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.

Ending tax break for “red dye” diesel for farmers under consideration

Ag/Outdoor

October 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Ending a tax break on the diesel fuel farmers and construction companies use in off-road vehicles is among the ideas the Iowa D-O-T’s director has developed for increasing the state budget for road construction and maintenance. Governor Terry Branstad says some of the options are “outside the box.”    “They’re different and we would expect that some of them would be somewhat controversial,” Branstad says. “We are saying, ‘Let’s see how the public feels about it.’” However, the Iowa D-O-T’s director isn’t releasing his list to the public, but instead sharing it first with legislators and interest groups, like the highway construction industry.

“I think this is a good process and I’ve indicated I’m not endorsing any of these options, but my hope is we can look at all these different options and alternatives and see if a consensus can be built that would eventually gain bipartisan support in the legislature, both the House and the Senate, to address the issue of funding fot the Road Use Tax Fund.” Diesel fuel sold with a red dye is to be used in off-road vehicles like tractors and excavators. It is not subject to state taxes, an estimated 38-million dollar annual tax break for farmers and the construction industry.

The D-O-T director’s list suggests that money could be placed in a new account to finance road projects in rural areas of the state. The only other idea on the D-O-T’s list that would bring in more tax money would be increasing the state sales tax on vehicle purchases — meaning car and truck buyers would pay 60-million more dollars in registration fees.

(Radio Iowa)

King urges private negotiations over contentious Farm Bill details

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 29th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Tomorrow (Wednesday) Republican Congressman Steve King and Democratic Senator Tom Harkin will meet for the first time with the 38 other members of a House-Senate “conference committee” appointed to come up with a Farm Bill compromise.  “I’m glad that we have two Iowans that are conferees,” King says. “We are now and have been for some weeks working to line up those issues that we disagree between the House and the Senate and line them up in order of difficulty.” According to King, the dispute over federal funding for “food stamps” is the most difficult to resolve.

House Republicans have voted to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by 40 billion. The bipartisan Farm Bill that cleared the Democratically-led Senate in June called for four billion in cuts to the food stamp program — 10 times less. King has asked House Republicans leaders to present him some “creative ideas” for bridging that 36-billion dollar divide. “I don’t want to tip any hand on it. I chair the subcommittee that deals with nutrition and so what I say — it might affect the negotiations,” King says. “But I want to get to the end of this thing and I want a bill on the president’s desk I said before the snow flies. I know in part of Iowa I’m already too late on that, but we’re going to try to get this done and I think we get it done by the end of the year.”

There are a variety of other proposals that are unresolved as well, like a so-called “payment cap” that bars farmers with an adjusted gross income above 750-thousand dollars from getting federal subsidies to buy crop insurance. King is urging other members of the conference committee to negotiate the details in private rather than in public. “Let’s sit down and see if we figure out how we can agree before any of us take such a public position that we can’t compromise or back up from it,” King says.

If the Farm Bill doesn’t pass congress by January 1st, farm policies will revert to the 1949 Farm Bill and the first impact consumers would see would be a dramatic increase in milk prices. King made his comments during a weekend appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.

(Radio Iowa)

Branstad unveils website aimed at water quality

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has launched a new state website that he says will help encourage efforts to reduce water pollution in Iowa. Branstad announced the website Monday. He says it will provide information to rural and urban residents as part of a wide-ranging approach to enhancing water quality in the state.

Iowa recently came to a deal with federal authorities to inspect more livestock farms and strictly enforce penalties when manure leaks into rivers or streams. That came after a long dispute over enforcing the U.S. Clean Water Act.  Environmental groups note that 479 lakes, rivers and streams in the state are listed as impaired by the EPA. A wet spring this year caused some rivers in central Iowa to record the highest nitrate levels ever.

Shelby County Fire Danger remains “Moderate”

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 28th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency has updated the fire danger warning signs in the county. The fire danger signs remain in the “Moderate” category, for the third straight week. Bob Seivert, Emergency Management Coordinator, said the harvest is moving nicely and rain is in the forecast later in the week. If you are planning a burn, contact your local fire chief before igniting. The Shelby County EMA will update the situation again on Thursday.

Propane shortage could stop Iowa harvest

Ag/Outdoor

October 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

SHEFFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Iowa farmers are raising concerns about a shortage of propane that’s needed to dry crops during their harvest. The Mason City Globe-Gazette reports that farmers in northern Iowa have faced delays in propane deliveries before, but usually not because of a shortage.

Bruce Halvorson, petroleum manager for Five Star Cooperative, says the shortage is spread throughout the Midwest because of harvest demands. Halvorson says the terminals can’t keep up with demand. Brad Koenigsberg, who farms west of Sheffield, says he’s taking more of his corn to a local elevator for drying. He says the elevators are still able to dry because they use natural gas rather than propane.

Hunters may not see many pheasants as season opens this weekend

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

October 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Pheasant hunting season opens today (Saturday) in Iowa, but hunters may not see many birds. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports pheasant numbers could be down 18-percent compared to last year. Todd Bogenschutz, a wildlife biologist with the DNR, says the population decline isn’t surprising. “We had the wettest April and May in state history and hens don’t do very well when it’s wet in the spring, certainly not when it’s record setting,” Bogenschutz says. Five consecutive harsh winters followed by wet springs previously led to a drop in pheasant numbers between 2007-2011. Bogenschutz expects the forecast for another decline this year could lead to fewer pheasant hunting licenses being purchased.

“We finally had an increase in the pheasant population last year for the first time in about five years and we saw a little bump up in hunter numbers. Now, things drop down a bit…so, I expect we’ll see fewer hunters,” Bogenschutz says. “I still think we’ll be similar, we’ll probably have around 40,000 to 50,000 pheasant hunters this year.” The pheasant hunting season runs from October 26 through January 10. Bogenschutz predicts hunters will harvest between 100,000 to 150,000 pheasants this season. He notes hunters will likely have better luck later in the season as nearly half of the state’s corn crop has yet to be harvested. “Standing corn on opening weekend…there’s going to be quite a bit of it and that’s going to make hunting challenging because the birds figure out pretty quick that they’re safe in that standing corn,” Bogenschutz says.

The best pheasant numbers, according to Bogenschutz, can be found in areas of northwest, north-central, and central Iowa. Hunters shot roughly 158,000 pheasants last year. That compares to 109,000 pheasants harvested in 2011 – which was the lowest number since the state began keeping track in 1962.

(Radio Iowa)

NE Iowa family sad to see barn come crashing down

Ag/Outdoor

October 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

FINCHFORD, Iowa (AP) – A family in the small northeast Iowa community of Finchford watched sadly as an excavator brought their century-old barn crashing down. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the barn was built in the early 1900s to house a man’s race horses. It included an oversized opening with sliding doors to allow wagons inside and gabled dormers with windows to let light and air into the loft.

Wilbur Anderson’s grandfather bought the property in 1911 and it had been owned by the family ever since. He says, “That used to be a classy barn.”  After so many years, repairing the barn would have been too expensive. After family members took a last walk through it Thursday, it took only minutes for an excavator to bring it tumbling down.

Iowa enacts changes to leasing program for farmers

Ag/Outdoor

October 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa is giving priority to new farmers leasing public land owned by the state. The state Department of Natural Resources says available land that’s managed by the agency can be viewed online beginning in early November. Farmers will have a month to review the details before the agency begins awarding leases.

A participating farmer must be a permanent Iowa resident, have appropriate skills and have a net worth of less than about $691,000. They must also be certified as a beginning farmer. The change is part of legislation that passed this past spring.

Branstad suspends some propane rules in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 24th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad is suspending the specific hours that drivers can transport propane in Iowa. Branstad announced the emergency declaration Thursday. It goes into effect Friday and ends Nov. 7. The declaration says Iowa residents have extremely low supplies of propane because of a late harvest and high demand for petroleum products throughout the Midwest.

The declaration adds that adequate supplies of propane are necessary for normal agricultural harvesting and residential heating, particularly in rural areas. The suspension does not mean that fatigued or ill drivers should transport propane. Drivers needing rest should be given certain hours before they return to service.

Doc Leonard’s Pet Pointers 10-24-2013

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

October 24th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Dr. Keith Leonard

Play