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.

Most of northwest Iowa needs moisture, USDA says

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture says most of northwest Iowa is still short of soil moisture. Recent rain and snow have brought some moisture to the state, but the USDA said Monday that 86 percent of northwest Iowa remains short or extremely short of the moisture desired by farmers for their crops. According to The Des Moines Register, experts say soil moisture is adequate in most of the eastern half of Iowa. And statewide, topsoil moisture levels were rated as being 19 percent very short, 34 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. A year ago, 99 percent of Iowa reported adequate or surplus moisture after three years of above-average rain and snow.

County-wide trails to be discussed in Pottawattamie County

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Residents of Pottawattamie County have an opportunity to attend one of several listening sessions scheduled to take place throughout the County, with regard to possible county-wide trails. The Pottawattamie County Conservation Board will meet with residents to gather public input on the future of multi-use trails. Mark Shoemaker, executive director of the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board, says the meetings are to being held to discuss where the trails should be located. He says anyone attending the sessions will discuss the future of the multi-use trails and asked to offer their opinions on where the lines should be drawn as to where the trails should be. 

Shoemaker says there are some short trails already in place, in Pottawattamie County. That includes the Wabash Trace, in Council Bluffs, several trails within the Council Bluffs city limits, some short trails in Oakland and other communities. Some trails are under development in other communities within the County. The main purpose of the meetings is to eventually connect the trails to every community in Pottawattamie County.

The County-wide trail planning listening sessions will be held in  four cities across the county. They will be held March 8th, from 7-to 9-pm at the Neola Community Center; at the Carson Community Center, March 10th, from 9am-11am; and at the AHST High School in Avoca, March 14th, from 7-9pm. The final session will be held March 22nd, at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Looft Hall – Room 10, from 4-to 6-pm. Shoemaker says even if a meeting will not be held in your community in Pottawattamie County, you are still welcome to attend one of the meetings elsewhere in the County. The Pottawattamie County Conservation Board is also scheduling a water trails meeting at the Botna Bend Park in Hancock on Wednesday, March 21st.

(courtesy Joel McCall/KNOD, Harlan)

King says he’ll work with Tyson to find new uses for the Denison plant

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King says he’s been in contact with Tyson Fresh Meats, Incorporated, and will work with the company’s leadership to explore new uses for its Denison beef processing plant. The company Thursday announced it was exploring closing its facility in Denison, because of planned improvements to its plant in Dakota City, NE. The move would effectively eliminate 400 jobs in Denison, although employees would be encouraged to apply for about 200 jobs created by the Dakota City plant improvements.

King says he knows closing the Denison plant is a “tough decision for Tyson to make, especially given the history of the Denison plant as the flagship location for the former IBP company.” He said in the coming months, he will continue to work with Tyson Foods to find other uses for the Denison facility, and is “Hopeful that a decision will be reached that will continue to put the plant and its workforce to good use.”

If the company closes the Denison facility, it will not come until sometime next year.

Atlantic to Host Free Herbicide Resistance Meeting March 14th

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

In response to rapidly expanding problems associated with herbicide resistant weeds, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will conduct a series of meetings in March to address the issue. The meetings will provide information about the causes of herbicide-resistant weed populations, objectively evaluate weed management programs currently used in Iowa and support the development of durable weed management programs. The meetings will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude with a noon meal. One of the meetings will take place in Atlantic, on March 14th, at the Cass County Community Center.  

There is no cost to attend the program, due to funding provided by several partners. However, advance registration is appreciated for meeting logistics and lunch counts. Additional information regarding the program and online registration is available at http://www.aep.iastate.edu/weeds/ .

Denison beef packing plant could close

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Four-hundred jobs at the Tyson beef slaughtering plant in Denison are in jeopardy. Tyson spokesman, Gary Mikelson, says the company is expanding its Dakota City, Nebraska meat processing plant, and that means Tyson may no longer need the smaller plant in Dension. He says they have not made a final decision yet, but he says if the Denison facility did close, the employees would be encouraged to seek jobs at the Dakota City plant. Dakota City, Nebraska is across the Iowa border near Sioux City, about 80-miles west of the Denison’s Tyson Foods beef processing plant. Mikelson says the decision is based on the availability of cattle to slaughter in the Denison area.

“This is a very difficult scenario to consider, given the impact it would have on our people and the long history that that plant has had in the meat industry. However, unless area cattle supplies increase significantly, it may make sense to discontinue operations there next year,” Mikelson says. Mikelson says they are making millions of dollars in upgrades at the Dakota City plant, and will add 200 job there. He says the work should be done by the middle of 2013.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Conservation offers Intro to Rainscaping/Native Landscaping Prgm.

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Conservation Board reports it is partnering with West Pottawattamie Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Iowa Western Community College (IWCC), to present Rainscaping Loess Soils. The free Intro to Rainscaping classes will be held at the IWCC Campus Centers in Council Bluffs Harlan, Atlantic, Clarinda and Shenandoah. The workshop in Atlantic will be held 5:30-p.m. March 27th. For other class dates and times and to register for the free classes go to http://www.iwcc.edu/ce/classes/GoGreen.asp

Rainscaping Loess Soils is a series of workshops to educate the public in what rainscaping is and how landowners can plan and install conservation best management practices in their sites landscape. Workshops will cover topics such as rain gardens, rain barrels, composting and soil quality restoration. The program is made possible thanks to a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources – REAP Conservation Education Project.


Boots to Heels Conference Scheduled for March 24th in Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Women in Southwest Iowa are invited to a day of fun, learning and friendship during the sixth annual Boots to Heels Conference on Saturday, March 24th. The conference runs from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic. The lineup of speakers scheduled for the one-day conference will focus on the interests of women living and working in rural Iowa.

The conference will start off with a keynote address on “Finding Happiness in the Craziness of Life” by Kathy Petersen. Kathy and her husband run a 5th generation farming operation near Storm Lake, Iowa. Kathy speaks and conducts training sessions all over the U-S through her company, Peopleworks, Inc. Throughout the day, conference participants will be able to select from twelve unique topics during four workshop sessions. Break-out topics include Home Organization, Farm Succession Planning, Wind Energy, Food Preservation, Interior Decorating and more.

Each presenter has a wealth of knowledge in their respective field and will provide practical tips based on first-hand experience. Conference attendees will be treated to snacks, a breakfast, lunch and  special dessert, served by locally-owned businesses. Lunchtime entertainment is being provided by the Patchwork Pals. In addition, there will be door prizes, time for conversation and networking.

Registration for the entire day, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, dessert and materials, is just $30 if postmarked by March 16th. Registrations postmarked after that date are $35. A special “bring a friend” rate of $55 for two registrations is also available if postmarked by the 16th. Registration forms are available at local ISU Extension offices or may be printed off at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.

See the schedule of events here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/NR/rdonlyres/D1EEFECF-F465-45BD-8DC5-C852E153FA99/165430/WebFliertopost1.pdf

Creston FSA Office on the cutting block

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

News that U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to approve the closing of 131 Farm Service Agency (FSA) Offices around the country within 90-days, including three in Iowa, does not sit well with western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King. King said today (Thursday) that while he believes all government agencies should strive to become more efficient, the USDA and Secretary Vilsack have not taken into account the actual FSA workload in the affected counties, which includes Appanoose, Decatur and Union.

The criteria for office closures were based on the number of employees the offices had on the payroll in mid-December of 2011. Any office that had two or less employees and was 20 miles or less from another office has been slated for closure. Last year, when the proposal was developed, the Iowa FSA system was under a hiring freeze due to budget issues and therefore offices that had retiring employees experienced lower than normal staffing numbers.

King says “Historically we have had a tool to determine the workload in each county office based on the programs offered and the number of participants in those programs. I suspect an analysis of the workloads of these offices would justify keeping them open. It’s also important to note that the FSA offices in Iowa that are slated for closure by Secretary Vilsack are located in counties that have a large number of acres in CRP. Over several decades, this has led to a loss of population, a loss of farmers and shrinkage of our small towns. This proposal will only make things worse for small town and rural Iowa. Soon these counties will begin to see more and more acres come out of CRP. There’s no question they’ll be hurt by the lack of local FSA offices to help support revitalization of their land and communities.”

King called upon Secretary Vilsack to reconsider his decision.

CRP Informational meeting to be held in Adair County


March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An official with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Iowa, says the FSA will conduct several Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) informational meetings across the state. One of the meetings takes place 5:30-p.m. Thursday, March 15th, at the Adair County Fairgrounds 4-H building, in Greenfield.

John R. Whitaker, State Executive Director for the FSA in Iowa, says the State currently has more than 1.65-million acres enrolled in CRP, with nearly 232,000 acres expiring on September 30th, 2012.  A General CRP signup is scheduled to begin March 12th, 2012 and end April 6th, 2012.   

Environmentally desirable land devoted to certain conservation practices may be enrolled in CRP at any time under continuous sign-up.  Producers wanting to re-enroll continuous CRP practices expiring September 30, 2012, must do so prior to contract expiration.  Landowners with expiring CRP land or land that is not currently enrolled in CRP are encouraged to attend an informational meeting. 

Information on the meeting and other programs administered by FSA can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/ia

DNR to hold public meeting to discuss fall hunting and trapping regulations

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 1st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will hosting public meetings on March 6th, to discuss possible changes in the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall. The changes would affect deer and waterfowl hunters as well as hunters and trappers who pursue bobcats and otters. Proposed changes would stabilize deer numbers in some areas, potentially add a third zone for waterfowl and increase the harvest number of otters and bobcats.

Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the wildlife bureau, says regulation changes for deer would allow deer numbers to stabilize in areas of the state where numbers have been reduced to the department’s goal while still allowing hunters to harvest extra does in areas of the state where numbers need to be reduced. He says “Without these changes deer numbers in some areas of the state will continue to decline and Iowa will lose its standing as one of the best states for hunting whitetail deer. Failure to make these changes could adversely affect rural areas since deer hunters spend nearly $200 million annually.”  The proposed changes for the waterfowl season are due to a change by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which now allow states to have three zones and a split waterfowl season.

The public meetings on March 6th from 6- to 9-p.m., will be held locally, in: Carroll; Council Bluffs; Creston and Onawa. The list of possible changes is available online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/Hunting/proposed_changes2012.pdf“  For those who cannot make the meeting, comments may be sent to wildlife@dnr.iowa.gov.