Iowa’s spring turkey hunting season opens for youth-only tomorrow (Saturday). Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say about 50-thousand turkey licenses have been purchased so far this year. Jim Coffey, a forest wildlife species technician with the D-N-R’s Wildlife Bureau, predicts an excellent season ahead.
“We’re going to be coming off of a good hatch, not just last year but two years ago,” Coffey says. “I would expect to see lots of two-year-old gobblers out there. Those are sometimes aggressive birds that will come to the call more readily than the older birds do. Don’t be surprised if you have a couple-three birds show up to your calls this year.” The wild turkey population should be strong this spring, he predicts, as this past winter wasn’t too harsh.
“Unless we have deep snow over 10-inches, turkeys survive real well in Iowa,” Coffey says. “They want to get out. The sun’s changing, the temperatures are changing. They’re ready to get out and start doing their spring thing and get the nesting season started.” Many hunters could benefit from a reminder about safety, Coffey says.
“We want to make sure we identify our target, we identify downrange so we know what we’re shooting at because if we shoot the wrong thing, we may be in violation,” Coffey says. “We’re going to shoot male birds or bearded birds. On the ethical side, be friendly to the other hunters. Don’t try to sneak in on somebody or do something that might disrupt their hunt.”
The youth-only season begins Saturday and runs through April 17. The first of the four regular seasons will be April 18 through 21. The second is April 22 through 26. The third is April 27 to May 3. The fourth season is May 4 to 22. The archery-only license is good from April 18 through May 22. Learn more at: www.iowadnr.gov
Iowa homeowners who have tulips, daffodils, newly-planted trees and other tender plants poking up in their yards will need to get busy this (Friday) afternoon to save them. Meteorologist Craig Cogil, at the National Weather Service, says a Freeze Warning is posted for a wide portion of Iowa, roughly from Highway 20 south. “We’re going to see temperatures drop well below freezing overnight across the entire state,” Cogil says. “We are concerned about some of the trees and vegetation across the southern half to two-thirds of the state that have seen growth and are susceptible to freezing temperatures.”
Many areas of the state may see temperatures dip into the low-to-mid-20s tonight and into tomorrow morning. Homeowners will need to act to keep their plants from being nipped or possibly killed by the overnight cold snap. “Individuals in those situations, obviously, if you have smaller plants, cover them up, that helps out,” Cogil says. “People that have orchards will have mitigation techniques they use. The main thing is to get them covered up.”
We’re a couple of weeks into spring now but Cogil says this isn’t an unusual situation. “Some years, especially if you look back at 2012, had an extremely warm March, everything was ahead as far as growing was concerned,” Cogil says. “We saw that a little bit in March where temperatures were warm and things are maybe a little bit ahead of normal, but this is not entirely unusual.”
Some areas of northern Iowa are seeing flurries fly this morning and while it’ll be a cold weekend, Cogil predicts the sparse snow won’t accumulate.
Emergency Management officials in Shelby County have upgraded the field/grassland Fire Danger rating to “High” this weekend. EMA Operations Officer Jason Wickizer says there will also be a chance of “Red Flag” Conditions. He urges people to be mindful of drying conditions, wind and abundant dead vegetation.
Authorities therefore are asking anyone who plans to conduct controlled burns to contact their local fire chief, first. Be sure and call 755-2124 also, with the location of your burn, so dispatchers can gather logistical data. Burns should be conducted with fire chief approval during the late evening or early morning hours only, when winds are usually reduced.
The income tax returns Iowans are filing provide some insight into the health of Iowa’s economy. Legislative Services Agency analyst Jeff Robinson says “So far this tax return season individual income tax returns for tax year 2015 are showing good wage growth,” he says, “but growth in unearned income such as interest, dividends and capital gains is negative, while reported farm income is down significantly.”
Robinson has reviewed overall tax payments to the state over the past nine months. “Year to date revenue growth is 2.3 percent through March and that is in line with current budget expectations for the year.” Eighty-eight percent of that growth is in income tax payments to the state. Sales tax payments to the state are up, but not quite as much as experts had predicted.
The second annual “Women Gaining Ground” conference will take place Sat., April 30th, in Glenwood. According to officials with the ISU Extension Service, the day will be jam-packed with fun and informative opportunities. Participants are invited to arrive between 8-and 9- a.m. to check in, browse vendor booths, and enjoy a famous Donut Stop donut, fresh fruit and coffee bar.
At 9-a.m., Laurie Guest will take the stage for her presentation, Life in the Espresso Lane.” With a mix of fun and wisdom, she will share behaviors that can change our accelerated lives and teach us how to manage our mental caffeine and find contentment even during stressful times. Laurie is the author of “Wrapped In Stillness” and blogs at www.solutionsarebrewing.com..
Following the Keynote Speaker, the first breakout session will be held and participants will be invited to choose one of the following:
The second break-out session will begin at 11:30 and will feature topics that include:
Participants will be treated to a hearty lasagna lunch. During the lunch hour, there will be time to visit the vendor booths and socialize. There will also be drawings for door prizes and a $100 Early Bird Cash Prize.
The final session of the day will feature topics that include:
The day’s activities will conclude around 2:30 or 3:00-p.m. Vendor applications are still be accepting for the event. Download the form at www.extension.iastate.edu/fremont .
Register by April 8th to take advantage of Early Bird discounts and for a chance to win $100 CASH! The final registration deadline is April 21st. For more information, call Iowa State University Extension & Outreach—Montgomery County at (712) 623-2592.
The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) says the Fire Danger rating in the County will remain MODERATE this week, but Operations Officer Jason Wickizer says you should keep in mind “This time of year we can go from Moderate to Extreme in less than 24 hours. Sunday was an excellent example where we had Moderate conditions that due to wind, temperature, and humidity changed rapidly to a Red Flag or Extreme condition.”
Continue to notify the EMA if you have any planned large burns, and conduct burns during the early morning or late evening hours when possible.
The director of environmental programs for the Iowa Soybean Association says Iowa’s water quality issues have reached a “tipping point.” “We have to have strong soils. We have to have cleaner water. Our jobs and economy in this state depend on those things,” according to Roger Wolf, with the Soybean Association. A host of different ideas are percolating in the legislature for financing water quality projects.
They range from redirecting the “check-off” dollars farmers send to commodity groups when selling grain and livestock to using some state gambling taxes on water quality rather than state government infrastructure. Wolf says cleaning up Iowa’s water should be a “shared responsibility.” Jan Glendening, The Natural Conservancy’s state director, says it will take four BILLION dollars to address the problem.
“We have had significant water quality issues and natural resource issues for years here in Iowa,” Glendening says, “and it’s something we need to invest in.” On Friday, Iowa Environmental Council executive director Ralph Rosenberg floated the idea of collecting a “clean water fee” on every bottle of water sold in the state — to raise money for water quality projects.
“It’s urgent now. We don’t want to have a Flint,” Rosenberg says. “We want to be proud of our rivers and lakes. We want to be proud of our waters and that’s what’s urgent about it. And if it means we have to raise some taxes, then I think the public will support that as well.” Rosenberg, Glendening and Wolf all appeared on Iowa Public Television this weekend to discuss the issue.
Shelby County 4-H has received a $2,500 donation from America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund and directed by local farmer Craig Weber of rural Elk Horn. Officials with the Shelby County Extension Service say the donation will help the organization provide positive youth development opportunities through the 4-H program.
When asked why he chose Shelby County 4-H Weber stated he “I just wanted it to go back to the kids.” Mary Taggs, Extension Educator with ISU Extension & Outreach; Shelby County would like to thank Monsanto and Craig Weber for their generous contribution to the Shelby County 4-H program. Taggs says “Donations such as this are imperative to the growth of our program. In a time when more and more parents are working outside of the home, there is an increased need for youth to participate in positive youth development programs such as 4-H. The goals of 4-H are to create productive citizens, outstanding communicators, effective leaders and successful learners.”
For six years, America’s Farmers Grow Communities has collaborated with farmers to donate over $22 million to more than 8,000 community organizations across rural America. Winning farmers will direct donations to nonprofits to help fight rural hunger, purchase life saving fire and EMS equipment, support ag youth leadership programs, buy much needed classroom resources, and so much more.
America’s Farmers Grow Communities partners with farmers to support local nonprofit causes that positively impact farming communities across rural America. Grow Communities is one program in the America’s Farmers community outreach effort, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Other programs include America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders, which encourages rural youth to remain in agriculture and provides $1,500 college scholarships to high school and college students pursuing ag-related degrees and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, which works with farmers to nominate rural school districts to compete for $10,000 and $25,000 math and science grants.
For more information, visit www.AmericasFarmers.com.
The grassland/field fire danger index in Shelby County has been downgraded from High to “Moderate” for at least the next few days. Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says the recent moisture and humidity has allowed the area to “green up” as is normally the case in the Spring.
And, even though the danger of controlled burns spreading beyond the intended area is reduced for the time being, Seivert asks anyone who is planning to conduct a large controlled burn to contact the EMA. Doing so will reduce the number of dispatches to the area Volunteer Fire Departments for controlled burns that may be perceived as being out of control by concerned citizens.