DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The number of deer taken by hunters in Iowa last year has fallen below 100,000 for the first time since the mid-1990s. It’s the eighth straight year the dear harvest has declined in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says hunters reported 99,406 deer for the 2013 season, a decline of 14 percent from 2012 and 34 percent from the high in 2006. The 2012 deer harvest was 115,606.
The harvest data will be considered when the DNR begins the process of discussing hunting seasons later this winter. Deer hunters purchased 359,956 licenses last year, nearly 18,500 fewer than in 2012.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The value of crops fell last year as corn and soybeans prices declined from record highs the year before. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in an annual report the value of 2013 field crops fell 9.8 percent to nearly $167 billion from $185 billion in 2012. The 2012 drought reduced the corn and soybean harvest and drove prices to record highs which resulted in increased crop value.
Friday’s report says the average price of corn for 2012 was $6.89 per bushel and the value of the crop that year was $74.3 billion. Last year’s average price was $4.50 and the overall value fell to $62.7 billion. Top crop producers last year were Illinois with crops valued at $16 billion, Iowa at $15.9 billion, and Nebraska at nearly $12 billion.
A farm auction held over the weekend in Shelby County over 700 spectators. The land auction of Edwin “Bud” Skalla was held at the St. Mary’s Parish Center in Portsmouth on Saturday morning. The 858 acres of farmland, which was separated into 5 tracts, was purchased for a total of $7.8 million. The tracts were separated between Shelby and Harrison County. Other personal items were also auctioned for a total of $17,000. The money from the auctions will be donated to 13 southwest Iowa catholic churches.
The 92 year old Skalla had bequeathed the land to the churches along with another tract of 292 that was given to St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Portsmouth. The portion of land given to Portsmouth was not part of the auction on Saturday. Those churches benefiting in Shelby County are St. Michael’s in Harlan, St. Peter’s in Defiance, St. Joseph’s in Earling, and St. Boniface in Westphalia, St. Mary’s in Portsmouth and St. Mary’s in Panama.
In Harrison County, St. Patrick’s Church in Missouri Valley, St. Anne’s Church in Logan, St. Patrick’s in Dunlap and Sacred Heart in Woodbine. In addition, St. Patrick’s in Neola, St. Rose of Lima in Denison and St. Patrick’s in Council Bluffs are also beneficiaries.
The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Dept. Board of Directors will meet Monday evening at the Senior Citizen Center on Walnut Street, next to the City Hall/Police Dept. Building. The Board is slated to: discuss the Senior Activities Area and receive a rough draft of the layout; Receive a letter from Cass County Community Health Tobacco Prevention Coordinator Karla Akers, with regard to the City Council’s decision on Jan. 22nd vote down the 1st reading of an ordinance for a Tobacco Free policy for Sunnyside Park; and discuss recommendation for the 2014 Summer Recreation Program, after hearing a report about last year’s programs. They’ll also discuss the Nishna Valley YMCA management fee.
In other business, the Atlantic Parks and Rec Board will discuss a Sunnyside Park Tree Replacement Plan, which has drawn interest from the public as far as helping replanting efforts with memorials and other gifts and labor, and, they’ll discuss Spring and Summer Capital Improvement Projects, including renovation and refurbishing of the Camblin and Kiddie Korral at Sunnyside Park, the Senior Activity Area, and more.
The meeting at the Atlantic Senior Citizen Center begins at 5:15-p.m., Monday.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Time is running out for people who handle certain manure in Iowa to get certified without paying a fee.
The state Department of Natural Resources says manure applicators could face a $12.50 fee if they don’t get the necessary certification by March 1.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach works with DNR to offer free training sessions. There’s about 15 left for confinement site manure applicators. Applicators who handle mostly dry manure have four remaining sessions.
State law says people handling, transporting or applying manure from certain confinements must be certified. Applicators will need to watch a training video or take an exam if they can’t attend a session. Additional fees may apply.
Officials with the Monsanto Fund have announced Mrs. Stephanie Witzman of Cass County, has been selected as a winner in America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Seed Company. Stephanie Witzman selected Atlantic High School Journalism Department to receive the $2,500 donation in Cass County. A representative of the seed company, the AHS Journalism Department, and Mrs. Witzman will participate in a ceremonial check presentation ceremony next Wednesday, Feb. 19th, at the High School, beginning at 5-PM.
America’s Farmers Grow Communities works directly with farmers to support nonprofit organizations doing important work in rural communities. The program encourages farmers to enter to win $2,500, which is then directed to the farmer’s nonprofit of choice. Launched nationally in 2011, the program has grown to include 1,289 eligible counties in 39 states. America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, is part of the America’s Farmers initiative, which highlights the important contributions farmers make every day to our society.
For a complete list of Grow Communities winners and more program information, visit growcommunities.com.
An Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist says farm land rental rates look to be either holding steady or showing some decline. Melissa O’Rourke says landowners and farmers are now negotiating terms for the upcoming crop year and she often hears of cases where rates were too low because a tenant and landlord had entered a long-term lease agreement.
“I had one, I mean I about fell off my chair, when they told me that the producer had been paying 69 dollars-an-acre in cash rent. Another one who came in and said they had been paying 125 an acre in cash rent. A family situation where they were paying 100 dollars an acre cash rent….you know those kinds of cash rents were not keeping up at all with what the expected level should be,” O’Rourke says. She says it’s more important this year to look at the conditions when determining the rent.
“This next year we’re looking at much closer margins, we don’t have the commodity prices we have had in recent years, and for 2014 and maybe a few years looking ahead we’re looking at a much, much tighter situation,”O’Rourke says. “And so, everybody has to sit down, have good communication.” O’Rourke suggest you do some online research to help you with setting rents.
She recommends you go to the Iowa State University Ag Decision maker and look at their research on estimated crop costs and projected budgets. “We’re giving you an idea of what does it cost a producer to put a crop in, and then you can think about what’s a reasonable cash rent based on some projected commodity prices out there,” O’Rourke says. O’Rourke says they are already hearing that farm land rental rates in Illinois will decline slightly in the coming year. She says that’s one indication of what the rates might do in Iowa.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Federal Reserve says the value of agricultural land dropped a percentage point in the last quarter of 2013 and a total of 2 percent for the year. The drop suggests the surge in farmland prices over the past few years may be coming to an end, depressed by lower commodity prices that have reduced farmer income.
Iowa State economics professor Chad Hart told The Des Moines Register that “we’ll likely see lower farm values tied to those lower farm incomes that we’re going to experience in the next year to year and a half.” An Iowa State University survey suggested that land values might have peaked in some parts of the state last year, with prices dropping in northwestern Iowa.