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.

Emergency Mgmt. Officials warn of dangerous fire conditions today

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

August 22nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency is telling residents of the county that outdoor burning will not be permitted AT ALL, today. The County is one of several in far western Iowa to be placed under a “Red Flag Warning” for this afternoon and this evening. The warning is in effect from Noon until 7-p.m.  Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert said all Fire Danger indicators will be in the “Extreme” category this afternoon, because any fires that do develop, can move rapidly. He say the amount of “fuel” in the fields and the dry conditions indicate that if fires do develop, they could move into communities, much like they have in the western states of Colorado, Nebraska, and to our south, in Oklahoma.

The county has been in the “High” Fire Danger category for several weeks now, and  Sievert says citizens have been very mindful of the dangers and cooperative. He says his agency has had a lot of cooperation from the public in calling in their need to burn, and connecting them with their local fire chief so they can conduct a burn safely. Seivert encourages people who want to burn – not today, as no burning is allowed – in the future, to call 755-2124 so that officials can ensure the burn is safe and conducted according to standards.

Seivert says officials in Shelby County began preparing for today’s Extreme Fire Danger threat, Tuesday night. He says meeting have taken place with the fire chiefs and fire officers in Shelby and surrounding Counties, as well as elected officials. The parameters that exist today and how they differ from other fire emergencies were outlined during those sessions. Seivert warns of what could happen if a fire does develop during the extremely dry, and windy conditions that are expected today. He says they may be asking citizens to leave their homes and move to a safer location, to get them out of harms way.”

Cass County is not included in a Red Flag warning. Instead we are in an “Enhanced Fire Danger” category. Cass County Emergency Manager Mike Kennon told the Board of Supervisors during their meeting this morning, that citizens here need to be wary of the danger faced by fast growing fires, as well. He says you should refrain from outdoor burning, and issued a reminder the County is and has been under a Burn Ban for quite some time. Kennon says Montgomery County Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Hamman is using a Wildland Fire Dispatch procedures. That means if there’s a grass fire, neighboring fire stations will be dispatched for mutual aid. That includes those from communities in the southern part of Cass County.

Cass County Extension Report 08-22-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

August 22nd, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Tennis Courts at Sunnyside Park in Atlantic won’t be ready for Spring action

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

August 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said Monday, that the tennis courts at Sunnyside Park likely won’t be ready in time for the high school tennis season, because of a delay in getting bids for the project, and related logistics. He says it’s unlikely because asphalt plants won’t be up and running until May 1st or the middle of that month, due to outside temperatures. Tennis tournament action typically starts in Mid-day.

The Atlantic City Council on August 1st, tabled until November 7th, a Resolution approving the plans and specifications for the Sunnyside Tennis Court reconstruction project, due to a lack of bids. Snyder and Associates Engineer Dave Sturm told the Council contractors are extremely busy right now, they practically had to beg for an active bids. Sturm said they ended up taking just one bid, but it was more than $40,000 over what was budgeted for. The Engineer’s original cost estimate was $241,000.The project will be paid for through bond proceeds, grants, and with payments from the Atlantic Community School District. Sturm said after discussing the situation with Roger Herring and the Parks and Rec Board, it was decided to reject the bid and request bids for the project again at a later date.

Herring told the Parks and Rec Board Monday, that they’re exploring the use of “in-kind services,” to prepare the court area for work next Spring. That includes removal of fences and posts. As a result, the courts will not be available at all next Spring. Herring says the use of in-kind work should help to lower some of the costs associated with the project.

In other business, the Parks and Rec Board approved the purchase of playground equipment for Pellett Park. The playground equipment called “Freedom to Play,” will run about $17,000, and includes climbing apparatus, rope ladders, and other attractions. A similar set-up cost about $1,000 less, but was not as aesthetically pleasing to the Board members, and has less attractions for young people.

And, Adam Wieser, with Atlantic Boy Scout Troop 54, presented his proposal for an Eagle Scout project at Sunnyside Park, to the Board. The project involves re-landscaping an area near the park shelter to include new perennial flowers, Hostas, repainting and lighting the flag pole, setting stepping stones in place, a sign, and other work. He said he’d like to start on the project this Fall, and completed by next Spring. Weiser said the project would be paid for through donations. The Board moved to approve the Eagle Scout project and thanked Weiser for his contribution to beautifying the park.

Another Eagle Scout project, this one by Casey Ihnen, is nearly complete at the Schildberg Recreation Area. It features several new, strategically place park benches and sponsor or memorial plaques. Herring said the project has been very well received by the public.

USDA: Corn harvest ahead of schedule


August 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — This year’s corn harvest is ahead of schedule with 4 percent in already compared with just 1 percent at the same time last year. The harvest is three to four weeks ahead of schedule in most of the corn belt because an unusually warm spring allowed farmers to plant earlier. Most expected a good year then, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been reducing its estimates of the nation’s harvest amid a severe drought centered over the Midwest. It now says it expects the least amount of corn since 2006, although the tally won’t be certain until the harvest is done. It is significantly ahead of schedule in some places. The USDA reported Monday that in Tennessee and Missouri, the harvest was already 18 percent complete.

Fire Danger in Shelby County still HIGH

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County Emergency Manager Bob Seivert said today (Monday), that the Fire Danger level will remain in the “HIGH” category until further notice. Seivert cited the lack of precipitation expected over the next several days.  The Fire Danger rating in Shelby County is based on input from local fire chiefs and the Emergency Manager, and weather factors.

Signs indicating the increased fire threat are located at fire stations within the County, and on the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency’s website, at www.shelbycountyema.com.  Shelby County is currently not included in a ban on open burning.

Anyone who wants to conduct any type of open burning outside, on their property, should contact the Shelby County EMA at 712-755-2124, and inform the on-duty dispatcher of your intentions. The dispatcher will put residents in contact with their local fire chief. Permission for you to conduct an open burn is at the sole discretion of your fire chief.

Salmonella outbreak sickens at least 6 Iowans

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

At least six Iowans are among more than a hundred people who are sick in a salmonella outbreak that’s spread across 20 other states. Two deaths are reported from the outbreak in Kentucky. Iowa’s chief epidemiologist, Dr. Patty Quinlisk, says the illnesses were first thought to be linked to cantaloupes grown in Indiana, but that may not be the case. Dr. Quinlisk says, “We link people who’ve gotten sick with the exact same bacteria, so we have six people, maybe seven, with the exact same bacteria but as far as we can tell right now, only two of them even ate cantaloupe and we don’t know where that cantaloupe came from yet.”

The cases in Iowa are not from a particular metro area and Quinlisk says they’re scattered across the state. She says all of the Iowans are recovering and none were in life-threatening condition. Nationwide, more than 30 people have been hospitalized. While health officials in Kentucky and Indiana believed they’d traced the exact cause of the outbreak to those cantaloupes, Quinlisk says that’s still a mystery. “Sometimes these bacteria are not that uncommon and there can be multiple places that people can get it from, especially with these more common strains,” Quinlisk says. “That’s what we’re investigating. I don’t know yet quite what’s going on. Sometimes people just don’t remember eating a certain food, but sometimes it’s that they actually didn’t eat that food and they got exposed to that bacteria someplace else.”

Cantaloupes, watermelons and other types of melons lay on the ground as they grow and they’re susceptible to this sort of issue, so Quinlisk says Iowans should follow a strict procedure when preparing them. “The safest way of handling any of these melons is to wash off the surface before you cut it,” she says. “Once you cut it, either eat it immediately or put the part you’re not eating in the refrigerator. You don’t want these sitting out on your counter. The inside of a melon is the perfect place for these bacteria to grow.”

The outbreak comes just a week after a North Carolina-based farm recalled 189-thousand cantaloupes and honeydew melons in ten states due to fears of listeria. A listeria outbreak blamed on cantaloupes grown in Colorado last fall killed at least 34 people. To learn more, call 888-SAFE FOOD or visit the website: “fda.gov

(Radio Iowa)

ISU Extension to host Town Hall meetings

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach say they want to hear from Iowans about how Iowa State in partnership with counties can best serve citizens. Five town hall meetings have been scheduled across the state, including a meeting in Atlantic on September 10th. The session takes place at the Cass County ISU Extension and Outreach Office, located at 805 West 10th Street, beginning at 10:30-a.m. Other meetings will take place in Ames, Storm Lake, Oskaloosa and Waterloo.

Cathann Kress, ISU Extension and Outreach vice president, and Terry Maloy, Iowa Association of County Extension Councils executive director, will participate in the conversations with Iowans. Kress says they are committed to listening to Iowans as ISU Extension carries out its mission. She says they want to gather feedback about what they’re doing well, where they need to improve, and what needs to be addressed.  Kress says  “All Iowans – citizens, community leaders, decision makers, partners, staff and extension council members – are welcome” to attend the meetings.

For more information about the town hall meetings or specific locations, please contact the Guthrie County Extension and Outreach Office at 641-747-2276.

ISU researchers developing new ethanol co-product


August 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Researchers at Iowa State University are on the verge of marketing a new product that promises to add more value to ethanol production. Hans van Leeuwen is a civil, construction and environmental engineering professor at ISU. He’s leading a team that’s converting ethanol leftovers into a food-grade fungus. “It’s turned out to be an excellent feed for poultry and it is also suitable for pigs,” van Leeuwen says. “We have conducted some extensive pig feeding trials and we are in the process of doing some more.”

The ISU researchers have produced the “MycoMeal” in a pilot plant in Nevada. Much of the stillage leftover from ethanol production is already turned into distillers dried grains that are sold as feed for cattle. Adding fungus to the remaining liquid from the stillage produces the MycoMeal. “This particular fungal material has a very high protein content and more importantly, some specific essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the pigs,” van Leeuwen says. The researchers are still studying how MycoMeal effects tissue growth and intestinal health in pigs, but van Leeuwen says it could replace other forms of food for animals.

“It’s equivalent, more or less, to soy meal, which is more valuable that distillers dried grain. It could also possibly substitute for fish meal, which is even more expensive,” van Leeuwen says. “Fish meal sells for about $1,500 a ton, so if we can achieve substitution of all or part of the fish meal, that would certainly go a long way in making the ethanol plants more profitable.” Van Leeuwen believes MycoMeal could eventually prove beneficial to more than just ethanol, pig and poultry producers.

“When you think that millions of people die annually as a result of malnutrition in underdeveloped countries, particularly in tropical Africa, there’s a possibility of supplementing the diets of these people with this high protein, high essential amino acid MycoMeal,” van Leeuwen said. The production technology could save United States ethanol producers up to $800 million a year in energy costs, according to van Leeuwen. He also said the technology can produce ethanol co-products worth another $800 million or more per year, depending on how it is used and marketed. The fungi-production process has two patents pending.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board to meet Monday

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Board will gather Monday evening at the City Park shelter in downtown Atlantic, for their regular meeting. The session begins at 5:15-p.m., and will include an update an Eagle Scout project proposal for the Camblin Addition at Sunnyside Park, and an update on the Eagle Scout bench project at the Schildberg Recreation Area. There will also be updates on the Department’s various Capital Improvement projects and the Campground area, Dog Park and Signage, at the Schildberg Recreation Area.

In his report to the Board, Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring will provide a review of the Schildberg Committee meeting, the Sunnyside Pool calendar, and City Park tour, along with a review of projects completed, and future projects being considered.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is September 17th at 5:15-p.m., in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall.

Appeals court rejects challenge on ethanol


August 18th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected a challenge to Environmental Protection Agency decisions allowing an increase in ethanol content in gasoline. In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said trade associations of engine manufacturers, food producers and petroleum producers did not have standing to sue because they failed to show that their members are harmed by the EPA action.

In two decisions, the agency approved the introduction of a gasoline blend of up to 15 percent ethanol for use in light-duty vehicles from model-year 2001 and later. The national gasoline supply is largely a blend with 10 percent ethanol. Ethanol producers, who sought the 15 percent option, say the ruling keeps a pathway open that could enable ethanol demand to expand.