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.

USDA says it will close 259 offices to save $150M

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 10th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will close 259 domestic offices, labs and other facilities as part of an effort to save $150 million per year in its $145 billion budget. The plan announced Monday will affect the agency’s Washington headquarters and operations in 46 states. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says in a statement that his agency must “be better stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.” He says many of the offices being closed have few employees and are near other offices. It was not clear from the USDA announcement whether employees would be laid off or moved to other offices. The USDA has a broad array of programs, ranging from emergency aid for farms to grants for rural development and the program commonly known as food stamps.

Proposed changes would limit dog-friendly cabins at Iowa State Parks

Ag/Outdoor

January 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Dogs would no longer be allowed in some rental cabins at Iowa state parks under a list of proposed changes compiled by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Currently, there are no restrictions on pets in state park cabins. Sherry Arntzen, with the DNR, says they’ve seen an increase in complaints from renters about dogs and damage to cabins. One of the proposals would establish a nonrefundable “dog fee” for cabin or yurt renters who bring dogs.

“That would be charged for anybody who is renting one of the designated pet cabins,” Arntzen said. “This would help offset the cost of extra cleaning time and materials we would need after a renter with pets vacated the cabin.” The proposed fee would be $25 for a two-night stay or $50 for three or more nights. Other possible changes would set a limit of two dogs per cabin and require that dogs be put in a crate or kennel when left unattended inside the cabin or yurt. Arntzen said DNR staff would like to hear feedback from both dog owners and those renters who’ve raised concerns.

She notes some people have allergies or don’t like the barking by dogs left unattended. “So what we’re trying to do is talk with the public and see what people’s feelings are. We’d like to be able to strike a balance between the two user groups that are either for it or against it,” Arntzen said. Many states do not allow any pets in cabins. Dogs are currently allowed in all cabins or yurts located in 15 Iowa state parks. The proposed changes would designate some of those units as pet-free.

“We have some (parks) that would be 25-percent (dog friendly) and some at 100-percent,” Arntzen said. “We want people to look at (the proposed changes) and give us their comments. Based on all of the comments we receive and additional discussion with our management team, we will look at whether or not we’re going to go with what we’re looking at or if we’re going to modify it.” The DNR has also proposed changes related to rental fees and damage deposits for state park lodge facilities. The deadline to submit comments about the proposals is January 23. A public hearing will also be held at a date yet to be determined. Arntzen said any changes wouldn’t be enacted until sometime in 2013.

LINK to proposed rule changes and information on submitting comments: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Destinations/StateParksRecAreas/ProposedRuleChanges.aspx

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Lack of snow raises fears of drought

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Most Iowans aren’t complaining about the lack of snow, but weather watchers say there’s rising concern about a drought in the coming months. Bryce Anderson, senior agriculture meteorologist at Data Transmission Network, says the La Nina weather pattern is bringing Iowa milder temperatures while keeping the arctic air far to the north. “The effect that we’re going to see from that is a fairly dry situation through much of the wintertime,” Anderson says. “We will have to watch for the possibility of severe weather becoming a little bit more of a feature as we go into the spring.”

Anderson says the longer our region is lacking in significant moisture this winter, the greater the possibility of drought conditions a few months down the road. “There is some stage of drought going on over about the eastern third of Nebraska through the northwestern part of Iowa,” he says. “If we don’t get any moisture in late winter, then into early spring, we set ourselves up to be concerned about a drought problem going into the crop-planting season.” That seems a bit unusual, considering we just came out of a year when we saw several months of severe flooding on the Missouri River. Anderson says the La Nina pattern can spark unstable weather conditions in the spring.

“La Nina can be a real storm producer and can contribute to severe weather occurrences being greater than average over the Midwest,” he says. “That’s going to be a feature we are going to be watching especially when we get into March and then into April as we start to change our seasons.” Anderson says a dry spring could bring a vexing challenge to producers. He says we should enjoy the mild winter now and be ready for a dry, likely stormy, spring.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)

Cargill to close plant and upgrade another in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor

January 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Cargill Inc. says it will invest $20 million to modernize its soybean crushing plant in Cedar Rapids and close a similar plant in Des Moines to optimize its operations in Iowa amid an overcapacity in soymeal production. The Minneapolis-based company says Thursday that 22 jobs will be eliminated when its Des Moines plant closes Feb. 4. Cargill will continue some business activities at its Des Moines site, including buying soybeans, and will still have 70 employees in the area.

Soymeal is used in livestock feeds and in some processed foods. Cargill says declining meat consumption is one of the reasons for its decision, saying it can be more competitive though its soybean crushing plants in Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Iowa Falls.

USDA Report 01-05-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

January 5th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Dave York

Play

Cass County Extension Report 01-04-2012

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

January 4th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olsen

Play

Iowa to revisit ban on lead shot for dove hunting

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

January 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers are expected to take up the issue of using lead shot in dove hunting this year. The issue surfaced in 2011 ahead of the state’s first dove season in 90 years. The Natural Resources Commission banned lead shot over concerns that it has been linked to the poisoning of birds and other animals. But hunters say lead shot is less expensive and more effective than alternatives. A legislative panel voted in August against the commission’s ban, saying it’s a decision the Legislature should make. If lawmakers don’t act on the issue, the ban will go into effect. The Des Moines Register says Sen. Dick Dearden says he’ll seek a vote this year. The Des Moines Democrat introduced the original dove hunting bill.

IA DNR says Confinement Manure Applicators should attend training before March 1st

Ag/Outdoor

December 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – Required annual training starts Jan. 17 and concludes on Feb. 29 for confinement site manure applicators at many county Iowa State University Extension offices. Seven dry manure classes will also be held.  “Confinement site applicators are required to attend annual training, even though their certificates are good for three years,” said Jeff Prier, DNR coordinator of the program. “It’s also a good reminder of new and existing rules and other information pertinent to applicators and producers.” 

Certificates expire on Dec. 31. To avoid late fees, certification renewal must be submitted to DNR no later than March 1. Applicators whose certificates are expiring must complete the training, and submit forms and fees. Confinement site applicators must attend two hours of training each year of the three year certification. A $25 continuing education fee is charged and pre-registration is required. Prier said even those who received initial certification the fall of 2011 must complete training in 2012. Applicators can find contacts for registration and a list of counties where the training is available at www.agronext.iastate.edu/immag/certification/confdates.html.

 Those applicators who cannot attend a training session should contact their local Extension office to schedule time to watch a video. Extension offices may charge a $10 fee to show the video outside of a scheduled showing. Applicators may also take a 50‐question exam. Contact the DNR field office most convenient to you to make an appointment, by calling:

• Northeast Iowa, Manchester, 563-927‐2640

• North central Iowa, Mason City, 641-424‐4073

• Northwest Iowa, Spencer, 712-262‐4177

• Southwest Iowa, Atlantic, 712-243‐1934

• South central Iowa, Des Moines, 515-725‐0268

• Southeast Iowa, Washington, 319-653‐2135 

More information about the manure applicators certification program is available at www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/LandStewardship/AnimalFeedingOperations/ApplicatorCertification.aspx  or  www.agronext.iastate.edu/immag/maccsa.html.

Fill the Feeder for the Swans and Soiree with the Swans…

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 29th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Conservation Service has teamed up with a local store to help feed the Trumpeter swans at the Schildberg Quarry Recreational Area, in Atlantic. Officials say when you buy a bag of Whole Cleaned Corn at the Atlantic Orscheln store at the cash registers, the store’s staff will set it aside for the Trumpeter Swans. Four bags will fill the swans’ feeder. Your opportunity to buy the corn for the large-winged birds is available now through Jan. 31st, 2012. And, don’t forget, you can join the Cass County Conservation Staff at Atlantic’s  Schildberg Quarry on Saturday, January 7th 2012, when staffers will be giving ten-minute presentations about the Trumpeter Swans every half-hour beginning at 11:00 a.m., with the last one being presented at 2:00 p.m.  

The Schildberg Quarry is located on the northwest edge of Atlantic, on the north side of Highway 83. If the weather is bad, or the swans are not at the quarry, the program will be held at the Atlantic Public Library from 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m., with a light lunch available. The “Soiree with the Swans” event is sponsored by the Cass County Conservation Board, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Atlantic Public Library.

USDA Report 12-29-2011

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 29th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin

Play