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.

2015-2016 “Excellence in Agriculture” Scholarship Applications Now Available

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 23rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

(RALSTON, Iowa) Oct. 23, 2015 —High school seniors pursuing a career in agriculture or an ag-related field are invited to apply for West Central® Cooperative’s 2015-2016 Excellence in Agriculture scholarship. The Excellence In Agriculture scholarship program awards four $1,500 scholarships for any accredited post-secondary program. Applications are available at any West Central location, from area high school guidance counselors, or online at west-central.com

West Central CoOp logoScholarship Requirements:

1. Applicant and/or parent must be a voting member, in good standing, of West Central.

2. Applicant must be a high school senior and graduate in the spring of the 2015-2016 school year.

3. Applicant must have a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale through his/her junior year.

4. Applicant must pursue a career in agriculture or enter an ag-related field of study at any accredited post-secondary school of his or her choice.

5. Dependents of directors and officers of West Central are not eligible to apply for these scholarships.

Applications must be returned by Jan. 29, 2016. If you have questions regarding West Central’s Excellence In Agriculture scholarship program, please contact Alicia Clancy, Director of Communications, at (712) 667-3334.

Emerald Ash Borer Informational Meeting November 5th

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

ISU Extension officials in Montgomery County say an informational meeting on emerald ash borer (EAB) will be held for the public on Thursday, November 5th beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds Gold Building, 1809 4th Street in Red Oak.ISU Extension

Emerald ash borer is a small, metallic green beetle about ½ inch long that is destructive and invasive. It was discovered in rural Montgomery County in August of this year. The meeting will focus on the history of EAB in Iowa, how the insect works, and treatment options for owners of ash trees.

Presenters include Mike Kintner of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Lindsey Barney of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Mark Shour, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Entomologist.

The meeting is free and hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Montgomery County. Call 623-2592 or email Stephanie Langner at slangner@iastate.edu with questions. Find them on the web at www.extension.iastate.edu/montgomery, or on Facebook at Montgomery County-IA Extension.

Shelby County Fire Danger downgraded to “High”

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

With recent rain and the forecast for showers or light rain in the immediate forecast, the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency is asking local fire departments and businesses in the county who possess “Fire Danger” signs, to place those signs in the “High” category, through the weekend. That’s downgraded from Monday’s “Extreme” rating. Officials say another factor in the decision to lower the danger index, is the number of fields left to harvest, has dwindled.High Fire Danger

The next update on fire danger conditions will be posted Monday morning.

FFA sets another membership record

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 22nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa F-F-A Association has set another record for membership in schools across the state. Some 14-thousand-857 students participate in F-F-A in 225 high schools, which is up more than 500 from the previous year. Organization executive secretary, Scott Johnson, says the numbers are noteworthy. He says the previous two school years membership records exceed the membership record set back in the 1977-78 school year. Johnson says economic conditions in the agriculture may have a lot to do with the resurgence in membership.

“You know it’s hard to tell for sure why that is,” Johnson says, “I think in some cases if you look at our F-F-A membership history, we lost membership in the 80s. I think there is an obvious link there between the strengths of the ag industry and the ag economy and F-F-A and ag education enrollment in schools.” He says the economic situation has since made ag careers more enticing to students.

“With the economic recession in ’07 and ’08, the ag economy was very strong and I think it showed to a lot of perspective parents, students, school districts that there’s a future for students in agriculture,” Johnson explains. “And the projections of world population increasing to nine billion plus by the year 2050, I think also shows that there is going to be career opportunities out there.” Many of the F-F-A participants in our state still live in rural areas.

Johnson says while that is the case in Iowa, nationally the F-F-A has set membership records the last two years and some of the largest programs are in Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston. It used to be called Future Farmers of America before the name was shortened to just F-F-A. That reflects the changing careers in the field, which John says now include lots of jobs involving science and technology.

“It is more than just growing plants and growing animals, it’s about being efficient with the area that we have. With the growth of urban areas comes the loss of the land — and in Iowa some of the most productive land in the world — to feed that growing population,” Johnson says. He says everyone has realized how technology and innovation can answer that growing need for ag products.

“A world population that is growing doesn’t just increase the demand of food, it also causes an increase in demand for energy as well. So, at some point that all needs to be produced and balanced. And I think that’s what makes agriculture a strong and viable industry and career option,” Johnson says. The Iowa F-F-A Association was chartered in 1929.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Conservation Director reports to BOS

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Conservation Director Micah Lee presented his quarterly report to the Board of Supervisors this (Wednesday) morning. In his report, Lee said the past quarter has been unique, in that there was so much rain that resulted in work on some major projects being delayed. Most of the time, the staff concentrated on trying to keep up with mowing and maintenance duties at the various county parks and recreation area.

At Cold Springs State Park, the playground equipment was repaired or replaced, and work is underway on painting the shelter and the outside of the pit toilets. He says they hope to complete electrical outlet upgrades at Cold Springs later this fall.

At the Nodaway Recreation Area, Pellett Memorial Woods and T-Bone Trail, Lee says they’ve been battling brush encroachment along the road and pathways, and trying to keep those maintained. Micah says volunteer help has been invaluable where the T-Bone Trail clean-up is concerned.

Pellett has an additional issue of invasive Honeysuckle plants. He says controlled burns will help keep the plants in-check. And, Micah says Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning presented 52 educational program during the last quarter, and saw 1,136 people in the process.

Posted County Grain Prices, 10/21/15

Ag/Outdoor

October 21st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Cass County: Corn $3.27, Beans $8.39
Adair County: Corn $3.24, Beans $8.42
Adams County: Corn $3.24, Beans $8.38
Audubon County: Corn $3.26, Beans $8.41
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.30, Beans $8.39
Guthrie County: Corn $3.29, Beans $8.43
Montgomery County: Corn $3.29, Beans $8.41
Shelby County: Corn $3.30, Beans $8.39

Oats $2.18 (always the same in all counties)

(Information from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices)

Head of Iowa poultry and egg group discusses potential return of bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 20th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa egg and poultry producers are preparing for a possible return of avian influenza this fall as migrating wild waterfowl are again flying over. The bird flu wiped out 34-million chickens and turkeys on 77 Iowa farms this spring. Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry and Egg Association, says experts’ predictions about the fall migration are varied. “Some scientists would argue that birds that travel north in the spring might linger more as they move north, and in the fall, birds really just want to get moving south,” Olson says. “We’re optimistic that will be helpful.”

The U-S-D-A is preparing to handle an outbreak on more than 500 farms this fall, which is twice the scale of the spring outbreak.  “The USDA is taking this seriously,” Olson says. “Clearly, as they’ve modeled out this, it’s important for them to plan resources to react to what they’re calling a ‘worst case’ scenario. It could also be the case that we’ll have very few, if any, infections this fall. The disease is very unpredictable.”

Last month, Ames-based Harris Vaccines received conditional federal approval for its avian influenza vaccine, which is reported to be up to 95-percent effective. The U-S-D-A has hired around 200 of a planned 350 additional veterinarians, animal health technicians and other workers should a bird flu emergency occur. Olson says those are very positive moves.

“While there hasn’t been a decision to utilize vaccine, those types of planning steps need to happen in advance of that need,” he says. “The USDA is trying to be proactive, coupled with the good work of our farmers, we’re in the best position possible, but, make no mistake about it, our industry is on pins and needles.” If there’s another avian influenza outbreak this fall on the scale of last spring, Olson says it would be devastating to the industry.

(Radio Iowa)

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approves 5-year plan

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors met Monday evening, and approved a 5-year plan for improvements throughout the parks system. Director Roger Herring and Assistant Director Seth Staashelm went through and rated the priorities the Board had discussed during their special meeting October 7th, and as we’ve mentioned previously, the number one priority is the Schildberg Recreation Area.

The Campground project at Schildberg is tops on the list. It includes installation of water and electric loops and hook-ups, as well as a dump station, with restrooms and showers. It’s hoped a Vision Iowa grant will pay for a majority of the costs associated with those improvements. Applications for the Vision Iowa Grant are due in by July 2016 for the Nov. 2016 grant cycle.

Also included among the major projects is: The replacement of a damaged section of trail with concrete, around Lake #3 at Schildberg: Development of the west side of the Rec Area with a restroom, running water and drinkable water access. The plan also includes an ADA compliant boat access ramp for Lake #2. Further down the list of major improvements over the next five-years, according to the plan, is asphalting or paving the gravel road on Iowa Avenue into the Rec Area, and a multi-purpose shelter complete with vending machines, and, a playground area.

Other major projects, not associated with the Schildberg Rec Area, include: the Trail connecting the Bull Creek Pathway and East Ridge Park; A master plan for swimming pool renovations; and Multipurpose Activity Center/Closed All-weather shelter.

In other business, Roger Herring said grading for the Kiddie Korral at Sunnyside Park is complete, as well as installation of piers for the footings needed to support the new shelter, once it’s built, the concrete slab, and a service walkway. Herring said construction of the new shelter structure is expected to begin November 7th, weather permitting. And, progress is finally being made on the boat ramp for the East Nishnabotna River, next the City of Atlantic’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The final pour of the whole ramp is set for this Wednesday, weather permitting. Once it’s cured, the ramp will be slipped into place and anchored. Afterward, landscaping will get underway and a gravel parking lot will be installed. The Iowa DNR is covering half the cost of the cement for the project, or $20,000. And, with regard to the Nishna Valley Connector Trail project, Roger Herring said the bridge and completion of the trail to just west of KJAN, will bring a positive economic impact to the community, especially as it expands eastward through the AMU Well fields.

He says AMU is in the discussion phase of improving their trails system, including the possibility of paving the current, gravel trail around the well heads.

Red Flag Warning is posted, farmers beware during harvest

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

A Red Flag Warning is posted statewide today (Monday), for all but a few counties in northwest Iowa. The National Weather Service says the risk of wildfires is high due to strong winds, low humidity and dry vegetation. Farmers need to be especially cautious as they harvest dry crops. Iowa State University Extension ag engineer Kris Kohl says a recent survey found strong winds are the most common cause of combine fires.

File photo (area field fire March 2014)

File photo (area field fire March 2014)

“Wind is the number-one factor, especially when you’re above 25 miles an hour, to having fires,” Kohl says. “If we are harvesting, be very careful about bearings and stuff sitting on it because if we get a fire going, it’ll really take off.” He says farmers might be wise to give their equipment frequent breaks to cool off and for clean up.

“Stop every two or three hours and take a leaf blower and blow all of the chaff off of things,” Kohl says. “Check bearings to make sure nothing is getting hot. Bearings and exhaust are the two things that are prevalent when we have fires from combines.”

Two years ago, there were two major combine fires in northwest Iowa, which prompted the survey. Last week’s windy conditions contributed to several large fires in North and South Dakota. Forecasters say there’s a chance for some showers in Iowa tomorrow (Tuesday) though some areas of the state haven’t had significant moisture in several weeks.

(Radio Iowa)

Shelby County Fire Danger Index: Extreme!

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

October 19th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency is asking local fire departments and businesses in the county who possess “Fire Danger” signs, to place those signs in the “Extreme” category. High wind, low humidity, and significant crop left in the field will make for extreme fire danger this week. Any fires that start will be difficult to control and could spread rapidly. No burning is allowed during this period.

Extreme Fire DangerThe next update will be Thursday Morning.