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.

Trumpeter Swans will return to Cass County…but when?

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 2nd, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Conservation Board is asking you…”When do you think the first Trumpeter Swan will arrive at the Schildberg Quarry?” You can call in your prediction (by November 11th) to the Conservation Board at 712-769-2372, leave a message and return phone number if the staff are not available. swan

Duplicate dates will not be allowed. For example, if a caller predicts November 25th, no one else will be allowed to predict that arrival date. Call anytime until November 11th to make your prediction. One prediction per family, please. The sponsors of this contest will determine the official arrival of the swans. The winner will receive a Trumpeter Swan 8×10 print from the Cass County Conservation Board.

The contest is only for residents of Cass County.

Trumpeter Swans have visited the Schildberg Quarry for, at least, sixteen out of the last Seventeen winters. Arrival and departure dates of the swans have been as follows:
1997/1998 December 18 – January 2
1998/1999 Nothing on record
1999/2000 December 25 – February 15
2000/2001 November 23 – March 6
2001/2002 December 25 – February 24
2002/2003 November 23 – March 15
2003/2004 November 26 – March 21
2004/2005 November 25 – March 18
2005/2006 November 17 – March 5
2006/2007 October 30 – March 9
2007/2008 November 22- February 14
2008/2009 November 18- March 12
2009-2010 November 19 – January 5
2010-2011 November 5 – February 10
2011/2012 November 17 – February 21
2012/2013 November 24– March 4
2013/2014 November 12- April 7


Group wants investigation of Iowa rabbit deaths

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – An animal welfare group is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the death of four rabbits used for research at the University of Iowa. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports a USDA routine inspection report from August found four rabbits died in June during a study. The report says the animals died of unexpected study complications.

The USDA report says the researchers did provide care for the animals, but didn’t contact or consult with a veterinarian about their health. A University of Iowa spokesman says the school has addressed the USDA report internally. He says the university is committed to complying with regulations governing the care and use of animals in research.

Cass County Extension Report 10-01-2014

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

October 1st, 2014 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Lake Manawa Park, Lake Renovation Meeting Oct. 14

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the public is invited to a discussion pertaining to the latest rendition of the Lake Manawa campground renovation project and lake restoration project. The event takes place 6 p.m. October 14th, at the Western Historic Trails Center, in Council Bluffs.

Wilson Island Rec. Area re-dedication set for Oct. 7th

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources says the Wilson Island State Recreation Area will be officially rededicated during a ceremony at 1 p.m., October 7th, at the large riverfront shelter. Speakers include DNR Director Chuck Gipp, State Parks chief Todd Coffelt, and the president of the Wilson Island friends group. The rededication is the culmination of a $2.5-$3 million cleanup and rebuild project that began after the area was damaged in the spring of 2011 by the flooding Missouri River.

Wilson Island’s initial reopening was delayed until Aug. 3 from its planned mid June reopening after a storm battered the area with four inches of rain, baseball sized hail and 80-90 mile per hour winds that knocked down trees and damaged park buildings.

The campground remodel includes eliminating the more flood prone sites and changing the first to flood electric sites to non electric. The number of electrical sites increased by 15 but the total number of campsites has been reduced by 10.

The new Wilson Island has 50 amp service electrical sites, a new shower house, two new dump stations, two new picnic shelters all at higher elevations, and a new park office.


Bluffs’ Bayliss Park recognized as 1 of 10 “Great Public Spaces” for 2014

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 1st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with  The American Planning Association (APA), Tuesday, announced that Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs, has earned the designation as one of the “10 Great Public Spaces” for 2014.   Each October during National Community Planning Month, APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that add value to communities and foster economic growth and jobs.

Bayliss Park is the geographic and symbolic “town square” for the community. Using four corner entrances, Bayliss Park connects visitors with the surrounding commercial and residential areas of downtown as well as the bike trails that extend 40 miles throughout the community. The park also serves as the preferred site for many arts events, outdoor concert series, outdoor movies, weddings and major annual community events like “Celebrate CB,” and the “Winterfest” lighting display. Over the past 10 years, a citizen steering committee for Bayliss Park has raised nearly $750,000 with the help of over 1,500 community members. The monies will be directed to the park’s rehabilitation and renovation, including the creation of a master plan.

APA’s Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods and Great Public Spaces feature unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners. Since Great Places in America was launched in 2007, APA has designated 230 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces. Places are announced annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.

New this year, APA is seeking input from the public for the “31st Great Place Designee.” Interested citizens can nominate their Great Place by commenting on APA’s Facebook page or via Twitter using hashtag #mygreatplace.  The “31st Great Place Designee” will be announced on Friday, October 31, 2014.

Invasive cucumber plant leaves some Iowa landowners in a pickle


September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Along with Iowa’s more traditional crops, two species of cucumber vines are having a bumper year. It’s not an edible kind of cucumber, but a pest that can choke out all sorts of plants, including young stands of trees. Iowa State University agronomy professor Bob Hartzler says the cucumber culprits are the wild and the burr varieties.

“There is more of it this year,” Hartzler says. “Both species start relatively late compared to some of our other weeds. In many years, when it turns dry in the summer, because of the late start, they can’t compete with the already-established vegetation. This year, with moisture throughout the growing season, it’s allowed them to thrive.” It’s especially noticeable in the trees this year.

Hartzler says the light green vines will grow up to 30 feet long and coil around anything they touch. He advises against using chemicals to control the weeds. “They grow in areas where it’s hard to use herbicides, simply because if they are growing up on a tree, there’s not a selective chemical that will kill the cucumber species without damaging the tree,” Hartzler says. “When you have a big problem, usually it’s a relatively small number of plants.”

Because they’re an annual, he says if you clip them off at the base, they aren’t going to regrow from that root. The seeds falling from the plant will likely grow again next year, so he says it’s best to pull the seedlings as soon as possible in the spring. Hartzler says they’re very aggressive and they’re native to Iowa so they’re not considered invasive, but he says they can be a nuisance.

(Radio Iowa)

Iowa corn, soybean harvest lagging behind average

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Corn and soybean crops are in good condition but the challenge for farmers is getting the crops harvested before the weather turns cold.  Late planting caused the crops to mature later than normal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in its weekly update Monday that 60 percent of the corn crop is mature, well behind the five-year average of 70 percent. Soybeans are two percentage points behind the average.

Just 2 percent of the Iowa corn crop is harvested far less than the 15 percent average. About 3 percent of soybeans are out of the fields, behind the 17 percent average. Nationally, 12 percent of corn is out of the fields half the average at this point in time. Ten percent of soybeans are harvested, seven points behind the average.

Rail car shortage may mean problems for harvest

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 30th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Most Iowa farmers haven’t started the harvest yet but already it’s clear there will be problems with moving the grain. U-S Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says rail cars will be in short supply and he doesn’t foresee any solution coming down the tracks. “Our surface transportation board, along with our rail companies, and along with us in Washington, we’re going to have to figure out a way to create more capacity so that commodities can move,” Foxx says. Farmers need rail cars to move their crops, but many rail cars are being diverted to haul oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and Montana.

“It’s an issue we have to deal with,” Foxx says. “The Surface Transportation Board has primary responsibility for it but clearly with the proliferation of the movement of crude oil by rail, it increases competition for precious rail space.” Foxx says there’s no easy fix to the looming rail car shortage. “Even if Congress funded us tomorrow, it would still take some time to get track on the ground and things going,” Foxx says. “It’s not going to be a short-term solution but again, the Surface Transportation Board has primary responsibility for trying to work out the issues that have to do with commodities moving.”

Many blame the rail car shortage on the delay on building the Keystone X-L oil pipeline across Nebraska. That pipeline could carry the Bakken oil, freeing up thousands of rail cars to move crops.

(Radio Iowa)

Change costs stores more to accept SNAP benefits

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 29th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

It now costs Iowa grocery stores and other businesses more to accept payments through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Merchants now have to pay for their own equipment and processing services whenever SNAP cards are used. Kevin Concannon, the U-S-D-A’s Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services and a former Iowan, says the change was designed to prevent the illegal use of the program.

Concannon says, “We found that in some locations where a manual machine was used to record the expenditure on the SNAP benefit, there was a higher rate of fraud or trafficking.” About 421-thousand Iowans now receive SNAP benefits, or about 13-percent of the population. Concannon says the goal is to make the use of those benefits more secure.

“There are now 257,000 locations across the United States where one can use or spend your SNAP benefits,” Concannon says. “The requirement will be now that all of those outlets will be required to use electronic benefit capacity.” Iowans who make part of their living at the 230 farmers markets across the state will be glad to hear that there are a few exceptions to the rule.

“Those exceptions are basically farmers markets because it recognizes the nature of a farmers market is often on a vacant lot or in a rural area,” Concannon says. “It’s part of our effort to really reach out and support local agriculture and to encourage people to purchase healthier foods.” Other exceptions include military commissaries, direct marketing farmers and non-profit food cooperatives. Concannon is the former director of the Iowa Department of Human Services.

(Radio Iowa)