KJAN Ag/Outdoor

DeSoto refuge reopening roads for lake access

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) — DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is reopening all public roads to allow ice fishing access on DeSoto Lake. When conditions permit, DeSoto Lake is open to ice fishing from Jan. 2 through the end of February each year – the time period between the fall and spring bird migrations. Anglers must determine for themselves whether the surface ice is thick enough for safe fishing. A general guideline is a minimum of 4 inches of clear and solid ice for foot travel and ice fishing.

If there are waterfowl using the lake in January and February, ice fishing may be barred from small areas of the lake. DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge sits 25 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska, on U.S. Highway 30, between Missouri Valley, Iowa, and Blair, Nebraska.

Soiree With the Swans… CHANGE OF VENUE!

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Conservation Service said Friday (today), there has been a change of venue for Saturday’s  “Soiree with the Swans.” The event, which was to have been held at the Schildberg Quarry Recreation Area, will instead take place at the Atlantic Public Library. Cass Co Conservation Board

You’re invited to join Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning for the Soiree with the Swans event in Atlantic, on Saturday, January 3rd. Lora will be giving ten-minute presentations regarding the Trumpeter Swans at the Atlantic Public Library from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. with a light lunch available.

Hot chocolate, cookies, Sandwiches, and other snacks will be provided free of charge with donations being accepted (for swan care).The event is being sponsored by the Cass County Conservation Board, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Atlantic Public Library.

US Ag Secretary discusses challenges, accomplishments for farmers in 2014

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is describing 2014 as a year of big challenges, big issues and big accomplishments for farming. The former Iowa governor says one of the biggest challenges for farmers and ranchers was the effect of supply and demand on markets and prices. A smaller supply of pork and beef led to higher prices and some consumers turning to other food choices.  “And a bumper crop of other commodities brought the prices from fairly high levels down to levels that could potentially trigger some of the safety net programs at USDA in terms of the Farm Bill,” Vilsack said.

Those other commodities that dropped in price included two of the biggest crops in Iowa — corn and soybeans. One of the bigger accomplishments and challenges of 2014 was implementing the new Farm Bill. Vilsack believes the USDA did a remarkable job of instituting so many of the complex provisions of the new law.  “Starting with the Disaster Assistance Program….now 465,000 producers receiving over 4.2 billion dollars of assistance. The development of the dairy margin protection program. The new safety net programs. The agricultural risk coverage program. New crop insurance opportunities for specialty crops,” Vilsack said.

One of the good things about the Farm Bill, according to Vilsack, was the way it got passed. “It underscores what can happen when people are willing to compromise, when people are willing to find middle ground as we were able to work with Republicans and Democrats on both sides in the House and in the Senate to try to ultimately get this bill done and the President signed the bill in February of 2014,” Vilsack said.

The Ag Secretary believes President Obama’s executive action on immigration this past November could help farmers keep the workers they need. Vilsack estimates it will impact up to 400 thousand individuals who are working in agriculture. As for 2015, Vilsack says trade will be critically important for creating new and expanded opportunities for U.S. agriculture and rural America. Those opportunities include, Vilsack says, gaining access to huge, growing and lucrative Asian markets that represent one third of all world trade.

(Radio Iowa)

Workshop in Oakland to focus on improving local water supplies

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 31st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources reports a one-day workshop focusing on nutrient reduction strategies to improve local drinking water supplies will be held Wednesday, Jan. 14 at the Oakland Community Building, 614 Dr. Van Zee Road beginning with registration starting at 8:30 a.m.

The day-long session, targeted primarily for landowners and those involved with supplying drinking water, will focus on strategies that can be used to manage nutrients and improve soil health that meet both agricultural and water quality goals as well as what members of local communities can do to protect drinking water supplies and public health through collaboration with the agricultural sector.

Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey will be the keynote speaker at a free lunch which is being provided. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to the Golden Hills RC&D before Jan.
7, by calling 712-482-3029 or by emailing michelle@goldenhillsrcd.org

The event is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Heartland Co-op, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa State University Extension, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, the Farm Services Agency, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa American Water Works Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, contact Rebecca Ohrtman at Iowa DNR, 515-725-8332.

Cass County Extension Report 12-31-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 31st, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play

Posted County Prices for the Grains- 12/31/2014

Ag/Outdoor

December 31st, 2014 by Chris Parks

Cass County: Corn $3.66, Beans $9.79
Adair County: Corn $3.63, Beans $9.82
Adams County: Corn $3.63, Beans $9.78
Audubon County: Corn $3.65, Beans $9.81
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.69, Beans $9.79
Guthrie County: Corn $3.68, Beans $9.83
Montgomery County: Corn $3.68, Beans $9.81
Shelby County: Corn $3.69, Beans $9.79
Oats $2.75 (always the same in all counties)

Cass County Extension offering Farm Bill Computer Lab Workshops on January 8th

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Extension is offering Farm Bill Computer Lab workshops to help local residents get the most out of online decision-making tools using current farm data and price projections to help guide their decision making regarding programs and options available through the new Farm Bill. Officials say participants in the workshops will be asked to bring certain farm data, enter that data into online decision tools, choose anticipated price scenarios and evaluate possible outcomes based on program choices. Participants should be able to increase their confidence when making choices regarding base reallocation, yield update and farm bill program selection for farms.ISU Extension

Workshops in Atlantic are scheduled for Thursday, January 8th and will be held at Iowa Western Community College in Atlantic. Classes will meet in the computer lab, and computers will be supplied for all participants. Currently, there are two available workshop times on the 8th- an afternoon session from 1-4 PM, and an evening session from 6-9 PM. Tim Eggers, ISU Extension Field Agricultural
Economist, will be on hand to explain the decision tools and walk participants through the data entry and price selection options. Workshops are scheduled for three hour time slots, but some participants may need less time than this, depending on the number of farms entered and the number of scenarios run.

Pre-Registration is required at least 2 days in advance by calling 712-243-1132. Registration is limited to the number of computer workspaces available, so please register early to save your seat. There is a $5 fee required for registration to offset program costs. Please call the Cass County Extension Office or email keolson@iastate.edu<mailto:keolson@iastate.edu> with any program questions.

Additional Farm Bill Computer Lab workshops in Southwest Iowa are scheduled at Southwestern Community College in Creston on Wednesday, January 7th or at Southwestern Community College in Red Oak on either Wednesday, January 14 or Wednesday, January 28. For more information, or to register for these sites, please call 877-596-7243.

State Parks to hold first walk events on New Year’s Day

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The head of the state parks bureau is encouraging you to make plans to take a hike in 2015. Todd Coffelt says they are planning events in five state parks.  “The state of Iowa and the state parks bureau, we’re participating with a national effort to get people to state parks enjoy a first-day hike,” Coffelt explains. “It’s an opportunity to meet with staff and enjoy the resources in their local community, and to be outside to help get that New Year started off in the right way.” He says New Year’s Day is a good time to start the new tradition.

“This is a great opportunity to maybe go do something you haven’t done before, or even if you are an expert and have done it many times, you can share that experience with other people who may be there for their first time. And really share that opportunity to talk and take shelter at a warm place in the park. But, get outside and some of Iowa’s wildlife,” according to Coffelt. Staff will be on hand at
January 1st at Bellevue State Park, Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, Walnut Woods State Park and Waubonsie State Park.

“They’ll have a fire going to help people stay warm, but they’re also gonna have treats,” Coffelt says. “A lot of these parks have friends groups that’ll be involved as well. The lodge will be open, will have some shelter, we’ll have some warmth, just in case it’s a little bit chilly.” Coffelt says most people probably don’t realize the state parks are open all year. “For those who are really brave and have the right facilities, they could go camp in them right now,” Coffelt says. He says they won’t have the shower house or flush pressrooms open. But he says there are still paths to go hiking and a lot of wildlife to see in the parks this time of year. He says there are a couple of sites to find out about the First Day Hikes.

“Wwww.iowadnr.gov for the state website, or at the national level if you want to see what’s going on in states across the country, you can go to www.naspd.org,” Coffelt says. Coffelt says you can get an early start, or just go out after watching some football. Coffelt says, “You can get out there and enjoy the fresh air and really put a wrap up to the holiday season, and like I said, kick off that New Year’s Day.” First Day Hikes started more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation state park in Milton, Massachusetts.

Here are the locations and times for the Iowa hikes:
Bellevue State Park, Jackson County – 1 p.m. – meet at South Bluff Nature Center
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, Webster County – 1 p.m. – meet at Prairie Resource Center
Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, Dubuque County – 1 p.m. – meet at EB Lyons Nature Center
Walnut Woods State Park, Polk County – 9 a.m. – meet at Walnut Woods Lodge
Waubonsie State Park, Fremont County – 1 p.m. – meet at park office

(Radio Iowa)

Seed libraries struggle with state laws limiting exchanges

Ag/Outdoor

December 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gardeners at hundreds of spots around the country are sharing seeds as part of an increasing interest in locally grown food, but some agriculture officials say the well-meaning effort violates state laws. In spots like Duluth, Minnesota, the conflict has surprised gardeners and library officials who never thought to examine the intricacies of state seed laws.

Agriculture officials say they weren’t looking for a fight but must enforce laws that are intended to protect farmers by ensuring seeds are viable, will grow the intended plant and aren’t mixed with unwanted seeds for weeds or plants.

Advocates of seed-sharing programs said they don’t necessarily blame agriculture departments, but some express frustration that laws focus on the needs of modern hybrid seed producers while limiting age-old, person-to-person seed exchanges.

Three-State Beef Conference in Creston is set for next month

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The second annual Three-State Beef Conference is scheduled next month in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. Topics titles include “Financial Impacts of Fertility and Infertility in the Current Cattle Market.” The first conference session is in Creston, Iowa, at Southwestern Community College on Jan. 13.

The Missouri session will be held Jan. 14 in Albany at the University of Missouri Hundley-Whaley Learning Discovery Center. On Jan. 15 there will be two sessions in Nebraska. The first will be at the Gage County UNL Extension Center in Beatrice. An evening session will be held at the UNL Ag Research and Development Center near Mead.

The registration fee is $25 per person. For more information or to register, contact Paul Hay, phay1@unl.edu, 402-223-1384 or Lindsay Chichester, lchichester2@unl.edu, 402-624-8030 or go online at http://extension.iastate.edu/feci/3StBeef/.