KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Conservation Report 02-28-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 28th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Host Bob Bebensee and Brian Smith, Conservation Officer for Cass and Adair Counties.


Suburban lawmaker questions tax break for farm, construction equipment fuel

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 28th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa D-O-T estimates the state could collect about 40-million dollars a year from farmers and construction companies if the tax exemption for so-called “red dye” fuel was lifted — and a few lawmakers are questioning why that tax advantage is being maintained. Farmers and construction companies that primarily operate diesel-powered machinery off of the state’s roads buy fuel that has a dyed with a red tint, to signify it is NOT subject to the state’s fuel tax. Representative Ralph Watts, a Republican from Adel, says the size of farming operations has grown significantly and heavy farm equipment is now being driven on more miles of road to get from field to field.

“If you live in a rural area, you meet them all the time,” Watts says. “The heavier equipment with cleated tires place more stress on the roadway than vehicles with road tires.” That “additional stress” is taking a toll on rural roads and bridges, according to Watts. “The need for moving manure from hog confinements has become a huge factor for rural roads where the movement of manure is done by large tank wagons pulled by farm tractors over the roads,” Watts says. “My personal experience in watching this happen showed me those movements literally pulverize the existing gravel, which requires replacement.” Watts tried, but failed this past week to get his fellow legislators to go along with charging just a 10-cent-a-gallon state tax on red dye fuel.

“Some misguided miscreant might ask: ‘What do you have against farmers?'” Watts said during House debate of the bill that raised the state’s motor fuel tax by a dime a gallon. “I have nothing against farmers. Although I am not a farmer, I am a member of the Farm Bureau — at least I was earlier this morning.” The Iowa Farm Bureau opposes the idea of taxing the diesel fuel that’s used in farm equipment. Only eight other members of the Iowa House joined Watts this past Tuesday to try to force a debate over his proposal, while 87 voted against Watts and his idea was permanently tabled.

(Radio Iowa)

Farmer wins $2,500 for Cass County FFA

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Cass County farmer who was selected as a winner in a seed company’s contest, has donated his winnings to the Cass County FFA organization. Delbert Westphalen, of Atlantic, who’s been farming for more than 52-years, won a $2,500 prize in the “America’s Farmers Grow Communities” contest, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. It was his option to decide which non-profit group or organization would receive the funds.

(from left to right) Dennis Kenealy (President, 4 Star Seed); Eric Miller (Atlantic FFA Advisor); Gary Miller (CAM FFA Advisor); Kevin Blair (Griswold FFA Advisor); Delbert Westphalen; Mike Lund (Sales Mgr.,4 Star Seed); Lana Westphalen (Center)

(from left to right) Dennis Kenealy (President, 4 Star Seed); Eric Miller (Atlantic FFA Advisor); Gary Miller (CAM FFA Advisor); Kevin Blair (Griswold FFA Advisor); Delbert Westphalen; Mike Lund (Sales Mgr.,4 Star Seed); Lana Westphalen (Center)

Delbert said “We wanted to do something that was going to benefit a lot of the people in the County, not just one particular area or one particular group.” By choosing the FFA Food Stand at the Cass County Fair, he says “we’re benefiting everybody, but most of all we’re benefiting the county fair so we can maintain that as the only free county fair in the State of Iowa. And we want to keep it that way.” Westphalen told KJAN News the FFA is near and dear to his heart.

He said “I was actually in FFA longer than 4-years because I stayed to get my American Farmer degree, and it’s some of the best times that I had growing up.” He said the FFA taught him responsibility, and “Is one of the reasons I’m a farmer.” Westphalen received his check Thursday afternoon at the Atlantic High School from 4 Star Seed President Dennis Kenealy and 4 Star Sales Manager Mike Lund, who represented the Monsanto Company.

The funds were presented to FFA Advisors Eric Miller (Atlantic High School), Gary Miller (CAM FFA) and Kevin Blair (Griswold FFA). Eric Miller said they hope to raise 40- to 45,000-dollars to construct the FFA Food Stand. Miller said they “Can do it less cheaper, but we want to do it right. We don’t want to just piece-meal it, put it together part-time. If we’re gonna do it, let’s do it right.”

So far, he says, they’ve raised $28,000, with almost no fundraising efforts conducted. $9,000 was raised through word of mouth contributions. The Trevor Frederickson Foundation contributed $5,000 early on in the process, and they’ve received a $2,000 grant from the Iowa West Foundation. Miller says he’s applied for a $10,000 Cass County Endowment Fund grant, and if it is approved, the project is a go for this summer. He says they should know by the end of this month if the grant is approved. Once the project begins, the old FFA Food stand will be razed and the new structure put up in its place.

He says the new FFA Food Stand will have better plumbing, better electrical service, and be more modern, making it more safe than it is now.  “America’s Farmers Grow Communities” was launched by the Monsanto Fund is 2010, and has grown to include 1,324 eligible counties in 40 states. The program is part of the “America’s Farmers” Initiative, which highlights the important contribution farmers make every day. For a list of the “Grow Communities” winners and more program information, go to growcommunities.com, on the web.

Beef Feedlot Facilities Workshop Set for March 18 in Lewis


February 26th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A workshop focused on comparison of feedlot facility investments, production benefits, cattle comfort and environmental stewardship will be held at the Wallace Foundation Learning Center/Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis, IA on March 18th from 9:45- 3:00 pm.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Beef Center will conduct the workshops. The workshops are supported by a North Central Region Risk Management Education grant. Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Coalition to support Iowa Farmers are cooperating partners. A revised feedlot systems manual and decision tool will be available to workshop participants.

Workshop participants will work with several scenarios to make decisions regarding feedlot facility investments and learn how different facility types may work for each scenario. A $20 registration fee will be payable at the door but those interested in participating need to contact Chris Clark, ISUEO Beef Specialist to pre- register and reserve a noon meal. Clark can be reached at caclark@iastate.edu or by phone at 712-250-0070.

This meeting is part of a state-wide program with a complete listing of meeting dates and locations described below. Additional information on the upcoming series can be found on the Iowa Beef Center Website: http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/news/FeedlotFacilitiesWorkshops2015.html

Feb. 18 Nashua – Borlaug Center meeting room Northeast Research Farm

Feb. 24 Manchester – Delaware County Extension office

Feb. 25 Dewitt – Clinton County Extension office

Feb. 26 Ames – Hansen Ag Student Learning Center Iowa State University

March 3 Emmetsburg – Iowa Lakes Community College

March 4 Cherokee – Western Iowa Tech

March 4 Osceola – Clarke County fairgrounds

March 6 Oskaloosa – Mahaska County Extension office

March 9 Tama – Tama County Extension office

March 18 Lewis – Wallace Foundation Learning Center Armstrong Farm

March 25 Carroll – Carroll County Extension office

USDA Report 02-26-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 26th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Cass County Master Gardeners Grant Money Available for Local Garden Projects

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The cold weather of winter is the time to plan for future gardens. The Cass County Master Gardeners group is again offering grant money to be used in the 2015 growing season, to encourage gardening to grow food and/or beautify local communities. The money may also be used for gardening education purposes. The David Williams Master Gardener Grants are offered to honor the many years of service Master Gardener David Williams provided as a long-time volunteer, with the Master Gardener program and other community organizations, including a term as Cass County Master Gardener president in 2012.

Any Cass County not-for-profit group or individual may apply. Schools, churches, libraries, 4-H clubs, Scouts, and individuals working to improving their communities can use the money to begin or improve gardens or landscaping, or to provide education for their members or the public. To ensure the money is helping a wide variety of community organizations, groups who were funded by 2014 grants will not be eligible to apply in 2015. Each grant has a maximum value of $300. The application must also include plans for teamwork and sustainability. Consideration for the environment is also an important selection factor.

Applications must be received by Monday, March 30th for consideration. They may be submitted by mail or email. Grant recipients will be informed of their selection by the end of April. For more information, or with questions, call the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132, email keolson@iastate.edu, or stop by the Extension Office at 805 W. 10th St in Atlantic. You may also contact committee members Judy Kennedy, Marla Anstey or Linda Edelman. Application forms can be picked up at the Extension Office, or printed from the Cass County Extension website- www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.

The Master Gardener program trains volunteers to develop their knowledge and skills in horticulture. These volunteers then give back to their communities through gardening service and education. The program is available in all 50 states and Canada through land grant university Extension programs such as Iowa State University. Education courses are available throughout Iowa on a regular basis. Contact Cass County Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson, at 712-243-1132 or keolson@iastate.edufor more information.

Meeting on Hunting, Trapping Canceled Due to Weather

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has cancelled its public meeting on hunting and trapping regulations tonight (Wednesday), due to National Weather Service issuing a winter storm warning for much of the state closing many of the meeting locations. Meetings were scheduled over the Iowa Communication Network (ICN) in Atlantic, Boone, Chariton, Clear Lake, Council Bluffs, Creston, Davenport, Decorah, Dubuque, Johnston, Marshalltown, Monroe, Ottumwa, Sac City, Sergeant Bluff, Sheldon, Spencer, Tiffin, Waverly and West Burlington.

The DNR will attempt to reschedule the meeting, if possible, to receive the public’s thoughts on the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall. The decision was made in the interest of public safety; however, the public is encouraged to send comments about what went well last fall, what didn’t, and what changes hunters and trappers would like to see for this fall to wildlife@dnr.iowa.gov.

Those comments, along with the data that the DNR Wildlife Bureau collects on harvest and population numbers, will be used to develop recommendations for any rule changes for this fall.

Cass County Extension Report 02-25-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 25th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Supporting Local Food Systems Webinar Series

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

How can Master Gardeners and community volunteers support local food systems? In 2015, exploring the question as part of the Winter Webinar Series (www.mastergardener.iastate.edu/training.html.) Master Gardeners and the general public will learn about how to support school gardens, food banks, community gardens, and more. The final session of the series will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12 at the Montgomery County Extension Office, 400 Bridge Street in Red Oak. The topic of this session is Back to School: Learn how volunteers are engaging in school gardens and supporting systems change for health.  Hear examples from Master Gardener Coordinator Laurie Taylor in western Iowa.

There is a $3 fee to offset charges affiliated with the webinar-Master Gardeners get in free! Call 623-2592 so extension staff can plan for your attendance. Information from ISU Extension and Outreach in Montgomery County can always be found at www.extension.iastate.edu/montgomery or on Facebook page at Montgomery County-IA Extension.

John Deere sees 1st quarter net income drop $294M

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer is reporting first quarter earnings today that reflect a significant drop from a year ago.Jdeere Quad Cities-based Deere and Company shows net income for the quarter at nearly 387-million dollars, compared to 681-million in the first quarter last year. That’s a slide of 294-million. Deere spokesman Ken Golden says the news is not a surprise. “We had projected the global farm economy was going to be sluggish this year, but we’re also coming off of some really high, record years, so you have to put that in perspective,” Golden says. “The report we put out today is all about the sluggish farm economy but also our diverse lineup, because construction and forestry and financial services had higher profits.”

Worldwide net sales and revenues for the first quarter fell 17 percent, to around six-point-four billion dollars, down from seven-point-six billion last year. The report also shows net sales of the equipment operations were down one-point-three million. “Yes, we’re down from a year ago but this is about where we thought we would be,” Golden says. “We had projected going into the year that it was going to be a soft year, especially in large agricultural machinery which is really sort of a sweet spot for John Deere.”

Last month, Deere announced indefinite layoffs at five locations that build ag equipment. That includes roughly 565 workers at three locations in Waterloo, 300 at the Des Moines Works in Ankeny and 45 at the Harvester Works in East Moline, Illinois. About 500 employees at Deere’s Seeding and Cylinder facility in Moline, Illinois, also will go on an extended shutdown to adjust inventory. Golden was asked if more job cuts loom.  “We have taken the action that we needed to take based on what we knew,” Golden says. “We knew that industry sales were going to be softer, especially in agriculture. We have taken those job actions and we are hopeful that more are not going to be needed.”

Besides Iowa and the Midwest, farmers in many parts of the world have struggled with drought and other severe weather issues in recent years, while last year, prices for many key U-S commodities took a nose-dive. Golden says it was expected that the sale of ag equipment, like big tractors and combines, would take a hit. “If you compare large ag sales from just two years ago, we’re down 50%,” Golden says. “The good news is, we’re a much better company and net income is higher than it would have been in those types of decreases in the past.”

Looking ahead, Deere equipment sales are projected to drop 17-percent for fiscal 2015 and be down about 19-percent for the second quarter compared with year-ago periods. A Deere news release says, “…even with a continued pullback in the agricultural sector, John Deere expects to remain solidly profitable in 2015. Our forecast reflects a level of results much better than we’ve experienced in previous downturns. This illustrates our success establishing a wider range of revenue sources and a more durable business model.”

(Radio Iowa)