KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Head of Renewable Fuels Association discusses China’s ethanol goals

Ag/Outdoor

September 18th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is cautiously optimistic that China’s ethanol goals will positively impact producers in the U.S. The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and energy administration recently announced a plan to extend the use of biofuels throughout the country by 2020. RFA president Bob Dinneen calls the move a step in the right direction, but says some important questions need to be answered.

“Right now, all they’ve really done is said that there’s a plan in place that would allow the use of higher level blends. But, they have not yet removed their barriers to U.S. ethanol that could help them meet such a lofty target,” Dinneen says.

He projects Chinese ethanol demand could exceed four billion gallons. Dinneen says China – the world’s third largest ethanol producer behind the U.S. and Brazil – can’t achieve that objective alone.

“And yet, they’ve got a huge tariff in place that really makes U.S. ethanol impossible to get into the country. So, we hope to work with them, and we certainly hope that they will work with us to open up free and fair trade on ethanol, as well as distillers feed,” Dinneen said.

Iowa is the top ethanol producing state in the U.S. Dinneen points out having former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as Ambassador to China should prove beneficial, given his longtime support of renewable fuels.

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

Refuge offers monarch butterfly workshop and count

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 18th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) – Monarch butterflies will be the focus of a workshop at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near the Iowa-Nebraska border. The workshop will be held at the refuge on Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. After learning about the butterflies, participants will help catch and tag the butterflies.

The refuge is located north of Omaha, Nebraska, along on U.S. Highway 30 near Missouri Valley, Iowa. An entrance permit is required for all vehicles. Participants must register ahead of time by calling (712) 388-4800. More details about the refuge are available online at www.fws.gov/refuge/Desoto .

State environmental board takes up master matrix request from ICCI today

Ag/Outdoor

September 18th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A hearing is scheduled for this (Monday) morning on a request by environmental advocates to toughen the state’s rules on the placement of large-scale livestock lots. Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement say the Department of Natural Resources is urging the Environmental Protection Commission to deny the petition. I-C-C-I organizer Erica Blair says the D-N-R is flat-out rejecting their request.

“They essentially have cherry-picked certain things in the petition and are using those items to justify denying it outright, which is not something that they necessarily need to do,” Blair says. “They could still take up the petition, they have that option. They can propose alternatives if they don’t agree with everything, but instead, they’ve just decided to kick the can down the road.”

The E-P-C will make the final decision on the so-called “master matrix” rules which govern the siting of livestock operations. Blair says, “The Department of Natural Resources has made a recommendation to the EPC and so they are going to be the ones that ultimately take a vote whether or not to move forward with our petition to strengthen the master matrix.”

Many of the state’s residents want these rules tightened, according to Blair, and I-C-C-I members will be weighing in at the E-P-C hearing. “They need to take up this petition,” Blair says. “We really can’t afford to wait any longer with strengthening the master matrix. This is something that thousands of Iowans are calling for. The EPC really needs to stand with the people of Iowa, not the industry.”

The E-P-C meets this morning at the Iowa state capitol starting at 10 a.m.

(Radio Iowa)

Experts say increase in Iowa farmland values not permanent

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 15th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa farmland values have increased this year, reversing several years of declines, but industry experts say the change likely isn’t a signal that the agricultural economy is improving. Steve Bruere is president of Peoples Co., a farm management and brokerage firm. He tells The Des Moines Register that a lack of farms on the market has driven up the value.

The Realtors Land Institute’s Iowa chapter says farmland values climbed nearly 3 percent to almost $6,700 an acre for the year ending in September. Farm prices dropped in 2011 after a drought increased corn and soybean prices. Iowa agricultural income has dropped nearly 70 percent since 2013, bringing in $2.6 billion last year.

Bruere says if a downturn in the farm economy continues, farm sales may increase and values would be reduced.

Dry conditions expand, covering 70 percent of Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

September 15th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A new report shows the drought zone in Iowa has greatly expanded. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 70 percent of Iowa is abnormally dry or in some form of drought. A week ago, the report indicated about half of Iowa in those conditions. The area of extreme drought has expanded as well. All or parts of seven counties in south central and southeast Iowa are now in extreme drought.

Rain is falling in western Iowa this morning. More than three inches of rain falls, on average, in Iowa during the month of September. So far this month, there are significant sections of the state that have had NO rain.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa DNR: Additional doe tags now available

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 15th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources reports Iowa resident deer hunters who are interested in additional doe tags can now purchase them. If you have already purchased one doe tag, the cost of each additional doe tag is reduced to $13.00. The DNR says while thousands of doe tags are still available across the state, you’re encouraged to purchase as soon as possible to ensure you get the tags you want; eight of the 63 counties offering doe tags are sold out, and an additional 18 counties have less than 500.

You can check current quotas here: https://jc.activeoutdoorsolutions.com/iowadnr/app/locFindPage.do?licnYear=2017&lottery=5&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

or read more about Iowa deer hunting, here: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Deer-Hunting?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Chuck Grassley supporting grandson for Iowa ag secretary

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 14th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is firmly behind his grandson as a candidate to replace Bill Northey as Iowa’s secretary of agriculture.  Northey has been nominated to an undersecretary post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is widely expected to be confirmed. State Rep. Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, has acknowledged his interest in succeeding Northey.

The Des Moines Register reports that Chuck Grassley said Wednesday that his grandson’s experience as a farmer and state legislator make him qualified to lead the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

And, Chuck Grassley says, “I hope he’ll be appointed.” Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is on a foreign trade mission, has said little about her plans for the appointment other than mentioning last week that several people were under consideration.

Report: Midwestern farm economy is improving, gradually

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 14th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City shows slight improvements in the economy of the Midwestern farm sector. Nathan Kauffman, an executive with the Fed’s Omaha Branch, says lower farm incomes and weaker credit conditions continue in Iowa and neighboring states, but he says the second quarter was not quite as negative as it has been the past couple of years.

“We’ve seen commodity prices really be more or less stable the last couple of years, albeit at a lower level,” Kauffman says. “We’re just not seeing the same pace of decline that we would’ve seen a couple years ago as commodity prices had really fallen sharply.”

Kauffman says many lenders were caught off guard a few years ago with the decline in commodity prices, but he says it seems like they have adjusted. “A lot of lenders are still trying to work through some of those issues, communicate more effectively with their borrowers, maybe requiring a little bit more from their borrowers, recognizing that maybe not out of the woods even though things are not deteriorating as rapidly as they had been,” Kauffman says.

During the second quarter, more bankers reported denying new farm loan requests compared to the previous two years. Kauffman says credit conditions are weaker compared to several years ago. “There are a number of businesses that would be involved in providing service to agriculture,” Kauffman says. “So, when there are changes to the agricultural economy, that does have an impact across a larger spectrum of business interests.”

Producers are not being helped by the fact that interest rates on variable rate operating loans increased to nearly six-percent in the second quarter, the highest in five years. Kauffman says conditions are stabilizing, but commodity prices are still lower than five or six years ago.

(Radio Iowa)

Space available in upcoming hunter education classes

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Hunter Education Classroom courses are offered by knowledgeable and certified volunteer instructors and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers. Classroom courses are typically 12-15 hours in length and are held over 2 to 3 sessions (days). In order to receive certification, a student must attend all sessions and pass the final exam. Iowa law requires that anyone born after January 1, 1972 must be certified in hunter education before they are eligible to purchase an Iowa hunting license.

Upcoming (area) Hunter Education Classes:

  • Sept. 13, Exira, Audubon County Conservation Board
  • Sept. 18, Clarinda, American Legion
  • Sept. 23, Mt. Ayr, Dragoon Trace Nature Center
  • Oct. 2, Sioux City, Elk’s Lodge #112
  • Oct. 5, Greenfield, Adair County Conservation Board – Greenfield Public Library

For more information on these and other hunter education opportunities, go to www.iowadnr.gov/huntered.

New law allows approved pistol cartridges for use in rifles to hunt deer

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 13th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa hunters will have a new option this fall while hunting deer during the youth season, disabled hunter season and both shotgun seasons – rifles that are capable of shooting straight walled cartridges. The new straight wall cartridge law was passed without dissent by the Iowa Legislature, and then signed by then Governor Terry Branstad on April 13. It was enacted to allow for a lower recoil option for older and younger hunters, but is available to all hunters in those four seasons.

The law allows for straight wall ammunition that was previously approved for pistol hunting to be used in rifles. The list of acceptable calibers is in the Iowa Hunting and Trapping Regulations (p. 31, www.iowadnr.gov/hunting) along with criteria for similar sized ammunition not on the list.

Depending upon the caliber, some straight wall cartridges will be effective up to 100 yards, but most will be effective to around 50 yards. The new law requires individuals caught with a rifle capable of shooting ammunition not on the approved list while hunting deer to have their hunting privileges suspended for two years and receive a $250 fine.