DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers using irrigation for crops are getting a survey in the mail from the U.S. Department of Agriculture about their water use and irrigation practices. The USDA says the survey will provide the only comprehensive information on irrigation activities and water use by Iowa producers. The agency says in a statement released Tuesday the information gathered will help in the development of improved technology, better equipment and more efficient water use practices.
The survey also will include an additional focus on nursery and horticultural operations. Surveys were mailed early this month to 625 producers who indicated they used irrigation in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. Responses are due back by Feb. 10.
A reminder for cattle producers: The West Central Iowa Beef Cattle Forum will be held Wednesday, Jan. 22nd, at the American Legion in Arcadia. Chris Clark, beef program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said the conference agenda will include a several timely topics and will include information for feedlot, stocker, and cow/calf producers.
Aaron Saeugling, ISU Extension and Outreach Agronomist will provide information on the use of cover crops as alternative forage sources and will focus on practical tips and expectations for cover crop use in west central Iowa. Jan Shearer from the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine will speak about cow/calf and feedlot lameness issues and Grant Dewell from the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine will give a presentation about the veterinary feed directive and judicious use of antibiotics.
Ken Hessenius, Iowa DNR Supervisor Field Office #3 will present on the Iowa DNR/EPA work plan and how that may impact cattle producers over the next few years. Shane Ellis, ISU Extension and Outreach Farm Management Specialist do a beef market update/outlook presentation. Matt Deppe, ICA CEO and Justine Stevenson, ICA Director of Government Relations will also be present to provide updates on Iowa Cattlemen’s Association activities.
The program at the American Legion in Arcadia begins at 9:00 a.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided and will be served at approximately 12:15 p.m. There is no cost for this event, but registrations are necessary to properly plan for meals. Please make reservations by Jan. 17 by calling either the ICA office at 515-296-2266, or the Iowa State University Armstrong Research Farm in Lewis, 712-769-2600. For more information about the event please contact Merle Witt at the ICA office or Chris Clark at the ISU Armstrong Research Farm.
Keeping young cows in the herd is challenging for today’s cattle producers, but it’s a necessary part of planning for profitability. That’s why Iowa Beef Center is partnering with Iowa Cattlemen’s Association to offer “Heifer Development 2: Maintaining Your Investment” in several Iowa locations over the next several weeks.
The series will focus specifically on management practices to keep young cows in the herd to improve long term profitability, and is a follow-up to the 2012 series on yearling heifers “Heifer Development- Rebuilding our Future.” The 2014 sessions will pick up where the first series left off, with a focus on nutrition, health, calving, and reproductive management of bred heifers through their second breeding season.
All sessions include a meal for those preregistered at least two days prior to the event. The $20 fee is payable at the door. Walk-in registration is $25 per person and a meal is not guaranteed. Heifer Development 2: Maintaining Your Investment programs will be held on the following dates and times at these area locations.
Iowa is the nation’s number-one pork producer so it’s only logical that the country’s biggest pork trade show is held here, too. The Iowa Pork Congress is scheduled for the middle of next week in Des Moines. Ron Birkenholz, spokesman for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says the event will draw large crowds over its two-day run. “We generally attract about 5,000 people, producers, allied business representatives, students, educators and not just from Iowa either, around the Midwest,” Birkenholz says.
There will be a variety of seminars focusing on the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, the economic outlook for the pork industry, the Affordable Care Act and, of course, plenty of pork-related products. “We like to call it the largest winter swine trade show in the country,” he says. “We’ll pack Hy-Vee Hall with about 300 exhibitors and just about anything a pork producer or anyone involved in the pork industry would ever need.” The Iowa Pork Congress runs January 22nd and 23rd at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
Learn more at: www.iowaporkcongress.org
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he will host a public hearing on a proposal that would reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. Branstad announced Friday the hearing will be in Des Moines on Jan. 23. He says he wants to give citizens an opportunity to testify about a recent proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the amount of ethanol that must be blended with gasoline in 2014.
Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of ethanol, a fuel additive primarily made from corn that produces lower carbon emissions than gasoline. The EPA proposal drew outcry by political leaders from both parties who claimed such a move would devastate Iowa’s economy.
Branstad says he asked White House officials to hold such a hearing and they declined.
Deborah L. Petersen, Trustee in the bankruptcy case for G & R Feed and Grain Co., Inc., in Portsmouth, reports that since the business filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on January 1st, 2013, she has taken action to collect all funds on deposit, collect all accounts receivable, sell all assets and collect grain proceeds. Petersen says for the most part, that has been completed, but she is still seeking recovery of several post-petition transfers and will be analyzing several possible preferential transfers.
Petersen has entered into a settlement agreement with Cargill that was also approved by the Court. To make a payment now to creditors, she has filed an Interim Report with the Court. The report proposes a payout of 60% of all allowed claims as reported to the Court or compromised. Absent objections or other delays, Petersen anticipates approval of the Report in mid February.
Once approved by the Court, checks could be mailed by late February, 2014 for the initial distribution. After that process, there will be tax returns and reports to file, fee applications to be approved and paid and other detail work to conclude the case before a final distribution will be made. The timing and amount of any further distribution is unknown at this time.
There will be several fee applications for professionals to be made, tax returns to file and other reports to made before the case will be concluded. Petersen has a recorded message that will be updated regularly. You can hear this message at 712-328-8808, option 8. If you have legal questions, Petersen advises that you should contact an attorney of your choice.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Slightly more water than normal is expected to flow into the Missouri River this spring, but the dams along the river should have room for it. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says several of the reservoirs remain below normal because they are still recovering from the 2012 drought. So the Corps’ Jody Farhat says the reservoirs should be able to safely handle the 26.1 million acre feet of runoff expected this year. That forecast is slightly above normal runoff of 25.2 million acre feet.
The Corps adjusts the amount of water released from dams along the river in response to conditions. Last year, releases along the water were limited because the Corps was conserving water as the region recovered from drought. That affected barge traffic on the river.
A Shelby County resident who lived the farmer’s dream is now bequeathing most of it to local churches. Edwin “Bud” Skalla of rural Portsmouth, passed away on November 26th, 2013 at the age of 92 years old. During his lifetime, Skalla accumulated over $2 million in cash assets and 1,100 acres of land in Harrison and Shelby Counties. In a press conference Thursday, Ray Chipman, conservator for the Skalla estate, said most of the land and cash assets will be divided between thirteen catholic churches in southwest Iowa. In addressing the media, Chipman said Skalla was a quiet and frugal man.
“During his lifetime he wouldn’t have bought you a cup of coffee that cost five cents. But now in his passing, I think we can say 98 percent of his estate will be given to catholic churches in southwest Iowa. Portsmouth in particular will inherit a farm which was appraised at almost $3 million. That is an out right gift to Portsmouth.”
Chipman says the 292 acre farm going to St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Portsmouth is one of six parcels of land Skalla owned southeast of Portsmouth. The other 858 acres will be auctioned. “In addition to the farm given to Portsmouth, the residual of his estate, and we don’t know what that is going to be because we have 858 acres and we don’t know what that will bring per acre, but depending on what that brings added to $2.5 million in cash assets that he has, that total will be distributed to 13 catholic churches in southwest Iowa.”
Those churches benefiting in Shelby County are St. Michael’s in Harlan, St. Peter’s in Defiance, St. Joseph’s in Earling, and St. Boniface in Westphalia, St. Mary’s in Portsmouth and St. Mary’s in Panama. In Harrison County, St. Patrick’s Church in Missouri Valley, St. Anne’s Church in Logan, St. Patrick’s in Dunlap and Sacred Heart in Woodbine. In addition, St. Patrick’s in Neola, St. Rose of Lima in Denison and St. Patrick’s in Council Bluffs are also beneficiaries. Skalla didn’t come from a wealthy family and built most of his assets in investments. Skalla was never married and didn’t have any children. His living relatives are two sisters Sylvia Kepford of California, Roseann Brummer of Logan and sister in law Vi Skalla. Father John Dorton of the St. Mary’s of Portsmouth and other churches spoke highly of Skalla and called him a loyal, hard worker who loved the community and church. Dorton then read a letter written by Reverend Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines,
“The Catholic communities of Shelby and Harrison Counties as well as the Diocese of Des Moines are enormously grateful to Edwin “Bud” Skalla for his extraordinarily generous remembrance of the parishes in his will. Bud was engaged in the most noble of professions, farming. Through his dedicated work, he provided nourishment for the human body which fortified countless thousands. Now, in death, through his legacy he will enrich the human spirit through faith and spiritual development.”
When asked how he felt when he heard what the Portsmouth parish was going to receive, Dorton replied with one word: “Wow!” Skalla spent all but thirteen years of his life on his farm southeast of Portsmouth before moving to Elm Crest Retirement Community in Harlan. The auction for the land will be held in Portsmouth on February 15th at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Portsmouth.
In an effort to promote fishing, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation Department will host a youth fishing event this weekend, at Big Lake. The lake is located at 2600 North 8th Street, in Council Bluffs, and will take place on Saturday, January 11th, from 9am to 1pm.
A raffle drawing will be held to award prizes to young anglers 16 years of age or younger in attendance. The DNR plans to stock Big Lake with 1,000 rainbow trout on Friday at around 4-pm, to ensure the youth anglers get plenty of bites and action on the lake Saturday. Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Brian Hayes said, “The trout stocking Council Bluffs provides a unique opportunity for people looking for an outdoor activity.” Stocking trout in urban areas like Council Bluffs brings fishing close to home for a lot of people and provides an opportunity to involve kids in fishing.
Registration for the youth fishing event will from 9- to 10-a..m., Saturday. Kids under 16 fishing with a properly licensed adult, do not need a trout fee to fish for or possess trout, but the daily limit together is five trout. A fishing license and trout fee can be obtained at any local hunting and fishing license sales agent or your county recorders’ office.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your children can’t have fun at camp. The Cass County Conservation Board and Cass County Extension Service is offering kids and opportunity to do on a non-school-day, by registering them for “Penguin Day Camp.” The Penguin Camp is for children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade and will be held on Monday, January 20th, at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic.
Youth may register for either the 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon or 1:00 PM – 4 PM Activities include: Penguin Crafts – Learn about penguins and make a fact book; Taking an outdoor adventure by going on a winter hike and coloring in the snow; Enjoying a live bird presentation by the Blank Park Zoo, and Participation in games & activities about penguins.
The camps will be offered free of charge, with pre-registration required. A snack will be provided. Parents should remember to dress your children to go outdoors for fun and a winter hike. Registration deadline for Penguin Camp is January 15th. Call the Cass County Extension office at 243-1132 or email email@example.com to register your children. No registrations will be accepted after the registration deadline.