The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hoping landowners will take a look at a new program to create habitat for pheasants. D-N-R wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz (bohg-in-shuts), says it’s part of the Conservation Reserve Program and 50-thousand acres are available in Iowa. He says they weren’t able to get people signed up until the new Farm Bill was approved. “We’re hoping with the new Farm Bill being done here, hopefully in the next couple of months we’ll actually be able to market this and get a few landowners interested in putting some good pheasant habitat on the ground,” Bogenschutz says.
The program called “Iowa Pheasant Recovery. “Basically it’s kind of the bedroom, kitchen room, living room all right there in one spot for the birds,” Bogenschutz explained. He says having all the areas together makes it easier on the pheasants to nest and get food and grow their population. Bogenschutz says the program would work best on ground that isn’t that productive. “Corn prices are tumbling, you know there’s already predictions that corn could be under four dollars by this fall. So, especially on some of the less productive land, C-R-P rental rates are paying upwards of 300 dollars plus on some soils in Iowa,” Bogenschutz says. “So for those that are interested in helping pheasants, I think it’s probably worth looking at.”
Bogenschutz says the most recent winter storm that saw a mix of rain, sleet, hail and snow is a key example of the need for diverse habitat for pheasants. “I thought maybe this storm wasn’t going to be a big deal, but the way it came in — being warmer yet it still fell as snow — really stuck to vegetation. And it was very wet and really collapsed all the grasses under the weight of that wet, heavy snow,” Bogenschutz says.
He says that left pheasants will fewer places to hide and their food sources covered. “A lot of our grass habitats got eliminated. A lot of the fields are now locked in a sheet of ice,” according the Bogenschutz. He says that will make it hard for birds to scratch through the snow and ice to get to food. And he says they may have to move greater distances to find food, which leaves them open to predators. Weather has taken its toll on the state pheasant population in recent years. Bogenschutz says adding these C-R-P acres tailored to the birds could help turn that around.
Even though another polar vortex has the Midwest in its crosshairs, Iowans’ attention is focused squarely on spring and going camping. The reservation window for the Memorial Day Weekend campsites for a Friday arrival opened on Sunday. Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources say that 9-a.m. today (Tuesday), six state parks had filled all reservable campsites for Memorial Day Weekend that offer electricity or full hook ups. Camping options for the big holiday weekend in a state park are quickly shrinking.
Campers wanting to spend the holiday weekend at Elinor Bedell, Lake of Three Fires, Lewis and Clark, Pleasant Creek, Viking Lake, and Waubonsie should plan to arrive a few days early for one of the walk up sites with electricity – all the reservation sites have been taken. Other parks are close to hanging up the no reservations sign.
Ledges, Green Valley, Prairie Rose, Lake Anita and Rock Creek state parks only have the handicap accessible site available. Brushy Creek had one equestrian site; Backbone, McIntosh Woods and Walnut Woods have three; Fairport, Maquoketa Caves and Union Grove have four; Dolliver, George Wyth and Wapsipinicon have six and most include a handicap accessible site.
Lake Geode is not taking reservations until construction on the wastewater system is complete. The park is open and accepting campers while the work is underway. Most parks will have nonelectric sites available for the Memorial Day Weekend.Campers can make reservations for a site three months ahead of their first night stay.
Not every campsite is available on the reservation system. Parks maintain between 25 and 50 percent of the electric and non electric sites as non-reservation sites, available for walk up camping. Information on Iowa’s state parks is available online at www.iowadnr.gov including links to the reservations page.
In an update to our story on Feb. 4th, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports a meeting over the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) designed to gather the public’s thoughts on the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall, that was originally scheduled to be held at the St. Albert High School in Council Bluffs, has instead been moved to Lewis Central Middle School. Also another meeting location has been added at the public library in Atlantic.
The Lewis Central Middle School is located at 3504 Harry Langdon Blvd in Council Bluffs. Park in the single lot in front of the building along Langdon Blvd and enter the front door by the sign for the ICN room. The Atlantic Public Library is located at 507 Poplar Street. Both meetings will be held February 26th, from 6 to 9 p.m.
These meetings are part of the process for making rules in state government. At each meeting DNR staff will facilitate a discussion about what went well last fall, what didn’t, and what changes hunters and trappers would like to see for this fall. The discussions along with the data that the wildlife bureau collects on harvest and population numbers will be used to develop recommendations for any rule changes this fall. Any changes must be approved by the Natural Resource Commission and then go back to the public for further comment before taking effect next fall.
If you have questions call Matt Dollison at (712) 350-0147.
A farmer from Adair County was selected to win $2,500 from the Monsanto Corporation as part of the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program. The winner gets to chose which non-profit organization the money is donated to, and in the case of farmer Ronald Nelson, he selected the Adair County Health Foundation as the recipient of those funds.
The Monsanto funds are given to eligible farmers across America that register for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit organization in the community that they live and work in.
Cass County farmers Chris and Stephanie Witzman have directed a $2,500 donation to the Atlantic High School Journalism Department. The donation is made possible through the Monsanto Funds’ “America’s Farmers Grow Communities” program, and will help the department purchase equipment to improve the quality of production. The journalism department at the school produces a video news show, EYE of the Needle, which is broadcast weekly to the entire student body, and is available online.
Stephanie Witzman says her daughter is in the AHS Journalism Program, and knows how much they can use the funds to purchase up-to-date equipment. Thanks to the support of farmers across the country, more than $3.2 million is being directed to nonprofits in 1,289 counties in 39 states.
America’s Farmers Grow Communities works directly with farmers to support nonprofit organizations like the Atlantic High School Journalism Department, who are doing important work in their communities. The program offers farmers the chance to win $2,500, which is then donated to the farmer’s nonprofit of choice. The search for funding to sustain and enhance programs is a year-round job for nonprofit organizations across the country. Through America’s Farmers Grow Communities, farmers have been able to support a variety of groups, such as schools, fire departments, community centers and youth organizations like 4-H and FFA.
America’s Farmers Grow Communities launched in 2010, and has since donated over $13 million to more than 5,200 nonprofit organizations across the country. America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, is part of the America’s Farmers initiative, which highlights and celebrates the important contributions of farmers like Chris and Stephanie Witzman.
Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are investigating the shooting of a Golden Eagle northwest of Woodbine, in Harrison County. The DNR isn’t sure whether the federally protected bird was shot in western Iowa or eastern Nebraska, and are uncertain when the incident happened, but it’s believed the eagle was shot sometime Tuesday or early Wednesday. Authorities think an organized group of people are targeting the birds in an attempt to put them on the black market.
Any Harrison County resident with information regarding the eagle shooting, is encouraged to call the Turn in Poachers Hotline at 800-532-2020, or on the web, log-on to Iowadnr.gov/tip. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of farms in Iowa has fallen but the total land farmed in the state has remained stable. The Census of Agriculture, a report released every five years, says the number of Iowa farms fell 4.5 percent to 88,631 in 2012 from 92,856 in 2007. The report released Thursday updates a wide range of agricultural statistics as of 2012.
The average size of a farm grew to 345 acres from 331 acres. Land farmed in the state declined by just over 130,000 acres to 30.6 million acres. The average age of an Iowa farmer increased to 57 from 56. The value of Iowa’s agricultural products rose 50 percent to $30.81 billion from $20.41 billion in 2007.