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.

Cass County Extension Report 02-20-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 20th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


On-Farm Mentorship Opportunities in IA and NE for aspiring women farmers


February 20th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) say applications are now being accepted for on-farm mentorship experiences for aspiring women farmers (women who want to farm but are not yet farming) in Iowa and Nebraska. Ten aspiring women farmers in Iowa and four in Nebraska will be placed on the mentors’ farms for a minimum of 8 weeks’ work experience during the growing season.

A small stipend is provided to mentees to help offset travel costs, and an effort will be made to match you with a farmer in your geographic area, but a mentee should be prepared to live on or near the host farm for the duration of her mentorship. The 2013 group of farmer mentors has gone through an intensive day-and-a-half learning experience to increase their knowledge of teaching skills, evaluation, communication, and liability mitigation.

An application form is available online at wfan.org., under the “News and Resources” heading, click on “WFAN Beginning Farmer Grant Project.” Then look for the “Opportunities for Aspiring Women Farmers” tab, and scroll down the page. The deadline to apply is March 15, but mentee spots will remain open until filled.

Schildberg Rec Area may receive multipurpose power ports for campground

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors met Monday evening at the Senior Citizen Center, while the City Hall renovations are underway.

An Eaton Corp. brochure picture of a possible version of a park power/water pedestal for the Schildberg Recreation Area.

Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said he’s been holding discussions with Connect-A-Dock officials, about the possible purchase of power pedestals for the 18 campground pads being constructed at the Schildberg Recreation Area, with the idea being one pedestal would be used for each of the 18 pads.

The Eaton product brochure Herring presented to the Board indicated the units, which have three-different power point receptacles to accommodate varying power demands of campers and RV’s, and can also be used to supply campers and RV’s with water. They would be mounted on a concrete pedestal off the ground, so as to avoid damage from vehicles and even flood water. The power pedestals would operate on a photocell, and be weather-proof. They would cost about $11,000 altogether. The Schildberg Committee will discuss the option, and possible ways to pay for the campground power receptacles, at a future meeting.

In other business, Herring said bid-letting for the Sunnyside Tennis Court reconstruction project will begin this afternoon. As of Monday, there was no sign of the tennis courts, which were removed by crews with the City’s Street Department, in preparation for the reconstruction project. And, Herring said he’s working with Snyder and Associates Engineers for the final design phase of the Parks and Rec Maintenance Building and office. The final design will be presented for approval by the City Council, next month.

Roger Herring said there aren’t too many changes planned so far for the Summer Rec Program in Atlantic, other than he would like to see some management changes associated with the Swimming Program, whereas there would be a manager on site every shift at the Sunnyside Pool. Herring said the managers currently aren’t spending enough time managing the pool, and his time is stretched too thin to respond to every question or problem that arises during the swimming season.

Campaign to end antibiotic use in healthy livestock


February 19th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Representatives of a non-profit group seeking to curtail the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock are in Iowa this week, to hold public and private meetings on the topic. Gail Hansen, a veterinarian, is with the Pew Charitable Trust’s Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. She says as antibiotic use in animals has grown, so has antibiotic resistant bacteria. “People really need to know that we are really at a crisis now,” Hansen says. “Back in the day, or back when antibiotics were first discovered, it seemed like there was a new antibiotic every week and so we were always sort of one step ahead of the game. Well, we’re running out of new antibiotics…Physicians are running out of options to treat people when they get sick.”

Lance Price, a professor of environmental health at George Washington University, says antibiotics are being used in the daily feed rations for cattle and pigs, whether the animals are sick or healthy. “Trying to prevent diseases and they’re trying to make animals grow more efficiently, so it’s really part of the formula of converting dry feed into lean muscle mass, which is meat, and so they’re trying to do it as efficiently as possible,” Price says, “but in my eyes as a public health person what I see them doing is using the crown jewels of modern medicine as cheap production tools and I find it unacceptable.”

When humans get sick from eating meat or poultry that’s contaminated with bacteria — like e-coli — Price says in a growing number of cases the bacteria is resistant to antibiotics. “We’ve been dealing with bacteria on our meat since the day we started slaughtering animals. It’s just an inevitable part of the process,” Price says. “The problem with making the bacteria resistant to antibiotics is that when (humans) get infected with them, with those bacteria, we don’t have that option of treating them with antibiotics anymore and so the cleanest way, the most efficient way to reduce antibiotic resistance is to quit feeding animals antibiotics.” According to Price, livestock producers in the country of Denmark have successfully moved away from using antibiotics in feed rations. It’s unclear how many U.S. livestock producers regularly use antibiotics in feed rations. Some swine producers, for example, use antibiotics in water to prevent the rapid spread of respiratory diseases that can quickly wipe out an entire herd.

Price, Hansen and others from the Pew Charitable Trust campaign against antibiotics use in animals arrived in Iowa Monday and visited a large-scale livestock confinement before meetings with state officials, an Iowa State University researcher and others involved in the livestock industry. They’ll host a roundtable discussion at Des Moines University early this morning (Tuesday) and a luncheon in Des Moines for consumers.

(Radio Iowa)

(Update: Change of meeting location for: Atlantic Parks and Rec Board meeting tonight

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

(Updated with change of meeting venue)

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors will hold a regular meeting this evening, in the Senior Citizen Center Cafeteria (This is a change from City Hall, as previously announced) . When the board gathers for the 5:15-p.m. meeting, they’ll receive updates on the Schildberg Recreation Area Campground, Sunnyside Park Tennis Court reconstruction, and an update on a new boat ramp near the wastewater treatment plant.

In other business, Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring will review a meeting of the Schildberg Committee that took place Feb. 5th, and the Board will discuss plans for the Summer Recreation Program, including swimming pool operations, the playground program, tennis, men’s softball, and a YMCA management agreement.

USDA to begin 4-week general CRP signup May 20


February 17th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will open a four-week general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program on May 20th.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement Saturday at the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic in Minneapolis. He says the CRP was vital in later summer’s drought. He says it protected sensitive land from erosion, while emergency haying and grazing on CRP lands provided critical livestock feed and forage.

Around 27 million acres are enrolled in the CRP, a voluntary program that pays farmers to keep environmentally sensitive land out of production, typically for 10 to 15 years. The goals are to improve water quality, control erosion and enhance wildlife habitat. Contracts on about 3.3 million acres expire September 30th.

Court: Iowa farmers who host tours can be liable

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court says farmers who host educational tours are not shielded from personal injury lawsuits under Iowa’s recreational use law. The court ruled 5-2 on Friday that the owners of a dairy farm can be sued by a chaperone injured when she fell through a hole in a hayloft during a kindergarten class field trip.

The Iowa Farm Bureau had warned that allowing farmers to face liability would jeopardize tours that teach children about animals and farming. The group says farmers may no longer host such events if they’re worried about lawsuits.

At issue is a law that bars injury lawsuits against landowners who open their land for public recreational uses such as snowmobiling and hunting. The court says playing on a hayloft in a barn doesn’t qualify.

Conservation Poster Contest for K-12th graders in Cass County

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District is partnering with the Atlantic Public Library, to sponsor a Conservation Poster Contest.  This year’s theme is:  Where Does Your Water Shed?  Students ages K-12 can participate. Schools in Cass County also have the poster contest information.   Posters may be created at the Atlantic Public Library. Julie Tjepkes, Youth Coordinator with the Atlantic Public Library will have materials available.  All posters must be completed by Friday, March 29th.

Posters will be judged locally by the Cass Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner by May 17th.  All posters need to have an entry form attached to the back of the poster.  First place selections are forwarded to the Conservation Districts of Iowa Regional Directors in which a first place poster is selected from each age group.  State winning posters will be displayed in September at the 2013 Annual Conference in Des Moines.

Last year, Danelle Haas submitted a poster which was selected to move onto Regional competition.  Her poster also received first place in the 7-9th grade age group. Prizes are awarded at a local level, along with prizes for Regional selection winners. For more information on the poster contest, please contact Julie Tjepkes at the Atlantic Public Library or contact the Cass SWCD office at (712)243-3180.

Boy Scouts have deal to sell part of Neb. ranch

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

HOMER, Neb. (AP) – Officials have reached an informal agreement to sell portions of a northeast Nebraska ranch that’s been used for years by Nebraska and Iowa Boy Scouts.  John McCollister of the Boy Scouts Mid-America Council in Omaha told the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, that the agreement includes about 360 acres of the Thomas Ashford Scout Ranch. The ranch covers a total of about 600 acres a few miles west of the Missouri River in rural Homer.

The buyer would use the 360 acres for hunting. McCollister wouldn’t discuss the price or identify the buyer. McCollister says the rest of the land, including the main campground, also may be sold, but a final decision hasn’t been made. He says the ranch isn’t used enough to justify paying for the repairs it needs.

Iowa official expects some mandatory water cuts

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 15th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Mandatory water cutbacks may be employed this summer in some parts of Iowa if the drought lingers.  Tim Hall is bureau chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ geology and water survey staff and he told a legislative panel on Thursday that the situation was worst in northwest Iowa.

The state has the power to prioritize water use based on a system developed in the 1950s. Hall says the system has never been used and won’t be used this summer either. He says conservation decisions are best left to local communities because situations vary so widely from one county or part of the state to the next.

The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says nearly a quarter of Iowa remains in severe or extreme drought.