Officials with the Atlantic Police Department are asking for your help in solving an incident of field vandalism. Authorities say last Sunday (September 11th), a person reported that a bean field had been mowed through, causing several paths of damage. Officials say it appears that the field was mowed with a bush hog.
The land is located on the southeast corner of Buck Creek Rd. and Iowa Ave., in between the railroad tracks and the Schildberg Recreation Area. Anyone having information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Atlantic Police Department.
The one-point-seven BILLION dollar expansion of a fertilizer plant in northwest Iowa is nearly complete. The C-F Industries plant just south of Sioux City is entering the cleaning and start-up phases before full production begins. Woodbury County Supervisor Mark Monson has been briefed on this phase of the project. “When they start, there’s gases that come off the process that they have to burn off, so they’ll be 200 foot of fire above the 320 foot stack, and I believe there’s a little bit of noise with that,” Monson says. “So they’re going to do a public campaign to let people know things are okay out there.”
The expansion started in the fall of 2013 and, at its peak, more than five-thousand construction workers were on the site. Monson says there are about 29-hundred workers on the site this week. “By the end of September, they hope to have around 2500, end of October around a thousand,” Monson says. It’s unclear when the expanded plant at Port Neal — near Salix — will be running at full capacity.
“Mid-November, they think they might be up and running, although they didn’t nail that down,” Monson says. “Could be later than that.” Ammonia is the basic ingredient for nitrogen-based fertilizer in liquid form. The expansion will triple the plant’s daily output of ammonia. The plant also will begin producing urea, a granular ingredient in solid nitrogen fertilizer.
DES MOINES – The Iowa Finance Authority, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources recently recognized the 2016 top lender and landowner of the year for their commitment to conservation practices at the Conservation Districts of Iowa Conference. First Whitney Bank & Trust in Atlantic was recognized as the top lender, and Alan Peterson of Cass County was named landowner of the year for water quality efforts.
The State Revolving Fund provides low-interest loans to Iowans to assist in projects to reduce runoff in Iowa’s waterways. The State Revolving Fund is jointly administered by the Iowa Finance Authority and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The Conservation Districts of Iowa supports the 100 state soil and water conservation districts through public education, commissioner development, policy and conservation promotion.
First Whitney Bank & Trust has financed more than $636,000 through the Local Water Protection Program since its inception in 2006, assisting 26 landowners with water quality improvements. The program uses linked deposit accounts to reduce the interest rate charged to the borrower; the interest rate cannot exceed three percent. Linked deposits earn no interest and are charged no fees.
Alan Peterson of Cass County was named the 2016 outstanding landowner of the year for his commitment to conservation practices on his farms. He has utilized the Local Water Protection Program several times to enhance terraces, tiles and waterways on his family farm near Atlantic.
“I commend First Whitney Bank & Trust for their commitment to ensuring that Iowa landowners have access to affordable financing to make vital water quality projects a reality,” said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison. “I also congratulate Alan Peterson for receiving the outstanding landowner award for his efforts in controlling runoff on his farms and doing his part to ultimately improve Iowa’s water quality.”
“The State Revolving Fund’s success is a testament to the partnerships with the hundreds of dedicated lenders and landowners throughout the state,” said Jim Gillespie, Director of the Division of Soil Conservation and Water Quality. “I congratulate both for their outstanding work in their efforts to protect Iowa’s natural resources.”
“I want to thank First Whitney Bank & Trust and Alan Peterson for their efforts to preserve our waterways. Lenders and landowners like them are doing their part to improve water quality which will help keep Iowa waterways clean for generations to come,” said Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp.
The State Revolving Fund features a variety of programs that offer low-interest loans to assist farmers, livestock producers, watershed organizations and others and are offered through participating lenders across the state. These programs have assisted more than 4,000 water quality projects in partnership with more than 500 participating lenders throughout the state since their inception. More information about the State Revolving Fund is available at: IowaSRF.com
Harvesting will begin in Iowa soon on what some believe will be the nation’s largest-ever corn crop, but prices are still in the basement for the third straight year. On the plus side, agricultural exports for corn are picking up, according to U-S-D-A ag economist Bryce Cooke. For Iowa’s other top crop, soybeans, Cooke says national exports for June came in at 432-million dollars.
“Compared with almost $1.2 billion in soybean exports in July, which is a 170% increase,” Cooke says. “That’s not necessarily a usual thing at this time of year. That, in part, is because Brazil had a bad year for production and the U.S. has, by and large, had a better year.” Overall, Cooke says July’s total export value came in at 10-point-6-billion dollars, led by a jump in soybean sales. He says the picture isn’t nearly as bright when comparing the value of the two commodities to the numbers from 2015.
“The value of corn is down 5% and the value of soybeans is down 15%,” he says.
Cooke also looked at volume, which is starting to show signs of slipping. “The volumes are relatively stable,” Cooke says. “The volume of corn exports is down 1% and the value of soybean exports are also down 1%.”
Total U-S exports are down 11-percent compared to a year ago. Due to the low commodities prices and rising input costs, some Iowa farmers may face spending more than they earn this year.
Cass County: Corn $2.81, Beans $9.20
Adair County: Corn $2.78, Beans $9.23
Adams County: Corn $2.78, Beans $9.19
Audubon County: Corn $2.80, Beans $9.22
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $2.84, Beans $9.20
Guthrie County: Corn $2.83, Beans $9.24
Montgomery County: Corn $2.83, Beans $9.23
Shelby County: Corn $2.84, Beans $9.20
Oats $1.87 (always the same in all counties)
(Information from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices)
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court must now decide whether to weigh in on a lawsuit that pits Des Moines Water Works against upstream farmers accused of contaminating rivers with nitrates from fertilizer. The justices heard arguments today (Wednesday) in the case, which asks the court to decide whether agriculture drainage districts have immunity from lawsuits and whether the water utility can seek monetary damages.
Water Works officials say removing excess nitrate from water cost $1.5 million last year alone. The agency sued three northwest Iowa counties that oversee 10 agricultural drainage districts.
The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and corn and soybean growers associations are offering to help pay legal fees for the counties. The lawsuit, in federal court in Des Moines, is on hold until the Iowa Supreme Court makes its ruling.
The U-S-D-A’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) latest report shows the average amount of money farmers pay to rent land for crop production in Iowa has gone down again in 2016. The report shows that average rent for cropland in the state of Iowa dropped 15 from last year — or about six percent — to 235 dollars an acre. The Deputy Director of NASS for the Upper Midwest Region, Doug Hartwig, says they gather information directly from the producers.
He says they look at 100 percent cash rent, not a hybrid mix, and they break it down by cropland and pasture.Hartwig says the reasons for that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. “Looking out there and seeing what the prices are in the commodities and the livestock, you can probably correlate that back to that as far as lower crop prices are probably going to put pressure on that cash rent value to go down a little bit,” according to Hartwig.
Hartwig says the questionnaires are sent out in February, first by the mail-out/mail-back method. For those forms NASS doesn’t receive back, they do a phone follow-up or allow producers to report the information over the internet. By the time numbers are gathered, Hartwig says it’s usually an 80 percent response rate overall. He says the participation and high response rates allow them to provide accurate numbers for operators and landowners.
While average cropland rent dropped from last year, average pasture rent moved in the other direction — up two dollars from last year to 52 dollars. That’s about a four percent increase. In further detail, the report shows that the south-central region of Iowa averaged the lowest rent for cropland, at 173 dollars an acre, which is 62 dollars below the state average. This region includes Union County, along with Clarke, Decatur, Madison and Ringgold. The next two lowest regions were the southeast and southwest. The southwest region includes Adair County, as well as Adams and Taylor. The average of 216 dollars an acre is notably higher than the south-central, but still lags behind the state average.
The counties closer to the Missouri River showed considerably higher rent numbers. According to the report, the one county in the state with the lowest cropland rent value is Lucas County, coming in at 150 dollars an acre. The northern half of Iowa appeared to bring the overall state average up. Northwest Iowa’s Ida County had the highest average cash rent for non-irrigated cropland, at 281 dollars per acre, followed by Grundy County in northeast Iowa, at 277 dollars an acre. Individual counties are surveyed every two years, while the state average is done every year.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Seven Midwest governors have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency seeking regulation changes intended to increase sales of gasoline blended with a higher percentage of ethanol. The governors of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota sent a letter Tuesday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting new standards that would allow stations to sell more gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol rather than the current standard of 10 percent ethanol.
The letter says the current setup “is stifling the widespread adoption” of E15 ethanol blends. The governors — five Republicans and two Democrats — are all from leading ethanol-producing states. The letter was also sent to President Barack Obama.