KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Iowa governor brushes off Cher comments on hogs

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is brushing off entertainer Cher’s criticism about hog crates. Cher posted a message on Twitter Tuesday asking why Iowa farmers “torture pigs” in narrow gestation crates, and calling New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a “bully” for his stance on the issue.

Christie recently vetoed legislation outlawing gestation crates in New Jersey. New Jersey has few hogs, but some argue that Christie is influenced by the early voting status of Iowa, a state that raises more than 20 million hogs annually. Christie is weighing a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Branstad has dismissed that characterization. On Wednesday he responded to Cher, saying, “They know a lot about pig production out there in Hollywood.”

Deer Hunters waiting to Purchase Licenses

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 3rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Hunters planning to be in the timber for Saturday’s opening day of the first shotgun deer season should consider buying their license soon to avoid waiting in line at the license sales counter. Officials with the Iowa DNR say fewer than half of the expected 70,000 hunters have purchased their deer license as of Wednesday morning. A weekend weather forecast with temperatures favorable for hunting could lead to additional hunters choosing to go during the first shotgun season rather than second.

“Good weather usually means more people will be hunting and staying in the field longer which can lead to higher success rates,” said Willie Suchy, wildlife research supervisor for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Successful hunters are reminded to report their deer harvest by midnight the day after the deer is recovered. For hunters with Internet access, the online harvest reporting is the easiest way to register the deer. Hunters can report their deer online at www.iowadnr.gov, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor.

Accurately reporting the harvest is an important part of Iowa’s deer management program and plays a vital role in managing deer populations and future hunting opportunities. Reporting the harvest is required by law. Hunters will be checked for compliance.

Cass County Extension Report 12-03-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 3rd, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


John Deere museum opening in Waterloo


December 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) – The John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum is opening in Waterloo, offering a glimpse at the company and how it’s become ingrained in the community. Waterloo is home to John Deere’s largest manufacturing complex. The city’s partnership with the company is a theme of the museum, featuring stories about key people who guided John Deere in its early years in Waterloo.

Museum curator Joshua Waddle tells the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that some might not know that the manufacturer’s arrival caused concern among many Waterloo residents in 1918.  He says that’s because another company, Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Co., had employed about 1,000 of the city’s 35,000 residents. Many worried another competitor would cause them to lose their jobs.

High Court rejects appeal in Iowa pollution case


December 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from an Iowa grain company over a class-action lawsuit brought by nearby residents. The justices on Monday let stand an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that said residents could bring a nuisance lawsuit against Grain Processing Corp., which operates a corn processing plant in Muscatine.

The lawsuit accuses the company of routinely blanketing homes with soot and harmful chemicals. A lower court threw out the case, but the state supreme court said claims of nuisance, negligence and trespass are not barred by the federal Clean Air Act or related state rules governing air emissions.

Environmental groups backed the lawsuit, but business groups said regulation of air pollution should be left to state and federal agencies and not judges on a case-by-case basis.

Railroads say delays improving in Great Plains

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Rail delays have been a problem for farmers throughout much of the Great Plains this year, but they’ve been less of an issue in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Grain elevators around Sioux City say their rail shipments of grain this year have been mostly on time, and they’re cautiously optimistic about handling the big 2014 harvest over the next few months.

Don Truhe, general manager for the Southeast Farmers Elevator Coop, says his cooperative has been lucky to get all of its trains on time this year. It helps that a significant portion of the grain grown in the region is used by feedlots or biofuel plants.

In recent reports to the Surface Transportation Board, BNSF, Union Pacific and Canadian National railroads said they are making significant progress.

Ag Secretary reflects on year

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Thanksgiving is a time for farmers to look back on the harvest and review their work. Iowa Ag Secretary, Bill Northey, says there is plenty to be thankful for. “For most farmers in Iowa, we had awful good crops. We had some spots that weren’t…there’s lots and lots of fields out there that all yield different. For some of those fields, we had the best crops ever,” Northey says. “Certainly farmers are very thankful for that.” Northey says the value of the crop has changed in the last year.

“Prices now are different than they were at the beginning of the year or the end of last year, so they’ve softened up some. But the yields certainly help and that’s definitely one of the things a farmer is looking for when he plants his crop in the spring,” according to Northey. There’s also hope that the prices will see some rebound. “Sometimes we see kind of an after harvest bump. Once folks store the crop away it takes usually a better price for them to go to the bin and pull it out. They put it in the bin with the expectation of seeing a better price, and we’ll see if that does happen or not, but often we see a little bounce coming out of harvest,” Northey says.

There’ll be several new federal lawmakers in the new year and Northey says that could impact trade deals and other issues impacting farmers. “I think we have a congress that in general that would be slightly more friendly to trade in both chambers, certainly in the senate, than what it once was,” Northey says. “We are still waiting on an R-F-S, a renewable fuel standard number for 2014… I don’t know that we would expect any help out of congress for that.” Northey says with the makeup of the state legislature staying pretty much the same, he doesn’t expect to see any major legislation this year that would impact farmers.

Northey operates a farm near Spirit Lake.

(Radio Iowa)

SNAP benefits are helping more Iowa families avoid hunger

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

About 13-percent of all Iowans now put food on the table each day with the help of SNAP benefits. The latest Farm Bill is providing some 200-million dollars in grants that will be used to help those receiving SNAP benefits to find jobs — or better paying jobs. U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the face of the SNAP program has changed in the last 40 years. “Today, only 7-8% of SNAP beneficiaries are cash welfare recipients,” Vilsack says. “It used to be that hardly anybody had income in SNAP. Today, 41% of households have somebody earning a paycheck of one kind or another. It’s a different mix of people. It’s a different kind of program than it was, ending the stereotypes, making sure people understand there are a lot of folks struggling.”

Almost 421-thousand Iowans receive monthly SNAP benefits, about 13-percent of the state’s population. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, says the majority of those receiving SNAP benefits work but are under-employed or under-paid.  “Nearly three-quarters of SNAP beneficiaries are senior citizens, people with disabilities or children of moms and dads who are actually in the workforce,” Vilsack says. “Forty-one percent of SNAP beneficiaries live in households where there is income being generated by a job.” Vilsack says the grant money will be used to provide education and training, rehabilitative services for individuals in need and target hard to serve areas.

Vilsack says, “Congress in the Farm Bill basically created a fund of $200-million, said that we could use that fund to fund up to 10 pilot projects, $165-million of that 200-million will be used for actual costs and helping to create new programs and better programs and better linkages to job opportunities and 35-million will be used to evaluate those pilot projects.” Several of the pilot programs, he says, will be tested in what are considered hard-to-serve areas, including rural parts of Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

Prospects look good for pheasant hunting during Thanksgiving

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

November 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The turkey gets all the attention during the Thanksgiving holiday, but another bird is creeping back into the spotlight this year. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz, says after several years with their population being down, pheasants are making a comeback. “One of the traditions in Iowa was doing the pheasant hunt before the Thanksgiving meal and with improved bird numbers this year we’ve been getting pretty positive reports and I expect they’ll probably be a few more folks bringing back that tradition,” Bogenschutz says.

The pheasant season opened October 25th, and while the first few weekends are generally some of the best hunting, he says several factors have combined to make the prospects better for hunting now. “Our bird numbers were improved and on top of that we kind of had the late crop harvest, so it was a little challenging the opening week and week after there,” Bogenschutz says. “People had good success, but the birds figured out those crops were there, and most of those crops are gone now and that’s providing a few more birds that weren’t available to hunters.”

He says the latest snowfall also is a benefit to hunters. “Birds can make use of road ditches or even crop fields before we had snow and blend in pretty well, but now when things turn white the birds aren’t so comfortable just being out there in the open. That helps hunters, they can concentrate on the good areas of habitat, and that’s probably where the birds will move to as well,” Bogenschutz explains. A final count on the pheasant harvest won’t come until March, but Bogenschutz likes what he’s heard form hunters thus far.

“It’s just anecdotal reports, but they have all been positive. Folks are really pleasantly surprised with the bird numbers and the success they have been having,” Bogenschutz says. “I think that’s going to lead to probably our best bird harvest that we’ve had in a number of years.” Hunting hours for the pheasant season are 8 a-m until 4:30 p-m each day. The daily limit is three rooster pheasants. The season closes on January 10th.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowans overwhelmingly support funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Newly released polling data show an overwhelming majority of Iowans – 81 percent – now support the creation of the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. The survey of Iowa voters commissioned by Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy (IWILL) also found that 66 percent support a revenue enhancement to fund the trust.

The trust fund was created in 2010 when 63 percent of Iowa voters approved it through a statewide ballot initiative. The next step is to fund the trust through the state sales tax, an action that must be taken by members of the Iowa Legislature. Support in the poll for raising revenues for the trust fund rose to 73 percent when it was paired with a reduction in income or property taxes for an overall reduction in taxes.

The Nature Conservancy and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation are some of the dozens of organizations that have supported Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, a coalition working together to secure a permanent, constitutionally protected source of dollars for conserving and enhancing water quality and natural areas in the state.

The poll, conducted in August 2014 by Public Opinion Strategies and released publicly today, found a strong majority of Iowa voters see these issues as serious problems:
• Pollution of rivers, lakes and streams – 86 percent
• Soil erosion from Iowa’s farmland – 86 percent
• Flooding along Iowa rivers – 89 percent
• Loss of wildlife habitat – 77 percent
• Cuts in state park funding – 71 percent

Revenues to the trust fund, estimated at $150‐180 million each year, would address all of these issues and would be subject to strict accountability measures and public audits. The poll also found that Iowa voters see conserving natural resources as ensuring a legacy for future generations, with 95 percent of those polled agreeing we need to ensure children and grandchildren can enjoy Iowa’s water, land, wildlife, and natural beauty the same way we do today.

The poll found that 82 percent of Iowa voters agree the state’s parks, trails, wildlife areas, and other public lands are an essential part of the economy. More information is available at www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org .