KJAN Ag/Outdoor

EPA sets biofuels production levels for 2018

Ag/Outdoor

November 30th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The amount of conventional ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline supply next year will be roughly equal to this year’s required level. The E-P-A has met today’s (Thursday’s) deadline for setting the Renewable Fuels Standard for 2018. As indicated a couple of months ago, the federal mandate for biodiesel and “cellulosic” ethanol will be lower in 2018. Required production of traditional ethanol production will remain the same next year. On Tuesday, Governor Kim Reynolds told reporters it’s a yearly fight to maintain the federal production mandates for ethanol and biiodiesel. “It is important to our economy. It’s important to rural Iowa. It’s how we add value to the products that we grow,” Reynolds says. “…I’m going to get up on Friday and I’m going to go back to the mat and we’re going to continue to fight on behalf of Iowans and Iowa farmers because we believe it’s important, but we can, in fact, feed and fuel the world.”

This fall, Reynolds joined other farm state lawmakers and the biofuels industry in a public relations push to persuade President Trump to insist his E-P-A side with farmers and ethanol producers rather than the oil industry, which wants reduced biofuel production mandates. Reynolds called President Trump and met with the E-P-A Administrator.in October to press the issue. “It is really important to the economy, the rural economy in Iowa, especially our Iowa farmers,” Reynolds says.

Senator Chuck Grassley issued a statement Wednesday night, saying the E-P-A’s decision is “disappointing,” and falls “short of the full potential of the U.S. biofuels industry.” However, Grassley says he is glad the E-P-A backed off a proposal that would have reduced mandatory production levels even further.

(Radio Iowa)

Man burned in fire that spreads across his business

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

GRINNELL, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a man was burned by a fire that spread across his business site in central Iowa. Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports that firetrucks were dispatched around 1 p.m. Tuesday to Morrison Repair in Grinnell. An outbuilding with tractors and farm equipment, a semitrailer full of tires and several piles of tires were aflame when firefighters arrived.

Investigators say people at a nearby business had been burning items at the rear of that property, but strong winds spread the flames to Morrison Repair. Authorities say owner Ron Morrison suffered burns to his face while trying to get tractors out of the outbuilding.

Cass County Extension Report 11-29-2017

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

November 29th, 2017 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson.

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Iowa Christmas trees likely cheaper than those grown out of state

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 29th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowans may be pulling more green out of their pockets to purchase a Christmas tree this year, especially if that tree was grown out of state. Iowa Christmas tree grower Rod Heintz, says there’s an undersupply of some popular evergreens nationwide due to wildfires and drought. “Right now there’s a shortage of Christmas trees because of that,” Heintz says. “Everything is up three to five dollars a tree this year.”

Heintz manages Strautman Tree Farm near Cambridge. He says Iowans can likely save a few dollars this year if they get a tree grown within the state’s borders. Heintz did NOT raise his prices from last year. “We sell ’em from three feet tall to 15 foot…so, they range anywhere from $30 to $250 a (tree),” Heintz says.

There are around 100 Christmas tree farms in Iowa, growing on a total of about 1,500 acres. Heintz says he was pleasantly surprised with the strength of his Christmas tree crop this year. “We had absolutely no rain this growing season, but they look tremendous,” Heintz told Radio Iowa. “I can’t believe how well they look.”

Heintz says many of his customers return year after year because they enjoy the experience of buying a tree direct from a farm, rather than from a big box store.

According to the Iowa Christmas Tree Grower’s Association, it can take up to 15 years to grow a tree of average retail sale height (6 feet), but the average growing time is seven years. The top selling Christmas trees in Iowa are Scotch Pine and White Pine.

(Radio Iowa)

Two hunters injured while hunting in Audubon County

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

November 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources report Conservation Officers responded to a hunting incident at around 3:30 p.m., Saturday, in Audubon County. Authorities say 56-year old Arthur Goupille, of Negaunee, Mich., was hunting pheasants in Audubon County when his gun discharged hitting two members of his hunting party standing about six feet away.

The group had completed a drive and was taking a break when the incident occurred. Goupille’s gun fell over, discharged, and struck the nearby hunters. The hunters were taken to the Audubon County Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. They were treated and released.

The DNR reminds hunters to use safe hunting practices, treat every firearm as if it is loaded and always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

Last crop report of the season issued

Ag/Outdoor

November 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The corn harvest is completed in a majority of the state. The final crop report from the U-S-D-A says good weather allowed farmers to get into the field every day last week. That allowed them to make a dent in the corn that remains standing in the fields and the report says 96 percent of the corn has been harvested. The leaves the state eight days behind the five-year average. The report says southwest and south-central Iowa are on the only areas with more than five percent of the corn remaining to be harvested. The bean harvest was wrapped up last week.

(Radio Iowa)

Food Bank sees donations drop this time of year, need stays same

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 28th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The spokesman for the Food Bank of Iowa says food donations regularly decrease significantly this time of year. Danny Akright says while donations start to drop off — the number of people who need assistance has not dropped a lot since the Great Recession that started in 2008. “You would think that there would be a lot fewer people who are food insecure. But really at the peak it was about 14 percent in Iowa — 14 percent of Iowans were food insecure — but it’s only down to 12 percent.”

The organization covers 55 counties in central and southeast Iowa. He says there’s always a seasonal drop in food that’s available as the various garden programs and farms head into winter.  “Of course when the growing season ends that flow of produce kind of slows to a trickle,” Akright says. He says the Food Bank of Iowa has seen an increase in financial donations — which he says are important to keeping the pantry stocked.”We’re able to use those to buy the products that people don’t generally donate and that we’re not getting during certain times of the year,” according to Akright.

The Food Bank of Iowa brought in more than two-point-eight million dollars in donor support last fiscal year. The previous year fiscal year, that number was two-point-two million dollars. Akright says Money raised in November and December each year equals between 30 to 40 percent of their yearly total.

(Radio Iowa, w/thanks to Clay Masters, Iowa Public Radio

Farm Rescue farm aid nonprofit expanding services again

Ag/Outdoor

November 24th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Plains farm aid nonprofit that’s grown steadily in size and scope since being launched in North Dakota about a dozen years ago is expanding its services again.

Farm Rescue is adding livestock feeding assistance to its list of services that include crop planting and harvesting, haying, and hay and grain hauling.

The new service will be offered throughout the organization’s territory, which has grown through the years to include North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana and Nebraska.

Farm Rescue doesn’t dole out cash. It provides free physical labor for farmers and ranchers dealing with an injury, illness or a natural disaster. It relies on volunteers from around the country, donations and corporate sponsors. It reached a milestone last summer, helping its 500th case.

Hops growers, beer brewers gather for conference

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 24th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa has at least 75 beer brewers statewide and many of them will have representatives at the upcoming convention being planned for Omaha-Council Bluffs. The Hop Growers and Brewers Conference and Trade Show is scheduled for January. Katie Kreuser, the hop program coordinator for the University of Nebraska Extension, says it’s an ideal place for growers and brewers to get together and network.

Kreuser says, “With this increasing growth with the craft beer industry, comes this interest in growing hops and with our conducive environment, it just makes for a perfect mix.”

The conference will offer workshops and speakers providing important information for producers who are interested in growing hops to support the expanding number of breweries. “The agronomics of growing hops, pest and diseases, nutritional management, trellis design and installation, harvest timing, crop and brewery insurance,” Kreuser says.

There will be discussions about organic hop production in addition to displays of the latest in brewery equipment. The trade show covers everything growers and brewers need to launch operations, in addition to helping home or micro-brew owners. “This is geared towards any vendors that have products or information that’s going to help this audience,” she says. “This is anything from chemical companies to brewing equipment to actual plant sourcing.”

The conference will be held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Omaha on January 18th and 19th. Early bird registration ends December 1st. Learn more at growbrewnebraska.com. The craft beer industry in Iowa supports more than 15-hundred jobs and has an economic impact exceeding 100-million dollars. Iowa’s beer production is expected to top 146-thousand barrels by 2019, that’s triple the rate from 2014.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa Ag Startup Develops Replacement for Heat Lamps in Farrowing Barn

Ag/Outdoor

November 23rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The CEO of an ag startup based in Iowa City is predicting rapid growth of his business in 2018. Amos Peterson is the leader of FarrPro, which has developed a replacement for heat lamps in farrowing facilities. The invention is designed to help pork producers reduce both mortality and energy costs. “It’s an enclosed micro-climate that evenly heats the piglets throughout the first three weeks of their lives,” Peterson says.

Amos Peterson – FarrPro

FarrPro was part of the Iowa AgriTech Accelerator Class of 2017. The Des Moines-based program is designed to connect ag-tech startups with mentors and investors. Peterson says FarrPro is just now beginning a pilot project, but he calls the preliminary data on his product “very encouraging.” He says the piglets “seem to really like” the enclosures.

Peterson says fundraising will be critical over the next year as he hopes FarrPro units will eventually be used by swine operations around the world. “The launch throughout 2018 – we’re hoping to sell about 1,000 units to early test partners and 10,000 through other distribution methods,” Peterson says.

The Iowa AgriTech Accelerator will begin accepting applications for its Class of 2018 in January.

(Radio Iowa, w/Thanks to Mark Dorenkamp, Brownfield Ag News)
LINK: AgIowa.com