KJAN Ag/Outdoor

US charges egg company, 2 execs in 2010 outbreak

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Federal prosecutors have filed charges against an Iowa egg company and two executives blamed in a 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands of people. Disgraced egg industry titan Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster were charged Wednesday with introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, a misdemeanor. A charging document says the pair sold shell eggs that were poisonous for several months in 2010.

Their company, Quality Egg LLC, is charged with introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce, a felony. The document says Quality Egg sold products for years with labeling that “made the eggs appear to be not as old as they actually were.” The company is also charged with bribing a U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspector.

The outbreak led to an unprecedented recall of 550 million eggs.

Frost damages crops in western Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State University crops specialist, Joel Dejong (Dee-young), says last week’s freezing temperatures have caused some widespread damage to western Iowa corn fields.  “A lot of northwest Iowa and actually even into southwest Iowa — although they didn’t even freeze — they had some damage in some fields also from radiation frost where it got cold so fast,” DeJong says. “We had temperatures in the mid 20’s, so obviously that’s going to cause come crop damage.” DeJong says in many instances corn had already emerged when the cooler temperatures had hit, and he believes most of the crop will recover.

“As I go dig fields, it looks like most plants have grown quite a bit since we had that frost and these nicer sunnier days help,” DeJong says. He says some plants look like they lost a leaf, but he says they will continue to regrow. DeJong says while the corn was damaged, soybeans are a different story.

“Soybeans once they emerge, their growing point is above ground. So, southwest Iowa reported several fields where they did freeze off emerged beans. I am not sure if I know of any emerged beans (in northwest Iowa) — maybe there was field or two out there. If there was, they are probably hurt pretty seriously,” DeJoung explains. Statewide, 40 percent of the soybeans have been planted and DeJong believes northwest Iowa farmers have perhaps planted as much as 60 percent of the intended soybean acreage. DeJong says farmers will want to start scouting for black cut worms based on their tracking of the adult larvae.

“We trap adults as they start moving up, they don’t live through an Iowa winter, so traps went out in mid-March and the first part of April,” DeJong says. He says the adults started showing up mid-April and he says they predict the worms will be big enough to start cutting off the plants by around May 27th. The agronomist says the day length and temperatures will determine how fast the cutworms will move into this area. He says as the corn growth slows down, so do the insects and other pests.

(Radio Iowa)

Parks and Rec Board approves Eagle Scout Fire pit project

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors Monday evening, approved a request from Eagle Scout Grant Podhasky, for an improvement project at Sunnyside Park.

Grant Podhasky

Grant Podhasky

The project involves the replacement of the fire pit on the east side of the Camblin Addition to the park. The current fire pit is falling apart and patched together with concrete blocks as support.

The current fire pit

The current fire pit

Podhasky said when he decided to pursue the project, he looked at three options for a new fire pit. He says he considered making it into a grill, but there’s already one in the area. He also looked into fire pit kits, but they weren’t visually and functionally adequate. Another option was to use retaining wall blocks.

The option he chose was using natural limestone, set in the form of a fire ring about 24-feet in diameter. Podhasky said the pit would have a concrete base lined with pea gravel and surrounded by timbers.

The ;proposed layout of a new fire pit.

The ;proposed layout of a new fire pit.

The project would use 2,000-pounds of limestone and 5.3-cubic yards of pea gravel.

Limestone blocks would serve as the basis for the fire pit.

Limestone blocks would serve as the basis for the fire pit.

As for seating options, Podhasky says he considered several options there, too.  Split logs, wooden benches and limestone blocks were looked at, but ruled out for various reasons. The end solution was to use tree stumps, which provide a natural environment for the setting.

10 tree stumps would be placed in the circle around the fire pit. With the Park Boards’ approval, Podhasky can continue with fundraising efforts and acquire the necessary materials and equipment. Work on removing the current fire pit is expected to begin in June, with the project completed by mid-July.

EPA mulls ethanol change as industry profits soar

Ag/Outdoor

May 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As ethanol producers see some of their most profitable months ever, the federal government is considering whether to lower the amount of the corn-based fuel that must be blended into gasoline.

If the EPA approves a proposal reducing the required amount of ethanol that must be used nationally from about 14 billion gallons to 13 billion gallons, it would hurt a biofuels industry that built plants and spent billions on research based on the standard Congress approved in 2007.

University of Illinois professor Scott Irwin estimates a model Iowa ethanol plant would have hit a record profit of $4.50 per bushel of corn processed at the end of March. The average profit was 20 cents per bushel from 2007 to 2013.

The EPA’s decision is expected in June.

USDA reports 84 percent of Iowa corn crop planted

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers have planted a higher percentage of the corn crop than last year but remain behind the five-year average. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that 84 percent of the corn crop had been planted as of Sunday. That’s more than the 63 percent of the crop planted at this time last year but a little behind the five-year average of 88 percent.

The USDA says 40 percent of the soybean crop has been planted. That’s 10 percentage points behind average. The report showed that 78 percent of topsoil moisture was adequate and 12 percent had surplus water. Of the remaining, 9 percent was short of moisture and 1 percent was very short. The USDA says 62 percent of subsoil moisture was adequate.

Ribbon cutting ceremony in Elliott Thu. for H20 protection project

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The City of Elliott will host a ribbon cutting ceremony this Thursday afternoon (May 22nd), for the City’s Source Water Protection and Wetland Project, Outdoor Classroom/Shelter and Trails. According to former Mayor Steve Howell, the City of Elliott has, in the past recorded increasing levels of nitrates in its well water. Plans were developed to change reverse that trend after the Iowa DNR conducted a study of the City’s Well water.

Howell, Becky Ohrtman and Dan Cook with the IDNR, put together a Source Water Protection (SWP) Team, and held several meetings to discuss three options aimed at decreasing nitrates in thew water. The team presented its findings to the Elliott City Council, and recommended a shallow wetland and native grass buffer, which was the least expensive option.

The City Council approved the project and the SWP team applied for grants for: A outdoor classroom and teaching materials; a human sundial; and, walking trails. After receiving 10 grants, donations and in-kind services, the project, which cost $325,000, came at NO cost to the City of Elliott.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Oct. 2012. The ribbing cutting ceremony taking place this Thursday, will begin at 1-pm., north of the Elliott Elementary School.

Branstad to visit Coon Rapids & sign Renewable Fuels Bill

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Governor’s office say Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds this coming week, will travel to Coon Rapids, to sign Senate File 2344 into law. The bill will protect Iowa’s renewable fuels industry by extending the state’s biodiesel production tax credit and enhancing the state’s E15 retailer tax credit.

The event takes place at the POET ethanol facility at 1015 Grant Avenue in Coon Rapids, from 12:30-1:15-pm, Wed., May 21st.

Joining the Governor and Lt. Governor, will be Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), and several renewable fuels and agriculture industry leaders.

ISU and Iowa DOT work with farm group to find better bridge inspection technology

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A coalition of state soybean associations is working with the Iowa D-O-T and Iowa State University on a project to improve technology used to inspect bridges. Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, says bridges are now visually inspected by trained engineers, but their decisions can sometimes be too conservative, leading to expensive repairs, or bridges being closed or load restricted. “The taxpayers, who actually paid for the roads and the bridges in their vicinity, no longer have full access to a system that they paid for,” Steenhoek says. “For a farmer, it can be a real cost. What would normally be a five-mile journey from the farm to the local elevator can easily become a 10- or 20- or 30-mile journey.”

Steenhoek says another problem with visual inspections is they can lead to wasting money for repairs and upkeep. “If you don’t have a clear understanding of the condition of your various bridges in your inventory, that can result in misallocation of scarce taxpayer dollars,” Steenhoek says. “This is a time when the federal government, the state government and the local government are really cash-strapped.” Steenhoek says that’s why the coalition, the Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa State University are embarking on this project to find ways to do more detailed analysis of bridges using advanced science.

“To actually use technology that is available to evaluate bridges, that provides real data and allows engineers to make accurate decisions about their bridges,” Sheenhoek says. “We’re wanting to see this project replicated in other states like Minnesota and South Dakota and Nebraska.” Steenhoek says a recent bridge collapse in Guthrie County highlights the need for a new inspection system. A farmer driving a tractor pulling two tanks of anhydrous ammonia was on a bridge when it collapsed. He had only minor injuries.

The Soy Transportation Coalition is comprised of the American Soybean Association, the United Soybean Board and 12 state soybean boards, including the Iowa Soybean Association. The 12 states account for 80% of all soybean production in the U-S.

(Radio Iowa)

Heavy rains lessen drought in Iowa, Nebraska

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

May 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Recent heavy rainfall has washed away or at least lessened drought conditions in swaths of Nebraska and Iowa. A report released Thursday by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says drenching rains led to significant improvements for areas of the two states considered to be in drought. Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the center, says overall drought reduced last week by nearly 12 percent in Iowa and about 17 percent in Nebraska.

The report says western Iowa saw the greatest improvement in the state. Nebraska saw a substantial reduction in the east-central region, with a pocket now considered drought-free. Fuchs says the improvements seen within the past week are noteworthy, as changes in drought status typically occur slowly.

Help Support the Atlantic FFA Chapter

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 15th, 2014 by Jim Field

The Atlantic FFA Chapter is excited to tell you about a great way to help our FFA Chapter receive free money. It’s called The Red Brand Home Grown Program. Now through December 31st, up to $1.00 for every roll of qualifying Red Brand fence orders will be donated directly to the Atlantic FFA Chapter.

This year the Atlantic FFA has 2 sponsoring retailers, Cappel’s Ace Hardware and Orscheln Farm & Home both from Atlantic.

Last year, individual FFA chapters throughout the country received hundreds of dollars directly through Home Grown. Some even received thousands!
The Atlantic FFA Chapter could really use this kind of support. If you, or anyone you know, needs fence, we’d appreciate you buying Red Brand. Just make sure you purchase it at Cappel’s Ace Hardware or Orscheln Farm & Home – so the Home Grown dollars go to our chapter. You can get all the details about Home Grown at redbrand.com/homegrown. Or, ask a local FFA member and they can tell you all about it.