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.

Corn estimate holds steady, low supply expected

Ag/Outdoor

January 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Government estimates for next fall’s corn supply held steady Thursday, a factor that should keep food prices high in the new year.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates there will be 846 million bushels of corn on hand at the end of the summer. The forecast was mostly unchanged from last month’s estimate.  The surplus would satisfy demand for less than 25 days. A 30-day supply is considered healthy.  A low supply of corn pushed food prices higher last year because corn is a key ingredient in everything from soda to cereal to animal feed.   Still, corn futures fell 40 cents a bushel in morning trading, the maximum allowed by trading boards. That’s because traders were expecting a decline in the monthly estimate.

USDA Report 01-12-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

January 12th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

Play

Cass Supervisors receive Conservation Director’s update

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday), received a quarterly update from County Conservation Director Micah Lee. Lee said the weather has really cooperated, and allowed the Conservation Department staff to conduct a lot of tree and shrub, and other necessary cleanup work at the various county parks and recreational areas.

He said also, their Environmental Education Naturalist, Lora Schwendinger, has been busy during the past quarter. Lee says she’s put on 96 programs and visited with 785 persons, from elementary-aged students, to senior citizens. Schwendinger has coordinated several workshops and events designed to educate the public about nature and the environment.

Cass County Extension Report 01-11-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

January 11th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen

Play

Iowa lawmakers likely to revisit lead shot / dove hunting issue

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

January 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Legislators are likely to engage in a spirited debate over what kind of bullets may be fired at doves. Last year, in uncharacteristically speedy fashion, lawmakers voted to legalize dove hunting in Iowa. But Senator Dick Dearden of Des Moines and others are upset with the Iowa Natural Resources Commission’s decision to forbid hunters from using lead shot when firing at doves. “People talk about the legislature sneaking this (law) through and the reality is they snuck through that (restriction),” Dearden says. “They came through at the last minute and made the rule.” The rule requires the use of steel shot for dove hunting, but a resolution that would nullify that rule is pending in both the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate. Representative Henry Rayhons, of Garner, stopped by a local gun shop last week and heard lots of complaints about steel shot.

“It’s not as accurate,” Rayhons says. “It’s harder on the guns and it’s darned near twice as expensive.” Critics say animals, like ducks and eagles, die after eating the lead shot lying on the ground that didn’t wind up in a bird. Dearden, a life-long hunter, accuses those opponents of using the lead-shot issue as a smoke-screen to try to derail the entire dove hunting law. “It’s all about doves,” Dearden says. “It has nothing to do with eagles or anything else.” Dearden says he got plenty of hate mail after spearheading passage of the dove hunting law last year.

“My favorite was a woman who said: ‘You’re a sick old man. I hope you die while hunting mourning doves,’” Dearden says. “I emailed her back and said: ‘So do I.’” Critics of lead shot say it’s a danger to humans, too, who eat bird meat that’s riddled with lead fragments. One study suggested lead particles have been found up to a foot and a half away, causing a greater risk of lead poisoning to humans than previously thought.

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Vilsack addresses concerns of USDA office closings, including 1 on SW IA

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is addressing concerns about his agency’s plan to close 259 U-S-D-A offices, labs and other facilities. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, told reporters in a teleconference Tuesday, that the closures are in response to Congressional budget cuts. The goal is to trim USDA expenses by $150 million a year. Vilsack said the plan involves $90 million in savings through reduced travel and supplies. The office and lab closures would account for the remaining $60 million in savings. Vilsack does not anticipate widespread layoffs as nearly 7,000 USDA employees took early retirement last year and many workers will be given the opportunity to transfer to other offices. Critics of the plan have raised concerns about the possible effect on food safety.

“I want to be very clear about this – the office closings we announced in the food safety area are about administrative personnel. They are not about inspectors,” Vilsack said. “We did not deal with the inspector issue at all. We’re still going to be in every single plant. The inspectors will continue to do the work that they’re doing in those plants and it will have no impact whatsoever on our responsibility to ensure the safety of the food supply in the United States.” In Iowa, the so-called “Blueprint for Stronger Service” would close three Farm Service Agency offices in Appanoose, Decatur and Union Counties. In addition, a Natural Resource Conservation Service office in Jefferson County would be shut down. Vilsack said public hearings will be held within 90 days in the counties where offices are to be closed.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

USDA says it will close 259 offices to save $150M

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will close 259 domestic offices, labs and other facilities as part of an effort to save $150 million per year in its $145 billion budget. The plan announced Monday will affect the agency’s Washington headquarters and operations in 46 states. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says in a statement that his agency must “be better stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.” He says many of the offices being closed have few employees and are near other offices. It was not clear from the USDA announcement whether employees would be laid off or moved to other offices. The USDA has a broad array of programs, ranging from emergency aid for farms to grants for rural development and the program commonly known as food stamps.

Proposed changes would limit dog-friendly cabins at Iowa State Parks

Ag/Outdoor

January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Dogs would no longer be allowed in some rental cabins at Iowa state parks under a list of proposed changes compiled by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Currently, there are no restrictions on pets in state park cabins. Sherry Arntzen, with the DNR, says they’ve seen an increase in complaints from renters about dogs and damage to cabins. One of the proposals would establish a nonrefundable “dog fee” for cabin or yurt renters who bring dogs.

“That would be charged for anybody who is renting one of the designated pet cabins,” Arntzen said. “This would help offset the cost of extra cleaning time and materials we would need after a renter with pets vacated the cabin.” The proposed fee would be $25 for a two-night stay or $50 for three or more nights. Other possible changes would set a limit of two dogs per cabin and require that dogs be put in a crate or kennel when left unattended inside the cabin or yurt. Arntzen said DNR staff would like to hear feedback from both dog owners and those renters who’ve raised concerns.

She notes some people have allergies or don’t like the barking by dogs left unattended. “So what we’re trying to do is talk with the public and see what people’s feelings are. We’d like to be able to strike a balance between the two user groups that are either for it or against it,” Arntzen said. Many states do not allow any pets in cabins. Dogs are currently allowed in all cabins or yurts located in 15 Iowa state parks. The proposed changes would designate some of those units as pet-free.

“We have some (parks) that would be 25-percent (dog friendly) and some at 100-percent,” Arntzen said. “We want people to look at (the proposed changes) and give us their comments. Based on all of the comments we receive and additional discussion with our management team, we will look at whether or not we’re going to go with what we’re looking at or if we’re going to modify it.” The DNR has also proposed changes related to rental fees and damage deposits for state park lodge facilities. The deadline to submit comments about the proposals is January 23. A public hearing will also be held at a date yet to be determined. Arntzen said any changes wouldn’t be enacted until sometime in 2013.

LINK to proposed rule changes and information on submitting comments: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Destinations/StateParksRecAreas/ProposedRuleChanges.aspx

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Lack of snow raises fears of drought

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Most Iowans aren’t complaining about the lack of snow, but weather watchers say there’s rising concern about a drought in the coming months. Bryce Anderson, senior agriculture meteorologist at Data Transmission Network, says the La Nina weather pattern is bringing Iowa milder temperatures while keeping the arctic air far to the north. “The effect that we’re going to see from that is a fairly dry situation through much of the wintertime,” Anderson says. “We will have to watch for the possibility of severe weather becoming a little bit more of a feature as we go into the spring.”

Anderson says the longer our region is lacking in significant moisture this winter, the greater the possibility of drought conditions a few months down the road. “There is some stage of drought going on over about the eastern third of Nebraska through the northwestern part of Iowa,” he says. “If we don’t get any moisture in late winter, then into early spring, we set ourselves up to be concerned about a drought problem going into the crop-planting season.” That seems a bit unusual, considering we just came out of a year when we saw several months of severe flooding on the Missouri River. Anderson says the La Nina pattern can spark unstable weather conditions in the spring.

“La Nina can be a real storm producer and can contribute to severe weather occurrences being greater than average over the Midwest,” he says. “That’s going to be a feature we are going to be watching especially when we get into March and then into April as we start to change our seasons.” Anderson says a dry spring could bring a vexing challenge to producers. He says we should enjoy the mild winter now and be ready for a dry, likely stormy, spring.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Cargill to close plant and upgrade another in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor

January 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Cargill Inc. says it will invest $20 million to modernize its soybean crushing plant in Cedar Rapids and close a similar plant in Des Moines to optimize its operations in Iowa amid an overcapacity in soymeal production. The Minneapolis-based company says Thursday that 22 jobs will be eliminated when its Des Moines plant closes Feb. 4. Cargill will continue some business activities at its Des Moines site, including buying soybeans, and will still have 70 employees in the area.

Soymeal is used in livestock feeds and in some processed foods. Cargill says declining meat consumption is one of the reasons for its decision, saying it can be more competitive though its soybean crushing plants in Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Iowa Falls.