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.

Shelby County Fire Danger remains Low

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Agency said today (Monday, Oct. 27th) the Fire Danger rating continues to be LOW through this Thursday, meaning the danger from runaway fire is minimal at this time.

When the rating is in the LOW or green category on the sign, you are asked to call in and report your burning projects to dispatch at 755-2124 and notify your local fire chief. The next update will be  Thursday morning, October 30th.

Water quality key issue in ag secretary contest

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 27th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Water quality is a key issue in this year’s race for state ag secretary. State leaders, including Republican State Ag Secretary Bill Northey, have been encouraging farmers to voluntarily adopt new practices that will reduce fertilizer run-off and soil erosion. “For the most part, I think we’ve got good recognition within the farm community that it’s an issue,” Northey says. “I think we’ve also had to reach out to the community and say, ‘There are some solutions, there are some strategies that work.”

Sherrie Taha, the Democrat who is running against Northey this November, says the voluntary approach isn’t working. “I understand nobody likes to be told what to do. I’m definitely in that category, too, but you still have to be responsible to our neighbors and the impact of what’s happening when we do something on the rest of society or our neighbors down the road.” Northey says making certain conservation practices mandatory could be a significant expense and might not ensure the right steps are taken based on things like the type of soil and drainage patterns that are unique for every field. Northey’s department has been handing out “cost-sharing” grants to Iowa farmers for conservation practices.

“To be able to do a better job of keeping those nutrients — that nitrogen and that phosphorous — on the farm and in the crop rather than having it leave the farm,” Northey says. Taha says there should be more focus on soil health. “We’ve got to do something more than currently,” Taha says. “The voluntary approach has what has brought us to the position where we have serious pollution problems.” Taha points to what’s happening in Iowa’s largest public drinking water system.

In 2013, the Des Moines Water Works saw record nitrate concentrations in the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers and the utility reports nitrate levels last month set a new record. Taha, an artist who is from Des Moines, is a commissioner for the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District. Northey, who is from Spirit Lake, is a corn and soybean farmer who was first elected state ag secretary in 2006.

(Radio Iowa)

New Iowa clean water rule goes into effect

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new Iowa clean water rule designed to increase inspections of livestock farms and provide stricter enforcement over manure spills is now in effect after a year of hearings and deliberations by government agencies. The rule, which took effect Wednesday, establishes new inspection and permit procedures. It does not impose mandatory permits for farms that repeatedly spill manure, a measure some environmental groups including Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement want.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources signed a deal with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year to develop the new rule after the EPA threatened to take over federal Clean Water Act enforcement if state officials didn’t do more. The federal agency says the rule meets its requirements, but Iowa CCCI says it’s still too weak.

Ag economy behind increase in calls to Iowa Concern Hotline

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Concern Hotline has been receiving an increasing number of calls from farmers and those who depend on agriculture related businesses. Director Margaret Van Ginkel says that sector of the economy was thriving just a couple of years ago, but weather and low commodity prices are pushing things in a different direction. “We’re hearing some concerns from those smaller machinery businesses that are looking down the road to see how much those farmers are able to spend on machinery this year, and they could be having a tough year too,” Van Ginkel says.

Large equipment manufacturers are also feeling the pinch. Deere and Company idled one thousand workers earlier this week. The phone bank was initially established by Iowa State University Extension to offer advice to farmers back in the 1980s. The calls are free and confidential. “Sometimes you need to get a few things off your chest and just get rid of some of that stress,” Van Ginkel says. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can just call and be anonymous. You don’t have to give us your name.”

The Iowa Concern Hotline is not just for farmers. VanGinkel says they hear often from families who wonder how they’ll make their budget stretch if both food prices and other costs continue to increase. The number for the Iowa Concern Hotline is 1-800-447-1985.

(Radio Iowa)

Pheasant hunting season opens today (Saturday) in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

October 25th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Today (Saturday), marks the start of the pheasant hunting season in Iowa. Mick Klemesrud, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says weather conditions should be ideal for hunters this weekend, though there will be challenges. “We’ve got a lot of crops still out in the field and that could cause a little bit of tougher hunting if there’s a lot of standing corn for the birds to escape to,” Klemesrud says. “On the flip side of that, it could provide some better late season hunting because the birds haven’t been hunted that much.” He’s hopeful the number of hunters on opening day will be up this year after a drop in 2013.

“We’re hopeful that we can hit 60,000,” Klemesrud says. “Last year was our lowest on record of about 41,000. Traditionally, back in the late ’80s and ’90s, we’ve had opening day numbers around 200,000. We used to call it the largest sporting event in the state. We’re hoping that some of them come back.” Hunters should always get permission from land owners to hunt on their property. Klemesrud has some other safety tips.

“We always want to stress blaze orange, knowing the zone of fire, stay in a straight line, talk to everybody in the hunt so they all know what their role is and where there zones of fire are going to be,” he says. “You always want to be seen in the field. Go beyond the minimum. Wear as much blaze orange as you can.” The DNR says there was one hunting-related injury during the pheasant season last year. Learn more about the pheasant season at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting

(Radio Iowa)

Wellmark Foundation Awards Grant Funds to the City of Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 23rd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Wellmark Foundation recently awarded the City of Atlantic a $25,000 grant to help fund the Bull Creek Trail Reconstruction Project. The project will focus on the reconstruction of a trail that runs through Bull Creek, completing the intra-city trail system that runs through Atlantic, Iowa. The project will also measure residents’ use of trails before and after the reconstruction to gauge overall usage of the trail.untitled

The Bull Creek Trail Reconstruction Project will complete the last section of the Atlantic intra-city trail that runs beside Bull Creek in the heart of Atlantic. The multi-use trail will begin at 14th Street, connect with the Atlantic Bike Route and the Atlantic Walking Path, and continue north through Atlantic to the Schildberg Recreation Area. The trail will connect several areas of Atlantic directly to Schuler Elementary School, the Atlantic Middle School, and the Nishna Valley Family YMCA, giving children a safer place to ride their bikes to school and after-school activities. This project will also complement the continued development of the Schildberg Recreation Area and the future development of the trail connecting Schildberg to the T-Bone Trail.

The grant award to the City of Atlantic represents one of 19 competitively awarded grants across Iowa and South Dakota to establish pilot efforts or expand upon current community health initiatives.

Area Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show Winners

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 23rd, 2014 by Jim Field

Some area contestants have picked up awards at the Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show in Omaha.  Among the winners:

  • Annie Herr of Fontanelle won champion Mainetainer Breeding Heifer
  • Heath Downing of Creston won champion Feeder Calf Heifer-Overall and champion Feeder Calf Steer-Overall
  • Cody Birt of Prescott won 3rd place Market Swine Showman
  • Dustin Lund of Croning won reserve champion Continental Breed Market Steer
  • Violet Lapke of Logan won champion Composite Charolais Breeding Heifer
  • Reagan Gibson of Panora won reserve champion Team Purebred Market Barrow
  • Sydney Sherer of Pisgah won 5th place Market Broilers
  • Erin Sorenson of Villisca won champion AOB Breeding Heifer
  • Lane Miller of Creston won champion Horse-Senior Western
Annie Herr (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Annie Herr
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Dustin Lund (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Dustin Lund
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Erin Sorenson (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Erin Sorenson
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Heath Downing (photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Heath Downing
(photo courtesy of Ak-Sar-Ben)

Cass County Extension Report 10-22-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

October 22nd, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play

Change in IRS regulations benefits farmers hit by drought

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A recent change by the Internal Revenue Service gives farmers who have been hit by drought a little more time for recovery. I-R-S spokesman, Christopher Miller, says the agency has changed the rules when it comes to livestock losses. He says farmers often sell off livestock during drought conditions, and in order to take advantage of tax conditions under the law, they have to replace the sold off livestock within a specified time. Miller says that time limit had been four years, but the I-R-S has extended the deadline another year for those who were facing a December 31st deadline this year.

“And that also means that impacted farmers can defer taxes on capital gains on that sale of the livestock,” Miller points out. The I-R-S regulations say the one-year extension applies to capital gains realized by eligible farmers and ranchers on sales of livestock held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes due to drought. Sales of other livestock, such as those raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes, and poultry are not eligible.

“If you are a farmer in Iowa impacted by drought conditions over the last few years, you will have an extension of time to replace the livestock that you had to get rid of because of those conditions. And you also have an extension of time to defer any taxes that you get because of the gain in selling that livestock,” according to Miller. Miller urges Iowans to check to see if they qualify under the extension.

“To learn more, farmers simply need to read the I-R-S publication, 2-2-5, and that’s available on our website irs.gov and we’ll also have a notice there that outlines the affected counties in Iowa,” Miller says. He says you should be able to find all the information you need on the website.

(Radio Iowa)

USDA: Iowa corn harvest 18 days behind schedule

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The harvest remains behind schedule in Iowa but weather conditions are favorable for allowing farmers to try to catch up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa is about 18 days behind the normal corn harvest pace with 19 percent harvested while typically at this time more than half of the crop is in. Nationally, only a third of the crop is in when normally half is finished by now. The Iowa soybean harvest is nine days behind schedule with 61 percent harvested, less than the 77 percent average. Nationally, just over half the crop is in. The average is 66 percent.

The USDA says in its weekly update released Monday 93 percent of the corn crop and 94 percent of soybeans nationally are in fair, good or excellent condition.