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.

Federal disaster declaration denied for bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Governor Terry Branstad’s request for a federal disaster declaration to respond to the bird flu outbreak has been denied. The governor had sought a major disaster declaration from President Barack Obama for the four counties most impacted by the virus. In a letter from federal authorities dated Tuesday, the request was rejected.

The letter said the damage was “not of such severity and magnitude” that it could not be handled by the state. The virus has infected more than 31.5 million birds in Iowa, mostly egg-laying chickens, making the state the hardest hit in the nation. Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers said the administration was gathering information to assess whether an appeal would be effective.

NRCS Recommends Cover Crops in Prevented Planting Fields


July 8th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

For the second time in three years untimely heavy rains and flooding caused many Iowa farmers to either lose a crop or prevent them from planting a crop altogether. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging those farmers to explore the benefits of planting a cover crop.

Barb Stewart, state agronomist for NRCS in Iowa, says farmers with unplanted fields will have to weigh their program and insurance options. “We encourage producers to also assess agronomic options for ensuring long-term productivity,” she said. Stewart says planting a cover crop will help producers with unplanted fields capture applied nutrients, fix nitrogen, build organic matter, control weeds, reduce erosion, and improve soil health and biology during the remainder of the season. “Iowa farmers can build considerable yield potential for following year crops,” she says.

Cover crops also help prevent Fallow Syndrome – a population loss of beneficial fungi in the soil which develops in corn roots and assists in taking up nutrients. “Cover crops will serve as a host crop to give a better chance for the fungi to recover,” says Stewart.

Iowa NRCS recently revised a fact sheet for planting cover crops on prevented planting fields. The fact sheet includes a table with diverse cover crop mixes to address specific natural resource concerns. This fact sheet is available on the Iowa NRCS website (www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov) or at your local NRCS office.

Producers are advised to check with their crop insurance agents on prevented planting requirements and harvest restrictions for cover crops.

Cass County Extension Report 07-08-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

July 8th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson


Egg Council will continue giving out free egg-on-stick at Iowa State Fair

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 6th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The bird flu outbreak won’t keep a fan favorite from the Iowa State Fair next month. The free egg-on-a-stick will still be available free at the fair despite the aftermath of bird flu and soaring egg prices. Iowa Egg Council consumer affairs director, Katie Coyle, says it’s especially important to have the egg-on-a-stick this year. “There’s a lot of consumer questions that are going on and we just want to show that we’re still here, we still have plenty of eggs for everyone, we’re not going anywhere, so that’s why we’re still continuing with our original plan,” Coyle says.

The avian flu forced Iowa producers to kill millions of laying hens, which has led to an increase in egg prices in stores. Coyle says the organization buys some of the eggs and others are donated by producers. The Iowa Egg Council handed out more than 11-thousand dozen hardboiled eggs-on-a-stick last year. “Eggs are the most affordable source of protein out there and they are still healthy, and nutritious and delicious,” Coyle says. “Egg-on-a-stick is just a hardboiled egg on a popsicle stick, cause everything at the fair is on a stick so why not eggs.”

Coyle says the group expects to hand out as many free eggs as last year, nearly 137-thousand from their booth in the Agriculture Building.

(Radio Iowa)

USDA offers funding for farmers markets, local food programs

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 5th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s focus has traditionally been on food production, agriculture and natural resources but under the administration of President Barack Obama the USDA also has taken on a broader rural economic development role. The agency has funded energy projects, small business loans, upgrades to power lines and high speed internet.

Some don’t consider financial support for such rural development projects to be among the agency’s fundamental roles but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack disagrees. Vilsack is now promoting newly available funding of up to $800,000 to support farmers markets and other local food initiatives.

The USDA since 2009 has invested $800 million in more than 29,000 local and regional food projects including investments in 1,000 local food projects in Iowa and 617 in Nebraska.

Guilty pleas reached in cattle rustling cases

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 4th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Three counties in Nebraska and Iowa are prosecuting a group of Omaha residents they suspect of slipping into feedlots in the dark of night and hauling off steers and cows to sell at sale barns and livestock auctions. According to a report in the Omaha World-Herald, the modern-day cattle-rustling suspects, Ervin John Jacob, James Michael Brunzo and Amy Louise Springer, face charges in connection with cattle thefts in Cass County, Iowa, and Cuming County, Nebraska. Jacob and Springer also face charges in York County, Nebraska.

Jacob, who is 57, and Springer, age 42, have already pleaded guilty in some of the cases. Brunzo, 49, is in federal custody after pleading guilty in a drug case in January. Brunzo’s warrant in Cass County remains in effect until he can be brought here for prosecution. The other two have been ordered to pay restitution. In addition, Springer was given two-years probation in Cass County and a deferred judgement on a felony theft charge, while Jacob plead not guilty this past Thursday in Cass County District Court, to a misdemeanor Theft charge. He received probation, in an agreement with prosecutors.

Green Valley Lake – Microcystins Levels High

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 3rd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) say they have identified a hepatotoxin, called microcystin toxin, in Green Valley Lake near Creston in Union County.

Microcystin toxin is released by blue-green algae or cyanobacteria
Cyanobacterial blooms can form in warm, slow-moving waters that are rich in nutrients such as fertilizer runoff or septic tank overflows. Blooms can occur at any time, but most often occur in late summer or early fall.

Symptoms may take hours or days to show up in people, but normally show up within one week after exposure. Symptoms of microcystin exposure/poisoning include
• Rash, hives, or skin blisters (especially on the lips and under swimsuits).
• Gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe headaches, and fever.
• Runny eyes and nose, cough, and sore throat, pleuritic pain, asthma-like symptoms, or allergic reactions.
• Exposure to large amount of microcystin can cause liver damage.

Swimming in the lake should be avoided. If you do swim, do not ingest the water, and wash thoroughly before you leave.

Heading out for a dip? Tips on how to avoid becoming a drowning statistic

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 2nd, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Before the summer is over, statistics show about 33 people will drown in Iowa’s lakes, rivers and swimming pools. Deb Cooper, at the Iowa Department of Public Health, says it’s vital to follow safety rules when you’re around a body of water, especially as we head into the hot, busy 4th of July weekend.  “The thing I can’t stress enough is to watch children around open areas of water,” Cooper says, “whether it’s at the swimming pool or at a lake or a pond, always keep your eye on children.”

According to state records over the past decade, as many as 43 people drown in Iowa during 2005, while there were 22 deaths from drowning in 2009. Cooper credits the role that pool lifeguards play in keeping everyone safe and in keeping water quality healthy. “Most public swimming pools do provide lifeguards and you should always swim in an area where there’s a lifeguard, that’s the safest way,” Cooper says. “There are people at the swimming pools who regularly test the water to make sure the chemical levels are staying up where they should.”

All Iowans are encouraged to learn how to swim and how to perform C-P-R. “Always wear a life jacket around open bodies of water,” Cooper says. “Two-thirds of drowning victims are good swimmers, so it’s important you wear a life jacket when you’re around those areas of water.”

Find more tips at the Iowa Department of Public Health website: www.idph.state.ia.us.

USDA Report 07-02-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

July 2nd, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Dave York


Independence Day weekend looking good for State park visitors

Ag/Outdoor, News

July 1st, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Iowa State Parks are gearing up for the Fourth of July weekend and are ready to welcome thousands of campers, cabin renters, picnickers and outdoor enthusiasts. The weather forecast for most of the state and weekend is favoring plenty of outdoor activity. Todd Coffelt, DNR State Parks Bureau chief, says “State Parks are great destinations for these major summer holidays. Whether you are staying for a week or making a day trip, they provide great opportunities for families and friends to gather and make memories.”

Reservable campsites have been filled for three months. Last minute campers can take their chances with walk-in campsites, as 25-50 percent of all state park campsites are first-come, first-served. Most of these sites are non-electric and realistically most will be occupied by Thursday. Best chances to secure a site will be at smaller, more remote parks. Visit www.iowadnr.gov/parks for a list of parks and their amenities.

Despite recent wet weather in some areas, nearly all state parks are in good shape and getting ready for the big weekend. Here are a few reminders for those planning a trip to specific state parks this weekend.

· Only one state park campground is closed due to recent weather (as of June 30th). Walnut Woods State Park, southwest of the Des Moines metro area, is still cleaning up from Raccoon River flooding. The park is expected to reopen late next week.

· Canyon Drive at Ledges State Park has reopened to vehicle traffic, but visitors are cautioned that any rain event in the area will likely close it again. Potential visitors wanting to drive into that area of the park are encouraged to call the park office at 515-432-1852 for closure information. The campground, trails, other roads, parking lots and both open shelters remain accessible by vehicle.

Visitors to Lake Macbride State Park in Johnson County and Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area in Linn County are reminded that those beaches will close at 6 PM each day. Due to high use and limited parking at the beach area at Lake Macbride, visitors should expect a beach closure on weekends and holidays. Access to the beach may be closed for up to 2 hours. During these times, people in vehicles will be stopped at the park entrance and asked to return to the beach at a later time or asked to visit one of the other beaches in Johnson County such as Sandy Beach, Sugar Bottom, West Overlook or Kent Park.

Equestrian trails are currently closed due to wet conditions at Brushy Creek State Recreation Area (except for the 12-mile Wet Weather Trail), Elk Rock and Waubonsie state parks and Shimek Forest (except the 3-mile Wet Weather Trail) and Stephens Forest. However, if dry weather conditions continue, equestrians are encouraged to call individual areas for re-openings.

Closure information is posted on the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/parks and the parks reservation site at http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com. Current information is also available by calling individual park offices directly.