KJAN Ag/Outdoor

USDA Report 11-13-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

November 13th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Carroll resident turns corncrib into gazebo

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

CARROLL, Iowa (AP) – Some residents of Carroll are annoyed when they look into a neighbor’s backyard and see a corncrib that’s been turned into a gazebo. Allen Nieland lives near the property, and he told Des Moines television station KCCI that the corncrib would look nice on an acreage or a farm, but it just doesn’t fit the character of his subdivision. The corncrib is the see-through type with a metal roof.

Nieland says he’s started a petition to have the corncrib removed. But city officials say the corncrib meets zoning and building codes and is legal because it’s being used for outdoor entertainment, not to store or dry corn.

Another neighbor, Brad Kirsch, says the corncrib is better to look at “than junk cars or an old boat.”

Gates to limit access to Lake Manawa

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say gates will be installed at Lake Manawa State Park between now and next spring, to limit access to the park. The Daily NonPareil says the change, announced Wednesday, came after residents showed concern about “security issues” and “roads to nowhere.” About 20 people attended a Wednesday meeting at the Council Bluffs Fish and Game Club to discuss an October forum about two projects at the lake that, when combined, will cost more than $10 million.

Todd Coffelt, Iowa DNR Bureau Chief for the state parks, says the gates will restrict access to the park before 4 a.m. and after 10:30 p.m.  Bike trails and 24-hour overnight fishing will not be restricted.

Last month, residents were asked to gather feedback from their neighbors and bring it to Wednesday’s meeting. Residents were mostly concerned with public safety and a dredging project that would remove 5 million cubic yards of sand from the lake to promote water clarity and a healthier wildlife environment. Iowa DNR officials stressed the need for residents to address 51 proposed full-hookup campsites that would be created under the proposed plan.

Coffelt says the department has been working on renovating the park’s campsites for about 14 years, but residents were more worried about overall safety and future park usage. Many who attended the meeting echoed comments about keeping troublemakers out of the park and the effects of the dredging project slated to begin by summer 2015.

Coffelt said residents need to stay focused and agree on camping renovations before officials can move forward with the projects. The department has $400,000 set aside for the campsites, but the remaining funds must be raised by community groups.

Farmers donating food are eligible for a tax credit


November 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today (Wednesday) highlighted the Farm
to Food Donation Tax Credit and encouraged eligible farmers to consider applying.  Iowa farmers who donate self-produced food commodities to food banks and food pantries can now qualify for the credit on state taxes, which is equal to 15% of the value of the commodities donated during the tax year or $5,000 whichever is less.

“Iowa farmers care deeply about their communities and this new tax credit program may provide some additional tax benefit to farmers who donate food to a food bank or food pantry,” Northey said. “As we see more farmers raising fresh produce, this new tax credit program is something they should be aware of as they consider food donations.”

The program was created by the Iowa Legislature in 2013 and is effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. To qualify for the tax credit, producers:

* must produce the donated food commodity
* must transfer title to the donated food commodity to an Iowa food bank or Iowa
emergency feeding organization registered with the Iowa Department of Revenue
* shall not receive compensation for the transfer
* shall not donate a food commodity that is damaged or unfit for human consumption
* shall donate a food commodity that meets the requirements of the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program.

Producers will receive an authorized receipt from the Registered Iowa Food Bank or Iowa emergency feeding organization for the donation. All authorized receipts for a calendar year should be sent together to the Iowa Department of Revenue by January 15th. The Department will issue the producer a tax credit certificate which must be included with the producer’s tax return.

Tax credits are not refundable, but can be credited ahead to the tax liability for the following five years. The value of the food commodity is self-assessed but must be determined in the same manner as a charitable contribution of food for federal tax purposes. Donation evaluation worksheets are available on at https://tax.iowa.gov/farm-food-donation-tax-credit.

2015 “Excellence in Agriculture” Scholarship Applications Now Available

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

(RALSTON, Iowa) Nov. 12, 2014 —High school seniors pursuing a career in agriculture or an ag-related field are invited to apply for the West Central® Cooperative’s 2014 Excellence in Agriculture scholarship.West Central Co-Op logoWest Central Co-Op logo West Central CoOp logoThe Excellence In Agriculture scholarship program awards four $1,500 scholarships for any accredited post-secondary program. Applications are available at any West Central location, from area high school guidance counselors, or online at west-central.com

Scholarship Requirements:

1. Applicant and/or parent must be a voting member, in good standing, of West Central.

2. Applicant must be a high school senior and graduate in the spring of the 2013-2014 school year.

3. Applicant must have a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale through his/her junior year.

4. Applicant must pursue a career in agriculture or enter an ag-related field of study at any accredited post-secondary school of his or her choice.

5. Dependents of directors and officers of West Central are not eligible to apply for these scholarships.

Applications must be returned by Jan. 30, 2015. If you have questions regarding West Central’s Excellence In Agriculture scholarship program, please contact Alicia Clancy, Director of Communications, at (712) 667-3334.

About West Central

West Central is a farmer-owned cooperative connecting producers of agricultural products to a global network of processors and end-users. Headquartered in Ralston, Iowa, West Central’s agronomy, animal nutrition and grain businesses span 12 Iowa counties with 27 locations. In 2013, the company was ranked #41 on the USDA’s list for largest farmer-owned cooperatives nationwide based on revenues and assets.


Cass County Extension Report 11-12-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

November 12th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Snow could reduce corn harvest in Upper Midwest

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The season’s first snowstorm could be bad news for farmers in the Upper Midwest where corn remains in fields. At least 4 inches of snow could fall overnight in South Dakota where about 40 percent of the crop remains, and in Minnesota where about a third remains. Most of the storm is expected to stay north of corn and soybean areas in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Iowa State University agriculture economist Chad Hart says a snowstorm could reduce the harvest if ears of corn are knocked off or plants fall over. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says soybean farmers will harvest 3.96 billion bushels, up 31 million bushels from the October estimate. The corn crop is slightly smaller at 14.41 billion bushels, down 68 million bushels from the October estimate.

DNR to meet with Lake Manawa group on park reovations

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports officials will meet with a working group of Lake Manawa State Park area residents and park users on Nov. 12th, to continue discussions on plans to improve the heavily used state park. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday, at the Game and Fish Club, on Lake Manawa.

Responding to feedback from the Oct. 14 meeting on the proposal to move the campground will likely be the focal point of discussion. The DNR has been discussing plans to improve the campground for 14 years.

Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa DNR’s State Parks Bureau, says “Lake Manawa is unique. It has many different types of users, from the sailing club, to mountain bikers, campers, anglers and picnickers. Plus its part of a neighborhood in the largest metro area in Iowa and each one of those constituencies has a different idea of what they want from the park.” What the DNR heard during the October meeting was concerns from local homeowners’ association members about the proposed location of the new campground in relation to the homes, vegetation and water level management for the lake and safety and security issues in the park.

The park draws many visitors from Omaha, as well as from Council Bluffs and the surrounding area. It is attractive to Nebraskans because Iowa parks do not require a park entry permit. Lake Manawa hosts around 1.5 million visitors each year easily ranking as Iowa’s most visited state park and its campground is in the top 10 busiest in the state.

Farmers can sign up for new farm bill programs starting next Monday


November 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa farmers can sign up for two new programs that were included in the latest Farm Bill starting next week. Val Dolcini, administrator of the Farm Service Agency, says farmers actually have several months to determine what works best for them and to make a selection between the Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage programs. Sign-up begins next Monday, November 17th.

Dolcini says, “We’re really building a fair amount of time into this process so that farmers have an ample opportunity not only to use the web-based tools to make that important program election, but to talk with their family members, partners, business advisers and others about what may be best for their particular individual operation.” Dolcini says farmers have until March 31st to make a selection. Also, farmers need to update their base acres and planting history information with their local F-S-A office. The deadline to complete that is February 27st.

“These programs are different from previous FSA programs in that it really requires the farmer to dig in a little bit deeper to what program election makes the most sense for their operation,” Dolcini says, “which is why we’re building in a good bit of time here.” Farmers were notified back in September about the need for the updates on acreage and planting history. For more information, visit: www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA

(Radio Iowa)

Funds available for water quality projects


November 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today (Thursday) encouraged eligible groups to apply for grants to support projects that will improve water quality in the state. Approximately $830,000 is available through the Watershed Improvement Review Board to support qualifying projects.

Funds are available to local watershed improvement committees, soil and water conservation districts, public water supply utilities, county conservation boards, cities and counties. Funds are typically matched with other funds by the organizations receiving assistance and will support a variety of projects across the state focusing on protecting water quality and improving the health of the state’s waterways.

Projects eligible for funding include, but are not limited to, those addressing agricultural runoff and drainage, flood prevention, stream bank erosion, municipal discharge, storm water runoff, unsewered communities, industrial discharge and livestock runoff. Each project can request up to $250,000 in funding. The grants will be under contract to implement the projects for a maximum timeframe of April 2015 to December 2017.