KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Iowa company gets first USDA license for bird flu vaccine

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa company has been awarded the first license by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a bird flu vaccine. Ames-based Harrisvaccines says the conditional license authorizes it to continue testing the vaccine’s effectiveness and stand ready if the USDA gives order to begin manufacturing. The company was licensed to make pig virus vaccines last year and in 2012.

Company Vice President Joel Harris said Monday that testing with the USDA shows the virus to be 95 percent effective in adult hens and 93 percent effective in day-old chicks with one dose. Harrisvaccines creates vaccines using genetic code — a string of 1,500 letters in specific sequence — eliminating the need to handle live virus. Harris says that allows the vaccine to be updated quickly if the virus mutates.

Ernst resolution would nullify WOTUS

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst has collected the signatures of 46 other senators on a resolution that would nullify an Environmental Protection Agency rule that’s unpopular in farm country. The “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule outlines six types of waterways that the E-P-A and the Army Corps of Engineers say are subject to federal Clean Water Act regulation. “I’ve just been hearing overwhelmingly from so many Iowans that the expanded definitions are causing confusion and uncertainty for farmers and ranchers and manufacturers,” Ernst says.

Other proposals attached to budget bills would block federal funding for implementing the rule. There’s a bill that essentially tells E-P-A officials to rewrite the rule and address some specific concerns. Now, the Ernst resolution seeks to get rid of the rule altogether. “It is just one of the options that we have on the table right now,” Ernst says. All three of those proposals face a presidential veto.

The Iowa Farm Bureau has suggested 97 percent of the land mass in Iowa now could face Clean Water Act regulation because of the rule, which went into effect in late August. Ernst calls the rule ill-conceived. “It’s a lot of over-regulation,” Ernst says. Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, is a co-sponsor of the Ernst resolution.

Officials in the Environmental Protection Agency say their rule “is fundamental to protecting and restoring the nation’s water resources.” The 1972 Clean Water Act gave the federal government jurisdiction over “navigable” waters, but a series of court cases over the past few decades have caused confusion over what “navigable” means. The agency’s new rule is an attempt to clarify its authority, but critics like Ernst say the E-P-A has gone so far as to seek jurisdiction over the gullies in corn fields.

“The law behind the rule has good intent,” Ernst says. “It’s just that the new rule takes it way too far.”

(Radio Iowa)

Survey suggests economy slowing in rural parts of 10 states

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new survey suggests that the economy will slow down in rural parts of 10 Western and Plains states in the months ahead. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says weak crop and energy prices are hurting profits across the region. The Rural Mainstreet Index dipped into negative territory at 49 in September from August’s 50. Any score below 50 suggests that factor will decline.

Farmers are delaying big purchases if they can because of the environment. The farm equipment sales index remained at 14.2 in September. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

Another Round of Bird Flu Possible This Fall

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – As the poultry industry in Iowa and across the Midwest works to rebound from the spring outbreak of avian influenza, there are predictions that another round of the disease will hit this fall.

Dale Wiehoff, director of communications for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, says while it’s still unclear how the disease became so widespread, he notes that avian influenza will likely become a permanent part of industrial poultry production. “The model of industrial poultry production that we have confines thousands of birds together that have the same genetic makeup, getting the same food and the same water,” he explains. “So it is really ripe for the spread of disease once it gets inside a facility.”

Nearly 50 million chickens and turkeys in the U.S. were lost in the spring outbreak of the H5N2 strain of avian influenza, including around 32 million in Iowa alone. With that unprecedented number of dead birds, Wiehoff says there needs to be a serious review of the safety of the methods of disposal, including incineration, burial and composting.

“The risk is if all of the virus isn’t killed in the compost process, it could be just spread out on the field and contaminating and infecting other birds,” he points out. “And worse, the possibility of the virus mutating and spreading to humans and other animals.”

Wiehoff says the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service just launched a review of how to handle the carcasses from any future outbreaks, which could include prearranged disposal sites.

(Iowa News Service)

Posted County Prices for the grains, 9/11/2015

Ag/Outdoor

September 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Cass County: Corn $3.40, Beans $8.41
Adair County: Corn $3.37, Beans $8.44
Adams County: Corn $3.37, Beans $8.40
Audubon County: Corn $3.39, Beans $8.43
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.43, Beans $8.41
Guthrie County: Corn $3.43, Beans $8.45
Montgomery County: Corn $3.42, Beans $8.43
Shelby County: Corn $3.43, Beans $8.41

Oats $2.29 (always the same in all counties)

(Information from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices)

Mayor: Carter Lake’s lake is useless & DNR is to blame

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The lake for which the southwest Iowa town of Carter Lake is named has become a useless body of water, according to the town’s mayor and he blames the Iowa D-N-R for the mess. Several years back, the agency spent almost six-million dollars to remove algae from the lake but the newly-clear water allowed plants to grow on the lake bottom, plants that now clog boat propellors. Mayor Gerald Waltrip is upset.

“My complaint is, you can’t use the lake, most people can’t use it,” Mayor Waltrip says. “Where I live, I have not had my boat in the water for…this is the fifth summer because of the seaweed around my dock area.” He says those who attempt to take their boats out on the lake do so at the risk of burning up their motors by getting the props tangled in the lake’s forest of weeds.

“Fishermen don’t even use it,” Waltrip says. “I used to have ten boats every day from 3:30 in the afternoon until dark with fishermen all the time. They loved it and they can’t do it anymore.” In trying to wipe out the algae — and a bad stench — he says the D-N-R may have done its job too well. Visitors can now see the bottom of the lake and the sun shines through the water, which caused the abundance of plants to grow.

“I’m not going to disagree that they didn’t make it cleaner or more clear,” Waltrip says, “but now, you’re to a point where 90% of the people that used to use the lake can’t use it.” Carter Lake, a town of about 38-hundred people, has two underwater vegetation harvesters but operating them is expensive. The situation is impacting the Carter Lake Ski Club, which is losing members and spending more money on weed control by its docks.

D-N-R officials say the lake is now good for fish and the main concern is water quality. The D-N-R says Carter Lake is evolving and the problem will eventually solve itself.

(Radio Iowa)

In corn-growing states, tall crops pose seasonal road hazard

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For drivers in Midwestern farm country, the growing season brings a special danger on the roads: tall corn that can obscure other vehicles until it’s too late. The plant’s broad leaves and thick stalks can stand up to 12 feet high, forming a wall of foliage that turns rural roads into long, narrow corridors of green, yellow and brown. Many intersections have no stop signs.

The peril is especially pervasive in Iowa, the nation’s top corn producer, where crops cover more than 90 percent of the land. At least five people have been killed so far this season in crashes blamed on corn.

Authorities issue warnings, but they can do little more than plead with drivers to use caution. The problem is also widespread across Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota and Indiana.

Applications for deer hunting permits in Atlantic available now

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

September 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Lt. Dave Erickson says anyone interested in bow hunting within the City Limits of Atlantic, for the hunting year 2015-16, can apply now for permit applications through the Atlantic Police Department. The hunt is allowed under the city’s Urban Deer Control Ordinance. Hunters wanting to receive an application should stop by the Atlantic Police Department during their normal business hours of 8-a.m. to 4-p.m., Monday through Friday.

The permit will allow you to harvest anterless deer. Once you have reported the harvest to the A-PD, you will be allowed to harvest a buck. Bow hunters that qualified last year with the Atlantic Police Dept. will not need to do so this year, but Erickson says you still have to pick up the permit application and have it filled-out.

New hunters will have to contact the A-PD and set up a time with Lt. Erickson, in order to qualify. Land owners who would like to allow a bow hunter to hunt on their land, should call the Police Dept. at 712-243-3512 during normal business hours, and sign-up.

USDA: Iowa has record soybean crop, tie with 2009 corn crop

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest estimates show Iowa is on track for record soybean production and will tie the largest corn crop ever. The monthly crop production report released Friday says Iowa farmers are growing an estimated 2.41 billion bushels of corn, which ties the 2009 crop for the highest on record.

The average yield is expected at 181 bushels per acre which ties 2004 and 2009 as highest on record. Iowa farmers are expected to bring in 526 million bushels of soybeans, exceeding the 2005 record by 1 million bushels.

Soybean yield is estimated at 53 bushels per acre, a half-bushel per acre higher than the 2005 record. Iowa farmers are expected to harvest 13.3 million acres of corn for grain and 9.92 million acres of soybeans.

Rabbit season is open

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

September 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Rabbit season got underway in Iowa this month. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz says hunters shouldn’t have any trouble finding targets. “On our roadside surveys they’re actually a little bit down from last year, not much, basically unchanged,” Bogenschutz says. “But our rabbit numbers are 20 percent above the long-term average right now — so we’ve got plenty of bunnies in Iowa.”

While the population is doing well, he says fewer hunters are looking to hunt rabbits.
He says the number of hunters has been trending down and he is not sure if that is following the pattern of more people moving from rural to urban settings. “There’s just a lot more opportunity for other species right now, 30 years ago we didn’t have a turkey season or deer season, or giant Canada geese,” Bogenschutz says. He says rabbits are a good way to get a young person started in hunting.

“For beginning hunters, there’s nothing easier than cottontails and squirrels. All you need is a 22, and you don’t need any camo, you just need a place to go and sit in the woods,” Bogenschutz says. Rabbit season runs through February 28th, with a daily bag limit of 10 rabbits and a possession limit of 20. Shooting hours are sunrise to sunset.

Hunters looking for places to go rabbit or squirrel hunting should use Iowa’s online hunting atlas at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.

(Radio Iowa)