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.

Farmers warned of fax scam seeking financial data

Ag/Outdoor

March 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

U-S-D-A officials are warning farmers in Iowa and several other states about fraudulent faxes being sent to individual farmers and businesses in the region. Mike Sanders, chief administrative officer for the Farm Service Agency in Nebraska, says farmers everywhere should be on guard and certainly should not to respond to the letters. In what he calls a “filching” attempt, Sanders says, “A person or entity (was) representing himself as USDA and they were sending out fax messages to various producers in a four-state area, trying to obtain financial information from the producers.” Sanders encourages farmers anywhere who got similar suspicious faxes to report them to their nearest F-S-A office. He’s seen one, in person.

“A producer did receive a fax message and they brought it in to our office,” he says. “From a cursory view, it appeared to be a fictitious memo and a request for information. We are forwarding those requests that we receive to our office of general counsel and the office of inspector general for follow-up.” The letters bear the USDA logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as “Frank Rutenberg” using a title of Senior Procurement Officer. Sanders says the letter is an effort to rip off farmers.

“There’s a cover memo titled, Authorization to Release Financial Information,” Sanders says. “Basically, it’s a blank form where the producer is to record their business name and what they’re doing business as. They’re asking for bank names, branches, account numbers and tax IDs.” The faxes were received so far in: Nebraska, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. As yet, none were reported in Iowa but producers nationwide are being put on alert.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Bill would allow the hunting of hogs in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s only hunting preserve with wild boars would be shut down under a bill passed by the Iowa House, Tuesday. Critics say wild boar present hazards to the state’s pork industry. The bill, however, would allow domestic hogs to be hunted on the preserve. Representative Lance Horbach, of Tama says the Tama County farmer who operates the only wild boar hunting preserve in Iowa would have 90 days to get rid of his wild boar if the bill becomes law. “This allows this Iowa hunting preserve to have hog hunting,” Horbach says. “But it would be domestic swine.”

Some legislators like Representative Mary Wolfe of Clinton questioned the whole concept of hunting hogs.  “We’re going to pass a bill that lets us people hunt these big fat, lazy pigs that apparently don’t provide a whole lot of sport for hunters,” Wolfe said. Representative Dan Muhlbauer, of Manilla, wasn’t sold on the sport of hog hunting either. “We’re going to go out and turn ‘em loose in a 360 acre pasture and shoot ‘em,” Muhlbauer said. “…Where’s the logic in this?” Wild boar or “feral swine” have attacked domestic swine herds in other states and wild boar hunting was banned in Iowa in 2007. A third-generation Tama County farm has kept up its wild boar hunting preserve since then, through extensions which are about to expire.

The bill to let that farm offer hunters a chance to shoot at hogs raised in the U.S. now goes to the Senate.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Adams County Farmer wind $2,500 for 4-H

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Monsanto Corporation say an Adams County farmer was selected as a Iowa winner in the company’s 2012 “America’s Farmers Grow Communities” contest. Todd James, of Prescott, won $2,500, and designated Adams County 4-H as the recipient of the funds. Other area winners, and their designated non-profits receiving $2,500 include: Cass County: Mike Noll – Griswold Fire Department; Adair County: Diana Kordick – Washington Stars 4-H Club; Audubon County: Blaine Kerkhoff – Audubon High School Wrestling Fund; Guthrie County: Randy Hughes – Dodge Dodgers 4-H Club; Montgomery County: Jon Young – Montgomery County Family YMCA; Pottawattamie County: Patrick Ellsworth – Underwood School District High School Auditorium Project; and Shelby County: Karen Muell – Panama Fire Department.

Nearly 60,000 farmers participated in the second annual Grow Communities program, which is designed to benefit nonprofit groups such as ag youth, schools and other civic organizations. Farmers in 1,245 counties in 39 states were eligible to win $2,500 for their favorite community nonprofit groups or organizations.  The Monsanto Fund expects to invest more than $3.1 million in local communities. For more information and to see a full list of winners, visit www.growcommunities.com.

Tree-planting group plants 2,400 trees in 20 Iowa cities over 2 years

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Trees Forever is wrapping up an industrious, two-year tree-planting project that will help make more than a dozen Iowa cities greener and more energy efficient, while helping other towns replace trees lost to natural disasters. Meredith Borchardt of Marion, the group’s program manager and field coordinator, says it was a massive undertaking. “We ended up planting 2,456 trees and those were spread out over about 20 communities,” Borchardt says. “That included 72 different projects.” Ten Iowa communities were originally chosen to take part in the project after they were impacted by floods or severe storms and tornadoes. Additional disaster-impacted communities, like Mapleton, also benefitted from the Trees Forever program during its second year. Other cities that saw plantings include: Greenfield and Jefferson.

“The projects basically fell into two categories,” Borchardt says. “They were either windbreak projects that can help save energy in the winter or they were large shade tree plantings near buildings to help with energy savings in the summer.” It’s estimated the trees will generate an average of 108-thousand dollars in energy savings each year for the next 40 years. In addition to energy savings, she says trees provide other benefits to the community, including enhanced property values, reduced stormwater runoff and removal of pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air. 

Borchardt says, “We tried to work with each local community to identify if, for example, a school didn’t have many trees or if the need was really in residential areas or if there was a new fire station or a new public building that really needed trees, then we tried to make our program match with what those local needs were.” Projects included tree plantings at more than a dozen schools, numerous public facilities, several low-income and senior housing projects and in residential neighborhoods. She says the trees will remove about 957 tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year, on average, for the next 40 years, the same as taking 170 passenger vehicles off the road every year. The trees will also intercept an average of 5.3-million gallons of rainfall in these communities each year, significantly reducing the amount of runoff into our streams and rivers, helping reduce the potential of future flooding. Learn more at: www.treesforever.org

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board increases some program fees, others unchanged

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Fees for some of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department Programs will increase this year, while others remain unchanged. The Parks and Rec Board Monday voted to raise the price of sponsorships for men’s Slow Pitch Softball teams to $300 from $150. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring says the fee is more in line with what other communities of similar size are charging, and it helps covers the cost of a 2-by 3-foot weather-resistant sponsor banner (which will be hung on the outfield fence), new fencing, and new surfacing on the in-fields. The cost of the banner is a one-time fee. The fee also pays for the service of an umpire for all three games each night. The season runs June 1st to August 12th, three nights per week, with three games per night.

The fee for joining the Swim Team has been bumped up from $20- to $25 for each participant. The team will be in action from June 1st to July 15th.Herring says the swimming pool at Sunnyside Park will be open May 23rd through September 3rd. Admission fees are unchanged from last year, at $4 for those 3-years of age and older. Children under the age of two will be admitted for free. Season passes are also unchanged from last year, and will run $105 for a family, and $70 for a single adult season pass. A family pass covers immediate family members residing at the same street address, and includes: children of divorced parents who have joint custody; step- and foster-children. Herring says each person will receive a laminated picture ID which must be presented on the day they plan to swim. Daycare providers will be offered a punch card for $4 per day. A 15 punch card will cost $50, which is a discount of $10. In the event of inclement weather, the passes will be honored at the Nishna Valley YMCA for use at their indoor pool.

In other business, Roger Herring said Monday, that the skate park will be open for use in about six-weeks. He says skate board enthusiasts will be able to enjoy a refurbished half-pipe. The ends of the half-pipe will be closed-off and vented to prevent debris and moisture from damaging the equipment. Herring says if enough money is left over, a couple of other, smaller pieces of skate board equipment, such as a ramp, a wedge and a “kicker” might be purchased, to add to the attraction.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board approves Summer Rec Programs & Schildberg Improvements

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Schildberg Quarry Recreational Trails Mileage Chart

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors, Monday, approved various Summer Recreation Programs, the opening of Sunnyside Park facilities and streets, and the City Park restrooms, and Sunday concerts at the Sunnyside Bandshell. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said visitors to the Schildberg Quarry Recreation Area will soon notice over a dozen new benches along the trails surrounding the Schildberg Lakes. The benches were first proposed by Atlantic Eagle Scout Casey Ihnen during the board’s meeting last month. At the time, Ihnen said he would try to get sponsors for the 13 benches, who would pay $120 each. Herring said it didn’t take long for the Ihnen to meet his goal. All of the benches were sold in a matter of 48-hours. In addition, two manufactured benches which were provided by the family of Joe O’Brien, have been installed and are getting lots of use.

Herring said also, color-coded mileage charts will be published in the local paper, and eventually on the City’s Parks and Recreation website, and at the Schildberg area, indicating (depending on which end you start at and which loop you use), how far you will have walked on the trail. He said an east- and west-legend has been put together. The (1:53) green trail is one-mile, the blue trail is 1.2-miles, and the red trail is 1.5-miles, from start-to-finish. He says mileage was computed by Snyder and Associates Engineers, using G.P.S (Global Positioning System), so they are very accurate.

Herring said also, registration for the Summer Recreation Program will begin in May. Some changes this year include the running of a SWITA bus to transport kids for the Playground Program.  Children will be picked up from three different locations in Atlantic to the Washington School, between 9:15- and 9:30-a.m. At 5th and Mulberry, Cedar Park, and at the entrance to Sunnyside Park, located at 10th and Mahogany. Parents will need to pick their children up when the program ends at 11:30-a.m. each day, at the Nishna Valley YMCA. The Parks Board voted to discontinue the Special Needs Playground Program this year, after consulting with the City Attorney, who cited liability and cost in his recommendation to end the program.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board to discuss Capital Improvement Projects and Summer Prgms.

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors will meet Monday evening in the Council’s chambers at City Hall. During their 5:15-p.m. session, the Board will receive updates on their Capital Improvement Projects, discuss Summer Recreation Programs, programming and fees at the Sunnyside Pool, adding mileage charts for the Schildberg Quarry Trails, and other matters pertaining to the Quarry Rec Area. Other topics include the opening of streets and restrooms at Sunnyside Park, and Sunday concerts at the Sunnyside park.

USDA Report 03-15-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 16th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

Play

Paddlers Warned: Iowa Waterways Ice Cold Despite Recent Warm Spell

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The record warm temperatures in recent days have likely spurred water enthusiasts to break out their boating or canoe gear.

Todd Robertson

Todd Robertson, river programs outreach coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is reminding paddlers to dress for the water, not the air. “Even though air temperatures are nice and warm and all cozy, the water is a completely different story,” Robertson says. “The water temperatures are in the low 40s, which mean it is ice cold.” The general rule, according to Robertson, is that if the water and air temperatures do not equal 120 degrees, anyone dumped in the water is at risk for hyperthermia.

 

“I have already seen quite a few people going out paddling who don’t have a lot of experience. I’ve seen people on Gray’s Lake (in Des Moines) without life jackets and in cotton sweat shirts and jeans,” Robertson says. “I mean, God forbid if they were to ever dump their boat in the water, they’d run into a lot of trouble.” He says dry suits or wet suits are recommended for all paddling until the water temperatures hit safer levels in late April or early May.

Robertson also suggests taking a bag with plenty of dry clothing. A properly fitted lifejacket is always important, regardless of the water temperatures, but Robertson notes hypothermia causes the loss of coordination and movement becomes limited – so a lifejacket is necessary to stay afloat and keep the head above water.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Rural economy appears strong in 10 states

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Higher fuel prices haven’t slowed the economy much in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states. A monthly survey of rural bankers showed no change in March. The overall economic index registered 59.6 again this month, and any score above 50 suggests the economy will grow. The bankers appear quite optimistic about the next six months because the confidence index rose to 63 in March from February’s 60.3. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says there is still a fair amount of uncertainty about the economy, so many farmers and businesses are reluctant to expand. The hiring index rose to 60 in March from February’s 53.7, suggesting businesses are hiring. The survey covers Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.