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.

Vilsack says immigration reform crucial for ag industry


July 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the ag industry will suffer if congress fails to enact some sort of immigration reforms. “If you know what I know about the impact of the immigrant workforce on agriculture, you recognize that this is something that needs to get done,” Vilsack says. “We have had crops not harvested, crops not raised and crops actually leaving the United States and being grown elsewhere because we have a broken immigration system.”

America’s agricultural industry has been able to keep food prices low, in part, with cheap immigrant labor. In 2006, 77 percent of all agricultural workers in the United States were born in another country. Vilsack cites a recent study in the state of Georgia. “They’ve determined that their state has suffered $320 million annually of economic loss and roughly 3200 jobs that otherwise would have been filled weren’t being filled,” Vilsack says. “So if you start multiplying that by a lot of agricultural states around the country, you can see this lack of a comprehensive immigration bill is having an impact on the agricultural economy.”

Georgia enacted a state law in 2010 that made it harder for employers to hire illegal immigrants and directed police in Georgia to be more aggressive in checking for undocumented residents. A University of Georgia study found farmers in Georgia were 40 percent short of the fieldhands they needed to harvest crops in 2012. The immigration reform plan that recently cleared the U.S. Senate would grant legal resident status to current farm workers who entered the country illegally. Advocates say a separate guest worker program outlined in the bill will increase the flow of temporary farm workers into the U.S.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Fair – Day 4 (Sun., July 28th 2013)

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Fair continues its 6-day run here in Atlantic, today. The Swine show kicked-off activities early this morning, at 7:30. The Commercial Exhibits building opens at 10-a.m. The Thrashing and Antique Equipment Show is slated to run from 11-a.m. until 3-p.m..

Other events include the Decorator’s Showcase from Noon until 4-p.m., where young people have an opportunity to decorate one room in their own style. Participants select coordinating textures and colors, consider a formal, informal or semi-formal look, then put those selections into a display. Each member is allowed one-hour for the contest. Local businesses have donated and loaned samples of wallpaper or fabric as a starter for 4-H’ers to use.

The Poultry and Dog show, and Skid Loader Rodeo events begin at 2-p.m., the Texaco Country Showdown for new music talent gets underway at 3-p.m., “Share the Fun” at 5-p.m., with Cass County 4-H’ers showing-off their talent, and the Horse Fun Show is at 6-p.m., along with the Tractor Pull.

Drought concerns return to Iowa, Nebraska

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

July 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Many Midwest farmers are beginning to worry that last year’s drought could return. The concern is inching closer to reality for a large part of the corn growing region as many states have experienced only spotty rain, with some areas far too dry.

The National Drought Monitor released Thursday says abnormally dry conditions have spread eastward farther into southern Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Portions of Nebraska including the southeast that had May rain are now drying out again.

Rain also seems to have missed southeastern Indiana, which is now listed as abnormally dry after the state had been lifted out of drought. Corn is in the pollination stage, which determines how much grain it will produce, and needs moisture now to fully develop

Successful farmers learn quickly to roll with financial punches


July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Focusing on the host of financial challenges facing farmers, the Iowa Farm Bureau wrapped up its second annual economic summit this week. Bureau president Craig Hill, of Milo, says the state’s farmers and ranchers face a lot of economic pressures and identifying those is the first step in dealing with them and, hopefully, surviving. “There’s so much risk involved, a producer really has to look at their balance sheet and their cash flow and insulate themselves from shocks,” Hill says. “That can come from Mother Nature, it can come from a global event that may occur overnight, situations in the marketplace.”

Hill says his group wants to help producers deal with those market forces. He wants Iowa farmers to have the best possible information available so they can make good decisions. “It’s such a dynamic industry and things are changing so fast that if you don’t keep updated and you don’t understand the potential risks that you have, you can’t address them,” Hill says.

Producers need to be able to put numbers to those risks and identify them so they can protect themselves, he says. Hill adds, they also need to be prepared to deal with the recent upward commodity price cycle and land value boom which eventually will end.

(Radio Iowa)

Researchers studying smelly pest which arrived in Iowa last year


July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A destructive pest that was first confirmed in Iowa last year has spread to at least 40 states. U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers are trying to learn how they can minimize damage the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) can do to various crops. Don Weber is a USDA entomologist. “It attacks various vegetable, fruit and field crops, so apples, pears and peaches it’s definitely on, especially as they’re maturing,” Weber says. “A lot of times that damage is hidden until you cut open the fruit, which is very unfortunate. It can affect soybeans as well…and tomatoes and peppers.”

The stink bug can also known to attack a popular summertime favorite in Iowa — sweet corn. Weber, working at a USDA facility near Washington D.C., is trapping stink bugs to study their attractants or pheromones. “We could use this as a management tool to monitor, to make sure we know where the pest is, and how high the numbers are, so we know what we might do about it, but also potentially to use it to trap it out of the crop or near houses where we don’t want it to be,” Weber says.

The brown marmorated stink bug came to the U.S. about 15 years ago from Asia, so Weber says researchers are looking THERE for natural predators. “And they’re mainly these tiny wasps, egg parasitoids, they’re harmless, they don’t sting. Their main objective in life is to find stink bug eggs and to make sure it doesn’t end up a stink bug, it ends up a wasp,” Weber says. In addition to their destructive behavior, the stink bug – as you might expect – has a foul odor. Weber, however, doesn’t find it all that offensive.

“The stink of the stink bug is fairly similar to cilantro,” Weber says. “That doesn’t mean necessarily you’d want to eat it and I’m sure that’s repulsive to the predators that it’s trying to repel.” The first breeding infestations of brown marmorated stink bugs were confirmed in October 2012 in Scott County. Stink bugs have been an especially big problem in mid-Atlantic states — causing $52 million worth of damage last year to peach and apple crops there.

(Radio Iowa)

Top pest is developing resistance to corn plants bred to kill it


July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Some Iowa corn growers who planted a genetically-modified variety called B-T corn are finding their plants no longer resist corn rootworms — and some crops are being badly damaged. Darwin Bettin, who farms in northwest Iowa’s Sac County, says he’s used B-T corn for a decade and it’s always kept away the pests, until now.  “I could see corn laying down in my field and none of my neighbors fields,” Bettin says. “I was old enough, I told my wife, if I didn’t know better, that looks like rootworm damage.”

Since the corn was bred by Monsanto to resist rootworms, farmers didn’t have to use pesticides. Now, some are resorting back to chemicals as the insect has developed a resistence to the B-T corn. While the trend is a setback for farmers, it’s a boon for farm chemical makers like Philadelphia-based F-M-C, where spokesman Aaron Locker says profits are up. Locker says, “FMC reported a 9% increase in first quarter sales in its agriculture solutions business and 20% increase in fourth 4th quarter sales.” That’s due in part to the resistance in corn rootworms.

Bettin lost half his crop to rootworm damage and says his local seed dealer refunded some of his money, but not Monsanto. Bettin says, “As much money as those companies have made off of us selling us those traits over the years, I think they’d be willing to step up to the plate when their trait doesn’t work.” A spokesman for B-T maker Monsanto says the company is investing millions of dollars in research to bring new products to market. The federal E-P-A says it could restrict the future use of B-T seed, but Monsanto is working to introduce new varieties while encouraging farmers to rotate crops.

(Radio Iowa)

Group cautions Iowans to watch for algae blooms

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An environmental group is cautioning Iowans to be aware of algae blooms in the state’s lakes and ponds this summer. The issue is a concern because of high levels of nitrogen and phosphates from farmland runoff and sunny hot conditions.

The Iowa Environmental Council says to avoid water with a bright blue or green colored tint, thick scum that look like spilled paint, or areas that smell bad. These conditions could produce toxins that can make people and animals sick.  Exposure can occur through swimming, drinking, or breathing airborne toxins. Symptoms include breathing difficulties and skin rash.

Advisories have been issued at five state-managed beaches including Brushy Creek Beach, Crandall’s Beach at Big Spirit Lake, Green Valley Beach, Lake of Three Fires Beach, and Viking Lake Beach.

Cass County Fair – Day 2 (Friday, July 26th)

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Day number two of the 2013 Cass County Fair in Atlantic is packed with activities for the whole family. It begins with the beef weigh-in at 8-a.m.  The Rabbit Show and Horse shows gets underway at 9. In addition to having an opportunity to peruse the 4-H exhibits in the Community Center, persons attending the fair have the chance to visit with various vendors in the Commercial Exhibits building. Both begin at 10-a.m.

The Livestock Judging Contest gets underway at 3-p.m., with teams of 4-H and F-F-A members competing in three contests simultaneously. The big event for this evening, is the annual “Bull-O-Rama” and Bull Ride at 7:30, along with a donkey half-time show.

As always, there is NO Charge to attend the Cass County Fair, but your purchase of meals at the food stand are very much appreciated, to help support the Fair and continue to make it a unique, free event each year.

View the fair schedule at: www.extension.iastate.edu/cass/sites/www.extension.iastate.edu/files/cass/2013%20Schedule_Cass%20County%20Fair%20Updated.pdf

Audubon County Fair Queen Announced

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 25th, 2013 by Chris Parks

A great crowd gathered Thursday (7/25) night at the grandstand at the Audubon County Fairgrounds for the crowning ceremony of the 2013 Audubon County Fair Queen. Nine candidates were vying for the crown including: Teagan Albright, Jan Asberry, Maddie Christensen, Megan Deist, Chansea Nelson, Jayce Nelson, Courtney Rudolph, Amanda Steffes, and Mary Wede.

The candidates attended a meal and interview event on Wednesday, July 17th at the Audubon County Extension Office to determine the winners.  The 2013 Audubon County Fair Queen is Jan Asberry, Daughter of John and Denise Asberry of Exira.  The first runner-up was Chansea Nelson, Daughter of Dave and Trudy Nelson of Exira.  The second runner-up was Maddie Christensen, Daughter of Tom and Teresa Christensen of Audubon.

The royalty were crowned by 2012 Queen Katelyn Asmus and now Jan Asberry will get to compete at the Iowa State Fair Queen Pageant August 6th-10th.  The Audubon County Fair continues through Tuesday, July 30th.

Cass County Fair Royalty Named

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 25th, 2013 by Chris Parks

The Cass County Fair King and Queen contest took place on Thursday, July 25th at the Cass County Fairgrounds.  A large crowd waited out some rain at the end of the contest to find out the winners.   The 2013 Cass County Fair King was Tanner Potter of the Griswold Clubsters, son of Brent and Amy Potter.  The Prince was Blake Miller of the Grant Guys and Gals and CAM FFA, son of Gary and Shelly Miller.  Mr. Congeniality went to Clint Hansen of the Grove HOT and Atlantic FFA, son of Mike and Becky Dreager.

The 2013 Cass County Fair Queen title was awarded to Larissa Backhaus of the Griswold Clubsters and Griswold FFA, daughter of Bill and Jenny Backhaus.  Princess was Mikayla Somers of the Bear Grove Blazers, daughter of Guy and Kathy Somers.  Miss Congeniality went to Emily Jacobsen of the Bear Grove Blazers and Atlantic FFA. Emily is  the daughter of Mike Jacobsen and Darla Jacobsen.

Another award handed out was the KJAN/Brownfield Ag News Network Ag Youth Award.  That honor was given to Emily Jacobsen of Atlantic.  The Brownfield Ag News Network and KJAN partner in this award each year to honor outstanding youth and acknowledge their contribution to agriculture in the area.

The Cass County Fair continues through Tuesday, July 30.