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.

John Deere adds jobs at Dubuque factory amid layoffs

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – John Deere has recently laid off hundreds of workers in the Midwest, but it has added jobs at its factory in Dubuque, where the company manufactures huge vehicles for construction and forestry. Last month, the company announced the layoff of 910 workers at five locations in Iowa and Illinois, citing reduced demand for farming equipment as the reason. But the Telegraph Herald reports that John Deer Dubuque Works has added more than 100 jobs since late 2014.

General Manager Byron Taylor says this addition brings the total number of people working at the Dubuque site to 2,500. Taylor says the rollout of new bulldozer models and forestry machines, which hit the market in January, have contributed to the company’s strong growth in a new customer segment.

USDA Report 02-12-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 12th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Denny Heflin


DuPont Pioneer Commits $45,000 to Food and Agricultural Education in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with DuPont, and the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE), announced today (Wednesday), that DuPont Pioneer awarded more than $45,000 through multiple grants to agriscience educators in Iowa. The grants will fund training and classroom resources to help implement advanced agriculture curriculum.

Teachers who received a grant are implementing Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) in their classrooms and will attend training in 2015. Iowa teachers receiving grants include (locally): Kristen Rutherford, Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton High School; Susie Catanzareti, Mount Ayr Community School District, and Molly Heintz, West Central Valley High School.

Michelle Gowdy, director of Community & Academic Relations for DuPont Pioneer, said “Ensuring there is enough safe, affordable and nutritious food for all will require that more students understand agriculture and become future leaders in food production.” She added, “We are proud to be working with others in agriculture and education to give teachers the best resources to encourage children to learn more about agriculture and consider careers in the industry.”

CASE is a multiyear approach to agriscience education with rigorous educator training requirements and hands-on, inquiry-focused learning activities. The collaboration between DuPont Pioneer and CASE is a special project of the National FFA Foundation. This is the third year of involvement for DuPont Pioneer. Learn more about the program and grant schedule on the CASE grant website.

Cass County Extension Report 02-11-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 11th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Extension Program Coordinator Kate Olson


USDA may turn new focus on excessive use of antibiotics for livestock


February 11th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The budget President Obama sent to Congress asks for more than one-billion dollars to fight antibiotic resistance, with some of the focus on animal agriculture. Under the proposal, the U-S-D-A would get 77-million dollars to find ways to reduce use of the drugs in livestock. Hans Coetzee, a veterinary medicine professor at Iowa State University, says antibiotic resistance can make common medications ineffective, meaning, sick people or sick animals don’t get better.

Coetzee says, “We recognize that when both MDs and veterinarians are using the same class of drugs to treat disease, that we both have responsibilities to ensure that we’re using those drugs prudently and responsibly.” He says it’s important to develop new animal care strategies to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance.  “It would be prudent for us in production agriculture to find ways to minimize the amount of antibiotics used, to most effectively use the drugs that we have, and then to identify alternatives,” Coetzee says.

The president’s proposal nearly quadruples the U-S-D-A money designated for such research.

(Radio Iowa)

US farmers expected to see 32 percent drop in income in 2015

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Net income for U.S. farmers is expected to fall by nearly 32 percent this year because of low crop prices and increasing expenses, placing many farmers in an unprofitable situation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released estimates on Tuesday that show 2015 is expected to be the second year in a row that farmers will see their income fall. Income was down 16 percent from 2013 to 2014.

The report estimates net farm income will be $73.6 billion in 2015, down from $108 billion in 2014. It was at a record $129 billion in 2013. The report also anticipates that as income falls, expenses will increase by one-half percent. Government programs that pay farmers when commodity prices are low are expected to increase 15 percent this year.

Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approves preliminary Kiddie Korral site plan

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 9th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department’s Board of Directors, Monday, discussed the preliminary site plan prepared by Snyder and Associates Engineers, for the Kiddie Korral shelter, at Sunnyside Park. Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring said once they started tossing about ideas, Herring’s main concern was the location of the new shelter.

Site plan for Kiddie Korral

Site plan for Kiddie Korral

He feels it needs to be moved 10 to 15-feet south of the current location, and change the orientation of the building to a more southwesterly direction. Herring said the building also needs to be handicapped accessible, and there needs to be some kind of a service road.)

Other plans call for replacing the current fire pit with one similar to that which was recently installed at the Camblin Addition Shelter, a walkway to the shelter and other features for the surrounding area. The Board gave Herring the go-ahead to pursue the purchase of a pre-fabricated arch-beamed, metal roofed 30-by-50-foot shelter, that simply needs to be assembled on a concrete pad.

Snapshot of the proposal shelter for the Kiddie Korral at Sunnyside Park.

Snapshot of the proposal shelter for the Kiddie Korral at Sunnyside Park.

The shelter’s pad and electrical systems are not included in the $30,000 cost of the building, which will likely be paid for through the Local Option Sales Tax. A commitment from the Kiwanis and other sources of fundraising will help to defer the remainder of the costs.

In other business, the Atlantic Parks and Rec Board approve the filing of an application for a TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) grant for the Schildberg Recreation Area Lake number 2 Trail.  There is a little more than $300,000 available for the grant period ending Feb. 27th. Herring says they hope to get $153,000, with a 20-percent local match, which he intends to seek during the next meeting of the Atlantic City Council.

The Nishna Valley Trails group is seeking funds from the City, County and other entities as well as through grants, to bring build a connector trail from the Rec Area to the Atlantic Municipal Utilities’ well heads near the Atlantic Little League Diamonds across from KJAN.

Proposed additional trail around Lake #2 at the Schildberg Rec Area.

Proposed additional trail around Lake #2 at the Schildberg Rec Area.

Herring said the Lake #2 trail is critical to fulfilling the goal of bringing in hikers and bicyclists to the Rec Area, which can be a destination focal point for outdoor enthusiasts and bring more traffic into downtown Atlantic.

New Iowa land trust seeks to preserve farmland for growing healthy food

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 7th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The first-ever statewide non-profit organization to preserve farmland from urban sprawl is launching its operations. Suzan Erem, of West Branch, is president of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, or SILT. Erem says the new organization will be focused to protecting Iowa farmland to grow healthy food. “We’re going to be targeting land that’s surrounding our growing communities,” Erem says. “Market farmers are having trouble staying close to their markets. They’re under pressure either from development or from commodity farmers. Either way, the land prices go up and it makes it much harder for them to stay close to the community where they’re trying to sell their produce.”

Farmers, she says, are often land rich and cash poor. “If we don’t have a non-profit taking the pressure off of the land from development or commodity prices, there’s no way to keep it from going up and up and up,” Erem says. “Every time somebody buys land, they count on 30 or 40 years from now, selling it at a higher price.” Working with city planners and private developers, she says small farms can be built into a community’s planning process.

“If we can’t take the land out of the equation, we’re always going to have our farmers farming with one arm tied behind their backs with this debt,” Erem says. “The land trust will protect the land and keep it just for local food production which eliminates that competition with the other pressures.” Independent, family farms help to provide a diverse, healthy landscape which she says will increase nearby home values while attracting new businesses seeking a high quality of life for employees.

Learn more at: www.silt.org.

USDA Report 02-05-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 5th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Max Dirks


Local trails group asks Atlantic City Council for funding of Connector Trail

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, listened to a presentation from a representative with the Nishna Valley Trails (NVT) group, and their request for $50,000 in funding to help in their efforts to continue progress on the “Troublesome Creek Connector Trail.”

Dave Chase speaks to the Atlantic City Council.

Dave Chase speaks to the Atlantic City Council.

Dave Chase said last summer, the group applied for and received a $96,000 Iowa Department of Natural Resources REAP (Resource Enhancement and Protection) Grant, for the organization’s latest project. It was one of seven out of 24 projects that had applied for and received funding from the state for cities the size of Atlantic.

The $550,000 project involves the construction of about a 1.5-mile recreational trail and the use of a 12-foot wide single-span pedestrian bridge. The bridge itself has not yet been purchased. Chase said the group has raised more than half the funds needed to purchase the bridge needed to span Troublesome Creek, through a Community Drive, which has brought in a little over $50,000 since Christmas. He said the group has also filed a number of grant applications, but even if those are approved, it still won’t be enough to help complete the project, which is why NVT came to the City of Atlantic to ask for additional help.

Chase and City Administrator John Lund discussed the possibility of using a portion of the Community Progress Fund which is derived from the Local Option Sales Tax, to leverage more of the grant funds.  If the City Council should approve the $50,000 matching funds request, it would be combined with $50,000 from the County, which Chase said he intends to pursue as well. He said their goal is to raise all the necessary funds by this spring, with bid-letting at the same time, and construction getting underway this fall. He said the engineering aspect of the project has been completed.

The City of Atlantic’s Community Promotion Commission is set to consider a request from NVT for $10,000, during their meeting at Noon, today (Thursday).