Iowa’s largest pork producer is donating more than 23 tons of pork loin roasts to food banks and needy families this month. Jen Sorenson is coordinating the project for Iowa Select Farms, based in Iowa Falls. The company markets its pigs to JBS Swift located in Marshalltown. Sorenson says Iowa Select trucks are currently delivering more than 7,000 pork roasts to rural community food banks where Iowa Select operates its farms. “We buy the fresh pork loins from JBS in Marshalltown and we do all the deliveries ourselves,” Sorenson says.
The pork roasts are donated through Deb and Jeff Hanson’s charitable foundation. The Hansons own Iowa Select Farms. Sorenson says around 3,000 more pork loins will distributed during an event on December 18th at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. “We give away free pork loins to anyone in need,” Sorenson says.
Iowa Select Farms has more than 1,000 employees, with nearly 550 swine farms across the state. The company also contracts with roughly 350 farm families in Iowa.
The City of Atlantic has changed the hours of operation of its Yard Waste Site near the Schildberg Recreation Area. Effective Sat., Dec. 7th, the Yard Waste Site will only be open on Saturday’s, from 9-a.m. to 5-p.m. , until Spring.
The City reminds residents that they should only bring trees, branches, grass, garden waste and/or leaves to the site, during its hours of operation.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa enters the cold weather season with about a fifth of the state still in severe drought. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says November was drier than normal with the average precipitation for the state at 1.6 inches compared with the 30-year normal of just over 2 inches. A small area of the state that was rated in extreme drought in October has improved and is now in severe drought.
The area of the state in severe drought has fallen to 20 percent from 35 percent at the start of November. Little change is anticipated in soil moisture levels over the winter as soils are likely be frozen statewide by now, and are unlikely to thaw until spring.
Iowa DNR wildlife staff will again be in the field during Iowa’s shotgun deer seasons, collecting samples to test for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Iowa’s wild deer herd. Officials say the effort will concentrate on portions of Northeast Iowa near Wisconsin and Illinois as well as in Wapello, Davis, Pottawattamie and Cerro Gordo counties, following positive tests from captive facilities in or near those counties last year.
Many of the samples will be collected during the first half of December, as more than 120,000 hunters take part in Iowa’s shotgun deer seasons and deer harvested during those seasons are major sources of samples. Sampling-which involves removing and testing the brain stem and lymph nodes–has been done on free ranging deer across Iowa for years. Many hunters voluntarily contribute samples of their harvested deer for these testing efforts. Most samples are obtained by wildlife staff, checking with hunters in the field or at home processing points.
The DNR says it has historically focused its sampling efforts heaviest in northeast Iowa, after Wisconsin and Illinois yielded positive cases in recent years. After the positive findings in captive herds in 2012, DNR focused additional testing in those counties identified above. Sampling in northeast Iowa for the 2013-2014 seasons will continue at a slightly lower intensity in order to accommodate the additional testing in Davis, Wapello, Pottawattamie and Cerro Gordo Counties.
Since 2002, more than 47 thousand wild deer in Iowa have been tested, with no positive CWD result in the wild herd detected to date. Dr. Dale Garner, Wildlife Bureau Chief, says “We are hopeful CWD has not spread into Iowa’s deer herd. The only way to know this is to continue to collect samples and do the testing. We will work through all hunting seasons, with the peak being the shotgun seasons in December.”
Iowa DNR’s website provides information about CWD and other information on infectious disease at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/DeerHunting/CWDEHDInformation.aspx
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld Iowa’s hunting laws ruling that just because someone owns land in Iowa it doesn’t mean they have a right to hunt on it. The court finds that Iowa’s laws that provide hunting advantages to permanent residents do not violate the constitutional rights of nonresident landowners. Three men who own land in Iowa but have permanent homes in other states challenged Iowa’s hunting laws as unconstitutional claiming they discriminate against nonresident landowners.
The court says Iowa lawmakers have developed an extensive statutory scheme that results in the conclusion “that landownership in Iowa is not accompanied by the right to hunt on one’s own land.” The men objected to Iowa laws that make more licenses available to permanent residents at a lower price.
An Audubon County farmer has received the 2013 Iowa Farm Bureau Excellence Award in Agriculture. The Iowa Farm Bureau reports Randy Dreher has been given the Bob Joslin Excellence in Ag award from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).
Dreher is a young farmer who harvests crops and raises cattle along with mentoring youth FFA officers. Dreher received the award at the 95th IFBF annual meeting in Des Moines Wednesday. The award honors a young farmer who demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities in Farm Bureau, agriculture and their community. Dreher is a 5th generation farmer and grew up on a Century Farm near Audubon working with his parents.
Today, he and wife Crystal, help run the family farm. Along with being on the Farm Bureau board, Dreher is involved in a number of agriculture programs for youth and is a former FFA officer himself. He has helped with Ag day, first grade coloring contests and sharing agriculture career paths during career day.
As the Joslin Award winner, Dreher received a $1,500 Home and Workshop certificate and all expense paid trips to the 2014 American Farm Bureau meeting in San Antonio, the 2013 Growmark annual meeting in Chicago and the 2014 IFBF Young Farmer conference. The Excellence in Ag Award is given in memory of Bob Joslin who was the Bureau’s president from January 1986 to December 1987 and was known for his support of young farmers.
WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker John Boehner says the farm bill should be extended through January while negotiators work out differences on cuts to food stamps and how to restructure farm subsidies. Negotiators are working against a New Year’s deadline for expiration of some dairy subsidies. If those subsidies expire, new laws will kick in that could result in higher prices for a gallon of milk.
Boehner said Thursday he hasn’t “seen any real progress” on the farm bill. That’s in contrast to comments from House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, who said Wednesday that negotiators have made “great progress.”
Cuts to the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program are a major sticking point in talks.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Farmers growing food to sell locally are increasingly finding willing customers to buy their products. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, which is based at Iowa State University, says it tracked sales of 103 farmers who reported more than $10 million in local food sales in 2012. Most of the food was purchased by grocery stores, restaurants, schools, colleges, hospitals, nursing homes and nonprofit organizations. The organizations reported they spent just under 9 percent of their total food budget on food grown by local farmers.
The group’s goal is to increase the food purchased by local organizations to 30 percent of their total food budgets. That would boost local food purchasing to more than $21 million increasing income for the farmers and encouraging them to hire additional help.