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.

Grassley welcomes move to drop farm labor rules

Ag/Outdoor

April 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley is welcoming the U.S. Labor Department’s decision to withdraw a much-criticized proposed rule designed to protect children who work on farms. Grassley released a statement Thursday evening expressing relief at the Labor Department’s decision to abandon what he called “ridiculous regulations” that could have hurt farm families. In announcing it was dropping its proposed child labor rules Thursday, the Labor Department noted it would not pursue the matter during the duration of the Obama administration. The agency says it will work with groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and Future Farmers of America to reduce accidents involving young people. Federal officials earlier had argued new rules were needed because farming is one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations.

Cass Co. Board discusses ditch maintenance issues

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

As Cass County officials consider the role its secondary roads crews play in the removal of trees from roadside ditches and the clearing of ditches near County Right-of-Ways, to allow for better water flow and fewer obstructions along the roadways, the Board Supervisors were told by County Attorney Dan Feistner, Wednesday, that the County has the responsibility to handle the task, but the costs to do so can be levied against the property owner. Feistner cited Iowa Code Section 311.32, which pertains to the Administration and maintenance of roads in spelling out the County’s role. The Code says the fact that a right-of-way is donated by property owners for the establishment of a road or a portion of the cost of a road improvement is paid by property owners, does not preclude the Board of Supervisors from exercising its responsibility over the roads as secondary roads.

Questions have recently been raised recently over the responsibility private property owners have in clearing roadside ditches, versus what the County’s responsibility is, and whether or not the County can assess the costs to the affected property owners. Supervisor Chuck Rieken said when the County has cleaned the ditches in the past and removed trees, there was an understanding it would also take care of the initial spraying for noxious and obstructive weeds. Rieken says from that point on, the County intended for the property owner to take responsibility for taking care of the ditch. If the property owner allows re-growth of trees and weeds, he says it should be their responsibility to take care of it.

Rieken says the same thing applies to soil erosion. The County, he says, has never assessed individual property owners for the cleaning-up of soil erosion that fills ditches and creates problems, but it might need to take a look at that, as well. He says in previous years, the County has forked over up to $200,000 per year to clean-up the ditches on a recurring basis, because some landowners aren’t taking care of the problem. He says it would be nice if people would take care of their own ditches, and lessen the burden on their fellow taxpayers. Supervisor Frank Waters said part of the problem is with absentee land owners and their tenants, who don’t feel it’s their responsibility to clean the ditches.

Feistner says more research needs to be done on what ordinances other counties may have in place to deal with the ditch issues, before any action is taken in Cass County.

USDA Report 04-26-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 26th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

Play

Volunteers wanted for “Spring Park Blitz”

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is calling on volunteers to help cleanup a dozen state parks this weekend. Ashley Anderson, with the DNR, says Iowans will be asked to perform a variety of tasks to prepare the parks for another busy summer. The work will include trail cleanup, collecting litter and trimming of trees and bushes. The DNR has been relying more on volunteer help in recent years to maintain state parks as the agency’s budget has declined. The so-called “Spring Park Blitz” scheduled for this weekend is organized by DNR AmeriCorps members.

“The volunteers will work right along side our AmeriCorps members,” Anderson said. “The AmeriCorps members will be there to supervise or manage the volunteers.” In the event of inclement weather this weekend, some of the park cleanup events could be postponed to a later date. Iowans who are interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact Anderson by phone at 515-281-8300 or email: ashley.anderson@dnr.iowa.gov

Area “Spring Park Blitz” times/locations:

April 28th -

Lake Anita State Park: 9-11 a.m.
Lake of Three Fires State Park: 10 a.m.-noon

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Hitchcock House Pioneer Festival coming up on May 5th

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Have you ever wondered how the pioneers made their own rope or dipped their own candles?  Maybe you have even thought about trying your hand at spinning wool.  If so, you should come to the Hitchcock Pioneer Skills Festival. The Festival will be held on Saturday, May 5th at the Hitchcock House, which is located 6 miles south of Atlantic and 1.5 miles west of Lewis, IA.  The festivities will begin at 1:00 p.m. and end at 4:00 p.m.  You will have an opportunity to visit the historic Hitchcock House and see many of the skills and crafts that people of the late 1800’s used in daily living.

You could begin your visit with a tour of the Hitchcock House that is also a National Historic Landmark.  This two-story home was built in 1856. It features thick sandstone walls, window seats, native hard wood trim and a secret room that hid runaway slaves.  The secret room is located in the basement where there is also a stone fireplace where the slaves could cook food and keep warm.  It is said that the famous John Brown preached around this fireplace. Head to the barn, where the hub of the festival activities will take place.  Once you make it to the barn you will be able to observe the skills and crafts of the past and even try your hand at a few of them.  There will be rope making, candle dipping, tin punching, and woodcarvings.  

Don’t miss out on this exciting day!  The festival will be held rain or shine.  Families are encouraged to come and share the day together as they might have in the 1800’s.  There is a $5 fee for a tour of the Hitchcock House.  All activities in the barn are free of charge; donations to the Hitchcock House will be accepted.

(Press Release/Lora Kanning, Naturalist with Cass County Conservation)

New Iowa group hopes to reverse decline in hunting

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Outdoor enthusiasts and business groups are forming a new group to promote hunting in hopes of reversing declining interest in the activity. Iowa Retail Federation President Jim Henter says hunters spend more than $288 million in Iowa every year and have a big impact on the state’s economy. Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Roger Lande says part of the hunting decline has been because the state has had a series of harsh winters that cut into wildlife population. Last year’s mild winter could help that population. 

Lande says a loss of habitat also has contributed to the wildlife decline.  Statistics from the DNR bear out the trend, with the number of hunting licenses issued in Iowa dropping for 10 straight years.

Cass County Extension Report 04-25-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 25th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen

Play

Wet weather hampers corn planting in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers are off to slow start in planting corn as cool, wet weather hampers the progress. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says nine percent of Iowa’s corn crop is now planted, behind the five-year average of 16 percent. Less than one percent of the soybean crop is in the ground. The USDA says last week’s weather was unfavorable for planting, and farmers are waiting for fields to dry out. However, the rain improved soil moisture, with topsoil at 88 percent adequate or surplus. Subsoil moisture also improved. Temperatures ranged from the upper 20s to the 70s The report says normal rainfall during the week, just shy of an inch, was exceeded in the northern half of Iowa and came up short in the southern half.

Lawmakers optimistic about property tax changes

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After decades of failed attempts, lawmakers say this could be the session they succeed in at least beginning to overhaul Iowa’s property tax system. With hopes of adjourning this week, legislators are running out of time, but they express optimism that Republicans and Democrats will reach a deal. Lawmakers have considered changing Iowa’s property tax system for at least 30 years, but the issue is a nightmare for politicians because in Iowa, farmland, businesses and residential property are all taxed differently. To tinker with one means shifting the burden onto the others. This year, though, veteran legislators have reached a bipartisan agreement to address the matter. Republican Rep. Stewart Iverson of Clarion speculates there is a 60 to 70 percent chance that lawmakers will get something done on property taxes.

Western Iowa Boat Ramp Reopens After 2011 Flooding

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

April 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A Missouri River boat ramp in Pottawattamie County has reopened almost a year after it was closed by flooding. Park Ranger Brian Orth said that it’s been a bad year or two for boating at Narrows River Park, so it’s exciting that the ramp reopened Wednesday. Pottawattamie County Conservation was forced to close the ramp after the river swelled last May. The water eventually filled the whole park. The ramp was also closed for several weeks in 2010 because of high water. Mark Shoemaker, executive director of Pottawattamie County Conservation, called the reopening of the boat ramp a good step toward recovery. He says there is still a lot of work to do in the park, such as fixing park shelters and playground equipment.