Iowa is the nation’s number-one pork producer so it’s only logical that the country’s biggest pork trade show is held here, too. The Iowa Pork Congress is scheduled for the middle of next week in Des Moines. Ron Birkenholz, spokesman for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says the event will draw large crowds over its two-day run. “We generally attract about 5,000 people, producers, allied business representatives, students, educators and not just from Iowa either, around the Midwest,” Birkenholz says.
There will be a variety of seminars focusing on the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, the economic outlook for the pork industry, the Affordable Care Act and, of course, plenty of pork-related products. “We like to call it the largest winter swine trade show in the country,” he says. “We’ll pack Hy-Vee Hall with about 300 exhibitors and just about anything a pork producer or anyone involved in the pork industry would ever need.” The Iowa Pork Congress runs January 22nd and 23rd at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
Learn more at: www.iowaporkcongress.org
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he will host a public hearing on a proposal that would reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. Branstad announced Friday the hearing will be in Des Moines on Jan. 23. He says he wants to give citizens an opportunity to testify about a recent proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the amount of ethanol that must be blended with gasoline in 2014.
Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of ethanol, a fuel additive primarily made from corn that produces lower carbon emissions than gasoline. The EPA proposal drew outcry by political leaders from both parties who claimed such a move would devastate Iowa’s economy.
Branstad says he asked White House officials to hold such a hearing and they declined.
Deborah L. Petersen, Trustee in the bankruptcy case for G & R Feed and Grain Co., Inc., in Portsmouth, reports that since the business filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on January 1st, 2013, she has taken action to collect all funds on deposit, collect all accounts receivable, sell all assets and collect grain proceeds. Petersen says for the most part, that has been completed, but she is still seeking recovery of several post-petition transfers and will be analyzing several possible preferential transfers.
Petersen has entered into a settlement agreement with Cargill that was also approved by the Court. To make a payment now to creditors, she has filed an Interim Report with the Court. The report proposes a payout of 60% of all allowed claims as reported to the Court or compromised. Absent objections or other delays, Petersen anticipates approval of the Report in mid February.
Once approved by the Court, checks could be mailed by late February, 2014 for the initial distribution. After that process, there will be tax returns and reports to file, fee applications to be approved and paid and other detail work to conclude the case before a final distribution will be made. The timing and amount of any further distribution is unknown at this time.
There will be several fee applications for professionals to be made, tax returns to file and other reports to made before the case will be concluded. Petersen has a recorded message that will be updated regularly. You can hear this message at 712-328-8808, option 8. If you have legal questions, Petersen advises that you should contact an attorney of your choice.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Slightly more water than normal is expected to flow into the Missouri River this spring, but the dams along the river should have room for it. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says several of the reservoirs remain below normal because they are still recovering from the 2012 drought. So the Corps’ Jody Farhat says the reservoirs should be able to safely handle the 26.1 million acre feet of runoff expected this year. That forecast is slightly above normal runoff of 25.2 million acre feet.
The Corps adjusts the amount of water released from dams along the river in response to conditions. Last year, releases along the water were limited because the Corps was conserving water as the region recovered from drought. That affected barge traffic on the river.
A Shelby County resident who lived the farmer’s dream is now bequeathing most of it to local churches. Edwin “Bud” Skalla of rural Portsmouth, passed away on November 26th, 2013 at the age of 92 years old. During his lifetime, Skalla accumulated over $2 million in cash assets and 1,100 acres of land in Harrison and Shelby Counties. In a press conference Thursday, Ray Chipman, conservator for the Skalla estate, said most of the land and cash assets will be divided between thirteen catholic churches in southwest Iowa. In addressing the media, Chipman said Skalla was a quiet and frugal man.
“During his lifetime he wouldn’t have bought you a cup of coffee that cost five cents. But now in his passing, I think we can say 98 percent of his estate will be given to catholic churches in southwest Iowa. Portsmouth in particular will inherit a farm which was appraised at almost $3 million. That is an out right gift to Portsmouth.”
Chipman says the 292 acre farm going to St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Portsmouth is one of six parcels of land Skalla owned southeast of Portsmouth. The other 858 acres will be auctioned. “In addition to the farm given to Portsmouth, the residual of his estate, and we don’t know what that is going to be because we have 858 acres and we don’t know what that will bring per acre, but depending on what that brings added to $2.5 million in cash assets that he has, that total will be distributed to 13 catholic churches in southwest Iowa.”
Those churches benefiting in Shelby County are St. Michael’s in Harlan, St. Peter’s in Defiance, St. Joseph’s in Earling, and St. Boniface in Westphalia, St. Mary’s in Portsmouth and St. Mary’s in Panama. In Harrison County, St. Patrick’s Church in Missouri Valley, St. Anne’s Church in Logan, St. Patrick’s in Dunlap and Sacred Heart in Woodbine. In addition, St. Patrick’s in Neola, St. Rose of Lima in Denison and St. Patrick’s in Council Bluffs are also beneficiaries. Skalla didn’t come from a wealthy family and built most of his assets in investments. Skalla was never married and didn’t have any children. His living relatives are two sisters Sylvia Kepford of California, Roseann Brummer of Logan and sister in law Vi Skalla. Father John Dorton of the St. Mary’s of Portsmouth and other churches spoke highly of Skalla and called him a loyal, hard worker who loved the community and church. Dorton then read a letter written by Reverend Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines,
“The Catholic communities of Shelby and Harrison Counties as well as the Diocese of Des Moines are enormously grateful to Edwin “Bud” Skalla for his extraordinarily generous remembrance of the parishes in his will. Bud was engaged in the most noble of professions, farming. Through his dedicated work, he provided nourishment for the human body which fortified countless thousands. Now, in death, through his legacy he will enrich the human spirit through faith and spiritual development.”
When asked how he felt when he heard what the Portsmouth parish was going to receive, Dorton replied with one word: “Wow!” Skalla spent all but thirteen years of his life on his farm southeast of Portsmouth before moving to Elm Crest Retirement Community in Harlan. The auction for the land will be held in Portsmouth on February 15th at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Portsmouth.
In an effort to promote fishing, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation Department will host a youth fishing event this weekend, at Big Lake. The lake is located at 2600 North 8th Street, in Council Bluffs, and will take place on Saturday, January 11th, from 9am to 1pm.
A raffle drawing will be held to award prizes to young anglers 16 years of age or younger in attendance. The DNR plans to stock Big Lake with 1,000 rainbow trout on Friday at around 4-pm, to ensure the youth anglers get plenty of bites and action on the lake Saturday. Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Brian Hayes said, “The trout stocking Council Bluffs provides a unique opportunity for people looking for an outdoor activity.” Stocking trout in urban areas like Council Bluffs brings fishing close to home for a lot of people and provides an opportunity to involve kids in fishing.
Registration for the youth fishing event will from 9- to 10-a..m., Saturday. Kids under 16 fishing with a properly licensed adult, do not need a trout fee to fish for or possess trout, but the daily limit together is five trout. A fishing license and trout fee can be obtained at any local hunting and fishing license sales agent or your county recorders’ office.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your children can’t have fun at camp. The Cass County Conservation Board and Cass County Extension Service is offering kids and opportunity to do on a non-school-day, by registering them for “Penguin Day Camp.” The Penguin Camp is for children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade and will be held on Monday, January 20th, at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic.
Youth may register for either the 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon or 1:00 PM – 4 PM Activities include: Penguin Crafts – Learn about penguins and make a fact book; Taking an outdoor adventure by going on a winter hike and coloring in the snow; Enjoying a live bird presentation by the Blank Park Zoo, and Participation in games & activities about penguins.
The camps will be offered free of charge, with pre-registration required. A snack will be provided. Parents should remember to dress your children to go outdoors for fun and a winter hike. Registration deadline for Penguin Camp is January 15th. Call the Cass County Extension office at 243-1132 or email email@example.com to register your children. No registrations will be accepted after the registration deadline.
Farmers and those associated with agriculture are invited to attend a “Farmer’s Coffee” in Guthrie Center, on Thursday, January 30th. The event will be held at the Guthrie County Extension office, beginning, at 9-a.m.
You’re invited to come and network with other individuals and learn more about current ag issues, as well as catch up on the latest ag news with ISU Farm and Ag Management Field Specialist Shane Ellis, who will be talking about the future outlook for livestock, crops and also land prices.
Coffee and refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by the Guthrie County State Bank.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Cass County is hosting a program for local farm women to learn the details of farm financial management and ways to determine a farm’s financial stability, starting January 27th, in Atlantic.
“Moving Beyond the Basics: Farm Record Keeping” is a four-week program that addresses practical farm financial management in an interactive setting. Focusing on financial management skills such as farm recordkeeping, financial statements, and analysis tools, the program is modeled after Annie’s Project for Farm and Ranch Women, empowering farm women to be better business partners through networking and by managing and organizing critical information.
Annie’s Project gives farm women the opportunity to learn from female agricultural professionals and network with other women in similar situations. Moving Beyond the Basics provides women who participate the opportunity to evaluate record keeping systems and experience accounting software in a hands-on, open discussion format. Knowing the resources available for analyzing financial position also helps participants better plan for periods of low prices and farm income fluctuation.
Moving Beyond the Basics will be offered at the Cass County Extension office in Atlantic on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. starting January 27th. The program will run for four consecutive weeks. Registration fee is $50 for all four sessions, including all course materials and a light dinner before each session. Course size is limited, so interested participants are encouraged to register before the January 24th deadline to ensure a spot in the class. Registration is required through the Cass County ISU Extension office by calling 712-243-1132 or by filling out a registration form, found online at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.
For local farm women who would like to a broader overview of farm financial and risk management, Adair County Extension will be hosting the original Annie’s Project in Greenfield, starting on February 6th, 2014. This six-week course is designed especially for farm women to help them develop their management and decision-making skills for their farms. Sessions include brief presentations, discussions focused on the participants’ questions, and computer training to use spreadsheets. Topics include understanding market terminology, interpreting financial statements, and estate planning tools. For more information, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/adair or call (641)743-8412.
These programs have been developed through a grant from the North Central Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The head of the National Pork Producers Council is defending the use of gestation crates for pregnant pigs as a growing number of retailers ask for pork from facilities where hogs are raised in group settings rather than the two-foot stalls. Neil Dierks, the council’s C-E-O, says farmers should have the freedom to choose. “There is no one perfect system according to research that was done by the American (Veterinary Medical) Association and the American Association of Swine Practitioners,” he says.”
Each system has inherent advantages and disadvantages, but — again — it comes back to the care and the management of the animals given by the producer.” About 60 major food retailers, including McDonald’s, Costco and Safeway, have announced they’ll no longer buy pork that comes from facilities where the two-foot stalls were used to limit the movement of sows. Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced Tuesday it’s more than halfway through converting the facilities it owns to group housing for pregnant sows and the company will be less likely to renew contracts with independent farmers who continue to use gestation stalls.
Critics like the Human Society of the United States argue the small stalls are inhumane, as pregnant sows cannot turn around in the gestation stalls. Supporters say the stalls keep the sows from fighting with other pigs and allow for precise feeding of each sow. Producers say the stalls also keep the sows from stepping on or killing the baby pigs.