Food Preservation Basics Course Coming Up June 28
Pre-Registration Requested by Monday
Local residents interested in food preservation are invited to Food Preservation 101, a two-hour overview of general food preservation principles. The class includes current recommendations for canning, freezing and drying, display of equipment and utensils and sources for safe and tested food preservation information. The course will be held Tuesday, June 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Cass County Extension office in Atlantic. Fee for the course is $5 per person, and includes all materials, recipes, etc. Pre-registration is requested by Monday, June 27 by calling 712-243-1132 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cass County Extension also offers pressure canner dial gauge testing by appointment. Dial gauge pressure canners should be tested annually for accuracy. Dial gauges will also be tested at the end of the Food Preservation 101 program on June 28 for any participants interested.
The weekly monitoring program that tests waters at the state park beaches is now into its fifth week. The coordinator of the program, Mary Skopec, says there’ve been some good early results. “So far this year we haven’t seen any of the blue-green algae toxins — that’s a good thing,” Skopec says. “We had regular bacteria impairments, we’ve had a number of rainstorms bringing bacteria into our lakes. Heavy rains early in the season are not unusual, but some of the levels we have seen have been pretty high.” Skopec says they did see some high bacteria levels in the Great Lakes region in northern Iowa, which is not common.
“We normally don’t see very high levels of bacteria at the Okobojis, and last week they got hit pretty hard. So we saw a number of advisories at beaches where we normally don’t see that,” Skopec says. The heavy downpours that have been popping up create problems as the water runs off quickly. “If we see very heavy rains it’s hard for the ground to absorb a lot of that water and we do see the bacteria being washed off from the landscape into the beach and the bacteria levels spiking. So, that certainly is a driver, those heavy rains that we’ve had this year,” Skopec explains. She says the good news is sunshine following the heavy rains helps kill off the bacteria. Skopec says the blue-green algae can pose a larger problem.
“Because they are a toxin and the illnesses can be more severe — including things like respiratory distress where people have a hard time breathing,” according to Skopec. “We do see pet issues as well with the blue-green algae, so it is a little bit or concerning than the bacteria which tends to be a little stomach upset and some diarrhea, which is uncomfortable but not nearly as severe as the blue-green algae illness that you might see.”\
You can go online and see a map of the weekly testing results at the Iowa D-N-R website. http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Water-Quality/Water-Monitoring/Beaches
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Crops across Iowa and Nebraska are off to a good start this year but stress is beginning to show in some parts of the region from very hot and mostly dry conditions over the past week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Monday the leaves are beginning to curl on corn plants across the lower two-thirds of Iowa. The state saw half of the normal rain for the week during its seventh consecutive week of below normal precipitation and the fourth consecutive week with warmer than normal temperatures.
Nebraska also was hotter than normal but some rain helped much of the state except for south-central Nebraska. Nearly 80 percent of the corn crop in both states is rated good or excellent and soybean emergence also is ahead of schedule.
The Iowa Highway Patrol estimates nearly a quarter of the damage done to its vehicles comes from collisions with animals. Patrol Sergeant Nate Ludwig says the majority of the crashes involve deer, but last year a trooper had a close encounter with a wild turkey. “It was coming through the windshield and it basically destroyed the whole inside of his car all the way to the backseat,” Ludwig says. “It took out his computer, it was quite the mess. All of the expensive equipment in our cars, any more damage than what’s done to a regular car is going to be exponentially more.”
Ludwig says the patrol is working with Iowa State University researchers to identify areas in the state that are known as “carcass crash corridors.” He says several dead animals along the road likely mean those are places where they need to be especially watchful. “We have about 350 state patrol cars in our fleet, so, what we’re trying to do is basically mitigate the cost to the taxpayer and try and identify these problem areas,” Ludwig says. “We are always on the lookout for animals on the road but if we know we’re in a specific spot, we’ll really be on the lookout.” Ludwig says the goal is to have the data programmed into the vehicle’s on-board computer system. It could be programmed to alert the officer when they enter a so-called “animal hotspot.”
Corn and soybeans have rallied in recent weeks, and an Iowa State University Agriculture Economist says farmers should take advantage that increase. Chad Hart says the price rally is due to a combination of factors. “The dollar has gotten weaker, made our corn, soybeans, even our livestock products a little cheaper to the rest of the world, so we’ve seen more sales that way,” Hart says. “The weather problems in South America not only delayed their harvest, but destroyed some crops down there. Again, opening up a few more export markets for us at a time when typically when the world is sourcing more out of South America.”
Hart says July 4th is typically a time when farmers can see what the markets will do for the remaining crop season. However, he believes that time frame may have been pushed up a little. He says this year’s price trends looks familiar to a rally early in last year’s planting season. “And I am wondering if we are going through that same process this year, but if you will, a little longer, a little stronger this year than we saw last year,” Hart says. The Iowa State University Agriculture Economist says farmers may want to look at selling some of their stored grain during this rally. He also says farmers may want to look at ways at protecting themselves from any price decline as it relates to their new crop that is still in the fields.
He says the new crops represent a marketing opportunity and farmers may look to put in some price floors or option contracts. Hart says the length of the rally depends on Mother Nature and how quickly the El Nino weather pattern turns into a La Nina weather pattern.
The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that the D-N-R can’t be sued for a boating accident on Storm Lake. The accident happened on Memorial Day weekend in 2010 as Jamie Laass of South Sioux City, Nebraska and her four kids were riding in a speedboat driven by her boyfriend Harry Foote. Foote was doing around 30-miles-an-hour in the boat when it hit a submerged dredge pipe and flipped over. Laass’ 10-year-old son David died in the accident.
Laass filed a lawsuit against the D-N-R. The D-N-R lawsuit was dismissed by the district court based on several issues including what’s called the public duty doctrine. It says the government has the duty to inform the public at large about safety issues, but is not liable to individuals.
The Iowa Supreme Court upheld that district court ruling. Court records say a lawsuit against the city, county and lake improvement association in the case was settled for one-point-two million dollars.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office says a man from Murray reported Thursday morning, that sometime over the past few weeks, 18 cows and 19 calves have come up missing from his farm in Union County. Larry Schultes said the estimated value of his missing cattle is $37,000.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Missouri River Historical Development Board has approved a $1 million grant for a proposed agricultural expo center in Sioux City. The Sioux City Journal reports that the grant from the nonprofit group could help leverage state funds to help build the $6.7 million Ag Expo & Learning Center.
Plans call for the center to include a 3,000-seat arena, a warm-up arena, livestock pens and a stockyards hall of fame. The proposed center would host equestrian competitions, livestock shows and other farm and agriculture-related events.
The board is set to formally present the grant to expo center leaders at a ceremony Thursday. The development board’s president, Mark Monson, said he hopes the grant will help kick-start additional private contributions for the center.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Three finalists have been announced for the New Food Contest at the Iowa State Fair. Fairgoers can vote on them Aug. 11-15. The winner will be announced Aug. 16. The finalists are Ice Cream Nachos, Not Your Mamma’s Taco and Pride of Iowa Wrap.
The nachos are described as crisp cinnamon sugar chips covered with cinnamon ice cream drizzled with hot fudge and caramel and sprinkled with chocolate, caramel and strawberries. It’s topped with nuts, whipped cream and a cherry. The taco is made from a deep-fried flour tortilla that’s layered with shredded turkey and veggie slaw and topped with mango salsa. The wrap uses a jalapeno-cheddar tortilla with pork shoulder, corn salsa and bacon bits. It’s layered with cheddar jack cheese, avocado relish, chipotle aioli and crispy tortilla bites.