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.

Study finds big wealth gap in rural Iowa counties

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 16th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) – A new study by a sociologist at Iowa State University found three rural Iowa counties were among the top 10 in the nation in growth of income equality over more than a decade.
The gap is less obvious because showy displays of wealth are typically frowned upon in places where agriculture is the main economic driver, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, sociologist David Peters told The Des Moines Register. Emmet County was fifth on the list, O’Brien was seventh and Worth was ninth in the growth of inequality between 2000 and 2012.

“That’s shocking. It’s really a phenomenal jump,” Peters said. “It’s strongly affected by farm income.” The growth of biofuels and increase in farm commodity prices drove up incomes for some households. Because rural counties have low populations, the wealth gap can grow quickly when a relatively small number of households increase their incomes. There are fewer farmers now and some middle-skill jobs in manufacturing have disappeared, leaving people who don’t farm with fewer options.

Eight of the 10 Iowa counties with the biggest wealth gaps were rural. The other two are home to major universities and low-income students. In Emmet County, the poorest households saw their share of income decrease nearly 27 percent, while the richest saw theirs grow by 17 percent. “Iowa has never had a wealthy class and a poverty class, but we are getting more like the rest of the nation,” Peters said.

Iowa farming officials seek punishment for thieves

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa farm officials are seeking to enforce a mandatory minimum sentence for the felony theft of livestock and crops. Delegates of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation met last week to discuss proper punishment for people who steal cattle, hogs, corn, soybeans and other farm property, the Des Moines Register reported.

Some states are seeing an increase of cattle thefts since the price of the animals have reached record highs. The problem could soon make its way to Iowa, experts say, since the state is expected to raise more cattle in light of low corn prices and a drought in Texas, the leading producer of cattle in the U.S.

Iowa is the top corn-producing state with nearly 2.2 billion bushels last year, and is ranked sixth nationally for cattle. Corey Schultz is a region executive officer for the Livestock Marketing Association and works with livestock auctions in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. “The rise in cattle numbers, the rise in prices, you could definitely see a rise in cattle thefts,” Schultz said.

Novice thieves usually don’t steal livestock, according to Larry Gray, executive director of law enforcement for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. “Anyone can kick down the door to a house and steal a flat screen TV,” he said. “But to steal cattle – first you have to have the ability to transport those cattle. Then you have to have the knowledge to market the cattle. You can’t run down to the local pawn store and get some money for them.”

Some Iowa farmers donate grain to charities instead of cash

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

As harvest season approaches, many charitable organizations statewide are preparing to get gifts of grain from Iowa’s farmers. Those farmers can choose to donate a portion of their stored or harvested crops and get a tax deduction at the same time. John Syverson, a certified financial planner in West Des Moines, says there are a number of advantages to donating crops instead of cash. Syverson says, “Not only do you exclude from income the amount of the value of the grain, which works better on your tax return and gets you lower taxation in federal, state and self-employment taxes, but you also get to deduct the cost of production of that grain because you had to pay for the input.”

Syverson says rather than contacting the non-profit group or grain elevator directly, it’s usually more efficient to go to a local Community Foundation. He says most are set up to help make the donation a smooth transaction. “Instead of talking to your local Boy Scout troop, I would go talk to your Community Foundation,” Syverson says.

Just ask if they take gifts of grain and if they do, you can quickly set up an account and tell them where you want the grain dispersed. More Iowa farmers may be choosing the option this fall as many commodity prices are dropping.

(Radio Iowa)

Logan church holds community tractor-themed event

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 15th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

LOGAN, Iowa (AP) – A Logan church hosted Drive Your Tractor to Church Day to attract locals who aren’t regular parishioners. Immanuel Lutheran Church held the event, which featured a 17-mile tractor ride, lunch, children’s games and a shorter hayrack ride, on Sunday in an effort to strengthen the community, church trustee Justin Gochenour told the Omaha World-Herald. “We thought it would be a great way to get more kids involved with the church, which is something that a lot of parishes are struggling with right now,” he said.

Church officials said they were pleased with the turn out, from both children and adults. “We had 50 or 60 non-regulars come to Mass this morning,” Gochenour said. “We don’t know the exact number yet, but it was big enough to be substantial.”

Kids ran around, riding toy tractors and throwing footballs, while the streets were lined with all types of tractors. The event, which was embraced by the church board, will help Immanuel Lutheran stand out from other churches, according to parish officials.

The Rev. Jerald Firby, pastor of the church, said he thought Tractor Ride Sunday was a great idea. He also said he thinks the event helped to attract people who don’t typically attend services at Immanuel Lutheran. “Most farmers have their own churches they go to,” he said.

The event was so successful that parish officials want to hold it again.

Mowing and the Senior Activity Area keeps Atlantic Parks & Rec crews busy

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

September 14th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The City of Atlantic’s Parks and Recreation Department Board of Director will meet Monday evening, in the Council’s Chambers at City Hall. During the 5:15-p.m. session, Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring will report on the Summer Rec Program, including slow pitch softball and the status of pool repairs as well as future pool maintenance.

Herring will also talk about progress on the Senior Activity Area at Sunnyside Park. The recent wet weather has slowed progress on some projects in that area. Herring is expected to inform the Board a retaining wall is still being constructed. Once completed, the park’s staff will place topsoil down along with seed, with final grading to finish the project.

The Atlantic Parks and Rec Board will also receive an update on the Boy Scout Cabin and the Eagle Scout fire pit project at Sunnyside, which Herring says is nearly complete. Herring will also provide a wrap on the Disc Golf Tournament, which was held Aug. 30th and 31st, and drew participants from five states. He’s also expected to note that mowing and the Senior Activity Area retaining wall have dominated the park department’s schedule over the past month.

USDA boosts corn, soybean harvest to new records

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The nation’s corn and soybean farmers will harvest by far the largest crops ever this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a new report. Bigger crops have been expected this year as adequate rain and cool temperatures made for favorable growing conditions, but the new estimates far surpass previous records.

Corn farmers are expected to harvest nearly 14.4 billion bushels of corn, up from last year’s 13.9 billion bushel record. The 171.7 bushels per acre yield is significantly higher than the previous record set in 2009 of 164.7 bushels per acre. Record yields will be set in 18 states, the USDA said.

Despite the strong forecast, concerns have grown in recent days that early cold weather is creeping into the upper Midwest and some crops are maturing later this year. Temperatures below freezing could slow or stop crops from reaching full maturity and affect the harvest. That possibility was not reflected in Thursday’s report.

Ten states including Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska have the highest number of ears per corn stalk ever, the USDA said. After meeting all current demands for corn — including exports and use for animal feed, ethanol and food for people — the USDA estimated 2 billion bushels of corn would remain in stock. That’s the highest ending stock in a decade.

The soybean harvest estimate also moved upward to a new record of 3.9 billion bushels. The previous record was 3.4 billion bushels in 2009. The per-acre yield is now estimated at record 46.6 bushels per acre.

USDA Report 09-11-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 11th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin

Average price to rent corn, soybean ground in Iowa: $260 an acre

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A new government report finds the average price to rent Iowa farmland has gone up slightly this year.
According to the U.S.D.A.’s Agricultural Statistics Service, rental rates are averaging 260-dollars per acre in Iowa this year for corn and soybean ground. That’s about five bucks an acre higher than last year. The most expensive farmland in the state is in Grundy County, where the average rental rate is 322 dollars an acre. The cheapest is in Appanoose County, where rent was 149-dollar per acre on average. (A link to the report for all of Iowa’s 99 counties can be found here: http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Iowa/Publications/County_Estimates/reports/IA_county%20Cash%20Rent%2013-14.pdf)

The U-S-D-A report concludes the average price to rent pasture land in Iowa is 50 dollars an acre.  An Iowa State University Extension survey released in April concluded farmland rental prices statewide had DECLINED “moderately” from 2013. It was the first reported decrease in rental rates for corn and soybean fields since 1999. A retired I-S-U economist said the decrease was due to lower commodity prices for the crops that will be grown on that rented ground. The I-S-U and U-S-D-A reports did find the SAME average rate of 260-dollars an acre for row crop rentals.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Extension Report 09-10-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

September 10th, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Alan Peterson of Cass County receives state award

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Conservation Districts of Iowa report Alan Peterson, Assistant Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Commissioner in Cass County, received the Ruth Wagner Award on September 3, 2014 at the 68th Annual Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Districts Commissioners Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines. DSC_0542

The Ruth Wagner Award is an award started in 2001 to honor Soil and Water Conservation District Assistant Commissioners. Johnson SWCD gives the award in memory and honor of Ruth Wagner, who served the Johnson SWCD for 53 years.

Clare Lindahl, Executive Director with Conservation Districts of Iowa, says Peterson is a very dedicated assistant commissioner who attends all of the district, regional and annual meetings. He had been actively participating in federal and state conservation programs even before he showed interest in serving as an assistant commissioner.