KJAN Ag/Outdoor

DNR officers to get assault rifles

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Department of Natural Resources offices assigned to state parks are getting more firepower to go along with their handguns. D-N-R spokesman Kevin Baskins says the officers are now learning to use assault rifles that will be assigned to them. “We made a purchase of 37 A-R-15’s. There are actually 34 officers who are in training to be certified on these,” Baskins says. Baskins says the state parks are safe but the officers often assist other law enforcement agencies such as country sheriffs or state troopers.450px-Stag2wi_

“A lot of our state parks are located in more remote areas of the state and that includes some of the counties that don’t have very high populations,” according to Baskins. “So, at times, our officers do provide mutual aid.” Baskin says the rifles will allow the officers to be prepared for any situation they might face. “One of the unfortunate realities of today is that we want to make sure that our officers have equipment that meets the standard of what they might encounter in some of their everyday duties in the parks,” Baskins says.

Baskins says they are sworn peace officers who can enforce any of the laws on the books. The state park officers must pass proficiency tests before being issued a rifle.

(Radio Iowa)

USDA lowers corn, soybean harvest estimates by 1 percent

Ag/Outdoor

October 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has slightly lowered its corn and soybean harvest estimates based on updated harvest figures across the U.S. Farmers are expected to bring in 13.56 billion bushels of corn, about 1 percent lower than the September estimate but still the third largest crop on record. Record per-acre corn yields are expected in 11 states – including Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Soybean production estimates are also 1 percent lower. But the 3.89 billion bushels would be the second largest on record. Best-ever yields are expected in seven states, including Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. About a fourth of the nation’s corn crop has been harvested, which is slightly behind average. Soybeans are ahead of the five-year average with 42 percent harvested.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board discusses 5-year plan

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors held a special meeting Wednesday evening to draft a 5-year plan for Parks and Recreation in the Community. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring told KJAN News they plan to meet on Oct. 21st and narrow down their wish list and developing a time-line, prior to presenting it to the City Council at budget time.

The Board, according to Herring said its number one priority is the continued development of the Schildberg Recreation area, and the seeking out of grant funds from Vision Iowa and other sources, especially with regard to the campground area. That includes getting electricity and water hook-ups established. Other, continued improvements the Parks Board wants to see include those for Sunnyside Park. That means refurbishing the smaller shelters, add better lighting and new paint jobs.

They also looked at grants for adding a shelter on the west side of the Schildberg Rec Area, including electrical connections. Other, phased-in plans over the next five-years for the entire parks system, include the upgrading of playground equipment in all of the parks, making them handicapped accessible, and establishing a focus group to determine upgrades to the swimming pool.

Deadline looms for tree orders through Operation ReLeaf

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

It isn’t too late to order trees from the Atlantic Operation ReLeaf Residential Tree Distribution, but according to Iowa DNR Forestry Programs Coordinator Laura Wagner, species are beginning to sell out, and order forms must be mailed by the end of the day tomorrow (Friday, October 9th). Even if you don’t live in Cass County, you can pre-order trees from the distribution as long as you are an Alliant Energy customer. If you are not an Alliant Customer, then you may come to the event Saturday, October 17th from 9-until 11-a.m., at the Cass County Fairgrounds, to purchase them on a first-come, first-served basis.

There’s also a tree planting and care workshop that same day, beginning at 10-a.m. All the trees offered are native to Iowa and will thrive in Cass county and the surrounding area. The trees typically sell for $100 or more at a retail nursery, and are just $25 through Releaf.

Additional information is available at http://www.alliantenergy.com/CommunityInvolvement/CommunityOutreach/OperationReLeaf/index.htm, and details about the tree distribution are on  an order form available at http://www.alliantenergy.com/wcm/groups/wcm_internet/@int/documents/document/mdaw/mtc1/~edisp/175206.pdf. Just fill out the order form, print, and mail it in with a check to the address listed on the form. You should bring a truck, trailer, or van to pick up your trees, as they can be up to 9 feet tall.

Urban trout stocking set to begin

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

October 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A truck with a tank full of trout will start making the rounds to 17 ponds across the state Friday, including 1-p.m. at Big Lake, in Council Bluffs. Iowa Department of Natural Resources regional fisheries supervisor, Mike Steuck, says it’s the start of the annual program where they stock urban ponds with the trout. “At a minimum it’ll be 15-hundred fish, and it’ll be a combination of rainbow trout and brook trout. And they will all be about 10 to 12 inches or so,” Steuck says.730_fishing_trout2

He says the trout are sort of a bait to get people to seek out more fishing. Steuck works out of northeast Iowa. He says you may’ve seen people fly fishing for trout in waders, but he says that’s not necessary and you can use regular fishing gear.

He says you can catch them with a hook and bobber just like you would bluegills. Steuck says anything flashy you can put on your line will attract the trout. Steuck says the lakes and ponds appear to be ready for the stocking. You need to have a valid fishing license and pay the trout fee to fish for or possess trout.

Children age 15 or younger can fish for trout with an adult who has a license. They are limited to one trout daily. The child can purchase a trout fee which will allow them to catch their own limit.

(Radio Iowa)

Youth Pheasant Hunt Oct. 24th in Cass County

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold a youth pheasant hunt on Saturday, October 24th.  The event is open to youth who have completed hunter safety training. The hunt will take place in the morning from 8-a.m. until Noon.

Pheasants 4 everParticipants will be provided a box of either 12 or 20 gauge ammunition.  If there are youth that would like to attend but do not have a shotgun, the chapter will provide one. Parent or guardians of youth who want to participate need to contact Becky Dreager, Cass County PF Youth Coordinator prior to October 22nd at 712-249-5130.

The youth will need to meet members of the chapter at the Atlantic Hy-Vee parking lot at 8-a.m..

Harvest moves ahead with dry weather

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 6th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says the latest U-S-D-A crop report shows good progress in the harvest. According to Northey, “Last week we had five percent of the corn, seven percent of the beans out. Now we’re up to 13 percent of the corn — 32 percent of the soybeans.”  Northey says he’s hearing good things about yields.

“It’s gonna vary every place, but certainly in some areas of north-west and north-central Iowa we’re seeing 60-bushel soybeans where sometimes those are normally 50-bushel soybeans. Certainly corn in a lot of places over 200 bushels (an acre) in place that don’t always get that,” according to Northey. “We are going to have other parts of Iowa that are not going to have their best crop, but in some of these areas, that’s the best crop they’ve harvested.”

The corn harvest is 10 days ahead of last year, but eight days behind average. The soybean harvest is one week ahead of last year, but one day behind average. He expects thing to move forward quite a bit this week. “If we get a good week this week and dodge some moisture in the middle of the week, we’ll be moving along real good,” Northey says.

He says the crop appears to be pretty dry. There have been some concerns about the beans not being dry enough. “Stems are a little damp in some places, so it makes it a little hard to harvest. It takes a lot of power to get those damp stems through the combine, but with good yields, you’ll certainly take that,” Northey says.

Northey farms corn and beans near Spirit Lake.

(Radio Iowa)

The “Hunters of the Wild” Halloween Hike

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Conservation Board invites you to enjoy the 23rd biannual Halloween Hike, on Saturday, October 24th, as you follow a trail where your “Hunt in the Wild” will start. The event begins at 7:00 p.m., with small groups departing from the Camblin Addition of Sunnyside Park every ten minutes.

Kids twelve and under are encouraged to arrive early to get their faces painted. The last group will depart at 8:10 p.m. and all hikers are welcome to enjoy free tasty treats and warm drinks after their hike. It is NOT the intent of the staff to scare or frighten anyone, but rather to educate and entertain people of all ages.images

Pre-registration is required for this FREE event, so call 712-769-2372 or email lkanning@casscoia.us to make your reservations. If you leave a message please leave name, phone number, how many is in your group and what time you wish to depart on the hike.

The Conservation Dept. is also looking for volunteers to help make the event a success. The hike is sponsored by the Cass County Conservation Board.

Trumpeter Swan Contest time in Cass County

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

It’s that time of year for the Cass County Conservation Board to ask you…”When do you think the first Trumpeter Swan will arrive at the Schildberg Quarry?” You can call in your prediction (by November 11th) to the Conservation Board at 712-769-2372, leave a message and return phone number if the staff are not in.

Duplicate dates will not be allowed. For example, if a caller predicts November 25th, no one else will be allowed to predict that arrival date. Again, you can call anytime until November 11th to make your prediction. One prediction per family, please. The sponsors of thw contest will determine the official arrival of the swans. The winner will receive a Trumpeter Swan 8×10 print from the Cass County Conservation Board.

The contest is for Cass County residents only. swan

Trumpeter Swans have visited the Schildberg Quarry for, at least, seventeen out of the last eighteen winters. Arrival and departure dates of the swans have been as follows:
1997/1998 December 18 – January 2
1998/1999 Nothing on record
1999/2000 December 25 – February 15
2000/2001 November 23 – March 6
2001/2002 December 25 – February 24
2002/2003 November 23 – March 15
2003/2004 November 26 – March 21
2004/2005 November 25 – March 18
2005/2006 November 17 – March 5
2006/2007 October 30 – March 9
2007/2008 November 22- February 14
2008/2009 November 18- March 12
2009-2010 November 19 – January 5
2010-2011 November 5 – February 10
2011/2012 November 17 – February 21
2012/2013 November 24– March 4
2013/2014 November 12- April 7
2014/2015 November 11- April 6

Two livestock industry leaders retire

Ag/Outdoor

October 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Two executives from Iowa’s livestock industry retired after a combined 80 plus years working in the state. The executive director of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Rich Degner, and his wife, Nancy Degner, the executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council put in their last day in the jobs last Wednesday. Both started their careers in Plymouth County — Nancy was a home economics teacher in Le Mars and Rich was a Vocational Agriculture instructor at Rock Valley. Both Degners says they faced many rewarding times, but also some challenges as they touted beer and pork in Iowa and across the country. Nancy says negative news about the beef industry in the media was one of the challenges.

“One really huge one was the e-coli incident out in Washington with the Jack-in-the-Box. When people got sick and died after eating a hamburger that was contaminated with e-coli,” Degner says. “That sent shock waves through our industry and cause concerns with consumers about the safety of beef.” Other beef industry issues during her career included the detection of “mad cow disease”, and three years ago, when some national news media outlets referred to finely textured ground beef as “pink slime”.

Degner says the beef industry has only recently been able to recover from those setbacks. Rich Degner says a challenge he faced was when the pork industry was evolving from the smaller sized producer to the commercial size operations we see today. He says as a result of that change, society dictated the pork industry follow additional environmental government regulations and be more aware of quality assurance.

“I tell people we have this license to operate — which are the regulations that the state of Iowa requires — and then we also have to have a license to basically be able to market our hogs,” Degner says. Both industries saw demand increase with use of check-off program funds to create the “Beef, Its What’s For Dinner” campaign and the “Pork: The Other White Meat” campaign. Rich Degner says one of the big successes for his industry is the Pork Tent at the Iowa State Fair. It’s almost a standard requirement of presidential candidates to stop by the tent and grill some pork chops as part of their campaign.

“Ever since the Iowa Pork Tent opened in 1981, this country has had a president who has been at the Iowa Pork Tent,” Degner says. “And that was an unexpected benefit of creating the Iowa Pork Tent. And it has been really enjoyable for me to watch that and what has occurred over time.” Now that they are retired from touting the benefits of pork and beef, Rich Degner says he wants to pursue doctorate degree. Nancy says she doesn’t have any specific plans, but hopes that she and her husband can enjoy some traveling.

(Radio Iowa)