KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Pork producer donates 30 tons of meat to Iowa food banks

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 18th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Today (Monday) marks the start of a two-week effort to feed the needy in Iowa called “Haul Out Hunger.” The state’s largest pork producer will be filling freezers at food banks, pantries, schools and churches. Allyson Ladd, spokeswoman for the Iowa Falls-based Iowa Select Farms, says they’ll be delivering boneless pork loins by the ton. “School is out for summer so food pantry supplies are at an all-time low,” Ladd says. “We schedule our donations so that it’s timely and so these pantries can have access to fresh, high-quality, protein-packed products like pork when families need it most.”

Ladd says the total donation will be around 60-thousand pounds of pork, or about 30 tons. “The pantries really appreciate the five-pound pork loins we donate,” Ladd says. “From each pork loin, families are going to get about 24 servings of pork, so when it’s all said and done, we’ll have donated about 292,000 servings of pork for families in need here in Iowa.”

The effort is also being made possible by the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation. The pork is being delivered through July 2nd. Deliveries at many of the food pantries will be live-streamed on the Iowa Select Farms Facebook page.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa Republicans pick Mike Naig as ag secretary nominee

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 16th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Republicans have picked a state agriculture secretary nominee, but it didn’t come easy. The Des Moines Register reports that incumbent Mike Naig was selected Saturday at the Iowa GOP state convention after four rounds of voting. After each round, the bottom candidate was dropped from the ballot. In the last round, Naig topped Corning farmer Ray Gaesser.

Naig nearly won the five-candidate June 5 primary, coming up a fraction of a percentage point short of reaching the 35 percent threshold needed to secure the nomination. That left the matter to be decided at the convention, where a candidate needs 50 percent plus one vote to win. Naig has served in the position since March after the departure of longtime agriculture secretary Bill Northey, who took a job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Naig faces Democrat Tim Gannon in the November general election.

Another Iowa soil district reports possible misuse of funds

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 13th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities have launched another investigation into the suspected misuse of public money by an employee at an Iowa soil and water conservation district. The latest case involves the Jasper County district in Newton. A spokesman for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship tells The Associated Press the agency was notified May 25 about concerns involving a district employee’s use of funding, which were discovered during an audit of the district’s financial records. State Auditor Mary Mosiman and law enforcement officials are now looking into the case.

A similar audit and criminal investigation have been going on for months into an employee who allegedly misused funds while working as an assistant in the soil districts based in Black Hawk and Bremer counties.
A 2014 audit found that an employee in the Mahaska County district embezzled $280,000.

Strawberry season underway in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 13th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig reported today (Wednesday), that many strawberry growers across the state are now reaching the peak season for many varieties of this delicious crop. Naig encouraged Iowans to visit a local strawberry grower or shop for strawberries at one of Iowa’s many farmers markets. Strawberries go from bloom to fruit in about 30 days and are best eaten within a few days of being picked. Strawberry harvest season only lasts about 4 weeks in Iowa and harvest times vary across the state. Most strawberry growers in the state offer pre-picked and u-pick options at their farms.

“Locally grown, fresh strawberries are a delicious and versatile treat that can be eaten alone or enjoyed as an addition to many recipes. They’re a great crop to kick-off the growing season of purchasing and consuming fresh, Iowa grown fruits and vegetables,” Naig said. As a favorite fruit among many Iowans, strawberries are low in calories and fat-free. One cup of unsweetened strawberries only has 55 calories. Strawberries are also a good source of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and fiber.

A family trip to the strawberry patch is a great way to support a local farmer and make memories that will last a lifetime. If visiting a strawberry patch, be sure to call or check the website for their harvest information. Many growers also offer other fruits and vegetables for sale to consumers. You can find strawberry growers by visiting the Fruit and Vegetable Farms Directory at https://www.idalsdata.org/fmnp/index.cfm or on the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association “farm search” page at http://www.ifvga.org/en/about_us/farm_search/.

The final pitches from still seeking GOP’s nod for state ag secretary


June 13th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Five men still hoping to run for state ag secretary this fall gave their closing pitches to a group of Polk County Republicans last (Tuesday) night. No candidate got at least 35 percent of the vote in last week’s primary to secure the G-O-P nomination outright, so delegates at the Iowa G-O-P’s state convention will choose a nominee this Saturday. Mike Naig replaced Bill Northey as state ag secretary in early March when Northey left for a job in the Trump Administration. Naig was the first place finisher in last week’s primary, with a fraction less than 35 percent.

“It is absolutely critically important that we maintain conservative leadership in the secretary’s office at the Department of Ag and we must be prepared for a competitive race against the Democrat candidate in November and so we’ve got to put our best foot forward,” Naig said. “I think the experience that I bring being in the office really brings a lot to the table.”

State Senator Dan Zumbach of Ryan was the second-place finisher in the primary, with about 20 percent of the vote. Zumbach emphasizes his ability to survive the Farm Crisis and his work in the legislature.  “This isn’t where I thought I’d be. I never thought I’d be a public speaker. I’m much more comfortable sitting in a tractor with the radio turned up, but here I am in front of a group of folks in Des Moines,” Zumbach said. “…Allow me to utilize my talents, my hard work and my passion to represent you.”

Former Iowa Farm Bureau president Craig Lang of Brooklyn was the third place finisher in the primary. Lang says his experience on the board that governs the three state universities as well as leading the Farm Bureau have equipped him for this new job. “Our nominee must be prepared to take the battle to the Democrat nominee and win,” Lang said. “I ask you to judge my future ability to serve as your secretary of agriculture by judging my decades-long past performance of fighting and winner the fights that matter.”

Ray Gaesser of Corning, the past president of the Iowa and American Soybean Associations, argues those posts gave him experience in foreign export markets as well as with congress in writing the Farm Bill. “I really don’t need a job. I really don’t want to be governor either or anything else,” Gaesser said. “I want to be the best secretary of agriculture that I can be and, I promise you, if you vote for me and elect me, I will be. And I know how to support the party.”

Chad Ingels of Randalia was the last place finisher in last Tuesday’s primary and he says he’s not at all embarrassed about it. “I spent a fraction of the money on my campaign as the other candidates did,” Ingels says. “…I’m very proud of the 8000 votes I got in the last election and hope to get many more on Saturday.”

The Iowa Republican Party’s state convention schedule seems to indicate the process of selecting the G-O-P nominee for this post will begin early Saturday afternoon.

(Radio Iowa)

River Valley OHV Park closed for clean up

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

June 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources continues to focus on clean-up efforts following a fire at the River Valley OHV Park in April, forcing the park to remain closed for a lengthy amount of time. Although the park may look healthy and green, the park will remain closed for safety reasons for an undetermined amount of time. The DNR is working with contractors and the City of Council Bluffs, as well as others, to move forward with clean-up. Any unauthorized use of the park is considered trespassing and is a violation of the law.

Report: Farmers are still using too many antibiotics in pigs

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council says hog farmers aren’t doing enough to cut the use of antibiotics in pigs. Report author David Wallinga says 37-percent of the antibiotics that are given to livestock go to pigs, drugs that are also critical to human health. Willinga says new restrictions, in effect since January of 2017, prohibit antibiotic use for growth promotion.  “Regardless, they’re using these antibiotics now the same way they were before,” Wallinga says. “They’re using them at low doses, routinely, added to feed or drinking water and oftentimes when there’s no sick animals present.”

The report says antibiotic use in pork production continues to threaten the critical drugs’ effectiveness in people. That’s because low-dose, routine use allows bacteria to develop resistance. Tom Marsteller, with Des Moines-based Kemin Industries, says consumer demand as well as changes to government rules about using antibiotics in livestock are driving producers to other treatments. “The end result is better stewardship of our antibiotic use, use when necessary, when the animals are sick and need the antibiotics,” Marsteller says, “but that means then we’ll use less antibiotics in total, which then should be good for animal health and human health long-term.”

The report cited Denmark and the Netherlands as examples of places that have drastically reduced reliance on antibiotics in pork production by setting and meeting goals. The report urges consumers to continue pressuring restaurants and grocery stores to offer meat raised without antibiotics.

(Radio Iowa, w/Thanks to Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio)

Iowa farmers talk about how their crops are looking


June 12th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Iowa farmers, based on their location, are having much different experiences during the early part of this growing season. Bruce Rohwer is growing corn and soybeans in northwest Iowa’s O’Brien County, where snow delayed planting. Once he could get in his fields, rain interrupted his progress. “We are completed on planting of corn and beans. It’s just a little bit later than usual, but the weather is doing its best to make up for the calendar,” Rohwer says. While there’s flooding in some areas of northern Iowa from recent torrential downpours, Rohwer is thankful his crops are getting “adequate” rain. “As a farmer, you always hope it will continue that way throughout the year,” Rohwer said. “But, you’re also a farmer, and you know that Mother Nature can change the hand at any time. We’re looking good at this point.”

Areas of southern Iowa could use some of that rain. Kyle Phillips, who has a 4,000 acre corn and soybean operation near Knoxville, says the dry conditions helped with planting. “We were done planting the earliest in history, we were done the 9th of May,” Phillips said. According to Phillips, the little bit of rain Marion County got over the weekend won’t be enough to keep his crops moving in the right direction. “We need a lot more rain,” Phillips said. “We have an excellent stand, both corn and soybeans, but we’ve got to have substantial rain to bring this crop home.”

The USDA crop report released Monday shows 81-percent of Iowa’s corn crop in good to excellent condition. Ninety-seven-percent of the corn has emerged. Eighty-nine percent of soybeans have emerged, with 78-percent of the soybean crop rated in good to excellent condition.

(Radio Iowa)

Local 24-Hour Rainfall Totals ending at 7:00 am on Monday, June 11

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

June 11th, 2018 by Jim Field

  • KJAN, Atlantic  2.61″
  • Anita  3.45″
  • Massena  .67″
  • Elk Horn  .61″
  • North edge of Elk Horn  5.3″
  • Audubon  1.03″
  • Guthrie Center  1.84″
  • Corning  .87″
  • Lenox  .8″
  • Oakland  .27″
  • Missouri Valley  .58″
  • Logan  .61″
  • Irwin  .84″
  • Underwood  .28″
  • Manning  1.48″
  • Kirkman  1.53″
  • Carroll  .53″
  • Cresrton  2.38″
  • Murray  1.47″
  • Earlham  1.83″
  • Minburn  1.85″
  • Waukee  1.93″
  • West Des Moines  2.09″
  • Winterset  2.24″

Ames conference to teach Iowans about outdoor learning environments

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 10th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

There’s still time to sign up for the first-ever Iowa Outdoor Learning Environments Conference which will be held in Ames later this month. One of the organizers, Carly Sabus, explains the focus of outdoor learning environments, or OLEs (pronounced OH-lees).

Sabus says, “We define an outdoor learning environment as a deliberately-designed outdoor space for intentional learning and an intentional setting for exploration, inquiry, and learning to empower environmental literacy and education and STEM learning.”

An OLE can be located at a school or other community location like a library, park, protected natural area, or other places where the outdoor setting can enhance educational opportunities for youth and community members. The two-day conference will zero in on helping Iowans create more OLEs. “We will be having a whole line-up of workshops and speakers from all over the region who are local experts on these outdoor learning environments,” Sabus says. “We’ll be tackling subjects like gaining community support for your outdoor learning environment, helping get funds, how you get volunteers.”

Workshops will also teach participants how to create educational programs, design, implement and maintain OLEs. The event will be held June 18th and 19th at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. The event is sponsored by Prairie Rivers of Iowa.

(Radio Iowa) –  more at www.prrcd.org