KJAN Ag/Outdoor

DeSoto, Boyer Chute refuges to close for hunting

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

October 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says DeSoto and Boyer Chute national wildlife refuges will close this weekend for deer hunts. All refuge roads and nature trails will be closed beyond the visitor center on Saturday and Sunday to ensure public safety. Only the visitor center will remain open.

The refuge allows the hunts in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as a way to control the deer population. Also, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge will be closed entirely, including the visitor center, on Monday for repairs to the tour road loop.

DeSoto and Boyer Chute national wildlife refuges sit north of Omaha, Nebraska, along U.S. Highway 30 between Missouri Valley, Iowa, and along U.S. Highway 75 near Fort Calhoun, Nebraska.

IA Transportation Commission approves $5.5-million in Rec Trails projects

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Transportation Commission has approved more than $5.5-million in funding for 12 propjects included in the State Recreational Trails Program. The Commission today (Tuesday) approved $224,437 for the Coon Rapids Connector Trail Underpass (near Coon Rapids), and $700,000 for the Pottawattamie County Trail-Phase I Project (proposed by the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board and Pottawattamie County Trail Board).

The State Recreational Trails program was created in 1988 with the purpose of developing and maintaining recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized trail users. This funding is available to cities, counties, state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations through an annual application-based program.

Continued rain wiped the drought out of Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The latest rains across Iowa continue to add to what is now a positive groundwater picture. Tim Hall, who tracks groundwater levels for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says we can officially put the word drought away for awhile when referring to the state’s water situation. Hall says it wasn’t that long ago when many were wondering if that would be possible. “I look back at the drought monitor from one year ago — from the middle of October last year — and it was really bleak about one year ago,” Hall says. “Most of the state was in some sort of drought, and it had sort of been lingering for a long time.”

Hall says things were dry going back even farther to the fall of 2011. “It’s nice now to get to the point where it appears that the long-term gradual moisture from this year has really pushed the drought out of the state. It’s nice to see. It’s been really wet going into the fall, this is what we like to see, so yeah, it’s in pretty good shape,” Hall says. The last remnants of the drought had hung on until September’s above normal rainfall.

“For awhile that northeastern corner of the state into southwest Wisconsin had been a little on the dry side — but we are out of it in Iowa right now. We’ve been out if for a month and it’s dramatically better than it was a year ago,” according to Hall. He says things seemed to balance out this spring, and the drier conditions actually helped prevent problems during a wet periods.

“The National Weather Service folks have pointed out that one of the things that really worked to the benefit of the state of Iowa this year given the spring rain, was that we did have very dry soil conditions back in the spring,” Hall says, “so, we were able to absorb a lot of the rainfall that came early in the spring season because the soil was so dry.”

The U-S-D-A National Agricultural Statistics Service says the subsoil moisture levels measured on October 5th had been greater only twice — in 2007 and 2010 — among the past 20 years.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic receives REAP grant for completion of T-Bone Trail to Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Nishna Valley Trails President Dave Chase has announced the City of Atlantic was awarded a REAP (Resource Enhancement and Protection Fund) grant amounting to $95,810, for the construction of a recreational trail in the northern part of the City connecting the east side of the Schildberg Quarry Recreation Area with the Atlantic Municipal Utilities well-field site east of Olive Street and the Atlantic Ball field complex. Both the Quarry and the well-head site have currently existing trail system.

The trail has been designated as “The Troublesome Creek Connector Trail”, taking the name of the stream that will need to be crossed by a 162 foot single span pedestrian bridge. Construction costs for the trail are estimated at $550,000, with the bridge comprising a large part of those costs. Other grants are being applied for, and local fundraising activities have commenced. Chase said “The engineering work and all necessary permits and easements have been obtained and we hope to see construction later in the summer of next year.”

The award, approved by the Iowa Natural Resources Commission last week, was based on an application filed on the City’s behalf by Nishna Valley Trails, Inc. (NVT). The Atlantic City Council gave its blessing to the application at its August 6th meeting.

Nishna Valley Trails, Inc. is a non-profit recreational trails advocacy group that has been active in the development of trails in the Cass and Audubon County areas since the early 1990s. Chase said “Our application was one of eight funded out of 27 applications filed by cities our size, so you can see that the process is highly competitive.”

Chase also said this project will help with the goal of connecting the T-Bone Trail to the City of Atlantic resulting in a 25 mile trail between Atlantic and Audubon, most of it on the old abandoned Iowa Interstate railroad bed. 20 paved miles have already been completed and the trail has been designated as a portion of the cross-country American Discovery Trail.

Northern Iowan to be featured on cereal boxes


October 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

RUDD, Iowa (AP) – A northern Iowa man will be featured on the back of cereal boxes as part of a promotion for farmers. The Hy-Vee cornflakes box with the picture of Rudd farmer Larry Bortz will be released next month or in December. Four other farmers will appear on other boxes.

Under the headline “Agriculture Works Here,” the promotional ads include a photo of Bortz or the others and point out that “nobody beats the American farmer when it comes to producing food.” The ads direct people to a website, agricultureworkshere.com, where they can learn various farm facts.

The Mason City Globe Gazette says the joint promotion involves Farm Credit Services of America, an Omaha, Nebraska-based, financial services organization, and West Des Moines-based Hy-Vee grocery stores.

Thousands use trail app, fundraising underway to expand it

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Developers says more than five-thousand Iowans are using the “Iowa by Trail” application that contains information on 18-hundred miles of trails in the state. The app has details on the location, distance, and type of trails, as well as points of interest close by. Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation spokeswoman, Kerri Sorrell, says as far as she knows Iowa is the first state to have an all-inclusive trail application like this.  “We hear it all the time that people want to get outdoors and discover the natural resources and areas that Iowa has to offer, they just don’t know how to do it or how to get there,” Sorrell says.

She believes it’s has a lot to do with the people in the state. ” I think it says a lot about Iowa’s connection with the land and with its natural surroundings.” The app became available for iPhone users this summer, and Sorrell, says the organization is working to bring the app to android devices.  “We think it’s a really great tool for people who are either experienced with trails or have never been on a trail before to get out and discover new things about their community, find places that they may have never traveled to before,” Sorrell says.

The I-N-H-F was awarded a grant of 40-thousand dollars by the Wellmark Foundation toward the android phone effort. The money must be matched by mid-December. If all goes as planned, Iowa by Trail should be available for all users early next year. Developers says the app has been used 56-thousand times by iPhone owners alone since May.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Sheriff’s Office looking into Co-Op embezzlement allegations

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is investigating allegations an employee of the 21st Century Co-Op may have embezzled money. According to Sheriff Darby McLaren, the manager of the Co-Op asked for the investigation, which also includes a review of records by the Auditor’s Office. McLaren said because it is a complex, on-going investigation, additional details will not be released at this time. 21st Century Co-Op has locations in Cumberland, Massena, Atlantic, Fontanelle, and Greenfield.

A letter from Board President Rick Wheatley to the Co-Op’s stockholders dated October 3rd, said:

“This letter is to inform you as a Member of the 21st Century Cooperative about criminal activity that was recently uncovered and is being addressed by the Cass County Sheriff, the board of directors, and Coop management.

Late last week, the Coop learned that an employee has embezzled funds from the Coop. The employee was discharged. The theft was immediately reported to law enforcement authorities and investigations by the Cass County Sheriff’s office and our auditors are ongoing.

We ask that you keep this information confidential and refer any inquiries you may receive to Randy Daugherty, General Manager of the Coop. We will keep you informed as more definitive information is available.

The audit has been completed and we are pleased to report another successful year. Dividend checks will be distributed at next month’s annual meeting. In addition to last year’s business, we will also be paying off past equity for the years 2004 and 2005.

The 21st Century Cooperative remains a financially strong organization. We will continue to provide the highest quality service to our members and customers.”

Pig farms rebound from virus; meat prices may drop


October 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Pork prices hit record highs this summer as farmers weren’t able to feed the demand — mostly because a virus had killed millions of their baby pigs. There is good news for pork lovers in the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture production update, as it shows more piglets are surviving and producers are building up pork herds. Iowa, the nation’s leading pork producer, reported nearly 5.5 million baby pigs were born between June and August — the largest number in 20 years.

New farm procedures helped reduced the spread of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, such as disinfecting trucks and equipment. Many producers are optimistic the virus is under control but some fear winter’s return because the virus thrives in cold, damp conditions.

Plenty of Propane


October 11th, 2014 by admin

Energy suppliers say there’s plenty of liquid propane available for Iowans to heat their homes in the winter ahead. Deb Grooms, executive director of the Iowa Propane Gas Association, says a series of events last year led to a record spike in prices, but they also will mean a better plan this time around. Farmers need to dry the grain before it’s stored so it doesn’t spoil. Grooms says that extra pressure on L-P supplies last October caused a shortage for residential customers. Grooms says those residential customers were told to top off their tanks this summer. She says farmers got the same advice from Ag Secretary Bill Northey. Governor Branstad declared an energy disaster last fall when farmers throughout the Midwest used a record amount of the fuel to dry their corn so it could be properly stored. That depleted supplies for home owners who were forced to pay record high prices topping five-dollars a gallon.


(Radio Iowa)

USDA ups expected record corn, soybean harvest

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the expected record corn and soybean harvest will be slightly bigger than previously estimated. Farmers are expected to bring in 14.5 billion bushels of corn, up from 14.4 billion last month, and 3.93 billion bushels of soybeans, up 14 million bushels. The October estimate released Friday boosted the per-acre yield for both major crops because of an extended period of late summer warmth in the Midwest.

The USDA says 22 states will set corn record yields this year. Corn farmers are expected to harvest a national average of 174.2 bushels per acre, a significant increase over the record of 169.  A dozen states will set new soybean yield records, and there’s expected to be 47.1 bushels per acre, up from the record of 44.