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.
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
Officials with the Southwest Iowa Nature Trails Project, Inc. and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, remind the public that the Wabash Trace Nature Trail is a Wildlife Refuge, and that Hunting is strictly prohibited, as well as the use of any unauthorized motor vehicles. Trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you see any hunting, use of ATV’s, snowmobiles or other vehicles, and/or horses used in undesignated areas, make as many notes as possible and immediately contact the appropriate County Sheriff’s Department.
The 63-mile long rail-trail converted Wabash Trace Nature Trail runs from Council Bluffs through Blanchard, in southwest Iowa, and is accessible from the various towns through which is passes, including Mineola, Silver City, Malvern, Imogene, Shenandoah and Coin. Biking, hiking and cross-country skiing can all be enjoyed on the trail, where tunnels created by trees create a welcome sanctuary from the wind. The trail’s corridor provides a great habitat for deer, pheasants and other animals.
If you have any questions regarding regulations pertaining to the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, go to www.wabashtrace.org, or “like” the Wabash Trace Nature Trail on Facebook.
The calendar insists it’s almost the middle December – regardless of what the thermometer says – meaning 2015 will soon become 2016 and time to renew hunting and fishing licenses. A 2016 hunting, fishing or combination license is a permission slip for a year’s worth of outdoor enjoyment. 2016 resident hunting and fishing licenses go on sale December 15. It makes an excellent gift for the holidays and one that could be purchased online up to the last minute at www.iowadnr.gov.
The menu of license options includes the popular Outdoor Combo annual resident hunting/fishing/habitat combo license for $47; the Angler’s Special three-year fishing license for $53; and the Hunter’s Special three-year hunting license with habitat included for $86. Also available is the Bonus Line option for $12 allowing resident and nonresident anglers to fish with one additional line in addition to the two lines allowed with the regular fishing license.
Iowa hunting and fishing license fees remain unchanged for 2016. Annual licenses, including those special three year license purchased in 2013, expire on Jan. 10, 2016.
The 3-State Beef Conference is designed to provide beef cattle producers and other agricultural professionals in Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska an update on current cow-calf or stocker topics. The topics are based on producer suggestions. The Iowa site is Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, on January 12, 2016. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m., and the program runs from 6 to 8:45 p.m.
Craig Payne, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with the University of Missouri, will explain the Veterinary Feed Directive. Feed grade and water soluble antibiotics are moving from over the counter to prescription status. Dr. Payne will help participants think through the impacts this may have on their operations.
The use of cover crops as a source of forage is of interest, and producers asked for a presenter who could address establishment, yield, forage quality, and calf performance. Dr. Mary Drewnoski from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln will address the topic.
With crop prices lower there’s interest in converting low productivity crop ground to pasture. Joe Sellers, Iowa State University Extension Beef Specialists, will walk producers through the decision process. He’ll explain the use of a spreadsheet tool at the Ag Decision Maker website and address practical limitations.
Pre-registration is required for the 3-State Beef Conference by January 8. The registration fee is $25, which includes a meal and materials. To register, call Page County Extension at 712-542-5171. More Information is available at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/feci/3stbeef/.
Officials with the Wallace Foundation for Rural Research and Development, located at the Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis, say they intend to establish teams to identify research/education needs in southwest Iowa, and propose projects to be
conducted at the Armstrong Research Farm, the Neely-Kinyon Research
Farm, or on private farms in the Wallace Foundation southwest Iowa area.
Eligible projects must be consistent with the Wallace Foundation mission:To provide a framework for local people to accelerate agricultural research, technology transfer, and rural development in southwest Iowa.
Proposed team focal areas include: fruits and vegetables; crops and soils; livestock; niche markets, farm business management, and local foods; and, resources, membership and youth involvement in the Wallace Foundation.
Applications for participation on a team will be received through calendar year 2016.
If interested, contact the Wallace Foundation, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, IA 51544.