KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Cass County Extension Report 2-28-2018

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

February 28th, 2018 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson.


White House: Talks to continue on renewable fuel standard

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says talks will continue on a dispute over the future of the renewable fuel standard, which has pitted lawmakers from corn-producing states against those representing refineries.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Donald Trump had a productive meeting Tuesday with four Republican senators: Ted Cruz of Texas, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa.

The White House says Trump has made clear his commitment to the RFS and support for farmers and energy workers. The standard requires biofuels from corn and soybeans to be blended into gasoline and diesel. Midwest states have sought to maintain the standards while oil companies have pushed to ease the mandates.
Grassley says in a conference call with reporters that no deal was reached Tuesday.

AZ man found guilty of deer poaching at Lake Manawa State Park

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

February 27th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports Nicholas Slater of Glendale, Ariz. was found guilty following a trial on Feb. 12th, 2018, for charges related to poaching a whitetail deer. The poaching incident occurred at Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs on Nov. 19, 2016.  Slater was found guilty on seven charges, including hunting on a game refuge, not having a valid nonresident hunting license and habitat fee, not having a valid deer tag (either antlerless or antlered/anysex), and illegal taking, transporting and possession of deer.

The total fines for Slater are $7,061.95, which includes court-imposed civil damages for the reimbursement of the deer. In addition, Slater will have his hunting privileges suspended for three years in Iowa and the Interstate Wildlife Violator’s Compact as a result of the conviction. The Iowa DNR was assisted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department with the investigation.

Northey confirmed as Under Secretary of Agriculture

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, today (Tuesday), issued the following statement following the U.S. Senate confirming him to serve as the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm Production and Conservation.  The timing for Northey’s resignation and swearing-in is still being finalized and will be announced at a later date.

Northey said in a statement: “It is a tremendous honor for me to be confirmed to serve as an Under Secretary of Agriculture.  I want to thank President Trump for nominating me and Secretary Perdue for his support and encouragement throughout the confirmation process. I also want to thank Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst for their strong support and their tireless work on behalf of my nomination. I greatly appreciate Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow and the entire Senate Ag Committee for their bipartisan support of my nomination. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them in this new role.”  He said also, that “While this process has taken longer than expected, I remain as excited as ever to work with Secretary Perdue and the staff at USDA to support of our nation’s farmers and ranchers.

Northey added “I want to express my deep appreciation to the people of Iowa for affording me the opportunity to serve in this role for the past eleven years. Working with and learning from the men and women who make Iowa agriculture the dynamic and productive industry that feeds the world has been honor of a lifetime.” Northey was nominated to fill the position in September 2017. His nomination was approved unanimously by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

After a 4-month hold by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Iowa’s agriculture secretary was finally confirmed to fill the USDA position.

House votes to require convention egg sales in Iowa grocery stores

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 27th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa House has voted to require the state’s grocers to sell “conventional” eggs in addition to eggs marketed as coming from “free-range” or “cage free” operations. The requirement would be in force for stores that accept federal “Women, Infants and Children” or “WIC” food benefits. Representative Bruce Bearinger, a Democrat from Oelwein, backs the bill. “The egg is the most versatile, low-cost source of high-quality protein that we have and it is important that we ensure our most vulnerable citizens continue to have access to the best price and the lowest price they can for this commodity,” he said.

The legislator who introduced the bill said his concern was the pressure retailers are getting to sell only eggs that come from “cage free” operations. The bill as originally written would have simply forced Iowa grocers to always have conventional eggs for sale. It was adjusted, though, to link that requirement with participation in the WIC program. Bill backers say “conventional” eggs are significantly less expensive. Representative Bruce Hunter, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the market should dictate policy for grocers who might find a way to sell specialty eggs at a competitive price.  “And have that opportunity to serve what they think is the best interest of their store and of their customers,” Hunter said.

Hunter’s view was in the minority. The bill passed the House on an 81-to-17 vote. A similar bill is eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate.

(Radio Iowa)

Dead fish appear as eastern Iowa marina thaws

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 26th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — The late-winter thawing of an eastern Iowa marina has left anglers and birds with a smelly surprise: thousands of tiny dead shad. Fish in Burlington’s Bluff Harbor Marina slowly ran out of oxygen during two months of freezing temperatures and ice build-up. Harbormaster Jon Billups tells the Hawk Eye that using bubblers to churn air and oxygen into the marina and keep ice down didn’t help this winter.

The ice thawing exposes the silvery fish, not much bigger than minnows, frozen where they were swimming. Billups says fishermen are invited to collect the shad to use as bait. Pelicans, gulls and eagles have already begun to make meals out of the dead fish.

The shad will likely flow into the Mississippi River as currents return to the marina.

Memorial Day weekend camping reservation window opens today (Sunday)

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 25th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

If you like to camp during Memorial Day weekend, the three-month window to reserve a state park campsite for a Friday arrival opens today (Sunday).  Those weekend dates are Friday, May 25 through Monday, May 28.

New for the 2018 season, 75 percent of available campsites at each park can be reserved through the online reservation site; the remaining 25 percent are available first-come first-serve at the park.

When visiting the reservation site, please note any closures or renovations taking place at each park. Five campgrounds will be closed for the entire 2018 summer camping season for upgrades and renovations. Those parks will still be open for day-use visitors. The campgrounds that will be closed are at: Ledges State Park, Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, Geode State Park, Marble Beach State Recreation Area and Maquoketa Caves State Park.

City worries about safety of Iowa plant’s leftover stover

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 25th, 2018 by Ric Hanson

NEVADA, Iowa (AP) — Public safety officials are concerned about up to 500,000 bales of flammable stover that are stored across central Iowa and will be left over after a cellulosic ethanol plant is sold. The newly merged DowDuPont is selling its $225 million cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada because it no longer fits its strategic plan, leaving many residents asking what will happen to the remaining stover.

The plant’s corn cobs, husks and stalks are a fire liability for the city and county, the Des Moines Register reported . The plant’s stover is scattered around 23 storage sites in central Iowa. A few bales catching fire could turn into a major blaze, particularly at the plant’s main site where there are about 200,000 bales within about a half mile.
“Our concern is who will be responsible for the bales once the plant is sold,” said Ricardo Martinez, Nevada’s public safety director.

“What would be my worst nightmare is if DowDuPont shuffles its hands and says, ‘we’re out of here,’ and they walk away, and we still have the problem to deal with,” he said. Nevada firefighters faced two large stover fires two years ago. DuPont also has experienced between seven and eight lightning fires at stover storage areas, though some were believed to be arson.

“DuPont knows our concerns and has been working with us,” Martinez said.
Ray Reynolds, the city’s fire chief, believes a buyer will be interested in the stover, purchased under contracts with area farmers. Reynolds said that if a new plant owner doesn’t want the stover, the company said the crop residue could be ground up and used for livestock bedding or covering landfills.

Internet-famous eagle lays her 1st egg of the year


February 23rd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) — A famed Iowa bald eagle watched worldwide on the internet has laid its first egg of the year. The eagle named Mom Decorah laid the egg a little before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, as seen on the Raptor Resource Project eagle webcam . The nonprofit organization says it’s the 30th egg the eagle has dropped at a nest near the Decorah Trout Hatchery in northeast Iowa.

Report looks at Midwest farm practices impact on climate change


February 22nd, 2018 by Ric Hanson

The quantity of corn and soybeans grown in the Midwest and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions have radically changed in the past century. A new report compares how the two impact climate change. Summers in the Corn Belt have had more rainfall and higher humidity, but a small decrease in temperature. Researchers at M-I-T looked at whether greenhouse gas emissions or more intensive farming played the bigger role in those changes. Ross Alter is the lead author of the study.

Alter says, “We provided very strong evidence that agricultural intensification is a stronger forcing of these observed changes than greenhouse gas emissions were.” More plants taking up water ultimately means more moisture in the air, increasing rain and moderating temperatures. Iowa State University agronomist Rick Cruse says irrigation specifically, not just crop expansion, may be the real culprit.

Cruse says, “This study suggests that there’s evidence that we might ought to be considering agricultural impacts, especially in areas that are having a new or a major or significant, different form of crop cover, or water -irrigation- occurring.”

Cruse says that’s because irrigation and the overall amount of water in the region affects plant activity that ultimately drives the changes. The research also indicates agriculture may have masked potential increases in temperature that the greenhouse gas emissions alone might have caused. Cruse, the director of the Iowa Water Center, was not involved with the research but has worked with climate scientists.

(Radio Iowa, w/Thanks to Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio)