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.

Cass County Extension Report 07-17-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

July 17th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

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Cyclospora investigation continues…numbers changing

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(Updated with revised numbers 10:48-a.m. Wednesday)

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that as of today (Wednesday), they are continuing to receive reports of confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection. The onset dates of the illness suggest the ill people had eaten contaminated food in mid-June. Officials say while the source of the outbreak remains unknown, at no time was an Iowa-grown fruit or vegetable suspected as a cause.

The number of confirmed food-borne intestinal illnesses related to cyclosporiasis in Iowa, is 87, and 27 counties are affected. The Iowa Department of Public Health says at least five people have been hospitalized. Linn County in eastern Iowa continues to lead the state with 31 cases. Polk County has 7 cases, and Pottawattamie County now has 6 cases. Two cases of the illness have been reported in Mills County, and one each in Montgomery, Woodbury and Monona Counties, in western Iowa.

Public health officials say the illness, which causes prolonged diarrhea, is rare. It comes from eating food or drinking water contaminated with feces containing the cyclospora parasite. Many people are reportedly still ill, and some have had relapses of symptoms caused by the parasite.

Learn about the Land brochures available for RAGBRAI & other outdoor enthusiasts

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says for the ninth year in a row, RAGBRAI enthusiasts can Learn about the Land during the 2013 Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa July 21st through the 27th. The joint project between the DNR, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Iowa Limestone Producers Association highlights the land, history, parks and other natural wonders that cyclists encounter on their late July quest across the state.

This year’s route crosses several of Iowa’s major landform regions. The bulk of the ride is over the rolling hills of the Southern Iowa Drift Plain, so riders should be prepared for some serious climbing in and out of valleys. Maps and cross sections are designed to help participants locate nearby parks, cities and landmarks each day of the ride. Look for Springbrook State Park on Day 2, Historic Valley Junction on Day 3, Red Rock Reservoir on Days 4 and 5, and Lacey-Keosauqua State Park on Day 7.

The seven-day set of RAGBRAI brochures produced by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is available online at www.igsb.uiowa.edu or http://ia.water.usgs.gov. Or, find the brochures July 21st at the Human and Natural History Partners booth at Expo in Council Bluffs where staff from the Office of the State Archaeologist, U.S. Geological Survey and the DNR will be available to answer questions. The brochure can be found each day along the route at the Iowa Conservation Team’s booths.

Parts of Iowa are now experiencing “flash drought” conditions

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

You’ve heard of flash flooding. Now, there’s the flash drought. Parts of Iowa are seeing the driest July in decades and Jim Lee, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says the term “flash drought” applies, as the heat wave came on very quickly following Iowa’s wettest-ever spring. “A drought can be characterized by a lack of rainfall, low levels of ground water and soil moisture, affects on plants and so forth and sometimes droughts occur over long time scales of several years, sometimes the occur over a period of a few months,” Lee says. “So for the shorter events, sometimes we refer to them as flash droughts.”

Lawns that aren’t being watered are becoming brown and crunchy, especially in parts of central Iowa, where it’s the driest July, so far, since 1976. Des Moines has only gotten six-hundredths of an inch of rain this month. Lee notes, the turnaround from earlier this year is unusual.

“We did have the wettest spring on record in Iowa in terms of the average statewide rainfall from March through May,” Lee says. “We’re not necessarily in a drought yet, in fact, very little of Iowa is in drought conditions right now, however, if we continue to see the dry pattern that we’ve seen established over the last couple of weeks persist through the rest of July, then we could enter that territory.”

Much of the state and a large portion of the region were hit with a drought that lasted the majority of last year, however, the rainy spring gave promise to a change for Iowa. Lee says it’s still not known whether this flash drought will become another full-fledged drought. Lee says, “The fortunate thing about events like this is that because we had that wet spring, we were able to replenish our soil moisture, subsoil moisture, river levels, reservoirs and so forth, so that we’re better able to take a drier second half of summer.”

(Radio Iowa)

The forecast calls for a few scattered showers but no significant rainfall until perhaps the weekend.

Branstad expresses concern over proposed EPA rules

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Environmental groups pushing the federal government to take over enforcement of Clean Water Act regulations in Iowa say Gov. Terry Branstad has lobbied the EPA on behalf of farmers, ignoring the fact that water in Iowa’s rivers is worsening due to manure spills and farm runoff.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says Tuesday it has obtained a letter from Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds through a Freedom of Information Act request. The letter shows Branstad and Reynolds wrote to top EPA officials in Washington in May, stepping over the EPA’s regional office in Kansas City, which is negotiating with Iowa DNR about stricter livestock enforcement.

Branstad and Reynolds express “strong concern” about proposed increased farm regulation. The EPA has been pushing Iowa for stricter enforcement for a year.

Iowa egg farms settle suit over salmonella recalls

Ag/Outdoor

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa egg producers blamed for a 2010 salmonella outbreak have settled a lawsuit brought by a California cooperative that lost profits as a result of the product recalls. Quality Egg and Hillandale Farms reached the settlement last week with NuCal Foods, Inc., to end three years of litigation in federal court in California. Financial terms weren’t released.

Quality Egg was owned by Jack DeCoster, who had a history of food safety, labor and environmental violations. Hillandale Farms received chickens and feed from DeCoster’s operations. The companies issued recalls covering 550 million eggs in 2010. Thousands of customers were sickened by the outbreak.

NuCal contended the companies were aware their farms and chickens were contaminated with salmonella but kept selling tainted eggs anyway. Its attorney declined comment on the settlement.

Iowa State Fair plans butter sculpture of Lincoln

Ag/Outdoor

July 16th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A butter sculpture of President Abraham Lincoln will share the dairy-centric spotlight this year with the world-famous butter cow at the Iowa State Fair. Organizers announced Monday that a sculpture of Lincoln, along with a replica of the Lincoln Highway Bridge in central Iowa, will be on display in a 40-degree cooler when the fair opens in August.

It will take sculptor Sarah Pratt three weeks and 1,000 pounds of regular salted butter to create the pieces. She says she’s unsure how she’ll depict Lincoln. The companion sculptures, which change every year, are marking anniversaries. It’s been 150 years since Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address. The historic Lincoln Highway, which stretches from New York to San Francisco, is 100 years old.

The fair runs Aug. 8 to Aug. 18.

IDPH update: 71 cases of cyclosporiasis identified in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health, CDC and local public health agencies are investigating an outbreak of an intestinal illness caused by Cyclospora (a rare parasite). As of today, July 15th, 71 cases of Cyclospora infections have been reported to IDPH; almost all have been identified through testing at the State Hygienic Lab (SHL). Linn County in eastern Iowa continues to lead the state with 27 cases. Polk County has four and 17 other counties have at least one.  Three people have been hospitalized.

In western Iowa, there have been 3 confirmed cases in Dallas County, 2 in Mills County, and 1 case each in Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury Counties.  The numbers remain  unchanged from Friday with regard to those counties.

The illness is most commonly contracted by eating food or drinking water contaminated with human feces containing the cyclospora parasite. Iowa typically has just one or two cases a year, usually travelers. Officials believe fresh vegetables may be the culprit, but the investigation continues.

Consumers should wash fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of the illness, which causes diarrhea that lasts an average of 57 days.

 

Public hearing Monday on smoke free park in Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 14th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A public hearing with regard to making Sunnyside Park in Atlantic entirely smoke free, will take place Monday evening, at City Hall. The meeting of the Parks and Recreation Board and public hearing follows on the heels of a proposal June 17th by Karla Akers and a group of young people who are associated with the Kiwanis’-sponsored, Middle School Builders Club.Akers said originally, the tobacco-free zone request focused on the skate park area at Sunnyside Park, but the hope is to eventually make all parks in Cass County being tobacco free, to make them “A family friendly, safe, positive environment for healthy activity.”

To that end, Akers presented the Parks and Rec Board with a signed petition requesting Sunnyside Park be designated as Tobacco Free. If approved by the Parks and Rec Board and, by the City Council at a future meeting, violators will be asked to stop using tobacco products on Park property, or leave the property. If they fail to do so, a trespassing complaint may be filed with law enforcement.

In other business, the Parks and Rec Board will receive a monthly update from Director Roger Herring, with regard to the Schildberg Recreation Area, Sunny Park Tennis Court reconstruction, the boat ramp, Summer Rec programs, the Buck Creek Dog Park, and Park Maintenance building. The meeting in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall, begins at 5:15-p.m., Monday.

Movie in the Park being offered July 20th, in Cass County

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 12th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The public is invited to attend a free, “Movie in the Park,” later this month, here in Cass County. The movie “John Brown’s Holy War” will be shown at the Hitchcock Recreation Area, beginning at 9-p.m., Saturday, July 20th. It’s sponsored by the Cass County Conservation Board, and gives viewers a chance to learn about the historical figure’s involvement in the Civil War movement.Cass Co Conservation Board

Persons planning on attending the movie should bring their lawn chairs or a blanket, to enjoy the movie under the stars. If it’s raining that night, the movie will be shown inside the barn. For more information, call Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning, at 712-769-2372.