KJAN Ag/Outdoor

From County extension to conservation to grain prices, we provide lots of information every day on KJAN.  Here is some of that information on the web too!  We hope you find it useful.

Iowa seeks payment plan options at farmers markets

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Iowa is scrambling to develop a plan for spending federal money to expand payment options at its 200 farmers markets. An appropriations bill provides $4 million in funding to increase farmers markets participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Iowa is to receive about $161,000. The Gazette in Cedar Rapids says the money has to be obligated by Sept. 30. The funds are to expand the availability of wireless point-of-sale equipment in farmers markets not currently participating in SNAP. Tracy Penick of the Iowa Department of Human Services says the challenge is that vendors use individual devices to run SNAP cards, while the funding is designed to go to farmers markets as a whole.

Ag Sec Vilsack approves closing of FSA office in Union County

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

John R. Whitaker, Iowa State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA), today (Wednesday),  announced that USDA Secretary Thomas A. Vilsack has approved the closure of three FSA county offices in Iowa, including those in Union County, Decatur and Appanoose Counties. The process will begin immediately.  After the required notifications have been provided to producers, FSA employees and office landlords, closure dates will be established and made publically available.  

FSA Administrator, Bruce Nelson said in a Press Release, “FSA places the utmost priority on ensuring that our services to producers remain strong as this consolidation process begins.”  The agency will provide farmers and ranchers affected by closures an opportunity to choose the most convenient neighboring county office with which to conduct their future business with the agency.  In addition, all employees in the closing office will be provided in opportunity to continue to work with FSA.  

Officials say as a federal agency, FSA has been affected by widespread budget reductions made by Congress.  Since 2011, the Agency has lost 1,230 permanent employees through voluntary early separation and normal retirement.  In addition, FSA has been forced to reduce discretionary administrative expense by over 30 percent in the last fiscal year alone. For a complete list of FSA county offices affected by the decision, go to:  http://www.fsa.usda.gov/officeconsolidations



May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board today (Wednesday) announced plans to conduct a referendum on July 10, 2012 to increase the corn checkoff by ¼ cent per bushel.  The checkoff is currently ¾ of a cent per bushel and if the increase is approved would be 1 cent per bushel. Any producer who raised and marketed at least 250 bushels of corn from September 1, 2010 to August 31, 2011 is eligible to vote at any county extension office in the crop reporting district where they live from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on July 10. Growers who wish to vote by absentee ballot may do so by contacting the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.  Producers may call 515-281-5321, email cornvote@IowaAgriculture.gov or visit the Henry Wallace Building, 502 E 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319 to solicit an Absentee Ballot Request Form. The Absentee Ballot Request Form must be signed and returned to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.  The producer will then be mailed an Absentee Ballot. Absentee Ballot Request Forms must be postmarked by June 27, 2012 and Absentee Ballots must be postmarked by July 10, 2012. 

The corn checkoff was last increased in 2008 to the current rate of ¾ cent per bushel marketed.  The checkoff is collected on corn that enters commercial channels but not on grain used on-farm.  Producers are able to request a refund of their checkoff contribution and that will not be affected by the vote. The Iowa Corn Checkoff was established by producer referendum in 1977.  The Iowa Corn Promotion Board, made up of farmers elected by their peers, invests checkoff dollars for research, education, promotion, and market development.  The maximum checkoff allowed under Iowa code is 1 cent per bushel.

Drought concerns emerge

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Warm, windy weather — and a lack of rain — are raising drought concerns in Iowa. The latest U-S-D-A report indicates about half of Iowa farm fields are short or very short of topsoil moisture. Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says it’s worrysome. “Ironically northwest Iowa was probably our driest area going into spring and they’ve gotten rains,” Northey says. “But the balance of the state is really short of moisture and normally we don’t expect that dry weather until later in the season.” Dry conditions in late May and early June put a “unique kind of stress” on crops, according to Northey.

Corn, for example, is showing inadequate root growth.”When the crop is so short of moisture in that top soil, it actually is hard for those roots to find moisture and, therefore, to grow,” Northey says. “You would think normally…dry weather will cause those roots to go down and try to find moisture, but in some of our areas it’s so dry, if it’s not finding moisture, it actually stops those roots from growing.” While corn in some areas has weak root systems, some soybeans are just sitting in the ground and haven’t sprouted. “We do plant soybeans shallower. We plant them later and if you do a little bit of tillage, it dries out the top, especially since some of our areas of the state haven’t had rain for three weeks or at least any sizable rain and some very dry weather in the last three or four weeks as well.” The other problem is the soybean sprouts, but then dies because of lack of moisture.

Fifty-one percent of Iowa farm fields are “short” or “very short” of topsoil moisture according to the latest U-S-D-A report. The rating for subsoil moisture is 42 percent “short” or “very short.” The driest section of the state is south central Iowa, where 83 percent of the topsoil is “short” or “very short” of moisture.

Link to the U-S Drought Monitor website: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

(O. Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 05-30-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

May 30th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen

Iowa crops needs a good soaking

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Much of Iowa, especially southern Iowa, could use some rain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says while weeks of dry weather allowed farmers to finish planting, a lack of significant rain is resulting in poor soybean stands with seeds lying in dry soil. High winds have slowed spraying and dried out the soil. The USDA says in Tuesday’s report that 95 percent of the corn crop has emerged, which is 11 days ahead of normal. The condition of the corn has dipped slightly from a week ago, from 81 percent in good or excellent condition to 77 percent. Farmers have planted 97 percent of the soybean crop, ahead of 83 percent average. Topsoil moisture is 49 percent adequate or surplus, with subsoil moisture at 58 percent adequate or surplus.

Iowa offering “free fishing days”


May 29th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is trying to lure more people to go fishing. Next weekend (June 1-3), the DNR will allow Iowans without a fishing license to go fishing for free. DNR fish biologist Martin Konrad says it’s a great time of year to cast a line in an Iowa lake. “This is the time of year when the fish are still close to shore, so shore anglers have just as good of an opportunity to catch fish as boat anglers,” Konrad says. The conditions this spring and past winter have also contributed to a healthy crop of fish that’re biting. “We’ve had tremendous fishing this spring,” Konrad says. “The weather warmed up early in March and people got out. Fishing has been above average and it’s been particularly good in the Great Lakes area.” Konrad suggests fishing may be a way for some adults to re-live their childhood memories. “Maybe they’ve been away from fishing for a while and have kind of forgotten about it. Here’s a wake up call,” Konrad says. “The DNR wants people to come back, start fishing again and enjoy it as an outdoor sport and a family activity.” For more information about the Iowa DNR “free fishing days” —

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

5th Annual Western Iowa No-till (WIN) Field Day to Focus on Soil Stewardship

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 25th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The 5th Annual Western Iowa No-till (WIN) Demonstration Field Day, scheduled for June 12th at the Carstens 1880 Farmstead south of Shelby, Iowa, will address a wide variety of topics for anyone interested in learning more about soil stewardship practices on the highly erodible soils of western Iowa. The day starts at 8 AM when registration and vendor displays open. A wide variety of local agribusinesses will be on hand to visit with producers in the morning and demonstrate their services/equipment.

The field day begins at 9 AM with presentation topics including planter settings for heavy residue areas, use of cover crops to improve soil structure, a marketing update and weather outlook. Keynote speaker Paul Jasa will address the crowd over the lunch hour to discuss techniques for success in long term no-till systems for a corn/bean rotation, as well as continuous corn on corn. Lunch will be provided free of charge to all in attendance, including steak sandwiches grilled by the Harrison County Cattlemen.  

Anyone with an interest in soil stewardship, whether looking for basic management ideas or a long-time no-till producer, is encouraged to attend the daylong educational event.  In addition to the educational sessions at the 2012 WIN Field Day, there will be plenty of time for farmers to visit informational displays, vendor exhibits and network with other producers. 4 hours of CCA Credits will also be available at no cost for Certified Crop Advisors needing additional continuing education units this year. 

There is no charge to attend the event, but pre-registration is requested by June 7th to ensure a lunch will be available.  Registration can be completed by e-mailing csgorham@iastate.edu or by calling the Harrison County Extension Office at 888-644-2105. Registrations may also be faxed to 712-644-2100 or mailed to: ISU Extension Harrison County, 304 East 7th St., Logan, IA 51546. Registration forms and more information are available at many local ISU Extension and NRCS offices, or can be found online at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass

The field day is brought to you by NRCS, ISU Extension and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) in Harrison, Pottawattamie, Cass and Shelby Counties, along with many local supporting agribusinesses.

USDA Report 05-24-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

May 24th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin

Give your boat an inspection before heading out this weekend

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

May 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Many people will take advantage of the Memorial Day weekend to get out their boats out for a run on Iowa’s lakes and rivers. Iowa Department of Natural Resources boating law administrator, Susan Stocker, says we’re not expected to see the high water levels we had last year. But she says you should still check on the local conditions before heading out. “What we are advising people is definitely know where you are going to go boating, and make sure you check those rivers levels. Unlike with the Missouri River where you had all of the flooding last year, or course you’re not going to find that, but you might find some hazards that are in the Missouri River now based on that, and or other areas that are low water that have revealed hazards. So know where you are boating and what the water conditions are,” Stocker says.

With warmer weather this spring, you may’ve already had the boat out this year. If not, she says now is a good time to give the boat a safety check before heading out. “Check your trailer, check your wheel bearings, your tire pressure to makes sure you are able to make it to the lake,” Stocker says. “And then of course once you get to the lake, make sure you prepare your boat in the launching area. Make sure you have all of your safety equipment, your life jackets, that is required. Be sure that you have enough life jackets for everyone who’ll be on your boat. “It can’t work if you’re not wearing it, and the Coast Guard has made some tremendous advancements in the making of life jackets, they’re lightweight, they’re more comfortable,” Stocker says. She says anyone under 12 is required to wear a life jacket while the boat is underway. You should also be sure you have plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent on the boat in case it is needed.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)