KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Iowa bird flu cases increase by 3 to 28

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 6th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa agriculture officials say three additional Iowa poultry farms show signs of the presence of bird flu including two more turkey farms in Buena Vista County, raising the number in the county to 10. A Sioux County egg-laying operation with 60,000 chickens also appears to have the virus. Testing is underway to confirm the disease. The farms experienced an unusual number of bird deaths, prompting an initial test which indicated presence of the H5N2 virus.

The new cases raise Iowa’s total number to 28 cases in 11 counties. More than 20 million of Iowa’s chickens will be affected if the latest cases are confirmed. The number of turkeys to be lost is approaching 500,000.

Ideal conditions enable Iowa farmers to plant corn

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Ideal weather last week enabled Iowa farmers to make progress planting their corn and soybean crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says as of Sunday, farmers had planted 68 percent of the state’s corn crop and 11 percent of the soybean crop. Both figures are better than the five-year average.

The USDA says 84 percent of farmland had adequate topsoil moisture, with 11 percent short and 5 percent in surplus. Farmers reported 82 percent of subsoil moisture was adequate. The state agriculture department says half of Iowa’s corn acreage was planted last week.

Bird flu virus found in 4 more Iowa poultry operations

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Officials say the bird flu virus has been found in four more locations in Iowa, bringing the total number of poultry that must be killed in the state to more than 19 million. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced Monday that new cases were reported at an egg-laying operation in Wright County with 2.8 million chickens and at three turkey farms. Two of the turkey farms are in Buena Vista County and one is in Cherokee County.

State officials didn’t release the number of birds at the turkey operations. The addition of the Wright County chicken farm brings the total number of poultry that must be killed to 19.3 million birds. The birds are killed in an effort to halt the spread of the virus.

West Central Co-Op awards scholarships

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

For the 20th consecutive year, West Central® Cooperative is awarding its’ Excellence in Agriculture scholarships for area seniors pursuing agriculture-related post-secondary education. This year, seven students have each been awarded $1,500.

West Central’s president and chief executive officer, Milan Kucerak, said “This year’s seven winners are excellent examples of the bright future of agriculture. These scholarship winners are hard-working, talented young people.”

West Central’s 2015 Excellence in Agriculture winners are:

  • Tyler A. Steele, son of Douglas and Lynette Steele of Anita, attends CAM High School and will be studying biochemistry at either Creighton University or the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Cliffton J. Nelson, son of Kurt and Toni Nelson of Audubon, attends Audubon Community High School and will be studying agronomy at Iowa State.
  • Mark E. Baudler, son of Ronald and Susie Baulder of Fontanelle, attends Nodaway Valley Community School and will be studying agricultural business at Iowa State.
  • Nicole M. Huser, daughter of Tim and Marti Huser of Sac City, attends East Sac Community School and will be studying agriculture genetics at Iowa State.
  • Wesley Reever, son of Tim and Lora Reever of Glidden, attends Glidden-Ralston Community School and will be studying animal science/pre-veterinary medicine at Iowa State.
  • Noelle M. Gray, daughter of Bret and Melissa Schilling of Jefferson, attends Greene Co. Community School and will be studying animal science at Iowa State.
  • Abigail R. Hansen, daughter of Jeffrey and Barbara Hansen of Dallas Center, attends Woodward-Granger Community School and will be studying agronomy at Iowa State.

WC’s Excellence in Agriculture program has been in place since 1994, awarding scholarships to high school seniors interested in pursuing an education in an agriculture related field. The program is open to students who are –or have parents that are – voting members in good standing of West Central (at the time of the scholarship application deadline). Applicants must have a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale.

Bird flu virus raises questions scientists working to answer

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — It’s been five months since the H5N2 bird flu virus was discovered in the U.S., and producers have lost more than 21 million birds in the Midwest alone. Yet, researchers with federal agencies acknowledge they still know little about the virus’ origin and how it spreads, especially with heightened biosecurity measures at commercial poultry farms and the apparent lack of widespread deaths in largely unprotected backyard flocks.

A leader with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not much is known about the virus because it only surfaced in the U.S. in early December. Unanswered questions include how exactly the virus finds its way into sheltered commercial chicken and turkey flocks and if wild birds spread the virus why more backyard flocks haven’t died.

MidAmerican Energy announces plans for investment of approximately $900 million in new wind development

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MidAmerican Energy Company announced today (Friday), the company has filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for the development of up to 552 megawatts of new wind generation in Iowa. MidAmerican officials say the company is in the process of obtaining necessary permits and easements for the construction of wind farms at two new sites. Pending IUB approval, the company plans to begin construction in spring 2016, with completion scheduled for the end of 2016. Total cost of the project is approximately $900 million.

Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy said,the company continues to focus on developing wind projects because wind generation offers many clear benefits for MidAmerican Energy customers. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad noted that MidAmerican Energy’s efforts have helped the state become a national leader in wind generation.

The energy company says increasing its investment in wind turbines gives them the ability to reduce its reliance on coal, which helps protect customers from rising costs associated with meeting stricter environmental standards.

Since 2004, MidAmerican Energy has invested approximately $5.8 billion building wind projects in Iowa, placing the company far ahead of all other rate-regulated utilities in the nation in terms of wind ownership. With the addition of the two projects announced today (Friday), MidAmerican Energy’s wind assets will include approximately 2,000 turbines, more than 4,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity and a total investment of approximately $6.7 billion.

Wright County leaders declare state of emergency due to bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Due to outbreaks of avian flu, the Wright County Board of Supervisors in north-central Iowa is declaring a State of Emergency in an effort to take what they call a proactive, preventative approach. Supervisor chairman Karl Helgevold said with the current outbreak of the disease in northwest Iowa and the potential severe economic impact such an outbreak could cause, the supervisors felt it necessary to issue the state of emergency.

The supervisors stressed there are no reports of avian flu in Wright County and that there is no risk to the public. County officials are working together to develop a plan for rerouting certain traffic in the areas of some of the poultry facilities in an effort to help limit traffic and prevent the spread of the disease.

Wright County leads the state in poultry population with nearly 15 million birds in more than 20 locations across the county. The poultry industry employs more than 600 people in Wright County alone.

(Radio Iowa)

Public meetings scheduled to discuss new water quality permits

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will hold two public stakeholder meetings in May to collect public comments on proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) water quality permits.DNR logo Meetings will be held May 20 in the DNR Water Supply Office in the Wallace State Office Building, 502 East Ninth St. in Des Moines, in the second floor conference room 2N.

A meeting from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. will discuss a potential general wastewater permit for hydrostatic test water, underground storage tank ballast water, and potable water line testing discharges (General Permit Number 8). A second meeting from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. will cover a potential general wastewater permit for dewatering and household geothermal discharges (General Permit Number 9).

If issued, General Permit 8 would authorize discharges resulting from hydrostatic testing, which is a process that uses water to verify that a container, like a pipe or tank, will not leak when put into service. The permit would also authorize discharges from underground storage tank ballasting, where water is used to weigh down a tank at installation, and from potable water line testing.

General Permit 9, if issued, would authorize discharge of wastewater from excavation and groundwater dewatering activities. It would also authorize discharges to waters of the United States from residential open-loop geothermal systems.

Both permits will establish eligibility requirements and best management practices to ensure discharges meet state water quality standards. People may make oral or written comments at the public meetings, or can submit written comments through May 27th to Julie Faas, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 502 E. Ninth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034; fax at 515-725-8202; or by email, including the commenter’s name, to Julie.Faas@dnr.iowa.gov.

USDA Report 04-30-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 30th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin



Ag/Outdoor, News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources said late this (Wednesday) afternoon, that they have traced ammonia found in a culvert near Red Oak to a hog confinement on the southwest corner of town. On Tuesday, the DNR responded to a report from Hog Haven, owned by Lindoah, LLC, that a broken pipe leaked drinking water into a manure pit under the building. The excess water caused the pit to overflow.

Today (Wednesday), the DNR confirmed that ammonia found in a culvert Tuesday came from the hog confinement. An unknown amount of contaminated water flowed into a road ditch and eventually to the culvert and a tributary of the East Nishnabotna River.

In another incident Tuesday, the DNR investigated a release from Nachurs, a fertilizer company in Red Oak. The release occurred when the company pumped water from a storm water basin into a drainage ditch. The company reported the release once they realized the water was contaminated.

Both releases have been contained. The DNR checked the river below Red Oak Wednesday and found no sign of an extensive fish kill. However, they did find six dead minnows below Nachurs. Field test results from Tuesday and Wednesday showed no further sign of contamination in the river. However, residents should keep children and pets out of the creek between Nachurs and the Nishnabotna River until 48 hours after cleanup is complete.

The DNR is working with both companies and Montgomery County Emergency  Management to ensure proper cleanup.