DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of workers hired directly by farms in Iowa and Missouri during the reference week of April 6-12, was down 25 percent from a year ago. The USDA collects Farm Labor Survey data for January, April, July and October for 15 geographic regions. Iowa and Missouri make up the Cornbelt Two Region. In April this year 21,000 workers were hired in the two-state area compared with 28,000 a year ago.
The report says farm operators in the two-state area paid workers an average wage of $15.25 this year up $1.18 from a year ago. Nationally farm operators paid hired workers an average of $12 per hour during this year’s reference week, up 1 percent from the previous year.
The Atlantic FFA had a “Farm Safety Day” Friday May 9, 2014. The chapter invited the 5th grade classes from Schuler Elementary to come up to the high school to learn all about farm safety. The nine stations stations started off with FFA/Ag Department run by FFA officers Haley Carlson and Emily McDermott. This station talked about the FFA and what the Atlantic chapter does. Also they talked about the Agriculture Department in the high school and the classes available.
Environmental/Farm Safety with Alexis Boes and Carly Westphalen:These FFA members talked about the safety precautions to take when around a farm or in the environment in general. Tractor Safety with senior FFA members Steven Wright and Tucker Sager: This station had a tractor with them to show the students the safety precautions to take when around and operating a tractor. PTO/Auger Safety with Clint Hansen and Tevin Krause: These boys talked about what a PTO (Power TakeOff) and how it attaches to an auger. Also they talked about the safety precautions to take when being around or operating an auger. This station also had a tractor with an auger attached to it for their presentation.
Lawnmower Safety with FFA officers Marshal McDermott, Adam Freund and Clayton Saeugling. These officers talked to the 5th graders about how to be safe when they are around or operating a lawn mower. The members used a lawn mower with their presentation. The next four stations included Chemical Safety with FFA members Kyle Redenbaugh and Wyatt Saeugling. Also ISU Agronomist, Aaron Saeugling teaching Chemical Safety. This station talked about all different kinds of chemicals used on a farm and the precautions to take when using chemicals.
ATV Safety with freshman members Morgan Barkley, Nate Moen, and Haylee Valekia. This group had a presentation board to explain the ways to be safe when riding or operating an ATV. With personal experience, the group also explained the consequences to an ATV accident. Motorcycle/Moped Safety with Skylar Svoboda, Tyler Christensen, and Reid Nichols. As the 5th graders will be able to operate a moped in the next few years, these boys explained to their groups the importance of being safe when riding on or driving a moped or motorcycle. This station had a moped and helmet with them Friday as an example.
The final station was Chainsaw/Weed Eater Safety with Colin Peterson and FFA officer Calley Klindt.
These two FFA members explained to the students the responsibility when operating a chainsaw or weed eater and the safety precautions to take when near these two pieces of equipment. This station also used a weed eater and chainsaw for examples.
Each station had a ten minute presentation ready for the 5th graders. To keep the kids focused each station had a quiz at the end with treats for prizes. The FFA members were very pleased with the attention and questions asked by the students. Fifth grade teacher, Gini Jordan said, “My students enjoyed being exposed to not only the many aspects of safety in agriculture, but the need for safety with mowers and mopeds, too. The event was wellplanned and the high school students were prepared to share their information in an interesting way.” Atlantic FFA President Marshal McDermott said, “The FFA members had a fun time teaching the kids about safety in the agricultural field.”
The Atlantic FFA Chapter would like to thank Lindeman Tractor Inc., for allowing the chapter to borrow a tractor for the afternoon! The chapter would also like to thank Aaron Saeugling for donating his time to speak at the Chemical Safety station for the afternoon! We would also like to thank all the FFA members and parents that let us use their equipment for the day.
The Atlantic FFA hopes to make this an annual event to do every spring with the elementary or middle school kids. With 9 different stations and over 120 kids presenting or listening, the day went perfect!
by Haley Carlson – Atlantic FFA Reporter
Officials with the Connections Area Agency have announced that the state is continuing the Farmers Market voucher program for senior citizens. With this program, seniors meeting income requirements can obtain vouchers that they can use at participating area Farmers Markets to buy $30.00 worth of fresh, locally grown produce. If you have questions about eligibility, check with your local senior center. Applications for the vouchers will be available at your local senior center by May 28th.
Your completed application guarantees you a booklet, but there is a limited number, so contact your local senior center if you are interested in this program. Once you have a completed application, you can return to your local Senior Center on June 9th or thereafter, to pick up your vouchers. Seniors (age 60 and older) in Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties will receive their vouchers through their local senior center.
· Must be at least 60 years of age or older
· Annual income must be less than
· Only one original application allowed per individual. No photocopies or duplicate applications allowed
Dates to Remember:
· May 28, 2014: Applications will be available at all local Senior Centers and in Council Bluffs at The Center, 714 S. Main
· June 9, 2014: Vouchers will be available for seniors with completed application forms at all local Senior Centers outside of Council Bluffs
· June 17, 2014: Council Bluffs Farmers’ Market voucher distribution at The Center, 714 S. Main from 9am – Noon for seniors with a completed application.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Federal prosecutors have filed charges against an Iowa egg company and two executives blamed in a 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands of people. Disgraced egg industry titan Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster were charged Wednesday with introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, a misdemeanor. A charging document says the pair sold shell eggs that were poisonous for several months in 2010.
Their company, Quality Egg LLC, is charged with introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce, a felony. The document says Quality Egg sold products for years with labeling that “made the eggs appear to be not as old as they actually were.” The company is also charged with bribing a U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspector.
The outbreak led to an unprecedented recall of 550 million eggs.
Iowa State University crops specialist, Joel Dejong (Dee-young), says last week’s freezing temperatures have caused some widespread damage to western Iowa corn fields. “A lot of northwest Iowa and actually even into southwest Iowa — although they didn’t even freeze — they had some damage in some fields also from radiation frost where it got cold so fast,” DeJong says. “We had temperatures in the mid 20’s, so obviously that’s going to cause come crop damage.” DeJong says in many instances corn had already emerged when the cooler temperatures had hit, and he believes most of the crop will recover.
“As I go dig fields, it looks like most plants have grown quite a bit since we had that frost and these nicer sunnier days help,” DeJong says. He says some plants look like they lost a leaf, but he says they will continue to regrow. DeJong says while the corn was damaged, soybeans are a different story.
“Soybeans once they emerge, their growing point is above ground. So, southwest Iowa reported several fields where they did freeze off emerged beans. I am not sure if I know of any emerged beans (in northwest Iowa) — maybe there was field or two out there. If there was, they are probably hurt pretty seriously,” DeJoung explains. Statewide, 40 percent of the soybeans have been planted and DeJong believes northwest Iowa farmers have perhaps planted as much as 60 percent of the intended soybean acreage. DeJong says farmers will want to start scouting for black cut worms based on their tracking of the adult larvae.
“We trap adults as they start moving up, they don’t live through an Iowa winter, so traps went out in mid-March and the first part of April,” DeJong says. He says the adults started showing up mid-April and he says they predict the worms will be big enough to start cutting off the plants by around May 27th. The agronomist says the day length and temperatures will determine how fast the cutworms will move into this area. He says as the corn growth slows down, so do the insects and other pests.
The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors Monday evening, approved a request from Eagle Scout Grant Podhasky, for an improvement project at Sunnyside Park.
The project involves the replacement of the fire pit on the east side of the Camblin Addition to the park. The current fire pit is falling apart and patched together with concrete blocks as support.
Podhasky said when he decided to pursue the project, he looked at three options for a new fire pit. He says he considered making it into a grill, but there’s already one in the area. He also looked into fire pit kits, but they weren’t visually and functionally adequate. Another option was to use retaining wall blocks.
The option he chose was using natural limestone, set in the form of a fire ring about 24-feet in diameter. Podhasky said the pit would have a concrete base lined with pea gravel and surrounded by timbers.
The project would use 2,000-pounds of limestone and 5.3-cubic yards of pea gravel.
As for seating options, Podhasky says he considered several options there, too. Split logs, wooden benches and limestone blocks were looked at, but ruled out for various reasons. The end solution was to use tree stumps, which provide a natural environment for the setting.
10 tree stumps would be placed in the circle around the fire pit. With the Park Boards’ approval, Podhasky can continue with fundraising efforts and acquire the necessary materials and equipment. Work on removing the current fire pit is expected to begin in June, with the project completed by mid-July.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As ethanol producers see some of their most profitable months ever, the federal government is considering whether to lower the amount of the corn-based fuel that must be blended into gasoline.
If the EPA approves a proposal reducing the required amount of ethanol that must be used nationally from about 14 billion gallons to 13 billion gallons, it would hurt a biofuels industry that built plants and spent billions on research based on the standard Congress approved in 2007.
University of Illinois professor Scott Irwin estimates a model Iowa ethanol plant would have hit a record profit of $4.50 per bushel of corn processed at the end of March. The average profit was 20 cents per bushel from 2007 to 2013.
The EPA’s decision is expected in June.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers have planted a higher percentage of the corn crop than last year but remain behind the five-year average. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that 84 percent of the corn crop had been planted as of Sunday. That’s more than the 63 percent of the crop planted at this time last year but a little behind the five-year average of 88 percent.
The USDA says 40 percent of the soybean crop has been planted. That’s 10 percentage points behind average. The report showed that 78 percent of topsoil moisture was adequate and 12 percent had surplus water. Of the remaining, 9 percent was short of moisture and 1 percent was very short. The USDA says 62 percent of subsoil moisture was adequate.
The City of Elliott will host a ribbon cutting ceremony this Thursday afternoon (May 22nd), for the City’s Source Water Protection and Wetland Project, Outdoor Classroom/Shelter and Trails. According to former Mayor Steve Howell, the City of Elliott has, in the past recorded increasing levels of nitrates in its well water. Plans were developed to change reverse that trend after the Iowa DNR conducted a study of the City’s Well water.
Howell, Becky Ohrtman and Dan Cook with the IDNR, put together a Source Water Protection (SWP) Team, and held several meetings to discuss three options aimed at decreasing nitrates in thew water. The team presented its findings to the Elliott City Council, and recommended a shallow wetland and native grass buffer, which was the least expensive option.
The City Council approved the project and the SWP team applied for grants for: A outdoor classroom and teaching materials; a human sundial; and, walking trails. After receiving 10 grants, donations and in-kind services, the project, which cost $325,000, came at NO cost to the City of Elliott.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Oct. 2012. The ribbing cutting ceremony taking place this Thursday, will begin at 1-pm., north of the Elliott Elementary School.