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.

Nutrient Reduction Strategy meeting set for June 9th in Minden

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Neola-Henschal Watersheds Project, along with the Harrison County and West Pottawattamie County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, are sponsoring a meeting on implementing Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy in the loess soils region, Tuesday June 9th at the Minden Community Club, from 8- to 11:30-AM.

Dr. Matt Helmers, Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Iowa State University, and, Jamie Benning, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Water Quality Program Manager, will be featured speakers.

Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy is two years old now. The initial reaction and burst of energy has passed, and the State is directing funds towards water quality projects. In terms of helping comply with the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, officials say the nature of the problem in the loess soils region is different than the rest of the state, requiring different solutions. Questions that need to be answered include “What are the differences in how the nutrients cycle? How should we be doing things differently? Do we need to worry more about gullies than sheet and rill erosion?”

The lion’s share of the burden is on agricultural producers and landowners. But everyone has a share of the problem, and a share of the solution. For more information about the Neola-Henschal Watersheds Project, contact West Pottawattamie County Soil and Water Conservation District, at 712-328-2489 extension 3.

The Neola – Henschal Creeks Watershed Project is supported in part by the Iowa Watershed Improvement Fund administered by the Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board and with support from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Division of Soil Conservation.

Atlantic native honored for service to Univ. of Idaho & the beef industry

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Dr. Carl Hunt, native of Atlantic and who graduated from the Atlantic High School in 1971, and thirty-year member of the University of Idaho faculty, was recently honored by that university’s alumni association for his service to the University and to the Idaho beef industry. After retiring as head of the University’s animal science department, Hunt continued to lead a Steer-A-Year program, in which the state’s cattle producers and other supporters annually donate steers to support animal science student scholarships and beef cattle research.

Award nomination letters emphasized Hunt’s enthusiastic work with students, both inside and outside the classroom, even after he had assumed the duties of department head. That included industry tours for students, linking them with potential employers in both cattle operations and in related industry companies, and his work with individual cattle producers across the state. The Idaho Cattle Association also recently named Hunt “Industry Leader of the Year” for his work with the state’s industry.

Idaho’s Steer-A-Year program not only provides scholarships, steer donors receive awards in accord with how their donated steers performed in the feedlot and at harvest, in gain per day, carcass cutability, leanness, and product value. Two years ago, Hunt and his wife, Maria, established the Hunt Family Beef Education and Research Foundation, to insure continued support to the beef cattle program of the University.

Hunt is the son of the late Jim and Gertrude Hunt of Atlantic and he and his brother and sister maintain land interests in the Atlantic area.

Iowa reports probable bird flu at Wright, Sac county farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State officials say two more probable cases of bird flu have been found at farms in Iowa. The state agriculture department announced Friday that the avian influenza has been detected at a Wright County farm where about 400,000 chickens are being raised and at a Sac County turkey farm with about 42,000 birds.

Initial testing was positive for the bird flu and samples have been sent to a federal lab in Ames for confirmation. If confirmed, the birds will be euthanized. The two cases Friday followed the Thursday announcement that a turkey farm with 17,000 birds in Hamilton County had tested positive for the disease.

The agriculture department says the virus has infected poultry at farms with more than 26 million birds.

Iowa politicians criticize proposed ethanol rules

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa leaders are criticizing a proposal from the Obama administration that would reduce the amount of ethanol blended in U.S. gasoline. Iowa leads the nation in producing ethanol, a fuel additive made mostly from corn. Under the proposal released Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of ethanol blended in to gasoline will increase, but not by as much as originally required by law.

Still, the agency didn’t decrease the standards as much as it had proposed in 2013. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad — who has lobbied aggressively for maintaining a strong standard — says in a statement that he was disappointed, but noted that the EPA made slight increases from a previous proposal. Sen. Joni Ernst says in a statement that “we can and must do better.”

Branstad extends State of Disaster Emergency w/regard to Bird Flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad today (Friday) announced that he is extending the State of Disaster Emergency in response to the avian flu outbreak until July 1st, 2015. The governor’s original disaster declaration was set to expire Sunday, May 31, 2015.

As of Thursday, May 28th, Iowa had 68 cases of the disease in the state. The disease is affecting birds in 18 counties. The counties affected at this time are: Buena Vista, Sac, Osceola, Sioux, O’Brien, Kossuth, Clay, Pocahontas, Cherokee, Madison, Wright, Palo Alto, Lyon, Plymouth, Calhoun, Adair, Webster and Hamilton.

The proclamation of disaster emergency sets into motion and involves:

1. Activation of the disaster response and recovery aspect of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department’s (HSEMD) Iowa Emergency Response Plan.

2. Authorizing the use and deployment of all available state resources, supplies, equipment, and materials as are deemed reasonably necessary by the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa HSEMD in order to do the following:

A. Tracking and monitoring instances of confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza throughout the state of Iowa and the country,

B. Establishing importation restrictions and prohibitions in respect to animals suspected of suffering from this disease,

C. Rapidly detecting any presumptive or confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza within Iowa’s borders,

D. Containing the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state through depopulation, disinfections, and disposal of livestock carcasses,

E. Engaging in detection activities, contact tracking, and other investigatory work to stop the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state, and

F. Elimination of the disease in those disaster counties where it has been found and lessen the risk of this disease spreading to our state as a whole.

3. Temporarily authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies and private contractors employed by the same to remove and/or dispose of live animals and animal carcasses on publicly or privately owned land when those live animals and/or carcasses threaten public health or safety.

4. Authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa DOT, the Iowa DPS, the Iowa DNR, IDPH, other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies to implement stop movement and stop loading restrictions and other control zone measures as are reasonably deemed necessary, including establishing buffer zones, checkpoints, and cleaning and disinfecting operations at checkpoints and borders surrounding any quarantine areas established by the IDALS or at any other location in the state of Iowa, in order to stop the spread of this contagious disease.

5. Authorizes state agencies to assist the IDALS in disinfection, depopulation, and livestock carcass disposal efforts.

6. Temporarily waives restrictions to allow for the timely and efficient disposal of poultry carcasses.

7. Temporarily suspends the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers hauling poultry carcasses infected with or exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza or while hauling loads otherwise related to the response to this disaster during its duration, subject to certain conditions outlined in the disaster proclamation.

Officials say the virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Montgomery County Extension introduces Summer Assistant

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with ISU Extension in Montgomery County have announced Casey Wenstrand will be working as a Summer Assistant at the office. Casey was a 9 year 4-Her in the Grant Spitfires.

Casey Wenstrand

Casey Wenstrand

He just graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelors of Liberal Studies degree. In addition to fair preparation, Casey will also be a big help with the extension’s summer day camps. You can meet Casey at the 2015 Montgomery County Fair.

Breaking News: Avian Influenza confirmed at Rose Acre Farms in Stuart

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today (Friday), has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in four additional flocks in Minnesota and Iowa. No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time. CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.

USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed HPAI H5N2 in two Minnesota Counties, and two in Iowa, including Adair County, where 974,500 chickens are affected at the Rose Acre Farms facility near Stuart.

The affected premises have been quarantined and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, in 2014, the U.S. poultry industry produced 8.54 billion broiler chickens, 99.8 billion eggs, and 238 million turkeys. Officials say the United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world. As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps:

1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area;

2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s);

3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area;

4) Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and

5) Test – confirming that the poultry farm is AI virus-free. USDA also is working with its partners to actively look and test for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets and in migratory wild bird populations.

Report: more ag-related jobs available than college grads able to fill them

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A report recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows there are plenty of jobs in ag-related fields, but not enough college graduates to fill them. Krysta Harden is Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. “Folks don’t really realize the variety of jobs and the availability of the jobs in science and technology, in education, in communication, food production, all the way through the entire chain, frankly,” Harden says.

The report from the USDA and Purdue University states there are nearly 60,000 ag related job openings expected annually in the U.S., but only a little over 35,000 graduates available to fill them. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, says that means there are some great opportunities for recent college graduates.  “For some majors like agribusiness, animal science, crop science, the young people are being offered two to three job offers and signing bonuses,” Ramaswamy says.

The report projects almost half of the ag job opportunities in the next five years will be in management and business. Another 27 percent will be in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. According to the report, more than half the grads in agriculture and ag-related fields are women.

(Radio Iowa)

FREE Garden Webinars Offered in June, July and August

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Gardeners have the opportunity this summer to learn about theme gardens, planting trough gardens, water features and conservation, attracting butterflies and bees, and growing herbs. The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach “Growing Season” webinar series will be offered at multiple locations across Iowa during June, July and August. The Cass County Extension Office is one of the locations hosting these webinars.

This is the sixth year for the Iowa Master Gardener program annual summer series. It is open to all interested gardeners; participants are not required to have completed master gardener training to attend. Each of the three webinars feature an Iowa Master Gardener and ISU Extension and Outreach faculty or staff member presenting the two-hour course at an ISU Extension and Outreach county office. Course topics and speakers include:

JUNE: Design from Yard to Trough, with Iowa State University Department of Horticulture lecturer Lisa Orgler and Fayette County Master Gardener Gary Whittenbaugh. Participants will learn how to add spark to landscape designs and trough planters filled with conifers and their companions.

Cass County Master Gardener Bus Tour Heads for Des Moines on June 18

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Des Moines Botanical Garden and Polk County Master Gardeners Enabling Garden are two of many highlights on the 2015 Cass County Master Gardener bus tour. The trip is scheduled for June 18th, departing from the Cass County Fairgrounds in Atlantic at 8-AM and returning around 6-PM. Other stops include nurseries, gardens and greenhouses in the Greater Des Moines Area. Lunch, catered by Hickory Park, will be served at the Polk County Extension Office.ISU Extension

The trip is sponsored by the Cass County Master Gardeners but is open to everyone. Registrations are due by June 10th, so register soon so you can be sure to save your spot on the bus! The cost is $55. 00 which includes transportation, entrance fees and a meal and snack. Registration forms are available at the Cass County Extension office, and can also be found on the Cass County Extension website at www.exension.iastate.edu/cass.

A full itinerary is on each registration form. Be sure to bring plant labels and boxes to mark the goodies you pick up along the way!

(Press Release)