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.

Bird flu virus raises questions scientists working to answer

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — It’s been five months since the H5N2 bird flu virus was discovered in the U.S., and producers have lost more than 21 million birds in the Midwest alone. Yet, researchers with federal agencies acknowledge they still know little about the virus’ origin and how it spreads, especially with heightened biosecurity measures at commercial poultry farms and the apparent lack of widespread deaths in largely unprotected backyard flocks.

A leader with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says not much is known about the virus because it only surfaced in the U.S. in early December. Unanswered questions include how exactly the virus finds its way into sheltered commercial chicken and turkey flocks and if wild birds spread the virus why more backyard flocks haven’t died.

MidAmerican Energy announces plans for investment of approximately $900 million in new wind development

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

MidAmerican Energy Company announced today (Friday), the company has filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for the development of up to 552 megawatts of new wind generation in Iowa. MidAmerican officials say the company is in the process of obtaining necessary permits and easements for the construction of wind farms at two new sites. Pending IUB approval, the company plans to begin construction in spring 2016, with completion scheduled for the end of 2016. Total cost of the project is approximately $900 million.

Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy said,the company continues to focus on developing wind projects because wind generation offers many clear benefits for MidAmerican Energy customers. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad noted that MidAmerican Energy’s efforts have helped the state become a national leader in wind generation.

The energy company says increasing its investment in wind turbines gives them the ability to reduce its reliance on coal, which helps protect customers from rising costs associated with meeting stricter environmental standards.

Since 2004, MidAmerican Energy has invested approximately $5.8 billion building wind projects in Iowa, placing the company far ahead of all other rate-regulated utilities in the nation in terms of wind ownership. With the addition of the two projects announced today (Friday), MidAmerican Energy’s wind assets will include approximately 2,000 turbines, more than 4,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity and a total investment of approximately $6.7 billion.

Wright County leaders declare state of emergency due to bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Due to outbreaks of avian flu, the Wright County Board of Supervisors in north-central Iowa is declaring a State of Emergency in an effort to take what they call a proactive, preventative approach. Supervisor chairman Karl Helgevold said with the current outbreak of the disease in northwest Iowa and the potential severe economic impact such an outbreak could cause, the supervisors felt it necessary to issue the state of emergency.

The supervisors stressed there are no reports of avian flu in Wright County and that there is no risk to the public. County officials are working together to develop a plan for rerouting certain traffic in the areas of some of the poultry facilities in an effort to help limit traffic and prevent the spread of the disease.

Wright County leads the state in poultry population with nearly 15 million birds in more than 20 locations across the county. The poultry industry employs more than 600 people in Wright County alone.

(Radio Iowa)

Public meetings scheduled to discuss new water quality permits

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 30th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will hold two public stakeholder meetings in May to collect public comments on proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) water quality permits.DNR logo Meetings will be held May 20 in the DNR Water Supply Office in the Wallace State Office Building, 502 East Ninth St. in Des Moines, in the second floor conference room 2N.

A meeting from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. will discuss a potential general wastewater permit for hydrostatic test water, underground storage tank ballast water, and potable water line testing discharges (General Permit Number 8). A second meeting from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. will cover a potential general wastewater permit for dewatering and household geothermal discharges (General Permit Number 9).

If issued, General Permit 8 would authorize discharges resulting from hydrostatic testing, which is a process that uses water to verify that a container, like a pipe or tank, will not leak when put into service. The permit would also authorize discharges from underground storage tank ballasting, where water is used to weigh down a tank at installation, and from potable water line testing.

General Permit 9, if issued, would authorize discharge of wastewater from excavation and groundwater dewatering activities. It would also authorize discharges to waters of the United States from residential open-loop geothermal systems.

Both permits will establish eligibility requirements and best management practices to ensure discharges meet state water quality standards. People may make oral or written comments at the public meetings, or can submit written comments through May 27th to Julie Faas, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 502 E. Ninth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034; fax at 515-725-8202; or by email, including the commenter’s name, to Julie.Faas@dnr.iowa.gov.

USDA Report 04-30-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 30th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin

Play

(4:40-p.m. 4/29) UPDATE ON POLLUTION RELEASES NEAR RED OAK

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources said late this (Wednesday) afternoon, that they have traced ammonia found in a culvert near Red Oak to a hog confinement on the southwest corner of town. On Tuesday, the DNR responded to a report from Hog Haven, owned by Lindoah, LLC, that a broken pipe leaked drinking water into a manure pit under the building. The excess water caused the pit to overflow.

Today (Wednesday), the DNR confirmed that ammonia found in a culvert Tuesday came from the hog confinement. An unknown amount of contaminated water flowed into a road ditch and eventually to the culvert and a tributary of the East Nishnabotna River.

In another incident Tuesday, the DNR investigated a release from Nachurs, a fertilizer company in Red Oak. The release occurred when the company pumped water from a storm water basin into a drainage ditch. The company reported the release once they realized the water was contaminated.

Both releases have been contained. The DNR checked the river below Red Oak Wednesday and found no sign of an extensive fish kill. However, they did find six dead minnows below Nachurs. Field test results from Tuesday and Wednesday showed no further sign of contamination in the river. However, residents should keep children and pets out of the creek between Nachurs and the Nishnabotna River until 48 hours after cleanup is complete.

The DNR is working with both companies and Montgomery County Emergency  Management to ensure proper cleanup.

(Updated 4/29) – Red Oak fertilizer spill contained & is being cleaner-up

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday afternoon, that the spill at Nachurs Alpine Nutrition plant has been contained, and was in the process of being cleaned up. Crews worked throughout the night pumping out the waterway between Nachurs and the east side of the levy.

Crews were expected to begin work on the area between the Nishnabotna River and the west side of levy this (Wednesday) afternoon, to remove any standing water. Over the next several days and possibly the next couple of weeks, crews will be in the area along the creek to remove any contaminated soil.

The DNR is continuing to investigate, but at this time officials say it appears that the water was pumped out of a containment pool into the waterway before it was realized that the water color had changed. There was no tank or line rupture, and there is no immediate harm or life safety risk to the public nor has there been.

As far as the environmental hazard to any fish, it appears to be minimal as the majority of the substance stayed within the creek however that will continue to be monitored by the Iowa DNR. The Montgomery County EMA says while work is being completed, residents of Red Oak will see a presence of heavy equipment in the area. You’re asked to avoid the area while those crews are operating.

As previously mentioned, there is no life safety risk to the public nor has there been. The DNR does urge that small children or pets stay out of the creek between the Nishnabotna River and Nachurs.

Cass County Extension Report 04-29-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 29th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play

Trumpeter Swans to be released at area parks next week

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(updated to include more release locations) 

The Iowa DNR says its staff will release several trumpeter swans next week at four separate locations in southwest Iowa.untitled Four trumpeter swans will be released on May 6th at Lake Icaria in Adams County. The large birds will take flight from the east boat ramp on the north side of the lake, located three miles east of Highway 148 on 160th Street, which is a gravel road. The release will take place at 9:30 a.m., May 6th.

Four more swans will be released at 1-p.m. on May 6th, from the boat ramp on Summitt Lake one-mile west of Creston (in Union County), off Highway 25. And, four trumpeter Swans will take off from Lake Anita State Park on May 7th, beginning at 2:30 p.m. (rain or shine). The park is located one-mile south of Anita off Highway 148. The swans will be released with the assistance of Cass County Conservation Board.

Two trumpeter swans will also be released near the restaurant and beach at Viking Lake State Park at 10 a.m. May 7. Viking Lake State Park is two miles east of Stanton on Highway 34, then right on Q Avenue for ½ mile, then left on 230th Street for one mile.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend any of the events, each of which include a 20-minute swan/wetland presentations, a unique opportunity to touch and view the swans up close, and a historic photo opportunity with the kids. As the largest North American waterfowl, the magnificent all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds with an 8-foot wingspan.

Trumpeter swans were once common in Iowa, but were gone from the state by the late 1880’s. By the early 1930’s, only 69 Trumpeter Swans remained in the lower 48 states. The trumpeter swans being released are part of the DNR’s statewide trumpeter swan restoration effort, with hopes that they will help restore a wild free flying population to Iowa. Public support is key to achieving this objective.

(Update) DNR Investigating two pollutant releases near Red Oak

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 29th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources late Tuesday evening updated our earlier report about a possible fertilizer spill near Red Oak. Authorities said they were investigating two reports of pollutant releases. Nachurs Alpine Solutions (Nachurs) reported a release of an unknown amount of fertilizer Tuesday afternoon. City officials closed a floodgate to prevent fertilizer from reaching the Nishnabotna River.

It is unknown whether the fertilizer reached the river. DNR staff is working with the facility and the Montgomery County Emergency Response. To be safe, Red Oak residents should keep children and pets away from the waterway behind the Nachurs
building.

The second report involves ammonia found near a culvert in Red Oak. The source of
the ammonia is unknown and still being investigated. The DNR will continue to monitor the river and clean up, as needed.Spill2

Photos courtesy Montgomery County EMA

Photos courtesy Montgomery County EMA