KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Foggy January could mean a wet spring for planting

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

February 8th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The foggy days we saw in January could be an indication of the type of weather farmers ace this spring. Iowa State University Extension Climatologist Elwynn Taylor says it may be folklore, but there is some reasonable evidence to think it will be a wet one. “The folklore message is ‘if you have fog in January, you are going to have a wet planting season.’ Or some people say, 90 or 100 days later it’s going to be awfully wet,” Taylor says. “There is some fact behind that because — why would the fog come in — we’ve started to get the flow from the Gulf of Mexico, which is what brings us our moisture.”

He says this year fits the pattern that can give us a wet spring. “It doesn’t mean we always will, but that was the first point we looked at. Be ready for it to be on the wet side of usual at planting time,” he says. While a wet spring is a possibility, Taylor says another better than average yield is also a possibility.

“That is a distinct possibility — now of course everyone who has farmed in the Midwest knows for many years knows that it’s rare to go more than two or three years with above trend-line yield,” Taylor says. “This would be the fourth year. But it does happen. IN fact, five isn’t an unheard of number of years for staying above trend before it dips back below.”

(Radio Iowa)

EPA rejects Iowa new clean water rule passed last August

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has told Iowa environmental regulators that changes made to state clean water standards last year violate federal regulations. The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission approved changes in August that eliminated a rigorous environmental assessment before allowing new contaminants to be introduced to streams, rivers or lakes by city wastewater treatment plants or industry.

The new so-called anti-degradation standards allowed a focus on cost when evaluating introduction of new contaminants into waterways. Environmental groups opposed the change saying it weakened Iowa’s clean water protections and commended the EPA Tuesday for rejecting the changes.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which enforces state environmental rules, did not immediately respond to a message. It’s not immediately clear if the EPA determination will withstand scrutiny of the new Trump administration.

ISU economist says another spring bump in commodity prices could happen

Ag/Outdoor

February 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

An Iowa State University agricultural economist believes there may be an opportunity for a modest price rally for commodities during the spring. Chad Hart says this year is looking very much like last year, and farmers will need to strike while they can to capitalize on any potential price rally. “We look at prices that time versus now, we’re up on the corn side a little, we’re up on the soybean side by about a dollar fifty. That’s despite having record crops this past year,” Hart “Well, that speaks about this demand that continues to build and work through these crops. And hopefully as we sort of found last year, as we worked through the spring of 2016 we sort of saw a price rally from April to June, and we’ve got the potential to do the same thing over again as we look into 2017.”

Analysts believe the South American crop production will also be good this year, but Hart says it, too, is resembling last year when flooding damaged some of the crops. That’s already showing up in the markets. “We’ve added about 50 cents to the soybean price…so far this year and this month. The South American soybean crop looks big — but can they get it out of the fields, will they be able to — that uncertainty is helping to raise prices right now,” Hart says.

The Iowa State University Extension Grain Marketing Specialist says producers, and trading partners are watching closely the actions of the Trump administration on trade, as it will play a big factor in the prices as well. ‘That is where we are seeing the biggest growth in that demand, and that’s going to be, let’s call it an issue that the administration is going to have to wrestle with over the entirety of the Trump administration — how to continue to promote and grow agricultural trade as we renegotiate some of these trade agreements,” Hart says.

So much of U-S agricultural trade depends on the value of the dollar in foreign nations. Hart says the value of the dollar has been on the increase, however, trading partners have not been deterred from purchasing U-S grown commodities. Hart says he’s hearing that the dollar will continue rise in the coming months, but the demand for the commodities to feed animals is driving the price despite what’s happening with the value of the dollar.

Hart suggests farmers to look at perhaps conducting some forward contracting to take advantage of price rallies when they occur.

(Radio Iowa)

Cass County Ethanol plant plans are scrubbed

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 7th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The proposed Elite Octane, LLC Ethanol plant in Atlantic, is not going to happen. The Cass County Board of Supervisors were scheduled Wednesday morning, to act on approving a Development Agreement between the County and ethanol plant officials that would have authorized $8.5-million dollars in Tax Increment Payments. The agreement would have also Pledged Certain Tax Increment Revenues to the Payment of the Agreement, but Nick Bowdish, President of N Bowdish Companies, which represents the ethanol group investors, told KJAN News they reached an impasse over discussions about the amount the plant would pay for electricity, and have informed Board Chair Gaylord Schelling and Auditor Dale Sunderman, the deal is dead. (Click on the left side of the audio players below to hear comments)

Steve Tjepkes, Atlantic Municipal Utilities General Manager told KJAN News last week, that the AMU Board declined to approve a request from Elite Octane to reduce their electrical rate to 5.6-cents per kilowatt hour. Elite Octane officials told the Board that if they were unable to get that rate, AMU should transfer its service territory to Mid-American Energy, which likely can charge 5.5-cents per kwh. Tjepkes says the AMU Board voted against transferring the service territory to Mid-American because of a contractual obligation AMU has with its regional power provider.

Bowdish said since there’s no chance of getting a reduced rate, he’s “Out of ideas,” on how to make the project work.

Bowdish said the company could have explored “self-generation” of electrical power, but that would have been too costly.

He says from this point, he’s stepping back from involvement in the project.

Cass County Conservation Board events set for Feb. 10th & 11th

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 6th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Conservation Board has two events coming up later this week (Feb. 10th and 11th). Friday night, there’s a “Full Moon Owl Prowl.” The Owl Prowl will be held at the Cold Springs Park in Lewis,  beginning at 7-p.m., Friday. You’re invited to come out for a great night hike, and try to call in various species of Owls that may be in the park that night. All ages are welcome.

And, Saturday night (Feb. 11th), the Cass County Conservation Board is holding a free, Sweethearts Snowshoe Hike. The Moonlight Snowshoe Hike will be held at the Pellett Memorial Woods outside of Atlantic, beginning at 7-p.m., Saturday. If there are no clouds, the moon will light the way. Snowshoes (in a variety of sizes) will be available. Officials say they will hike and try to call in various species of Owls that may be in the park that night! In the event there is no snow, the event  WILL be CANCELLED.

Cass County Conservation Dept. News: Great Bird Count preview meeting

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 6th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Cass County Conservation Department are reminding area residents that the Great Backyard Bird Count Program will be held at the Atlantic Public Library Community Room, this Saturday February 11th, beginning at 1-p.m. During the event, you’ll learn how to participate in this wonderful citizen science project, and about basic bird identification.

The first Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) was held in 1998. The 20th annual GBBC takes place February 17th-20th in backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies, and beaches—anywhere you find birds. Bird watchers count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org. All the data contribute to a snapshot of bird distribution and help scientists see changes over the past 20 years.

The family-oriented program is for bird watchers of all ages, and is free of charge. All you need is basic knowledge of bird identification It is not required that you record every species you see, only those that can be properly identified. To participate in the bird count either call the Conservation Board at 712-769-2372 and receive everything you need in the mail (or pick up in the office), or go to the website: http://gbbc.birdcount.org/ and follow the instructions.

Cass County Cattleman’s Association Banquet news

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 6th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Cattleman’s Association held their annual banquet and awards program Saturday night, at the Cass County Community Center, in Atlantic. During the awards and scholarship portion of the program, scholarships were awarded to Haley Carlson, Clayton Sauegling and Tyler McAfee.

Award presented include:

  • Youth Ambassador – Lexi Freund
  • Young Gun – Miles McDermott
  • Riding for the Brand – Gary Sullivan
  • Producer of the Year – Chad Comes
  • Business of the Year – Steve Nelson (w/Nelson Machine & Forge)
  • Hall of Fame – Alan Robinson

Ag Input Meeting Scheduled for February 10

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 6th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

You’re invited to join Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Field Agronomist, Aaron Saeugling, and Iowa State University Farm Coordinator for Southwest Iowa, Jim Rogers, for a one-hour presentation covering the newest farm trials conducted across the state. The Ag Input Meeting for Montgomery County will be held this Friday, February 10th, from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Extension office in Red Oak.

Do you have crop input questions for 2017? Do you wonder what research Iowa State University is doing in southwest Iowa? Do you value independent research results? Would you like to see demonstrations conducted on farm fields? ISU’s Saeugling and Rogers will also answer participants’ questions about crop input in the upcoming growing season.

Ag Input Meetings will be conducted all across southwest Iowa this winter. There will be one held at the Montgomery County Extension Office located at 400 Bridge Street, Suite 2 on Friday, February 10, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Complementary cookies and coffee will be served. There is no fee to attend and pre-registration is not required.

For more information contact Montgomery County Extension at 712-623-2592.

Commercial Ag Weed, Insect, Plant Disease Course Set for Feb. 14

Ag/Outdoor

February 4th, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Shelby County will offer the Commercial Ag Weed, Insect and Plant Disease Management Continuing Instruction Course (CIC) for commercial pesticide applicators Tuesday, February 14, 2017. The program will be shown at locations across Iowa through the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP).

The local attendance site is 906 6th St, Harlan. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the course runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The registration fee is $35 on or before Feb. 7 and $45 after Feb. 7. To register or to obtain additional information about the CIC, contact the Shelby County Extension and Outreach office by phoning 712-755-3104.

The course will provide continuing instruction credit for commercial pesticide applicators certified in categories 1A, 1B, 1C, and 10. Topics covered will include information on safe handling and storage of pesticides, laws and regulations, personal protective equipment, and pests and pest management.

Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in Pest Management will be offered at this program. Any interested participant should bring his or her CCA number. Additional information and registration forms for this and other courses offered by the PSEP program can be accessed at www.extension.iastate.edu/PSEP/ComAp.html.

Livestock Master Matrix adopted in 88 counties

Ag/Outdoor

February 3rd, 2017 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports 88 out of 99 Iowa’s counties notified the DNR in January that they plan to evaluate construction permit applications and proposed locations for animal confinements by using the master matrix. With 11 exceptions, all counties will use the matrix during the next 12 months. None of the counties who decided against using the Master Matrix are located in southwest Iowa.

Animal producers in the counties choosing to implement the Master Matrix must meet higher standards than other confinement producers who also need a construction permit. They qualify by choosing a site and using practices that reduce impacts on air, water and the community.

Counties that adopt the master matrix can provide more input to producers on site selection, and proposed structures and facility management. Participating counties score each master matrix submitted in their county and can recommend to approve or deny the construction permit. They can also join in DNR visits to a proposed confinement site.

While all counties may submit comments to DNR during the permitting process, counties that adopt the master matrix can also appeal a preliminary permit to the state Environmental Protection Commission. The deadline for enrolling in the program is Jan. 31 of each year.

Find more information, including a map of participating counties by searching for Master Matrix at www.iowadnr.gov/afo.