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.

DNR takes enforcement action against 2 area companies

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports enforcement actions have been taken against two entities in Harrison and Pottawattamie Counties. Administrative orders call for Kenneth Kline, of Missouri Valley, to install facility improvements and abide by other restrictions on facility operations, in addition to paying a $10,000 fine. The order contends that Kline, who owns and operates a cattle open feedlot, violated standards concerning solid manure runoff into an unnamed Euclid Creek tributary, and failed to comply with the discharge and reporting requirements set forth in his NPDES permit.

And, Anderson Excavating Company, Inc., of Pottawattamie County, has been ordered to resolve compliance issues at the company’s construction and demolition landfill. They were also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.The order was with regard to a leachate lagoon and related treatment measures, along with failing to hold financial surety bond.

Both companies have 30 days to appeal the orders, and both have indicated they will file an appeal.

(Details on the incidents and enforcement actions taken by the DNR can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/InsideDNR/AboutDNR/EnforcementActions.aspx. )

US soybean farmers see growth potential in edamame

Ag/Outdoor

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

MULBERRY, Ark. (AP) – A small but growing number of farmers are experimenting with an edible soybean as they look to capitalize on Americans’ interest in adding non-meat proteins to their diets. The United States is one of the world’s top soybean producers, but most beans grown here are used to make cooking oil and feed farm animals. They aren’t eaten whole.

Now, some farmers from Arkansas to Minnesota have started planting a type of soybean called edamame (ed-uh-MAH’-may). It is a common ingredient in Asian foods and can be used in everything from salads to stir fry.  In Arkansas, a company has opened what’s billed as the first American processing plant devoted solely to edamame. Operator Ray Chung estimates the market for edamame in the U.S. is worth $175 million to $200 million.

Ag Secretary Vilsack to tour Iowa DuPont facility

Ag/Outdoor

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Iowa to announce a new agreement with DuPont that the USDA says will promote renewable energy and conservation.  Vilsack will tour a DuPont crop sciences laboratory Friday before announcing an agreement with the company that the Agriculture Department says will “strengthen conservation practices, while promoting the sustainable production of renewable feedstocks for biobased energy.”

DuPont is building a $200 million ethanol plant in Nevada. It’s designed to break down cornstalks and other crop residue to produce ethanol.  The cellulosic ethanol plant is scheduled to begin production in 2014 and will be the nation’s largest plant of its kind, making 30 million gallons annually.  DuPont is working with 500 farmers to collect more than 375,000 tons of corn waste annually to feed the plant.

Cass County Master Gardeners Grant Money Available for Local Garden Projects

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Extension Service report the Cass County Master Gardeners organization is offering a total of $3,000 in grant money to be used in the 2013 growing season, to encourage gardening to grow food and/or beautify local communities. The money may also be used for gardening education purposes.

The David Williams Master Gardener Grants are offered to honor the many years of service Master Gardener David Williams has provided, and continues to provide. Williams is a long-time volunteer, both within the Master Gardener program and with other community organizations, including a term as Cass County Master Gardener president in 2012.

Any Cass County not-for-profit group or individual may apply. Schools, churches, libraries, 4-H clubs, Scouts, and individuals working to improving their communities can use the money to begin or improve gardens or landscaping, or to provide education for their members or the public. Each grant has a maximum value of $500. The application must also include plans for teamwork and sustainability. Consideration for the environment is also an important selection factor.

Applications must be received by Friday, April 19th for consideration. They may be submitted by mail or email. Grant recipients will be informed of their selection by the end of April. More information, as a well as application forms, is available on the Cass County Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu/cass or by calling the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132, or stopping by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic.You may also contact committee members Judy Kennedy, LaVon Eblen, Dottie Krogh or Carolyn Hartmann for more information.

The Master Gardener program trains volunteers to develop their knowledge and skills in horticulture. These volunteers then give back to their communities through gardening service and education. The program is available in all 50 states and Canada through land grant university Extension programs such as Iowa State University.

Survey: Iowa farmland prices up nearly 18 pct

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A survey report says Iowa farmland prices continued their boom in the past year and have more than doubled since 2008.  The Des Moines Register reports that the survey by the Realtors Land Institute says prices have risen nearly 18 percent since March 2012, to nearly $8,700 an acre. The institute figure was a little more than $4,200 in 2008.

The March figure of nearly $8,700 compares with the Iowa State University farmland price survey through November that showed an average of nearly $8,300 an acre. Kyle Hansen, of Hertz Farm Management, says the growth is being fed by high corn and soybean prices and the strong worldwide demand for grains.

NE Iowa man on mission to create “perfect pig”

Ag/Outdoor

March 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

An Iowan is gaining national attention for his effort to create the “best tasting pig in the world.” Carl Blake launched the experiment in 2007 and now operates a 15-acre homestead, called Rustik Rooster Farm, in rural Frederika – northeast of Waterloo. Earlier this week, Blake joined Stephen Colbert as a guest on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central.

Carl Blake on Colbert (Courtesy Rustik Rooster Farm)

Blake discussed what he calls the Iowa Swabian Hall, a breed of pig that has been winning culinary contests across the country. The formula for Blake’s succulent swine was derived from crossbreeding first conducted by King Wilhelm in Germany in the 1820s. He created the Swabian Hall by breeding Meishan Swine from China with Russian Wild Board.

Blake said he bought purebred Meishan pigs from Iowa State University and was also able to obtain Russian Wild Boar, as well. The combination is a “nearly perfect balance of not too fat and not too lean,” according to Blake. He took two piglets to New York for the appearance on the Colbert Report. The animals squealed and the crowd laughed as Blake told Colbert the piglets’ names – Hamlet and Little Smokey.

This wasn’t Blake’s television debut. He also recently appeared on Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods program on the Food Channel. And the New York Times featured an article about Blake just over a month ago.

(Radio Iowa)

Statistics show large increase in Iowa vineyards

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – Statistics show a big jump in the number of vineyards in Iowa.  KWWL-TV reports that in 2000, Iowa had only five vineyards that covered about 15 acres. That’s now grown to 310 vineyards that stretch out over 1,200 acres.  Iowa’s roughly 100 wineries place the state in the top 20 nationally for the number of wineries.

Iowa State University Extension viticulture specialist Mike White says Iowa winemakers in 2012 sold a total of about 300,000 gallons of wine. Despite the growth, some winemakers say they must offer other features to be profitable, such as restaurants or catering.

USDA: Highest corn acreage since 1936 expected

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The USDA reports that farmers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of corn this year, the most since 1936.   The spring planting survey released Thursday says the 2013 corn planting forecast is up slightly from last year’s 97.2 million acres.

Corn remains profitable, as prices are strong after last year’s drought left the grain in short supply.  Record corn acreage is expected in Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oregon. But some Corn Belt states will continue to be affected by the worst drought since the 1950s, with slightly less planted acreage expected.

The report says farmers plan to plant 77.1 million acres in soybeans, down slightly from 2012’s 77.2 million acres but still the fourth-highest soybean planting on record.

USDA to release first look at 2013 crop estimate

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The USDA is releasing its first estimate of the 2013 crop size in its spring planting report. After a year dominated by worst drought since the 1950s, farmers are looking ahead to the next crop. Some analysts are expecting slightly more corn and soybeans to be planted than a year ago.

Farmers planted 97.2 million acres of corn last year, the most since 1937. Some analysts are expecting corn acres at around 97.5 million acres.  Darrel L. Good, an agriculture economics professor at the University of Illinois, says more acres are available for planting because farmers enrolled 2.6 million fewer acres in the conservation reserve program last year.

Thursday’s USDA report is based on about 80,000 farmer surveys and is the first indication of planting intentions for this year.

Shelby County EMA reminds residents about Field Fire Dangers

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Services Association — which is comprised of all Fire, Ambulance, Emergency Management and Law Enforcement services in Shelby County — want to make sure residents are aware of the upcoming Spring Field Fire Season. The Emergency Management Agency says Shelby County sees an increase in fire activity every year in the spring and fall when residents start igniting burn piles, or prescribed fires on CRP land to meet land management objectives. Often time’s fires are ignited on days when weather conditions are less than favorable. When these burns are started they can cause escape fires which put lives, environment, and property in danger.

The Shelby County Emergency Services Association, in coordination with local Fire Chiefs are asking residents to call the Shelby County Emergency Management Office at 712-755-2124 to report your controlled burning projects. When you call in you will simply be asked the size of your project, a number you can be reached at, start and stop times of the planned burn. The Shelby County Emergency Management Office will also ask that you provide the local fire chief with notification.

The “Fire Danger” rating board located in all various communities within the county, will be updated twice a week. Most of the placards are located at community fire stations.  If you are unsure where the Fire Danger Rating sign is located contact one of the members of your local fire department, they will be happy to let you know where it is. An electronic copy of the Fire Danger Rating Board is available for you to view at www.shelbycountyema.com. The purpose of the system is to visually let the public know when the conditions are safest to carry out your burning projects. The system is not a permitting process or authorization to burn, it just lets you know if conditions are favorable.

Shelby Counties cooperative system will allow the authorities to dispatch Emergency Resources immediately on report of smoke when the fire danger is determined to be HIGH or EXTREME. On HIGH days fire resources will be dispatched and make a decision on whether it is safe to continue the burning. If the Fire Chief or his designee think conditions are not safe they may extinguish the fire. On EXTREME days all fires will be extinguished unless a permit or waiver has been signed by the Chief of the local fire department.