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.

Census of Agriculture surveys are in the mail

Ag/Outdoor

December 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The U.S. Census Bureau counted the number of people in America in 2010. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing to collect data for the “Census of Agriculture.” Renee Picanso is director of the project. “The Census is used by everyone in agriculture and rural America as well,” she says. “It’s used to base numerous decisions on as well as to formulate policy and planning for rural America.” The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years. Three million surveys for the latest census were mailed Friday.

Farmers are asked a range of questions, including how much they spend to put in a crop and how many animals were raised on their farm in the past year. “We do have a few new questions this year,” Picanso says. “We have an expanded section on internet use. We have an expanded section on equine and we’re also asking additional questions on renewable energy, to find out what’s going on on the farms with use and development of renewable energy.” According to Picanso, the time required to fill out the survey depends on the type of operation you have. “We’ve estimated a maximum of 60 minutes,” Picanso says. “But there are many producers who only farm one crop or maybe have only one livestock item and in that case it can take as little as 15 minutes to fill it out.”

The due date for the survey is February 4th of 2013. “Farmers can respond via mail or over the internet,” Picanso says. “Any farmer or rancher who doesn’t respond by February 4 will get a follow-up questionnaire in the mail or a phone call or even a personal visit.” Participation in the Census is required by law and, like the U.S. Census of people, individual responses are to be kept confidential. The first Census of Agriculture was conducted in 1820, along with the census count of people. After the 1978 Census of Agriculture, the USDA decided to send out the census every five years, in years ending with a two or seven.

(Radio Iowa)

Contest to determine cover photo for Iowa Travel Guide

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 14th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A contest is underway to select a photo for the cover of next year’s Iowa Travel Guide. The annual publication from the Iowa Tourism Office is distributed to thousands of people around the state, country and world.

Iowa Travel Guide 2012

Iowa Tourism Office spokesperson Jessica O’Riley says last year Iowans were presented with three possible cover photos and voted on their favorite. The 2012 cover ended up featuring the High Trestle Trail near Madrid. She says this year, they’re taking it a step further and allowing people to submit their photos for possible inclusion in the travel guide. The contest is open to both amateur and professional photographers.

O’Riley suggests submissions should capture the “spirit of Iowa.” That might involve a scenic landscape, a large crowd gathered at a tourist spot or a family picture somewhere in Iowa. “I certainly would not want to limit anybody…anything people see as they cross Iowa,” O’Riley said. Contest rules and submission forms are posted on the Travel Iowa Facebook page. The deadline for submissions is next Friday, December 21.

Finalists for the Iowa Travel Guide cover will be selected and then voting, via Facebook, will take place between January 23 and February 1. The cover design with the most votes will be declared the winner on February 4. Photos that don’t make the cover could be used inside the travel guide or on the Iowa Tourism’s website or Facebook page.

(Radio Iowa)

Sen. Harkin is concerned about farmland values and another 80s-style farm crisis

Ag/Outdoor

December 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says this week’s report on rising Iowa farmland values is worrisome. The annual study from Iowa State University found the average selling price for an acre of Iowa farmland was nearly 83-hundred dollars, an increase of 24-percent from a year ago. “I am concerned about a possible land bubble forming out there on this,” Harkin says. Authors of the study say record corn and soybean prices are part of the reason for the latest sizeable increase. Harkin acknowledges it appears Iowa farmers will “be in good shape” in terms of future demand for feed grains and for grain and stover used in ethanol production.

Still, he fears changes in the weather and other factors could quickly prompt another farm crisis like the nation saw in the 1980s.  “What I really worry about is that debt and leverage don’t get overextended,” Harkin says. “We’ve seen that before, haven’t we? Remember the 70s, when all these grain prices went up, plant fence row to fence row and all that. A bubble happened and a lot of people got wiped out because they were way overleveraged, too much debt when the 80s hit.”

The ISU report found farmland prices were widely varied across the state. For example, prices in northwest Iowa were up almost 34-percent, while prices in southeast Iowa were up only nine-percent. “A lot of times a lot of this is driven by land values near urban areas, for example, that seem to go up extraordinarily high,” Harkin says. “They can be a driver. I’d like to see how much of this land that is changing hands is actually being financed with debt.”

The 24-percent price increase found in the ISU report marks the third straight year the state’s farmland values have increased by at least 15-percent.

(Radio Iowa)

Leash on Life 12-13-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 13th, 2012 by Chris Parks

Info from the Atlantic Animal Shelter.

 

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Doc Leonard’s Pet Pointers 12-13-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 13th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Dr. Keith Leonard

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USDA 12-13-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 13th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks

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Ag Sec calls on Congressional ag committees to create farm bill now

Ag/Outdoor

December 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is urging the U-S House and Senate Ag Committees to get a Farm Bill ready. Once created, Vilsack says that legislation could be attached to any agreement to avoid the fall off the “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax hikes and budget cuts which loom on January 1st. “That would provide a vehicle for the passage of a food, farm and jobs bill,” Vilsack says. “In order for that to happen, they could not be in a situation where they would ask folks to wait while they crafted and drafted whatever compromises they could reach. They need to do that work now so that when and if there’s a resolution to the fiscal cliff, the farm legislation could be attached to it without delay.”

Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, says it will take a lot of work to get a new Farm Bill ready for the upcoming growing season.  “We will do everything we can to move heaven and earth,” Vilsack says. “Once Congress does its job, we will do our job in a timely way. It obviously depends on at what point in time they ultimately get their work done.” The automatic budget cuts that will come with the new year will impact practically every single U-S-D-A program, what Vilsack says would be a disaster.

“That gives me no capacity to manage,” he says. “It’s eight-and-a-half or eight-point-seven percent, whatever it is, across the board, virtually every line item. You can’t transfer. The only way you’re going to deal with it is by reductions in force and that is extraordinarily cumbersome.” Without action by Congress, a series of 500-billion dollars in tax increases and 200-billion in budget cuts will automatically take effect on or around the first day of January, a leap some analysts fear could prompt another recession.

(Radio Iowa)

Water levels keep dropping on already-low Missouri River

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Army Corps of Engineers continues to cut water releases from Gavins Point Dam into the Missouri River. Jody Farhat, chief of the Water Management Bureau for the Corps in Omaha, says releases were taken down to 14-thousand cubic feet per second (CFS) over the weekend. “Our inital plan was to hold that just for three days before stepping down to 12 but we’re getting down to the level where some of the water intakes are coming into concern,” Farhat says. “We’ll probably hold the 14-thousand for five or six days, let that decrease get down past those water intakes and see if we are able to make any further reductions after that.”

By comparison, the average flow has been around 38-thousand CFS but during last year’s record flooding, flow rates hit a record of 160-thousand CFS. The current 14-thousand is almost a trickle by comparison. Farhat says low water is causing transportation issues on the Mississippi River, but they can’t really help with that. Several governors, businesses and farm groups are asking Congress and the Corps to boost water levels on the Missouri to help keep barges moving on the Mississippi. “There is a lot of concern about the impacts of this reduction on navigation on the Mississippi River and we’re getting a lot of calls and monitoring that situation,” Farhat says. “In reality, Congress has not authorized us to operate this reservoir system for the Mississippi River, so, we intend to get down to our winter release rate and hold it there, unless something changes.”

Levels of the upstream reservoirs continue to fall. Farhat says that will be a balancing act all winter long. “Most of the reservoir storage is in the upper three, and those are currently between five and 14 feet below normal right now,” Farhat says. “We’ll be moving water between the reservoirs over the winter period and by the start of next year’s runoff season, each of those upper three reservoirs will be between 10 and 12 feet below the desired operating level at the start of a run-up year.” The Missouri River level at Yankton is now 16 feet lower than it was during the record flooding in the summer of 2011.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass Supervisors approve 1st reading of Amended TIF District Ordinance

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors Wednesday morning approved the first of two readings of an Amended Ordinance that pertains to the Amaizing Energy TIF District. The action followed the first of two public hearings on the matter, with the second hearing and second reading to take place during the Supervisor’s meeting on Dec. 19th.

Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman points out the parcels in the Amaizing Energy Urban Renewal/TIF District.

Prior to the public hearing, Cass County Auditor Dale Sunderman said the Board, on May 23rd 2007, enacted Ordinance 28, which provides for the Division of Taxes levied on taxable property in the Amaizing Energy Urban Renewal Area. He said the amendment proposes that certain property included in the definition of an “Urban Renewal Area” in the ordinance, be deleted from that definition. (A full description of the parcels and sections are available at the Auditor’s office)

After the public hearing was closed and the matter discussed that the Board, upon hearing no objections to the amendment after first reading, voted to approve it.

Cass County Extension Report 12-12-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 12th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

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