KJAN Ag/Outdoor

From County extension to conservation to grain prices, we provide lots of information every day on KJAN.  Here is some of that information on the web too!  We hope you find it useful.

Some lawn care dos & don’t s on this first full day of Spring

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Today’s (Saturday) the first full day of spring and many Iowans are getting the itch to launch into their yard work, sprucing up their lawns and starting to plant flowers, trees and other vegetation. Even though Iowa has already had a lot of unseasonably warm days in recent weeks, horticulturist and arborist John Fech says to hold off on doing any fertilizing of your grass.  “Some of the lawn services have started with that but they tend to have different products than the average homeowner uses,” Fech says, “so, probably wait another three weeks or so.”

Fech says now would be a good time to rake up last season’s dead leaves, aerate the lawn and inspect trees and shrubs.  “Pruning your fruit trees,” he says. “Take out all the crossing limbs and limbs that have broken through the winter.” Look over the shrubs, too, and use sharp shears. “The shrubs that don’t bloom much at all and the ones that bloom in the summer, those are the ones that need a good thinning out, not a haircut, but a thinning out where you take the oldest stems out and let light to the center of the shrub,” he says.

Since much of the region had very dry weather heading into winter, dormant plants could likely use a drink. Fech suggests prioritizing and picking out the plants that are most important to you, roses or shrubs, and use a soaker hose to get them primed for the spring ahead.

(Radio Iowa)

Prescribed burns planned in Pott. County

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Council Bluffs Fire Department report Pottawattamie County Conservation officials will be conducting some prescribed burns within the City limits of Council Bluffs. The controlled fires will take place between March 20th and the end of April, to reduce the amount of fuel and threat of a potential wild land fire, along with promoting better hydrology for the environment.Bluffs FD

The burns are expected to take place in two locations: The area north of 25th Street and south of Narrows Park along the Missouri River; In the Vincent Bluff area northeast of Harry Langdon Blvd, southwest of Madison Avenue, north and west of Woodbury Avenue.

The prescribed burns will only take place if weather conditions are conducive to ensuring a safe environment. Due to the ever changing forecasts, the decision to conduct the burns will be made only 24-hours in advance. If you live in the affected neighborhoods, you should contact the Council Bluffs Fire Department with any health concerns, such as a respiratory condition, that will require a “day of” notification.

If you have any questions or concerns, call the Council Bluffs Fire Dept. at 712-328-4646.

Moderate fire danger today in Shelby County – Extreme danger this weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency says today (Thursday) will be a day of Moderated Fire Danger, with the risk still High due to abundance of fuel, and access issues. Drying conditions, with low relative humidity’s, poor overnight humidity recoveries, and winds will return Friday through Tuesday seeing a return of High to possibly Extreme conditions next week.

Authorities say residents should remain vigilant as there could still be some large fires. Other surrounding counties have been experiencing large fires, but officials say they are proud of Shelby County residents, as they have been helping keep firefighters safe by limiting burning, and being responsive to the fire danger announcements.

Weakening economy seen ahead for rural parts of 10 states

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A monthly survey of bankers suggests a weakening economy lies ahead for rural parts of 10 Midwestern and Western states. The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index for March sank to 43.6, its lowest level since February 2010. Last month’s figure was 46.4.

Creighton University economics Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says “the stronger U.S. dollar is undermining the farm and energy sectors by weakening agricultural exports, crop prices, livestock prices and energy prices.” The index ranges from 0 to 100. Any score above 50 suggests growth while a score below 50 suggests decline.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

USDA Report 03-19-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 19th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

AG Secretary comments on water lawsuit

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Des Moines Water Works filed suit in U-S District Court this week against the supervisors of Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac Counties claiming their drainage districts have cost the utility thousands of dollars to remove nitrates from the water that it draws from the Raccoon River. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says he understands the challenges before the Des Moines Water Works, but says the lawsuit is the wrong way to bring about change. Northey has been working to get farmers and others involved in voluntary programs to improve water quality.

“At the end of the day if they are successful it would be that there should be regulation — it still doesn’t clean up the water,” Northey says. “It just impacts folks in the pocketbook, and a lot of legal fees, a lot of uncertainty. I think it even causes folks to wonder if they aught to participate in the voluntary programs or not.”

Northey says the work should be in the watershed, not the courtroom. “And all the money that’s spent on that legal process, I think it would be a lot better spent putting practices on the ground, working with our landowners, improving our technologies to be able to keep those nutrients on the land,” Northey says. He says the lawsuit could set a bad precedent that would allow more suits against other counties and many others.

Every other drainage district and any user along the way, obviously it would be such that they could sue somebody up river. Obviously, Ottumwa could sue Des Moines for any type of water qualities that they have,” according to Northey. Northey says the issue may come down to who owns the water, and should entities be able to dictate to upstream districts specific terms for water quality.

(Radio Iowa)

NVT Connector Trail project News

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

In a report to the Atlantic Rotary Club at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Nishna Valley Trails (NVT) President Dave Chase announced that he had received word that the Atlantic City Council had recently approved NVT’s request for $50,000 for the construction of the Troublesome Creek Connector Trail Project. Chase received word from Atlantic City Administrator, John Lund, on Friday, by email. The grant is coming from the City’s Community Progress Fund. The money will be available July 1 as part of the City’s 2015-16 fiscal budget according to Lund.

Chase said “This is a big boost to our fundraising efforts which now stand at $310,000 in commitments to date from a number of sources.  This is well over half of our goal of $550,000.”
Chase went on to say that grant applications for an additional $120,000 have been submitted to a number of foundations and agencies, and other applications are in the works.

He also reported to the Club that the Atlantic Lions Club had recently voted to donate the net proceeds of its upcoming April 16 Pancake Feed to the Project. According to Chase, “These recent commitments are examples of the public/private support of enhancements to our area recreational opportunities which will pay dividends in the forms of healthy living and economic development for our community.”

Cass County Extension Report 03-18-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 18th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ ISU Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson

Shelby County Fire Danger is “High” this week

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency are asking businesses and fire departments with Fire Danger signs in their windows, to set the signs at HIGH this week. Emergency Manager Bob Seivert says 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. The goal is to prevent fires, through good communication, public cooperation, and planning.High Fire Danger

Seivert says also, 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.

Des Moines water supplier files lawsuit over nitrates

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Des Moines Water Works has filed a lawsuit against three northern Iowa counties, alleging they are violating federal law by running drainage systems that contribute to high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. Details of the lawsuit against Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties were released Monday. The Des Moines Register reports  the lawsuit was filed Friday and seeks reimbursement after spending $540,000 to operate a nitrate removal facility for 97 days this winter.

Water Works officials say the counties’ 10 drainage districts allow excessive nitrate levels into the Raccoon River, a primary central Iowa water source. In the lawsuit, the utility alleges such systems limit the area’s drinking supply. The law firm representing the counties didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment Monday.