Iowa’s first shotgun deer season closed Wednesday and officials with the Department of Natural Resources say the preliminary numbers indicate that license sales and harvest are both down from previous years. Sales of licenses declined 7 percent from 2012 and the reported harvest is 18 percent lower. The decrease reflects decreased deer numbers across the state as well as fewer licenses being issued, continuing the downward trend in harvest since its peak in 2006. The bitterly cold weather was likely a factor as well.
Iowa’s second shotgun season begins Saturday. Historically a lower kill during the first season often results in more deer being taken during the second. Hunters get an additional weekend of hunting during the second season and the weather forecast looks more favorable. Party hunting is a common practice during the shotgun season and hunters are reminded to be careful when hunting in a group.
Always make sure that you are shooting in a safe direction before pulling the trigger. Hunters during the second season typically take a higher percentage of does than first season hunters do. However, if hunters are seeing fewer deer where they hunt they may want to refrain from harvesting extra does. Hunters should check with landowners to see if deer numbers are at an acceptable level and tailor their harvest accordingly.
To avoid waiting in line hunters should consider buying a license today. Current sales for the second season are nearly 30,000 below last year but a large proportion of hunters wait until the last minute to buy a license. About 25,000 licenses will be purchased between Thursday and Saturday morning. Hunters are reminded to report their harvest within 24 hours of recovering their deer. The DNR says that information is an important part of the data needed to manage Iowa’s deer herd.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s governor and the state’s entire congressional delegation are asking the Obama administration to hold a hearing in Iowa to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce ethanol production in 2014. Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of ethanol, a fuel additive primarily made from corn that produces lower carbon emissions than gasoline. The EPA in November proposed cutting production to 2012 levels, prompting outcry by political leaders from both parties who claimed such a move would devastate Iowa’s economy.
The EPA stated in its November report that the additive had become less necessary in light of fuel-efficient engines and lower fuel demand. An Iowa State University economist says the economic impact elected officials claim is overstated. The EPA is taking public comment for 60 days on its recommendation.
The U-S Department of Agriculture has designated 44 counties in Iowa as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought. Among the counties included in the designation in the KJAN listening area is: Adair, Audubon, Crawford, Guthrie, Madison, Shelby, Sac, Carroll, Union and Dallas. Farmers in contiguous counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance, including those in Adams, Cass, Harrison, Pottawattamie, Monona, Ringgold, and Taylor Counties.
Qualified farmers and ranchers in all counties designated as natural disaster areas are eligible for low interest Emergency Loans from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. Those individuals have eight-months from Dec. 11th, 2013 to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.
Additional information is available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov., or at your local USDA Service Center.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The 2013 Iowa Land Value Survey says farmland values rose 5.1 percent from last year, setting another record. The Des Moines Register says the new survey shows farmland values rose to more than $8.700 an acre. It was the fourth year in a row that farmland values rose in the Iowa State University survey of nearly 500 real estate experts. Last year’s figure was nearly $8,300 an acre.
Despite the new high, some of the experts say values may be eroding. Land demand could slow because Iowa farmers are concerned about lower commodity prices and a proposed rollback in the mandate for corn-based ethanol. There’s also uncertainty over interest rates and over the prospects for a new farm bill.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials are turning to social media to answer questions about the state’s wildlife. The state Department of Natural Resources says wildlife supervisors will be on the social networking site Facebook on Dec. 19 to answer questions.
Karen Kinkead and Willie Suchy of the Wildlife Diversity Program will monitor a specific post for questions on anything ranging from animals in a backyard to out in the field. People can also post questions ahead of time on the agency’s page.
The pair will answer questions between noon and 2:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will not extend current farm law if Congress can’t agree on a new farm bill before adjourning next week. House leaders have reserved space on their agenda this week for extending the current law until the end of January. Lawmakers fear that milk prices might rise sharply if dairy subsidies expire Jan. 1. The House and Senate have passed separate versions, but with widespread differences over crop subsidies and how much to cut food stamps.
House Speaker John Boehner said last week that the House should extend the current law while negotiators seek a compromise. Reid’s response Tuesday, in his words: “Let them vote on it. We’re not going to do it.” Some senators fear an extension relieves pressure to get a deal.
Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department Director Roger Herring reports the gates to Sunnyside Park will be closed to through traffic for the Winter season today (Tuesday), beginning at 4-p.m. Herring thanks everyone for using Sunnyside Park and the rest of the parks in the City of Atlantic, this past year.
Iowa’s largest pork producer is donating more than 23 tons of pork loin roasts to food banks and needy families this month. Jen Sorenson is coordinating the project for Iowa Select Farms, based in Iowa Falls. The company markets its pigs to JBS Swift located in Marshalltown. Sorenson says Iowa Select trucks are currently delivering more than 7,000 pork roasts to rural community food banks where Iowa Select operates its farms. “We buy the fresh pork loins from JBS in Marshalltown and we do all the deliveries ourselves,” Sorenson says.
The pork roasts are donated through Deb and Jeff Hanson’s charitable foundation. The Hansons own Iowa Select Farms. Sorenson says around 3,000 more pork loins will distributed during an event on December 18th at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. “We give away free pork loins to anyone in need,” Sorenson says.
Iowa Select Farms has more than 1,000 employees, with nearly 550 swine farms across the state. The company also contracts with roughly 350 farm families in Iowa.