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.

Shelby Co. farmer leaves his farm & more than $2.5-million in cash to 13 Catholic churches in SW IA

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A Shelby County resident who lived the farmer’s dream is now bequeathing most of it to local churches. Edwin “Bud” Skalla of rural Portsmouth, passed away on November 26th, 2013 at the age of 92 years old. During his lifetime, Skalla accumulated over $2 million in cash assets and 1,100 acres of land in Harrison and Shelby Counties. In a press conference Thursday, Ray Chipman, conservator for the Skalla estate, said most of the land and cash assets will be divided between thirteen catholic churches in southwest Iowa. In addressing the media, Chipman said Skalla was a quiet and frugal man.

“During his lifetime he wouldn’t have bought you a cup of coffee that cost five cents. But now in his passing, I think we can say 98 percent of his estate will be given to catholic churches in southwest Iowa. Portsmouth in particular will inherit a farm which was appraised at almost $3 million. That is an out right gift to Portsmouth.”

Chipman says the 292 acre farm going to St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Portsmouth is one of six parcels of land Skalla owned southeast of Portsmouth. The other 858 acres will be auctioned. “In addition to the farm given to Portsmouth, the residual of his estate, and we don’t know what that is going to be because we have 858 acres and we don’t know what that will bring per acre, but depending on what that brings added to $2.5 million in cash assets that he has, that total will be distributed to 13 catholic churches in southwest Iowa.”

Those churches benefiting in Shelby County are St. Michael’s in Harlan, St. Peter’s in Defiance, St. Joseph’s in Earling, and St. Boniface in Westphalia, St. Mary’s in Portsmouth and St. Mary’s in Panama. In Harrison County, St. Patrick’s Church in Missouri Valley, St. Anne’s Church in Logan, St. Patrick’s in Dunlap and Sacred Heart in Woodbine. In addition, St. Patrick’s in Neola, St. Rose of Lima in Denison and St. Patrick’s in Council Bluffs are also beneficiaries. Skalla didn’t come from a wealthy family and built most of his assets in investments. Skalla was never married and didn’t have any children. His living relatives are two sisters Sylvia Kepford of California, Roseann Brummer of Logan and sister in law Vi Skalla. Father John Dorton of the St. Mary’s of Portsmouth and other churches spoke highly of Skalla and called him a loyal, hard worker who loved the community and church. Dorton then read a letter written by Reverend Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines,

“The Catholic communities of Shelby and Harrison Counties as well as the Diocese of Des Moines are enormously grateful to Edwin “Bud” Skalla for his extraordinarily generous remembrance of the parishes in his will. Bud was engaged in the most noble of professions, farming. Through his dedicated work, he provided nourishment for the human body which fortified countless thousands. Now, in death, through his legacy he will enrich the human spirit through faith and spiritual development.”

When asked how he felt when he heard what the Portsmouth parish was going to receive, Dorton replied with one word:  “Wow!” Skalla spent all but thirteen years of his life on his farm southeast of Portsmouth before moving to Elm Crest Retirement Community in Harlan. The auction for the land will be held in Portsmouth on February 15th at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Portsmouth.

(Joel McCall/KNOD)

Youth fishing event set for Sat. in Council Bluffs

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

In an effort to promote fishing, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation Department will host a youth fishing event this weekend, at Big Lake. The lake is located at 2600 North 8th Street, in Council Bluffs, and will take place on Saturday, January 11th, from 9am to 1pm.

A raffle drawing will be held to award prizes to young anglers 16 years of age or younger in attendance. The DNR plans to stock Big Lake with 1,000 rainbow trout on Friday at around 4-pm, to ensure the youth anglers get plenty of bites and action on the lake Saturday. Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Brian Hayes said, “The trout stocking Council Bluffs provides a unique opportunity for people looking for an outdoor activity.” Stocking trout in urban areas like Council Bluffs brings fishing close to home for a lot of people and provides an opportunity to involve kids in fishing.

Registration for the youth fishing event will from 9- to 10-a..m., Saturday. Kids under 16 fishing with a properly licensed adult, do not need a trout fee to fish for or possess trout, but the daily limit together is five trout. A fishing license and trout fee can be obtained at any local hunting and fishing license sales agent or your county recorders’ office.

Penguin Day Camp for youngsters in Cass County

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your children can’t have fun at camp. The Cass County Conservation Board and Cass County Extension Service is offering kids and opportunity to do on a non-school-day, by registering them for “Penguin Day Camp.”  The Penguin Camp is for children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade and will be held on Monday, January 20th, at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic.

Youth may register for either the 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon or 1:00 PM – 4 PM Activities include: Penguin Crafts – Learn about penguins and make a fact book; Taking an outdoor adventure by going on a winter hike and coloring in the snow;  Enjoying a live bird presentation by the Blank Park Zoo, and Participation in games & activities about penguins.

The camps will be offered free of charge, with pre-registration required. A snack will be provided. Parents should remember to dress your children to go outdoors for fun and a winter hike. Registration deadline for Penguin Camp is January 15th. Call the Cass County Extension office at 243-1132 or email xcass@iastate.edu to register your children. No registrations will be accepted after the registration deadline.

“Farmer’s Coffee” set for Jan. 30th, in Guthrie Center

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Farmers and those associated with agriculture are invited to attend a “Farmer’s Coffee” in Guthrie Center, on Thursday, January 30th. The event will be held at the Guthrie County Extension office, beginning, at 9-a.m.

You’re invited to come and network with other individuals and learn more about current ag issues, as well as catch up on the latest ag news with ISU Farm and Ag Management Field Specialist Shane Ellis, who will be talking about the future outlook for livestock, crops and also land prices.

Coffee and refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by the Guthrie County State Bank.

In Depth Financial Management Class for Farm Women Starts January 27

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Cass County is hosting a program for local farm women to learn the details of farm financial management and ways to determine a farm’s financial stability, starting January 27th, in Atlantic.

Moving Beyond the Basics: Farm Record Keeping” is a four-week program that addresses practical farm financial management in an interactive setting. Focusing on financial management skills such as farm recordkeeping, financial statements, and analysis tools, the program is modeled after Annie’s Project for Farm and Ranch Women, empowering farm women to be better business partners through networking and by managing and organizing critical information.

Annie’s Project gives farm women the opportunity to learn from female agricultural professionals and network with other women in similar situations. Moving Beyond the Basics provides women who participate the opportunity to evaluate record keeping systems and experience accounting software in a hands-on, open discussion format. Knowing the resources available for analyzing financial position also helps participants better plan for periods of low prices and farm income fluctuation.

Moving Beyond the Basics will be offered at the Cass County Extension office in Atlantic on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. starting January 27th. The program will run for four consecutive weeks. Registration fee is $50 for all four sessions, including all course materials and a light dinner before each session. Course size is limited, so interested participants are encouraged to register before the January 24th deadline to ensure a spot in the class. Registration is required through the Cass County ISU Extension office by calling 712-243-1132 or by filling out a registration form, found online at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.

For local farm women who would like to a broader overview of farm financial and risk management, Adair County Extension will be hosting the original Annie’s Project in Greenfield, starting on February 6th, 2014. This six-week course is designed especially for farm women to help them develop their management and decision-making skills for their farms. Sessions include brief presentations, discussions focused on the participants’ questions, and computer training to use spreadsheets. Topics include understanding market terminology, interpreting financial statements, and estate planning tools. For more information, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/adair or call (641)743-8412.

These programs have been developed through a grant from the North Central Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

NPPC defends freedom of choice for farmers who choose gestation stalls


January 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The head of the National Pork Producers Council is defending the use of gestation crates for pregnant pigs as a growing number of retailers ask for pork from facilities where hogs are raised in group settings rather than the two-foot stalls. Neil Dierks, the council’s C-E-O, says farmers should have the freedom to choose. “There is no one perfect system according to research that was done by the American (Veterinary Medical) Association and the American Association of Swine Practitioners,” he says.”

Each system has inherent advantages and disadvantages, but — again — it comes back to the care and the management of the animals given by the producer.” About 60 major food retailers, including McDonald’s, Costco and Safeway, have announced they’ll no longer buy pork that comes from facilities where the two-foot stalls were used to limit the movement of sows. Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced Tuesday it’s more than halfway through converting the facilities it owns to group housing for pregnant sows and the company will be less likely to renew contracts with independent farmers who continue to use gestation stalls.

Critics like the Human Society of the United States argue the small stalls are inhumane, as pregnant sows cannot turn around in the gestation stalls. Supporters say the stalls keep the sows from fighting with other pigs and allow for precise feeding of each sow. Producers say the stalls also keep the sows from stepping on or killing the baby pigs.

(Radio Iowa)

Sioux City expects damage from ash killer

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A city official says Sioux City can expect up to $11 million in damage when the insect killer of ash trees reaches the northwest Iowa city. The Sioux City Journal says parks maintenance field supervisor Kelly Bach told the City Council on Monday that it’s just a matter of time before the emerald ash borer beetle is found in Sioux City. Bach says ash trees account for nearly a third of Sioux City’s trees.

State officials said last month that an emerald ash borer had been found in a residential tree in Creston. It’s the fifth location in Iowa where the beetle has been found. The Creston sighting was the first in western Iowa.

Cass County Extension Report 01-08-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

January 8th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Stover could open up new cash crop


January 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Something farmers often called “trash” could be a new cash crop in 2014 as ethanol plants near Nevada and in Emmetsburg that use the leaves, stalks and cobs of the corn plant will begin operations this year. It’s called cellulosic ethanol production and creates a potential market for the corn residue –or stover. Iowa State University agronomy professor Rick Cruse says stover plays an important role in nurturing soil health and preventing erosion on fields that might otherwise be bare from harvest until planting. He’s confident the companies understand that and make sure enough is left to keep the soil healthy.

“There is a pressure to take more when you have an opportunity to make more money by taking more. And that’s a short-term return,” according to Cruse. Cruse says as farmers consider whether they want to market stover, they should determine which fields can most readily withstand some stover removal. He says cellulosic production could eventually expand to accept other raw materials. “If a technology is used, which we could covert not only stover but other grasses, we might find a market to put things like switchgrass in areas where we should not have corn and beans,” Cruse says.

Cruse says that would give farmers a cash return on land they’ve taken out of production. He says he sees a window of opportunity if producers and industry are willing to look beyond corn stover. Iowa State Extension will hold a series of meetings this month to answer farmers’ question about stover.

(Radio Iowa)

Lewis & Clark State park tops the list for most campers

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Lewis and Clark State Park in Onawa tops the list of Iowa’s most popular State Parks for camping. The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources released a list of the top 12 State Parks for overnight camping, on Tuesday.

Viking Lake State Park near Stanton placed second in the survey. Lake Anita State Park came in 7th and Lake Manawa was 10th. The number of guests camping in Iowa’s State Parks went from 718,539 in 2013. The figures show 709,595 camped out in 2012.

Top 12 State Parks for Camping Nights in 2013

1.      Lewis and Clark State Park

2.      Viking Lake State Park

3.      Rock Creek State Park

4.      Lake Ahquabi State Park

5.      Clear Lake State Park

6.      Brushy Creek State Recreation Area

7.      Lake Anita State Park

8.      Ledges State Park

9.      Backbone State Park

10.  Lake Manawa

11.  Marble Beach State Recreation Area

12.  Lake Macbride