KJAN Ag/Outdoor

DNR releases results of checkpoint near Sioux City

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released the results of a special checkpoint held earlier this month at the southbound Interstate 29 weigh station south of Sioux City. D-N-R Conservation officer Chad Morrow set up the checkpoint. Morrow says there are a lot of hunters and fishermen traveling at this time of year and they tried to do as many compliance checks that they could for proper licenses and game limits. The 60 state and county officers involved interviewed 620 people traveling on the interstate between noon and 5 p-m. Morrow says they ended up with 35 wildlife citations and one traffic citation.

“But we also addressed probably hundreds of other violations with written warnings, verbal warnings, along with citations as well,” Morrow says. He says one issue stood out. “Probably being the transportation of pheasants without the attached foot, wing or head so we can I-D for sex and wether they are a rooster or not. That was probably the most common violation,” according to Morrow. There were a variety of other violations too.

“Firearms uncased, loaded, we had some illegal deer cases that we investigated and turned over to other state,” Morrow says. Morrow says the results of the operation are good reminder for all hunters and fishermen to read up on the rules and regulations before going out. He says you should know the transportation and license requirements along with the bag limits and daily possession limits. “There’s quite a few details to know there, so you have to be prepared before you take a trip to another state or go out on a hunting trip or on any hunting, fishing, trapping type activity,” Morrow says.

The citations issued carry a fine and court costs totaling 195 dollars. Officials seized 166 pheasants and nine ducks during the operation which was held on November 15th.

(Radio Iowa)

Former SW Iowa land owners to receive Practical Farmers award

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Three siblings who grew up on a farm in southwest Iowa will be honored early next year for their actions in selling the property. Dale Nimrod says his father died of cancer not long after purchasing the farm, near Stanton in Montgomery County, in 1944. Nimrod’s mother stayed on the 240-acre farm and raised her children — with help from neighbors and the community. In 2005, the Nimrod children decided it was time to sell the property.

Sunny and Dale Nimrod on their farm near Decorah.

Sunny and Dale Nimrod on their farm near Decorah.

“We were looking to give back to that community that helped raise us in the absence of my dad,” Dale said. The Nimrod family hoped to find a young family that would appreciate “the land, the community, and the church.” They settled on Mark and Melanie Peterson, a couple raising five children. “When we sold it to them, two of (the children) thought they may want to go into farming,” Dale said. “Mark was determined, if they wanted to farm, he’d have something they could work on.” The farm was sold to the Peterson family at a below-market-value price.

“(We) were willing to sell it on its economic value, its productivity value, not whatever its market value is – which is not very relevant, I don’t think, to anything,” Dale said. “So, we had (Mark) fill out some forms from Iowa State, like the kind of forms you’d fill out if you’re going to take out a farm loan, so he could see what he’d need to do in order to make the payments and we set the payments accordingly.” The 75-year-old Nimrod taught chemistry for many years at Luther College and lives on a farm near Decorah with his wife Sunny. He and his siblings, Faith and Vance, were recently selected as the 2015 winners of the Practical Farmers’ Farmland Owner Award.

The award will be presented to the Nimrod Family at the Practical Farmers of Iowa’s annual conference on January 22 in Ames. According to the organization, the Farmland Owner Award is given to non-operator landlords “who use their land to advance stewardship and help get the next generation started on the land.”

(Radio Iowa)

Shotgun deer hunting season opens next Saturday, time to review safety lessons

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

November 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The first of Iowa’s two shotgun deer hunting seasons starts next Saturday (Dec. 5th), and hunters may need to brush up on their safety skills in preparation. Megan Wisecup, the hunter education administrator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, offers a few tips. “One of the main ones is just going back to the basic firearms safety rules,” Wisecup says. “You want to treat every firearm as if it’s loaded, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, be sure of your target and what’s beyond it and keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.”

Depending on the weather next weekend, foul conditions could raise even more dangers for hunters. They need to be vigilant in their awareness of the rules, she says, like when climbing over a fence. Wisecup says “Take some extra precautions when you have different weather factors coming into play, especially when you’re crossing an obstacle. If it’s snowy, icy, definitely take the extra time to unload that firearm while you’re crossing the obstacle or use another member of your hunting party to hold your firearm while you cross that obstacle.”

Last year, there were 14 deer hunting-related incidents in Iowa during the two shotgun seasons. There were two personal injuries and 12 property damage incidents. If the weather is especially cold, hunters need to be particularly cautious if they’ve layered their clothes.  Wiscup says “When you’re bundled up, with the extra bulk of coats and fingers, make sure you’re careful when you’re handling your firearm. You could easily get caught, one of the fingers in the gloves in the trigger guard area and cause it to accidentally discharge.”

Iowa’s first shotgun season runs December 5th through the 9th, with the second running from December 12th through the 20th. Learn more at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Deer-Hunting.

(Radio Iowa)

NW IA farm ground sells for $17,300 an acre

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 27th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Despite low agricultural commodity prices, Iowa farmland still seems to be in high demand — with buyers willing to pay near-record prices. At a Sioux County land auction held two weeks ago near Hospers, a tract of 154 acres sold for more than 17-thousand dollars an acre ($17,300). Jim Klein of Remsen was the auctioneer for that sale.

“I think everybody figured coming into the fall season with the grain markets down and going down that the land market was going to follow,” Klein says. “Actually in the last probably month, month-and-a-half we’ve actually seen the prices increase and I don’t quite understand it yet.” Klein says “local people” were bidding for the ground and it was sold to a neighbor who owns land across the road. In addition to row crops, Sioux County has a number of livestock and poultry operations and Klein believes one reason for the high demand for land in the area is so farmers have somewhere to spread their manure.

“I think they want to expand their operations in numerous ways and one of them of course is having extra property to disperse their manure,” Klein says. A parcel of Sioux County land near the town of Boyden sold for nearly 22-thousand dollars ($21,900) an acre about two years ago, the all time record price for Iowa farm ground.

(Radio Iowa)

SW IA farmer carves half-an-acre wide campaign sign in bean field

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A southwest Iowa farmer has carved the first name of his favorite presidential candidate into the landscape. “I had a couple of yard signs stolen and I was out on my tractor there that day and it just kind of hit me. I though: ‘Geez. I’ve got a perfect place for this.’ It’s soybean stubble which would make it show up good, over next to the road. So I just thought: ‘I’ll go try it. It probably won’t work. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just scratch through it if it doesn’t’ and it just seemed to turn out perfect.”

68-year-old Michael Pattavina, of Clarinda, is a Bernie Sanders supporter. He didn’t map out a plan for his bean field. Pattavina just used a chisel plow on the back of his tractor to cut a seven-foot-wide swath as he wrote out “Bernie” in his field. “It probably took me about 20 to 30 minutes to do it,” Pattavina says. “The ‘B’ is about 60 feet tall.” Pattavina’s “flat Bernie” billboard is the talk of the town.

“Whenever I see somebody on the street, they talk to me about it and say they really like it and everything — even the conservatives,” Pattavina says. “I might mention that I live in an ultra-conservative area.” The sign can clearly be seen from the air, as the name “Bernie” covers about half an acre in Pattavina’s field. Pattavina says he didn’t do it “to be popular” but he would love to hear from his favorite candidate at some point.

“It only cost me a few cents for the fuel and a little bit of time and that’s exactly what Bernie’s all about,” Pattavina says. The farm Pattavina lives on has been in his family for 158 years and Pattavina has farmed the ground all his life.

(Radio Iowa)

Consider an Iowa grown Christmas Tree this season

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is encouraging Iowans to consider choosing a fresh, Iowa grown Christmas tree to decorate their home this holiday season. Northey says “Selecting a fresh Christmas tree can be part of a great family tradition and is an opportunity to connect with an Iowa farmer and support the local economy. Iowa is fortunate to have more than 100 Christmas tree farms in all parts of the state, so everyone has the opportunity to get their own fresh tree to help celebrate.”

A directory of tree farms across Iowa is available on the Iowa Christmas Tree Grower’s website at www.IowaChristmasTrees.com. On the site there is a “Find a Farm” link on the top left-hand corner of the page. Besides the location of the farms, the directory also includes a phone number and hours of operation for each farm to assist in planning.

These farms devote over 1,500 acres to Christmas tree production in Iowa and as a result harvest approximately 39,500 Christmas trees each year. The result is a $1 million dollar industry contributing to Iowa’s economy. It takes 6 to 12 years to grow a Christmas tree before it is ready to be sold. Most tree farms in Iowa are 3 to 8 acres in size and sell trees by choose and harvest method, where a customer comes to the farm cut their own tree.

A Blue Spruce Christmas Tree (Photo from ISU Extension)

A Blue Spruce Christmas Tree (Photo from ISU Extension)

Following are tips to keep in mind to make your trip to a Christmas tree farm more enjoyable:

· Be sure you know what size tree fits in your home, both height and width, before you leave. Trees always look smaller in the field and there is nothing worse than bringing a tree indoors only to find it’s too big.

· Wear comfortable clothes, sturdy shoes, and gloves that you aren’t afraid to get dirty.

· Make sure the tree you pick has a straight trunk and will fit properly in your tree stand.

· Fresh trees need water. Once you get your tree home remember to check the water daily. Trees can use up to a gallon of water daily.

· Make sure you unplug any tree lights before you leave home or go to bed.

· Remember – fresh cut Christmas trees are biodegradable! Recycle your tree after Christmas.

If you are not putting the tree up right away, store it in an unheated garage or some other area out of the wind and cold (freezing) temperatures. When bringing the tree into the house, cut off one inch at the base end and place the tree in a bucket of warm water.

EPA nixes approval of new weed killer for engineered crops


November 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans. The EPA announced the decision after receiving new information from manufacturer Dow AgroSciences that a weed killer called Enlist Duo, a combination of two popular older herbicides, is probably more toxic to other plants than previously thought.

It was originally approved a year ago and is designed to be used with new strains of genetically modified corn and soybeans. The agency says it needs to study whether wider buffer zones will be required to protect non-target plants. The seeds are engineered to resist the herbicide, so farmers can spray the fields after the plants emerge and kill the weeds while leaving crops unharmed.

Iowa egg production improves but remains below last year

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa egg farms are gradually recovering from the bird flu that destroyed 25 million of the state’s egg-laying hens this spring. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in a report Monday that Iowa egg production during October was 753 million eggs. That’s up 2 percent from September but down 47 percent from a year ago.

Iowa, typically by far the nation’s leading egg producer, fell behind Ohio where hens laid 18 million more eggs last month. Nationally, nearly 7.8 billion eggs were produced in October. That’s down 9 percent from a year ago. Wholesale egg prices remain about a dollar a dozen higher than a year ago in some markets but the USDA expects prices to fall below that level by the second half of next year.

Last Call for Evaluating Your Estate Plan


November 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Farmers are unique – particularly as there isn’t a distinct moment when they just walk out the workplace door to retirement as someone in a regular wage-earning job might do. Rather, farm families often need to think about how to transition the farm business to the next generation during lifetime, as well as having an estate plan in place.

That’s why Iowa State University Extension offers an “Evaluating Your Estate Plan” workshop to answer transition and estate planning questions and help families prepare for the future. The one-day workshop will be held on December 2nd at the Logan Community Center.

Anyone who is unsure of how to build a transition plan or what options are best for their farm operation and family should attend this workshop. The workshop will be held at the Logan Community Center on December 2, 2015 with registration starting at 9:00 am and adjournment at 4:00 pm. Advance registration is required and space is limited. The Evaluating Your Estate Plan workshop costs $50 per person and includes lunch and materials. To pre-register call the Harrison County Extension Office at (712) 644-2105.

The workshop has been made been made possible by these local sponsors: Farm Credit Services of America and Gross & Company. For more information visit: www.extension.iastate.edu/harrison/EYEP.

Omaha soybean processor to expand its Iowa biodiesel plant

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Omaha, Nebraska, soybean processor is moving ahead with a $38 million expansion of its biodiesel plant south of Sioux City that will nearly double production of the soy-based fuel.

The Sioux City Journal reports that Ag Processing Inc. is planning the expansion at its Port Neal plant, which was the nation’s first commercial-scale biodiesel plant when it opened in 1996. The plant currently produces up to 30 million gallons per year.

At separate meetings Friday, local and state officials adopted a package of incentives to help finance the biodiesel expansion, which is expected to create three new jobs. The Iowa Economic Development Authority in Des Moines approved $308,000 in added incentives, with $24,000 in loans and $280,000 in increased tax credits.