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.

US Ag Sec says immigration issues could result in rotting crops

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says crops could end up rotting in the fields because of a lack of labor due to the nation’s immigration problems. Speaking before a farm group in Omaha, Vilsack says the elected leaders in Washington understand illegal immigration is a problem, but nobody wants to put aside politics and address it. “Everybody in this country knows that this immigration system is broken, everybody in this country,” Vilsack says, “every member of Congress, all 530 members of the House, all 100 members of the Senate, they know the immigration system is broken, but yet nothing happens.” Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, says politicians are too eager to use the issue as a partisan tool rather than try to find a resolution.

“Everybody knows it’s a problem,” Vilsack says. “Where are the statesmen? Where are the people that are willing to put the national interests ahead of all else?” Vilsack, the head of the U-S-D-A, says the immigration issue may very soon begin to have a significant impact on agriculture.  “Here’s the risk to farming,” he says. “We’re getting to a point where crops may rot because we simply don’t have the people in the fields to do the work that needs to be done.” Vilsack insists the problem can be resolved. “The solution is not the issue here,” Vilsack says. “The problem is, people want to play politics with this issue. They want to go into your communities and they want to scare people about immigrants. They want to divide the nation over this issue because they think there’s political advantage.” Vilsack made his comments Monday to delegates to the National Farmers Union convention.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Public meetings tonight (Tuesday) to discuss hunting/trapping changes

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowans have a chance tonight (Tuesday) to express their opinions about several proposed changes in hunting and trapping regulations for next fall. Perhaps the biggest change would apply to deer hunters. Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau Chief Dale Garner says some areas of the state have too many deer, but other areas have dropped below or near department goals. “We would like to reduce the antlerless tags to stabilize the herd,” Garner said.

The proposed changes involve shortening the length of the January deer hunting season, eliminating the November antlerless season altogether and changing the early muzzleloader season to reduce the harvest in the antlerless portion of the deer herd. The proposals are meant to satisfy the concerns of hunters who believe deer reduction efforts have gone too far. The DNR estimates deer numbers in Iowa are down 30% compared to a high mark in 2006. Iowa hunters, during the recent 2011-12 deer hunting seasons, killed 121,407 deer — down 4.5% from the previous year. Changes are proposed for waterfowl hunting and trapping as well.

“We’re looking to potentially increase quotas for both otters and bobcats,” Garner said. “For migratory birds, we have an opportunity to possibly add a (third) zone to the state, which will impact us for four years, so this is a chance for people to think about what that might do.” The possible changes will be discussed during public meetings tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at 18 locations across the state. The list of possible changes is available online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/Hunting/proposed_changes2012.pdf

In our area, the public meetings will be held in: Carroll, at the Carroll High School; in Council Bluffs, at Abraham Lincoln High School; in Creston, at the Creston High School, and in Onawa, at the Onawa-West Monona Junior/Senior High School.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa & Ric Hanson/KJAN)

PETA may file lawsuit challenging “ag gag” law

Ag/Outdoor

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A spokesman for an animal rights organization says his group may file a lawsuit challenging a new Iowa law that establishes new penalties for trying to go undercover on a farm or in a livestock confinement. Dan Mathews, a senior vice president for PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says the law sends a message that there’s something to hide on Iowa farms. “It’s brought a lot of people to our website wanting to see the footage that we got at the Hormel farm in Iowa that everyone got so upset about and wants to keep cameras off farms as a result of that case,” Mathews says. “I think that this is going to come back to haunt Iowa agriculture more than they could ever imagine.” Mathews says Iowa has “singled itself out” as a state with something to hide.

“I don’t think that is a very strong message to send to consumers,” Mathews says. Mathews expects some of PETA’s student groups may try to keep Iowa-raised beef out of school cafeterias and while Mathews says “all options” are on the table, he’s not sure about a nationwide boycott of Iowa-raised food. Governor Branstad says if a person goes on Iowa farm property “through fraud or deception or lying”, they should be held legally accountable for trying to “disrupt agricultural operations.”

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Most of northwest Iowa needs moisture, USDA says

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture says most of northwest Iowa is still short of soil moisture. Recent rain and snow have brought some moisture to the state, but the USDA said Monday that 86 percent of northwest Iowa remains short or extremely short of the moisture desired by farmers for their crops. According to The Des Moines Register, experts say soil moisture is adequate in most of the eastern half of Iowa. And statewide, topsoil moisture levels were rated as being 19 percent very short, 34 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. A year ago, 99 percent of Iowa reported adequate or surplus moisture after three years of above-average rain and snow.

County-wide trails to be discussed in Pottawattamie County

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Residents of Pottawattamie County have an opportunity to attend one of several listening sessions scheduled to take place throughout the County, with regard to possible county-wide trails. The Pottawattamie County Conservation Board will meet with residents to gather public input on the future of multi-use trails. Mark Shoemaker, executive director of the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board, says the meetings are to being held to discuss where the trails should be located. He says anyone attending the sessions will discuss the future of the multi-use trails and asked to offer their opinions on where the lines should be drawn as to where the trails should be. 

Shoemaker says there are some short trails already in place, in Pottawattamie County. That includes the Wabash Trace, in Council Bluffs, several trails within the Council Bluffs city limits, some short trails in Oakland and other communities. Some trails are under development in other communities within the County. The main purpose of the meetings is to eventually connect the trails to every community in Pottawattamie County.

The County-wide trail planning listening sessions will be held in  four cities across the county. They will be held March 8th, from 7-to 9-pm at the Neola Community Center; at the Carson Community Center, March 10th, from 9am-11am; and at the AHST High School in Avoca, March 14th, from 7-9pm. The final session will be held March 22nd, at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Looft Hall - Room 10, from 4-to 6-pm. Shoemaker says even if a meeting will not be held in your community in Pottawattamie County, you are still welcome to attend one of the meetings elsewhere in the County. The Pottawattamie County Conservation Board is also scheduling a water trails meeting at the Botna Bend Park in Hancock on Wednesday, March 21st.

(courtesy Joel McCall/KNOD, Harlan)

King says he’ll work with Tyson to find new uses for the Denison plant

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King says he’s been in contact with Tyson Fresh Meats, Incorporated, and will work with the company’s leadership to explore new uses for its Denison beef processing plant. The company Thursday announced it was exploring closing its facility in Denison, because of planned improvements to its plant in Dakota City, NE. The move would effectively eliminate 400 jobs in Denison, although employees would be encouraged to apply for about 200 jobs created by the Dakota City plant improvements.

King says he knows closing the Denison plant is a “tough decision for Tyson to make, especially given the history of the Denison plant as the flagship location for the former IBP company.” He said in the coming months, he will continue to work with Tyson Foods to find other uses for the Denison facility, and is “Hopeful that a decision will be reached that will continue to put the plant and its workforce to good use.”

If the company closes the Denison facility, it will not come until sometime next year.

Atlantic to Host Free Herbicide Resistance Meeting March 14th

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

In response to rapidly expanding problems associated with herbicide resistant weeds, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will conduct a series of meetings in March to address the issue. The meetings will provide information about the causes of herbicide-resistant weed populations, objectively evaluate weed management programs currently used in Iowa and support the development of durable weed management programs. The meetings will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude with a noon meal. One of the meetings will take place in Atlantic, on March 14th, at the Cass County Community Center.  

There is no cost to attend the program, due to funding provided by several partners. However, advance registration is appreciated for meeting logistics and lunch counts. Additional information regarding the program and online registration is available at http://www.aep.iastate.edu/weeds/ .

Denison beef packing plant could close

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Four-hundred jobs at the Tyson beef slaughtering plant in Denison are in jeopardy. Tyson spokesman, Gary Mikelson, says the company is expanding its Dakota City, Nebraska meat processing plant, and that means Tyson may no longer need the smaller plant in Dension. He says they have not made a final decision yet, but he says if the Denison facility did close, the employees would be encouraged to seek jobs at the Dakota City plant. Dakota City, Nebraska is across the Iowa border near Sioux City, about 80-miles west of the Denison’s Tyson Foods beef processing plant. Mikelson says the decision is based on the availability of cattle to slaughter in the Denison area.

“This is a very difficult scenario to consider, given the impact it would have on our people and the long history that that plant has had in the meat industry. However, unless area cattle supplies increase significantly, it may make sense to discontinue operations there next year,” Mikelson says. Mikelson says they are making millions of dollars in upgrades at the Dakota City plant, and will add 200 job there. He says the work should be done by the middle of 2013.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Conservation offers Intro to Rainscaping/Native Landscaping Prgm.

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Conservation Board reports it is partnering with West Pottawattamie Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Iowa Western Community College (IWCC), to present Rainscaping Loess Soils. The free Intro to Rainscaping classes will be held at the IWCC Campus Centers in Council Bluffs Harlan, Atlantic, Clarinda and Shenandoah. The workshop in Atlantic will be held 5:30-p.m. March 27th. For other class dates and times and to register for the free classes go to http://www.iwcc.edu/ce/classes/GoGreen.asp

Rainscaping Loess Soils is a series of workshops to educate the public in what rainscaping is and how landowners can plan and install conservation best management practices in their sites landscape. Workshops will cover topics such as rain gardens, rain barrels, composting and soil quality restoration. The program is made possible thanks to a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources – REAP Conservation Education Project.

 

Boots to Heels Conference Scheduled for March 24th in Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Women in Southwest Iowa are invited to a day of fun, learning and friendship during the sixth annual Boots to Heels Conference on Saturday, March 24th. The conference runs from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic. The lineup of speakers scheduled for the one-day conference will focus on the interests of women living and working in rural Iowa.

The conference will start off with a keynote address on “Finding Happiness in the Craziness of Life” by Kathy Petersen. Kathy and her husband run a 5th generation farming operation near Storm Lake, Iowa. Kathy speaks and conducts training sessions all over the U-S through her company, Peopleworks, Inc. Throughout the day, conference participants will be able to select from twelve unique topics during four workshop sessions. Break-out topics include Home Organization, Farm Succession Planning, Wind Energy, Food Preservation, Interior Decorating and more.

Each presenter has a wealth of knowledge in their respective field and will provide practical tips based on first-hand experience. Conference attendees will be treated to snacks, a breakfast, lunch and  special dessert, served by locally-owned businesses. Lunchtime entertainment is being provided by the Patchwork Pals. In addition, there will be door prizes, time for conversation and networking.

Registration for the entire day, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, dessert and materials, is just $30 if postmarked by March 16th. Registrations postmarked after that date are $35. A special “bring a friend” rate of $55 for two registrations is also available if postmarked by the 16th. Registration forms are available at local ISU Extension offices or may be printed off at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.

See the schedule of events here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/NR/rdonlyres/D1EEFECF-F465-45BD-8DC5-C852E153FA99/165430/WebFliertopost1.pdf