KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Body of missing boater recovered near Burlington

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 25th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa DNR said Monday, that the body of a boater missing since Sunday afternoon was recovered in the Mississippi River a short distance from where the boat he was in capsized under a roller dam. The body of 33-year old Christopher Corson,  of Burlington, was found shortly before 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Corson and 30-year old Anthony Zurmuehlen, of Burlington, were fishing below a roller dam at Lock and Dam 18 when the 14-foot jon boat they were in was pulled under the dam where it rolled over. Zurmuehlen was able to grab on to a log and other debris below the roller dam and work his way to shore where he was eventually discovered by Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Paul Kay shortly before 3 p.m. on Sunday. He was taken to Great River Medical Center in West Burlington where he was checked and released without injury.

Neither of the boaters were wearing life jackets when the boat capsized. The DNR was assisted at the scene and in the search by the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Department, Henderson County, Ill., Sheriff’s Department, the Illinois DNR Conservation Officer Service; the Des Moines County Conservation Department and Burlington Fire and Rescue. The incident remains under investigation by the Iowa DNR.

Some Iowa farmers upset with government’s bird flu response

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 24th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

SIBLEY, Iowa (AP) – Iowa farmers who have been dealing with thousands of dead chickens attracting flies for weeks are frustrated with the government’s response to the ongoing bird flu outbreak. The Des Moines Register reports several chicken and turkey farmers expressed their concerns at public meetings in northwest Iowa Saturday.

Merlin DeGroot says he’s waiting for government crews to dispose of his dead chickens, but the agencies involved haven’t coordinated plans well. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says the size of the bird flu outbreak is unprecedented and the government is working to respond.

More than 25 million chickens, turkeys and ducks have been killed in Iowa, and it has taken time to find places to dispose of their carcasses. Two landfills in the state recently agreed to take birds.

Iowa reports new bird flu turkey case in Pocahontas County

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa agriculture officials say an additional turkey farm in Pocahontas County has tested positive for bird flu. If confirmed, the case will be the third in that county. The case brings the Iowa total to 64 farms with bird flu. The Iowa Department of Agriculture estimates 21,000 turkeys on the farm. Iowa has just over 1 million turkeys already killed or to be euthanized as a result of the virus.

Iowa will lose more than 25 million birds, mostly chickens, as a result of the disease which first surfaced just over a month ago. The spread of the disease seems to be slowing with fewer new cases reported daily. Minnesota reported no new cases Friday, the seventh day with no new cases reported.


Bird flu cuts Iowa April egg production 4 percent from 2014

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa egg production for April fell 8 percent from the month before and 4 percent from a year ago as the bird flu claimed millions of egg-laying hens. The first case was found in Iowa chickens around April 20 so the decline reflected in the U.S. Department of Agriculture monthly report reflects only some infected farms. The June 22 report will show a more complete picture. The virus has spread to 63 farms killing more than 21 million egg-layers.

The average number of layers on hand was 56.1 million in April, 5 percent lower than the year before. The loss drove egg prices to a record on Friday. Midwest large eggs reached $2.32 a dozen. Commodity market analyst Urner Barry says the previous record was $2.27 set on Dec 4.

Banks grow cautious about lending as farm incomes slide

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Farm income is falling for many growers in Iowa and across the region as credit conditions weaken. Nathan Kauffman, the Omaha branch executive with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, says lower crop prices and high input costs have cut profit margins and raised concerns about the ability of farmers to repay loans down the road. “In the last several years, profits have been so good in agriculture that a lot of people have been making pretty good money,” Kauffman says. “Now, a lot of bankers and other lenders are looking at where the risks are, wanting to understand what level of working capital do their borrowers have, is it sufficient to get them through these times?”

Recent years have brought many producers across the Midwest severe droughts and flooding while commodity prices rebounded only slightly after dramatic drops, while facing higher costs for seed, fertilizer and chemicals. It’s left many farmers short on cash. “Operating loans have picked up because of lower incomes,” Kauffman says. “There has been a need for more financing of some of those short-term expenditures and I think we’re seeing more lenders that just want to be cautious and recognizing things are still pretty good overall and they have been very good, but being cautious about what that means for the next year or so.”

Kauffman says cropland values edged down in the first quarter this year while pastureland values held firm. “The land that’s very high quality still does seem to be selling quite well,” Kauffman says. “The land that is maybe not quite as good, we do see some variation there. There are stories of no sales at auctions, we see other weaknesses in that side of the land market but overall, there has been a bit of downward pressure because of the lower incomes.”

Profit margins in the livestock industry have remained stable, but he says most bankers don’t think farm income or credit conditions will improve in the next three months.

(Radio Iowa)

Public info. campaign coming to Mills Co., re: Bird carcasses

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Mills County officials are putting together a campaign to educate the public on the avian flu as the county prepares to bury chickens affected by the disease. The remains of chickens killed by the flu will be buried in a landfill outside Malvern. The County said in a news release “Any risk to humans from this influenza is very low. No human infections have been detected, and there are no food safety risks for the consumer.”

The Mills County Planning Group for the avian flu has offered educational information, available at birdflu.millscoia.us, while there will also be a town hall meeting in Malvern on the issue. Officials said the county will release more information on the town hall meeting once details have been confirmed.

Residents seeking more information are also able to call the state avian flu concern hotline at (800) 447-1985.

Iowa cancels bird shows at Iowa State Fair, county fairs

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — There will be no chickens or ducks at the Iowa State Fair this summer and no poultry shows at county fairs in Iowa this year as the bird flu continues to infect birds. Iowa Department of Agriculture officials on Thursday prohibited all live bird exhibitions at fairs and live bird sales at livestock auctions and swap meets. The order lasts through the end of the year.

Iowa has more than 25 million birds and more than 60 farms infected with the H5N2 virus. Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the scale of the current outbreak is unprecedented and it’s important to take every step possible to limit the spread of the disease.

Other states to take similar steps include Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Congressman King ponders federal insurance for poultry industry

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Congressman Steve King says he’s concerned by the push to get Iowa landfills to accept the dead birds from poultry operations that have been hit by avian flu. He says “My level of enthusiasm for going to landfills has been relatively low…I have long thought that we needed to maintain the birds on the location. That should be the ideal.” King says turkeys can be composted and chickens can be burned on the property — or the poultry barns can be super-heated after they’re “shrink wrapped” to destroy the virus, then the barns can be cleaned out.

“I think we need to put together more of an industrial approach to this and bring the technology to bear so that the next time there’s a disaster like this, we have developed a model in northwest Iowa,” King says, “to meet a disaster of this scope anywhere in the country.” King says since he’s a member of the ag committee in the U.S. House, he’s been kept up to date daily on the situation. He’s concerned that investigators haven’t yet determined exactly how the bird flu is being spread.

“There are four or five theories, any one of which could work and could be the real reason,” King says. “But we have to figure out as best we can how it got in, especially to the laying houses, and what carried it. And if we can’t figure that out, then we can’t raise the biosecurity to a level that we’ll have enough confidence to repopulate these buildings.”

King says he’s working with others to figure out some sort of federally-financed “risk management tool”– like federal crop insurance – for poultry producers, perhaps something like “business interruption” insurance. “But it’s not coming together with enough clarity that I can predict the shape of things to come,” he says.

Iowa is the number one egg producing state in the nation and this bird flu outbreak has hit hardest in King’s northwest Iowa district.

(Radio Iowa)

USDA Report 05-21-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

May 21st, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Mills County landfill to dispose of birds w/Avian Influenza

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The remains of chickens killed by the avian flu will be buried in a Mills County landfill as soon as next week, weather permitting. The Daily Non Pareil reports the United States Department of Agriculture has reached a deal with Iowa Waste Systems, owner of the Loess Hills Sanitary Landfill near Malvern to serve as one of several statewide sites to received the dead birds.

Robert Glebs, CEO of Iowa Waste Systems said they have told the USDA they would like to accept 10 loads of dead chickens as a ‘test run’ for the first burial, which amounts to about 200 tons in weight. The test run was supposed to have taken place Wednesday, but Glebs says rain, which could have allowed excess water into the ground as a leachate, prevented it from taking place. He said the landfill will try to bury the chickens next week, weather permitting.

The plastic bags with chickens inside are placed deep in the ground before being covered with waste and soil within five minutes.State Senator Mark Costello, a Republican from Imogene, says hehas received more than a few grievances from people in the area with worries about diseased animal remains coming to their neck of the woods. However, Costello said the protocols and regulations to keep the diseased remains safe and contained are stringent and detailed. The Iowa Department of Transportation will figure out a safe route for the trucks, which are purified after carrying the remains to the site, he said.

According to Costello, the remains are placed in bags, which are heated to destroy the flu germs, before being buried and do not leak. He said he was unsure how many trucks carrying remains could be coming to Mills County, but he heard recent estimates put 25 million birds have died from the flu. The outbreak in the upper Midwest could cost producers nearly $1 billion, according to the Associated Press.

Dustin Vande Hoef, public information director for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, said the landfill will follow special waste-handling criteria. Vande Hoef said previous animal disease outbreaks have been handled in similar fashion in the past.