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.

Tractor weight thefts reported in Fremont County

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying persons responsible for the recent theft of numerous tractor weights. Officials say they’re investigating six separate incidents, during which area farmers have reported the front weights of their tractors have been stolen. At this time, only John Deere brand tractors have been targeted. The thefts have resulted in several thousand dollars worth of losses.

If you have any information about the thefts, call Fremont County Crimestoppers. Your tip could lead to an arrest and conviction, result in a $1,000 reward. Call 1-800-432-9240 with your tip, or, 712-374-2424. Callers can remain anonymous and still be eligible for the reward.

Lewis man wins Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Cass County man is set to receive a $1,000 cash award for his work in sustainable agriculture. Bernie Havlovic, of Lewis, will receive recognition and the 2011 Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture award during a ceremony Thursday, March 1st, in Ames. Havlovic is the superintendent of two Research and Demonstration (R&D) farms, the Armstrong ISU R&D Farm near Lewis, and the Neely-Kinyon R&D Farm in Adair County, south of Greenfield. He’s conducted agricultural research since the 1970’s, but has been involved in farming since childhood, while growing up in east-central Nebraska. Havlovic was the ninth out of 14 children born to his parents. He says his siblings helped out with the farming activities, but the opportunities to farm on his own were limited, so he went to graduate from ISU and work for the University’s Agronomy Department before moving on the work in the Research Farm system. 

He says that gave him an opportunity to farm, and get a better understanding of how crops grow and what affects their growth. He says he’s able to turn that knowledge around and show visitors to the research farms how new practices foster productivity in farming, and, provide an education to a wide variety of people. That includes “Master Gardeners,” and school children. Havlovic says interest in horticulture has really grown over the years, and blossomed from the simple “Green Thumb” gardener, to people who grow grapes for locally produced wine, and to those who use the “High Tunnel” structures to earn a living growing specialty crops. He says one of the latest special products being used in agricultural, is a material called “Bio-char,” which is a centuries old charcoal product created by a process known as “pryrolysis.”   Havlovic says it’s a material designed to make the soil more usable and sustainable. 

Havlovic and Michael Natvig, who owns a 420-acre organic farm in eastern Iowa’s Howard County, will share the Spencer Award for their efforts in developing sustainable farming practices and enhancing the stability of family farms, during the quarterly meeting of the Leopold Center Advisory Board, in Ames. The presentation of those awards will take place at around 11:30-a.m. Thursday, at the Hilton Garden Inn. The award, which was established in 2001 by an endowment from the Spencer family, was named in honor of Norman and Margaretha Spencer, who farmed near Sioux County, for 40-years. Learn more about the award at www.leopold.iastate.edu/spencer-award.

2012 Cass County Fair Schedule released

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the ISU Extension Service in Cass County have released the schedule for the 2012 Cass County Fair, which runs from July 26th through the 31st. (The complete schedule can be found at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/NR/rdonlyres/FD79263F-7EEC-4FD2-9AAE-9A47B9EACD65/164027/2012Schedule_CassCountyFair.pdf )

Events begin Thursday, July 26th, with the Swine, Rabbit, Horse, Poultry, Dairy and beef entry sign-ins, entry and judging of 4-H static exhibits, and a food sale at the Community Center. Later that same evening, the King and Queen Contest will take place, along with Senior Recognition.

Friday’s activities (July 27th) include: the Rabbit, Horse and Feeder Calf shows; and a bull riding competition. On Saturday, July 28th, there’ll be a Sheep and Pet show, livestock judging, and ATV races.

Events Sunday (July 28th) include: the Swine, Poultry, Dog and Horse Fun shows; Decorator’s showcase; and a Tractor Pull.  Sunday and Monday afternoon, there will also be a “Skid Loader Rodeo.”

The last full day of activities on Monday, July 30th, will include: the Beef, Dairy/Dairy Goat, and Goat shows; Best of Iowa; a watermelon feed; Style show and building awards; and Grand Champion Beef selection. The Fair concludes Tuesday morning, July 31st, with the Livestock Sale. Clean-up activities will occur the following day.

For more information on the 2012 Cass County Fair, call 712-243-1132, or e-mail xcass@iastate.edu. On the web at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass

Feedlot Operator talks to youth about beef selection process

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A custom feedlot owner operator from Adams County told attendees at Sunday afternoon’s Rolling Hills Heifer Project banquet and awards program in Atlantic, that when he purchases feeder cattle, whether it be from auctions or through private sale, he takes a lot of time asking questions about the animals’ health, quality and when, where, and how he will harvest and market the animals. Todd Drake, who owns Nodaway Valley Feeders, in Nodaway, said his decision is ultimately impacted by how healthy the cow is. He says he likes to purchase cattle which come directly from the mother cow, complete with a round-to-modified live vaccine, about three-weeks prior to shipment.

Drake says cattle which are weaned have more value to him, depending on the time of the year. He says he also likes to buy cattle which are on a “non-starch” diet, or those who eat very little corn. He says he doesn’t want the cattle to be “huge” before he buys them. He recommends forage based diets for the animals. As for quality, Drake says the types of animals that bring in the most money at his feedlots, are those with capacity, and spring of rib depth. He says he wants cattle “That can consume a lot of dry matter.” Cattle “With some width between their front legs and plenty of spring of rib,” appear to be their lowest cost of gains or best dry matter conversions.

Drake says it’ important for the animal to have some size. He says they like to have steers that finish out at around 1,350-pounds, and heifers that finish at 1,250-pounds. Drake says he has not preference when it comes to color and breed of the cow, but the bottom-line on closeouts is, that those animals with at least three-quarters English blood in them provide the best closeouts. That would include those animals bred to Charolais, Simmental, and some exotics. The “half-and-half” bloods…such as a Charolais bred to an Angus cow…don’t work as well, he says, when it comes to dry matter conversion.

Drake says he spends a lot of time on marketing the animals he gets into his feedlot, and get them harvested before it gets too hot, or late in the fall. He left the young people at Sunday’s meeting with a phrase to remember when purchasing their own cows in the future. He says great calves to buy should grade about 70% choice and about 70% one and two yield grades. Many of the animals he purchases come from Florida, Montana, the Sand Hills of Nebraska and elsewhere, but the majority comes from northern Missouri and southern Iowa.

Rolling Hills Heifer Project sparks interest in other counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A program designed to involve the youth of area communities in agriculture has grown since its inception, and even sparked interest in forming similar programs in other counties around western Iowa.

Chuck Edwards, President/CEO of Rolling Hills Bank & Trust

Chuck Edwards, President and CEO of Rolling Hills Bank and Trust, which is headquartered in Atlantic, told a crowd of young people, their parents, and others in attendance at a banquet at the Cass County Community Center Sunday afternoon, that the “Heifer Project,” which began in 2001 with five heifers each given to two area youth, has grown to four sets of heifers given away this year.

And, he says, the Carroll County Farm Bureau joined in this year, and also gave away five heifers. That makes 25 head of bred heifers given out this year to area youth. So far, 220 head of heifers have given to 45 people. Carroll County, which is in the second year of the program, has given away 10 altogether.

Edwards said when he spoke recently before a gathering of the Shelby County Cattleman’s Association, he said he learned they’re interested in getting a similar program established in that area. Tim Greave, who attended Sunday’s meeting , said their satellite program began this year, with one of their board members placing five heifers.  He says during a recent auction, 70,000 was raised in 15-minutes, to put towards the heifer program, which is still in its infancy and being tweaked in that. He says in the future, there may be a “share-type program,” where a portable loan is paid back at the end, and one or two of the payments are forgiven.

Past and present recipients of heifers from the RHHP 2-26-12

The Rolling Hills heifers are purchased by the bank, to be given to two individuals for a 5 year period. Those persons must be either in 7th or 8th grade, and must be interested in agriculture and willing to accept total responsibility for the daily care of the heifers. The youth can do what they wish with the heifers for the 5 years, either by selling the offspring, building a herd, etc., but at the end of the 5-years, the current cash equivalent value of 5 heifers must be paid to the Rolling Hills Heifer Project. Those funds will be used to purchase heifers for the next year’s recipients. The participants must document the entire process involved with raising the animals, including income and expenditures, and be willing to promote the program to other youth.

This year’s heifer recipients in western Iowa included: Morgan Barkley, from Cumberland; Brooke Newell, from Anita; and Preslyn Grobe, of Hancock. The Carroll County Farm Bureau gave its five heifers to Kourtney Grimm. Chuck

In addition, rewards were given Sunday to those youth participating in the program, who kept the best records while raising their animals. First place, and a cash award of $750, went to Jonathan Triggs, of Mt. Ayr, who received his heifers in 2008. Second place, and a $500 award, went to Paige Kipp, of Yale, who received her heifers in 2008 also. Third place, and a $250 award, went to Delaney Carroll, of Avoca.

To apply for the Rolling Hills Heifer Project Program, individuals must fill out an application describing their interest in agriculture as well as have 3 letters of recommendation from such persons as teachers, club leaders, etc. For more information use this link:


USDA Report 02-23-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 23rd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Cass County Extension Report 02-22-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 22nd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen


Iowans return from Ag Trade Mission to Central America


February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Around a dozen Iowans have returned from a week-long agricultural trade mission to Central America. Bill Tentinger, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says there’s currently a 70-percent tariff on U.S. pork imports to Panama. But, that will change soon. “I think by 2014, the tariff will start going away and there’s a possibility that we could be getting product in there tariff free. When you’re paying 70-percent tariff on a product, it really limits how much you’re going to sell,” Tentinger said. The LeMars resident was part of the Iowa delegation that traveled to Panama and Guatemala earlier this month. Tentinger said there is a market for U.S. pork in the two countries, but it’ll take time to develop.

“There is a small amount of pork being moved into those countries and because of that fact, I would say there is no place to go but up,” Tentinger said. Dan Cook, who raises Angus cattle near New Providence, said Panama holds great potential for increased imports of U.S. beef.  “The economy’s growing fast and tourism is going to be a big part of that,” Cook said of Panama. “So, therefore, with more disposable income – people want to eat better and high quality beef is right at the top of the list it looks like.” Cook notes that price is the biggest issue in Guatemala, as 70-percent of their population lives in poverty.

“They’re probably going to take some lower value cuts that we typically don’t enjoy in the U.S.,” Cook said. “That helps raise the whole value of the beef carcass, so that’s still a good thing.” The trade mission, which also included representatives of Iowa’s corn and soybean industries, was coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Hunters killed fewer deer in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

February 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Hunters in Iowa killed about 4.5 percent fewer deer during the recent hunting seasons. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says hunters killed about 121,400 deer during the 2011-2012 seasons. Officials say Iowa’s deer population has been reduced by about 30 percent from its peak in 2006. Spokesman Dale Garner says deer numbers in many areas are near or below the DNR’s objective. The department will review the harvest and population surveys this spring and make proposals to reduce the kill and stabilize deer where the numbers are at or below the goal. The agency says in areas were numbers haven’t reached the goal, hunters will have the option to kill extra does. Many of these areas are near cities and towns where hunting is restricted.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approves increases in Summer Rec Program fees

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

February 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The price you pay for your kids to participate in some of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department Summer Recreation Programs will be going up, and be prepared for some changes in how some of the programs operate. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said at Monday night’s Board meeting, one of the changes affects the Playground Program. He says instead of two sites, there will be just one site: Washington Elementary School. The hours will be from 9:30-until 11:30-a.m., instead of from 1-3pm. Herring says the idea is to incorporate the YMCA lunch program into the Playground Program.

Herring says each day’s activities will be published as the time frame grows closer, but they will involve crafts and exercise. Each session would conclude with lunch at the YMCA. The students will be escorted from the Washington School to the YMCA, where their parents can pick them up after lunch. Herring recommended, and the Park and Rec Board Monday approved, charging parents a fee to enroll their kids in the Playground Program. He says the fee would amount to $1 per day of the 20-session program, which runs from May 29th to June 29th, or $20 altogether. The Board and Herring agreed that no student will be turned down for the program because of an inability to pay. Service clubs may be asked to help defray the costs.

Roger Herring says also, the swimming program would be held once a week, on Tuesday’s, at the Sunnyside swimming pool. No lunch will be served.    The Swim Team, which is held May 29th through July 15th, will practice daily at noon at the Sunnyside Pool, with practice during inclement weather, inside, at the Nishna Valley YMCA. Participants purchase their own team swimsuits, t-shirts and goggles. The price for the t-shirts, according to Herring, will be going up just a bit. He recommended, and the board approved, an increase of $5 in the fee to participate on the swim team, which will now cost $25.

Board Chair Stuart Dusenberry pointed out that’s still much lower than it was years ago, when the Parks Department was still paying to bus students to the various swim meets. Since the policy was changed, parents have been handling that responsibility. The increase in fee also helps to cover the cost of paying a Swim Team Coach, Assistant Coach and Manager, which had previously been a volunteer position. Herring said there were 60 participants in the program last year. He says if there are a similar number this year, it will be a “break even” proposition for the Parks and Rec Department cost-wise.

The adult softball fee is also expected to be “restructured,” but the details have not yet been worked out.