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.

Congress blocks OSHA from putting pricey new rules on anhydrous retailers

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Farm fertilizer retailers in Iowa and nationwide were spared expensive new OHSA regulations by Congressional action in the big budget bill that was passed last week. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the bill included a rider that blocked OSHA from implementing new safety rules on all retailers that sell anhydrous ammonia. Compliance could have cost some retailers up to 60-thousand dollars and forced many of them to stop selling the popular fertilizer.

Grassley says, “That would’ve applied to great big facilities right now but it got down to a point where it would apply to your local co-op and drive up the cost of operating, the cost of product, all that sort of stuff.” The proposed rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were sparked by an explosion in 2013 at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in Texas that killed 15 people and injured more than 160.

“That was a great big facility and it would’ve applied changes of rules to apply to them,” Grassley says. “It would have affected every small retailer around the country.” Officials with the Ag Retailers Association called OSHA a “runaway federal agency” due to the new safety rules it wanted to enforce. Grassley says the regulations OSHA demanded were simply too restrictive and too expensive.

“It just figured that the safety effects weren’t as realistic to challenge, that a regulation was justified,” Grassley says, “and that’s why it was stalled.” Under the legislation, the ban on OSHA requiring higher safety rules for anhydrous retailers lasts until the end of calendar year 2016.

(Radio Iowa)

FCC & West Central merger approved

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Members of Farmers Cooperative Company (FC), in Ames, and West Central® Cooperative, in Ralston, have both approved the merger of their cooperatives effective April 1st, 2016.  West Central Board Chair and Paton, Iowa-area farmer Sue Tronchetti said  “In this merger vote, our members were presented with a rare opportunity to combine two strong, financially-stable cooperatives in a merger of equals to maintain local ownership for generations to come.”  FC Chief Executive Officer Jim Chism added “We are pleased the memberships approved the boards’ recommendation. We are confident that together, we will become an even stronger cooperative and be better positioned to help improve the economic well-being of our member-owners.”

Each membership met Iowa’s state voting requirement for a successful cooperative merger as certified by independent auditing firm of Gardiner Thomsen. To approve a merger, Iowa law requires at least 50 percent of each membership (plus one) to vote, with two-thirds of those casting ballots voting in favor of the merger. West Central President and CEO Milan Kucerak will become the CEO of the newly formed cooperative.

The unified cooperative, to be known as Landus Cooperative, will be led by current West Central President and CEO Milan Kucerak and be headquartered in Ames. The board of directors will be made up of nine directors from each cooperative for equal representation. More information on any changes will be provided in coming months as integration plans are finalized.

Together, West Central and FC have more than 70 grain, agronomy and feed locations in 26 Iowa and three Minnesota counties. According to World Grain magazine’s Grain and Milling Annual, Landus Cooperative will become the seventh largest grain company in North America based on storage capacity and have shuttle-loading access on all seven major Iowa rail lines.

Monsanto, Pioneer relinquish job creation tax credits

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 18th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Agribusiness giant Monsanto is dropping a major construction project in Iowa telling state officials that market changes have led it to change course.  Documents distributed by the Iowa Economic Development Authority indicate Monsanto planned to build a $90 million seed corn plant in Independence, creating 47 jobs. Monsanto says it’s no longer pursuing the project and wants to cancel a contract for $7.5 million in job creation tax credits.

DuPont Pioneer also seeks to cancel contracts for $13 million in tax benefits tied to creating 300 jobs for three projects. Pioneer is completing the projects but will not create the promised number of jobs. Farm income is down for the third consecutive year prompting farmers to spend less pressuring seed companies like Pioneer and Monsanto to lower profit expectations.

3 western IA men charged with 30 hunting violations

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has charged three men with multiple hunting violations for events that took place on January 10, 2015 in Cass and Audubon Counties.

The DNR says 27-year old Dustin Hansen,  of Adair, was charged with shooting a pistol over a public roadway, reckless use of a firearm, two counts of illegal attempt to take – use of motor vehicle, illegal attempt to take – use two-way communications, two counts of illegal take – use of motor vehicle and two counts illegal take – use of two way communication. He was also charged with violating one-way traffic designation and stopping, standing, parking on interstate right of way all in Cass County. Hansen was also charged with no migratory bird fee from a separate incident.

41-year old Donald Kinzie, of Stuart, was charged with two counts illegal take of deer – use of motor vehicle, two counts illegal take of deer – use of two-way communications, three counts trespassing while deer hunting, illegal attempt to take deer – use of motor vehicle, illegal attempt to take deer – use of two way communications and reckless use of a firearm causing property damage all in Cass County.

And 39-year old Bradley Wendt, of Denison, was charged with two counts illegal take of deer – use of motor vehicle, two counts illegal take of deer – use of two-way communications, three counts trespass while deer hunting, illegal attempt to take deer – use of motor vehicle, illegal attempt to take deer – use of two-way communications and reckless use of a firearm causing property damage all in Cass County.

One of the trespassing charges for Kinzie and Wendt occurred in Audubon County. Officials began the investigation after receiving calls from the public. The alleged activity resulted in the individuals killing two buck deer.

Charges were filed December 9, 2015. Their initial court appearance date is set for January 7, 2016 in both Cass and Audubon counties.

Posted County Grain Prices 12/17/15


December 17th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Cass County: Corn $3.42, Beans $8.27
Adair County: Corn $3.39, Beans $8.30
Adams County: Corn $3.39, Beans $8.26
Audubon County: Corn $3.41, Beans $8.29
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.45, Beans $8.27
Guthrie County: Corn $3.44, Beans $8.31
Montgomery County: Corn $3.44, Beans $8.29
Shelby County: Corn $3.45, Beans $8.27

Oats $1.98 (always the same in all counties)

(Information from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices)

State Parks impacted by recent, unseasonable rains

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Visitors planning a trip to some State Parks in Iowa, may want to double check conditions as recent unseasonable rains have had some impact. Among the impacted parks is Springbrook State Park, which is closed to vehicular traffic due to a road construction project and flood waters are over the main road. The Sherburne Cabin can still be accessed from the west and the park office is still accessible from the east. The Education Center is unaffected by the flooding.

Because conditions can change rapidly in flood conditions, state park visitors are encouraged to check for closures posted the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/parks or the parks reservation site at http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com or by contacting individual park offices directly.

IA DNR seeks public comment on proposed alcohol ban on state beaches

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa DNR is seeking informal public comment on a draft proposed rule under consideration that would ban alcohol year-round on all beaches in state parks and state recreation areas. The proposed ban would apply to the sand or the fenced in area of the beach, the adjacent designated swimming area, and a 200-foot land buffer surrounding the sand or fenced in area. Rental facilities that are within the 200-foot land buffer that have been formally reserved through the DNR will not be subject to the ban.

The ban is being considered because incidents reveal a continued pattern of excessive alcohol consumption at multiple state beaches, which threaten the safety of the general public and personnel.

Comments may be directed to Jessica Manken at 515-725-8488 or at Jessica.Manken@dnr.iowa.gov through close of business on Monday, December 21, 2015.

Iowa State Parks Celebrates the New Year with First Day Hikes across the state on January 1, 2016

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say Iowa State Parks will sponsor free, guided hikes in 17 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states. America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1st at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau, said “We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks. First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks.”

Iowa’s state parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. Staff and volunteers will lead First Day Hikes in Iowa’s 17 participating state parks. Hikes will average one to two miles or longer depending on the location. Details about the hikes can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/firstdayhikes and to see a comprehensive map of First Day Hikes across the country, visit www.naspd.org

Iowa First Day Hikes will take place at the following state parks in the KJAN listening area:

  • Springbrook State Park
  • Wilson Island State Recreation Area
  • Green Valley State Park
  • Waubonsie State Park

IA farmland values drop for the 2nd year in a row

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 15th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The value of average Iowa farmland is now estimated to be $7,633 per acre after having dropped in value for the second consecutive year. That’s according to the 2015 Iowa Land Value Survey conducted by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

According to the survey, Per acre value declined $310, or 3.9 percent, since last
year’s survey. Farmland values have now fallen almost 13 percent from the historically high 2013 values. Results from the survey are similar to results by the US Department of Agriculture, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and the Realtors Land Institute.566f70a61c3e8.image

The $7,633 per acre, and 3.9 percent drop in value, represents the state as a whole, although values are also determined by crop reporting districts (district hereafter) and each of Iowa’s 99 counties individually according to low-, medium-, and high-quality farmland ratings. Farmland values hit a historic peak of $8,716 per acre in 2013, but declined 8.9 percent to $7,943 the following year. The drop in value this year is smaller than that of last year, but now marks the third time values have fallen since 2009.

The 3.9 percent decline may seem less than what many people speculated, but according to Dr. Wendong Zhang, Assistant Professor of Economics at Iowa State
University who led the survey this year, this is not out of line due to a mix of factors, including a lot of cash in hand for many farmers, market expectation of this decline early on, robust livestock returns, and strong recreational demand.

In southwest Iowa, the lowest declines in land value were noted in Adams, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont, Page and Taylor Counties, where the decrease ranged from 1.26 to 1.51-percent. For Pottawattamie, Cass, Adair and Audubon Counties, land decreased in value anywhere from 2.12- to 2.65-percent. Harrison and Shelby Counties came in with a decrease of just over three-percent, while Guthrie County had the largest decrease in area land value, at 4.18-percent, followed by Dallas County, with 5.36-percent.

Despite decreasing again, farmland values are still more than twice the reported values from 10 years ago, and almost 14 percent higher than 2011 values. For the third year in a row, Scott and Decatur counties reported the highest and lowest farmland values, respectively. Decatur County reported a value per acre of $3,514, a drop of $73, or about 2 percent, from last year’s report. Scott County reported the highest value at $10,918 per acre, however, values there declined about $700 per acre, higher than this year’s statewide average, and just over 6 percent from last year.

The value of all qualities of farmland fell across the state, with high-quality farmland losing 5 percent ($490 per acre) of its value, medium-quality land falling 3.2 percent ($232 per acre), and low quality farmland falling 0.9 percent ($44 per acre). Statewide averages for high-, medium-, and low quality farmland are now $9,364, $7,127, and $4,834 per acre, respectively.

(Read more at http://www.card.iastate.edu/land-value/2015/ )

Sunnyside Park to remain open until further notice

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Sunnyside Park here in Atlantic was supposed to have closed for the season at 4-p.m. Monday, but the with temperatures forecast to be in the 40’s to near 50 begining later this weekend, Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring and Assistant Director Seth Staashelm made the decision to keep the park open, and the Parks and Rec Board Monday evening, agreed.

Atlantic Parks & Rec Asst. Dir. Seth Staashelm (Left) & Director Roger Herring (right), at the Parks & Rec Board mtg. 12/14/15

Atlantic Parks & Rec Asst. Dir. Seth Staashelm (Left) & Director Roger Herring (right), at the Parks & Rec Board mtg. 12/14/15

Herring said Sunnyside Park will remain open until further notice, but that “Once we close it, it’s gonna stay closed (for the season), but I want it to be cold.” Meaning the weather would have to be less conducive to outdoor activities than it is now, despite the short term cold wave we’re currently experiencing.