KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Commercial Pesticide Applicators Reminded that Continuing Education Courses Must be Completed by Year End

Ag/Outdoor

December 6th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Extension office is again hosting continuing instructional courses (CICs) for local commercial pesticide applicators, but wants to remind anyone who has yet to attend the training that all CIC training must be completed by the end of December. To avoid conflicts with year-end scheduling, Cass County Extension is requiring that all training dates be scheduled by Friday, December 15th.

“We know year end is a busy time for all, and we don’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to attend their annual required training, as time to meet those annual requirements is getting short,” shared Kate Olson, Extension Program Coordinator in Cass County. “We do offer trainings on a first-come, first-served basis, and our hours will be slightly different during the holidays, so we’d like to remind folks to call and get their classes scheduled before our year-end calendar fills up!”

According to Olson, reshow dates can occur after December 15th, but they must be on the calendar before then to be honored. To ensure a spot on the training schedule, applicators needing to complete CIC for the year are asked to call prior to December 15th. Applicators calling after this date will NOT be placed on the training schedule. Training dates can be scheduled locally by calling the Cass County Extension office at 712-243-1132 or by emailing Office Assistant Lori Anderson at lander@iastate.edu. For more information on the Commercial Pesticide Applicator program or the CIC classes, please visit www.extension.iastate.edu/psep/ComAp.html.

IA DNR continues to collect deer tissue samples for CWD testing

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 6th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is continueing to collect deer tissue samples from willing hunters as part of its effort to monitor for and track the presence of chronic wasting disease. The agency reports their wildlife staff has a goal of collecting 5,465 samples. The bulk of Iowa’s deer harvest occurs during the two shotgun seasons which provide an opportunity to collect a significant number of tissue samples. Most samples are obtained by wildlife staff, checking with hunters in the field or at home processing points. Terry Haindfield, wildlife biologist with the Iowa DNR leading the CWD collection effort. says “We’ve had really good cooperation from our hunters so our focus now is collecting samples from some pretty specific areas within our target counties in order to reach our quotas.”

He said the DNR is looking for samples from deer harvested from each county along the Missouri River. “Hunters willing to provide a sample should call their local wildlife biologist to see if the county or area where the deer was taken has filled its quota or is still in need of a sample,” he said. The DNR lists the cell phone numbers for its wildlife biologists on p. 45 of the hunting regulations. Hunters from the targeted areas needing additional help making contact to provide a sample can call Haindfield at 563-380-3422.

Additional testing is been conducted in Pottawattamie County, following positive tests from captive facilities.  The disease has been found in every state around Iowa. Since testing began in 2002, more than 62,500 tissue samples have been collected and tested looking for the presence of CWD in Iowa’s wild deer herd.

CWD is a neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases.  It attacks the brain of infected deer and elk causing the animals to lose weight, display abnormal behavior, lose body functions and die. It is always fatal to the infected animal. The disease first appeared in Iowa’s wild deer herd in 2013 and each year since, the DNR has placed extra emphasis to find the extent to which disease is in the area, and to help slow the spread by removing additional adult deer from the local population.

The Iowa DNR has more information about CWD and other infectious disease online at www.iowadnr.gov/cwd.

Tankers filled with ethanol derail near Fort Dodge

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 6th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

BARNUM, Iowa (AP) — A malfunctioning switching mechanism apparently caused six tankers filled with ethanol to derail in northern Iowa. The Fort Dodge Messenger reports the tankers were hauling the fuel from Valero Renewables-Fort Dodge on Tuesday night when they derailed. Lt. Tom Ubben, of the Fort Dodge Fire Department, says the cars were backing up when the switching mechanism caused them to leave the tracks. The tracks, located in the small community of Barnum, are owned by the Canadian National Railway.

Railway spokesman Patrick Waldron says no one was injured and no ethanol spilled. Ubben says crews from Waterloo and Omaha, Nebraska, were called to the derailment Tuesday night and were using heavy machinery to move the cars off the rail line and transfer the ethanol to other containers.

Number of snowy owls in Iowa increases

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 6th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Bird lovers are in for a treat this winter as Iowa is seeing a huge increase in snowy owl sightings across the state. The birds are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty act and generally live in the frigid climates found in the Arctic. Carroll County Naturalist, Matt Wetrich, says the creatures usually appear in Iowa during the colder months, just not in such large numbers. “Through an entire winter we might see a handful of snowy owls in Iowa, that’s an average winter, 10 or less, maybe even five,” Wetrich says. “In the last month we have had at least 40 individual birds across the state.”

He says the increase, while exciting, is not that uncommon. The primary food source for snowy owls is lemmings. These small rodents see massive population spikes about once every five to 10 years, and that increase in food is reflected in snowy owl populations. Wetrich says the new birds when they migrate south, and they end up traveling farther than usual. He says the new owls get bumped out of the winter hunting grounds and they get pushed south. Wetrich says they are ending up in Iowa and other states in the U-S.

Snowy owls are almost entirely white and quite popular among birdwatchers. Wetrich says it is okay to appreciate their beauty — but says give them some distance. “If you are close enough where the owl is turning looking at you, you are close enough, and that means back away,” Wetrich explains. “You don’t want to approach them and cause them to fly — because what happen is then they are burning very valuable calories. And you are contributing to them struggling to find food.”

Wetrich is collecting data on sighting across the state for the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union to use for research on these population eruptions. He asks anybody who sees a snowy owl report the sighting to the Swan Lake Conservation Center by phone at 712-792-4614 or through the Carroll County Conservation Facebook page.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic man confirmed by U-S Senate for FCA Board seat

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 6th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Republican Chairman Pat Roberts, of Kansas, and Ranking Democrat Member Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan, Tuesday, said they were “Pleased to announce that the nomination of Glen R. Smith to be a member of the Farm Credit Administration Board was approved by the U.S. Senate.” Smith, who is from Atlantic, was the subject of a Senate Ag Committee hearing on Nov. 9th, at which time he was favorably reported out of Committee with a bipartisan vote.

In a statement, Roberts and Stabenow said “Once again, we’re pleased to report full Senate confirmation of another qualified nominee. As an active farmer and agribusiness professional, Mr. Smith has the skillset and background needed to serve rural America in this role. As with all previous nominees, the Senate Agriculture Committee worked in a bipartisan fashion to get Mr. Smith to work at the Farm Credit Administration.”

Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, from Red Oak, introduced Mr. Smith ahead of his testimony before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry last month. In a statement released from Ernst after the most recent Senate vote, Ernst, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, said: “I’m so pleased to see Iowa’s own Glen Smith confirmed today by the Senate to serve as a member of the Farm Credit Administration Board. Glen has an impressive resume as a small business owner and farmer. He has worked for decades to enhance and promote our agricultural economy in Iowa, and I have no doubt he will do the same for our country in his new role.”

In 1982, Smith founded Smith Land Service, a company specializing in farmland appraisal and farmland brokerage services working in 30 of Iowa’s 99 counties. He also owns and serves as President of Smith Generation Farm’s Inc. a family farm operation that encompasses around 2,000 acres in the southwest Iowa.

Gun maker’s exploding rifle leaves trail of injured hunters

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 5th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — One of the nation’s largest rifle makers is accused of marketing a muzzleloader that occasionally explodes and can severely injure hunters. Savage Arms has faced several lawsuits over its 10ML-II stainless steel rifle, which was once favored by thousands of big game hunters in the U.S. and Canada.

The Westfield, Massachusetts company has received dozens of complaints from customers dating to 2004 reporting that the gun’s barrel exploded, burst, split or cracked after firing. Hunters say they have suffered serious hand, face and ear injuries. Savage Arms has argued that the gun is safe and any explosions must have been caused by errors such as loading two bullets or the wrong gunpowder. But it’s also paid confidential settlements to resolve at least three recent lawsuits in Canada, Michigan and Indiana.

Tractor pursuit in NW IA over the weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 5th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A slow-speed tractor pursuit early Saturday morning in northwest Iowa, was a little more exciting than you might think. According to reports, Jeremy Starkson was arrested on charges that include eluding, theft and assault, after he allegedly stole a tractor. Spencer Police saw the machine in a parking lot at around 1:30-a.m., Saturday and tried to make a traffic stop. Authorities say Starkson swerved to try and hit law enforcement several times as they tried to deploy stop sticks. Starkson rammed a squad car, which caused the tractor to become disabled and allowing him to be placed under arrest.

More cold weather & snow is likely under La Nina pattern, now in place

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

December 5th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A colder, snowier winter may be ahead for Iowa and much of the region, as most weather watchers now agree that a La Nina weather pattern has developed. Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub, based in Ames, says the indications for La Nina conditions are steady and the pattern may last another three months or more. “We have about a 65% chance of it persisting through winter which is fairly good from a climate perspective,” Todey says. “The expectations are, typical La Nina conditions are what are reflected in the outlooks. The Northern Plains has a little better chance of being colder than average and potential for wetter than average conditions.”

A La Nina occurs when Pacific Ocean surface temperatures trend below normal for several months. Todey says this La Nina pattern appears to be only moderate in force. “This is not going to be a really strong La Nina so our outlooks don’t reflect a real strength,” Todey says, “but at least when we have a La Nina, we have a little better chance of being able to say what we’re seeing going through the wintertime.” This weather pattern usually brings certain conditions, namely more colder temperatures and more snow than usual. “If you like snow, we have a little better chance of having some snow on the ground but there’s not a ton of confidence behind this that it’s going to be exactly like this,” Todey says, “but with the La Nina, we have a little better chance of saying that it will be like this.”

He adds, the expectation is that the La Nina will fade rather quickly next spring.

(Radio Iowa)

The Latest: 13 states challenge to California egg law

Ag/Outdoor

December 5th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — More than a dozen states have filed a lawsuit to block a California law that requires eggs sold in the state to come from hens that have space to stretch in their cages.
The lawsuit was filed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. It alleges that California’s requirements violate the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause and are pre-empted by federal law.
A federal appeals court panel rejected a similar argument last year in a separate lawsuit from six states.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is spearheading the new lawsuit. He says it includes new data estimating California’s egg law has cost consumers nationwide up to $350 million annually as a result of higher egg prices since it took effect in 2015

The other plaintiff states are Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Former dean of ISU College of Veterinary Medicine discusses farm animal vet shortage

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 4th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Farmers and public health officials are growing increasingly concerned with a shortage of food animal veterinarians in Iowa and across the country. The number of farm animal vets is shrinking at a time when worries over potential disease outbreaks are on the rise. Dr. John Thomson ran a veterinary clinic for 20 years just south of Creston. “And it’s a very sparsely populated area, so it’s not always easy to attract veterinarians into those areas,” Thomson says.

The retired Iowa State University professor is fighting for legislation that would lure more young animal doctors into rural or underserved areas. Thomson says one of the biggest barriers involves student debt. “On average, (veterinary) students are graduating with $141,000 in debt and they’re looking for ways to reduce that as painlessly as they can. A lot of times they’ll take what they feel is the most lucrative opportunity for them and that isn’t always in the most remote areas of the state,” Thomson says.

In response to the vet shortage, the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program provides selected food animal and public health veterinarians up to $75,000 in loan repayment in exchange for serving at least three years in designated shortage areas. Thomson says the program is working, but doesn’t receive enough funding to fill the demand. This challenge results in part from the fact that each award from the program is subject to a 39 percent withholding tax.

“There’s a Veterinary Enhancement Act that has been put forward to remove the tax on the award so more people can be provided that assistance,” Thomson says. Thomson is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, which is pushing for removal of the tax. Thomson was the dean of the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine from 2004-2011.

(Radio Iowa)