KJAN Ag/Outdoor

U-S Ag Secretary not in favor of splitting food stamps out of farm bill

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 13th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Some federal officials suggest the Farm Bill should be split in two, separating agricultural policies from SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps. U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, argues that food stamps play a big role in ag income and the two should remain united under one piece of legislation. Vilsack says, “When 15-cents of every food dollar that’s spent in the grocery store ends up ultimately in farmers’ pockets, the reality is that the safety net, the nutrition assistance program, is also part of the overall stabilizing farm prices and making sure we have adequate income for our producers to keep them in business.”

Some Washington leaders have suggested the coalition between agricultural and nutrition interests no longer works, but Vilsack disagrees.  “When 15% of America’s population lives in rural America and 85% lives in urban and suburban America and there’s such a disconnect oftentimes between folks who consume and folks who produce our food,” Vilsack says, “it may be difficult in the future if you separate the nutrition programs and the farm programs to get a farm bill done.” Vilsack understands why some have suggested splitting SNAP and ag programs, given the difficulty in passing the last Farm Bill.

“I would sincerely hope that we wouldn’t try to disconnect the two because I think it would make it very difficult to get farm bills and farm programs supported in Congress,” he says. Vilsack argues the nutrition programs provide a safety net for farm income. SNAP accounts for the largest portion of the Farm Bill, or about 768-billion dollars over ten years. Since the 2008 Farm Bill, funding for SNAP has almost doubled.

(Radio Iowa)

Last week’s dry weather helped Iowa farmers

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 12th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Last week was a busy one for Iowa farmers, who took advantage of dry conditions to plant nearly half of the expected corn crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that farmers planted about 7 million acres. About 20 percent of the soybean crop, or 2 million acres, also was planted.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the heavy rain Sunday and Monday was good for those who have planted their crop but bad news for those who haven’t and now must wait for fields to dry out. As of last week, the USDA says 74 percent of topsoil was rated as adequate and 15 percent had surplus moisture.

Northwest Iowa was the driest region, with nearly one-third of topsoil reported as very short or short of moisture.

USDA: US corn yields to offset lesser acreage

Ag/Outdoor

May 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

ST. LOUIS (AP) – A U.S. government report says the nation’s corn growers should have banner production this year despite lesser acreage devoted to the grain. But corn prices later in the year may suffer a bit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released Friday its first World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report of the year. The report estimates that corn producers will harvest 165.3 bushels of corn per acre, up 6.5 bushels from the previous year. Corn acreage is expected to slip to 91.7 million acres, from 95.4 million acres.

The report is the USDA’s best guess of agricultural expectations, and weather events might dramatically change the forecasts. The season-average price for corn was forecast lower, ranging from $3.85 and $4.55 per bushel. It was $4.50 to $4.80 a year earlier.

Iowa DNR asked to put more teeth into water rules

Ag/Outdoor

May 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is facing criticism for proposing new livestock farm enforcement rules environmental groups and others say are not tough enough to clean up the state’s rivers and lakes. One of the critics is Bill Stowe, CEO of Des Moines Water Works.

He says the Environmental Protection Commission, which oversees the DNR, should require the agency to better monitor application of livestock manure and fertilizer to ensure too much is not being applied.
Stowe says the lack of clear standards for manure and fertilizer application is leading to contaminated water. He says it’s increasingly difficult clean enough to remain in compliance with federal clean water guidelines.

Stowe spoke Friday in Des Moines at one of six hearings the DNR is holding on proposed new rules.

New USDA effort looks to link farmers and urban shoppers

Ag/Outdoor

May 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Department of Agriculture has announced a new effort aimed at connecting farmers with urban shoppers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the demand for local food is growing to between five and seven billion dollars every year and that could be an economic boon for farmers. “We know that there are a number of opportunities that exist in urban centers to expand local food production and promotion,” Vilsack says.

Certain urban projects will now be eligible for a loan guarantee program that’s long been a part of the farm bill’s Rural Development title. Local food efforts in cities will be considered for funds through a guaranteed loan program, provided they directly benefit rural communities. “If you’re going to be using U-S-D-A resources, it has to have a connection, a financial and legitimate connection to rural areas and that is why there is the condition that there has to be some linkage to rural productions and producers,” he explains.

Vilsack says a food hub that connects city institutions to local food is one example. “So the business and industry loan program will clarify that these resources can now be used for an urban project, so long as it’s benefiting rural producers,” according to Vilsack. The 78 million dollars in this year’s farm bill is the biggest ever federal boost to local food programs.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic FFA “Ignites” at the 86th Annual Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 8th, 2014 by Jim Field

by:  Haley Carlson, Atlantic FFA Reporter

As April came to a close, the Atlantic FFA prepared 15 of its members for the State Leadership Conference at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. The Atlantic FFA left on Sunday, April 27 for Ames. FFA members began SLC by packing Meals from the Heartland at Hilton Coliseum. Meals from the Heartland is a nonprofit organization that packs thousands of meals for starving people around the world. Each package feeds six people, and contains rice, soy protein, vitamins, minerals and dried vegetables. The Iowa FFA packed 250,000 meals this year bringing the grand total to almost 750,000 meals within the past three years! These meals will be available to local food pantries and other organizations around the world.

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Front Row left to Right: Colby Sorensen, Morgan Barkley, Haylee Valeika, Marshal McDermott, Colin Petersen, Kristin Johnk. Back row left to right: Nate Moen, Clint Hansen, Chancey Richards, Tucker Sager, Wyatt Saeugling, Clayton Saeugling, Adam Freund, Paige Sorensen.

During State Leadership Conference there were multiple tours FFA members could take around the Iowa State campus. Some of the tours Atlantic FFA members took were to the Bio Century Farm, the ISU Beef Farm, Reiman Gardens, the Ag Business tour, the 450 Farm, and the 450 Shop tour. A few of the workshops that Atlantic FFA members participated in were on ATV Safety and a Leadership Workshop held by National FFA Central Region Vice President,
Steven Brockshus.

All of the 15 members were very busy during the conference. Four seniors received their Iowa Degrees. To receive an Iowa Degree a student must have received a chapter degree, be a

Chapter Program: Nate Moen, Morgan Barkley, Haylee Valeika.

Chapter Program: Nate Moen, Morgan Barkley, Haylee Valeika.

member of FFA for two years and have completed two years of high school. They must have earned or productively invested at least $1,000 in their SAE or worked at least 300 hours in excess of scheduled class time or a combination of the two. Students must have 25 hours of community service, perform ten procedures of parliamentary law, give a six minute speech on a topic relating to agriculture or the FFA. They must have served as an officer, committee chairperson, or a participating member of a chapter committee and have a satisfactory scholastic record as certified by the local agricultural education instructor and the principal or superintendent. Through all of these requirements, Wyatt Saeugling, Tucker Sager, Kristin Johnk, and Chancey Richards, received their Iowa Degree on April 29, 2014.

Also, Atlantic FFA member Wyatt Saeugling was one of six selected as a Finalist in the Star of Ag Placement. Unfortunately Saeugling did not win, but it was still a great honor to be a finalist. The finalists are chosen from the 686 Iowa FFA members that earned their Iowa Degree this year.

Farm Bus Team:  Adam Freund, Clayton Saeugling, Marshal McDermott, Clint Hansen

Farm Bus Team: Adam Freund, Clayton Saeugling, Marshal McDermott, Clint Hansen

Tuesday FFA members Clint Hansen, Adam Freund, Marshal McDermott, and Clayton Saeugling, took the Farm Business Management test. The FBM is a test that analyzes agriculture, farm, and ranch business management information. It applies economic principles and concepts of farm business management to the decisionmaking process. It also evaluates agriculture business, and farm business management decisions, and it tests the members ability to work together cooperatively as a group. The Atlantic FFA team placed with a Bronze.

Three of Atlantic’s freshmen FFA members participated in the Chapter Program. Morgan Barkley, Nate Moen, and Haylee Valeika set up a display for the chapter about ATV safety. The group presented to the judges Monday morning. The Atlantic FFA received a Bronze award. Two of the Atlantic FFA members took the Greenhand test at the Scheman building Tuesday morning. Freshmen, Colin Peterson and Colby Sorensen both placed with a Bronze award.

Atlantic had three FFA members that were part of committees during the State Leadership Conference. Clayton Saeugling was a part of the Audit Committee. The committee reviewed the past year’s budget and offered some potential changes to the new budget. Marshal McDermott was a part of the Programs of Activities committee. This committee reviewed the past years activities and also offered some changes to the new year. Haley Carlson was a part of the Nominating Committee. This committee met a week before SLC. They interviewed and balloted the state officer candidates. All of these committees presented at the Business Session Monday morning.

The week was a huge success for the Atlantic FFA! Also the chapter would like to thank LeVon Sager for donating her time to chaperone the Atlantic FFA on this trip!

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Iowa Degree: Kirstin Johnk, Wyatt Saeugling, Tucker Sager, Chancey Richards

USDA Report 05-08-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

May 8th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Dave York

Play

New Iowa livestock farm rule hearings underway

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — While Iowa environmental regulators hold public hearings on a new proposed rule designed to improve water quality through better enforcement of livestock farms, significant manure spills are occurring and highlighting problems the state faces managing a growing livestock industry.

It’s a difficult balance Iowa must find between encouraging livestock production that generates billions of dollars a year in sales and handling the waste generating by 60 million chickens, 20 million pigs, and 4 million cows.

The DNR is holding six hearings around the state over the next week on its proposed rule environmental groups and others say is too weak.

The group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says the rule should require livestock farms to obtain clean water permits to provide regulators leverage to halt frequent manure spills.

Cass County Extension Report 05-07-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

May 7th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play

Elevated Fire Danger across western IA today

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

May 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

COUNTIES: SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-GREENE-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-
ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD-
611 AM CDT WED MAY 7 2014

ELEVATED FIRE DANGER EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON IN PORTIONS OF WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST IOWA.

WINDS ARE FORECAST TO INCREASE TODAY FROM THE SOUTH AND SHOULD BE SUSTAINED AT 15 TO 20 MPH BY THIS AFTERNOON WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH. AS THE WINDS INCREASE…DRIER AIR IS EXPECTED TO EDGE INTO WESTERN PORTIONS OF THE STATE WITH RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES DROPPING BELOW 30 PERCENT DURING THE AFTERNOON.

THE COMBINATION OF THE WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES WILL LEAD TO AN ELEVATED FIRE
POTENTIAL THIS AFTERNOON UNTIL THE WINDS RELAX AND HUMIDITY VALUES CLIMB THIS EVENING. ANY OUTDOOR FIRES ACROSS THIS AREA WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO SPREAD RAPIDLY THIS AFTERNOON AND BURNING IS DISCOURAGED.