KJAN Ag/Outdoor

West Central Cooperative Finalizes Sale of Massena, Iowa Property

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with West Central had announced back in May it would close its agronomy business operations in Massena. Now, the cooperative has finalized the sale of its property, officially ending business in Massena. West Central regional manager, Brad Woodard said “We appreciate our customers’ and cooperative members’ business in the Massena area over the last five years.”  West Central purchased the Massena location from Pelgrow in 2010.

Woodard added “Closing a cooperative location is never an easy decision, however, our assessment of the location determined it no longer offered the efficiencies our customers’ businesses deserve. We thank our West Central Massena employees, who are now serving customers at other West Central locations, for their commitment to our growers through this transition.”West Central CoOp logo

West Central’s regional agronomy field marketers remain available to work with area growers. They include:

· Scott Small in Atlantic at (712) 243-3582

· Nick Richter in Adair at (712) 250-9200

· Brett Westergaard in Exira at (641) 740-0421

· Sid Skank in Oakland at (712) 741-3200

Assets from the site were relocated to other West Central locations or sold. The property, including the office, dry fertilizer facility and NH3 plant were sold to Massena Livestock Sales.

Iowa’s Pheasant Population Jumps 37 Percent; Quail Highest Count in 21 Years

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. Of Natural Resources say Iowa’s pheasant population increased for the second year in a row to a statewide average of 24 birds, up 37 percent over 2014. This is the highest bird count since 2008 for most of the state, and in southeast Iowa, it’s the highest count in more than a decade.  Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says “It’s amazing when you bring a few females through the winter you can bounce back. We had a great winter, little or no snow in March, and April weather was good giving hens a chance for an early nest. But June and July were pretty wet for all but the northwest third of the state and our counts reflected that.”

The highest pheasant counts were 44 birds per route in the northwest region, followed by 38 birds per route in central and 27 birds per route in southeast Iowa and should offer good hunting this fall. Lower counts came in southwest, south central and northeast regions. “We made improvements in these regions but have a ways to go to reach our long-term averages,” Bogenschutz said. 2015_survey_map_web
The key to increasing or maintaining pheasant numbers has been and continues to be winter and spring weather, and having the right habitat. Iowa had a double dose of bad weather each year from 2007-11 – cold snow-filled winters followed by cool, wet springs – that hammered the pheasant population, dropping statewide averages to 6.6 birds per route in 2011, 7.8 birds in 2012 and 6.5 birds in 2013. During this bad weather stretch, the DNR fielded calls to close the season or reduce the bag limit. Some hunters blamed pesticides and predators, like coyotes and hawks, for the plunge in pheasant numbers.

“It really comes down to winter survival and nesting success. If the hens don’t make it though winter, they can’t nest. If they can get though the winter, they need a place to nest that can shelter chicks from the elements,” he said.  “It’s nice to have Mother Nature smile on us a few winters in a row, but we could really benefit from adding additional acres of habitat, like the Iowa Pheasant Safe Conservation Reserve Program that provides a good mix of winter cover and spring nesting areas. If we can get one more mild winter, we may finally recover our population that was lost during the 2007-11 stretch of bad weather.”

Based on the average of 24 birds per route, hunters can expect to harvest 300,000 to as many as 500,000 roosters this fall, depending on the number of hunters that return. “We would need to have more hunters come back to hit the half million harvest, but the birds are there to support it,” he said.

Iowa’s 90 day pheasant season begins October 31. The DNR’s August Roadside Survey occurs each August 1-15, with staff driving the same 217, 30-mile routes each year.  The complete survey is available online at www.iowadnr.gov/pheasantsurvey.

Quail Population Highest in 21 Years
The quail population jumped to a statewide average of 1.44 birds per route, its highest since 1994. The highest quail counts were 4.8 birds per route in the southeast region, followed by 4 birds per route in southwest and just under 4 birds per route in south central Iowa. “If you ever wanted to go quail hunting, this is the year,” said Bogenschutz.

Rabbit Numbers Strong, Partridge Also Higher
Iowa’s rabbit population remains strong especially in south central, southeast central, and east central regions. Hungarian partridge numbers are also higher, offering an opportunity to pheasant hunters to bag a bonus bird in north central, central, northeast and northwest regions.

John Deere to lay off 30 employees at Davenport plant

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — John Deere says it will lay off 30 employees at its plant in Davenport. The company said Monday that the workforce reduction at Davenport Works affects employees who make construction and forestry equipment.

Spokesman Ken Golden tells the Quad-City Times that the layoffs are effective Oct. 2. The company on Monday also announced plans to lay off 150 people at its plant in East Moline in neighboring Illinois. Those layoffs are effective Sept. 18.


Work on Nishna Valley Trail connector project continues, despite grant setbacks

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Work on the Nishna Valley Trail Connector Project in Atlantic continues, despite some setbacks in funding for the project. Nishna Valley Trails President Dave Chase told KJAN’s Jim Field on the “Heartbeat Today” program, that progress is being made, and a pedestrian bridge over the Troublesome Creek just west of the KJAN Studios, is closer to reality, but there have been some “bumps in the road,” financially.

Chase said this past week, a couple of major grant applications they were counting on that were pending approval, went unfunded. The applications that were rejected include those from the Wells Fargo and Wellmark Foundations. He said while disappointing, there was no guarantee the grants would have been approved to begin with, and it does NOT stop the project from moving forward.

Work continues on the Nishna Valley Trail connector project near the KJAN studios.

Work continues on the Nishna Valley Trail connector project near the KJAN studios.

He says also, there are other funding opportunities that they are exploring, and they still feel as good about their financial position, as they did when they “pulled the trigger” on the project in June. Chase says fundraising efforts will continue as well. Individuals and organizations who have already contributed to the project, according to Chase, have promised to do more if needed to help out. He says right now, they’re about $160,000 short of the funds necessary to pay for the project.

Donations for the project are tax deductible, because Nishna Valley Trails is a 501(c) 3 tax exempt organization. If you would like to contribute to the cause, mail your donation to P.O. Box 496, Atlantic, IA 50022, or call Dave Chase at 712-249-3059. There are other ways to contribute as well, so give Chase a call to find out more.

Chase said work on clearing the path for the trail is nearly complete, and a pre-construction meeting with contractors was held Monday, with the plan being to start work on the trail and the bridge next Tuesday, which is earlier than anticipated. It’s expected construction will be completed in about 40-days from the start, weather permitting. The trail is expected to be in use later this fall, instead of next spring, as originally anticipated.

33rd Annual Carstens Farm Days: Something for Everyone

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa farm history will come to life September 12th & 13th, at the 33rd Annual Carstens Farm Days. From threshing to the saw mill, from the food to the crafters and vendors to the quilt show, from the tractors and equipment to the historic memorabilia of the Farm there is something for everyone to enjoy. The Carstens 1880 Farmstead is an 80-acre working farm museum exhibit located between Minden and Shelby, in Pottawattamie County.

You’re invited to see steam engines powering antique threshing machines, antique machinery, a parade, crafts, and entertainment. Over two hundred restored antique tractors will be on display. The original Carstens farm buildings will be open for tours. The buildings will be alive with demonstrations that will bring back memories for older visitors and teach valuable history lessons to young people.

To start Farm Days off right, a pancake breakfast is planned at 6:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The proceeds from the pancake breakfast go to the Shelby Volunteer Fire Department. The fire department volunteers will also serve lunch both days. Various non-profit local groups will be offering refreshments and delicious desserts all weekend.

The original 1880 horse barn has been restored this summer and will be open for all to see during the 2015 edition of Carstens Farm Days which takes place September 12 & 13, 2015.

The original 1880 horse barn has been restored this summer and will be open for all to see during the 2015 edition of Carstens Farm Days which takes place September 12 & 13, 2015.

A pork supper will be held on Friday evening, Sept. 11th,  from 5 – 7 p.m. Proceeds from the pork supper will benefit the Friends of the Trail Committee in Shelby in support of the Old Stone Arch Nature Trail. On Saturday beginning at 5:30 p.m. enjoy Staley’s Chicken for a delicious dinner. Proceeds from the chicken dinner will go toward on-going maintenance at Carstens 1880 Farmstead. Beginning at 6 p.m. Tamie Hall and Band will entertain visitors on the front lawn of the farmhouse.

Farmall tractors and equipment and related brands will be the featured line this year. All Farmall tractors & equipment owners are invited to bring their exhibits to display throughout the weekend. Horsepower-testing, sawmill operations and field demonstrations will occupy tractor exhibitors all day. Nearly 250 pieces of vintage equipment were on display during the 2014 Farm Days show. Visitors will enjoy watching most of the restored tractors as they go through the parade each afternoon at 2 p.m.

All vintage and classic car owners are encouraged to show and shine their vehicles during Farm Days. Bring classic cars, pick-ups or works in progress. A car display area will be available to showcase the many fine vehicles from the area. This is not a judged show, so you can come out and simply have some fun.

A colorful display of quilts, wall hangings, wearable art and other types of quilting projects will be featured in the special event building at the farm. Many talented quilters from around the area will allow their works of art to be displayed for all to enjoy. Even if you have never displayed a quilt before, consider joining the fun and bringing a quilt to display. Exhibitors are asked to deliver their quilts on Friday, September 11th. For details about the quilt show or to inquire about adding your quilt to the collection, please call Jan Hursey at 712-544-2662 or Marilyn Evans at 712-544-2266.

A quilt made especially for the 2015 Carstens Farm Days show will be raffled on Sunday evening. Raffle tickets can be purchased at area businesses. The quilt is now on display at the Shelby County State Bank in Shelby.

Foggy Mountain Cloggers will perform on Saturday, Sept. 12th at 12:30 p.m. on the farm’s main stage. On Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m., the River City Shakers will entertain young and old farmstead visitors alike. Various music acts will add to the fun and folksy atmosphere of Farm Days.

There will be over fifty crafters and vendors on hand. A special display of vintage seed corn sacks will be in the corn crib. A wide array of crafts will be available. From unique wooden creations to homemade jams and jellies, there will be something for everyone. A very healthy crop of farm-grown potatoes will also be available for purchase. Proceeds from the sale of potatoes will help make improvements to the farmstead.

On Sunday morning, Sept. 13th, a non-denominational worship service will take place at 9:00 a.m. on the lawn in front of the Carstens home. Worship will be led by Kirk Parsons of the Community of Christ Church in Persia. Everyone is welcome to join in the worship service.

Admission is $5 per day for everyone nine years and older.For more information visit the web site: www.carstensfarm.com

Conservation Report 08-29-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

August 29th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Host Bob Bebensee and Brian Smith, Conservation Officer for Cass and Adair Counties.


1,800 Farmers commit $3.5 million to water quality practices


August 28th, 2015 by Chris Parks

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced today that $3.5 million in cost share funds to help farmers install nutrient reduction practices have been obligated to farmers in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. 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.

“Farmers continue to show they are willing to invest in practices focused on limiting nutrient loss and improving water quality. To consider that this program went from zero to more than 1,800 farmers over the past three years shows that farmers are committed to action and willing to invest in water quality,” Northey said.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received applications covering 187,000 acres from more than 1,800 different farmers seeking to participate in the program. Farmers in each of the 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state received funding.

Participants include 980 farmers using a practice for the first time and more than 830 past users that are trying cover crops again and are receiving a reduced-rate of cost share. The first-time users cover 79,000 acres of cover crops, 7,450 acres of nitrification inhibitor, 7,150 acres of no-till and 3,950- acres of strip-till. The past users will use cover crops on nearly 89,500 acres.

Farmers not already utilizing the practice were eligible cost share rate for cover crops of $25 per acre, $10 per acre for trying no-till or strip till and $3 per acre for using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Farmers that had used cover crops in the past were eligible for $15 per acre in cost share. Cost share was only available on up to 160 acres.

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 water quality practices on their farm.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received $9.6 million for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in fiscal 2016. 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.

Call AnswerLine for safe canning advice


August 27th, 2015 by Chris Parks

AMES, Iowa — Times have changed since great grandma was canning for her family. Today’s recipes have been scientifically tested to ensure a safe product. So before trying any of those old family canning recipes, call AnswerLine, the home and family hotline at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“If great grandma’s recipe isn’t safe, AnswerLine will tell you,” said hotline coordinator Elizabeth Meimann.

“Callers sometimes are a bit frustrated with us when we answer canning questions. We often have to tell a caller that the old family recipe for a canned product is not safe. We must advise our callers that oven canning, canning low acid vegetables in a water bath canner and using ‘any old recipe’ for pickles are not safe practices,” Meimann said.

“We aren’t the ‘canning police.’ Our main goal is to help you keep your family safe for years to come,” Meimann said.

AnswerLine has become a highly trusted resource for the people of Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, providing information and resources on home and family questions regarding everything from child development to cleaning to food safety, nutrition, laundry and much more.

At this time of year many people contact AnswerLine to get answers to canning questions or tested recipes they can try at home, said Barb Fuller, MA, RD, LD a human sciences specialist in nutrition and wellness with ISU Extension and Outreach.

AnswerLine uses a number of research-based resources, Fuller said, including ISU Extension and Outreach’s “Preserve the Taste of Summer” series of recipes. The AnswerLine specialists also consult the University of Georgia’s National Center for Home Food Preservation and the USDA Home Canning Guide.

“The recipes and procedures in these books have been scientifically tested in a laboratory to ensure the coldest part of a canning jar gets hot enough long enough to kill the botulism bacteria if present. We don’t want you to cut corners and put your family at risk,” Fuller said.

“Botulism can be a deadly disease and those at the greatest risk are those who are often most dear to our hearts; the elderly and the very young. Pregnant women and people with a compromised immune system also are at great risk,” Fuller said.

AnswerLine, 800-262-3804 in Iowa, is open 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. AnswerLine also has a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as a twice-weekly blog at http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/. Barb Fuller can be reached at 641 202 1843 or bfuller@iastate.edu

USDA Report 08-27-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

August 27th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Officials investigate wastewater discharge in Lake Panorama

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 27th, 2015 by Chris Parks

PANORA, Iowa (AP) – Officials say they’re investigating the cause of a wastewater discharge that entered Lake Panorama in central Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it’s unclear what caused a pump to fail Saturday night at a lift station managed by the South Panorama Sanitary District. Officials reported the problem Sunday morning, around the time officials believe the discharge ended.

DNR officials say it wasn’t clear to the agency that there was a wastewater discharge until Monday night. The sanitary district believes it was likely a small discharge.

It’s unclear what caused a pump to fail, since all pumps at the lift station appear to be functional.

Officials for the sanitary district are considering the construction of a new lift station, where discharges would be less likely to reach the lake.