KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Hunter Education Classes Available before turkey season

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Hunters who need to satisfy the hunter education requirement can search for and sign up for a course at www.iowadnr.gov/huntered. Prospective students can see which courses or field days are near them; how many seats are available for the class or if the class is full and a waiting list is available. There is also a map showing the location along with the instructor’s name, a course overview and any special instructions.

Iowa law requires all hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972 to satisfactorily complete a hunter education course in order to purchase a license.  Children as young as 11 may enroll in the course, but their certificate of completion will not become valid until their 12th birthday. Each year, around 12,000 students complete hunter education in Iowa.DNR logo

Online Only Course Option for Adults:

The online only course for adults is designed for Iowa residents 18 years of age or older that have prior hunting and/or firearms handling experience.  The course covers the same material as the classroom course, allowing the student to complete the entire course, including the final test, in an online setting.  Certification is received at the successful completion of the online course.

Spring turkey hunting Safety Tips

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Dept. of Natural resources reports an estimated 50,000 hunters will be in the timber this spring pursuing the illusive wild turkey and while the woods will not be crawling with hunters, there is a chance for an occasional encounter.  Hunters should practice defensive hunting techniques.  Hunters should make a loud statement like “hey – hunter over here,” if they see someone coming into the same area. One loud noise shouldn’t scare a bird too much because loud noises happen in the woods. However, don’t make motion or throw something to get the other hunters attention.

“Turkey hunters are looking for movement,” said Jim Coffey, forest wildlife species technician for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  “Don’t wave your hand or make a movement because a movement could be misconstrued. If you walk in on someone they’re probably hearing the same bird you hear, just turn and walk away.  Find a different ridge to enjoy the morning.”

The timber will change a lot from early April to middle May reducing the distance hunters can see so it will be important that hunters continuously check their distance for their zone of fire. “You can’t call the bullet back once your pull the trigger so it’s important to know your target and what’s beyond before taking the shot,” Coffey said.  He often recommends setting out distance stick for reference points.  This allows hunters to know exactly how far away a bird is and if it’s within the weapons range.

Hunters should also respect other hunters. “They are out there trying to do what you are going to do. The competition is between turkey and hunter – not hunter and hunter,” Coffey said. One way to avoid walking in on other hunters is to go later in the morning. “Rather than try to get out in the woods for the first gobble, go out a little later, like around 9 a.m., you may have the area all to yourself,” he said.

Safety Tips

  • Avoid wearing patriotic colors – red, white and blue.  These colors are also shared by gobblers.
  • Bring a blaze orange game bag or turkey vest to use to carry the harvested bird out from the woods.
  • Avoid using a gobble call.
  • Using a hunting blind can be helpful if taking a young person on their first hunt, or for hunting companions to use.
  • Make sure you have permission to be on the land and find out if anyone else has permission to the land and which season they will be hunting.  Just because you had permission a few years ago, does not mean you have permission this year.

Iowan talks about recent trip to Cuba

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

President Barack Obama made a trip to Cuba this week to continue his push to open relations with the country. An Iowa group that included Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Chairman Jerry Mohr (More), a farmer from Eldridge visited the country on a trade trip in February. Mohr says it was a new experience. “All of us went back in time 50 years, we just did,” Mohr says. “It took us two hours to get baggage off the planes and through customs and out the door — and there were only two planes at the airport.”

“The drive to the Hotel Nacional was easy, they don’t have a lot of traffic on the road. At that time, you paid for everything in cash.” Mohr says there is no embargo on U-S food exports to Cuba, so some products are already being exported, but there is room for more. “We’ve got whole grains going down there, there’s corn, soybeans, I think there may even be some distillers (grain) going down there. But as far as value added, our meat products, there’s none of those going down that. And the Cuban people are desperately short of food, desperately short of quality foods,” Mohr says.

Mohr says he doesn’t care if Iowa corn is exported to Cuba as whole grain or as value-added food after being fed to cattle. He says there is also a need for grain to feed to chickens, which are important to the food supply. Support for farming is also needed in the country. “When the Soviet Union departed Cuba in 1991 — that’s when the expertise for the farming went away or the industrial farming, however you want to call it — went with the Soviets. So a lot of the land that was cultivated was taken over by invasive species. Which does happen, weeds grow, trees grow and everything else,” according to Mohr. He says they visited a farmer who is trying to get things restarted.

“The government has relaxed the standard on ownership, so if a family wanted to come in there and wanted to cultivate the land, reclaim the land, they could do that,” Mohr says. “It’s a long and arduous process.” Mohr says Brazil recently built a huge port on the south side of the island to handle the increased shipping that is to be expected. But he says the United States has a logistical advantage being only 90 miles away from Cuba and will be able to compete for exports. Mohr says the country’s infrastructure poses one of the greatest challenges as it tries to catch up with the rest of the world.

(Radio Iowa)

13th Annual Prairie Chicken Day April 2

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 25th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the Kellerton Grasslands Bird Conservation Area in southeast Ringgold County will be the site for the 13th annual Prairie Chicken Day on April 2nd, beginning at 6 a.m., at the booming ground viewing platform, two miles west of Kellerton on Hwy. 2, then 1.25 miles south on 300th Street.

Prairie Chicken Day is an opportunity for Iowans to experience this unique bird during its demonstrative and entertaining mating display where males work to gain the favor of females during the breeding season.  The birds compete by showing their worthiness through aggressive charges and leaps of battle with others on the booming ground. The activity takes place from middle to late March through middle May beginning around sunrise and until mid morning, then usually resuming in the evening.

“They will be out there every day defending their territory, trying to attract a female,” said Chad Paup wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Iowa DNR has been reintroducing the greater prairie chickens to the grasslands of Ringgold County since the 1980s with varying success. In recent years, the DNR has partnered with Blank Park Zoo, The Nature Conservancy and the Nebraska Fish and Game Department to capture and transport wild prairie chickens from southwest and central Nebraska to be released on the Kellerton lek and on the Dunn Ranch lek, a few miles to the south in Missouri.

The four year effort of introducing wild birds has increased the Iowa flock to more than 100. These birds have since produced broods in Iowa. “The prairie chicken population trends follow similar tracks as bobwhite quail. When quail do well, prairie chickens do well and they did well in 2014,” Paup said. “This year, we’ve had a mild winter in our area and if we can get a spring that’s not too wet and not too cool, I think we can have another good production year.”

A limited number of spotting scopes and binoculars will be available to visitors who need them on Prairie Chicken Day with expert birders on hand to help identify other birds in the area. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is encouraging visitors to and residents of Ringgold, Decatur, Taylor, Union, Wayne, Adams and Clarke counties to report any sightings of a group of prairie chickens gathered together, displaying and calling on the leks sites in March and April.

“People may hear them – the haunting ‘booming’ sounds interspersed with whoops and cackles – or they may see the birds jumping or facing off with one another,” said Stephanie Shepherd, wildlife diversity biologist with the Iowa DNR.  “Sightings of individual birds are also welcome but we’d primarily like to hear about lek sites.”

The DNR has a video of this activity online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Conservation/Wildlife-Stewardship/Non-Game-Wildlife/Diversity-Projects/Prairie-Chicken-Project. Anyone who sees the activity is encouraged to call or e-mail Shepherd at 515-432-2823 ext. 102, Stephanie.shepherd@dnr.iowa.gov.

Fourth of July Campsite Reservations open Soon

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 25th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Campers anxious to reserve spots for the Fourth of July weekend should mark April 1 on their calendars, when reservations for a Friday arrival open. Campers can make reservations for sites three months ahead of their first night’s stay. “Electric sites go quickly,” reminds Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau. “And some sites will already be reserved by campers arriving prior to the holiday weekend.”

Not every campsite is available on the reservation system. Parks maintain between 25 and 50 percent of the electric and nonelectric sites as non-reservation sites, available for walk-up camping. Information on Iowa’s state parks is available online at www.iowadnr.gov including the link to reservations. Campers can also log on directly to http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com; enter their preferred dates and/or parks to see what sites are available and make a reservation.

Campers are encouraged to note closures when making their reservations. A few campgrounds are currently closed for renovation and weather will play an important role in how soon they will be back online. Road and bridge work at Springbrook State Park should be completed in early June, and the park and campground are scheduled to reopen June 10.

Up-to-date closure information is available on the DNR website and reservation system.  Closure information can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks-Rec-Areas/Closure-Information and on individual park webpages.

Shelby County Fire Danger remains High

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, today (Thursday), said the Fire Danger index in the County will remain HIGH for the next few days, at least. Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says even with the recent rain, drying will occur rapidly with any sunshine. Winds will continue to dry out the vegetation. High fire danger

Seivert warns that any field or grassland fires that get out of control, may be difficult for heavy fire apparatus to reach, due to the soft soil. Fire departments and business with Fire Danger signs in their windows, are asked to keep those indicators set to “HIGH” this weekend.

Authorities therefore are asking anyone who plans to conduct controlled burns to contact their local fire chief, first. Be sure and call 755-2124 also, with the location of your burn, so dispatchers can gather logistical data. The next “Fire Danger” update will be on Monday, March 28th.

USDA Report 3-24-2016

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 24th, 2016 by Jim Field

w/Denny Heflin


Iowa near top in payments for wind turbines

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 23rd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has released information showing Iowa ranks second in the nation for the amount of money paid to landowners for the placement of wind turbines. AWEA’s Manager of Industry Data and Analysis , John Hensley, helped work up the numbers. “Across the United States there were more than 222 million dollars paid in land-lease agreements to local land owners who had wind projects on their site,” Hensley says. “And Iowa is certainly near the top. We’re showing more than 10 million dollars paid out on an annual basis to these landowners.”

Iowa is one of six states with more than 10 million dollars in payment, with Texas ranked number one, followed by Iowa, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Kansas. AWEA figures show Iowa produced 31 percent of its electricity from wind last year. Hensley says the payments are kept confidential, but they have a good estimate of how much is being paid. “They are generally designed similar to a royalty payment based on the output of the machine at the site. Or, it could also be based on just a raw capacity amount — so you’ve got a two megawatt turbine, and a two megawatt turbine pays out a certain amount per year. They are typically private negotiations and contract structures between the project developer and the land owner,” Hensley says.

He says the revenue is important as about 70 percent of rural wind farms in the U-S are located in low-income counties. “I think this is a really important piece of that economic picture that really goes a long way to show the rural impacts that wind has across the country. We are looking property tax revenues that can go a long way to help schools in those local areas,” Hensley says. Hensley says the payments are vital to many land owners.

He says it helps them make ends meet, and helps them keep the ranches and farms in the family. AWEA will release more information on the impact of wind farms in its upcoming annual report — including job numbers, state-by-state comparisons, and the overall picture of the wind industry.

(Radio Iowa)

State preps for return of avian influenza

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 23rd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

With spring’s arrival, Iowa poultry producers are on alert for a possible return of avian influenza which decimated the state’s flocks last year. State officials are taking steps to more efficiently euthanize birds if the disease strikes again. Joyce Flinn, head of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says the necessary equipment is being stored in safe places around the state.

“We continue to coordinate with the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship for a possible avian influenza response,” Flinn says. State Emergency Management helped coordinate the response last year, which included hauling water to affected areas to mix with foam to kill birds, and coordinating haz mat teams for cleanup. If there’s another outbreak, Flinn says they’re ready.

“Our preparations for avian influenza include prestaging of equipment around the state that can be used in the euthanasia of birds,” Flinn says. “The ready access to this equipment will aid in quick, humane euthanasia to help contain the spread of the disease.” Spring migration may re-create last year’s conditions that lead to a widespread outbreak. Some 34-million birds on 77 Iowa farms had to be destroyed after contracting the virus.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 3-21-2016

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 23rd, 2016 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson