KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Farmers commit $1.4-million to try new water quality practices

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 24th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that the $1.4 million in cost share funds made available statewide last week to help farmers install new nutrient reduction practices have been obligated. The practices that were eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Northey said “The tremendous response to these cost share funds shows again that farmers are committed to using voluntary, science-based conservation practices to continue to improve water quality. In less than one week Iowa farmers committed to matching the state investment, so $2.8 million in new water quality practices will be going on the ground this fall.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received applications covering 59,883 acres from 597 different farmers seeking to participate in the program. That includes 54,679 acres of cover crops, 2,531 acres of nitrification inhibitor, 1,656 acres of no-till and 1,015 acres of strip-till. Farmers in 90 of 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state received funding.

Northey announced on July 8 that the funds would be available on July 17. All the funds were obligated to farmers in less than five business days. Only farmers not already utilizing the practice were eligible to apply for assistance and cost share was only available on up to 160 acres. The cost share rate for cover crops was $25 per acre and was $10 for farmers trying no-till or strip till. Farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer were eligible to receive $3 per acre.

Farmers are encouraged to still reach out to their local Soil and Water Conservation District office as there may be other programs available to help them implement these voluntary, science-based water quality practices on their farm.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received $4.4 million for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in fiscal 2015. These funds will allow the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to continue to encourage the broad adoption of water quality practices through statewide cost share assistance as well as more intensive work in targeted watersheds.

Last year in just two weeks over 1,000 farmers signed up for cost share funding to help implement new nutrient reduction practices on 100,000 acres. The state provided $2.8 million in cost share funding to help farmers try a water quality practice for the first time and Iowa farmers provided at least another $2.8 million to support these water quality practices.

Visit CleanWaterIowa.org to learn more about voluntary, science-based practices that can be implemented on our farms and in our cities to improve water quality. Iowans can also follow @CleanWaterIowa on twitter or “like” the page on Facebook to receive updates and other information about the ongoing Iowa water quality initiative.

Nebraska Trip to Benefit Young Beef Producers

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 23rd, 2014 by Jim Field

LEWIS, Iowa — A two-day bus trip to various locations in Nebraska in early September will offer beginning and young Iowa beef producers unique networking and educational opportunities. Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Chris Clark said the trip is an organized activity of ISU’s Beginning and Young Livestock Producer Network (BYLPN) and includes visits to several operations to provide a wide variety of information, experiences, and discussions.

“We’ll have stops at several different beef operations, a packing facility and the USDA Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska,” Clark said. “Our tour guide, Jacob Mayer of Settje Agri-Services & Engineering, Inc. has been very helpful in identifying and scheduling places with different approaches and strengths, and he’ll be able to help facilitate some good discussions on the trip.”

The trip is set for Thursday and Friday, Sept. 4 and 5, with the bus departing from the Cass County Extension Office in Atlantic at 7 a.m. on Sept. 4. Additional pick-up locations may be added as necessary. The group will overnight at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 805 Allen Dr., Grand Island, Nebraska, and return the evening of Sept. 5. A block of rooms has been reserved for Sept. 4 at the Fairfield Inn.

“Participants are responsible for their own hotel room fee and can make reservations at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by calling 308-381-8980 and asking for the group rate for Young Producers Group Block no later than Aug. 8,” Clark said. “After that date, rooms will be on an availability basis only.”

The BYLPN is a strategic initiative of ISU Extension and Outreach, with primary goals of creating regional peer groups of young and beginning livestock producers; and offering education, mentorship, and networking opportunities to participants.

“This bus trip is a fitting activity for those already involved in a BYLNP group, but people don’t need to be members of an existing group to participate,” Clark said. “We would love to see some new faces and get more people involved.”

Preregistration by Aug. 20 is required in order to ensure adequate transportation. For more information or to preregister, contact Clark by phone at 712-769-2200 or by email at caclark@iastate.edu or email Leann Plowman-Tibken at leann@iastate.edu.

Propane suppliers: buy ahead to avoid price spikes

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – State officials and propane suppliers are advising consumers to fill their tanks before cold weather arrives because prices could climb again this winter. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports prices will largely depend on how cold it is this winter and how long the cold lasts. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey is telling farmers and homeowners to buy ahead of time.

Last winter dwindling Midwest supplies and rising demand pushed propane prices to more than three times normal to nearly $5 per gallon. Northey doesn’t expect prices that high but he says it is important to think ahead. Iowa historically received about 20 percent of its propane from a 1,900-mile pipeline that no longer carries it.

As a result, Iowans are increasingly reliant on propane from Kansas which costs more.

Former legislator who battled Oprah Winfrey in 1996 has died

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A former state legislator who once got in a national spat with Oprah Winfrey has died. Berl Priebe of Algona served in the Iowa House for four years and in the Iowa Senate for 24 years. Priebe, who raised Angus cattle, took offense to a 1996 Oprah Winfrey show about Mad Cow Disease. Priebe blamed Winfrey for the dramatic drop in U.S. cattle prices. He demanded that Winfrey tell her viewers Mad Cow Disease had not been found in the United States.

In 1988, Priebe brought an Iowa State University nutritionist before his Senate Ag Committee to complain about her warning that there might be a link between grilled red meat and cancer. Priebe quipped that the researcher “got a taste of what it was like to be on the griddle for a while.” Priebe was one of four senators — two Democrats and two Republican — who were known as the “Montana Mafia.”

The senators were known for gathering at Montana’s — a bar near the statehouse — to plot strategy for killing bills they opposed in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Former Senator Jack Rife, a farmer from Moscow, Iowa, who later became the state Senate’s Republican Leader, was a member of the Montana Mafia.  “He was a colorful character,” Rife says. “I enjoyed him very much.” Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs, the current Democratic leader in the state senate, says Priebe had the unique ability to bring the senate to a stand-still.

“He was always quite adept and quite talented at figuring out the kind of amendment to offer that would put the place in a really uncomfortable position,” Gronstal says. Priebe then would often engage in what Priebe called “horse trading” to get something he wanted, in exchange for removing the roadblock he’d designed for another bill. “It was great when he was on your side and it was maddening when he wasn’t because he could tie the place up pretty well,” Gronstal says. This example from Gronstal illustrates Priebe’s ability to maneuver the levers of the legislature:

“Berl Priebe always passed the first bill of the session, some bill out of ag committee…every single year. Even if somebody else was ahead of him, he figured out some way to make sure that his bill was the first bill to pass in the legislature.” Priebe was also the long-time chairman of a powerful legislative committee that has the power to reject the rules and regulations state bureaucrats propose. Priebe died Sunday at the age of 96. A memorial service for Priebe will be held Friday afternoon in Algona.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 07-23-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

July 23rd, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Cass County Fair begins its full run Thursday

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Preparations are underway today (Wednesday) for the nearly week-long run of the Cass County Fair, in Atlantic. Activities at the Fair begin in earnest Thursday, with the Swine weigh-in from 7:30-to 9:30-a.m., and the rabbits checked-in from 8-to 9:30. 4-H Static Exhibit judging takes place from 9-am until 2-pm, and the Clover Kids showcase runs from 9-a.m. until noon, Thursday.

Other events include: the Food Sale at the Cass County Community Center, beginning at 10-a.m.; the Horse and Dairy check-ins at 4:30-p.m.; Poultry check-in from 5-to 6pm; and the Meat Goat weight-in from 6-to 7-pm. The big evening Thursday evening is the King and Queen Contest at 8, followed by Senior Recognition at 8:30-p.m. Deb Schuler, one of the Fair Superintendents for the King and Queen contest, says preparations for the event began with preliminary interviews with the contestants on July 8th.

This year there are seven young ladies vying for the Queen title, and three young men running to become King. The Queen contestants include – Calley Klindt, Tierney Sothman, Kourtnie Stephenson, Alyssa Dean, Jackie Rush, Hannah Misner, and Valerie Watson. The King candidates include – Tyler Christensen, Wyatt Saueglin, and Dylan Ferguson.

Judges for the event include former Queens Mallory Kirchhoff and Bethany Rogers. KJAN’s Jim Field is the emcee for the King and Queen Contest. The young lady who is crowned Queen will advance to represent Cass County at the State Fair, with the coronation taking place August 9th at 7-p.m. on the Anne and Bill Riley Stage.

The Cass County Fair runs through July 29th. For a detailed PDF schedule of events, go to this link: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/cass/sites/www.extension.iastate.edu/files/cass/2014%20Schedule_Cass%20County%20Fair.pdf

Iowa Small Businesses Have Three Weeks Left to Apply for SBA Disaster Loans

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA)is reminding small, non-farm businesses in 70 Iowa counties and neighboring counties in Illinois and Missouri that they have until August 11th, 2014, to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). These loans are to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues to farmers and ranchers caused by drought that occurred from August 27 – October 28, 2013, in the following primary counties.

Primary Iowa counties in this area include: Adair, Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Dallas, Guthrie, Madison, Sac, Shelby, and Union. Neighboring area counties eligible to apply for an EIDL include: Adams, Cass, Harrison, Pottawattamie, Ringgold and Taylor.

Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit 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 SBA disaster assistance.

Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency (FSA) about the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, in drought disasters nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
For owners of impacted small businesses, disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling toll-free at (800) 659-2955 or e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster.

The deadline to apply for these loans is August 11, 2014.

Local and State officials agree Bowfishing is allowed at Schildberg Quarry Rec Area

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors Monday evening received an update from Park and Rec Director Roger Herring on several matters, one of which was the legality of Bow fishing at the Schildberg Quarry Rec Area. Herring said the question came about after a couple of the Park Board’s members who were planting flowers at Schildberg and pulling weeds, saw a few people bow fishing off of the south bank. He said the question was raised, “Is that legal?”bow fishing

Herring says he spoke with law enforcement and Brian Hayes, Fisheries Biologist at Cold Springs State Park. The answer is the that bow fishing is no different than rod and reel fishing. To be legal, you must still have an adult fishing license. Herring said there are limitations on the types of fish that can be obtained by bow fishing, however. The fish must be of the “rough” variety, such as carp, river fish, and gar. Game fishing is not allowed through bowfishing. That means you cannot catch bass, perch, bluegill, crappie and catfish.

Board member Charlene Beane said she spoke with the local bow fisherman. She said they spent at least 20-minutes explaining the sport to her.  She said “It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in my life. I was so impressed with these young men and what they know and what they do. I came away absolutely enthralled and excited about it.”

Board member Erin McFadden said the bow fishing devices themselves are not dangerous, and not armed until they are cocked by having the string drawn back. Herring stressed again, that bow fishing is allowed by City Ordinance within the City limits because it’s on public water. State regulations also allow bow fishing in public waters.

Returning Iowa Veterans: Getting Armed to Farm

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – A big weekend is approaching for military veterans across the region who are ready to take their boots from the battlefields to the farm fields. The Midwest Conference for Farmer Veterans aims to connect vets and service members considering a career in agriculture with information and resources on everything from land access to food safety.

“For example, USDA,” says Matt Russell, state food policy project coordinator of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University. “The USDA has tremendous programs to help family farmers. “If you didn’t grow up in agriculture, you might not understand all of those resources. So, just helping them navigate that, that would be one of the services that we’re providing as well.”

The farmer veterans conference will be held this Friday and Saturday at Drake University in Des Moines, and will include a tour of a diverse farm operation. More than 40 percent of military members come from farms and small towns, so Ed Cox, chairman of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa and staff attorney of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University, says it’s also a vital for rural development to help veterans put down roots and grow a career in agriculture.

“So, if we can get these people that have a record of service to their country back in those rural communities, not only as farmers, but as leaders in the community, it can be a very valuable asset for those rural communities,” he says.

Cox also notes that some returning veterans are looking for a continued sense of service and purpose, and with farming, they can get that by helping to feed their communities and their country.

(Iowa News Service)

Official discusses western Iowa recreation trail

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 19th, 2014 by Chris Parks

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A conservation official says a recreation trail between Council Bluffs and nearby Neola could be ready by 2017. Mark Shoemaker, executive director of Pottawattamie County’s conservation board, says design work will begin this year and construction will start next year for a trail between Council Bluffs and Weston. The Council Bluffs Nonpareil reports that work will expand to Underwood in 2016 and Neola in 2017, which is a stretch of 16 miles.

A $1.1 million grant from the Iowa West Foundation was recently announced for the design and construction of the 10-foot-wide concrete trail that would be parallel to a county road. It will require a match that county officials are already trying to fill.