KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Farmers Co-Op & West Central C-Op Boards recommend merger

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Farmers Cooperative Company (FC) and West Central® Cooperative this week announced a unanimous vote by their Boards of Directors to proceed with a merger vote by members of both cooperatives. Following several months of internal and independent analysis on the potential risks and benefits associated, the Boards approved the plan of merger and recommend a merger.

Pictured…Front row; Sue Tronchetti, Paton-area farmer and West Central Board Chair; John Scott, Odebolt-area farmer and FC Board President. Back row: Milan Kucerak, West Central President and Chief Executive Officer; Jim Carlson, Gowrie-area farmer and West Central Vice Chairman; Sam Spellman, Woodward-area farmer and West Central Board Secretary; Jordan Carstens, Bagley-area farmer and FC Board Vice President; Dan Reynolds, Rockwell City-area farmer and FC Board Secretary; and Jim Chism, FC Chief Executive Officer.

Pictured…Front row; Sue Tronchetti, Paton-area farmer and West Central Board Chair; John Scott, Odebolt-area farmer and FC Board President. Back row: Milan Kucerak, West Central President and Chief Executive Officer; Jim Carlson, Gowrie-area farmer and West Central Vice Chairman; Sam Spellman, Woodward-area farmer and West Central Board Secretary; Jordan Carstens, Bagley-area farmer and FC Board Vice President; Dan Reynolds, Rockwell City-area farmer and FC Board Secretary; and Jim Chism, FC Chief Executive Officer.

Odebolt-area farmer and FC Board President John Scott, said “Our members own these cooperatives. We encourage each owner to read the plan of merger and proposed articles of incorporation, ask questions, and return their ballot. Every member matters.”

West Central board chair and Paton-area farmer, Sue Tronchetti said “This is a landmark decision for our member-owners. Our Boards, management and employee teams believe we can diversify our businesses, improve member services and protect and enhance member patronage by utilizing our scale to procure more efficiently.”

Members are invited to hear presentations and information on the merger at one of 20 member meetings hosted Nov. 30th-Dec. 11th, 2015. A list of meeting locations and member resources are available online at wccgrow15.com or fcgrow15.com.

For a merger, Iowa law requires 50 percent of each membership to vote, with two-thirds of those votes cast to favor the proposal. Ballots and voting details will be mailed to each cooperative’s voting members approx. Nov. 20th, 2015. The votes will be counted at a special meeting slated for Dec. 18th, 2015.

Should the membership approve the merger, each cooperative will be represented by nine farmer-owners and member equity will roll into the new cooperative on a one-for-one basis. The combined cooperative, to be headquartered in Ames, Iowa, will be led by Kucerak as chief executive officer.

USDA survey: Iowa ranked 6th among states for number of organic farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa is one of the top producers of organic crops and livestock, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There were 612 organic farms in Iowa in 2014, when the USDA conducted the recently released survey. That places Iowa 6th among the 50 states. California, by far, has the most organic farms, followed by Wisconsin, New York, Washington, Pennsylvania and Iowa.

Organic FarmGrowers of organic crops avoid using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, while organic livestock are raised without the use of antibiotics and feed on organic food. The USDA reports Iowa had just under 68,000 acres of organic crops last year and organic sales in the state totaled $103 million.

Iowa produced more organic soybeans and corn for grain than any other state and ranked first among the states for it’s percentage of organic hogs and sales of organic goat milk.

(Radio Iowa)

Wabash Trace Nature Trail photo Wins Iowa Travel Guide Cover Contest

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

After seven days of competition, fans of the Iowa Tourism Office voted to feature the Wabash Trace Nature Trail in southwest Iowa on the cover of the next Iowa Travel Guide. (View the winning cover (https://t.e2ma.net/click/2higfb/awy8dg/q8y5ak). Iowa Tourism Office Manager Shawna Lode said “Each of the four images up for consideration highlighted a spectacular place in Iowa. We’re excited to feature this colorful image of the Wabash Trace Nature Trail to showcase the many great recreational opportunities across Iowa and draw travelers into the 176 pages of travel ideas within the Iowa Travel Guide.”

2016 TG COVERS_final Wabash (002)You can pre-order the new Iowa Travel Guide at traveliowa.com/preorder (https://t.e2ma.net/click/2higfb/awy8dg/60z5ak). Inside the new guide, expect to see great content highlighting Iowa bike trails, unique Iowa souvenirs, and historic hotels, in addition to thousands of listings for attractions, hotels, bed and breakfasts, cabins and campgrounds/RV parks. The guide will be available in early 2016.

The Iowa Travel Guide Cover Contest began last Wednesday and concluded this morning at 10 a.m. In total, 4,035 votes were cast with the Wabash Trace Nature Trail image receiving 1,830 votes. Other images under consideration depicted a scenic overlook of Effigy Mounds National Monument near Harpers Ferry, Roseman Covered Bridge in Madison County and hikers in the Loess Hills.

The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. For more information about Iowa tourism, visit traveliowa.com (https://t.e2ma.net/click/2higfb/awy8dg/mt05ak), call 800.345.IOWA or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center.

Connector trail project near KJAN almost finished – fundraising continues

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An official with the Nishna Valley Trails group, in Atlantic, said today (Wednesday), that with the 162-foot Pedestrian Bridge in place and virtually all of the concrete laid for the Troublesome Creek Connector Trail, the project will be completed within the next couple of weeks. Dave Chase, President of the non-profit Nishna Valley Trail, Inc., says fundraising efforts continue to top off the remainder of the money needed to pay for the trail.

The new Nishna Valley Trail Connector bridge in-place near the KJAN studios.

The new Nishna Valley Trail Connector bridge in-place near the KJAN studios.

According to Chase the group’s “Original announced goal was $550,000, and thanks to a favorable construction bid from Atlantic contractor A.M. Cohron and Son, the cost of the project was significantly lowered.” Chase said also, “Based on this and the status of the funds we had raised at the time we decided to pull the trigger on proceeding with the project to be completed this Fall. We felt good about the pending grant applications we had in. Another reason was that some of our previously-awarded grant money needed to be used by certain deadlines rapidly approaching.”

According to Chase, two grant applications (one to Wells Fargo Foundation and one to Wellmark Foundation) totaling $125,000 would have provided the rest of the needed money. Chase recently learned from both Foundations that neither application would be funded.  He said new ideas to raise the additional $125,000 have been studied and are being pursued, as well as contacting previous donors to consider further support and/or pledges.

Chase mentioned he has been approached about a donor recognition in connection with the new bridge. “The individual,” he said “Asked how much it would take to get my name on the bridge? How about $20,000, and, could I talk to some of my friends to do the same?” Chase brought the proposal up at the last NVT meeting and it was unanimously approved with one clarification being that any donation of $20,000 or more, by an organization or individual would be memorialized on a permanent donor plaque to be affixed to the bridge.

“This would be for any new or previous donations totaling this amount,” he said. He went on to say that year-end tax planning gifts were also being encouraged. “Those gifts are fully tax-deductible to an organization like NVT.”  Further information about the donor recognition or any other financial support for the project can be obtained from Chase at 712-249-3059. “We will raise the money,” Chase added. “ It is just a matter of where it comes from.”

Propane tank explodes in rural Adair hog shed

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from Adair were called to a reported propane explosion Tuesday. Adair Fire Chief Jordan Smith told KJAN News the incident took place at around 7:30-p.m., in the 2800 block of Frontier Road, or about 6-miles north of Adair. When firefighters from Adair, assisted by crews from Casey arrived, Smith says they encountered a structure that was fully engulfed in flames. The flames also caused a nearby grassy field area to ignite.

Smith said the landowner – who resides in Guthrie Center had been burning wood and other debris in a hole and left with his wife to get dinner. The farmer thought the fire burned itself out, but apparently an ember, whipped by the wind, caught an old, former hog building on fire. The explosion he said, was caused by one of three, 100-pound L-P gas tanks inside the shed, rupturing from the heat.

A motorist passing by heard a loud explosion and called 9-1-1. No injuries were reported.  Smith reminds farmers and landowners that anytime there are windy conditions, it’s wise to hold-off on conducting outdoor burns, or at the very least, not leave them unattended. He mentioned also, a combine was lost to fire earlier this week in the Bridgewater-Fontanelle area, that’s a good reason to check-up on your combines, make sure they’re maintained and aren’t getting clogged with chaf and overheating.

Cass County Extension Report 11-04-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

November 4th, 2015 by Jim Field

w/ Kate Olson


3 SW IA parks among 9 State parks to extend overnight opportunities

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Although Iowa’s beautiful fall has lingered longer than usual this year, camping season will come to a close very soon for most people, if it hasn’t already. State Park Bureau Chief Todd Coffelt, says don’t let the changing seasons limit your enjoyment of Iowa’s state parks, or the chance to stay overnight. According to Coffelt, “We have nine parks scattered around the state with beautiful, comfortable year-round cabins. Allowing couples and families, and even larger groups to enjoy our parks in what we sometimes refer to as the ‘off season.’”

A total of 35 year-round cabins are available to rent for two-day minimums for anywhere from $35 per day to $200 per day. Visitors will need to bring their own bedding and towels, and some cooking utensils. Amenities of each cabin may vary slightly. Depending on the type of cabin, they can sleep between two and ten people, and are located in the following parks:

· Backbone (Fayette County)

· Black Hawk (Sac County)

· Honey Creek (Appanoose County)

· Lake of Three Fires (Taylor County)

· Lake Wapello (Davis County)

· Pine Lake (Hardin County)

· Springbrook (Guthrie County)

· Union Grove (Tama County)

· Waubonsie (Fremont County)

“Fall and winter in our parks offers a completely different experience for a lot of people,” says Coffelt. “There is a quiet solitude that is very appealing and we invite folks to come out and experience it, whether they stay in one of the cabins or just drop in for a hike.”

For more details about each cabin and park, visit the Iowa state park reservation system at iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com or call 1-877-427-2757. Currently, reservations for the two family cabins at Union Grove State Park are made through the park manager by calling 641-473-2556. Honey Creek Resort State Park’s 28 one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury cottages may be reserved throughout the year. Details are available at www.honeycreekresort.com or by calling 877-677-3344.

Whiterock Conservancy gains more land

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Whiterock Conservancy near Coon Rapids in west-central Iowa is making plans for 12-hundred acres of land left to the organization by the Garst family. Mary Garst, the wife of hybrid seedcorn pioneer Roswell Garst, left the land to the conservancy following her death in 2014. Whiterock executive director, Conrad Kramer, says there are four sections of land involved. “Two of them are adjacent to each other and one parcel is actually adjacent to the existing Whiterock landscape, and another one is remote. So, only one of the four parcels is connected to our existing landscape here,” Kramer says. He says the lands have a variety of uses.

“Between wetlands and natural lands like prairie and forests, and productive land including hay land and C-R-P,” Kramer says. The Whiterock Conservancy is taking control of the land with an estimated value of seven million dollars. “We certainly will continue to manage it for production, but we would also like to make plans for restoration — prairie restoration and savanna restoration — on these parcels that are really prime candidates for some of that work. And also for opening them to the public, because all of them are quite special,” Kramer says. “Whiterock is already the third largest recreation area in the state, and we put a high priority on opening our lands for public recreation.”

Kramer says the donation adds a lot to the duties of the conservancy. He says they will probably have to hire another full-time person to the staff to oversee the new property. He says the non-profit conservancy depends on public support to run and they hope Iowans will help out. He says people can help out by using the facilities and paying camping and other fees. “But we also need Iowans to sit up and realize that this is a great asset for the state, but we don’t get any state tax dollars, unlike a state park. And if they want access to these great lands in the future, we need them to become donors,” Kramer says. He says they plan to have a formal public dedication for the new land sometime this spring.

To find out more about the Whiterock Conservancy, go to the organization’s website: whiterockconservancy.org.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa State researchers discover mystery piglet tremor virus


November 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) — A team of veterinary researchers at Iowa State University has discovered the cause of a disease that makes baby pigs involuntary shake which has perplexed hog farmers for more than 90 years. Researchers from the university teamed up with scientists from Missouri-based animal health company Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica to use new DNA sequencing techniques to trace the piglet tremors to a virus.

Infected piglets, sometimes referred to as “shaker pigs” or “dancing pigs,” can die from starvation if the tremors are severe enough. Iowa State veterinary pathologist Bailey Arruda says veterinarians have long recognized the congenital tremors but could never pinpoint the cause until now. Now that the researchers have identified the virus, work can begin to develop a vaccine.


Group confronts state officials about manure plan oversight

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Members of the citizen action group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement are meeting with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to file a complaint demanding improved accountability and oversight of livestock farms.

The group studied livestock waste management plans from five counties and found plans with missing pages and indications of multiple farmers dumping manure on the same field. The manure management plans are required by state law for farms with at least 1,250 hogs. The DNR is responsible for oversight.

Jess Mazour, community organizer for Iowa CCI, says inadequate manure management is contributing to water pollution problems. DNR Director Chuck Gipp says the agency will review the complaint and respond. He says the agency is working with farmers to improve water quality but it takes time.