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.

Baudler says NRCS overstepped its authority with regard to lead shot

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Greenfield Republican Representative Clel Baudler says he was pleased the Iowa House this week approved a resolution that would overturn a ban on the use of lead shot, when hunting doves.  Baudler and others who backed the resolution, say the Natural Resources Commission overstepped its authority in July 2011, when it wrote rules governing the hunting of doves, which was legalized by the legislature last year. The resolution was approved by a vote of 68 to 27 Thursday, and now goes on to the Senate, where approval is likely.

Baulder says “It’s a very emotional issue for some people, but if we don’t keep our legislative authority, we’ll just govern by commissions that are appointed, not elected. This is not the way our government works, or should work.” He says approval of the resolution should “Send a message to our un-elected commissions, that those commissions should work with legislators,”  or the legislators will overturn their authority.

Backers of the ban on lead shot say other animals can eat the lead shot, and that can lead to their sickness or even death.

States included in Michael Foods egg recall

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

 MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) – Michael Foods, of Minnetonka, Minn., is recalling hard-cooked eggs in brine sold in 10- and 25-pound pails to food distributors and manufacturers for institutional use in 34 states, including: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

“Great Backyard Bird Count” begins in 2 weeks

Ag/Outdoor

February 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Conservation Board say the annual Great Backyard Bird Count will get underway in about two weeks. The event is hosted by The National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada. The results provide a snapshot of the whereabouts of more than 600 bird species. 

Anyone can participate in the free event and no registration is needed. All you need to do is watch and count birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count, from February 17th through the 20th, 2012. Enter your results at www.birdcount.org, where you can watch as the tallies grow across the continent. The four-day count typically records more than 10 million observations.

USDA Announces CRP General Sign-up

Ag/Outdoor

February 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS) Michael Scuse says that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general signup, beginning on March 12 and ending on April 6. CRP has a 25-year legacy of successfully protecting the nation’s natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States.

“It is USDA’s goal to ensure that we use CRP to address our most critical resource issues,” said Scuse. “CRP is an important program for protecting our most environmentally sensitive lands from erosion and sedimentation, and for ensuring the sustainability of our groundwater, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. As always, we expect strong competition to enroll acres into CRP, and we urge interested producers to maximize their environmental benefits and to make cost-effective offers.”

CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. In return, USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. Producers with expiring contracts and producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP. Producers also are encouraged to look into CRP’s other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, signup basis.

Currently, about 30 million acres are enrolled in CRP; and contracts on an estimated 6.5 million acres will expire on Sept. 30, 2012. Offers for CRP contracts are ranked according to the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI). USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) collects data for each of the EBI factors based on the relative environmental benefits for the land offered. Each eligible offer is ranked in comparison

LIVESTOCK MASTER MATRIX PASSES IN 88 COUNTIES

Ag/Outdoor

February 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – In January 88 counties notified the DNR that they plan to evaluate construction permit applications and proposed locations for animal confinements by using the master matrix. Animal producers in these counties must meet higher standards than other confinement producers who also need a construction permit. They must earn points on the master matrix by choosing a site and using practices that reduce impacts on air, water and the community. The matrix affects only producers who must get a construction permit for a confinement. Generally, these include proposed construction, expansion or modification of confinement feeding operations with more than 2,500 finishing hogs, 1,000 beef cattle or 715 mature dairy cows.

With 11 exceptions, all counties will use the matrix during the next 12 months. The following counties will not use the matrix in 2012: Decatur, Iowa, Jasper, Keokuk, Lee, Mahaska, Osceola, Plymouth, Wapello, Warren and Washington. 

Counties that adopt the master matrix can provide more input to producers on site selection, the proposed structures and proposed facility management. Participating counties can also join in DNR site visits to a proposed confinement site. While all counties may submit comments to the DNR during the review process for permit applications, counties that adopt the master matrix can also appeal approval of a preliminary permit to the Environmental Protection Commission. The deadline for enrolling in the program is Jan. 31 of each year. 

Producers and citizens can obtain more information and view a map of participating counties by looking for preconstruction requirements for permitted confinements at www.iowadnr.gov/afo. Or, look at   www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/LandStewardship/AnimalFeedingOperations/Confinements/ConstructionRequirements/Permitted/MasterMatrix.aspx.

Fed Reserve VP sees ag economy continuing its growth

Ag/Outdoor

February 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City believes the agricultural economy should remain in a growth period for at least another year. Speaking at an agricultural economics conference in Sioux City, Jason Henderson, says he sees comparisons of today to the boom times of the 1970′s. “You have the low value of the dollar which is supporting U-S agricultural exports overseas, you have stronger growing incomes in global markets, especially developing countries,like China,” Henderson says. “At the same time you have historically low interest rates which are turning record high farm incomes into record high farm values. So there are all of these similarities underpinning the agricultural economy.” One of the primary differences though between now and the 1970′s, is the level of debt.

“In the 1970′s U-S agriculture leveraged themselves up, quite a bit, and increased the accumulated debt over that decade, and that’s one thing that we haven’t seen yet at this stage in terms of the agricultural boom of today,” Henderson says. Henderson says the general economy will probably remain stagnant for a while until unemployment goes down. He says the agricultural economy has given some support to the general economy, particularly in the midwest, where there has been the strongest employment growth, lowest unemployment rates, and the strongest income gains of any region of the country.

“I think going forward what you are going to see its going to be more agriculture in terms of its size of the economy will provide some support going forward, and we’ll need to have some stronger growth in terms of the overall broader economy to help stimulate that agricultural demand domestically, and support of our liberties on our debt and that of what we have been accumulating here recently,” Henderson says. Henderson says government regulations may play a significant role in determining how fast the general economy may rebound. The Federal Reserve Official says he doesn’t see the Board of Governors making many drastic changes to interest rates in the near future.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)

Iowa House OKs plan to overturn lead shot ban

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa House has approved a resolution that would overturn a ban on the use of lead shot when hunting doves.  Backers of the resolution say the Natural Resources Commission overstepped its authority when writing rules governing the hunting of doves. That hunting was legalized by the Legislature last year. The House approved the resolution on a 68-27 vote Thursday, and the issue now goes to the Senate, where approval is likely.  Backers of the ban on lead shot say other animals can eat the lead and that can lead to sickness or death.  Opponents of the ban say lawmakers discussed the issue last year and decided not to ban lead shot. They argue regulators shouldn’t overturn that decision.

SW IA Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC to Pay $10,150 for Risk Management Plan Violations

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Kansas City office report Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC, has agreed to pay a $10,150 civil penalty and spend at least $38,729 on a supplemental environmental project for failing to file a risk management plan and implement risk management regulations at its dry-mill ethanol plant in Council Bluffs.  According to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan., an inspection of the ethanol plant in January 2010 found that the company had not filed a risk management plan for the facility, as required by the federal Clean Air Act. 

Under the Clean Air Act, the Council Bluffs facility was required to file a risk management plan because it had exceeded the 10,000-pound threshold for anhydrous ammonia, an extremely hazardous chemical. Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy was storing approximately 28,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia at the time of the EPA inspection. As part of its settlement with EPA, Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy has agreed to perform a supplemental environmental project, through which it will spend at least $38,729 to purchase emergency response equipment for the Council Bluffs and Lewis Township fire departments. By agreeing to the settlement, the company has certified that the Council Bluffs ethanol plant is now in compliance with federal Risk Management Program regulations.

Wine, Dine Sweetheart for Free this Year

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

February 2 (Des Moines, IA) – The average American will spend $196 on Valentine’s Day this year, according to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker. But one lucky person will be able to wine and dine their sweetheart for free thanks to the Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board and Dine Iowa. Now through noon on February 14, people can register at www.traveliowa.com to win a $50 gift certificate to their favorite Iowa winery, a $50 gift certificate to their favorite Dine Iowa restaurant and an iPad2 pre-loaded with the Iowa Wine and Beer and Dine Iowa apps. 

“Valentine’s Day presents a great opportunity to showcase Iowa’s wine and dining industries. Each is booming here and each creates jobs and enhances the state’s economy,” said Colleen Murphy of the Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board, an initiative of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “The Iowa Wine & Dine promotion will give one lucky a winner a chance to surprise his or her sweetheart with a gift certificate good at one of more than 80 Iowa wineries and 400 Iowa restaurants, any of which promise to provide a memorable, uniquely Iowa experience.”

The winner will be announced on the Iowa Tourism Office’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/IowaTourism) at 2:14 p.m. on February 14. The Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board was created in 1986 to promote the state’s wine and beer making industries. Wine-related tourism generates nearly $30 million in expenditures across the state. To date, Iowa boasts 81 wineries and 25 breweries. Find more information at www.iowawineandbeer.com.

Labor Dep’t agrees to rethink rules on kids working on farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Federal officials have agreed to modify a plan that’s designed to protect children from dangerous jobs on family farms. The U-S Labor Department has been under fire from farm groups because the proposed rules were seen as too restrictive. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s encouraged to see the rules are being reconsidered by labor leaders. Harkin says, “They need to get additional information in, go back to the drawing table and write a better regulation.” The original proposal spelled out that children younger than 16 would be banned from using most power equipment, while those under 18 would be barred from working in locations like grain bins and feed lots. The new version will reportedly contain more exemptions for kids whose parents own or run the farms on which they’re working.

“I hope they’ll reach agreement on a regulation that protects kids but also recognizes family agriculture,” Harkin says. “It’s one thing to say that kids shouldn’t be operating fork lifts or humongous tractors or combines and to say they can’t even drive a garden tractor.” Harkin, a Democrat, says he agrees with those who’ve spoken out against the proposed regulations which would tear down generations of farm family traditions. “There has to be some balance, some rational thinking,” Harkin says. “Some of what they’re proposing, fine, but I talked to Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack about this. He says it would go so far to say kids couldn’t even drive a tractor across the road, well, kids have been driving tractors for years.” Labor department officials say they’ll work with the Ag department and others to make sure the new rules reflect rural communities’ concerns.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)