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.

State Parks to hold first walk events on New Year’s Day

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The head of the state parks bureau is encouraging you to make plans to take a hike in 2015. Todd Coffelt says they are planning events in five state parks.  “The state of Iowa and the state parks bureau, we’re participating with a national effort to get people to state parks enjoy a first-day hike,” Coffelt explains. “It’s an opportunity to meet with staff and enjoy the resources in their local community, and to be outside to help get that New Year started off in the right way.” He says New Year’s Day is a good time to start the new tradition.

“This is a great opportunity to maybe go do something you haven’t done before, or even if you are an expert and have done it many times, you can share that experience with other people who may be there for their first time. And really share that opportunity to talk and take shelter at a warm place in the park. But, get outside and some of Iowa’s wildlife,” according to Coffelt. Staff will be on hand at
January 1st at Bellevue State Park, Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, Walnut Woods State Park and Waubonsie State Park.

“They’ll have a fire going to help people stay warm, but they’re also gonna have treats,” Coffelt says. “A lot of these parks have friends groups that’ll be involved as well. The lodge will be open, will have some shelter, we’ll have some warmth, just in case it’s a little bit chilly.” Coffelt says most people probably don’t realize the state parks are open all year. “For those who are really brave and have the right facilities, they could go camp in them right now,” Coffelt says. He says they won’t have the shower house or flush pressrooms open. But he says there are still paths to go hiking and a lot of wildlife to see in the parks this time of year. He says there are a couple of sites to find out about the First Day Hikes.

“Wwww.iowadnr.gov for the state website, or at the national level if you want to see what’s going on in states across the country, you can go to www.naspd.org,” Coffelt says. Coffelt says you can get an early start, or just go out after watching some football. Coffelt says, “You can get out there and enjoy the fresh air and really put a wrap up to the holiday season, and like I said, kick off that New Year’s Day.” First Day Hikes started more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation state park in Milton, Massachusetts.

Here are the locations and times for the Iowa hikes:
Bellevue State Park, Jackson County – 1 p.m. – meet at South Bluff Nature Center
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, Webster County – 1 p.m. – meet at Prairie Resource Center
Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, Dubuque County – 1 p.m. – meet at EB Lyons Nature Center
Walnut Woods State Park, Polk County – 9 a.m. – meet at Walnut Woods Lodge
Waubonsie State Park, Fremont County – 1 p.m. – meet at park office

(Radio Iowa)

Seed libraries struggle with state laws limiting exchanges


December 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gardeners at hundreds of spots around the country are sharing seeds as part of an increasing interest in locally grown food, but some agriculture officials say the well-meaning effort violates state laws. In spots like Duluth, Minnesota, the conflict has surprised gardeners and library officials who never thought to examine the intricacies of state seed laws.

Agriculture officials say they weren’t looking for a fight but must enforce laws that are intended to protect farmers by ensuring seeds are viable, will grow the intended plant and aren’t mixed with unwanted seeds for weeds or plants.

Advocates of seed-sharing programs said they don’t necessarily blame agriculture departments, but some express frustration that laws focus on the needs of modern hybrid seed producers while limiting age-old, person-to-person seed exchanges.

Three-State Beef Conference in Creston is set for next month

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 28th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The second annual Three-State Beef Conference is scheduled next month in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. Topics titles include “Financial Impacts of Fertility and Infertility in the Current Cattle Market.” The first conference session is in Creston, Iowa, at Southwestern Community College on Jan. 13.

The Missouri session will be held Jan. 14 in Albany at the University of Missouri Hundley-Whaley Learning Discovery Center. On Jan. 15 there will be two sessions in Nebraska. The first will be at the Gage County UNL Extension Center in Beatrice. An evening session will be held at the UNL Ag Research and Development Center near Mead.

The registration fee is $25 per person. For more information or to register, contact Paul Hay, phay1@unl.edu, 402-223-1384 or Lindsay Chichester, lchichester2@unl.edu, 402-624-8030 or go online at http://extension.iastate.edu/feci/3StBeef/.

Trend in farmers buying farmland hasn’t changed

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa farmland values survey released last week by Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development showed the first drop in values since 1999. Retired I-S-U economics professor, Mike Duffy, says that drop broke the upward trend in prices, but another standard of Iowa farmland ownership didn’t change. “Basically we’ve saw a continuation of the trends we’ve seen, and that’s existing farmers are the primary purchasers,” Duffy says. Duffy says investing in Iowa farmland hasn’t pushed out gold or the stock market for those outside of farming hoping to make some money.

“We had seen in the early two-thousands investor interest rising relative to existing farmers, but since about 2004, 2005, we’ve seen the existing farmers being the primary ones in the market,” Duffy says. “So most of Iowa’s land is owned by someone actively farming it, or someone who has in the past.” Duffy says the sales data from farmland shows mostly transactions from “Iowa to Iowa.”

“You can have some outside investors that have Iowa holdings, but it’s not as much as you might see in some of the surrounding states,” Duffy explains. He says part of the reason land doesn’t replace other investments, is that it takes ongoing work to reap the rewards. “I think sometimes people want to use just short-run points of view on the land market. Land is a long-term investment, it’s an investment that people buy for a variety reasons, not just income,” Duffy says. “We’ve seen probably close a fifth of the land — 20 percent — is owned for sentimental reason.”

Duffy has tracked the farmland values for 28 years and says those who operated farms for their livelihood have had a lot to keep track of recently. “You know the last few years have probably been some of the most unusual where we saw the big run up in values, massive changes in corn prices, and it’s been an interesting time,” Duffy says.

Duffy started tracking land values as the state was coming out of the farm crisis and big drop in prices in the late 1980′s. He thinks this year’s drop in prices is a correction in values related to commodity prices falling, and doesn’t think values will continue to drop like they did back then. Duffy has retired from I-S-U and says this is likely his last year working on the farmland survey.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Parks & Rec. Director announces Asst. Director hiring

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 26th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors has hired an Assistant Parks and Recreation Dept. Director. Current Parks Director Roger Herring reports Seth Stasshelm was hired following interviews and background checks earlier this week on five finalists for the position. Staashelm is currently the Aquatics Director at the Nishna Valley YMCA, in Atlantic. He’s lived in the community since May, and joined the YMCA in July.

Staashelm is married. His wife teaches high school math in Atlantic. Staashelm has a Bachelor’s Degree from Northwest Missouri State University, with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management and Corporate Recreation Management. He also has a wide variety of experiences in the construction field, personal training, is a multi-sport athlete, certified pool operator, and is qualified in disaster clean-up following catastrophic weather events.  Staashelm will begin his duties as Assistant Director at around Feb. 1st, 2015, once he has completed his program duties at the Nishna Valley YMCA.

Parks Director Roger Herring, whose five-year contract with the Parks and Rec Dept. expires in May 2016, asked the Board in Sept. to begin the search for his replacement. Once Staashelm takes over the Operation duties as Herring’s Assistant, Herring will be able to concentrate more on the grant-application writing process.

Herring said the decision on who to hire was difficult, because there were 30 applications the selection committee had to whittle down to a handful of finalists. “The candidate pool,” he said “was wide and varied, but highly qualified.”  Stuart Dusenberry, Chairperson of the Atlantic Parks and Rec Board, says “We are confident Seth will continue the progressive goals established by the Park Board, Mayor Jones, and the Atlantic City Council.”

USDA Report 12-25-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 25th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Cass County Extension Report 12-24-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 24th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


DNR checks manure spill in Greene County

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 22nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says investigated a manure spill about three miles southwest of Scranton in Greene County, Saturday afternoon. Liquid manure spilled after a tractor-tanker got too close to the road edge. The tanker overturned near the Hunter hog finishing facility about 8 a.m. Saturday. Driver and applicator Joanne Hunter estimated 2,000 gallons of manure ended up in the ditch near the top of a hill.

The Hunters quickly dammed the ditch on each side of the spill, checked for tile intakes, and contracted to have manure pumped up and soil in the ditch excavated and land applied. DNR specialist Dan Olson from the Atlantic field office checked the spill area. “The Hunters did a really good job on clean up,” he said. “First they were prepared in case a spill happened, and when one did occur they acted quickly to contain it and clean it up.”

No manure reached a water of the state. Manure spills must be reported to the DNR within six hours by calling the state 24-hour spill line at 515-281-8694 or by calling the DNR field office during office hours.

Farmland values drop nearly 9% in latest ISU survey

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 19th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa farmland values saw their biggest drop in almost three decades in the latest survey released by Iowa State University, Thursday. The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development is taking over the survey duties from retired economics professor Mike Duffy. But Duffy helped crunch the numbers this year. “What we saw was an eight-point-nine percent drop,” Duffy says. “When you look, the primary reasons the survey respondents gave for the drop were lower commodity prices.”Land2014_map1

The drop means an average value of acre of farmland in the state fell 779-dollars to seven-thousand-943 dollars. Duffy says it’s not surprising the value would drop given the drop in commodity prices and the impact seen in other areas of the economy. “You know if you use just the basic formula — land values to income divided by the interest rate — right now when the income drops, then we would expect to see the land values drop. And in fact, I think it’s probably a sign that the market is working when we do see responses like this,” Duffy says.

It is only the second year since 1999 that the survey has shown a decline in farmland values. The drop has some people asking if land prices will continue on the way down after hitting a peak in 2013, just like they peaked and dropped in the 1980′s. Duffy doesn’t see that comparison. “My personal feeling is that we went into the fall that we did in the early 80′s because we went on a speculative bubble,” Duffy says. “The increase that we’ve just experienced until this year, I think has been more income driven.” Even with the decrease, he says farmland values are more than double what they were 10 years ago, 81 percent higher than 2009 values, and 18 percent higher than 2011 values.  “Even though it’s not good news that it dropped, it is a response to the market. And my personal feeling is that it doesn’t say that we are going to see major drops now for the next several years,” according to Duffy. He believes the values have settled in to adjust to the economic situation.

“My guess, if we see corn end up in the three-50 to four-dollar range and beans in the 10-dollar range, which is kind of what it looks like now, we good expect to see these land values stabilizing, maybe a little more down, but stabilizing and kind of holding in there,” Duffy says. For the second year in a row, Scott County in eastern Iowa had the highest land values and Decatur County in south-central Iowa reported the lowest farmland values. Decatur County reported a value per acre of three-thousand-587 dollars ($3,587) or a drop of 41 dollars an acre from last year’s report. While Scott County reported a value of 11-thousand-618 dollars ($11,618) or a decline of about 795 dollars and acre, which was about 22 dollars more per acre than the statewide average. Southeast Iowa was the only crop reporting district in the state to show an overall increase in values.

“We had seven counties down in that area that reported an increase in value,” Duffy says. “Southeast had drought a couple of years ago, so they had not been increasing — think that is part of the reason. I think that they had record corn yields.” He also says increased livestock values caused more of a demand for pasture land in the southeast. Southeast Iowa reported land values were three-point-two percent (3.2) higher than last year. Keokuk County, located in that southeastern portion of the state, reported the largest percentage increase for any single county at two-point-four (2.4) percent. To find out more on the survey, go tohttp://www.card.iastate.edu/land-value/2014/


Omaha company proposes vegetable oil plant in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 18th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (AP) – An Omaha, Nebraska soybean processing company plans to build a $90 million vegetable oil refinery in western Iowa. The Sioux City Journal reports that Ag Processing Inc. plans to build the refinery at its complex near Sergeant Bluff, creating at least 20 new jobs. The information comes from documents by Ag Processing seeking nearly $1 million in Iowa loans and tax breaks released by the state Wednesday.

The company’s complex in Woodbury County currently includes a soybean processing plant, biodiesel plant and grain storage facilities. The vegetable oil refinery proposed for the same 85-acre site would be designed for 30 rail tank cars per day. Estimated project costs include $2.5 million for site preparation, $14.5 million for construction and $71.5 million for new machinery and equipment..