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.

USDA announces initiative to help smaller farm operations

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 11th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is launching what it calls “a concerted effort” to help small and mid-sized farms. The announcement from Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack comes after a recent census pointed to a reduction in the number of smaller farming operations. Speaking on Monday with reporters from the National Farmers Union Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Vilsack said his department is working to assist these farmers in finding markets for their products.

“We’re going to broaden the national farmers’ market directory to include community-supported agriculture activities, on-farm stores and food hubs,” Vilsack said. “This will provide an opportunity for you, as a producer, to know precisely what opportunities exist within your region.” In addition, the USDA plans to expand the popular Farm-to-School Program.

“We know there’s a tremendous demand in schools for locally produced product, we had more than 355-million dollars in sales last year…we anticipate and expect that this is only going to grow,” Vilsack said. An additional seven Farm-to-School coordinators will be placed across the country to help forge relationships between farmers and school districts, according to Vilsack. The former Iowa governor said the USDA will also work to make it easier for small and mid-sized farmers to gain access to capital by expanding loan programs and increasing funding for such things as hoop houses, which enable longer growing seasons.

(Radio Iowa)

Statewide Quarantine to Slow Spread of Emerald Ash Borer

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa – With winter starting to lessen its grip on Iowa and more people venturing outside, there’s a reminder that all 99 counties are now under restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the emerald ash borer, an exotic insect which kills valuable ash trees. The quarantine was issued by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and prohibits taking wood and ash-tree products out of state, according to state entomologist Robin Pruisner.

“And what that means is that we’re looking at high-risk items like ash logs, hardwood firewood – we call those regulated articles – that those that originate in Iowa must stay within Iowa, must stay within the quarantine boundaries to reduce the risk of spreading emerald ash borer.”

The destructive emerald ash borer has been discovered in eight Iowa counties thus far, and Pruisner says it’s likely that more infestations of the bugs will be found before the trees even leaf out this spring.

While the quarantine prohibits transportation out of state, Pruisner said they’re urging Iowans to keep it even more local, especially when it comes to firewood.

“Kind of the rule of thumb is, we’d like to see it maybe stay in the county that it originates from. We know that’s not always possible, but firewood does carry other pests than emerald ash borer and we’re just trying to slow the spread.”

For landowners wondering whether their ash trees may be in danger, there are signs that may indicate an infestation. They include emergence holes shaped like the letter “D” and serpentine or “S-shaped” tunnels under the bark. Iowa State University entomologist Mark Shour said that at this time of year, woodpeckers can help point the way to the bugs.

“They will go after a borer, whether it be a native or an exotic borer, beneath the bark of trees,” he said. “And in our case they’ve been very helpful in locating emerald ash borer infestations when we weren’t aware of them.”

Shour said there are a few treatment options, but they can take years to be effective against the emerald ash borer – and just because a tree can be treated doesn’t mean it should be.

Those with questions or concerns about a possible infestation can contact the Iowa DNR or Department of Agriculture or an office of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

More information is at IowaAgriculture.gov and at Extension.IAState.edu.

Beaver Bounty continues in Shelby County

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A reminder for trappers from the Shelby County Conservation Service: Shelby County is continuing the beaver bounty until April 15th.beaver Beavers must be harvested legally in Shelby County prior to April 15th and the tails brought into the Conservation Board office to receive the $20 per tail bounty. Paperwork also has to be submitted along with the tails and can be accessed under the documents tab at Shelby County’s website http://shco.org

SPRING THAW CAUSES ELEVATED LEVELS OF WINTERTIME HAZE

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Friday (Today) elevated fine particle (PM 2.5) pollution levels were observed at Viking Lake State Park near Stanton, on Thursday. Levels rose overnight across much of Iowa, but should fall later today as a cold front moves eastward through the state and winds increase. The DNR recommends that Iowans with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children limit prolonged outdoor exertion until the cold front passes through later today.

The EPA’s 24-hour health threshold for PM 2.5 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. Levels of 37.1 were recorded yesterday at Viking Lake. The daily average, as of 10 a.m. today, was 43.2 at Waterloo, 40.4 at Clinton, 39.5 at Emmetsburg, 39.2 at Davenport, 36.9 at Lake Sugema, 37 at Cedar Rapids, 35 at Iowa City, 34.1 at Muscatine and 25.2 at Des Moines.

Nitrate is a primary component of winter time haze in Iowa. Nitrate formation is enhanced during prolonged periods of high humidity and near freezing temperatures that sometimes occur during a spring thaw. Fine particles are also emitted by vehicle traffic and other combustion sources and by chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Stagnant air masses do not allow the fine particles to disperse, and pollutant levels rise.

EPA’s national air quality map is available online at www.airnow.gov.

 

 

Local food producers’ opportunity to meet potential buyers

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Local Food Policy Council (CCLFPC) is hosting a “Local Foods Meet and Greet” to help connect local food producers with potential buyers, such as restaurants, schools or other wholesale markets. Local food producers and potential purchasers are invited to join CCLFPC on Monday, March 10, 2014 from 4-5:30 PM at the Cass County Memorial Hospital. This is a come and go event, and those interested in attending are encouraged to stop by as available. farmersMarket_02_char11

There will be a short program at about 4:15-4:30, followed by a chance for networking and discussion. The event will be held in Conference Room 1 (enter through East doors and take a left). Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to RSVP to Emily Krengel, Cass County Health System Food Service Director at kreeh@casshealth.org or 712-243-7550 ext. 3421 by Monday at Noon.

 

Plan to do some digging this spring? Call 811 first, or else…

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Much of Iowa is frozen and snow-covered, but soon enough, spring will be here and homeowners will leap into landscaping and farmers will dig into the soil. Ben Booth, at Iowa One Call, says if you plan to do any digging, it’s the law to call 8-1-1 at least 48 hours before digging and have all potential obstacles underground marked off. Booth says they’re holding special damage prevention seminars this month for contractors and excavators.

Booth says, “This program focuses on the farming community, specifically farmers and tiling excavators and land improvement contractors, people who will be doing the terracing and installation of drainage tile.”

If a pipeline, communications line or other vital service is ruptured by your negligence, you may be found financially liable for repairs and any repercussions. There have been several incidents in recent years in rural Iowa involving ag contractors digging where they shouldn’t be digging. Booth says, “We have a lot of problems throughout the year with these types of farming and agricultural operations impacting the pipelines as well as fiber infrastructure, fiber optic cables.”

Anyone who fails to call Iowa One Call and ruptures an underground line could face fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per day. There were pipeline explosions in Jackson and Plymouth counties in the past few years. Booth says both incidents happened because the contractors failed to call Iowa One Call. “There can be some really serious ramifications of hitting an underground high-pressure natural gas pipeline or a hazardous liquids pipeline,” Booth says.

The next seminar on damage prevention is planned for next week. It will be held at 6:30 P-M Tuesday at the Senior Center in Glenwood. Learn more at: www.iowaonecall.com

(Radio Iowa)

House backs bill to allow ATVs on rural roads and highways

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa House has passed a bill that would allow all-terrain vehicles on all rural roads and county highways in Iowa. Four-wheel A-T-V’s currently can be driven on those roads if they’re being used for farming and some cities and counties have ordinances allowing A-T-V’s on local roads. Representative Kurt Hansen, a Democrat from Fairfield, says he’s heard from rural Iowans who aren’t thrilled with the idea of letting anyone drive an A-T-V on a rural road.

“Their concern is that they have a lot of remote properties — their properties are vulnerable to theft and vandalism — and they’re worried about a new group of people coming into the county, operating these vehicles and harming their property,” Hansen says. “The concern also centered around people going down a narrow gravel road with a hill and finding one of these vehicles driven down the highway. Now we have just a few. Could this open it up to just a whole bunch of vehicles?”

Representative Sally Stutsman, a Democrat from Riverside, says the bill should have required safety equipment on A-T-Vs — like seat belts and roll-bars — if these vehicles are going to be driven on roads. “I continue to have grave concerns about allowing the use of vehicles that the manufacturers specifically say are not to be used on roads,” Stutsman says. “…What makes these such good vehicles for off-roads are the very things that makes them dangerous for on-roads.”

Representative Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, says she’s talked to her brother about A-T-Vs — because he sells them. “And he has said these were never, ever, ever meant to be ridden on the road,” Mascher says. “They were not constructed for that.” The House passed the bill by a wide margin — a vote of 70 to 28. Representative Brian Moore, a Republican from Bellevue, was the only House member to speak in favor of the bill.

“I do know where these particular vehicles are riding now where they’re forced to ride out in pastures or timber ground or even parks where they don’t know the layout and you can’t see the layout of the ground,” Moore says. “I think the gravel road system we have and the secondary system I think is going to be a much safer place than what they have offered to them now.”

A similar bill recently passed a Senate committee. A bill to allow ATVs on rural roads passed the Republican-led House during the 2013 legislative session, but stalled in the Democratically-controlled Senate. A legislative committee then studied the issue last fall, hearing from both sides in the debate.

(Radio Iowa)

Bill Northey to Speak at Cover Crop Meeting

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District will be hosting a Cover Crop meeting on Wednesday, March 12th at the Cass County Community Center. The meeting will start at 1:00 pm and run till 3:30pm. Doors will open at 12:30 to the public. Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture will speak during the meeting about Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.SWCD

Matt Lechtenberg from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land stewardship, Division of Soil Conservation will also present information about the Iowa Water Quality Initiatives. There will also be a panel of local producers that will give their account of how they have incorporated cover crops to their own farm operations.

The Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners are: Greg Zellmer, Fred Kay, Ray Wilson, Curt Behrends, and Chase Wheatley along with Assistant Commissioner Alan Peterson.

Branstad joins lawsuit opposed to chicken rules

Ag/Outdoor

March 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says he has joined a lawsuit seeking to strike down a California law regulating the living conditions of chickens. Branstad announced Thursday he’d joined the lawsuit filed in February by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. Attorneys general in Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska and Oklahoma also have joined the lawsuit.

It seeks to block a California law taking effect in 2015 that prohibits eggs from being sold there if they come from hens raised in cages that don’t comply with California’s new size and space requirements. The voter-approved law requires that egg-laying hens, pigs and calves be given enough space to lie down, stand up, turn around and fully extend their limbs.

Iowa is the nation’s top egg producer. About 9 percent of those eggs are sold in California.

Northey to visit Atlantic & other SW IA cities next week

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 6th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that he will be visiting Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Page, Sac, Carroll, Audubon and Cass Counties from Monday, March 10th through Wednesday, March 12th.

On Monday Northey will present the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award in Oakland, visit Mulholland Grocery in Malvern, tour Green Plains Renewable Energy in Shenandoah and then speak to an Iowa Corn Growers Association meeting in Shenandoah.  On Tuesday Northey will speak at a cover crop meeting in Sac City, tour a feedlot in Carroll and then visit the John James Audubon Cultural Center in Audubon.  On Wednesday he will attend of the Triumph of Ag Expo in Omaha, Nebraska and then speak at a cover crop event in Atlantic.

Northey, a corn and soybean farmer from Spirit Lake, is serving his second term as Secretary of Agriculture. His priorities as Secretary of Agriculture are promoting the use of science and new technologies to better care for our air, soil and water, and reaching out to tell the story of Iowa agriculture.

Details of his trip are as follows…..

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pottawattamie County – 11:30 a.m., present the Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, Oakland Community Center, 614 Dr. Van Zee Rd., Oakland

Mills County – 2:45 p.m., visit Mulholland Grocery, 409 Main St., Malvern

Fremont County – 4:30 p.m., tour Green Plains Renewable Energy, 4124 Airport Rd., Shenandoah

Page County – 7:00 p.m., speak to Iowa Corn Growers Association meeting, the Elks Lodge, 701 S. Fremont St., Shenandoah

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sac County – 11:00 a.m., speak to cover crop meeting, First Presbyterian Church, 812 Audubon St., Sac City

Carroll County – 1:00 p.m., tour a cattle feedlot.  (This is a private tour, but would be available for interviews beforehand or afterwards)

Audubon County – 2:30 p.m., visit John James Audubon Cultural Center, 401 N. Park Place, Audubon

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Omaha, Nebraska – Noon, attend Triumph of Ag Expo opening lunch, CenturyLink Center, 455 North 10th St., Omaha, NE

Cass County – 2:30 p.m., speak to cover crop meeting, Cass County Community Center, 805 W. 10th St., Atlantic.