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.

Missouri River flooding benefits wildlife refuge

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

There’s a bright spot to the months of flooding along the Missouri River in western Iowa that destroyed homes, thousands of acres of cropland and bridges and roads. All that water is actually good for the De Soto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley. Each fall, thousands of migratory birds – including geese and ducks – use De Soto as a resting place as they fly south. Deputy Refuge Manager Mindy Sheets says those birds are now feasting on a more natural diet. “This flood has killed off a lot of exotic and invasive plant species and the native species that should be here have responded,” Sheets said. The visiting birds are no longer loading up on “junk food” from area farm fields. Instead, they’re eating the resurging native plants.

“That’s what the water fowl are supposed be eating, not corn and beans and stuff, so there’s more natural food than normal,” Sheets said. This week has been prime time for viewing with many varieties of geese and ducks as well as pelicans flying through. The 3,500 acre refuge is closed to the public for the time being, but Sheets hopes they’ll be able to re-open portions of the park in the next few weeks.

(Radio Iowa)

FSA Emergency Loans available

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Area farm operators who have sustained major forage/crop production, and/or physical losses due to the combined effects of severe storms, excessive rain, flash flooding or other weather events, may be eligible for an emergency loan from the Farm Service Agency. FSA State Director John Whitaker said Thursday, the loans will cover a period from April 1st, 2011 to present day. Applications for assistance should be completed at the Cass/Pottawattamie County FSA office in Atlantic. The final date for making an application is June 12th, 2012.

Whitaker says the FSA may make Emergency Loans to eligible family farmers, which will enable those persons to return to their normal operations, if they sustained qualifying losses resulting from natural disasters. Applicants must be unable to obtain credit from other, usual sources in order to qualify for FSA Farm Loan Program assistance.

For more information, contact your local FSA office.

2012 Garden Calendar Puts Spotlight on Public Gardens


October 14th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa — Many of Iowa’s beautiful public gardens are in the spotlight next year with the 2012 Garden Calendar, from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The full-color, 12-month calendar highlights a different public garden each month with several photos and information about the garden. “We wanted to spotlight public gardens next year because we have so many wonderful gardens in Iowa,” said Cynthia Haynes, ISU Extension horticulture specialist. “Many of these gardens also have special plant collections, which can give homeowners planting ideas for their own landscapes.” Haynes said visiting these gardens also can help gardeners see what a plant will look like and how much space it will need, as well as inspire them with interesting planting combinations, as they plan their own gardens at home.

The public gardens featured include: The Brenton Arboretum, in Dallas Center; Reiman Gardens, in Ames; Des Moines Botanical Center and Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden®, in Des Moines; Pella Historical Village, in Pella; Iowa Arboretum, in Madrid; Bickelhaupt Arboretum, in Clinton; Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, in Prairie City; Vander Veer Botanical Park, in Davenport; Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, in Waterloo; Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Garden, in Dubuque; and Noelridge Park, in Cedar Rapids.

The calendar also lists additional public gardens in Iowa. Each garden listed includes a photo, location and contact information. Each month has several gardening activities and chores listed, so homeowners can easily stay on task as they plan, prepare for, plant and take care of their own 2012 garden. “Some gardeners also use the calendar as a journal to keep notes from their garden,” Haynes said. “We hope the calendar helps inspire people to create beautiful landscapes and gardens of their own that are fulfilling and rewarding throughout the year.” Additional extension information and resources are listed in the calendar for gardeners interested in finding out more about various garden topics.

“Public Gardens of Iowa – 2012 Garden Calendar” (PM 0815) is available for $6 from the ISU Extension and Outreach online store at www.extension.iastate.edu/store or from local extension offices. This is the 34th edition of the ISU Extension and Outreach garden calendar.

Cass County Extension Report 10-12-2011

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

October 14th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen


Fire Danger in Shelby County rated as “High”

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County Emergency Coodinator Bob Sievert has increased the fire danger level in his county to “High,” due to a lack of moisture and anticipated strong winds. Sievert says the County has received less than one-quarter of an inch of moisture since Monday. The lack of moisture, coupled with forecasted strong winds over the next couple of days, mean conditions in the fields will be extremely dry, and result in an increased risk of field fires caused by machinery, or timber fires created by open burning. Sievert notes that Shelby County is not currently in a burn ban. Cass and Greene Counties have instititued Burn Bans here in western Iowa.

Seivert is asking residents of Shelby County to call 755-2124 to report any controlled burns. The caller will be instructed to notify their local Fire Chief. He says it’s hoped that by increasing public awareness and through public cooperation, officials can avoid placing the County in a burn ban.

Wilson Trailer lays off workers in Iowa and Mo.

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 13th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Wilson Trailer Co. is laying off 68 workers at its plants in Sioux City and Moberly, Mo., citing a slowdown in the national economy and bad weather in crop-producing states. The Sioux City-based company produces livestock, grain, flatbed and gooseneck trailers. Demand fell this year in the wake of a multitude of bad weather, from flooding along the Missouri River to drought in some Midwest and southern states.

Human Resources Director John Kreber says the company hoped to avoid the layoffs, but the reductions became necessary. Employees were told of the decision at a meeting in late September. The layoffs are effective Oct. 31.

USDA approves ag disaster declaration that covers 60 counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Department of Agriculture approved a request from the governor for ag disaster designation Wednesday for 27 Iowa counties that were hit by severe weather that ranged from flash flooding to drought. Iowa Ag Secretary, Bill Northey, says the federal designation will allow farmers to apply for federal help.  Northey says it offers the chance for them to be eligible for disaster payments through what’s called the “SURE” program. Northey says the rules for the federal aid make the counties bordering the disaster counties to be eligible too. He says there are 33 counties that qualify as “contiguous counties” under the disaster declaration. Northey says farmers need to check to see if they qualify for assistance. Northey says they need to go into the U-S-D-A Farm Service office and find out how the program will work for them as he says each case will be a little different.

The 27 counties included in this declaration are: Clarke, Jones, Mahaska , Montgomery, Van Buren, Davis, Keokuk, Marshall, Page, Wapello, Decatur, Lee, Mills, Polk, Washington, Fremont, Linn, Monona, Tama, Wayne, Henry, Louisa, Monroe, Taylor ,Woodbury, Jefferson and Lucas. The 33 contiguous disaster counties are: Adams, Cedar,Dubuque,Jasper,Pottawattamie, Appanoose, Cherokee,Grundy,Johnson,Poweshiek, Benton, Clinton, Hardin, Madison, Ringgold, Black Hawk, Crawford, Harrison, Marion, Story, Boone, Dallas, Ida, Muscatine, Union, Buchanan, Delaware, Iowa, Plymouth, Warren, Cass, Des Moines and Jackson. Farmers in the eligible counties have eight months from the date of secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance.

Pioneer announces new Iowa research center

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Pioneer Hi-Bred is expanding its seed research in central Iowa. The company announced plans Wednesday for a new research facility in Dallas Center. The company says in a news release that it will support corn breeding, corn and soybean product testing and help farmers in western and central Iowa, eastern Nebraska and northwest Missouri. Pioneer has had a research location in Dallas Center since 2004. Construction is to begin this month and be finished in the spring.

The new facility is the latest in a series of projects by Pioneer, including a $40 million research facility in Johnston that is expected to create 400 jobs. Pioneer, which is headquartered in Des Moines, is a subsidiary of Wilmington, Del., chemical maker DuPont Co.

Bigger corn surplus could slow food inflation

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 12th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) – Food prices could rise more slowly next year because farmers have a bigger surplus of corn on hand than previously thought. The Department of Agriculture estimates farmers have 206 million more bushels of surplus corn on hand at the start of this year’s harvest. That means farmers will have 866 million bushels of corn on hand at the end of next summer. That’s higher than last month’s forecast of 672 million bushels. The bigger surplus could bring down corn prices, which soared to record levels in June because of limited supplies. Corn is an ingredient in everything from animal feed to cereal to soft drinks. So cheaper corn could ease broader food prices. It takes about six months for corn prices to trickle down to products at the grocery store.

Scenic byway sign installation wrapping up in western IA

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 11th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) said Monday, crews are completing the installation of signs for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway and the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway in the Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County area. Thanks to grant funds made available through the Federal Highway Administration, the DOT is installing a new sign system for all the Scenic Byways in Iowa. Each of the 11 scenic and heritage byways across the state has a unique logo in a similar framework easily identifiable as an Iowa byway. The images are on reflective signs, with directional information added at decision points for the traveler.

The Loess Hills National Scenic Byway signs are now being installed in our area. The Loess Hills were named one of Iowa’s Scenic Byways in 1998 and received National Scenic Byway recognition in 2000 by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Loess Hills National Scenic Byway stretches along the western edge of Iowa through Fremont, Mills, Pottawattamie, Harrison, Monona, Woodbury, and Plymouth Counties. The Loess Hills National Scenic Byway also goes down Broadway in Council Bluffs, from highway 6 to 7th street. The public is invited to an unveiling of the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway signs on October 13th, at 4-p.m., in the offices of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce, in the renovated Hughes-Iron Historic Building, at 149 West Broadway. 

The new Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway signs have been in place for a short time. They feature a distinctive “L” on a red, white, and blue background. The Lincoln Highway Association was created in 1913 in Detroit, Michigan. The first transcontinental highway, Old Lincoln Highway was officially 3,389 miles long from New York City to San Francisco. In Pottawattamie County, the road goes down county road L20, North Broadway in Council Bluffs, continuing on West Broadway towards Dodge Street in Omaha over the Missouri River.