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.

Economist challenges idea of aging farmer crisis

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Agriculture economists have long warned that aging farmers are staying on their land longer, delaying turnover to a younger generation. But Ohio State University agriculture economist Carl Zulauf says the fears have been overstated. Zulauf said in a report last month that history shows there’s an influx of young farmers when it’s possible to earn a good living. Farm income will likely reach a record $131 billion this year.

Iowa State University economist Mike Duffy still worries that the percentage of farm land held by people older than 75 has increased at an unprecedented pace in the last two decades. Lindsey Lusher Shute, a 34-year-old farmer from Clermont, New York says getting started has been “incredibly difficult” but she and her husband are slowly making it work.

Water levels being lowered on Missouri River

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Water levels on the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam have been falling in recent days and the levels will continue to fall as releases from the dam are further cut back. Dave Becker, operations manager for the U-S Army Corps of Engineers at the dam, says they are headed into their winter flow pattern which will be lower this year as the region is still recovering from the drought of 2012. Becker says, “We have been stepping down our releases at 3,000 cubic feet per second per day, starting on (November) 23rd, hoping to get down to about 15,000 CFS.” Once that level is reached, he says it’s typical to hold up on any further cuts in the flow rate.

“They’ll run 15,000 for a few days and see if we’re still meeting the water needs downstream and if we are, they’ll probably inch us down to 12,000,” he says. Not only is navigation an issue, but some communities along the Missouri River have intakes for their water systems at certain heights. Flows coming from the dam are well below what would be normal for winter levels, as the reservoir system upstream is still rebounding from the effects of last year’s drought.

“On a normal situation, when the reservoir system is at a level where we can support that, we have a winter flow of 17,000,” Becker says. “Because we’re a little low in the reservoir system yet, they’re conserving water.” Even though 2013 has been a little wetter than normal, the system is still recovering from the severe drought of 2012. With the changes following the months-long flood of 2011, Becker says 12,000 cubic feet per second today is equivalent to a flow of 8,000 cubic feet several years ago.

(Radio Iowa)

Villisca man named Farmer of the Year by a non-profit organization

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The non-profit Easter Seals Iowa organization has named a 50-year old Villisca man as its “Farmer of the Year.” The Daily NonPareil reports Russell Boseck received the honor Nov. 19th during the Easter Seals Iowa annual meeting at Camp Sunnyside, in Des Moines. Easter Seals is a group that ensures people with disabilities and special needs have equal opportunities. Russell has farmed for 20 years and utilizes a wheelchair.

Boseck said he overcame a lot of things because of his disability. He was still motivated to do hard work on his father’s farm, which he took over about six years ago. Boseck started a bottle calf program for day-old calves. He cares for about 200 calves each year. He then transports, raises and sells them. A new calf barn also was designed with a steel structure, which allowed small pens to be placed for wheelchair accessibility.

Boseck sells his cattle mostly through Internet sales and livestock auctions. His customers have included those from western Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas City, Mo.

Ethanol’s rise can mean loss of hunting lands


November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Since the government began requiring ethanol be added to gasoline, the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska have lost 2.8 million acres of land set aside in the U.S. Conservation Reserve Program.

Hunters, who are big business in that part of the country, say they have felt the loss of habitats for ducks, pheasants, grouse and other wildlife as native grasslands that provided shelter to the birds have been overtaken by corn and soy crops, the main feedstock used to produce ethanol.

Pheasant harvests in the region have declined by 44 percent since 2006. The owner of a Nebraska hotel popular among hunters says, “Everything’s against the pheasants right now.”

Cass County Extension Report 11-27-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

November 27th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Deer donation program starts up again in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A popular deer donation program is starting up again in Iowa. The state Department of Natural Resources says the program, Help Us Stop Hunger, involves hunters bringing in a whole deer that will be processed into packages of ground meat. The Food Bank of Iowa coordinates the distribution of the meat to local food pantries.

Jim Coffey, who coordinates the program, says hunters simultaneously reduce the deer herd and provide needed protein to the food bank. Iowa hunters have donated more than 56,000 deer to the program since it began. More than 5,200 deer were donated last year, resulting in 800,000 meals.

Cass Co. Conservation announces Swan Contest winner

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning says a winner has been selected in a contest to guess the arrival date of Trumpeter Swans at the Schildberg Recreation Area. Kanning says the sponsors of the contest have determined the official arrival of the swans as November 12th. On that day, 12 Trumpeter Swans were there and stayed more than twenty-four hours. The winner is Jean Granger, of Atlantic. She will receive a Trumpeter Swan 8×10 print from the Cass County Conservation Board.  Cass County Conservation thanks to all who participated.

Economist: plenty of demand for record corn crop


November 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An ag economist with Iowa State University Extension predicts there will be plenty of demand for this year’s record corn crop. Earlier this month, the USDA predicted U.S. corn growers will produce 14 billion bushels and ISU Ag Economist Chad Hart says the 4.9 billion bushels forecast for ethanol use seems about right. “Things look like they’re stabilizing for the ethanol industry, so I think that 4.9 (billion bushels) number is a pretty good one,” Hart says.

The USDA estimate for corn used for ethanol was raised about 200 million bushels compared to the last report in September. Iowa is expected to lead the nation in corn production with over 2.2 billion bushels. Hart says if there is a bullish argument for corn, it’s in the potential for strong exports.  “We’ve already seen some tremendous response there,” Hart says. “In 2012, the corn market export got cut in half. We’ve seen it rebound and the USDA is putting it at 1.4 billion bushels. I think we could get up around 1.6 (billion) because of the pace we’ve seen thus far. We’ve got some customers out there for our corn.”

Hart says there is one country in particular that has a big demand for U.S. corn: China. “China does not like to buy corn. They like to be self-sufficient, but this year, even with a record corn crop domestically in that country, they’re still importing a lot of corn from us,” Hart says. “In fact, during the government shutdown, they were our biggest buyer of corn.”

The USDA’s final crop report for this season, released Monday, shows 97-percent of Iowa’s corn acreage is harvested. Dry conditions continue to threaten the next growing season. Around 55-percent of Iowa’s crop acreage is rated as short to very short of subsoil moisture as the soil freezes.

(Radio Iowa)

Ready for Thanksgiving: Iowa turkey farms raise 11 million birds

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

There are roughly 130 turkey farms in Iowa that have been busy preparing for this week as Thanksgiving Day draws near. Iowa Turkey Federation Executive Director Gretta Irwin says Iowa ranks ninth nationwide in turkey production. “We’ll be raising close to 11 million turkeys in the state of Iowa (this year) and each one of those turkeys is going to add $24 to $25 of economic impact to our economy,” Irwin says.

Iowa ranks fifth in the country for turkey processing as Hillshire Brands in Storm Lake and West Liberty Foods in West Liberty, combined, process over 15.5 million turkeys annually. Irwin says Iowans will find great prices on turkeys as they prepare for the Thanksgiving Day meal. “I’m seeing them at 88-cents a pound or you can buy a ham and get a turkey for free, there are lots of great deals out there,” Irwin says.

The Iowa Turkey Federation’s website was recently revamped and includes a host of tips and ideas for preparing turkeys. “We have a free brochure you can download that shows you how to prepare that turkey,” Irwin says. “It walks you step by step through the process of cooking a frozen turkey, deep fat frying a turkey, grilling a turkey…lots of great ideas in the that brochure.”

Governor Terry Branstad will uphold an annual tradition today (Monday), by pardoning two Iowa-grown turkeys during a ceremony at Terrace Hill. The turkeys, from a farm in Ellsworth, will then be taken to live out their remaining days at Living History Farms in Urbandale.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowans worry about ethanol’s lost political clout


November 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s governor and congressional delegation are trying to shore up political support for ethanol, which is slipping as the nation produces more of its own oil. Gov. Terry Branstad is pushing to reverse the Obama administration’s proposal to cut the required amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. Almost half of Iowa’s corn crop goes to manufacture the grain alcohol, which is blended into gasoline.

Presidential candidates traditionally supported the federal mandate when they campaigned in Iowa, but many now say it is no longer justified. Environmentalists have complained about impact of expanded corn production. But Branstad says the federal mandate is important to Iowa farmers with corn prices low.