KJAN Ag/Outdoor

The Latest: 13 states challenge to California egg law

Ag/Outdoor

December 5th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — More than a dozen states have filed a lawsuit to block a California law that requires eggs sold in the state to come from hens that have space to stretch in their cages.
The lawsuit was filed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. It alleges that California’s requirements violate the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause and are pre-empted by federal law.
A federal appeals court panel rejected a similar argument last year in a separate lawsuit from six states.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is spearheading the new lawsuit. He says it includes new data estimating California’s egg law has cost consumers nationwide up to $350 million annually as a result of higher egg prices since it took effect in 2015

The other plaintiff states are Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Former dean of ISU College of Veterinary Medicine discusses farm animal vet shortage

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 4th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Farmers and public health officials are growing increasingly concerned with a shortage of food animal veterinarians in Iowa and across the country. The number of farm animal vets is shrinking at a time when worries over potential disease outbreaks are on the rise. Dr. John Thomson ran a veterinary clinic for 20 years just south of Creston. “And it’s a very sparsely populated area, so it’s not always easy to attract veterinarians into those areas,” Thomson says.

The retired Iowa State University professor is fighting for legislation that would lure more young animal doctors into rural or underserved areas. Thomson says one of the biggest barriers involves student debt. “On average, (veterinary) students are graduating with $141,000 in debt and they’re looking for ways to reduce that as painlessly as they can. A lot of times they’ll take what they feel is the most lucrative opportunity for them and that isn’t always in the most remote areas of the state,” Thomson says.

In response to the vet shortage, the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program provides selected food animal and public health veterinarians up to $75,000 in loan repayment in exchange for serving at least three years in designated shortage areas. Thomson says the program is working, but doesn’t receive enough funding to fill the demand. This challenge results in part from the fact that each award from the program is subject to a 39 percent withholding tax.

“There’s a Veterinary Enhancement Act that has been put forward to remove the tax on the award so more people can be provided that assistance,” Thomson says. Thomson is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, which is pushing for removal of the tax. Thomson was the dean of the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine from 2004-2011.

(Radio Iowa)

Deere makes its biggest acquisition ever

Ag/Outdoor

December 4th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Deere and Company says it completed all the requirements to acquire a German company that makes road construction equipment. Regulators in more than 20 countries had to review and approve the deal that’s worth more than five BILLION dollars ($5.2) before it became final. Deere spokesman, Ken Golden, says the Wirtgen Group has factories in Brazil, China and India as well as German. “It is clearly the biggest acquisition in Deer’s history by about nine times,” Golden says,”and it fits right in with the strategy of John Deer to grow two major global businesses — agriculture and construction.”

Wirtgen employs 82-hundred people and doubles the size of the workforce in construction and forestry at Deere. Golden says it’s rare for Deere or any company to find another one to buy that has a similar culture, with no overlap in products. He says the company makes bulldozers and endloaders that are used in road construction, but they are not the machines that tear up old roadways, and those are the products that Wirtgen brings to Deere. The Wirtgen Group will enable Deere and Company to become to the world leader in road construction equipment. Deere has retained all five of Wirtgen’s existing brands, along with its employees and distribution network. “What we have found even when we were looking at the Wirtgen group, is their intense focus on the customer, their desire to build high-quality equipment and to be an innovator. And those are things that are true at Deere as well,” according to Golden. “So when you put that kind of philosophy that is very similar in two companies — we are really looking forward to how well this will work.”

The Wirtgen Group was a privately-held company before being acquired by Deere.

(Radio Iowa)

State to continue testing for CWD

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

December 2nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The deer season in Iowa includes some continued testing of the animals taken to see if Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has spread in the herd. D-N-R spokesman, Tyler Harms says they are ramping up the sampling efforts in different parts of the state. The positive tests for C-W-D in wild deer have all come in counties along the border in eastern Iowa.  “We collect samples in every county and the number of samples varies depending on where you are in the state,” Harms says. “Those samples are collected by our wildlife field management staff. We are certainly encouraging hunters to help us with collecting those samples if you are contacted by some of our staff.”

Another disease the keep an eye for in the deer herd is Epizootic hemorrhagic disease. Commonly known as E-H-D, and surprisingly we did not receive many reports of that disease this year despite the dry conditions we experienced in late summer. So, Typically we see spikes of E-H-D after drought years or in drought conditions,” Harms says.

Harms expects hunters to take around 100-thosuand deer when all the seasons are complete.

(Radio Iowa)

Report: rural poverty rate getting closer to urban percentage

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 2nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A new report from the USDA shows the urban-rural poverty gap continues to close. John Cromartie, with USDA’s Economic Research Service, say “Today, the gap is around three percentage points, around 16 percent rural poverty versus 13 percent urban poverty.” Cromartie says the gap has been slowly declining since 1960 when the Rural America at a Glance Report was first published. At that time, 54 years ago, the gap between rural and urban poverty was at 17 percent. Cromartie says while overall rural poverty rates declined slightly from last year, persistent rural poverty — or rural counties with 20 percent or more of their population poor for at least 30 years — continues to be very regional.

“These persistently poor counties are located very much in the South, 85 percent of them are in the South for the rural counties, but rural poverty is also entrenched in parts of the Southwest and the Northern Great Plains,” Cromartie says.

The report also found the rural population is shrinking for the first time. USDA credits fewer births, an aging population and an outmigration of young adults for the decline. Employment in rural areas since 2011 has increased modestly with medium incomes also increasing. The report says infrastructure investments like access to broadband and more public services could improve rural economies and quality of life for residents. In Iowa, just under 36-percent of the state’s residents live in rural areas. According to the most recent data from the USDA, the poverty rate in rural Iowa is 11.5 percent, compared with 11.9 percent in urban areas of the state.

(Radio Iowa w/thanks to Nicole Heslip, Brownfield Ag News)

Legislative leaders expect quick action on water quality plan in 2018

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 1st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Republicans and Democrats say finding a long-term source of money for water quality efforts is a priority for the 2018 Iowa legislative session — and they expect quick action. It’s still a matter of debate, though, as to WHICH policy option will be pursued. Senate President Jack Whitver of Ankeny acknowledges the House passed one approach LAST year, while the Senate approved a different one.

“But at the end of session, we decided there were too many dollars on the line and too much policy to hammer out to do that at the last minute and just patch it together,” Whitver says, “and we decided we wanted to take time and make sure you’re going to do it right because that’s plan that’s going to be around for 20 or 30 or 40 years.”

House Republican Leader Chris Hagenow, of Windsor Heights, expects “hundreds of millions of dollars” to be dedicated to water quality projects over the next few decades.”We shouldn’t see this one bill that we have as the beginning and the end of our work on water quality,” Hagenow says. “I see this as a generational challenge.”

Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen of Des Moines favors an approach that addresses pollution at the watershed level. “The problems with water are not evenly sprinkled across our state and we should be going after the areas that is most poisoning our water,” Petersen says. “We should be going after those areas first, I believe.”

House Democratic Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown says it’s a mistake to make look solely at the quality of surface water. “We need to be focusing on good soil and retaining Iowa soil, which is our lifeblood here in this state,” Smith says. “By doing so, we will correct the water quality issues that we have in our state and many other issues as well.”

Addressing flood-prone areas of the state through water improvement projects is important, according to Smith. The legislative leaders made their comments Thursday during a forum sponsored by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. It represents 23 chambers of commerce in central Iowa.

(Radio Iowa)

DNR investigates Wright County hunting Incident

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

WRIGHT COUNTY, Iowa – DNR conservation officers responded to a personal injury hunting incident on November 29 around 1:20 p.m., in southwestern Wright County. 36-year old William Rancourt, of Lebanon, New Hapshire was pheasant hunting on the Boone River Greenbelt Conservation Board Public Hunting Area with three other hunters when he was hit in the back by bird shot pellets from another hunter’s 12-guage shotgun.

The shotgun was lying on the ground when a hunting dog stepped on the trigger guard causing it to discharge hitting Rancourt in the back nearly 22 yards away. Rancourt was transported to Trinity Hospital in Fort Dodge with non-life threatening injuries. The DNR was assisted at the scene by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

The DNR reminds hunters to unload your firearm and be sure the safety mechanism is in place before setting it down.

EPA sets biofuels production levels for 2018

Ag/Outdoor

November 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The amount of conventional ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline supply next year will be roughly equal to this year’s required level. The E-P-A has met today’s (Thursday’s) deadline for setting the Renewable Fuels Standard for 2018. As indicated a couple of months ago, the federal mandate for biodiesel and “cellulosic” ethanol will be lower in 2018. Required production of traditional ethanol production will remain the same next year. On Tuesday, Governor Kim Reynolds told reporters it’s a yearly fight to maintain the federal production mandates for ethanol and biiodiesel. “It is important to our economy. It’s important to rural Iowa. It’s how we add value to the products that we grow,” Reynolds says. “…I’m going to get up on Friday and I’m going to go back to the mat and we’re going to continue to fight on behalf of Iowans and Iowa farmers because we believe it’s important, but we can, in fact, feed and fuel the world.”

This fall, Reynolds joined other farm state lawmakers and the biofuels industry in a public relations push to persuade President Trump to insist his E-P-A side with farmers and ethanol producers rather than the oil industry, which wants reduced biofuel production mandates. Reynolds called President Trump and met with the E-P-A Administrator.in October to press the issue. “It is really important to the economy, the rural economy in Iowa, especially our Iowa farmers,” Reynolds says.

Senator Chuck Grassley issued a statement Wednesday night, saying the E-P-A’s decision is “disappointing,” and falls “short of the full potential of the U.S. biofuels industry.” However, Grassley says he is glad the E-P-A backed off a proposal that would have reduced mandatory production levels even further.

(Radio Iowa)

Man burned in fire that spreads across his business

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

GRINNELL, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a man was burned by a fire that spread across his business site in central Iowa. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports that firetrucks were dispatched around 1 p.m. Tuesday to Morrison Repair in Grinnell. An outbuilding with tractors and farm equipment, a semitrailer full of tires and several piles of tires were aflame when firefighters arrived.

Investigators say people at a nearby business had been burning items at the rear of that property, but strong winds spread the flames to Morrison Repair. Authorities say owner Ron Morrison suffered burns to his face while trying to get tractors out of the outbuilding.

Cass County Extension Report 11-29-2017

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

November 29th, 2017 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson.

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