KJAN Ag/Outdoor

DNR requesting public to avoid River Valley OHV Park after weekend fire

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 24th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – A weekend brushfire that burned 300 acres of the popular River Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park in Council Bluffs has created dangerous conditions for visitors to the area, according to DNR officials. While the OHV park’s main entrance is closed, pedestrians can still access the area from nearby walking trails. Michelle Reinig, supervisor of the DNR’s southwest state park district, is asking visitors to avoid the park until damage to the area can be fully assessed. Reinig says “Most of the trees within the park have been burned, and many are still smoldering. It’s very important for people to avoid the area while conditions are still hazardous.”

According to Reinig, the two primary concerns are the potential for damaged trees to fall and the fire reigniting. Park staff is working with area foresters to conduct a forest health assessment of the damaged trees, and also is partnering with city and county officials to minimize further damage. The DNR will provide updates as more information is gathered.

Corn planting way behind 5 year average

Ag/Outdoor

April 24th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The latest crop report shows there was very little activity down on the farm last week. The U-S-D-A weekly report says there were only one-and-a-half days last week that were suitable for any type of fieldwork. Below normal temperatures and snow in the northern part of the state kept farmers from even thinking about doing much of any planting prep in the fields. The five-year average shows farmers normally have 11 percent of the corn planted by April 22nd — and this year there hasn’t been any seed put in the ground. Farmers still need some extended warm weather to raise the soil temperatures and dry out the wet areas before the planting can get underway.

(Radio Iowa)

Grassley to question Ag Sec Perdue on state of rural America

Ag/Outdoor

April 24th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley will be questioning U-S Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today (Tuesday) in a Senate Ag Committee hearing focused on the state of rural America. Rural states like Iowa are facing serious economic threats from looming international trade wars following years of poor commodity prices, in addition to new obstacles on the production of ethanol. “That’s why I intend to stress to Secretary Perdue that trade and ethanol are very important to farmers of Iowa and to the prosperity of the Midwest,” Grassley says, “particularly to good paying jobs in small towns of Iowa.”

According to Grassley, Perdue has already demonstrated he’s very willing to support corn-based ethanol with his efforts on the renewable fuel standard (RFS) and to boost the production and sale of the E-15 blend. Grassley says, “He deserves a lot of credit for working with the ethanol industry and corn producers to get E-15 without damaging a RIN cap that would undercut the RFS more than Administrator Pruitt has already done with the EPA’s potential illegal abuse of so-called hardship waivers.”

Those waivers are designed to benefit oil producers. Corn and soybean growers have seen the value of their crops spiral in recent years, with few lasting rebounds. Those staple Midwestern commodities are in much worse shape than cotton, for example, and Grassley says the Southern farmers complain that cotton is always distressed. “I suppose you could talk about putting a lot of money into rural America through rural development programs,” Grassley says, “but the vitality of agriculture and prices that farmers get is a good part of solving the problems in rural America.”

Today’s hearing began at 9 A-M.

(Radio Iowa)

2018 IOWA FFA PUBLIC SPEAKING CAREER DEVELOPMENT EVENT: 90th Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 24th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic FFA Adviser Eric Miller reports the Iowa FFA Public Speaking Leadership Event was held at Iowa State University, Ames, on Monday, April 23rd, 2018. Twelve individuals, including Emily Saeugling, of Atlantic, participated in this year’s Career Development Event (CDE). Saeugling placed first (Gold) in the individual competition during the event. The second place individual for the event was Brookelyn Harned from the West Liberty FFA Chapter.

Miller says the event is designed to develop rural and agricultural leadership, to provide for member participation in agricultural public speaking activities and to stimulate interest along such lines. The prepared public speaking event requires participants to write and deliver a six-to-eight minute speech in front of a panel of judges. Scoring is based on the written manuscript, the delivery of the speech and the answers to questions. The Iowa FFA Public Speaking CDE was made possible with support from GROWMARK and the 2003-2004 Iowa FFA State Officers through the Iowa FFA Foundation.

 

Shelby County Fire Danger HIGH through Thursday

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency report the danger of fire spreading is getting much greater this week. They ask fire stations and participating businesses to place your Fire Danger notification signs into the HIGH category. Authorities say persons planning a controlled burn to “Plan your burn in advance and talk to your local Fire Chief before you start a fire that may be harder to control than anticipated.”

DNR expert says hold off on hitting the water until it warms up

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

April 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The extended cold spring weather has many people looking to get outside and active at the first sign of a warm day. Iowa D-N-R River Programs Outreach Coordinator Tom Robertson is worried some people may be in too big a hurry to get out on the water. “We’ve had such a long, drawn out winter that the water has never been given a chance to heat up at all. We’ve had no consistent warm days,” Robertson explains. “The big worry right now is people with the spring fidgets who’ve been cooped up all winter just want to get out on the water as quick as possible.”

Just having the sun’s rays poke through the clouds and the air temperatures rising is not enough to warm the water. “They see the first 60-degree day come along and they think that is the perfect time to go paddling. But they need to remember that the water is freezing,” Robertson says. Water temperatures need to be up in the 70’s to make it safe. “I don’t know exactly what the temperature is — but I do know a good guess is probably in the mid 40s — and that is ice water. So that’s definitely cold enough to cause hypothermia,” according to Robertson. “And then you’ve got to factor in what the air temperature is. It’s pretty cool, it’s been very windy. All that combined is a very, very, dangerous thing.”

He says cold temperatures can combine with inexperience and improper equipment to become deadly. “If you don’t have a wet suit and you don’t have a dry suit and if you don’t have the proper boat control skills — that is we are recommending that people just wait until it warms up a little bit before they head out onto the water,” Robertson says. There’s also issue with the uncertainty of water levels. He says it depends on which stream you are on as some are running, normal, some low and some are running high, depending on where you are in the state. “Our precipitation recently has just been so scattered that it’s just really hard to tell. It’s something you have to plan for and look out.”

Robertson says it’s just not worth it to risk you safety right now. “Right now it’s just too darn cold to be messing around with kayaking and paddling , I think until it warms up a little bit. And it’s going to take several weeks of consistently warm temperatures and sunshine to get that water heated back up,” Robertson says.  He says if you need something to do while you wait you should take the time to check your canoe or kayak for any needed repairs or maintenance. Look for holes and leaks, make sure all hatch lids fit snug and securely and check your paddle blades for signs of cracking or splitting. Dust off your life jacket and make sure all buckles and zippers work properly and look for holes and tears. Replace the life jacket if it has damage that cannot be repaired.

(Radio Iowa)

April rural bankers survey drops slightly in April

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 20th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of bankers shows that concerns over a trade war have hurt confidence in the economy in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says weak farm income continues to weigh on the rural economy, but that the survey in recent months shows the economy is trending upward.

The overall Rural Mainstreet index slipped slightly to 53.5 in April from 54.7 in March. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy in the months ahead, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

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

King again seeks to knock down state-level regulations on farm practices nationwide

Ag/Outdoor

April 19th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Republicans on the U.S. House Ag Committee have approved their preferred version of the next Farm Bill. It includes a proposal from Iowa Congressman Steve King that attempts to stop state-level regulations on food grown or raised in another state. “For example, California’s cage-size regulations (mean) we have inspectors from California that are now traveling around Iowa with their tape measurers and measuring the cage sizes of our laying hens in Iowa,” King said. “We have states that have prohibited gestation crates…They prohibit the importation of, into their state, of meat that is produced in a fashion that they disapprove.”

King says states have every right to impose regulations on how farmers within their borders may farm, but he says having officials in one state dictate farming regulations in another state is wrong. “And that goes on with stalls for veal calves and the prohibition to feeding ducks and geeze for foie gras liver,” King said. “And it’s getting worse.”

King says the Farm Bill can help clarify that congress has the sole authority to regulate inter-state commerce, including agricultural commodities and food products. “Pre-empt some really bad things that are coming down the pike,” King told his colleagues on the House Ag Committee. “…It’ll be worse if we don’t do this now.”

King says without action, Iowa’s farmers will be “held hostage to the demands of California’s vegan lobby” and regulations adopted by California’s state government. King authored a similar proposal for the last Farm Bill, but it was not included in the final version. Critics of King’s proposal say it will “preempt states’ ability to enact laws that protect public health, the environment, and consumers.” Others argue laws in Arizona, California and Minnesota that prohibit the false advertising of foods as kosher could be jeopardized.

(Radio Iowa)

Shelby County Fire Danger “Moderate” through this weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 19th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency reports the Fire Danger Index will be in the Moderate category through this weekend. Continue to call your local fire department before conducting an open/controlled burn.

Minor Iowa flooding expected following spring snowfall

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 19th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Forecasters say minor flooding is expected following the spring storm that dumped several inches of snow on most of northern Iowa. Up to a foot (30 centimeters) of snow was reported Thursday in Winnebago County after Wednesday’s storm moved through the state. Other spots reported less.

The National Weather Service issued a warning early this (Thursday) morning for the Cedar River at Cedar Falls. The water was nearing flood stage of 88 feet (27 meters) and is forecast to crest 18 inches (46 centimeters) above flood stage Tuesday evening. Flooding in a corner of Tourist Park is likely.

Minor flooding also is expected along the Winnebago River in Mason City, the Rock River at Rock Rapids, the Ocheyedan River near Spencer and the Little Sioux River at Cherokee,