KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Wildlife refuge to use Olympics to teach about animal skills

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) – The DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is offering visitors a chance to test their athletic skills against area wildlife. The refuge will offer an animal Olympics program at 1 p.m. on Saturday where visitors can see if they can jump as high as a deer or balance like a great blue heron. The program will teach about the abilities of native wildlife.

The refuge sits north of Omaha, Nebraska, along on U.S. Highway 30 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. An entrance permit is required to enter the refuge. For more information, call 712-388-4800.

Steer sold multiple times at Iowa auction in girl’s memory

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 22nd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) – Over $41,000 has been raised for a scholarship in memory of a 13-year-old girl who died in a utility vehicle accident through the repeated sale of a steer at an Iowa auction. The Telegraph Herald reports 19-year-old Jamie Nefzger took his Black Angus to the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Manchester Saturday, and a letter was read about the June 24 death of his 13-year-old cousin, Anna Nefzger.

Greg Preussner bought the steer and then told Jamie Nefzger’s father to sell it again. The process was repeated several times, and the steer had been sold 11 times by the end of the auction. After the auction, people were invited to make individual donations to the scholarship. Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars, which set up the scholarship, says donations continue to pour in.

Iowa Economy Gains 5,100 Jobs in June

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 22nd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.0 percent in June from 3.9 percent in May. The state’s jobless rate was 3.6 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 4.9 percent in June compared to 4.7 percent in May. Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development, said “Despite the increase in the unemployment rate in June, reaching the highest level since November 2014, Iowa’s businesses added 5,100 jobs last month.” Townsend says “IWD is working hard to develop programs such as doubling the number of Registered Apprenticeships in the next five years to help spur economic growth and close the skills gap. Good paying, secure jobs continue to be available in Iowa.”

The number of unemployed Iowans rose to 68,100 in June from 66,600 in May. The current estimate is 6,300 higher than the year ago level of 61,800. The total number of working Iowans decreased to 1,642,900 in June. This figure was 1,900 lower than May and 6,300 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment

In June, total non-farm employment expanded by 5,100 and now rests at 1,581,100 jobs total for Iowa. This month’s gain helps to partially offset an unusually large decline of 6,100 jobs in May. Private industry was responsible for nearly all of the movement this month as government added just a slight 100 jobs;  however, government is up 3,800 jobs annually due mostly to expansion at the local level (+4,100 jobs or 1.5 percent). When public and private industries are combined, the state is up 21,200 jobs, or 1.4 percent.

Seasonal industries seemed to fare well this month and were led by construction (+2,100). Since 2011, Iowa’s construction industry has generally trended up due to both a positive outlook from businesses and increased demand for housing. These two factors have combined to help this sector grow at a pace far exceeding the state average. Trade and transportation also had a strong gain this month (+1,900) due to expansion in all industries, particularly wholesale trade. Arts and entertainment sectors fueled leisure and hospitality into a larger-than-seasonal increase of 1,700 jobs.  Several other sectors added jobs this month including financial activities, education and health services, other services, and information services.

Losses were limited to just three sectors this month and were led by professional and business services (-1,500). This sector has generally trended down over the past year as firms and individuals reduce demand for non-essential services to save money. Other losses this month included manufacturing (-600), which has seen just one monthly gain this year.

Annually, construction continues to boost total non-farm gains and is up 12,200 jobs—an increase of 15.8 percent. The education and health care services sector also remains markedly up (+5,600) due to gains in both sectors, as does leisure and hospitality (+4,900).  Four sectors are down compared to last June, with losses being heaviest in Iowa’s manufacturing sector (-7,700).

All of the annual loss stems from the durable goods factories; nondurable goods are actually unchanged versus this time one year ago. Professional and business services have pared 3,200 jobs since last June primarily in administrative and support services. The losses may be a sign that firms are starting to forgo unnecessary contract services. Information services remains down 1,600 as labor-intensive businesses are slowly phased out by new technologies.

Survey shows rural economy continues to weaken in 10 states

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers suggests there’s been a drop in the already weak economic outlook for rural areas of 10 Western and Plains states. A report issued Thursday on the Rural Mainstreet Index says it fell to 39.8 this month from 43.9 in June. Survey officials say any score below 50 on any of the survey’s indexes suggests a decline in that area.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the overall index has remained below growth-neutral for 11 straight months. He says that over the past 12 months, farm prices are down 9 percent and livestock prices are down 16 percent.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

USDA Report 7-21-2016

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

July 21st, 2016 by Jim Field

w/Max Dirks.


Iowa State Fair butter sculpture to feature “Star Trek”

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – One of the most viewed displays at the Iowa State Fair will peer into the future and celebrate the past at the same time as the popular butter sculpture exhibit features characters from the “Star Trek” television series. Each year Sarah Pratt creates a cow from 600 pounds of butter for the butter cow exhibit. The refrigerated case also features a second scene which has included Elvis Presley, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon.

This year standing next to the cow will be Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy and Uhura in two scenes on the bridge of starship USS Enterprise to commemorate the original “Star Trek” television show’s 50th anniversary. The Iowa State Fair, which attracts more than a million people a year, begins Aug. 11.

Iowa Livestock Care Essential as Temperatures Soar Around the State

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – July 20, 2016 — Iowa’s continued heat wave isn’t just the subject of conversation at swimming pools and office water coolers; it’s also a concern on Iowa’s livestock farms.  Iowa’s farmers work around the clock to keep their animals safe, no matter the conditions.

Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition (IFAC) Executive Director, Denny Harding says “Dog owners know that they can’t leave their pets in a hot car, even for a moment, because when temperatures climb, a pet can suffer brain damage or even death in as little as 15 minutes.  But, livestock farmers around the state are also keeping a watchful eye on their animals, because disaster can strike in minutes, without proper care.”

IFAC is a network of professionals, veterinarians, animal behavior scientists, and farmers committed to answering Iowans’ questions about farm animal care and ensuring that one vision is shared by all – that every Iowa farm receives proper, humane animal care.

Management is key for Iowa farmers, and thanks to technology and innovative animal housing, livestock are more comfortable than ever before. That’s because many of today’s modern hog barns are climate-controlled to allow for constantly-regulated temperatures, continuous air flow, ventilation, and individual water delivery systems.

Today’s farmers keep a watchful eye on their herds for signs of heat stress, and move fast to treat it appropriately. Iowa farmers frequently consult their veterinarians to ensure proper prevention and care to keep their livestock at an optimum level of health; an especially important practice for Iowa cattle farmers who keep their animals on pasture throughout the summer months.

Iowa State Veterinarian, Dr. David Schmitt, says, “Iowa livestock farmers know their animals and do a tremendous job caring for them regardless of what the Iowa weather throws at them. During the hot summer months it is very important farmers closely monitor their animals, whether they are raised in a building or outside. Animals need to have adequate water and access to shade to help them weather the extremely high temperatures. It is also important farmers remain in close contact with their veterinarian who can also provide more information and answer questions.”

If you have questions about livestock care in Iowa’s ever-changing weather, visit the Iowa Farm Animal Care website at:  http://www.iowafarmanimalcare.org/.

Cass County Fair Queen/King Contest Indoors Due to Heat!

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 20th, 2016 by Jim Field

The forecast for high heat and humidity has forced Cass County Fair officials to move the Thursday night program indoors to the Atlantic High School auditorium.  Deb Schuler, one of the organizers of the Queen/King contest, told KJAN today that there isn’t enough room in the community building on the fairgrounds with all of the projects to accommodate the contestants and the crowd.  When asked, the Atlantic school administrations was fine with holding the contest in the high school auditorium.

The night will begin with the new Little Miss/Mister contest at 7:00 pm followed by the King/Queen contest and senior recognition.  The high school boys baseball banquet will be held in the high school commons beginning at 6:30 Thursday evening, so school officials do ask that those coming to the auditorium to be courteous .

Cass County Extension Report 7-20-2016

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

July 20th, 2016 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson.


Wildland fire suppression grants available to rural fire departments

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 20th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

AMES – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources forestry bureau, working in coordination with the US Forest Service has grant money available for Iowa’s rural fire departments to help battle wildfires. The grants offer funding assistance for wildfire suppression equipment, slide in units, hoses, nozzles, adapters, portable tanks and pumps, personal protective equipment and communications equipment.

Additionally, if a fire department has a special need that can be tied directly to wildfire suppression, this grant allows for such special requests. The grant provides 50 percent reimbursement for wildland fire equipment with a maximum reimbursement grant of $3,500 per department.

Gail Kantak, DNR state wildland fire supervisor, reminds fire departments that they should send her a Wildland Fire Report whenever they respond to a wildland fire or provide assistance to a prescribed or controlled wildland fire. Departments actively returning these reports can receive priority points in the Volunteer Fire Assistance grant application scoring process.

“It is important for rural fire departments to return these reports so we can assess the actual demands on our rural fire departments as a result of wildfire activity,” Kantak said. “The wildland fire reports are compiled locally and nationally and reported to Congress.”

The Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant applications are due October 15, 2016.  In mid-June, fire departments were mailed information about the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant. The grant application package and the Wildland Fire Report form are also available online at www.iowadnr.gov/fire.