KJAN Ag/Outdoor

New Iowa land trust seeks to preserve farmland for growing healthy food

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The first-ever statewide non-profit organization to preserve farmland from urban sprawl is launching its operations. Suzan Erem, of West Branch, is president of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, or SILT. Erem says the new organization will be focused to protecting Iowa farmland to grow healthy food. “We’re going to be targeting land that’s surrounding our growing communities,” Erem says. “Market farmers are having trouble staying close to their markets. They’re under pressure either from development or from commodity farmers. Either way, the land prices go up and it makes it much harder for them to stay close to the community where they’re trying to sell their produce.”

Farmers, she says, are often land rich and cash poor. “If we don’t have a non-profit taking the pressure off of the land from development or commodity prices, there’s no way to keep it from going up and up and up,” Erem says. “Every time somebody buys land, they count on 30 or 40 years from now, selling it at a higher price.” Working with city planners and private developers, she says small farms can be built into a community’s planning process.

“If we can’t take the land out of the equation, we’re always going to have our farmers farming with one arm tied behind their backs with this debt,” Erem says. “The land trust will protect the land and keep it just for local food production which eliminates that competition with the other pressures.” Independent, family farms help to provide a diverse, healthy landscape which she says will increase nearby home values while attracting new businesses seeking a high quality of life for employees.

Learn more at: www.silt.org.

USDA Report 02-05-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 5th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

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Local trails group asks Atlantic City Council for funding of Connector Trail

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, listened to a presentation from a representative with the Nishna Valley Trails (NVT) group, and their request for $50,000 in funding to help in their efforts to continue progress on the “Troublesome Creek Connector Trail.”

Dave Chase speaks to the Atlantic City Council.

Dave Chase speaks to the Atlantic City Council.

Dave Chase said last summer, the group applied for and received a $96,000 Iowa Department of Natural Resources REAP (Resource Enhancement and Protection) Grant, for the organization’s latest project. It was one of seven out of 24 projects that had applied for and received funding from the state for cities the size of Atlantic.

The $550,000 project involves the construction of about a 1.5-mile recreational trail and the use of a 12-foot wide single-span pedestrian bridge. The bridge itself has not yet been purchased. Chase said the group has raised more than half the funds needed to purchase the bridge needed to span Troublesome Creek, through a Community Drive, which has brought in a little over $50,000 since Christmas. He said the group has also filed a number of grant applications, but even if those are approved, it still won’t be enough to help complete the project, which is why NVT came to the City of Atlantic to ask for additional help.

Chase and City Administrator John Lund discussed the possibility of using a portion of the Community Progress Fund which is derived from the Local Option Sales Tax, to leverage more of the grant funds.  If the City Council should approve the $50,000 matching funds request, it would be combined with $50,000 from the County, which Chase said he intends to pursue as well. He said their goal is to raise all the necessary funds by this spring, with bid-letting at the same time, and construction getting underway this fall. He said the engineering aspect of the project has been completed.

The City of Atlantic’s Community Promotion Commission is set to consider a request from NVT for $10,000, during their meeting at Noon, today (Thursday).

Cass County Extension Report 02-04-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 4th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

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Seed Treatment Course Scheduled for Feb. 18

Ag/Outdoor

February 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

RED OAK, IOWA Montgomery County will host a Seed Treatment Continuing Instructional Course (CIC) for commercial pesticide applicators, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. The program will be shown at locations across Iowa through the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP).

The local attendance site is ISU Extension and Outreach Montgomery County, 400 Bridge Street Suite 2. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the course will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. The registration fee is $35 on or before Feb. 11 and $45 after Feb. 11. To register or to obtain additional information about the CIC, contact Jodie at the ISU Extension and Outreach office in Montgomery County at 712-623-2592.

The course will provide continuing instructional credit for commercial pesticide applicators certified in categories 4 and 10. Topics to be covered include equipment calibration and safe application techniques; pests, pest management and pesticides; and issues concerning treated seed.

Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered. Interested participants should bring their CCA number for the CEU sign-in sheet.

Additional information and registration forms for this and other courses offered by the PSEP team can be accessed at www.extension.iastate.edu/PSEP/.

Lawmakers back effort to preserve Iowa farmland

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers are getting behind an effort to preserve farmland in the state. Sen. Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, and Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, said Tuesday they would serve on an advisory board to the new Sustainable Iowa Land Trust. The organization seeks to preserve land in Iowa for farming and to make it more affordable for beginning farmers.

The legislators said the effort would benefit Iowa. They are not planning any immediate legislation, but will start discussions about what the state could do to help. Suzan Erem is president of the Iowa Land Trust. She said the group will try to help reclassify land to preserve it for farming and will seek to acquire parcels that could be leased to farmers.

FFA Legislative Symposium

Ag/Outdoor

February 3rd, 2015 by Jim Field

Left to Right Front Haley Carlson, Emily McDermott, Marshal McDermott (seated), Adam Freund, Clayton Saeugling.  Back Row  Eric Miller and Representative Jack Drake.

Left to Right
Front Haley Carlson, Emily McDermott, Marshal McDermott (seated), Adam Freund, Clayton Saeugling. Back Row Eric Miller and Representative Jack Drake.

Five Atlantic FFA Officers attended the 30th Annual FFA Legislative Symposium on January 27, 2015. The Legislative Symposium is a chance for Iowa FFA members to advocate to their district senator and representative. Atlantic members arrived at the FFA Enrichment Center for a layout of the day. After opening ceremonies, FFA members listened to two guest speakers, Craig Hill from Iowa Farm Bureau and Libby Crimmings from the World Food Prize. The next activity was a breakout session to learn about approaching their legislators and what to advocate to them. The day continued as the FFA members traveled to the capitol building to seek out their senator and representative. Atlantic FFA members got the chance to speak to Representative Jack Drake about the impact of FFA on their lives. They also got the chance to listen to Drake talk about what he does and see some interesting parts of the capitol building. Unfortunately, Atlantic FFA members did not get the chance to talk to Senator Tom Shipley. Atlantic FFA ended the day with a lunch stop at Legends before heading home. Junior Clayton Saeugling said, “It was an extraordinary opportunity for our FFA chapter to meet with our local representative and see our state’s capitol in action. We also got to connect with other FFA members and friends by advocating for agriculture together.”

FFA State Officer Visit

Ag/Outdoor

February 3rd, 2015 by Jim Field

Atlantic High School welcomed Logan Bauer, the Southwest State Vice President, Michael Tupper, the Northeast State Vice President, and Zoie Shook, the Southwest District Vice President to a chapter visit on January 23, 2015. While at AHS, the officers lead interactive workshops for the agriculture education classes. These workshops incorporated teamwork, listening skills, patience, and problem solving skills. They challenged the agriculture classes to put their knowledge to use in the classroom and in the field. The officers also talked with the agricultural education instructor, Eric Miller and the Atlantic Officer Team about what the future of Atlantic FFA looks like. Freshmen FFA member Josh Rossell said, “I thought the activities that taught us about leadership and teamwork were fun. It was a good experience overall.”

CHapter Visit 1 Chapter Visit 3 Chater Visit 2

Atlantic FFA starts the New Year with a BANG!

Ag/Outdoor

February 3rd, 2015 by Jim Field

Haley Carlson
Atlantic FFA Reporter

FFA Leadership Conference

Left to Right Emily Saeugling, Clint Hansen, Haley Carlson

Left to Right
Emily Saeugling, Clint Hansen, Haley Carlson

Three members of the Atlantic FFA to the 212/360 Conference at the FFA Enrichment Center January 10, 2015. Freshmen Emily Saeugling attended the 212 Conference. This was for freshmen and sophomore FFA members. The conference focused on six topics: passions, virtues, decision making, character, setting goals, and action. It was held by the Iowa FFA State Officer Team. Saeugling said, “I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it to others.” Junior Haley Carlson and senior Clint Hansen attended the 360 Conference. This Conference was for junior and senior FFA members to help create a vision for their future and the future of their FFA chapter. During this conference members got to interact with others from around Iowa and learn about what they think needs improvement in chapters and what success stories they have. The 360 Conference was facilitated by Josh Earll and Rachel Kagay. Each conference had a total of six sessions, along with lunch. Advisor, Eric Miller always has an assignment for each FFA event, and it is to make a new friend each day of the event. All three members walked out with many friends and great ideas for the future of the Atlantic FFA.

KJAN Conservation Report 01-31-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

January 31st, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Host Bob Bebensee and Brian Smith, Conservation Officer for Cass and Adair Counties.

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