KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Corn, soybean prices see no major price drops from bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Corn and soybean producers are keeping a close eye on the bird flu outbreak, concerned that the loss of nearly 45 million birds might reduce demand for poultry feed made with the grains and send prices lower. Todd Hultman, a grain market analyst for DTN, an Omaha, Nebraska-based agriculture market data provider, says there appears to be no significant impact to commodity prices in part because demand remains strong from other sources, such as hog and cattle producers.

The amount of grain fed to chickens and turkeys is relatively small compared to how much is harvested. About 1 billion bushels each of corn and soybeans went into turkey and chicken feed last year. That’s out of 14 billion bushels of corn and nearly 4 billion bushels of soybeans.

USDA: Bird flu vaccine not good enough for outbreak

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a bird flu vaccine doesn’t work well enough to approve it for emergency use against the current outbreak that’s shaken the Midwest poultry industry. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said in a statement Wednesday that the current vaccine is not well matched against the H5N2 virus and don’t provide enough protection.

It says the vaccine offers just 60 percent effectiveness in chickens, leaving four in 10 birds unprotected, while the vaccine’s effectiveness in turkeys is still being studied. The USDA says it will continue to support efforts to develop a more effective vaccine. The agency says bird flu outbreaks have cost chicken and turkey producers more than 45 million birds so far, mostly in Iowa and Minnesota.

West Central® Announces Major Soy Processing Investment |

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

West Central® Cooperative today (Wednesday) announced its plan for a $27 million, multi-year project to increase soybean processing capacity by 50 percent and build additional grain storage at its Ralston, Iowa complex.West Central Expansion image At full capacity, the expansion would create demand for an additional six million bushels of soybeans each year and create more than 11 full-time jobs. Like the current plant, the expansion will produce SoyPlus®, an industry-leading high bypass protein dairy feed ingredient used across the world.

The company plans to increase the current plant’s capacity by up to 50 percent with actual production coming online in phases. When complete, the construction project would include an additional line of mechanical presses, soybean oil treatment, load-out access, and nearly three million bushels of additional soybean storage. New production volumes are slated to be available as early as fall 2016.

At full capacity, ten of the 11 new positions will be manufacturing roles. Company officials are looking to begin the hiring process for those jobs as early as this summer.
To introduce potential applicants to the company, West Central will host a job fair for SoyPlus manufacturing positions, as well as other company positions, at their main office in Ralston on Thurs. June 11, 2015 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

During the event, staff will offer plant tours, accept applications, and conduct instant interviews. Applications are also available online now
at http://west-central.com/about/careers/.

Cass County Extension Report 06-03-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

June 3rd, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


PQA Plus(c) & TQA Training Session Set to take place in Cass & Guthrie Counties


June 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are teaming up to provide training for pork producers and others who need certification in the Pork Quality Assurance Plus(r) v2.0 (PQA Plus(r) v2.0) and/or Transport Quality Assurance program. The certification sessions have been set for Wednesday June 24th, at the Guthrie County Extension office in Guthrie Center, and Thursday June 25th, at the Cass County Extension office in Atlantic.

Updated in June 2013, the revised in PQA Plus(r) v2.0 provides a framework for significant, relevant food safety standards and improved animal well-being. Pork producers pride themselves on the commitment to continuous improvement and the PQA Plus is regularly revised to increase its effectiveness, incorporate new research information, and ensure the program’s validity.

ISU Extension Swine Specialist Matt Swantek will be offering the TQA training both days from 12:30 – 3:00 p.m. and the PQA Plus(r) v2.0 training from 3:15 – 6:00 p.m. Training sessions are limited to 30 persons, but requires at least 5 participants are needed to hold the training sessions. All training events are sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association and are free for all Iowa pork Producers.

Pre-registration is requested to dricheson@iowapork.org or (800) 372-7675. There is an on-line recertification option for those who have current PQA Plus(r) certification. Contact Matt Swantek (mswantek@iastate.edu) or any other PQA Plus(r) v2.0 certified advisor for additional information and setting up the ability to test on-line. New certification or producers with expired certification will require a face-to-face training.”

Haz Mat experts activated for Avian Influenza response

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Council Bluffs Fire Department spokesman Justin James reports 15 members of the Iowa Hazardous Materials Task Force were activated this past weekend to assist the USDA with the monitoring of bio-security, cleaning and decontamination activities at infected premises and landfills impacted by the Avian Influenza outbreak. Members of the task force are employed by fire departments from the Cities of Council Bluffs, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, and Sioux City.

James says in addition, Capt. Mike Cheney, of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department HazMat and Special Operations provided technical assistance to the USDA in the development of cleaning and decontamination procedures, for use at impacted sites and landfills. Nine Iowa Dept. of Agriculture and Land Stewardship staff are also assisting at infected premises to help monitor bio-security, cleaning and decontamination activities.

On a related note, officials with the Mills County Emergency Management Agency said Monday, government officials in the County are closely monitoring the arrival of bird waste at the Loess Hills Landfill, which began last Saturday, with 11 trucks bringing 21 loads for burial. The transport and burial processes were completed according to protocol developed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Officials say there were reports that three trucks bringing empty containers were incorrectly using several gravel roads for access, rather than staying on Highway34, however, the issue has since bee corrected.

Wet weather keeps farmers out of fields

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Wet weather kept farmers out of fields last week, but most of the corn crop is planted and doing well. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says cool and wet condition made for only 2.3 days suitable for fieldwork last week.

About 97 percent of the corn crop has been planted and 78 percent of soybeans have been planted. Both are slightly behind last year’s progress at this time. The USDA says 80 percent of the corn crop was rated good to excellent

Nutrient Reduction Strategy meeting set for June 9th in Minden

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Neola-Henschal Watersheds Project, along with the Harrison County and West Pottawattamie County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, are sponsoring a meeting on implementing Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy in the loess soils region, Tuesday June 9th at the Minden Community Club, from 8- to 11:30-AM.

Dr. Matt Helmers, Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Iowa State University, and, Jamie Benning, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Water Quality Program Manager, will be featured speakers.

Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy is two years old now. The initial reaction and burst of energy has passed, and the State is directing funds towards water quality projects. In terms of helping comply with the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, officials say the nature of the problem in the loess soils region is different than the rest of the state, requiring different solutions. Questions that need to be answered include “What are the differences in how the nutrients cycle? How should we be doing things differently? Do we need to worry more about gullies than sheet and rill erosion?”

The lion’s share of the burden is on agricultural producers and landowners. But everyone has a share of the problem, and a share of the solution. For more information about the Neola-Henschal Watersheds Project, contact West Pottawattamie County Soil and Water Conservation District, at 712-328-2489 extension 3.

The Neola – Henschal Creeks Watershed Project is supported in part by the Iowa Watershed Improvement Fund administered by the Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board and with support from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Division of Soil Conservation.

Atlantic native honored for service to Univ. of Idaho & the beef industry

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Dr. Carl Hunt, native of Atlantic and who graduated from the Atlantic High School in 1971, and thirty-year member of the University of Idaho faculty, was recently honored by that university’s alumni association for his service to the University and to the Idaho beef industry. After retiring as head of the University’s animal science department, Hunt continued to lead a Steer-A-Year program, in which the state’s cattle producers and other supporters annually donate steers to support animal science student scholarships and beef cattle research.

Award nomination letters emphasized Hunt’s enthusiastic work with students, both inside and outside the classroom, even after he had assumed the duties of department head. That included industry tours for students, linking them with potential employers in both cattle operations and in related industry companies, and his work with individual cattle producers across the state. The Idaho Cattle Association also recently named Hunt “Industry Leader of the Year” for his work with the state’s industry.

Idaho’s Steer-A-Year program not only provides scholarships, steer donors receive awards in accord with how their donated steers performed in the feedlot and at harvest, in gain per day, carcass cutability, leanness, and product value. Two years ago, Hunt and his wife, Maria, established the Hunt Family Beef Education and Research Foundation, to insure continued support to the beef cattle program of the University.

Hunt is the son of the late Jim and Gertrude Hunt of Atlantic and he and his brother and sister maintain land interests in the Atlantic area.

Iowa reports probable bird flu at Wright, Sac county farms

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State officials say two more probable cases of bird flu have been found at farms in Iowa. The state agriculture department announced Friday that the avian influenza has been detected at a Wright County farm where about 400,000 chickens are being raised and at a Sac County turkey farm with about 42,000 birds.

Initial testing was positive for the bird flu and samples have been sent to a federal lab in Ames for confirmation. If confirmed, the birds will be euthanized. The two cases Friday followed the Thursday announcement that a turkey farm with 17,000 birds in Hamilton County had tested positive for the disease.

The agriculture department says the virus has infected poultry at farms with more than 26 million birds.