KJAN Ag/Outdoor

12 Iowa deer test positive for chronic wasting disease from 2016-17 hunting seasons


March 14th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has closed the book on its 2016 chronic wasting disease monitoring effort that collected 4,879 tissue samples from wild deer with 12 samples testing positive for the disease. Test results are pending on deer from a handful of counties and on 86 deer tissue samples from the Clayton County special deer collection effort that ended on March 5.

The disease first appearing in the wild deer herd in 2013 and each year since, the DNR has placed extra emphasis to find the extent to which disease is in the area, and to help slow the spread by removing additional adult deer from the local population.

Chronic wasting disease is caused by a misshapen protein, takes 18-36 months to show clinical signs and is always fatal. Epizoic hemorrhagic disease is spread by a biting midge, is often worse during drought years and can occur throughout Iowa.

The Iowa DNR has a goal to collect around 5,000 deer samples from across the state each year, with an emphasis in and near areas where disease has been confirmed. For the 14 counties near areas where CWD has been confirmed, quotas range from 50 samples to 500. The remaining counties have a quota of 15 samples each.

The CWD focus areas include the northeast quarter of Pottawattamie County. The disease has been found in southeastern Nebraska near the Missouri River which will begin a new focus area with a quota of 750 samples along Iowa’s western border from Fremont to Woodbury County.

There are some things hunters can do to help with the surveillance. First, remove any mineral blocks and feeders that unnaturally concentrates deer and increases the chance of spreading any disease. They can also provide tissue samples to the DNR for testing and report any sick or emaciated deer to the DNR.

Navigation season on the Missouri River to open April 1st

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 14th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Western Iowans who are looking forward to boating season should be able to get out onto the Missouri River in a few weeks. The U-S Army Corps of Engineers is preparing the basin’s reservoirs for run-off season. Joel Knofczynski, a hydraulic engineer in the Corps’ Omaha office, says almost all of the flood pool is available behind the six, mainstem dams. “On December 18th, the reservoir system storage reached 56.1-million acre feet, which is at the base of the annual flood control zone,” he says. “This means that all the stored 2016 flood waters have been evacuated from the system.”

Knofczynski says they will soon start releasing water from Gavins Point Dam for the downstream navigation season. “Releases from Gavins Point are currently 17,000 cubic feet per second,” he says. “Releases will be stepped up beginning at or around March 19th to provide flow support for the 2017 navigation season. The navigation season will open on April 1st at the mouth near St. Louis.”

Knofczynski says the Corps is anticipating a full, eight-month navigation season on the Missouri. “Flows for this level of service are designed to provide a nine-foot-deep navigation channel with Gavins Point releases expected to range from the upper 20,000 to the lower 30,000 cubic feet per second this summer, depending on downstream conditions” he says. “Those releases will be reduced in response to downstream flooding, if necessary.”

Corps officials have said -no- spring flooding is anticipated. Also, there will -not- be a spring “pulse” for endangered species habitat this year and run-off is expected to be about 115-percent of normal.

(Radio Iowa)

Ag Secretary says poultry producers are on lookout for bird flu

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 14th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

While the thoughts of most Iowans are on the good things that spring brings, poultry producers are on the lookout for potential problems with bird flu. Cases of the two types of avian influenza have been found in Tennessee and Wisconsin, and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says it’s another reminder to be alert. Iowa took a massive hit from the bird flu two years ago when millions of chickens and turkeys had to be destroyed.

“Our producers have invested large amounts of effort and dollars into biosecurity trying to keep the disease away from their farms. From truck washes to limited access onto the farms, to lots of ways to try and keep the disease out,” Northey says. “So that was done from sometimes before the last outbreak, to immediately after the last outbreak.”

He says the news of the case that is highly contagious in Tennessee probably led to some uneasiness in Iowans. “I’m sure everybody is checking their biosecurity plans again. There is no guarantee to prevent a disease from being able to be exposed. And it’s obviously in the Mississippi flyway now in some wild birds — whether it’s a few or a lot, nobody knows. Everybody’s concerned while they continue the plans they have had in place,” Northey says.

Northey says there’s no reason for consumers to be concerned. “It’s important to remind everybody that food safety is not a concern. Go ahead and eat your eggs and eat your turkey meat and chicken meat, that’s not a concern. Producers are concerned about the health of their birds and they are doing everything that they can to keep their birds healthy,” according to Northey.

Thousands of chickens were destroyed at the Tennessee farm after the “highly pathogenic” variety of the disease was found there. Another bird flu outbreak was reported at a Wisconsin turkey farm but it was not the highly-pathogenic variety.

(Radio Iowa)

Hearings to be held on desired changes to Iowa’s master matrix

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 13th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is holding a series of meetings across the state over the next several weeks to gain input on what changes should be made to the so-called master matrix. I-C-C-I spokeswoman Erica Blair says they’ve already heard from many Iowans who universally want one type of change in the scoring system used to evaluate the siting of feeding operations.

“Larger separation distances between a factory farm and a stream or a factory farm and somebody’s house,” Blair says. “People would like to have more site specificity. The master matrix doesn’t really take into consideration the landscape that it’s in, whether it’s in coarse terrain or if it’s near a stream.”

By making some key changes in the matrix, Blair says they’re hoping to see better protections from agricultural runoff. Blair says, “The goal of strengthening the master matrix would be to reduce runoff, reduce manure pollution and make sure we have better water in Iowa.” Blair says legislative action may need to be taken in order to get stronger rules. “The legislature certainly could make these changes or call for the DNR to open the master matrix rules back up,” Blair says. “We’re seeing people across the state calling on their legislators to do something about it.”

Leaders in Pocahontas and Webster counties have sent letters to lawmakers and to the D-N-R, she says, asking for a moratorium on new construction until the issue is addressed. The I-C-C-I meetings are scheduled for: Wednesday (March 15th) in Greenfield, March 21st in Lohrville, March 30th in Ames, April 4th in Solon and April 8th in Le Mars.

(Radio Iowa)

12 Urban Water Quality Demonstration Projects Selected to Receive Funding

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 13th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey have announced 12 urban conservation water quality initiative demonstration projects have been selected to receive $820,840 in funding. The 12 projects will provide nearly $1.18 million in matching funds to support water quality improvement efforts as well as other in-kind contributions.

Among the area communities participating in newly announced projects is Denison. The City of Denison received a grant award amount to $73, 560 for the installation of four bioretention cells and one permeable paver system in the downtown area as part of this project. The total project cost is $147,120. The retrofit demonstration project will offer multiple water quality benefits, along with strong local support and community involvement, in a highly visible area with the goal of using the project as an example for future community infrastructure projects.

The various projects will focus on conservation measures that capture and allow stormwater to be absorbed into the ground and reduce a property’s contribution to water quality degradation, stream flows and flooding. They also include strong partnerships and outreach/education components to disseminate information to promote increased awareness and adoption of available practices and technologies for achieving reductions in nutrient loads to surface waters.

More information about the urban water quality practices can be found at www.cleanwateriowa.org/residential-practices.aspx. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received 34 pre-applications for this funding after it was announced last fall and 14 projects were invited to submit full proposals. Twelve projects were selected to receive funding through the Water Quality Initiative. This is the third time that urban conservation projects have been funded through the Water Quality Initiative and there are currently 22 active or completed urban demonstration projects across the state . The state awarded these initial 22 projects over $1.63 million in funding and partners and landowners participating in the projects are providing over $5 million to support these urban conservation efforts.

Conservation Report 03-11-2017

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 11th, 2017 by Chris Parks

Bob Bebensee and DNR Conservation Officer Grant Gelle talk about all things outdoors.


Shelby County Fire Danger reduced from “Extreme” to “High”

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 9th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Field/Grassland Fire Danger rating in Shelby County was reduced today (Thursday), from the “Extreme,” to “High” category. The rating is in effect until the next update on Monday. Emergency management officials warn conditions will still support large fire growth, and resistance to firefighting efforts. Be sure to call 712-755-2124 if you plan to conduct an outdoor burn, and contact your local Fire Chief prior to igniting.

IA DNR issues latest water summary/drought outlook

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

This past February was the second warmest in Iowa on record. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the warm start to the year is prompting vegetation to come out of dormancy sooner than usual and could intensify the dry conditions across south central and southeast Iowa due to early evapotranspiration. The report is prepared by the technical staff from the Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering and the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

Officials say Hydrologic conditions and drought have remained the same throughout the winter months in Iowa. The pattern of wetness in northern Iowa and the dryness in the southern half has changed very little throughout the winter.

Precipitation for Iowa varied across the state. The wettest area of the state is far northern Iowa, receiving double the normal amounts for January and February, while the southeast one-third of the state remains dry. Stream flow conditions are above normal across the majority of the state, except in parts of southern Iowa, which have decreased to normal levels.

For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, go to www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.


“Securing your farm property” session set for March 23rd in Harlan

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with Shelby County Extension is hosting a Farmer’s Coffee, bringing farmers and other ag professional together for informal discussion on current ag topics. You’re invited to join them on Thursday, March 23rd for “Securing Your Farm Property: Reducing Your Risk of Theft & Vandalism,” from 9:30-until 11:30-a.m., at the Extension Office in Harlan.

The free event features a panel discussion with brief comments by guest experts and opportunity for questions from those attending. The panel includes Shawn Shouse, ISU extension & Outreach Ag Engineering Specialist; Shelby County Sheriff Neil Gross; and Jason Erickson, security systems expert from ThinkSpaceIT. Sponsorship for the event is provided by United Bank of Iowa.

No reservations are needed. For more information, please contact the Shelby County Extension Office at (712) 755-3104 or email oloff@iastate.edu.

Iowa poultry producers vigilant with bird flu outbreaks in Wisconsin, Tennessee

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Iowa poultry producers are on-guard as more than 73-thousand chickens were destroyed since the weekend outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza at a Tennessee farm. Thirty other farms nearby are quarantined. Kevin Stiles, executive director of the Iowa Poultry and Egg Association, says the Tennessee outbreak is a worry here, as Iowa dealt with a major outbreak in 2015.

“We’re always concerned anytime we hear the words ‘high-path avian influenza’ mentioned,” Stiles says. “We do feel and hope our producers have taken the necessary safeguards to do as good a job as we can from a biosecurity standpoint, but none the less, certainly they would have concern.”

Another bird flu outbreak is reported in a Wisconsin turkey farm but it is -not- the highly-pathogenic variety. Stiles says Iowa’s producers tightened biosecurity following the epidemic here two years ago and are just now recovering lost ground. “We still are working hard to recapture some of those export markets that were lost during 2015,” Stiles says. “We’re starting to see some of those come back and, of course, we’ve most recently seen some export gain from the fact South Korea is experiencing an avian influenza outbreak.”

Stiles says the U-S-D-A and Tennessee agriculture department officials have responded well to the outbreak. “They have quickly gotten their arms around the initial site and are testing a number of birds in flocks around,” Stiles says. “At least until now, those subsequent tests have all come up negative, so that makes me feel good that USDA and the folks in Tennessee are doing a great job in getting on this as soon as possible.”

Tennessee officials have declined to name the breeder and would only say the farm is in the state’s Lincoln County, west of Chattanooga. During the 2015 bird flu outbreak, cases were confirmed at 77 Iowa poultry operations in 18 counties. It resulted in the destruction of more than 31-million birds and an economic loss to the state of $1.2 billion dollars.

(Radio Iowa)