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.

IA Dept. of Public Health says Mosquito repellant still necessary

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) say even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared the recent West Nile virus outbreak as the largest ever seen in the U.S., Iowa West Nile virus case reports have been consistent with recent years. The  (IDPH) says it has received five confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness and several additional cases are currently being investigated. The five confirmed cases include one each in Grundy, Linn, Lyon, Page, and Plymouth counties. All patients have recovered.

While overall mosquito activity has been lower this year, likely due to the extremely dry spring and summer, officials say the cases illustrate West Nile virus is circulating and causing illness. IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says “Iowans may think the use of mosquito spray while outdoors is unnecessary because there seem to be few mosquitoes bothering them.” But Quinlisk says they’re urging residents and visitors to continue the use of insect repellent with DEET while outdoors, to protect against mosquitoes which may be carrying the West Nile virus, and ticks, which may carry Lyme disease.

The best way to prevent West Nile virus is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas and to use insect repellent when outdoors. Iowans should take the following steps to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus:

  • Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always read the repellent label and consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products for children. For example, DEET should not be used on infants less than 2-months-old and oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under 3-years-old.
  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks whenever possible outdoors.
  • Eliminate standing water around the home because that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. Empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers and pet water dishes. Change water in bird baths every three to four days.

While West Nile virus case reports so far have been consistent with recent years, there has been a slight increase in Lyme diseases case reports. 113 cases of Lyme disease have been confirmed thus far in 2012. There were 100 confirmed cases in 2011.

Climatologist says drought not over yet

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State University climatologist Elwyn Taylor says the cooler temperatures and rainfall we’ve seen recently do not mean Iowa’s drought is finished. “It definitely has not broken yet, maybe has for a few locations, but for the most part it is still with us,” Taylor says. Some areas of the country though have seen the relief from dry conditions come. “The southeastern United States is done with their drought, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona — we won’t say done with the drought– but much moderated there and disappearing in places but still at strength in the Midwest and out into the Rocky Mountains,” according to Taylor.

Taylor says about 80-percent of Iowa’s rainfall comes from the Gulf of Mexico.  “We are seeing a flow of moisture, at least a moderate flow of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico,”Taylor says, “and it’s only about half the strength, or a little less than half the strength, and with that being weak we’re not seeing a real quick end to this”. While Taylor says factors influencing Iowa’s weather are moderating toward more normal temperatures and moisture in the immediate future, he expects the drought to continue into next spring in most areas.

(Radio Iowa)

FSA Announces Continuous Sign-up for CRP Highly Erodible Land Initiative

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

John R. Whitaker, State Executive Director for USDA’s Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA), announced Thursday, that continuous sign-up for the Highly Erodible Land (HEL) Initiative under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) started on July 23rd, 2012. Iowa received a total allocation of 50,000 acres to enroll in the HEL CRP program. Offers will be accepted until either the state acreage allocation limit is reached or September 30, 2012 whichever occurs first.

Whitaker says “CRP is a voluntary program that shows the commitment that landowners have to protect environmentally sensitive land. This initiative will accept offers with a weighted average wind or water erosion rate of at least 20 tons per acre per year for new cropland or CRP acres that expire on September 30, 2012; however, existing grass stands that are not expiring CRP will not be considered eligible.”

Producers should stop by their local county FSA office to determine if their land qualifies for the Highly Erodible Land Initiative and to receive additional location-specific details. Landowners enrolled in CRP receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. Incentive payments are not authorized under this initiative. New land contracts approved during this continuous sign-up initiative will become effective the first day of the month following the month of approval and are valid for 10 years.

USDA Announces 67 Iowa Counties as part of Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State Executive Director for USDA Farm Service Agency, John R. Whitaker today (Thursday), announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 62 Iowa counties as part of a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation.   Farm operators who have suffered major production and/or physical losses caused by drought beginning August 7th, 2012 and continuing may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans.  This designation makes the remaining producers in Iowa eligible for these loans.

The Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation determination of August 15th, 2012 lists 35 Iowa counties as primary disaster areas.  These primary counties locally, include:  Adair, Adams, Audubon, Carroll, Cass, Crawford, Dallas, Fremont, Guthrie, Hancock, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pocahontas, Pottawattamie, Sac, and Shelby.  Thirty-two Iowa counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making those producers also potentially eligible for the program based on this designation.  The contiguous counties include:  Ringgold, Taylor and Union, in southwest Iowa.

Whitaker says “With this designation, all producers who have suffered a loss due to a natural disaster are eligible to apply for an FSA Emergency Loan. With the various designations that have been issued, producers should contact their local FSA office to determine the application deadline that applies to them.”  The Farm Service Agency may make emergency loans to eligible family farmers which will enable them to return to their normal operations if they sustained qualifying losses resulting from natural disaster.

Applicant must be unable to obtain credit from other usual sources to qualify for the Farm Service Agency Farm Loan Program assistance.  The final date for making application under this designation is April 15, 2013. Interested farmers may contact their local County FSA office for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.  For a list of disaster designations for Iowa, go to www.fsa.usda.gov/ia.

Shelby County Fire Danger back to the “HIGH” category today

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A slight improvement in the atmospheric moisture content has prompted the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency to reduce the Fire Danger index from “Extreme” to “High,” where it had been for several weeks prior to Wednesday’s extremely dry and dangerous conditions. Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next few days and hopefully, some of that rain will fall over Shelby County.

Seivert is asking participating agencies in the County to move their “Fire Danger” signs back into the High Category. He says while the explosive conditions the area experienced Wednesday have moved on, the wind this (Thursday) afternoon and Friday are expected to increase into the 20-mph range.

Open burning is not recommended.  Please call the emergency management Agency at 755-2124 if you feel you need to burn during this time.

Drought intensifies in key farming states

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The latest update on the nation’s drought shows that the parched conditions continue worsening in key farm states even as the situation across all of the continental U.S. leveled off.  The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that more than two-thirds of Iowa, the nation’s biggest corn producer, was suffering extreme or exceptional drought – the worst two classifications – as of Tuesday. That’s up more than 5 percentage points from last week, despite cooler temperatures.  Nearly all of Nebraska and Missouri are in extreme or exceptional drought, narrowly ahead of Illinois and Kansas in those two categories. The amount of Nebraska afflicted with exceptional drought conditions – the most-serious level – remained unchanged while dropping only slightly in Illinois.

Hoop barn destroyed in Page County Fire

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A fire early Wednesday morning in north central Page County resulted in the destruction of a hoop barn containing about 200 large round bales of hay, but no one was injured.

Photo by Brian Hamman/Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator.

According to reports, the call from the scene of the fire at 1011 Ironwood Avenue, near Nyman, came in at around 5-a.m., Wednesday.  As the first fire crews approached the property owned by Todd Allen, heavy smoke and fire could be seen from  a long distance away.

Montgomery Co. EMA/photo (Brian Hamman)

When they arrived, one out of three hoop barns were on fire. In the end, despite several hours worth of effort from as many as seven area fire departments, the hoop barn was a total loss, but crews managed to save the remaining two barns.  Fire officials say they believe spontaneous combustion is to blame for the blaze.

The hoop barn fire wasn’t the only hay-related blaze to have occurred Wednesday. Firefighters from Stanton and Red Oak also fought a 20-bale fire at a separate location in Stanton.

Damage to nearby hoop barn. (Brian Hamman/photo)

SBA offers low-interest drought-related, federal disaster loans

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) say small, non-farm businesses in 67 Iowa Counties are now eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the SBA. The loans are designed to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought which began on August 7th, in the primary counties.

The primary counties in the KJAN listening area include: Adair, Adams, Carroll, Cass, Crawford, Dallas, Fremont, Greene, Guthrie, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, Sac and Shelby. The neighboring counties of Madison, Ringgold, Taylor and Union, are also eligible for the loans.

Small, non-farm business, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private non-profit organizations of any size, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2-million, to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met, had the disaster not occurred.  Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching, are not eligible for the SBA disaster assistance.

The deadline to apply for the loans is April 15th, 2013. For more information, go to https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or call 1-800-659-2955.

Emergency Mgmt. Officials warn of dangerous fire conditions today

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency is telling residents of the county that outdoor burning will not be permitted AT ALL, today. The County is one of several in far western Iowa to be placed under a “Red Flag Warning” for this afternoon and this evening. The warning is in effect from Noon until 7-p.m.  Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert said all Fire Danger indicators will be in the “Extreme” category this afternoon, because any fires that do develop, can move rapidly. He say the amount of “fuel” in the fields and the dry conditions indicate that if fires do develop, they could move into communities, much like they have in the western states of Colorado, Nebraska, and to our south, in Oklahoma.

The county has been in the “High” Fire Danger category for several weeks now, and  Sievert says citizens have been very mindful of the dangers and cooperative. He says his agency has had a lot of cooperation from the public in calling in their need to burn, and connecting them with their local fire chief so they can conduct a burn safely. Seivert encourages people who want to burn – not today, as no burning is allowed – in the future, to call 755-2124 so that officials can ensure the burn is safe and conducted according to standards.

Seivert says officials in Shelby County began preparing for today’s Extreme Fire Danger threat, Tuesday night. He says meeting have taken place with the fire chiefs and fire officers in Shelby and surrounding Counties, as well as elected officials. The parameters that exist today and how they differ from other fire emergencies were outlined during those sessions. Seivert warns of what could happen if a fire does develop during the extremely dry, and windy conditions that are expected today. He says they may be asking citizens to leave their homes and move to a safer location, to get them out of harms way.”

Cass County is not included in a Red Flag warning. Instead we are in an “Enhanced Fire Danger” category. Cass County Emergency Manager Mike Kennon told the Board of Supervisors during their meeting this morning, that citizens here need to be wary of the danger faced by fast growing fires, as well. He says you should refrain from outdoor burning, and issued a reminder the County is and has been under a Burn Ban for quite some time. Kennon says Montgomery County Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Hamman is using a Wildland Fire Dispatch procedures. That means if there’s a grass fire, neighboring fire stations will be dispatched for mutual aid. That includes those from communities in the southern part of Cass County.

Cass County Extension Report 08-22-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

August 22nd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson