KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Iowa’s Furharvester Season Begins Saturday

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

October 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) say Iowa’s furharvester season begins at 8 a.m., Nov. 1 and hunters and trappers can expect to find a significant increase in the raccoon population over last year. Other furbearing animals have a mixed outlook population-wise.IA DNR Outdoor logo

Vince Evelsizer, furbearer and wetland biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says “Muskrat numbers are better, but not like the heyday of 30 or 40 years ago. The coyote harvest nearly doubled last year and their numbers are relatively stable to slightly lower. Our red fox numbers vary by region with better numbers in central Iowa.”

The fur market outlook is weak for raccoon pelts going in to the season, while muskrat, coyote and fox seem pretty decent. According to Evelsizer, time will tell if the market improves for raccoons later in the season. He says harvest is highest during the first 2-3 weeks of the season and drops off significantly after Thanksgiving. The number of trappers has increased each of the past four years topping 20,000 last year. And he says “I suspect the numbers of furharvesters will remain stable or slightly decrease this year, due to the fur market, especially raccoon pelt prices.”

Furharvester are reminded to work with their local DNR contact to get their CITES tag and to collect the intact skull or complete lower jaw of otters and bobcats. Evelsizer said furharvesters should go through their equipment and brush up on the rules and regulations before going out.

Shelby County Fire Danger Index is now “Moderate”

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency said Thursday that a slight increase in the fire danger can be expected for the next few days. Mostly sunny skies with above average winds over the next couple of days will facilitate drying of the grass and crops.Moderate Fire Danger rating

Officials say residents should use caution when responding to field fires. Some of the low lying ground is very soft and the weight of fire fighting vehicles may result in getting stuck in places difficult to get out of.

Fire Danger signs will be moved into the “Moderate” risk category, from now through Monday November 3rd.

USDA Report 10-30-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

October 30th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin

Play

West Central Names Fourth President and CEO in Cooperative’s More than 80 Year History

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(RALSTON, Iowa) Oct. 29, 2014—West Central’s board of directors today announced their unanimous decision to name Milan Kucerak President and CEO-elect following Jeff Stroburg’s retirement at the end of the fiscal year.

Milan Kucerak President and CEO elect. West Central Cooperative.

Milan Kucerak President and CEO elect. West Central Cooperative.

Kucerak, who has served as the company’s Executive Vice President of Dairy and Animal Nutrition since 2006, will be the fourth President/CEO in the cooperative’s more than 80 year history.

“Kucerak has been a trusted manager and proven leader for the producers of this cooperative since he joined West Central in 2006,” said Chairwoman of the West Central board of directors, Sue Tronchetti. “He brings to the organization diverse management experience, a global perspective, and a strong accounting and financial background. “Kucerak is the right choice to lead West Central,” Tronchetti added. “We remain focused on serving our customers and stockholders and engaging our staff.”

She stated Kucerak’s introduction as President and CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2015, is the result of the board’s long-term approach for developing leadership from within the company. Beginning Nov. 1, Jeff Stroburg and Milan Kucerak will begin an operational transition and leadership hand-off. As part of that change, Stroburg will devote his time to the unification study between West Central and Key Cooperative. President/ CEO-elect Kucerak will oversee daily cooperative operations, including executive team management.

Jeff Stroburg President and CEO. West Central Cooperative.

Jeff Stroburg President and CEO. West Central Cooperative.

Of Stroburg’s retirement, Tronchetti stated, “In his 15 year tenure, this cooperative has grown to 27 locations in twelve counties, become one of the country’s 15 largest grain companies, and established itself as an innovative leader in the biofuels industry. We thank Jeff for his service and wish him well in the future.”

West Central® is a farmer-owned cooperative connecting producers of agricultural products to a global network of processors and end-users. The company manages for success by deliberately pursuing fresh ideas and recognizing value opportunities at every turn. Headquartered in Ralston, Iowa, West Central’s agronomy, animal nutrition and grain businesses span 12 Iowa counties with 27 locations. In 2013, the company was ranked #41 on the USDA’s list for largest farmer-owned cooperatives nationwide based on revenues and assets.

(Press Release)

Cass County Extension Report 10-29-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

October 29th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play

Iowa residents create Halloween hay bale art

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

CHARITON, Iowa (AP) — Residents in a southern Iowa county have been creating works of art from hay bales for Halloween. Lucas County’s annual hay bale art contest features more than 30 entries in three towns this year. The roadside pieces include a large gray and white cat, a caterpillar famed for its hunger, and a character from the Disney movie “Cars.”

Lyle Asell, committee chair for the three-year-old contest, says the pieces boost tourism. Visitors have been spotted snapping photos of them and chatting with their creators. Asell says people were skeptical of the contest in its first year, but that the number of entries continues to grow.

Members of the community vote for their favorite pieces, which have been on display for more than a month. The winners will be announced Saturday.

Big Stink in Atlantic Sunday – cause not clear

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Residents of Atlantic awoke Sunday morning to a smell that wafted throughout the town and rural areas of Cass County as winds began to pick up from the southeast at 15-to 30-miles per hour, prompted dozens of people to complain on social media sites and ask “What is awful smell?” The odor was compared to sewage backups, cat litter boxes and even decaying bodies.  Others thought the odor came from manure being spread on farms south of town. Many were under the mistaken impression it was coming all the way from Southwest Iowa Egg, near Massena.

Rich Hall, General Manager of Southwest Iowa Egg Cooperative near Massena, told KJAN News, today (Monday), the odor definitely didn’t come from their facility. He says he lives half-way between southwest Iowa Egg and Atlantic, and there was “Absolutely no odor,” at his house. He said he was in Atlantic Sunday afternoon and also smelled the offensive odor, but stated clearly that “It had nothing to do with Southwest Iowa Egg.”

Hall says he’s not the only one who can verify the odor did not come from Southwest Iowa Egg. He says “I can line up a lot of people that would there was no odor between Massena and Atlantic. I have no idea what it was. I don’t know what it could have been.”

The operation has approximately 850,000 laying hens producing over 16 million dozen eggs annually. A byproduct of the business is chicken litter which provides nutrients for about 4,000 acres of farm land. Hall says “It dumbfounds me that we would be associated with the odor in Atlantic, because we aren’t anywhere close to Atlantic with any of our equipment or any of our facilities.”

Shelby County Fire Danger remains Low

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Agency said today (Monday, Oct. 27th) the Fire Danger rating continues to be LOW through this Thursday, meaning the danger from runaway fire is minimal at this time.

When the rating is in the LOW or green category on the sign, you are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 755-2124 and notify your local fire chief. The next update will be  Thursday morning, October 30th.

Water quality key issue in ag secretary contest

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Water quality is a key issue in this year’s race for state ag secretary. State leaders, including Republican State Ag Secretary Bill Northey, have been encouraging farmers to voluntarily adopt new practices that will reduce fertilizer run-off and soil erosion. “For the most part, I think we’ve got good recognition within the farm community that it’s an issue,” Northey says. “I think we’ve also had to reach out to the community and say, ‘There are some solutions, there are some strategies that work.”

Sherrie Taha, the Democrat who is running against Northey this November, says the voluntary approach isn’t working. “I understand nobody likes to be told what to do. I’m definitely in that category, too, but you still have to be responsible to our neighbors and the impact of what’s happening when we do something on the rest of society or our neighbors down the road.” Northey says making certain conservation practices mandatory could be a significant expense and might not ensure the right steps are taken based on things like the type of soil and drainage patterns that are unique for every field. Northey’s department has been handing out “cost-sharing” grants to Iowa farmers for conservation practices.

“To be able to do a better job of keeping those nutrients — that nitrogen and that phosphorous — on the farm and in the crop rather than having it leave the farm,” Northey says. Taha says there should be more focus on soil health. “We’ve got to do something more than currently,” Taha says. “The voluntary approach has what has brought us to the position where we have serious pollution problems.” Taha points to what’s happening in Iowa’s largest public drinking water system.

In 2013, the Des Moines Water Works saw record nitrate concentrations in the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers and the utility reports nitrate levels last month set a new record. Taha, an artist who is from Des Moines, is a commissioner for the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District. Northey, who is from Spirit Lake, is a corn and soybean farmer who was first elected state ag secretary in 2006.

(Radio Iowa)

New Iowa clean water rule goes into effect

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new Iowa clean water rule designed to increase inspections of livestock farms and provide stricter enforcement over manure spills is now in effect after a year of hearings and deliberations by government agencies. The rule, which took effect Wednesday, establishes new inspection and permit procedures. It does not impose mandatory permits for farms that repeatedly spill manure, a measure some environmental groups including Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement want.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources signed a deal with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year to develop the new rule after the EPA threatened to take over federal Clean Water Act enforcement if state officials didn’t do more. The federal agency says the rule meets its requirements, but Iowa CCCI says it’s still too weak.