KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Sec. Northey: Proposed new rules on anhydrous “wrong on several levels”


September 26th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Strict new rules for storing a popular farm fertilizer are proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Iowa’s top farm advocate says the rules are “wrong on several levels.” Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says the rules needs to be thrown out and OSHA should go back to the drawing board. He says the proposed regulations stem from a fatal accident, but they really shouldn’t.

“The premise, coming about after the Texas fertilizer explosion, is completely unrelated to any concerns and it doesn’t really address any concerns around anhydrous ammonia itself,” Northey says. “It’s been a real reach for OSHA to be able to address anhydrous this way.” The blast at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas in April of 2013 leveled the small town, killed 15 people and destroyed dozens of homes. Investigators determined the explosion was caused by a fire that was intentionally set and was not caused by any breach in safety protocols.

Northey says implementation of the regulations will cause a host of problems. Northey says, “It’s just wrong on several levels and there’s certainly not enough time to be able to implement any changes, even though the changes really are not appropriate for what’s needed.” Northey says the cost of complying with the rules comes at a time when farmers and ranchers are already struggling financially and can’t really handle the extra burden.

“Every dollar matters on the farm,” Northey says. “Even with good crops in many areas of the corn belt, those dollars are not going to go far enough to pay for all the costs of putting that crop in the ground and to add extra costs, especially with no benefit to safety, just seems like the wrong thing to do.” Northey says the rules will hurt the smaller, independent retail fertilizer dealers the most.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is asking OSHA to delay enforcement of its new requirements for storage of anhydrous ammonia until at least July of 2018.

(Radio Iowa)

Report: 31% of Iowa soybeans fed to Iowa pigs


September 24th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

An analysis of how Iowa’s soybean production is utilized finds that nearly one of every four rows of soybeans is fed to the more than 38 million pigs raised annually in the state. Aaron Putze is director of communications for the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), which conducted the study. “I can’t say that was something new, but it certainly did reinforce how important pig production in Iowa is to the Iowa soybean farmer,” Putze says.

That’s one reason why ISA backed Prestage Foods’ recent efforts to locate a new pork processing facility in Iowa. “More importantly than that, it’s a win for Iowa — to have close to 1,000 additional jobs that are expected to come online with that facility,” Putze says. “Plus the additional bidding for pigs that will result on the open market, the potential additional hogs fed to satisfy the new demand, and the need then for more grain production.”

Putze says pig production creates a market for 2.7 million tons of soybean meal per year, or 31 percent of all soybeans processed in the state. Poultry, including laying hens, broilers and turkeys, account for another 6.4 percent of meal usage.

(Brownfield Ag News/Radio Iowa)

Grain bin fatality in Adams County

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 23rd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Adams County said today (Friday), a 78-year old man died Wednesday, after falling off a grain bin near Prescott. The unidentified man apparently lost his footing and fell to the ground. Authorities say he was unresponsive when a deputy and rescue personnel from Corning and Prescott arrived on the scene. The man was later pronounced dead by the Adams County Coroner.

The incident, which took place about a mile northeast of Prescott at 1823 Quince Avenue, was reported at around 9:24-a.m., Wednesday.

Senator Ernst calls out Ag Secretary on happy portrayal of farm situation

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 23rd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she called out U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack over the happy picture his department is portraying when it comes to the current state of the farm economy. “A week or so back he had met with a group and was trying to paints a very rosy picture of the farm economy — but that’s not what I am hearing — and I really did press him on that issue,” Ernst says.

The Republican from Red Oak says the things she sees in the state goes against what the former Democrat Iowa governor is saying about the farm situation.”Right now we see corn is at three dollars and under ( a bushel), I’ve seen that at my own hometown at the Merch in Red Oak. It is really hard for our farmers to get ahead with commodity prices being so low,” Ernst says. ” So, I will continue to press him on that.”

Ernst says her concern is the U-S-D-A regulations and programs aren’t helping smaller farmers. “He tried to tout a number of programs that U-S-D-A has, but again I think the things that they promote — the GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration Rule) is a great example of that — it really does inhibit some of those small beginning farmers from even getting a fair start,” Ernst says. Ernst was asked if Vilsack is doing a good job as Ag Secretary.

She focused her answer on the department and not Vilsack. “I’m not going to say yes or no about his role as ag secretary,” Ernst says. “But what I will say is that I think U-S-D-A as a whole is trying to paint an optimistic rosy picture of what is going on, but in reality that is not what is going on. And I hear that every day in Iowa.” Ernst says farmers need less government regulation not more. She referred back to the GIPSA Rule.

“What I fear is that this will cut out those small farmers, those small operations, they won’t be able to engage in the contracts like we see some of the larger packers doing. So, this is an issue that has been brought up by the Iowa Pork Producers, they have spoken to me about this, they have great concerns there. As, well as some of those packing houses,” according to Ernst. She says the packing houses want to have a supply of livestock from a variety of sources and are worried the rule will prevent that. Ernst made her comments during her weekly conference call with reporters.

A U-S-D-A spokesperson issued this response to Ernst’s comments:
“Secretary Vilsack is a tireless champion for American agriculture, and has said several times recently that ‘it is always the wrong bet to bet against the American farmer, rancher, and producer.’ Median farm family household income has held steady at historic highs for the last two years, as a direct result of the hard work and good management by our farm families. Meanwhile, farm debt-to-asset ratios are near record lows, showing the underlying fundamental strength of the American agriculture.”

“This is why yesterday Secretary Vilsack expressed cautious optimism about the state of the agricultural economy, but at the same time he understands the challenges many producers are going through right now because of prices and oversupply in some parts of the sector. USDA recognizes that 10 percent of U.S. farms are highly or extremely leveraged, and that is why we have used every dollar of our farm loan authority and every last dollar of our CCC authority to provide help and assistance to those who need it. Specifically, USDA enrolled 1.76 million farmers in the new Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs, which have provided $5.3 billion in financial assistance for crop year 2014, to more than one million farms. The past seven years have been the strongest in history for agricultural exports, while the past five years have been the best in history for median farm household income. Census data shows that incomes in rural America grew by more than 3 percent last year, on pace with income in metro areas. Rural communities are also beginning to see population growth, a dramatic fall in poverty and hunger, and more jobs in the last two years than at any point since 2007. There is concern, and the Secretary expressed that, but there is also cautious optimism. And that is why we have invested more resources than any prior Administration in the future of America’ rural communities, especially our young people and our new and beginning farmers.”

(Radio Iowa)

State Forest Nursery looking to buy walnuts

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 22nd, 2016 by Ric Hanson

If you’ve got walnut trees and some time to rake up the walnuts that fall from them, you can make a little money from the State Forest Nursery. Nursery spokesperson Candace Weigel says they collect walnuts every year to grow into thousands of seedlings. They are a little short on their seed supply this year. “This year and last year there’s been kind of a short of walnut seed, so we are having enough trouble getting enough walnuts to fulfill the walnut seedlings that we need to supply for the state,” Weigel says.

She says the walnut shortage is something that happens from time-to-time. She says seeds on trees tend to be cyclical as walnuts are prolific some years and other years are down. Weigel says that happens with other species too such as oaks. Weigel says they will pay you two dollars, 50 cents for each bushel of walnuts you bring to collection sites around the state.

“Just the native black walnut, which most trees are around here,” Weigel says. “If you know that you have an English walnut, then we don’t want that, just the native black walnut.” Weigel says the walnuts should be fresh and in good condition, free of debris like sticks and leaves. The seed can just be in buckets, or loose in a pickup bed or trailer. And the hulls can be left on,” she says. Weigel says most people don’t do anything with the walnuts that fall off their trees.

“Most of the walnuts will just be left for the animals and the squirrels bury some of them and they will grow up and produce little walnut seedlings,” according to Weigel. “Some people do collect them and crack them completely open and do eat the black walnut.” You can sell your walnuts at the State Forest Nursery in Ames (800-865-2477), Shimek State Forest (319-878-3811) in Farmington, Stephens State Forest (641-774-4559) in Chariton and Yellow River State Forest (563-586-2090) in Harpers Ferry.

Weigel says you should call first to schedule a time to drop off walnuts to be sure someone will be there to collect them and pay you.

(Radio Iowa)

USDA Report 09-22-2016

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 22nd, 2016 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Groups wants Branstad to back moratorium on hog confinements

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new consortium of environmental groups is asking Gov. Terry Branstad to support a statewide moratorium on new and expanded hog confinement operations because of polluted waterways. The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture announced itself at a Wednesday Capitol news conference and sought Branstad’s backing.

The alliance, which includes more than 20 groups, wants the moratorium in place until the state improves water quality in its lakes and streams. Alliance members blame hog confinements for polluting waterways and creating health problems for nearby residents.

Branstad spokesman Ben Hammes rejected the alliance’s proposal, calling it an “extreme” plan that would hurt agriculture and Iowa’s economy.

The alliance is separate from the recently formed Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition, comprised of agriculture, business and conservation groups that support increasing the sales tax to fund natural resource programs.

Tractor/manure spreader hits bridge s.w. of Atlantic – 1 hurt

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

One person suffered what were described as non-life threatening injuries during an accident southwest of Atlantic Wednesday afternoon.Cass County Chief Deputy Sheriff John  Westering told KJAN News a John Deere 8310-R tractor hauling an empty liquid manure hauler/spreader, was traveling north on Highway 6 at around 12:48-p.m., when part of the trailer clipped east side the Trooper Stanley Gerling Memorial Bridge, over Turkey Creek, about a mile south of Memphis Road.

The impact caused the both the tractor and tanker to go out of control and crash into the concrete bridge railing on the west side of the bridge. The tractor and tanker went over the concrete railing and toppled about 25 feet, with tractor ending up on the north side of the ditch and part of the tanker in the creek.


Photo’s by KJAN News Director Ric Hanson

The driver of the tractor, 31-year-old Timothy McFarland, of Waukee, was freed from the machine by non-mechanical means and was said to be up and walking around. He was transported to the Cass County Memorial Hospital by Medivac Ambulance.

The tractor was considered a total loss. The accident remains under investigation.

8310-1 8310-3 tanker1 tanker2

State holds free workshop on revitalizing “brownfield” areas

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 21st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

A workshop is being held in central Iowa today (Wednesday) to help communities find the needed resources to help redevelop and revitalize areas that may have environmental contamination. Mel Pins, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the workshop is focused on what are known as “brownfield” areas, and he offers an example.

“If there’s a closed gas station in your community that’s been sitting there for a number of years, why has it not been redeveloped?” Pins asks. “That’s probably because somebody fears contamination. Whether there are problems or not, that perception or that stigma holds up reuse and redevelopment.”

The all-day workshop is free and open to anyone, targeting Iowa community leaders and non-profit groups. “The workshop is designed to cover some of the things we can offer, both technical and financial assistance, to help investigate environmental issues at these sites, to see if they’re suitable for reuse, and if necessary, even to help clean them up.”

The D-N-R workshop is underway at the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 09-21-2016

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 21st, 2016 by Chris Parks

w/ Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson