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.

SW IA Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC to Pay $10,150 for Risk Management Plan Violations

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Kansas City office report Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC, has agreed to pay a $10,150 civil penalty and spend at least $38,729 on a supplemental environmental project for failing to file a risk management plan and implement risk management regulations at its dry-mill ethanol plant in Council Bluffs.  According to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan., an inspection of the ethanol plant in January 2010 found that the company had not filed a risk management plan for the facility, as required by the federal Clean Air Act. 

Under the Clean Air Act, the Council Bluffs facility was required to file a risk management plan because it had exceeded the 10,000-pound threshold for anhydrous ammonia, an extremely hazardous chemical. Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy was storing approximately 28,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia at the time of the EPA inspection. As part of its settlement with EPA, Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy has agreed to perform a supplemental environmental project, through which it will spend at least $38,729 to purchase emergency response equipment for the Council Bluffs and Lewis Township fire departments. By agreeing to the settlement, the company has certified that the Council Bluffs ethanol plant is now in compliance with federal Risk Management Program regulations.

Wine, Dine Sweetheart for Free this Year

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

February 2 (Des Moines, IA) – The average American will spend $196 on Valentine’s Day this year, according to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker. But one lucky person will be able to wine and dine their sweetheart for free thanks to the Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board and Dine Iowa. Now through noon on February 14, people can register at www.traveliowa.com to win a $50 gift certificate to their favorite Iowa winery, a $50 gift certificate to their favorite Dine Iowa restaurant and an iPad2 pre-loaded with the Iowa Wine and Beer and Dine Iowa apps. 

“Valentine’s Day presents a great opportunity to showcase Iowa’s wine and dining industries. Each is booming here and each creates jobs and enhances the state’s economy,” said Colleen Murphy of the Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board, an initiative of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “The Iowa Wine & Dine promotion will give one lucky a winner a chance to surprise his or her sweetheart with a gift certificate good at one of more than 80 Iowa wineries and 400 Iowa restaurants, any of which promise to provide a memorable, uniquely Iowa experience.”

The winner will be announced on the Iowa Tourism Office’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/IowaTourism) at 2:14 p.m. on February 14. The Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board was created in 1986 to promote the state’s wine and beer making industries. Wine-related tourism generates nearly $30 million in expenditures across the state. To date, Iowa boasts 81 wineries and 25 breweries. Find more information at www.iowawineandbeer.com.

Labor Dep’t agrees to rethink rules on kids working on farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Federal officials have agreed to modify a plan that’s designed to protect children from dangerous jobs on family farms. The U-S Labor Department has been under fire from farm groups because the proposed rules were seen as too restrictive. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s encouraged to see the rules are being reconsidered by labor leaders. Harkin says, “They need to get additional information in, go back to the drawing table and write a better regulation.” The original proposal spelled out that children younger than 16 would be banned from using most power equipment, while those under 18 would be barred from working in locations like grain bins and feed lots. The new version will reportedly contain more exemptions for kids whose parents own or run the farms on which they’re working.

“I hope they’ll reach agreement on a regulation that protects kids but also recognizes family agriculture,” Harkin says. “It’s one thing to say that kids shouldn’t be operating fork lifts or humongous tractors or combines and to say they can’t even drive a garden tractor.” Harkin, a Democrat, says he agrees with those who’ve spoken out against the proposed regulations which would tear down generations of farm family traditions. “There has to be some balance, some rational thinking,” Harkin says. “Some of what they’re proposing, fine, but I talked to Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack about this. He says it would go so far to say kids couldn’t even drive a tractor across the road, well, kids have been driving tractors for years.” Labor department officials say they’ll work with the Ag department and others to make sure the new rules reflect rural communities’ concerns.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

USDA Report 02-02-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 2nd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

Play

Asphalt overlays planned for Cass County Farm-to-Market roads

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Engineer Charles Marker said Tuesday,  work is scheduled to begin this Summer on asphalt overlay projects for certain Farm-To-Market qualified roads. During the Board of Supervisors meeting,  Marker said a State bid letting was held January 18th in Des Moines, for an asphalt overlay project on Cass County Road M-56, north of Marne. There were two bids for the project. The Supervisors approved a bid from Henningsen Construction, amounting to nearly $1.8-million, for the 3-inch asphalt overlay project. Marker said the contract requires work to begin no later than August 13th. The contractor will have up to 50 working days to complete the project, regardless of when they start.

Marker said the next project in his 5-year construction plan, which is similar to the M-56 overlay, is for the Lewis road, from Highway 71 west, toward Lewis. Marker said they will borrow ahead out of the Farm to Market account to pay for the project, the plans for which have not yet been formulated. Marker explained how the Farm-to-Market account works to repair area roads commonly used to bring crops to local elevators. He said money for the repairs is generated through the Road Use Tax Fund. The amount is kept in Des Moines to do only those projects which are termed “Farm-to-Market.”

Marker says the County receives quarterly reports from the Iowa DOT, informing the County how much money is in the account. He says as of December 31st, 2011, Cass County had $171,000 in the F-to-M Account. The County receives just under $200,000 per quarter for F-to-M roads, or about $1-million per year. He says the County can borrow as much as 5-years ahead from that account, to combine and handle major road projects, as long as the account is not borrowed on for more than 5-years at a time. He says Cass County has a total contract amounting to nearly $1.18-million, which means the County has a negative balance because it has borrowed nearly two-years ahead.

In his five-year construction plan for Farm-to-Market roads, Marker says he has to show the County will be back in the black within two-years, which would allow the County to start borrowing ahead again. That would allow for the completion of a middle segment of M-56, from Atlantic Airport Road G-30, south to Highway 6.

Cass County Extension Report 02-01-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 1st, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen

Play

20 injured, no deaths in 2011 hunting seasons

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

February 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources investigated 20 incidents involving injured hunters in 2011, virtually unchanged from recent years, but there were no hunting-related deaths in 2011, down from a single fatality last year. Megan Wisecup, a DNR recreational safety program supervisor, says most of the hunting incidents happened during shotgun deer season when a hunter focused on a deer and not on what’s beyond their target. As a result, she says people get shot. Several injuries happened without shooting at an animal. Wisecup says in one case a hunter was shot in the foot while reaching into his vehicle to unsnag a loaded gun from several bags he was carrying and the gun discharged. There were also eight reports of hunting incidents that caused property damage.

Dealing with cattle zapped with stray voltage

Ag/Outdoor

January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Ag groups and utility companies are being challenged to propose changes in a bill that would set up a new statewide standard for addressing cases of “stray” electric voltage that zap farm livestock. Representative Stewart Iverson, a Republican from Clarion, is the bill’s manager.”It’s just easy to say, ‘No, no, no.’ How do we solve the problem?” Iverson asks. “Because we know stray voltage can be a huge problem.” It’s mainly a problem on dairy farms where, for example, cows hooked up to milking machines sometimes can get zapped if there’s a power surge. Matthew Steinfeldt, a lobbyist for the Iowa Farm Bureau, says farmers and utilities are doing just fine in resolving any problems and the bill’s unnecessary.

The best thing is to quickly identify and resolve stray voltage (issues). That’s what farmers want to do, but what this bill does, I mean, it’s a major change that will have a significant effect,” Steinfeldt says. “In a way, it takes away a right to due process. No other group in the state of Iowa is subject to something like this.” Kellie Paschke lobbies for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, another group that is opposed to the bill.  “This bill goes beyond just setting a standard for stray voltage,” Paschke says. “It completely changes how stray voltage claims can be pursued.” A three-member subcommittee has given initial approval to this controversial bill, but the three legislators say they’re hoping the interest groups involved suggest “major” changes in the legislation. Representative Brian Quirk of New Hampton was a member of the three-member committee. Quirk, who happens to be an electrician, says the bill needs to better define the standards for the stray voltage tests. 

“Cattle are a lot like people…Their tolerance levels (for pain) are a lot different,” Quirk says. “Where is that threshold?” Quirk supports the bill’s requirement that the state Utility Board be the first stop for resolving disputes over stray voltage. “I like the fact that the Utility Board, being a third-party resource, to actually define where the fault did occur,” Quirk says. “Should it be with the utility or with the consumer?” Critics say the bill limits a farmer’s ability to sue for damages if their livestock are harmed by stray voltage. Timothy Coonan is a lobbyist for Iowa R-E-C’s. 

“As Rural Electic Cooperatives, we’re very supportive of the diary industry. This bill is not to take a shot at the dairy industry, but more about resolving safety issues that result from stray voltage,” he says. “The process we’re proposing leads to resolution of those issues much quicker, much safer and less costly for everyone concerned.” The bill as currently drafted tries to combine laws and regulations from the states of Idaho and Wisconsin. Those states rank in the top five nationally in terms of dairy production. Iowa ranks 12th in the number of pounds of milk produced per year. According to the Iowa Dairy Association, there were more than 200-thousand dairy cattle in the state in 2010. There were more than 19-hundred dairy farms that year in Iowa.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Iowa and Nebraska target hidden-camera farm videos

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 29th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Animal activists who go undercover to videotape abuse on farms and ranches could face criminal charges under proposals from Iowa and Nebraska lawmakers. Legislators say the measures would prevent misleading campaigns that paint entire industries as corrupt. Animal welfare groups say the proposals threaten their free-speech rights and would hinder efforts to expose animal abuse and neglect.
 
Iowa Democratic Senator Joe Seng and Iowa Republican Senator Tim Kapucian introduced the Iowa measure, which would make it illegal to gain access to an animal facility under false pretenses. Nebraska  Senator Tyson Larson of O’Neill filed the Nebraska bill. It would require people who suspect animal abuse or neglect to report their suspicion to authorities within 12 hours. They also would have to surrender all video, photo and audio evidence to investigators.

2012 RAGBRAI Route Announced

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 29th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The 40th Anniversary ride of RAGBRAI will take more than 10,000 bicycling enthusiasts through a somewhat hilly northern Iowa this year. Officials with the Des Moines Register held a party Saturday night to announced the route for the July 21st through the 28th event. The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — the world’s oldest, largest and longest tour of its kind — begins this year in Sioux Center and ends 471 miles later in Clinton. In between, riders will stop overnight in Cherokee, Lake View, Webster City, Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids and Anamosa. Webster City hasn’t hosted RAGBRAI since 1980. Cedar Rapids hasn’t seen riders pass through the community since a 2008 flood inundated the largest overnight town on the list.

There’s been no word yet on whether past Tour de France winners and RAGBRAI participants Lance Armstrong and Greg LaMond will join in, but officials say they expect about 60 percent of the riders to be from places outside Iowa, including some 20 countries. An economic study from the University of Northern Iowa two years ago found the festival brings $24 million in new spending to Iowa, or $3 million for each hosting town.

The event’s theme this year is “Celebrating 40 Years of Iowa,” and its less-intensive route should afford space to pause and reflect: The route is the 18th-shortest in RABRAI history and the 11th-flattest. Only eight routes since the ride’s 1973 inception have been easier. While the precise number of towns that riders will pass through on their river-to-river run won’t be released until March, here’s what’s known about the route: Riders should pace themselves for the stretch between Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids. It will be their hilliest day with a 3,576-foot climb. At 84.8 miles, it will also be the longest. Returning riders should feel confident, though; Despite a shorter distance, last year’s route featured more hill-climbing on day one than this year’s route does in the first three days.