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.

ISU professor says subsidies make farmers buy more expensive crop insurance

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 2nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A report by Iowa State University economics professor, Bruce Babcock, finds government incentives to help farmers pay for crop insurance push them toward the more expensive insurance and increase the costs to taxpayers. Babcock studied the crop insurance payouts for corn and soybeans related to the 2012 drought. “The premium subsidies incentivize farmers to buy Cadillac coverage,” Babcock says. “The Cadillac coverage increases the indemnities paid out. Taxpayers are paying three-quarters of those indemnities, so the subsidies have a direct impact on taxpayer costs because taxpayers are paying for part of that premium — but they inflate the overall indemnities and taxpayers pay the lion share of those in high-loss years.”

Babcock found the payouts for the top insurance coverage, known as revenue protection, were over 12-BILLION dollars in 2012.  “What I wanted to know was, well what if the subsidies hadn’t created such and incentive to drive farmers to the Cadillac insurance product and instead they got a bare bones..or a regular revenue insurance protection. Or what if they just bought regular yield insurance?,” Babcock asked. He says the answer to the question was the cost of the insurance was much lower. “And it turns out that if farmers had replaced revenue protection with a product called ‘Revenue Protection H-P-E’ –which is pure revenue insurance — the amount of loss would have been decreased from more than 12-BILLION dollars to about six-BILLION dollars. That is, the subsidies had basically increased the indemnities paid to farmers, it more than doubled them,” according the Babcock.

Babcock says he is not being critical of the crop insurance program itself as a security net for farmers. “I’m a critic of the subsidies, and those two are two separate items,” Babcock says. “And I just think that you could cut the subsidies a tremendous amount — or restructure them — save tens of BILLIONs of dollars over 10 years and still provide a high-quality assurance safety net. If that’s what Congress wants, you could do it at a far lower cost.” He says if farmers want the protection of the higher end insurance program, then they should have to pay for it and not have the taxpayers picking up 75-percent of the bill. Babcock talked about his findings with reporters in a conference called set up by the Environmental Working Group.

(Radio Iowa)

FSA State Office Announces 45th General Sign-Up for the Conservation Reserve Program


May 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Des Moines, Iowa, May 1, 2013 — John R. Whitaker, State Executive Director for USDA’s Iowa Farm Service Agency (FSA) stated today that the Iowa FSA will conduct a four-week Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up beginning May 20 and ending on June 14.

“It continues to be our goal to ensure that we use CRP to address our most critical resource issues” said Whitaker. “Over the last couple of years, our state has experienced both the worst flooding and the worst drought in 60 years. CRP protected environmentally sensitive lands from washing or blowing away. This program, also gave livestock producers extra grazing land when they needed it.”

In addition to erosion control, CRP provides significant water quality benefits including reduced nutrients and sediment loadings and adverse consequences associated with floods as well as expanded and enhanced wildlife habitat.

Currently, about 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP nationwide, 1.5 million acres in Iowa. CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitat. On September 30, 2013, contracts on an estimated 3.3 million acres of CRP nationwide are set to expire; 183,399 acres will expire in Iowa. Producers with expiring contracts or producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP.

Producers whose offers are accepted in the sign-up can receive cost-share assistance for planting covers and receive an annual rental payment for the length of the contract. Producers also are encouraged to look into CRP’s other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis. Continuous sign-ups often provide additional financial incentives. Those sign-up dates will be announced later. For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit your local FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

2 PA residents plead guilty to hunting violations in SW IA

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

May 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says after a more than two-year long investigation, two Pennsylvania residents who were part-owners of “Whitetail Fantasies,” a hunting guide business, have pleaded guilty to illegal deer hunting charges in Taylor County. Pursuant to a plea agreement, 48-year old David E. Ricker, of Harrisburg, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count of illegal taking of an antlered whitetail deer and one count of fraudulently obtaining a resident deer license. And, pursuant to an earlier plea agreement, 47-year old Jeffrey A. Mealey, of Dillsburg, Pa., pleaded guilty to an illegal possession of an antlered whitetail deer.

Through a jury trial, Ollie Odle Jr., of Bedford, was found guilty of two charges of aiding and abetting of illegal taking of antlered whitetail deer, based upon providing deer licenses/tags to out of state hunters. The defendants were ordered to forfeit the antlers and pay more than $22,600 in fines and liquidated damages. They are suspended from hunting or obtaining any licenses for one year.

The state of Iowa is a member of the Wildlife Violator Compact, which is an agreement between participating states that prohibits a person whose hunting or fishing privileges are suspended in one state from participating in those activities in 38 other states, including their home state of Pennsylvania.

Conservation Officer Andrea Bevington has been actively investigating cases of non-residents fraudulently obtaining resident licenses and illegally hunting game in Adams and Taylor counties. Changes in the residency laws were implemented in 2009 to identify a growing problem in Iowa of non-residents falsifying records to illegally obtain resident licenses.

Bevington said “The state of Iowa is known for their trophy whitetail deer. This natural resource attracts people from all over the United States and other countries. Unfortunately these trophies sometimes draw individuals here who exploit the resource and break Iowa laws.”

Iowa Senate approves new rules on downsizing farms


May 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Senate has approved a bill that would make it easier for livestock producers to downsize, drawing criticism from environmentalists who say the measure could mean those farms would avoid environmental oversight.  In a 43-6 vote on Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation that would allow some livestock producers to close barns and be reclassified as small operations. Then they no would longer need to file plans for manure disposal with the state.

Sen. Joe Seng, a Democrat from Davenport, says the bill will help farmers who want to temporarily shutter some operations. Seng amended the legislation to require producers who want to store manure in idled barns to seek permission.

A version of this bill received House approval. The amended bill will return to the House for review.

ISU Seeks Livestock Producers’ Input for Ethanol Coproducts Survey


May 1st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State University in Guthrie County reports ISU is conducting a nationwide survey of livestock producers’ use of feed-related coproducts from ethanol production.  The feedback gained from the survey will be used to help improve coproduct quality, which can help livestock producers with their feed costs and livestock performance.  The survey is focused on the beef, dairy, swine and poultry sectors.  

It is being funded by a coalition consisting of the Renewable Fuels Association, the Distillers Grains Technology Council, and the Corn Utilization Councils of Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska.  Livestock producers are invited to take the survey online until June 19th, at http://humansciences.ethanolcoproducts.sgizmo.com/s3/

Cass County Extension Report 05-01-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

May 1st, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Group estimates Iowa crop land at $11,515 an acre

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A real estate agents group estimates high quality crop land in Iowa is worth $11,515 an acre. The Realtors Land Institute, made up of people specializing in farm and land sales, management and appraisal, say the average value is up 9.4 percent from September 2012. The Des Moines Register reports northwest Iowa had the most expensive land, at $13,387 an acre.

Those surveyed were asked to estimate average values as of March 2013. The soaring prices are due largely to high prices for commodities, such as corn and soybeans, that have put farmers in position to buy land as well as low interest rates.

Shelby County Fire Danger remains “Moderate”

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency say due to increased winds, recent area fires, and lack of rain the last few days, the  Shelby County Fire Danger Index will remain in the “Moderate Category,” until Thursday, May 2nd.

Looking for love in dwindling farm country


April 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — As family farms sell out to corporations and more farmers move to the city, it’s getting harder for single people in rural areas to find mates. Some are improving their chances with the help of a three-decade old social organization, Singles in Agriculture, that specializes in people like them. The group has members in 16 states, most in the Midwest and West. Unattached farmers, both men and women, get together several times a year in rural communities for dances, bowling or just to talk about agriculture.

Although the organization isn’t strictly a dating service, quite a few members have found a spouse or special friend through the club. Organizers say they’re determined to keep the club vibrant even though the shrinking farm population is taking a toll on membership.

Fire Danger increases in Shelby County

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency says due to a warming trend, the likelihood of increased winds and a dryer forecast over the next few days, the fire danger rating will be bumped up to “MODERATE,” through Monday, April 29th. The fire danger index had been in the “Low” category for more than a week, because of recent rains.

Controlled burns should be monitored closely, and property owners should contact their local fire chief before any burns are initiated.