KJAN Ag/Outdoor

“Food, Family and Fun” program to take place Feb 10 & 11 in Red Oak

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Are you looking for something to bring your family together to learn teamwork, improve communication, and have fun while cooking and eating good food? Iowa State University Extension and Outreach—Montgomery County is pleased to offer a new program called Food, Family and Fun! Sponsored in part due to grant funding from Boost 4 Families, this program is geared towards families with children aged 5-18.

Families will get together with program instructors and volunteers once a month for six months to prepare healthy meals through hands-on cooking experiences. Families will also receive parenting resources and participate in activities that will focus on communication, teamwork, relationships, and health and nutrition. At the end of each session, families will take a meal home with them to freeze or eat later in the week.

There are two locations for Food, Family and Fun—Red Oak High School and Southwest Valley Middle School in Villisca. Sessions are planned to start on February 10th and 11th. Families can pay $50 for the program in either one lump sum or $10 at each session.

Registration is limited due to space, so sign up TODAY! Families need to fill out the registration form found in the brochure at www.extension.iastate.edu/montgomery.

Questions about the program? Contact Stephanie Langner, Montgomery County Extension Program Coordinator at 712.623.2592 or slangner@iastate.edu .

(Press Release)

Youth tractor safety certification course set for Feb 29-April 4

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Farmers! Are the youth you hire for summer work certified to drive tractors for you? The Shelby county/ISU Extension and Outreach office will be conducting a Tractor Safety Certification course for youth between the ages of 13-16. This certification is required by Iowa law for 14-17 year olds who will be operating a tractor over 20hp for neighbors or relatives.

At the six week course, participants will learn how to operate a tractor safely, safety on the road, tractor controls and maintenance, how to avoid other farm accidents and other pertinent information. The course will be held at the Shelby County Extension office at 906 6th Street in Harlan. Classes will run each Monday beginning Feb. 29th through April 4th, with the driving test on Saturday April 9th. Classes begin at 6:30 and will end at 9:00pm.

The cost is $50 and checks should be made payable to Shelby County Extension and Outreach. Registration forms are available at the Shelby County Extension office and are to be returned by Feb. 22nd. Interested persons may also call the Shelby County Extension office at (712)755-3104 and a registration form will be mailed to them.

Bagley man injured at Guthrie County shooting range, Sunday

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 1st, 2016 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources say a man was injured Sunday afternoon during an accidental shooting in Guthrie County. 33-year old Jeremy Cooper, of Bagley, was injured at around 1-p.m., while target shooting at the Bays Branch shooting range near Panora.

Authorities say Cooper was target practicing with his .17 caliber rifle  when the wind blew his paper target off the stand at the 50-yard berm. He had left his gun propped on some sandbags on the shooting bench and walked down to fix the target. While he was trying to rehang his target, the gun fell off the sandbags and fired with bullet hitting his left arm, passing through and also hitting him in his left upper torso.

Cooper was transported by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

DNR INVESTIGATING MANURE RUNOFF COMPLAINT SOUTH OF RED OAK

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

COBURG – The DNR Atlantic field office is investigating a complaint of manure runoff about three miles southwest of Coburg near the Montgomery-Page county line. DNR staff found manure runoff and snow melt leading to an unnamed tributary to the East Nishnabotna River. Field tests show ammonia levels of greater than 10 parts per million, which is high enough to kill fish. However, staff found no dead fish in the stream.

Water samples collected from the creek will be sent for laboratory analysis. Field staff are working to determine which of several potential sources is responsible for the runoff. DNR will continue to monitor the situation, and look for the responsible party to begin clean up. The DNR will consider appropriate enforcement action.

Proposed Atlantic ethanol plant gets $4.2 million tax break

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Minnesota businessman whose construction company has built many of the nation’s ethanol plants is planning to complete a previously idled southwest Iowa plant using newly approved state tax incentives. The Iowa Economic Development Authority approved Friday tax benefits for the corn ethanol project proposed by Farmers Energy Cardinal northwest of Atlantic.

The IEDA board approved $4.25 million in sales tax refunds for the company promising to create 49 jobs. Ohio-based FEC is led by Ron Fagen, founder of Minnesota-based Fagen Inc., which has helped build 100 biofuels plants in the U.S. and will design and build the Atlantic facility.

The plant, originally planned in 2006, stalled and wasn’t completed. It will be Iowa’s 44th corn ethanol refinery and at 150 million gallons a year is among the state’s largest.

ISU Heifer Development 3 program rescheduled in Atlantic

Ag/Outdoor

January 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Heifer Development 3 program in Atlantic, originally set for Feb. 1st,  has been rescheduled for Monday, February 8th. The Iowa caucus and a new snow forecast for the original date of February 1st led site host ISU Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Chris Clark to reschedule the event for the following Monday.

Clark said he hopes “Rescheduling to February 8th will allow more producers to attend. We heard from several people that wanted to come but could not attend because of the caucuses. And it sounds like we may have some weather to contend with as well. We want to be accommodating and do what works best for area beef producers.”

The program will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Cass County Community Center. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m.  Clark says “There will be an opportunity to visit with our sponsors during that check-in/registration time prior to the actual start of the presentation. We are partnering with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA), ABS Global, Accelerated Genetics, Select Sires and Merial to conduct this series and most of those sponsors will be represented at the Cass County site.”

This is the third installment of the heifer development series, building on the 2011 and 2014 programs on yearling and first-calf heifer best management practices, respectively. The focus of this year’s series is on current genetic and phenotypic selection tools that can be utilized to improve cow longevity and enhance lifetime productivity.

A catered meal will be served. The cost is $20 when pre-registered three days prior to event. (The new pre-registration deadline is February 5th.) Walk-in registration is $25 per person with no guarantee of meal.

For Registration: call 515-294-BEEF (2333) or email beefcenter@iastate.edu or contact Chris Clark at 712-250-0070 or by email at caclark@iastate.edu for more information.

Feds revise policy on compensating farmers after bird flu outbreak

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The U-S-D-A is revising its response to avian influenza outbreaks and it will use a flat reimbursement rate for all depopulation and virus elimination efforts. Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association, says they’re good moves. “We’re happy the USDA is continuing to make modifications to its response,” Olson says. “Our members are examining the proposed rules on reimbursement rates and we hope to know more about their reaction in the coming weeks.”

The biggest part of the revision, he says, is the flat reimbursement rate when an entire flock has to be euthanized. “What we’ve learned during 2015 was the time and energy it takes to clean and disinfect these barns was beyond what the USDA had anticipated,” Olson says. “USDA is making an effort to streamline that process.” Olson says there are a variety of depopulation methods producers can use and ventilation shutdown has proven effective.

He says despite activist concerns, it’s a humane method in that it accomplishes effective depopulation as quickly as possible, while ensuring any remaining birds remain healthy by being protected from the flu. Olson says, “The key takeaway is that within 24 hours, these barns need to be depopulated to stem the spread of further disease to prohibit otherwise healthy birds from getting sick.” Under the revision, turkeys will be reimbursed at a rate of $3.55 per bird, layers at $6.45 per bird and broilers at $1.15 per bird.

(Radio Iowa)

Wildlife Habitat in Ag Areas workshops being held in the area in Feb.

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 29th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Pheasants Forever, are hosting a series of workshops early next month, for landowners who would like to learn more about the importance of wildlife habitat in the agricultural landscape of Iowa. Jason Andersen, with Pheasants Forever, says the workshops, one each, will be held in Audubon, Cass and Shelby Counties.

He says one workshop will take place Tue., Feb. 2nd from 1-until 3-pm at the Audubon County Conservation Club, 3 miles N. of Exira off Highway 71. Another will be held Wed., Feb. 3rd from 11:30-am until 1-p.m. in the meeting room at the Pizza Ranch, in Atlantic. The final workshop is from 11:30-a.m. until 1-p.m. Thu., Feb. 4th in the meeting room at the Pizza Ranch, in Harlan.

Coffee and cookies will be available at the Exira site. Lunch will be available at the two Pizza Ranch sites, but that will be at your own cost. Andersen says the workshops are free and open to the public. He says with Iowa’s rural landscape becoming dominated by farm ground, over the years, that has been devastating to wildlife habit. The workshops will focus on how to restore wildlife habitats so they can co-exist with agriculture.

One of the most well-known and successful programs at producing habitat is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a long-term, voluntary program that helps crop producers retire environmentally sensitive land into conservation cover that controls soil erosion and improves air and water quality. CRP also provides wildlife habitat. The current, general CRP sign-up runs through Feb. 26th.

The sessions, according to Andersen, will focus more on native grasslands [native grasses and wildflowers], because that what the landscape looked like before settlers came to the area. Andersen says there are other programs and sources, beside CRP, that will help you learn about and establish wildlife habitats.

For more information about the workshops being offered in Audubon, Cass and Shelby Counties, or to reserve your seat at one of those workshops, call Jason Andersen at (712)-563-4248, or e-mail jandersen@pheasantsforever.org.

Iowa moves to second place in wind power produced

Ag/Outdoor, News

January 28th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

The American Wind Energy Association’s fourth quarter report shows Iowa has moved one rung from the top when it comes to producing power from the wind. AWEA manager of data and analysis, John Hensley. “We actually saw Iowa move past California into second place in our state rankings. Iowa now has more than six-thousand megawatts of installed capacity,” Hensley says. “We saw somewhere in the realm of about 300 megawatts come online in the state in the fourth quarter that helped push it up in the rankings.”

Iowa moved past California by 104 megawatts, but would have to triple its output to overtake top-ranked Texas — which has nearly 18-thousand megawatts. Hensley says Iowa was part of a trend that saw more wind turbines come online across the country. “The fourth quarter of 2015 was actually are second strongest quarter on record,” Hensley says. “We installed five-thousand megawatts, second only to the fourth quarter of 2012. So, a lot of strong momentum going into the end of the year.” He says wind will account for around one-third the electric power produced in Iowa.

“Back at the end of 2014, wind was providing 28-point-five percent of the state’s electricity-mix with windpower….The full results are not out for the year yet, but we do expect it to come into that 30 percent threshold,” Hensley says. He says Iowa has a lot of advantages when it comes to wind power. “Iowa is just a really attractive place for wind energy developers to install new projects,” according to Hensley. “It’s a state with a sort of strong, favorable policy environment, combined with a really great wind energy resource.”

And he says Iowa’s location is good for distributing the wind power. Hensley says improved technology has helped lower the cost of installing wind power, and that has helped continue the expansion of capacity. “The primary innovations that we’ve seen are taller towers — so getting the machine actually higher up into the air — and the advent of longer blades. These long blades have a larger rotor diameter, which allows them to capture more wind resources than they did before,” Hensley says.

AWEA figures show there are now 74-thousand-472 megawatts of installed wind capacity in the United States and more than 52-thousand operating wind turbines.

(Radio Iowa)

Man charged with seed corn theft conspiracy pleads guilty

Ag/Outdoor

January 27th, 2016 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A naturalized U.S. citizen from China has entered a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, admitting he participated in a conspiracy to steal seed corn from U.S. companies. Mo Hailong, who was living in Florida when he was arrested in December 2013, is accused of traveling to the Midwest with other employees of a seed corn subsidiary of Beijing-based DBN Group to take seed out of Iowa fields with the intent of reproducing its genetic traits.

The plea agreement says Mo admits he conspired to steal trade secrets from DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto. Mo will be sentenced later in Des Moines. Prosecutors have agreed not to seek a prison sentence exceeding five years. The investigation began two years ago when Pioneer security staff discovered Chinese men crawling around in cornfields.