KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Extension warns oven canning is unsafe


August 19th, 2015 by Chris Parks

Oven Canning- UNSAFE!

Preserving food by canning in the oven has been a hot topic this summer. It seems everyone is looking for a shortcut to preserve food at home.

Oven canning is NOT a safe shortcut, Barb Fuller, Nutrition and Wellness Specialist and a Master Food Safety Advisor for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, says, “Many individuals have shared they have tried, or have heard about, oven canning. Just because a jar is sealed doesn’t mean the food inside is safe to eat. I’ve had people say to me- ‘I haven’t gotten sick from it.’ I tell them they are probably very lucky! Botulism is a big concern.”

Very often, a trusted and well-meaning friend or relative has shared information about canning in the oven as a simple way to can food. Others have found information off the internet promoting it as a “quick and easy” method.
Food “processed” in the oven will not necessarily be heated hot enough or long enough to produce a safe product! Oven regulators may not be very accurate and the hot air in the oven may not circulate efficiently enough to heat the food in the jars. In addition, dry heat penetrates jars very slowly. Canning jars are not designed for dry heating either. Who would want to clean up that mess if they exploded?

In addition, think of the wasted resources when finding out your food may not be safe to eat. Fuller adds, “People spend a great deal of money, time, and energy canning food. It is disheartening to tell someone their (improperly) canned food could make someone they love very sick.”

Do not put your families’ health and the quality of your food at risk for the sake of a shortcut- like oven canning. Be sure to only use research-based methods and tested recipes for SAFE home food preservation. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is an excellent source of this information. Go to www.store.extension.iastate.edu for publications and recipes. In the Search box (upper right corner), enter the name or number of publication:
• Canning Fruits (PM 1043)
• Canning Vegetables (PM 1044)
• Canning Fruit Spreads (PM 1366)
• Canning Pickled Products (PM 1368)
• Canning and Freezing Tomatoes (PM 638)
• Canning Meats, Poultry, Wild Game, and Fish (PM 3021)
• Freezing Fruits and Vegetables (PM 1045)
• Canning Salsa (HS 0021)

For more information, contact the your County ISU Extension and Outreach Office or Barb Fuller at 641-202-1843or at bfuller@iastate.edu. You can also call ISU Extension and Outreach’s AnswerLine at (800) 262-3804 to talk directly with a Home Economist. AnswerLine hours are Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-noon and from 1:00-4:00 pm.

Emerald Ash Borer confirmed in Montgomery County

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 18th, 2015 by Chris Parks

DES MOINES – The emerald ash borer (EAB), a destructive and invasive insect of ash trees has been discovered in central rural Montgomery County. Iowa’s growing number of counties with confirmed detection has now reached twenty-seven. Native to Asia, EAB has spread to 25 states since first being identified in Michigan back in 2002. This exotic pest is responsible for the death of tens of millions of ash trees.

EAB is a small, metallic-green beetle that is about ½ inch long. The larvae stage of this wood-boring insect tunnel under the bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients, ultimately causing the tree to die. EAB infested ash trees include thinning or dying branches in the top of a tree, evidence of woodpecker activity, S-shaped feeding galleries under dead or splitting bark, D-shaped exit holes, and water sprouts (along the trunk and main branches).

“This find marks the westernmost site that we have found EAB in Iowa to date,” said Mike Kintner, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship EAB and gypsy moth coordinator. “This just reinforces the importance of limiting human-assisted firewood movement to reduce the spread of EAB and other injurious tree pests.”

The Iowa EAB Team provides EAB diagnostic assistance to landowners and includes officials from Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the USDA Forest Service.

Since larvae of EAB can unknowingly be transported under the bark of a tree, the Iowa EAB Team strongly cautions Iowans not to transport firewood across county or state lines. The movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB and other plant pests. A statewide quarantine remains in place, restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states.

At this calendar date, the treatment window for soil-applied preventive treatment measures (soil injection, soil drench, or granular application) and basal trunk sprays has ended. Trunk injection remains a viable EAB management option for the next two weeks, as this method can be done when the tree has a full canopy of leaves (now through the end of August), provided there is good ground moisture. If a landowner is interested in protecting a valuable and healthy ash tree within 15 miles of a known infestation, he or she should have landscape and tree service companies bid on work, review the bids, and treat during the recommended treatment time.

Please contact Iowa EAB Team members to have suspicious looking trees checked in counties not currently known to be infested. The State of Iowa will continue to track the movement of EAB on a county-by-county basis. Before a county can be officially recognized as infested, proof of a reproducing population is needed and an EAB must be collected and verified by USDA entomologists.

Rural Atlantic Families “Super Bull” receiving lot’s of attention at the Iowa State Fair

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 17th, 2015 by Chris Parks

The “Super Bull” at the Iowa State Fair seems to be enjoying the attention. “Sampson,” a 3-year-old Red Angus, tipped the scales at a whopping 2,893 pounds and is owned by Jim and Danelle Skartvedt of rural Atlantic.  Sampson was bred by Two Oaks Red Angus of Dunlap, IA Brandon McHugh. The bull was named the winner of the annual “Super Bull” contest at the State Fair Thursday evening. Sampson was raised by Zellmer Farms Alan and Brenda Zellmer, near Atlantic, along with Gage Zellmer and maintained by A to Z Feeders.Sampson

Owners Jim and Danelle Skartvedt were asked about Sampson’s diet and stated “He eats an entire 50 pound bag of Renew Ag Supply’s “Midwest Success with Matrix” per day, with a sprinkle of VitaFerm’s Sure Champ Cattle a 1/4 of a bale, and lots and lots of water.”

Gage Zellmer, the 22-year old son of Brenda and Alan, said it was surprising to the family how big Sampson grew, and how fast.  He told KJAN News “Honestly, what happened was we had him running with some younger bulls that we were trying to bulk-up, and kind of lost track of him. All at once, we realized ‘Holy Cow!,’ he’s huge. So we decided to pull him in and really start cranking him up on feed and decided we’d try the Super Bull [contest]. We’d never done it, never been around it, but just decided we’d try it.”

Gage says it takes a lot of time and feed to make a bull that huge. You wouldn’t think it would be easy to lead around an animal that weighs more than a VW Beetle, but Gage said he was amiable enough once he got used to the idea…still, he can be determined to go where he wants.

Danelle credits her younger brother Gage for being brave enough to climb in and break the bull. “He is a mild mannered bull and seems pretty happy as long as his feeder is full and his fan is on. Sampson was a family project with many helping to get him ready for his big day!”

Sampson beat out the next nearest winner by 150 pounds. You can see Sampson at the Iowa State Fair in the barn near the Livestock Pavilion, through the last day on August 23rd. Look for the sign out front, that reads “Super Bull.” Feel free to stop by and talk to the Skartvedt family about their bull, their business, and feed as well as the Zellmer family and their farm.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board set to meet Mon. evening

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Members of the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors will meet Monday in the City Council’s Chambers at City Hall. The meeting begins at 5:15. During their session, the Parks Board will receive updates from Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring and Assistant Director Seth Staashelm, with regard to the Urban Forestry Grant and Tree Census in Atlantic, as well as the Kiddie Korral, which the City’s Street Department has agreed to demolish after Labor Day. A new shelter will be erected in its place.

Other updates include those pertaining to: The Schildberg Rec Area Fishing Dock; Schildberg Campground; the Atlantic Swimming Pool (which will close for the season on August 23rd); The Bull Creek/Schuler Trail, and Schildberg Lake #2 Trail Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant. Herring and Staashelm will also talk about “Operation ReLeaf” that takes place this fall, and the selling of trees through the Urban Forestry Grant.

Iowa poultry producers plan for possible return of bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

RUDD, Iowa (AP) — Iowa poultry farmers are bracing for the possibility that bird flu will return this fall when wild birds migrate, but they hope the disease won’t return. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the industry that had to slaughter more than 35 million chickens and turkeys earlier this year is just starting to recover. But agriculture officials say migrating birds might bring the disease back.

The Iowa Poultry Association’s Randy Olson says the industry is doing everything it can to prevent another outbreak. Tony Halsted says he’s grateful that his hatchery near Rudd escaped bird flu in the spring. Halsted says he has divided his birds up and moved some flocks into Missouri to make sure that a bird flu infection at one location wouldn’t cripple his operation.

UDSA Report 08-13-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

August 13th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin


Master Hoof Care Program offered in southwest Iowa


August 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer a beef cattle lameness clinic to be held on September 10th, from 9-a.m. to 4-p.m. The event takes place at the Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis. The one-day Master Hoof Care Workshop for beef cattle producers, feedlot operators, feedlot personnel, and veterinarians features Dr. Jan Shearer from the Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine.

Participants receive a copy of “Lameness in Cow/Calf and Feedlot Cattle” manual and will learn through classroom discussion and a hands-on lab session. Chris Clark, ISUEO beef field specialist, says “The lab session will provide an opportunity for participants to practice some hoof care skills. The agenda will include classroom discussion in the morning followed by demonstrations and some active learning in the afternoon lab session”

Topics will include diagnosis and treatment of common causes of lameness in beef cattle, basic hoof trimming and hoof knife sharpening, appropriate use of antibiotics in the treatment of bovine lameness, and the application of foot blocks and wraps. Clark says “The material should be helpful for anyone involved in the day to day management of beef cattle. Lameness cases can sometimes be challenging. Dr. Shearer will offer insights that will help producers better manage feet and leg issues.”

The registration fee is $50 per person and includes lunch. Preregistration is required. The workshop is designed for a limited number of participants so please register early to secure a seat. To register or for more information, contact Chris Clark at 712-769-2650 or by email at caclark@iastate.edu.

(Press Release)

USDA sees 13.7B bushel corn crop, 4 percent less than 2014

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers are expected to produce 13.7 billion bushels of corn this year, down 4 percent from last year’s record. It will be the third highest annual production on record in the U.S. Farmers are expected to harvest 81.1 million acres, down 2 percent from a year ago.

The USDA monthly crop update released Wednesday says Iowa, the nation’s top corn producer, expects to harvest 2.43 billion bushels, up 2.8 percent from 2014. Nebraska’s corn production will increase 3.8 percent to 1.66 billion bushels. Illinois corn production will fall nearly 15 percent.

Soybean production is forecast at 3.92 billion bushels, down 1 percent from last year. Production will drop 2.5 percent in Illinois, the nation’s leader. Iowa production will increase 2 percent.

Public hearing set for Aug. 27th in Cass County on hunting proposal

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

August 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Conservation Board is considering a resolution to open the east half of the Turkey Creek Wildlife Area to public hunting. The Turkey Creek Wildlife Area is located between Atlantic and Lewis, just off Highway 6. The area is currently not open to public hunting, and the Conservation Board feels the area is underutilized.

A public hearing will be held August 27th beginning at 5-p.m. to address the matter.Cass Co Conservation Board The hearing takes place at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Office at Cold Springs State Park, at Lewis. Input will be taken at that time with regard to a proposal to open the area to public hunting.

If you have any questions, please call Micah Lee with the Cass County Conservation Board, at 712-769-2372.

Annie’s Project Provides Agriculture Business Education to Iowa Farm Women

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with ISU Extension in Shelby County say a networking program that empowers women in agriculture to become better business partners and owners is being offered to area women, beginning Aug. 25th, in Harlan.annieswebx8 “Annie’s Project” is a six-week course designed especially to help farm women develop their management and decision-making skills. Online registration is available at http://www.aep.iastate.edu or at the Shelby County office.

Farm women participating in Annie’s Project courses become better business partners and owners by learning to manage and organize critical information for their own farms, while establishing networks with other farm women and agriculture business professionals.  According to ISU Extension and Outreach farm specialist, Shane Ellis, Annie’s Project covers five areas of agricultural risk management: financial, human resources, legal, marketing and production.

According to a 2012 survey conducted by Iowa State Extension and Outreach, 47 percent of Iowa’s farmland is owned by women. Annie’s Project supports these women by providing an agricultural business education program that empowers farm women who want to be more knowledgeable about their agricultural enterprises.

The program will be held at the Shelby County Extension Office: August 25th, Sept. 1st, Sept. 8th, Sept. 15th, Sept. 22nd and Sept. 29th. They begin with a light supper at 5:45 p.m., followed by the program from 6-until 9-pm.

More than 33 states have implemented Annie’s Project sites since its inception in 2002. For more information, contact Amanda at 712-755-3104. Annie’s Project in Iowa is supported by Farm Credit Services of America and the USDA Risk Management Agency.