KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Record crops predicted; farmers market carefully

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Farmers will produce a record-breaking corn harvest this year, surpassing earlier expectations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has revised upward its estimate of this year’s corn harvest to 14 billion bushels. That exceeds last year’s 13.9 billion bushel record.

Soybean production also will set a new record at 3.8 billion bushels, beating the 2009 harvest of 3.4 billion bushels. Farmers are blessed with an abundant crop but cursed that it has driven prices lower. They are taking more control of their grain marketing by building more on-farm storage, holding onto the crop and timing the sale to maximize profit.

Rain fell at the right times and a cooler summer made for favorable growing conditions in the 18 states that produce 91 percent of the nation’s corn.

ISU Extension and Outreach to Host Farm Leasing Arrangements Meetings on August 29th


August 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

As summer winds down, ISU Extension Ag Economists are hosting Farmland Leasing informational meetings across the state. These Farm Leasing Arrangements meetings will give landowners, tenants, and agri-business professionals information and materials they need to make decisions regarding farmland ownership, management, and leasing practices as they plan for the future. Meetings in Cass and Adair Counties are scheduled for Friday, August 29th.

The Farm Leasing Arrangements meeting in Atlantic will focus on strategies for landowners and tenants to manage their resources with declining crop prices. Cass County Extension will be hosting the meeting on August 29 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Cass County Community Center, 805 West 10th Street in Atlantic. That afternoon, from 1:30 PM – 4:00 PM, Adair County Extension will host a meeting at the Warren Cultural Center, 154 Public Square in Greenfield.

Estimating a cash rental rate is a constant of the farm leasing arrangements meeting. This year’s decreased profitability will require landlords and tenants to look closely at 2015 production cost estimates. Nineteen percent of cash leases in Iowa are flexible in which the rent is not determined until after the crop is harvested. Flexible leases work during times of high prices and low prices. The formulas underlying flexible leases may need to be reviewed.

The farm safety net has changed with the new farm bill. Landowners have received, or will receive, notification about updating base acres and yields. The Farm Leasing Arrangements meeting costs $15 per person, which includes the 100-page Farm Leasing Arrangements booklet and a copy of the presentation.

Pre-registration is required by August 27. To pre-register for the Atlantic location, call the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132 or email xcass@iastate.edu; for the Greenfield location, call Adair County Extension at 641-743-8412, or email krohrig@iastate.edu.

Ag industry “concentration” hurts rural economies, family farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The president of the Iowa Farmers Union says a few corporations are gaining more control over growing, processing, marketing and delivering our food. Jana Linderman, of Cedar Rapids, says concentration in the ag industry is hurting rural economies and the environment while driving independent family farmers off the land.  “It cuts into their ability to market their product in a competitive way,” Linderman says. “A lot of my growers are turning more and more to local markets and small-scale processing for that reason because that’s the only way for them to get a fair price for their labor.”

Linderman says they’re not huge, but those local markets provide farmers with a niche opportunity for getting their products to consumers. “The bigger challenge is finding local processers that are available to do that,” she says. “Of course, a lot of them have to turn to state-inspected facilities which limits some of their marketing availability but it’s a good opportunity, especially for our beginning farmers. Tyson Foods recently sold its poultry facilities in Mexico and Brazil to Pilgrim’s Pride and J-B-S. Linderman says Tyson’s recent acquisition of Hillshire Brands is another worry.

“It’s very concerning,” she says. “There’s already so much concentration, so few processors for our meat producers, any kind of livestock production, it’s not just poultry, it’s everything. Any further concentration in that sector is concerning to us.” Linderman says the Iowa Farmers Union wants the U-S Justice Department to thoroughly review the proposed Tyson-Hillshire merger.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic FFA Food Stand Project receives another financial boost

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic High School FFA Advisor Eric Miller reported some good news during Monday evening’s meeting of the Atlantic Board of Education. During the Cass County Fair, you may recall KJAN broke the news about a $5,000 donation from the Trevor Frederickson Foundation for the construction of a new, FFA Food Stand on the Cass County Fairgrounds. During Monday’s School Board meeting, Miller said another donor had come forward pledging a large amount of money for the cause.

Miller said Farm Credit  Services of America is also stepping forward to contribute $5,000. That puts the total so far for contributions toward the stand at just shy of $20,000. Miller said there are still some grants they intend to apply for  in order to meet their goal of $25,000-to $30,000. Local contractors, he said, have talked with officials about doing the work and gathering materials. Miller said with the two large donations, they’re set to get the new Food Stand in-place in time for next year’s Cass County Fair.

The FFA Food stand is run between the Griswold, Atlantic and CAM School Districts. Miller said the current Food Stand has been in dire need of replacement for many years. He said “20-years ago when I was a high school student in Anita, it needed rebuilt then, so it’s time to move on with this.” He said they’ve also raised between eight-and nine-thousand dollars from the sale of food the past two-years at the fair, to help pay for the new FFA Food Stand. The final total of funds raised from the sale of food at this year’s fair has not yet been fully tabulated.

In other news, Miller asked the School Board for permission to take a group of young people to the 87th Annual National FFA Convention and Expo, October 29th through November 1st, in Louisville, KY. He said the students who attended last year’s convention enjoyed themselves and found new inspiration to pursue a career in Agriculture or a related field.  He said seven students — who have yet to be selected — will make the 11-hour drive to Louisville, beginning at 6-a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29th.

FFA officials say some 60,000-plus people are expected to attend the Expo. Our local youth will stay in a Holiday Inn Express hotel which provides a Continental Breakfast. The schedule of events includes tours of Louisville on Oct. 30th.Their stops will include the Louisville Slugger baseball bat manufacturing plant and museum, Churchhill Downs, and some area farms. The students will also hear from four keynote speakers and attend workshops for leadership skills and more, and be able to attend concerts by Justin Moore, Easton Corbin, Scotty McCreedy and Danielle Bradberry, along with the Springs Band. Among the scheduled speakers during the event is Tyson President and CEO Donnie South.

Students will apply for one of the seven seats on the trip. Faculty and staff will then choose those students who will be lucky enough to make the trip this year. Another factor in determining who goes on the trip, is the FFA point system, where students receive points for attending meetings and other events locally, and around the State. Last year, 17 students applied to go on the trip. Miller says this year, that number will probably be closer to 25. He said they would love to be able to take more students, but at this point, it’s not financially feasible for the district. Funds for the trip are paid for entirely out of the district’s FFA account, which means some students who otherwise not be able to attend are eligible to do so.

Monies for that fund are raised in-part, through activities such as the current sale of FFA grown sweet corn near the bus barn, here in Atlantic. Miller said students were expected to be out early this (Tuesday) morning to harvest some 60 dozen ears of corn. The previous harvests (100 dozen every 5 days) sold out at Hy-Vee since the corn became available last week. The sale brings in about $350 per week just for the sweet corn alone.

Cargill settles EPA dispute in Iowa, Nebraska

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

EDDYVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Cargill Inc. has agreed to pay more than $187,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act at large oil storage facilities in Iowa and Nebraska. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 7 says the privately held multinational corporation lacked a response plan at two facilities that outlined procedures for addressing serious oil discharges.

The facilities are located in Blair, Nebraska, and Eddyville, Iowa. Each facility produces and stores more than one million gallons of oil. The EPA identified the issue during site visits in 2013. The Minnesota-based company submitted response plans in June 2014.

Iowa’s corn, soybean crops looking good

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A U.S. Department of Agriculture report indicates Iowa’s corn and soybean crops are looking good. The USDA says Monday that 76 percent of the corn crop was in good to excellent condition, and 75 percent of the soybean crop was in good to excellent condition.

Topsoil moisture also was in good shape in most areas, with 71 percent of Iowa farmland rated as adequate, 23 percent short and 3 percent very short. The remaining 3 percent had surplus moisture.

Recent rains soaked some areas of Iowa while leaving others relatively dry. That’s reflected in the survey showing some areas had only three days suitable for field work while other had more than six days during the week ending Aug. 10

U-S Trade Rep visits Iowa State Fair, talks to cattlemen

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman was in Iowa over the weekend. He stopped at the Iowa State Fair to talk trade with cattle producers. Ambassador Froman says he’s cautiously optimistic about the T-P-P or Trans-Pacific Partnership, and about getting Japan to drop its tariffs to zero, although he is unsure about a specific timeline. “We’re deeply engaged with them on an ongoing basis,” Froman says. “We have reached an agreement with them that there would be no product area exclusions, so everything’s on the table, all product areas are to be covered and that’s a big deal.”

The T-P-P is a proposed regional free trade agreement being negotiated by the U-S, Canada and Mexico with several nations in the Asia-Pacific region, including: Australia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. Iowa Cattlemen’s Association president Ed Greiman, of Garner, says they pushed the ambassador on further opening the market for beef in southeast Asia. “One of the biggest things we talked to him about was TPP, the Asian trade,” Greiman says. “We’ve got to get rid of those tariffs and the ban. The other thing I really pushed on him was China. We know if we ever opened up that door, I’d hate to speculate what the cattle market would do. I asked him if that was possible and he said it actually is.”

Froman also talked about the Russian ban of all U-S ag products and says the market impact is negligible.  “It’s unfortunate that they decided to go down this path,” Froman says. “It further isolates them internationally. It won’t affect us that much. It affects, we think, less than one-half of one-percent of our ag exports, but it’s already having an effect on prices in Russia. Prices are going up there. It’s going to damage the purchasing power of their own people.” He believes Russia is using the ban as an excuse as the U.S. has had ongoing issues with that nation, including the recent unrest in Ukraine.

(Radio Iowa)

DNR intends to Issue permit for hog facility expansion near Orient

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Adair County Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday, will officially receive correspondence from the Iowa DNR, with regard to the expansion of two swine facilities near Orient. According to the Board’s agenda, the DNR intends to issue construction permits for the “Circle G” and Geidel Pork sites.

In their meeting last month, the Supervisors had recommended the DNR not approve expansion plans by the Geidel family of their hog confinement operations, based on scoring of the Master Matrix. The Geidel brothers each want to double their hog operations from 2,500 head to 5,000.

In other business, the Board will hear from County Engineer Nick Kauffman, with regard to various road projects and related contracts.

The meeting begins at 9-a.m. at the courthouse, in Greenfield.

Iowa lakes deemed safe following fish kills

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials say two northwest Iowa lakes have been found to be safe for swimming and boating after fish kills were discovered there earlier this week. The Sioux City Journal reports that dead freshwater drum, a species of fish, washed up on the northwest shore of East Lake Okoboji on Thursday. Fisheries biologist Mike Hawkins with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says thousands of small fish also washed up on a one-mile portion of Big Spirit Lake the same day.

Hawkins says the kills are not connected. He says the drum were most likely killed by disease spread through overpopulation. He says the small fish died from a pocket of low oxygen on Big Spirit Lake.

Deer hunts set at DeSoto, Boyer Chute refuges

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

August 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says there will be deer hunts this fall at DeSoto and Boyer Chute national wildlife refuges. There will be two hunts at DeSoto: Oct. 18-19 and Dec. 20-21. Both hunts are muzzleloader and antlerless deer only.

All hunters must possess a DeSoto access permit for the hunts. These are free and can be obtained on the DeSoto’s website, http://www.fws.gov/refuge/desoto/, at the visitor center or by contacting Mindy Sheets at mindy_sheets@fws.gov or 712-388-4802.

The Boyer Chute hunt will run Dec. 13-21. This hunt also will be antlerless and muzzleloader only. DeSoto and Boyer Chute national wildlife refuges sit north of Omaha, Nebraska, along U.S. Highway 30 between Missouri Valley, Iowa, and along U.S. Highway 75 near Fort Calhoun, Nebraska.