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.

Hunters killed fewer deer in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Hunters in Iowa killed about 4.5 percent fewer deer during the recent hunting seasons. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says hunters killed about 121,400 deer during the 2011-2012 seasons. Officials say Iowa’s deer population has been reduced by about 30 percent from its peak in 2006. Spokesman Dale Garner says deer numbers in many areas are near or below the DNR’s objective. The department will review the harvest and population surveys this spring and make proposals to reduce the kill and stabilize deer where the numbers are at or below the goal. The agency says in areas were numbers haven’t reached the goal, hunters will have the option to kill extra does. Many of these areas are near cities and towns where hunting is restricted.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approves increases in Summer Rec Program fees

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The price you pay for your kids to participate in some of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department Summer Recreation Programs will be going up, and be prepared for some changes in how some of the programs operate. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said at Monday night’s Board meeting, one of the changes affects the Playground Program. He says instead of two sites, there will be just one site: Washington Elementary School. The hours will be from 9:30-until 11:30-a.m., instead of from 1-3pm. Herring says the idea is to incorporate the YMCA lunch program into the Playground Program.

Herring says each day’s activities will be published as the time frame grows closer, but they will involve crafts and exercise. Each session would conclude with lunch at the YMCA. The students will be escorted from the Washington School to the YMCA, where their parents can pick them up after lunch. Herring recommended, and the Park and Rec Board Monday approved, charging parents a fee to enroll their kids in the Playground Program. He says the fee would amount to $1 per day of the 20-session program, which runs from May 29th to June 29th, or $20 altogether. The Board and Herring agreed that no student will be turned down for the program because of an inability to pay. Service clubs may be asked to help defray the costs.

Roger Herring says also, the swimming program would be held once a week, on Tuesday’s, at the Sunnyside swimming pool. No lunch will be served.    The Swim Team, which is held May 29th through July 15th, will practice daily at noon at the Sunnyside Pool, with practice during inclement weather, inside, at the Nishna Valley YMCA. Participants purchase their own team swimsuits, t-shirts and goggles. The price for the t-shirts, according to Herring, will be going up just a bit. He recommended, and the board approved, an increase of $5 in the fee to participate on the swim team, which will now cost $25.

Board Chair Stuart Dusenberry pointed out that’s still much lower than it was years ago, when the Parks Department was still paying to bus students to the various swim meets. Since the policy was changed, parents have been handling that responsibility. The increase in fee also helps to cover the cost of paying a Swim Team Coach, Assistant Coach and Manager, which had previously been a volunteer position. Herring said there were 60 participants in the program last year. He says if there are a similar number this year, it will be a “break even” proposition for the Parks and Rec Department cost-wise.

The adult softball fee is also expected to be “restructured,” but the details have not yet been worked out.

Atlantic Eagle Scout working on Schildberg Park Bench Project

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An Atlantic Eagle Scout has embarked on a scouting project to outfit the Schildberg Quarry Recreational Area with park benches. The project is being undertaken by Casey Ihnen, who presented a pine wood prototype of the bench before the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Board during their meeting Monday evening.

Atlantic Eagle Scout Casey Ihnen w/a prototype park bench

Ihnen plans to place at least a dozen benches around both lakes, at locations to be determined, but several are expected to be placed along the walking trail.  The handmade wooden benches will be sunk into pea gravel so they can’t be easily be pulled out. They’ll cost $120 each, or $1,200 altogether. Ihnen will be looking for local sponsors for the benches. He’s already received donations from local businesses, groups and individuals. For more information, you can contact Roger Herring at the Parks and Rec Department in Atlantic.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board to discuss Capital Improvements & Summer Rec Pgms.

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

February 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Board of Directors will meet Monday evening, at City Hall. Action items and/or New Business on their agenda includes: an update on the Parks & Rec’s Capital Improvement Projects; discussion with regard to the Summer Recreation Programs, including – the playground, a Special Needs playground, Swim Team, Tennis and Softball programs; a review of the Little League Board meeting; a status report on vandalism perpetrated on Sunnyside park; and much more.

The meeting begins at 5:15-p.m., Monday.

Middle America bankers survey index drops slightly

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers in 10 Midwest and Great Plains states shows the rural economy slowing down, but reflects strong gains in hiring and farmland prices. The Rural Mainstreet Index released Thursday dropped slightly from 59.8 last month to 59.6 in February. Anytime the index, which ranges from 1 to 100, is above 50, it suggests the economy will grow. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says he expects to see slower growth in farm income as a result of softer agriculture commodity prices and higher overhead costs. The economic confidence index, which reflects expectations for the economy six months out, rose to 60.3 from January’s 56.1. The survey covers Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Wyoming.

Women farmland owners in western IA invited to free hunting & wildlife mgmt. workshop

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 16th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

 Women who own or manage farmland in and around Shelby County (IA), are invited to a free discussion and field tour on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at the Therkildsen Activity Center in Harlan. The focus of this meeting is making informed decisions about hunting and managing wildlife on your farmland. Coffee and registration begin at 8:30 a.m. A free lunch is provided, followed by an optional field tour of area habitat sites. The event is sponsored by Women, Food and Agriculture Network as part of its Women Caring for the LandSM series, in collaboration with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Iowa State University Extension. 

Women Caring for the LandSM meetings bring together women landowners in an informal, discussion-based learning format for a morning discussion, followed by a more in-depth look at the two or three topics of most interest. Female conservation professionals are on hand to answer questions and share resources. Following lunch, area NRCS staff lead a field tour to view conservation practices on the ground. For information about the program, visit www.wfan.org. To RSVP for this meeting, contact Lynn Heuss at 515.201.9405 by 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27. Space is limited to 15; please reserve your space early!

USDA Report 02-16-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 16th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin

Play

Cass County Extension Report 02-15-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 15th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen

Play

Spending cuts trump farm subsidies for many voters

Ag/Outdoor

February 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — Promoting farm subsidies was once a no-brainer for rural members of Congress seeking re-election. This year, it’s a bit trickier. As lawmakers wade cautiously into writing the next five-year farm bill, agribusiness and farmers’ lobbyists are preparing for the worst. With little appetite for spending on Capitol Hill, subsidy cuts in the billions of dollars are on the table as rural voters also cry out for less government. It doesn’t help that farm business is booming. “What’s different this time is we have very strong commodity prices,” says Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union. “And that is generally not a really good time to write a farm bill because everyone who is projecting the future says, ‘Oh, this is going to last forever.’”

Farm bills in 2002 and 2008 also were driven by rural election-year politics. Lawmakers, particularly in the Senate, curried favor with farm interests in their states by slipping their priorities into the bills. Taking care of everyone’s needs ensured passage and subsidies remained almost untouched. But this year, many of farmers’ traditional allies are just as concerned, if not more concerned, about voters’ calls for less spending. Sen. Pat Roberts, senior Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee and a veteran of many farm bills, says his constituents aren’t asking about farm subsidies as much as they used to. He says he gets more questions about government regulations that farmers see as burdensome. Traditional farm issues and the impact of farm policy have gotten somewhat lost. “I don’t think most people who run for office realize there is still a significant farm vote,” he says.

Nowhere was that more clear than in Iowa, where presidential candidates have wooed farm country for decades. Several of the contenders in the Iowa caucuses actually spoke out against corn-based ethanol, a position unthinkable in the past. Farm-state members have already said they will support eliminating some subsidies. Last fall, the heads of the House and Senate agriculture committees — Republican Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan — negotiated a farm bill that cut $23 billion from agriculture and nutrition programs, hoping to piggyback it on the budget-cutting supercommittee’s bill. When the supercommittee fizzled, so did their hopes for a speedy farm bill.

This year, they are starting over with more input from other agriculture committee members. But direct payments, a type of subsidy paid without regard to crop price or crop yield and costing taxpayers about $5 billion a year, are still a top target as the Senate Agriculture Committee opens hearings on the legislation Wednesday. That was cemented by President Barack Obama’s call to eliminate them in his budget proposal Monday, which put forth a $32 billion cut in farm programs. That’s a strong contrast from 2008, when Obama supported the last farm bill while he was campaigning for president. That legislation was far more generous — even raising some subsidies — than the bill Congress is weighing this year.

Farm Service Agency rolls out smartphone website

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Farmers and ranchers seeking information from the Farm Service Agency can do so more easily using smartphones with a new optimized website. The technology improvements, announced Friday, will allow users to access information on loan deficiency payments, updated prices, agency news releases and other services. The mobile version organizes the website information to make it easy for reading on a small, handheld screen. Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse says as more farmers and ranchers are using mobile devices and high-tech tools, so the government must keep up. The FSA’s mobile website is at: www.fsa.usda.gov/mobile .