loess Hills with Sioux City and Council Bluffs in development as well as a conversion to farmland threatening these places.”

Groups and individuals signing the letter to the president include: Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Iowa Audubon Society, Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Wildlife Federation, Active Endeavors in Des Moines, Iowa City and Davenport, the Iowa Farmers Union, State Representative Dan Kelley and
State Senator Nancy Boettger, from Harlan.

(Radio Iowa)

New snowfall helps, but drought deficit still looms

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 5th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

More snow has fallen on Iowa in the region’s third large winter storm in three weeks, prompting farmers and others to wonder what impact the snowpack will have on the long-running drought. Climatologist Al Dutcher says there are signs the weather pattern is starting to return to normal, but he says just getting average snowfall or rainfall won’t put a dent in the drought deficits. “To double that precipitation is only going to knock off four or five inches of these accumulated deficits,” Dutcher says. “The hydrological drought is here for a while. It would take an average of at least an inch of moisture every single week through this entire growing season for us to substantially impact the drought.”

He says more of these late winter snowstorms could help the region regain some of its lost moisture. Dutcher, a climatologist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says the region needs more precipitation or spring planting will be a trial and the growing season ahead could be a disaster. “If the moisture doesn’t materialize these next two months, then it’s going to be exceptionally difficult if not virtually impossible for us to hold off the drought from getting much more intense as we get through this season compared to last season,” Dutcher says. “We won’t have any significant moisture in the profile. Most of it will to be right at the surface and it will not carry the crop.”

Ideally, he says the region needs to see a return to a normal rain pattern with temperatures low enough to keep vegetation from robbing a needed build-up of subsoil moisture. Parts of northeast Iowa are expecting up to ten inches of snow in this latest winter blast, another big help in overcoming the drought that began last year, the worst in more than a half century.

(Radio Iowa)

G&R Feed and Grain bankrupty case update: Sat., March 2nd 2013

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 2nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Deborah L. Petersen, Trustee in the Bankruptcy case for G & R Feed and Grain Co., Inc., in
Portsmouth, reports the Meeting of Creditors was held last month (February), and the bankruptcy case is progressing. The deadline for filing claims in the Bankruptcy is May 20th, 2013. If you have a claim for a deferred price contract, or other amount due you, you should take action to timely file a claim with the Bankruptcy Court. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is processing the payments for producers who held warehouse receipts for stored grain. It is anticipated that checks will be mailed by April 1st, 2013.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture is processing claims for producers who sold grain to G & R for cash or who sold grain on an unsigned contract and were not paid. The first batch of claims has been processed. Confirmations have been sent to 19 claimants. Once the paperwork has been
returned by the claimants and processed, checks will be issued within 2 – 3 weeks thereafter.

The Trustee has been unable to obtain a bid for the contracts for future delivery of grain. According to the Bankruptcy Code, if the contracts are not accepted or rejected by March 2, 2013, they are deemed rejected. The Trustee is taking no action to extend this date, so in her opinion, the contracts are rejected effective March 5, 2013.

The Trustee is accepting bids for the entire facility and all equipment as a package deal. If an
acceptable bid is obtained, the Court’s approval will be sought. If not, then the Trustee will look at
scheduling an auction. Letters have been sent out to collect all accounts due G & R. The Trustee
is still seeking recovery of the proceeds for the grain delivered in December.

G & R Feed and Grain filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on January 1st, 2013, leaving some 60 families or businesses, most of whom are located in Shelby County, to taked stock of their losses. Court records show the company’s debts range from$1-million and $10-million, while its assets were up to $50,000.

Cass Supervisors discuss Division of Land process

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

County officials, surveyors and other members of the public met Thursday during the Cass County Board of Supervisor’s meeting, to discuss the County’s Division of Land Process which was implemented after the passage of a resolution in January of 2012. According to the Minutes of the meeting prepared by Auditor Dale Sunderman, surveyors and land owners commented that the process was more complicated than the previous process and sometimes increased the cost of surveying and the time needed to complete the process.

The main item of concern was the requirement to survey the remainder of a rural tract (most often 40 acres) when the tract is divided into more than two parcels. County Engineer Charles Marker said he believed Iowa law (Code and Administrative Code) required the survey of the remainder of the tract when that tract was subdivided into more than two parcels. Surveyors disagreed. At the end of discussion: Consensus was that the review part of the process (to check for accuracy, etc) was a positive step and the process should be left in place; county officials will work to complete the process as quickly as they can; and the issue of whether or not the survey of the remainder parcel is required will be researched.

The matter was taken under advisement.

Iowa officials stop testing milk for aflatoxin


March 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa agriculture officials are no longer requiring that milk received in the state be tested for a poison-producing fungus. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says milk will not be screened or tested for aflatoxin beginning today (Friday).

Aflatoxins are a group of chemicals produced by certain mold fungi. They occur more frequently in hot, dry summer conditions. The milk began being tested at the end of August. Since then, four loads of milk tested positive for aflatoxin. The last load tested positive in November.

The agency has been monitoring the prevalence of aflatoxin through a corn sampling program. It also blends aflatoxin with some corn for animal feed.

Study: Meat consumption is dropping as prices rise


March 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A new federal food forecast contains foul news for Iowa cattle producers, but encouragement for those who raise pork and poultry. The U-S-D-A predicts Americans will eat much less meat in 2013 due to skyrocketing costs. Shale Shagam, an agency livestock analyst, says the average person will eat just over 200 pounds of red meat and poultry in the year ahead.  “We look at beef to be the big decline, down about 1.3 pounds to about 56.1 pounds per capita,” Shagam says. “Pork will be up about 0.3 of a pound to about 46.1 pounds, while broilers will be up about a half a pound to about 80.9 pounds per capita during 2013.” That’s the lowest expected meat consumption rate since 1991.

The extended drought in Iowa and across much of the country last year is now translating to much higher prices in grocery store meat cases. Shagam says, “We can expect to see records in terms of our retail prices for choice beef, again, a record for our broiler price and probably about a similar price on the pork side.” The federal report predicts a boost in beef imports this year, while about 11-percent less U-S beef will be exported.

“We expect imports to increase about 16% to 2.6 billion pounds,” Shagam says. “A lot of that is tied to the strong demand for processing grade beef in the United States.” Iowa is the nation’s number-one pork producer. The state’s top commodity is corn, followed by pork, soybeans and cattle.

(Radio Iowa)

Leash on Life 02-28-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 28th, 2013 by Chris Parks

Info from the Atlantic Animal Shelter.

Doc Leonard’s Pet Pointers 02-28-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 28th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Dr. Keith Leonard