KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Memorial Weekend campsites soon available for reservation

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports the three-month window to reserve a state park campsite for a Friday arrival on Memorial Day weekend opens this Sunday, Feb. 26. More than a few campers will plan their arrival for the weekend before Memorial Day and stay through the holiday, which means their window is open now.

Todd Coffelt, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau, says “Campers can make reservations for sites three months ahead of their first night stay. And we have a flurry of reservations from campers who begin their stay prior to the Memorial Day weekend.”

Lake Wapello, Lake Keomah state parks and Fairport State Recreation Area all underwent campground renovations last year and are anxious for visitors to check things out. Red Haw State Park’s campground will be open to walk-in camping only starting on April 17 due to the final phase of its renovation. Advanced reservations will be accepted starting on June 22. And Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area’s campground #1 will be closed through June 30 for an electrical upgrade.

Most parks will have nonelectric sites available for the Memorial Day weekend. Not every campsite is available on the reservation system. Parks maintain 25 percent or more of the electric and nonelectric sites as non-reservation sites, available for walk-up camping.

Information on Iowa’s state parks is available online at www.iowadnr.gov/parks
including the link to reservations. Campers can also log on directly to http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com; enter their preferred amenities and requirements, dates and/or parks to see what sites are available and make a reservation.

Campers are encouraged to note closures when making their reservations. Some campgrounds may be closed Memorial Day. Weather will play an important role in how soon projects will be completed and a how soon campgrounds will be back online.
Closure information is current on the DNR website and reservation system. Closure information can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks-Rec-Areas/Closure-Information and on individual park webpages.

High Fire Danger across western IA/eastern NE today

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

February 22nd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY-FREMONT-PAGE COUNTIES…Wed Feb 22 2017

Very high fire danger is expected this afternoon across the area, with low humidity and strong winds creating dry conditions in fields and grassy areas. Residents are urged to avoid using motorized vehicles in fields or grassy areas, where hot exhaust pipes can spark fires. Avoid outdoor burning, and don’t carelessly discard smoking materials.

John Deere earnings report shows optimism for farmers

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 21st, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The first quarter income report from John Deere and Company released Friday showed a drop in net income — but it also held a positive message for the ag industry. Sales were up two percent and spokesman Ken Golden says there are signs of continued improvement.

“U-S farm income is expected to increase slightly in 2017, that’s always good news for people who sell to farmers,” Golden says. “In construction and forestry it’s the overall economy and G-D-P growth, housing starts and several other areas that really are indicators for our construction and forestry business.” Deere predicts sales will increase four per cent this year.

“In recent years we’ve been talking about decreases it seems like every quarter. So, this is beginning to give us indications we are near the bottom of the agricultural market and are beginning to swing in the right direction,” according to Golden. Deere in fact had predicted last fall that sales would drop one percent this year, before revising it to the projection of the four percent increase.

(Radio Iowa)

Field/Grassland Fire Danger Assessments begin in Shelby County

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 20th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency say Local Fire Danger Assessments for this spring season have begun, as a result of several, recently experienced grass and brush fires. EMA Coordinator Bob Seivert says with the record breaking and unseasonably high heat , dead vegetation is extremely flammable. The National Weather service is issuing Fire weather watches for tomorrow (Tuesday) for parts of southeast Nebraska.

Seivert says one change you should be aware of, is that when conditions rapidly change to the very highest category and or the NWS issues a Red Flag Warning, the Shelby County EMA will immediately change the local Fire Danger Boards to Extreme and all burning will be prohibited, unless prior arrangements are made with the local Fire Chief and a burn plan is completed and filed. Fire departments will be notified via “I am responding.”

Seivert says even with the snow in the forecast, once it is gone, drying occurs much more rapidly than most people realize. Their goal, he says is to reduce unnecessary emergency response, by elevating the public’s awareness of conditions favorable to burning, and offering burn plan assistance, for any size burn. The cooperative initiative between the local fire Departments, their Chiefs, and Emergency Management in Shelby County has proven effective in every aspect.

Participating businesses and fire stations should place their Local Fire Danger Signs in the HIGH Category until the next update on Thursday, Feb. 23rd.

As a reminder: The High Fire Danger Category means Burning of any kind is restricted unless approval is received from local Fire Chief. Controlled burns that are not reported will result in Fire Department being dispatched, and Fires extinguished if determined to be un-safe. Call 712-755-2124 if you have any questions.

Reinventing the price structure for soybeans

Ag/Outdoor

February 20th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The chairman of the United Soybean Board (USB) says an effort is underway to reinvent the price structure of soybeans to reward quality over quantity. John Motter says growers have been forced to work within a system that prefers supply over demand, which is a major reason for the slumping ag economy. “We need to start doing things in our industry that improves the quality of the product that we are producing and, in turn, we want to be paid for a better quality product,” Motter says.

John Motter – Chairman of the United Soybean Board

He calls soybean farmers “price takers” instead of price makers, but a new strategic vision placing more emphasis on oil and protein content has the potential to change that. “We are engaged in a meal enhancement product. We are working with the technology companies, so that we know that we can be successful in doing that,” Motter says.

The next step would be to engage major seed companies in developing varieties containing higher oil and protein content. Motter is asking farmers to be patient as the USB works toward these goals. “It doesn’t happen overnight,” Motter says. “We don’t change the habits or the thought-process in a year. We don’t change the ability of the varieties in a year. But, we have to start from where we are in order to make things better.”

Motter says there should be more to growing soybeans than bushels and he envisions a system based on quality that benefits the bottom line of the farmer. Iowa was the number two soybean producing state in the U-S last year, with just over 550 million bushels. Illinois topped the list with just under 561 million bushels produced in 2016.

(Radio Iowa, w/Thanks to Mark Dorenkamp, Brownfield Ag News)

Is that a tractor on the road ahead? Here’s why…

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 18th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Today (Saturday) marks the start of F-F-A Week in Iowa. Scott Johnson, executive secretary for the Iowa F-F-A Association, says the theme for the week-long observance is “Transform: Purpose to Action.” The week signals not only the 70th annual F-F-A Week but another special date for the program. “On the 23rd will be the 100th anniversary of the federal Smith-Hughes Act, passed on February 23rd of 1917,” Johnson says. “The Smith-Hughes Act is actually what established what was called vocational agriculture at the time in public schools.”

That laid the foundation for creation of the F-F-A just 11 years later. Johnson says there will be special events statewide to honor of F-F-A Week, including Drive Your Tractor to School Day in some areas. “You see a little bit of everything,” Johnson says. “Some will do an Ag Olympics, they’ll have appreciation breakfasts, pancake feeds, activities that engage the community, school, students, FFA members, staff dress-up days.”

Iowa has 232 chapters of F-F-A and last year counted 14-thousand-700 members statewide. On the web at http://www.iowaffa.com

(Radio Iowa)

Council Bluffs location for fall hunting and trapping discussion moves to Iowa Western Community College

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 17th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has moved its hunting rules listening session in Council Bluffs to Iowa Western Community College due to a scheduling conflict at the previous location. The meeting will now be held at Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Road, in Loft Hall, Room 24, in Council Bluffs. The DNR is hosting public meetings over the Iowa Communications Network on February 22 from 6 to 9 p.m., to listen to the public’s thoughts on the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall.

These meetings are part of the process for making rules in state government. “Any rule changes must be discussed with Iowa’s citizens who might be impacted by the changes before the rule changes are proposed. The process helps ensure that rule changes serve the public’s wishes and do not impact Iowa’s economy,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the wildlife bureau.

At each meeting DNR staff will facilitate a discussion about what went well last fall, what didn’t, and what changes hunters and trappers would like to see for this fall. These discussions along with the data that the wildlife bureau collects on harvest and population numbers will be used to develop recommendations for any rule changes. Any changes must be approved by the Natural Resource Commission and then go back to the public for further comment before taking effect next fall.

Meetings will be held in Ankeny, Boone, Calmar, Centerville, Clinton, Correctionville, Council Bluffs, Creston, Dubuque, Iowa City, Marshalltown, Mason City, Ottumwa, Sac City, Sheldon, Spencer, Tripoli and West Burlington.

Complete ICN locations are available online at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting

(DNR Press Release)

Cass County Extension hires new youth and 4-H staff

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 17th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Cass County Extension, in Atlantic, said Friday (today), that Shelby Williams, of Adair, was recently hired as the Youth Programs Coordinator at Cass County Extension. She began her role as Cass County Youth Coordinator on January 30th, and has jumped right in to working with youth, parents and volunteers across the county. The Youth Program Coordinator role is a Full time position, with responsibility for youth outreach programming and 4-H program management in Cass County.  Williams replaces Beth Irlbeck, who held the position for the past three and a half years.

Shelby Williams

Shelby grew up on a small family farm in Pella, Iowa where her family raised hogs and had a cow-calf operation. She was very active in both 4-H and FFA throughout school, and exhibited swine and beef at the Marion County Fair. In her junior year of high school, her family moved to Adair, where she graduated from Adair-Casey High School in May 2013. Her first year of college was spent at Southwestern Community College where she played women’s golf. She was then offered a golf scholarship to play at Northwest Missouri State University, so she transferred to Maryville, and recently graduated from Northwest in December of 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Science.

Williams said “Working with children and agriculture have always been passions of mine. I’m looking forward to being a part of the Cass County Extension and 4-H program, and I cannot wait to see where this next adventure takes me.”

Stop by the Cass County Extension Office at 805 W. 10th Street in Atlantic and welcome Shelby to her new position.  She is available to answer questions you may have regarding 4-H and youth programming as well as providing information on resources available through Iowa State University Extension in Cass County.  Shelby can also be reached by calling the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132, by email at shelbyrw@iastate.edu or by visiting www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.

High Fire Danger across parts of western/s.w. IA today (Friday)

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 17th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Monona-Harrison-Shelby-Pottawattamie-Mills-Montgomery-Fremont-
Page Counties:

Unseasonably warm temperatures and dry conditions will result in elevated fire weather concern today across much of the area. Relative humidity this afternoon will fall to around 20 percent in southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa with southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. A cold front will move into northeast Nebraska during the afternoon with humidity there between 25 and 30 percent and northwest winds 10 to 20 mph.

File photo (area field fire March 2014)

Outdoor burning is discouraged due to the increased fire danger today. Use extra caution if using motorized vehicles in grassy areas and handle the disposal of smoking material with care.

Atlantic ethanol plant back on track

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 16th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Elite Octane, LLC (“Elite Octane”) said Thursday afternoon, that the company has found a path forward with the proposed ethanol project near Atlantic. Nick Bowdish, with Elite Octane said while progress of the project had stalled over matters related to the electricity supply, he was “Pleased that [their] investor group found a way to make this project viable.” Bowdish says “Elite Octane intends to close on its financing quickly and commence construction.”

The Company is in final stages of due diligence and anticipates it could begin construction in February 2017 on an ethanol plant near Atlantic, that will consume over 40 million bushels of locally grown corn and produce approximately 120 million gallons of ethanol and 300,000 tons of distiller’s grains per year.

The plant will occupy 102 acres northwest of Atlantic, about two miles outside the city limits, and is expected to bring at least 49 jobs to the area. Elite Octane will spend about $196 million on the project. The site will be one of 21 plants that produces at least 100 million gallons per year in the state, while 20 produce below that amount, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.