KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Shelby County Fire Danger rating: Low 10/20-23

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Agency have begun their twice-weekly Fire Danger notices. From today (Monday) through this Thursday (Oct. 23rd, the Fire Danger rating is LOW, meaning the danger from runaway fire is minimal at this time. Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.Fire danger Low

When the rating is in the LOW or green category on the sign, you are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 755-2124 and notify your local fire chief. The next update will be on Thursday, October 23rd.

Pheasant season prospects are good in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

October 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa pheasant hunters should see more of what they came for, as they step into the field this fall. More pheasants. The Iowa DNR says a strong rebound in August roadside counts of Iowa’s most popular game bird has buoyed expectations, heading toward the October 25 opener.DNR pheasant biologist Todd Bogenschutz says “We have the best pheasant numbers since 2008. People are telling me that more birds are flushing; that they are hearing more crowing and cackling out there.”

Counts this summer averaged 17.4 pheasants per 30 mile survey route, up 151 percent from last year’s 6.9…an all-time low. Of the nine regions monitored, eight had increases ranging from 102-290 percent. Only northeast Iowa showed no change.

Bogenschutz says drought conditions across the past two summers probably kept pheasants in the fields on August mornings, rather than pushing up to road edges, to escape heavy dew. That may have kept many from being tallied on the 200 gravel road routes surveyed. Hunters harvested 10,000 more pheasants in 2013, despite the record low counts.

Bogenschutz predicts “The best habitat will hold birds; good winter cover, good nesting cover, too. Hunters should be happy hunting those areas, over just decent nesting cover.”  He suggests hunters conduct their hunts around the best habitat, and urges hunters to “Talk to the farmers where you will be hunting. Ask what they have seen while harvesting the crops.”

With a better bird outlook, the numbers of hunters should climb, too. Last year, only 41,000 pheasant hunters were in the fields. Early in the season, standing crops are going to be a factor. Bogenschutz says “Harvest is running a little behind. The season is starting a couple days earlier, too. That could be a challenge for hunters, until the corn is out. Our counts were up; hens with broods were way up. There will be a lot of young roosters, who aren’t wise to the ways of the wild, yet.”

Hunting hours for Iowa’s pheasant seasons are 8 a.m. until 4:30 each day. The daily limit is three rooster pheasants. The season closes on January 10th.

5 decades of Iowa aerial photography available on DNR website

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowans have a way to look into Iowa’s past and view changes of their entire state, from decade to decade, thanks in part to REAP funding of the Iowa Historic Digital Aerial Photo Project. The public can now see where former buildings were located, what kinds of industries and operations were on a site 70 years ago, and how development and urbanization has changed Iowa’s city and agricultural landscapes by visiting http://programs.iowadnr.gov/maps/aerials/.

In 2009 and 2011, Historical Resource Development Program grants from REAP helped the DNR’s Geographic Information System Section procure photographs from various archives across the state and nation. Archives in Washington D.C., the University of Iowa Map Library, the Iowa Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Aerial Photography Field Office, county offices and private national archives all contained valuable pieces to Iowa’s geographic time puzzle.

Steve King, deputy state historic preservation officer, said “The Iowa Historic Digital Aerial Photo Project makes these images available to researchers, developers, landowners and others who need to understand the history of properties in Iowa. We appreciate preserving these important historical documents and making them available online to Iowans and others around the world.”

Developers, landowners and managers, and planners often need to understand how a property was previously used in order to evaluate history’s environmental and character impacts. Knowledge about a site’s resource use is also beneficial, and difficult to find elsewhere. Soil and streambank erosion patterns, conservation improvements and changes in natural vegetation and habitat can also be used to compare trends in land use and natural resource management.

Once the photos were scanned and made digital, GIS staff diligently matched them to their actual location. A processing algorithm then aligned the photos into blocks, which were mosaicked together to produce statewide coverage. Because of this approach, the photos can now be viewed with other mapped features such as roads and land boundaries.

The GIS Historic Aerial Photography Project took more than eight years to complete, from 2004-2012, because of its detail specific and comprehensive nature.

USDA plans to survey Iowa corn farmers about chemical use

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 20th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A sample of Iowa corn growers will soon be asked to report on their use of pesticides and fertilizer. The Agricultural Resource Management Survey is conducted on different crops each year and 2014 is a corn year. Greg Thessen, regional director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, says once the data is compiled and released to the public, it’s a tool policymakers can use to evaluate proposed changes. Thessen says, “This provides a good source of information for them to take a look at see, okay, if they change a policy what impact is that going to have on farmers and how they grow crops or corn in particular.”

Thessen says about 10-percent of the farmers polled for this year’s corn survey will be in Iowa. The information gathered will be released in public reports beginning next May. Thessen says the survey gives farmers a chance to tell the government how they grow their crops. He says, “What kind of inputs it takes as far as fertilizer and pesticides go, as well as any pest management practices, and really show other people that may not be involved with agriculture how they are good stewards of the land.”

Thessen says selected farmers will receive a notice in the mail and then a U-S-D-A employee will visit the farmer to record detailed information about the use of chemical inputs. Thessen says one use is for the U-S Environmental Protection Agency to see whether products are being used according to their labels.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Parks & Rec Board to meet Monday evening

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors will meet Monday evening beginning at 5:15 in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall. During the session, the Board will receive a presentation from Eagle Scout Grant Podhasky on the Camblin Fire Pit project.

Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring will discuss progress as well, on the Sunnyside Park Senior Activity Area, during which he’s expected to report on the completion of a retaining wall, fine grading and erosion control measures. Herring will also talk about the completed purchase of equipment for Pickle Ball, Croquet, Bocce Ball, Badminton, the Horseshoe pit, Ladder Toss and Bean Bag Toss.

Herring will also report on progress with the Bike Rack installation at the Courthouse and City Park, and that the  Schildberg Quarry Rec Area dock is closed for repairs due to regular wear and tear. The Board will also hear an update on the Bull Creek Walking/Biking Pathway.


Ag/Outdoor, News

October 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

VILLISCA – Ammonia that got released from an agricultural cooperative in Villisca earlier this week is contained and is being recovered. The recovered solution of water and ammonia will be land applied to crop fields.

An unknown amount of anhydrous ammonia was released into a city storm sewer intake and then flowed into a small unnamed tributary of the West Nodaway River. The ammonia is believed to have originated at the United Farmers Mercantile Co-op in Villisca and to have occurred sometime between 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. It was reported to the DNR by a citizen.

Under instruction from the DNR, the coop constructed a dam on the tributary and is pumping it to be land applied. By Friday afternoon, approximately 44,000 gallons of the solution had been recovered. The coop is also flushing the tributary from the storm sewer to remove the contamination.

Although the incident is still under investigation by the DNR, it appears that soil at the cooperative had been contaminated with anhydrous ammonia and came in contact with water when a water line broke. Anhydrous ammonia is in vapor form until it comes in contact with water and becomes soluble. When the water line was being repaired, the ammonia-mixed water got pumped to a city storm sewer that eventually empties into the unnamed tributary of the West Nodaway River.

DNR field office staff is continuing to monitor the clean up.

5 Candidates on Nov. 4 Ballot for Shelby County Extension Council

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 17th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Voters in Shelby County will have the opportunity to elect five members of the County Extension Council from a slate of five candidates at the Nov. 4th general election. Mary Taggs, Shelby County Extension Educator said “The council members elected this year will be involved in bringing educational opportunities to Shelby County for the next four years.”

Extension council members are elected at large, and all voters in the county are eligible to vote for five candidates. Candidates on this year’s ballot include: Elaine Baughman, of Kirkman; Renee Hansen, of Harlan; Jo Kenkel, from Defiance; Lorie Knudsen, of Harlan; and Ellen Walsh-Rosmann, of Harlan.

Council members whose terms expire this year are: Laura Freund, Earling; Kay Goshorn, Harlan; Jo Kenkel, Defiance; Travis Lane, Shelby; Jake Schechinger, Harlan. Carryover council members whose terms continue through the end of 2016 are: Scott Burchett, Harlan; Rowly Burton, Irwin; Julie Klein, Harlan, and Michele Monson, of Irwin.

Successful candidates will take office in January 2015. Extension council members make policy, programming and budget decisions for Shelby County Extension and Outreach. For more information, visit www.extension.iastate.edu or contact Shelby County Extension & Outreach (712) 755-3104.


Shelby County Implements Fire Danger Monitoring

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County Emergency Service Officials, including Fire Chiefs, Law Enforcement, and Emergency Management will begin twice weekly updates on local fire danger conditions. Signs placed strategically in each community, primarily at the fire Stations will indicate what the fire danger is for any particular day.

This program, implemented in 2010, resulted in a reduction of fire responses countywide. The continuous bi weekly fire danger assessments are provided by email to the media, Fire Chiefs, and others who support the program on their web pages, through radio, and cable TV information pages. This has, at times, reduced the need for our county to implement a complete burn ban.

When someone has the need to burn a pile of brush, debris, or buildings, they are asked to contact the Emergency Management Agency at 755-2124. The dispatchers will obtain the location and nature of the planned burn and will provide the caller with the Fire Chiefs contact information. Through this expanded communication process, we have found some burns can be rescheduled to a different time of day, where wind and moistures are more acceptable. The Fire Chiefs can have input as to how the burn can be conducted safely and be aware of the activity should it become unmanageable.

Shelby County has four color coded distinct levels:

LOW – You are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 712-755-2124, and notify your local Fire Chief.
Moderate You are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 712-755-2124, and notify your local Fire Chief. Timing for burns should be morning, or evening hours and extinguished by dark unless authorized by Fire Chief due to possible impacts to roads and health from smoke. Burns must be monitored at all times.
High – Burning of any kind is restricted unless approval is received from local Fire Chief. Controlled burns that are not reported will result in Fire Department being dispatched, and fires extinguished if determined to be un-safe. Please call 712-755-2124 with questions.
Extreme – Burning is prohibited, unless you have a signed permit from the local Fire Chief. Fires on Extreme days can grow rapidly and pose a risk to the Health and Safety of the Community.

If you have any questions please call 712-755-2124.

DNR: Ammonia enters tributary in southwest Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

VILLISCA, Iowa (AP) — An unknown amount of ammonia has entered a small unnamed tributary of the West Nodaway River in southwest Iowa. The state Department of Natural Resources says the anhydrous ammonia was released from the United Farmers Mercantile Co-op in Villisca between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. It went into a city storm sewer before entering the tributary.

DNR officials detected high concentrations of ammonia throughout the tributary to the river, but no fish kill has been reported. Co-op employees are pumping contaminated water out of the tributary. They are also pumping contaminated water from an on-site pit.

The case remains under investigation.

Cass County Extension Report 10-15-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

October 15th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson