KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Shelby Co. EMA to begin bi-weekly Fire Danger Assessments

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

In anticipation of the rapid drying conditions forecast for this weekend, Shelby County Emergency Management officials say they will begin bi-weekly local fire danger assessments, next week.

Spring cleanup time is traditionally when a lot of people burn their brush piles.Officials say being aware of the potential for that small fire to spread due to wind and other meteorological conditions, conducive to rapid fire spread, is what the Fire Danger Assessment Program is all about. Monitoring the burning conditions will allow authorities to advise residents as to whether a controlled, open burn should be put off to a more favorable day, and save area volunteer firefighters from leaving their jobs for a burn which becomes uncontrollable.

Shelby County Emergency Management asks you to please call your controlled burns in to the Emergency Management Agency at 712-755-2124. Officials will take your information and put you in touch with the Fire Chief in your community.

Atlantic FFA Participates in District FFA Convention

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 12th, 2014 by Jim Field

By Haley Carlson

The Atlantic FFA took eight members to District Convention in Denison on Saturday, March 8, 2014. The members participated in a variety of events from quizzes to competitions to chapter delegates. Juniors, Adam Freund and Clint Hansen took the Farm Business Management Quiz, Freund placing 3rd and Hansen placing 4th. Freund also participated in Ag Broadcasting, earning a Bronze. Freund said, “Broadcasting was difficult but I thought I did well”. Hansen took part in the Extempt Speaking contest, earning a Bronze. Four of Atlantic’s freshman FFA members took the Greenhand quiz, Nate Moen placing 25th, Morgan Barkley placed 27th, Haylee Valekia placed 28th, and Colby Sorenson placed 30th. Moen said, “This was my first official FFA event and I had a lot of fun. I hope to be able to compete in more events in the coming years”. Sophomores, Clayton Saeugling and Haley Carlson were the chapter delegates for Atlantic FFA at convention.  A delegate is someone who sits in on the speeches of new district officer candidates and also votes on these candidates. Delegates also approve the secretary and treasurer’s report.  Saeugling thought “it was a fun and memorable experience”. The Atlantic FFA chapter will be traveling to Iowa FFA State Convention from April 27-29.

Left to Right Front Row Haylee Valeika, Morgan Barkley, Haley Carlson Left to Right Back row Clint Hansen, Colby Sorensen, Nate Moen, Adam Freund, Clayton Saeugling

Left to Right Front Row
Haylee Valeika, Morgan Barkley, Haley Carlson
Left to Right Back row
Clint Hansen, Colby Sorensen, Nate Moen, Adam Freund, Clayton Saeugling

Cass County Extension Report 03-12-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 12th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Pott. County farm family receives Ag award

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Gleaves family of Oakland was recognized Monday as recipients of the ‘ Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award’ during a ceremony at the Oakland Community Center. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey presented the Terry and Amy Gleaves family with the award in front of more than 70 family members, friends and neighbors.

Gleaves said that he was “Honored and humbled” to receive the award.” He added, “Growing up on the farm all the neighbors helped each other out – whether it was vaccinating cattle or chopping silage – all the neighbors pitched in to help. It was a real neighborhood effort to get the work done. This award is not only for me, but for all of my neighbors as well.”

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award, sponsored by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF), recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in doing things right. That includes caring for the environment and their livestock and being good neighbors.  The Gleaves have a cow-calf herd and operate a row-crop farm in Pottawattamie County. Becky Lockwood nominated the Gleaves for the award for being a great farm family that has a strong commitment to the community and their neighbors.

The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, presented by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Iowa Ag Radio Network in partnership with CSIF, is presented nine times annually to an Iowa farm family who raises livestock. It’s given in honor of distinguished farm broadcaster Gary Wergin and recognizes families who take pride in being good neighbors and stewards of the land.

SUPCO decision doesn’t affect 2 southwest IA rails-to-trails

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A decision Monday by the U-S Supreme Court to turn abandoned rail lines which have been granted easements from the U-S, over to property owners on either side of the right-of-way, won’t affect two popular southwest Iowa trails that run on former railroad rights-of-way.  The Daily NonPareil reports that neither the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, which runs from Council Bluffs to the Missouri state line, nor the Old Stone Arch Nature Trail near Shelby will be forced to turn over ownership of the paths to adjacent landowners.

According to Marianne Fowler, senior vice president of federal relations for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, southwest Iowa’s pair of trails were exempted from the ruling for different reasons. The 63-mile Wabash Trace, which runs through four counties, is safe because it’s part of the “railbank” system. Becca Castle, president of Southwest Iowa Nature Trails told the paper that since the former Wabash Railroad purchased the land from the government, it wouldn’t have been affected by the ruling. Out-of-service railroad lines are sold, leased or granted to agencies that oversee a trail.

Ownership never changes hands, however, because the rail company reserves the right to one day reopen a railroad line on the land if need be. More than 4,400 miles of railroad corridors in 33 states are operated as part of this system, according to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. If abandoned, ownership of that land would ordinarily have reverted to neighboring landowners.

Lisa Hein, program and planning director for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, which oversees the Wabash Trace and much of the state’s converted rail trails, said most Iowa rail trails are railbanked, and those weren’t affected by the ruling because the railroad company could still operate a line on the land.

Renee Hansen of the Shelby County Auditor’s Office, told the NonPareil that the Old Stone Arch trail – a small portion of the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad right-of-way in Pottawattamie and Shelby counties – was privately granted easements in 1867 and 1968, therefore, the four-mile stretch of trail now owned by the city was also not affected by the decision.

As a whole, Iowa – which has nearly 1,000 miles of trails on converted railroad property – looks to see little or no effects by the 8-1 Supreme Court decision. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the lone dissenter.

USDA announces initiative to help smaller farm operations

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is launching what it calls “a concerted effort” to help small and mid-sized farms. The announcement from Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack comes after a recent census pointed to a reduction in the number of smaller farming operations. Speaking on Monday with reporters from the National Farmers Union Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Vilsack said his department is working to assist these farmers in finding markets for their products.

“We’re going to broaden the national farmers’ market directory to include community-supported agriculture activities, on-farm stores and food hubs,” Vilsack said. “This will provide an opportunity for you, as a producer, to know precisely what opportunities exist within your region.” In addition, the USDA plans to expand the popular Farm-to-School Program.

“We know there’s a tremendous demand in schools for locally produced product, we had more than 355-million dollars in sales last year…we anticipate and expect that this is only going to grow,” Vilsack said. An additional seven Farm-to-School coordinators will be placed across the country to help forge relationships between farmers and school districts, according to Vilsack. The former Iowa governor said the USDA will also work to make it easier for small and mid-sized farmers to gain access to capital by expanding loan programs and increasing funding for such things as hoop houses, which enable longer growing seasons.

(Radio Iowa)

Statewide Quarantine to Slow Spread of Emerald Ash Borer

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – With winter starting to lessen its grip on Iowa and more people venturing outside, there’s a reminder that all 99 counties are now under restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the emerald ash borer, an exotic insect which kills valuable ash trees. The quarantine was issued by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and prohibits taking wood and ash-tree products out of state, according to state entomologist Robin Pruisner.

“And what that means is that we’re looking at high-risk items like ash logs, hardwood firewood – we call those regulated articles – that those that originate in Iowa must stay within Iowa, must stay within the quarantine boundaries to reduce the risk of spreading emerald ash borer.”

The destructive emerald ash borer has been discovered in eight Iowa counties thus far, and Pruisner says it’s likely that more infestations of the bugs will be found before the trees even leaf out this spring.

While the quarantine prohibits transportation out of state, Pruisner said they’re urging Iowans to keep it even more local, especially when it comes to firewood.

“Kind of the rule of thumb is, we’d like to see it maybe stay in the county that it originates from. We know that’s not always possible, but firewood does carry other pests than emerald ash borer and we’re just trying to slow the spread.”

For landowners wondering whether their ash trees may be in danger, there are signs that may indicate an infestation. They include emergence holes shaped like the letter “D” and serpentine or “S-shaped” tunnels under the bark. Iowa State University entomologist Mark Shour said that at this time of year, woodpeckers can help point the way to the bugs.

“They will go after a borer, whether it be a native or an exotic borer, beneath the bark of trees,” he said. “And in our case they’ve been very helpful in locating emerald ash borer infestations when we weren’t aware of them.”

Shour said there are a few treatment options, but they can take years to be effective against the emerald ash borer – and just because a tree can be treated doesn’t mean it should be.

Those with questions or concerns about a possible infestation can contact the Iowa DNR or Department of Agriculture or an office of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

More information is at IowaAgriculture.gov and at Extension.IAState.edu.

Beaver Bounty continues in Shelby County

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A reminder for trappers from the Shelby County Conservation Service: Shelby County is continuing the beaver bounty until April 15th.beaver Beavers must be harvested legally in Shelby County prior to April 15th and the tails brought into the Conservation Board office to receive the $20 per tail bounty. Paperwork also has to be submitted along with the tails and can be accessed under the documents tab at Shelby County’s website http://shco.org


Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Friday (Today) elevated fine particle (PM 2.5) pollution levels were observed at Viking Lake State Park near Stanton, on Thursday. Levels rose overnight across much of Iowa, but should fall later today as a cold front moves eastward through the state and winds increase. The DNR recommends that Iowans with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children limit prolonged outdoor exertion until the cold front passes through later today.

The EPA’s 24-hour health threshold for PM 2.5 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. Levels of 37.1 were recorded yesterday at Viking Lake. The daily average, as of 10 a.m. today, was 43.2 at Waterloo, 40.4 at Clinton, 39.5 at Emmetsburg, 39.2 at Davenport, 36.9 at Lake Sugema, 37 at Cedar Rapids, 35 at Iowa City, 34.1 at Muscatine and 25.2 at Des Moines.

Nitrate is a primary component of winter time haze in Iowa. Nitrate formation is enhanced during prolonged periods of high humidity and near freezing temperatures that sometimes occur during a spring thaw. Fine particles are also emitted by vehicle traffic and other combustion sources and by chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Stagnant air masses do not allow the fine particles to disperse, and pollutant levels rise.

EPA’s national air quality map is available online at www.airnow.gov.



Local food producers’ opportunity to meet potential buyers

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Local Food Policy Council (CCLFPC) is hosting a “Local Foods Meet and Greet” to help connect local food producers with potential buyers, such as restaurants, schools or other wholesale markets. Local food producers and potential purchasers are invited to join CCLFPC on Monday, March 10, 2014 from 4-5:30 PM at the Cass County Memorial Hospital. This is a come and go event, and those interested in attending are encouraged to stop by as available. farmersMarket_02_char11

There will be a short program at about 4:15-4:30, followed by a chance for networking and discussion. The event will be held in Conference Room 1 (enter through East doors and take a left). Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to RSVP to Emily Krengel, Cass County Health System Food Service Director at kreeh@casshealth.org or 712-243-7550 ext. 3421 by Monday at Noon.