KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Tyson settles lawsuit with Iowa workers for $5.8M

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 1st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) – Tyson Foods has settled a 10-year-old class-action lawsuit and will disburse nearly $6 million to more than 3,900 current and former employees at a northwest Iowa pork plant. The Sioux City Journal reports that Storm Lake employees sued the Arkansas-based company in 2007 to collect back pay for the time they spent putting on and taking off protective work clothes and equipment before and after their work shifts.

A Sioux City federal jury ruled in favor of the workers in 2011, a decision the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld in 2014. Tyson appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court rejected the company’s appeal in March 2016 to limit workers’ ability to challenge pay and workplace issues.

Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson says each worker will receive about $1,700.

Elite Octane announces job openings

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 1st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Elite Octane, LLC ethanol plant in Atlantic, have just launched a website featuring information about the construction project, and information on available jobs. Go to www.eliteoctane.net and look for the “Join our team” careers tab for the Job Board.

The company has each position listed that they intend to hire, a job description, and a note on what the position will pay. You can also see an aerial view of the ethanol plant as it’s under construction.

From the Elite Octane home page

Cass County Fair Livestock Sale this Morning

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 1st, 2017 by Jim Field

The livestock sale at the Cass County Fair will begin at 8:00 this morning at the indoor show ring.  We’ll have some live updates throughout the morning from the sale on KJAN.  CLICK HERE to see the sale listing!

New Iowa bike maps are available

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation is now distributing the 2017-2018 Iowa Bicycle Map. The popular publication has been updated to show new 4-foot or wider paved shoulders and recreational trails completed since the 2015-2016 version was published. As in past versions, the map highlights bike-friendly routes when traveling on two wheels through Iowa by identifying bike trails and traffic levels on all paved roads. The map also includes insets of Iowa’s 16 largest cities.    

A person riding a bicycle on a public road has all the rights, and is required to know and obey all traffic laws and rules of the road, applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle. To assist bicyclists in understanding their rights and responsibilities, a section of the map is dedicated to highlighting rules of the road. Bicyclists are urged to always wear helmets, use lights at night, and watch out for road hazards, including parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, sand, and debris.

The 2017-2018 Iowa Bicycle Map is available online at  www.iowadot.gov/iowabikes/bikemap.aspx.

Michigan processing plant to handle hogs from Iowa & several other states

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

COLDWATER, Mich. (AP) – Officials say a more than $250 million hog processing facility in southern Michigan will handle hogs from states including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa. Hatfield, Pennsylvania-based Clemens Food Group held a ribbon-cutting Saturday at the plant in Coldwater that is expected to eventually employ 830 people. It starts running in August and be at full production in early September. It will process thousands of hogs per day.

The (Kendallville) News-Sun reports plans for the processing facility were announced in 2014. The Sturgis Journal reports the plant is getting local and state support that will total about $55 million, including about $12.5 million in Community Development Block Grant money.

Kids Bike Ride to take place Aug. 12th at the Schildberg Rec Area in Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Nishna Valley Trails invite all area youth and others to a Kids Bike Ride event on August 12th, beginning at 10:30-a.m. The ride takes place at the Schildberg Recreation Area in Atlantic. Check-in and the start of the ride will be at the west parking lot of the Schildberg Rec Area. There will be three age groups, with the length of the ride according to age. The event is free, and all ages are welcome.

The Kids Bike Ride is co-sponsored by Atlantic Parks and Rec, Cass County Conservation, Howard’s, Fareway, and the West Side Diner, in Atlantic. For more information, call Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning, at 712-769-2372. After the ride, be sure and check out AtlanticFest, that will be underway in the downtown area of Atlantic.

“Breakfast with the Birds” set for August 12th

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Conservation Board is once again sponsoring a “Breakfast with the Birds” Program. The program will be held at Sunnyside Park, Camblin’s Addition Shelter in Atlantic, on August 12th, beginning at 9-a.m.  They’re asking for your free will donations to partake in the event.

Terrie Hoefer, rehabilitator and Educator at S.O.A.R. (Saving Our Avian Resources), will show and discuss several of her permanently injured birds and she’ll hopefully have one that is fully recovered and ready to release back into the wild.

Donations will help to support the raptors and education at them.

Last full day of the Cass County Fair before the big sale!

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Today marks the last full day of activities at the 2017 Cass County Fair, in Atlantic. The Fair concludes tomorrow at 8-a.m., with the Livestock Sale. Today’s activities include:

  • 8:00-a.m.: Beef Show; 4-H Exhibits open.
  • 9:00-a.m.: Best of Iowa
  • 11:00-a.m.: Rotary watermelon feed.
  • 2:00-p.m.: Dairy Cattle Show & Livestock Judging Contest.
  • 4:00-p.m.: Style Show/ Building Awards.
  • 5:45-p.m.: Parade of Champions; Woodcarving & Bucket of Junk Auction.
  • 6:30-p.m.: Grand Champion Beef Selection.
  • 7:45-p.m.: Livestock released.
  • 8:00-p.m.: Mud Volleyball.

Remember, there’s no parking or admission fee, and lots of great food to purchase (all food purchases support the Fair and 4-H/FFA Clubs), things to see and do!

Current Farm Economy Prompts Crop Changes, Business Adaptations


July 31st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – The cost of farming is extremely high these days, the price of the products produced remarkably low and, as even a novice to agriculture can deduce, that means tough times. But 65-year-old farmer Don Holcomb says there are ways to lessen the pain and prepare for the future. On his farm, he’s found that adding a crop to his usual rotation can be beneficial. “Plant wheat in the fall, we harvest it in June,” he explains. “Plant soybeans, then we harvest the soybeans in October, maybe, and plant corn again the following spring. So we get three crops in two years.”

Holcomb notes that planting three crops has cut down on the number of weed pests that is typical with fewer rotations. Holcomb, who will be a presenter at a gathering of Practical Farmers of Iowa in August, says the current downturn pales in comparison with the 1980s farm crisis when interest rates were more than triple the current rate. Still, he says, pain is pain.

Holcomb maintains it’s necessary to view farming through a lens of adaptability. He says he avoids thinking of himself as a person in the wheat and soybean business. Instead, he thinks of himself as being in the food business. The latter, he says, can open your mind to new possibilities. “If you think of yourself as being in the food business, you not only are growing what’s adaptable to your area, but you got to also keep in the back of your mind what your customer or consumer wants to buy,” he explains.

Holcomb notes that different climates, elevations and soils impact whether a farm can add an additional crop, but the broader mindset he employs is applicable in all environments.

(By Kevin Patrick Allen/Iowa News Service)

Fast-spreading trees a headache in Nebraska, Iowa, Dakotas

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Trees that suck up sunlight and groundwater at the expense of other prairie plant life are creating new headaches throughout the Plains, including Nebraska, western Iowa and the Dakotas.

The eastern red cedar tree spreads so quickly that it catches many landowners off-guard, consuming huge areas of productive ranchland and threatening many of the area’s original prairies.

At one point in Nebraska, the trees expanded at a pace of nearly 40,000 acres a year Some landowners have formed burn associations to clear the trees. John Ortmann, a rangeland ecologist in Ord, Nebraska, says the problem will worsen without proper land management techniques, including controlled burns to keep the trees in check.